Tahini, banana & honey flapjack

Tahini, banana and honey flapjack - a fruity flapjack, delicious with a cup of coffee or tea

If you’re trying to sneak some extra fruit in to your diet (or that of your children) without feeling too hard done by, then this recipe is for you.

An extremely easy and quick bake that will satisfy sweet cravings, without any added sugar – just honey. It’s gluten free too!

Meanwhile, banana and apple increase your fruit quota whilst helping to bring the mixture together, so you don’t need so much butter or sugar.

It’s a great recipe for using up ingredients too. I used over-ripe bananas and apples that were on their way out. I can’t bear to let anything go to waste, so this couldn’t be better.

You can also mix things up a bit depending on the dried fruit and seeds you have in the cupboard. Dried apricots, cherries, cranberries, raisins or mixed dried fruit would all work well.

As for the seeds, I used a blend of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed, but use whatever you have. Poppy seeds are always a good addition to bakes and some chia would taste good too.

You could also try adding a little finely grated orange or lemon zest to the mixture before baking.

Or for something a little more indulgent, try drizzling the cooled flapjack with some melted chocolate – white, dark or milk are all really tasty additions (but might blow all those low sugar and fat intentions out of the water!).

Tahini, banana & honey flapjack - a fruit-filled flapjack with dried fruit and mixed seeds
Tahini, banana & honey flapjack – a fruit-filled flapjack with dried fruit and mixed seeds

Tahini, banana & honey flapjack

Prepare: 10 minutes
Cook: 60 minutes
Makes: 16

50g butter, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp honey
2 bananas
2 small eating apples
250g porridge oats
100g prunes
75g currants
75g mixed seeds (eg. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame & linseeds)

  1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C, gas mark 3 and grease a 20cm square tin. Melt the butter, tahini and honey in a small pan over a low heat. Stir to combine.
  2. Meanwhile mash the banana and coarsely grate the unpeeled apple into a bowl (no need to remove the core before-hand, just grate around it, then throw it away). Mix these into the melted butter mixture together with 100ml hot water.
  3. Put the oats into a large bowl. Snip in the prunes using some scissors, to make pieces about the size of a plump raisin. Add the currants and seeds. Mix in the banana mixture until everything is well coated.
  4. Tip into the prepared tin and spread out to level the surface. Bake for 55 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 2 hours, before turning out and cutting into squares.

Tip: I found using a serrated bread knife the neatest way to cut this flapjack.

Tahini, banana & honey flapjack - delicious with coffee or a cup of tea
Tahini, banana & honey flapjack – delicious with coffee or a cup of tea
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Pan-fried plaice with capers, mint & lemon

Plaice with capers, lemon & mint

Plaice is a delicious fish.  It’s often over-looked on menus and fish slabs for some reason, but I love it!  It’s extremely quick and easy to cook, versatile (grill, fry, bake or poach) and is fabulous to eat – its fine, moist texture and delicate flavour making it ideal for family meals and entertaining alike.  Better still it is high in protein, low in fat and calories.

It’s in season for most of the year from May – December, but at its best in the summer.  When buying plaice I look for nice bright orange spots on it’s pretty skin and perky, clear eyes.

Try it in this light, quick and easy recipe.

Prepare 10 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Serves 2

2 plaice fillets
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp nonpareille (baby) capers, drained
Finely grated zest 1 unwaxed lemon
4 sprigs mint

  1. Warm a large frying pan over a high heat.  Rub a little olive oil over the fish and season.  Cook in the hot pan for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden and thoroughly cooked.  Remove to warm plates.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the pan with one tablespoon of oil and cook for 1 minute until just starting to soften.
  3. Add the remaining oil, capers, zest and mint and cook for a further minute, stirring often, until fragrant.  Season.
  4. Spoon over the fish.  Serve with seasonal veg or salad and lemon wedges to squeeze over.
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Happy New Year!

It’s Chinese New Year – the year of the Rooster.  If you don’t think it’s inappropriate to celebrate by eating chicken (!) then try this delicious, family-friendly (not too spicy) and very easy roast recipe.  The slow cooker version can be found in my book – Slow Cooking.

Whole roast Chinese chicken with plums

Prepare 15 minutes, plus resting
Cook 1 hour 25 minutes
Serves 4

1.5kg whole chicken
1 tbsp five spice powder
1 tbsp sesame oil
600g plums, halved and stoned
100ml dry fino sherry
200ml chicken stock
1 tbsp clear honey

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Place the chicken in a roasting tin and pat the skin dry with kitchen paper.  Mix the five spice powder and the oil together. Rub the mixture over the chicken as evenly as possible. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Place half of the plums around the chicken, and pour the sherry and stock over them. Return to the oven and cook for another 45 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining plums and continue to cook for another 25 minutes or until the chicken is golden (cover the chicken with foil if it is browning too fast) and the juices run clear when tested with a skewer inserted into the thickest part between the leg and the breast.
  4. Place the chicken on a platter and allow to rest in a warm place. Warm the plum mixture in the roasting tin over a high heat. Stir in the honey to taste and season well. Carve the chicken and serve with the plum sauce, steamed oriental greens and rice or noodles.

Image from Slow Cooking by Katie Bishop.  Photograph© David Munns

 

 

 

 

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