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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Love is in the air

Lobster tails with mayonnaise

If you’re cooking for Valentine’s Day this year then something quick and easy is just the ticket – leaving you plenty of time for eating, drinking and romance!

Lobster tails are luxurious and a lovely treat – they’re also incredibly versatile and super-speedy to cook.

Try them split in half, brushed with butter and grilled until opaque and thoroughly cooked.

Make your own mayonnaise to go with it by whisking an egg yolk, some lemon juice and seasoning together, then very slowly adding light olive or sunflower oil, drop by drop, until thick and unctuous.

You can do this in a food processor for ease and speed too.  Delicious with chips and salad on the side.

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Winter warmer

This is such an easy recipe and a brilliant option when cooking for the family, or for friends.  If you like it, then why not try a variation with different fillings such as harissa and cumin seeds, or sundreid tomato paste, olives and pine nuts?

1-1.5kg rolled shoulder of lamb, bone removed
2 tbsp baby capers in brine, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, peeled
50g tin anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
2 fresh lemon thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 tbsp cold water

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 6-8 hours, plus resting
Serves 4

  1. Remove any strings from the lamb and un-roll. Place it fat side down on a board.
  2. Place the capers, garlic, anchovies and the thyme leaves into a mini processor or use a pestle and mortar and blitz or pound to make a coarse paste. Spread the paste over the meat-side of the lamb. Re-roll the lamb to form its original shape and tie with kitchen string at 2cm intervals.
  3. Place the meat in the slow cooker dish and drizzle over the water. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until tender.
  4. Remove the lamb from the slow cooker, place on a board and leave to rest for 10 minutes before carving into thick slices, discarding the string. Serve with roasted new potatoes and dollops of Greek yogurt.

Fab for the freezer, make in advance and freeze either raw or cooked for up to three months. Either way, defrost thoroughly before use.

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