Mango and Spinach Smoothie

Breakfast Smoothie

I have been trying to eat different kinds of breakfasts lately as I was getting bored with porridge and fruit.  As I started looking into healthier, yet still filling, alternatives, I was led down the smoothie route.

This one is a nice way to start off as it is mild and does not contain anything very scary…I guess spinach might be scary for some, especially when combined with the word breakfast, but give it a go. For those of you with children, who do not eat a lot of fruit or veg, this is a sure winner. The colour might put them off – healthy green – however the taste will have them asking for more. Let them try a teaspoon and see what happens…

As for health, spinach is one of the greatest leafy greens (and can be substituted for kale in this recipe if you prefer). It belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family (also known as goosefoot), a family of nutritional powerhouses including beets, chard and quinoa. It shares a similar taste profile with these two other vegetables; the bitterness of beet greens and the slightly salty flavour of chard. Spinach is rich in iron which, as you probably know, plays a central role in the function of red blood cells which help in transporting oxygen around the body, in energy production and DNA synthesis. Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health and it is difficult to find vegetables richer in vitamin K than spinach. Have a read here for more details (BBC Good Food). A great food to fill up on for anyone but especially if you are pregnant or breast feeding.

Mango is another super healthy element to this breakfast. It improves digestion, lowers cholesterol, it is rich in iron, is said to improve concentration and memory and last, but certainly not least, Vitamin E, which helps to regulate sex hormones and boosts sex drive, is abundantly present in mangoes… Read more here (Health Mango).

So feed it to your children before exams or simply in the mornings to help them concentrate, feed them to yourself to improve digestion and maybe slip your partner some….:-)

Mango and Spinach Smoothie

1 banana (if very ripe it will make smoothie sweeter)

1 apple

2 handfuls of fresh spinach (or kale)

1 large handful of frozen mango (if you buy fresh, then cut into wedges and freeze)

100ml of cold water (if smoothie seems too thick simply add a bit more)

  • Slice the banana and apple and put them in a tall blender
  • Add mango, spinach and water
  • Blend for a good 2-3 minutes to ensure a smooth drink
  • Pour into a nice glass…makes it look tastier!
  • Enjoy!

(You can add other fruit – I threw in a few strawberries after I had taken the first picture…hence the small red dots in the glass)

Fruit DSC_0011 (3)Yum

 

Pancake Day #2 – Spinach Pancake Layers

For Oma! This is her recipe (although she uses mortadella ham rather than bacon). She prepares it like no other and even at my best I cannot compare when cooking it! When Oma visits she knows what will be requested without asking!

Pancake day approaches with swift steps, yay, and this is a savoury way to include them in your Shrove Tuesday celebrations. Better yet, have the traditional crepes from my last post at breakfast time and these for dinner! 😉

Be prepared to spend a bit of time by your stove though – you need to make the bechamel sauce, spinach sauce,tomato sauce and of course the bacon has to be fried until crisp as well as the pancakes flipped! It is worth it though – and ever so child friendly. Reminds me a bit of a soft spinach lasagna and the sweet flavours of nutmeg and spinach really compliment the salty bacon… Soft and comforting food!

Spinach Pancake Layers

For the pancakes

100g plain flour
50g rye flour
1 egg
375ml milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of salt
 

For the Spinach Sauce

500g frozen chopped spinach 
150ml single cream (milk is also fine just makes it less creamy)
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
 
For the Tomato Sauce
 
2 tins of chopped tomatoes 
1 clove of garlic – halved
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
A few basil leaves
 
Bechamel Sauce
 
Big knob of butter – 80g or so
40g plain flour
900ml milk
Salt to taste
 
1 pack of bacon lardons
 
Grated Cheddar Cheese to top the dish with
 

Pancakes

  • Put flours and salt in a bowl
  • In a separate bowl beat together egg and milk until smooth; add the oil
  • Whisk the egg mixture into the flour
  • Pour the batter into a jug and let stand for 10 minutes to collect itself
  • Grease a non stick frying pan with some oil (using a paper tissue works well) and heat
  • While the pan is heating up give the batter a quick stir. If it feels dense add a little bit of milk
  • When pan is hot and ready, pour on a small amount of batter – the first pancake always turns out dreadful – don’t worry about it! Flip the pancakes when the sides start to go golden and fry on the other side for a minute or two
  • Keep flipping your pancakes and place them in a pile on a plate

Spinach Sauce 

  • Defrost spinach by putting it over low heat in a saucepan with the cream (or milk). Stir frequently. When combined to a sauce season with nutmeg and salt and leave

Tomato Sauce 

  • Open your tin of tomatoes and pour into a large, deep, frying pan
  • Place the peeled and halved garlic clove into the tomatoes and simmer over medium heat – stirring frequently as it reduces and thickens
  • Once thick, turn off the heat, add sugar and salt as well as the olive oil and basil leaves –  allow to cool

Bechamel Sauce 

  • In a saucepan gently heat the milk
  • In a separate saucepan melt the butter gently – don’t over-heat it or let it brown, as this will affect the colour and flavour of the sauce. As soon as the butter melts, add the flour and, over a medium heat and using a small wooden spoon, stir quite vigorously to make a paste
  • Begin adding the warm milk a little at a time – again stirring vigorously. As the milk is incorporated, add the next amount and continue incorporating each bit of liquid before you add the next. When about half the milk is in, switch to a whisk and start adding large amounts of milk, always whisking briskly
  • You will soon have a smooth, glossy, creamy sauce – if it is lumpy simply remove from heat and stir a lot – this removes the lumps

Fry the bacon lardons in a frying pan (no oil) and place on a piece of kitchen tissue using a slotted spoon once slightly crisp but not black! Let oils soak into tissue and then remove onto new plate

 
Layering!
  • Pre-heat oven to 225C
  • In a deep oven proof dish, start with a layer of bechamel sauce, then spinach sauce, then pancakes – break them to fit into the dish
  • On top of this you then continue layering – bechamel, spinach, tomatoes and a sprinkle of bacon lardons – finishing off with another layer of pancakes!
  • Keep going until you run out of ingredients! The prettiest finish is with bechamel sauce as the last layer.
  • Sprinkle some grated cheddar cheese on top and pop in oven for 25 minutes at 225C
  • You can easily prepare the dish in the morning or even the evening before and simply put in the oven just before serving. Hope you enjoy it!

Rye #3 – Quinoa, rye and seed quiche pastry

This third rye recipe I have used for years and come back to again and again. It is really easy, looks beautiful, tastes great, is healthy and can be used for many different occasions – buffet lunch, breakfast, brunch or an easy dinner when served with a side salad.

Prepare the pastry the night before and leave in a cold oven with a tea towel over it until needed. This will make it stay crisp as well as reduce stress levels if you are making them for a special occasion. Simply pop the filling in 45 minutes before you want to eat and stick it in the oven.

Everyone in our house has their own favourite filling so I often make two or three. They taste great cold the next day and you can also pop it into the lunch box if you fancy.

Filled with rye (read benefits here) and seeds as well as, depending on your choice of filling,  fresh vegetables, cheese, eggs or bacon, it is hard not to ENJOY!

Quiche Pastry – makes 1 quiche

110g plain flour
55g rye flour
Handful of quinoa
1 tbsp of both sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
Cold water to combine pastry
 
  • Preheat oven to 200C and grease and line pastry tin.
  • In a bowl combine flour, seeds, salt and quinoa. Slowly add olive oil and water and knead by hand until all ingredients form a dough ball that is not sticky.
  • Lightly flour your working surface and roll out dough with rolling pin. Transfer into pastry tin, it does not matter if this happens in smaller pieces that you mold together in the tin, ensuring that the dough not only covers the base but also goes half way up the sides – this to ensure your filling does not overspill. Save a small piece of the pastry for “mending” holes – see below!
  • Prick with a fork and pre-bake (empty) for 15 minutes (should be light brown).

  • When out of the oven you may notice that the pastry has contracted slightly in places – mend the holes with a bit of the raw pastry if this is the case – to ensure no holes.

Egg/cream topping mixture

This mixture goes on top of the various types of quiches – depending on filling. If you do not eat eggs, or want to avoid the calories from eggs and cream – I suggest making the spinach quiche as you can omit the topping for this one and simply sprinkle with some cheese. The spinach is moist enough on its own.

4 eggs and 200ml double cream (for egg/bacon, leek/bacon and tomato/onion quiche)
2 eggs and 4 tbsp double cream (for spinach quiche)
Grated cheddar cheese
 
  • Simply beat the eggs and cream together with a fork in a bowl

Filling Ingredients

Egg and Bacon quiche – great for breakfast or brunch

200g pack bacon lardons
200ml creme fraiche
Pinch ground nutmeg
 
  • Pre-heat oven to 200C
  • Fry bacon in a pan until brown
  • Put on paper towel to dry off excess oil
  • Add bacon and creme fraiche to egg/ double creme mixture (as above)
  • Season with nutmeg
  • Pour the filling into the pastry in the tin and sprinkle cheese on top
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes

Egg and Bacon

Simply egg is also good 

Spinach, feta and sun dried tomatoes quiche – great lunch or dinner

500 g of chopped, frozen spinach
20 sun dried tomatoes – or more if you like
Feta cheese to taste
Salt, nutmeg
 
  • Thaw spinach in a bowl
  • When defrosted add chopped sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese broken into pieces (quantity depends on your personal preference)
  • Season with salt and nutmeg
  • Put filling into the pastry in the tin
  • Pour over egg/cream filling and sprinkle cheese on top – or simply sprinkle with cheese and avoid the egg and cream all together.
  • Bake for 35 minutes if you added the egg/cream but only for 20 if you did not.

You can omit sun dried tomatoes and add pine nuts as I did here 

Onion and tomato quiche – brunch, lunch or dinner

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 onions – sliced thinly
3-4 ripe tomatoes
 
  • Gently fry sliced onion in a little olive oil until soft
  • Spread onto pre-baked pastry base
  • Pour over egg/cream filling
  • Slice tomatoes thinly and layer on top of the egg/cream mixture
  • Sprinkle cheese on top
  • Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes

Leek and bacon quiche – lunch or dinner

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 leeks – sliced
200g pack of bacon lardons
 
  • Cut the leek length wise, not all the way through – enough to open it slightly. Rinse it under cold water to ensure you get any dirt out. Leek is often full of soil!
  • Slice the leek thinly and gently fry it in a little olive oil until soft but not brown
  • Spread onto pre-baked pastry base
  • Fry bacon in a pan until brown
  • Put on paper towel to dry off excess oil
  • Sprinkle the bacon lardons over the leek
  • Pour over egg/cream filling
  • Sprinkle cheese on top
  • Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes

This one was eaten too fast to get a picture!! The leek goes ever so soft and slightly sweet…beautiful!