Chocolate Dip

I love it when I plan to make something with the kids and I actually get round to making it the week I planned to. I know it sounds crazy, but I have list upon list of ideas that I want to try in the kitchen with my little chefs. Some make it to the top incredibly quickly, but others linger for a while before they have their turn in the limelight. I may have made this one the week I planned to, but writing it up to share with you all has taken another week or two. I am placing the blame for this one firmly in the court of the house spring clean. Yes I am still trying to sort our house – it is a job of epic proportions. I should maybe be calling it a summer clean now as despite the changeable weather, not even I can deny that it is in fact summer. I find myself continually distracted and I am at the stage where I find any other activity more interesting than the one at hand! Do I sort through a pile of mismatched toys or plan a list of baking activities?! Yup the latter tends to win. Oh and I am very good at planning, it seems finishing a task is my downfall.

Top; chocolate dip spread on pancakes, bottom left dolloped in cereal and bottom right as a dip for strawberries. All totally yummy and considerably less sugar than regular chocolate spread.

This recipe is essentially a chocolate hummus. We decided to call it dip as the kids had fun dipping strawberries into it. We have also discovered that it works remarkably well with pancakes and dolloped into a bowl of cereal for added protein at breakfast. I am fully aware that it is not a usual thing to make with kids. I know this because when I informed my husband what Ophelia and I were going to be making in the kitchen, a glazed expression crossed his face. He was probably thinking something along the lines of why doesn’t she just make a batch of cookies or cupcakes?!

Ophelia had fun looking at the ingredients and pouring them into the food processor. She took great delight in helping me push down the side with a spatula to ensure it was fully mixed. The best part, once again was licking the bowl. She asked to do this pretty much from the start. I am pretty sure she figured that baking on her own with me meant she wouldn’t have to share the treat. Her brothers were referenced a couple of times.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 140g 0% fat Greek-style natural yoghurt
  • 5 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 50g Sweet Freedom Chocolate Shot
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

  • Add all of the ingredients to the food processor and blitz until smooth. Stop the food processor every so often to scrape down the edges to ensure that it is all mixed.
  • Store in the fridge until ready to use.

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Spaghetti Carbonara

What you can’t see the concentration on her face!

I am not sure if your kids have a favourite dinner. For ours it has to be pesto pasta. This is completely fine by me as it is a quick fix, perfect for evening when they have after school activities and we are pressed for time. Now the kids don’t seem particularly fussed whether it contains chicken, bacon or even tuna, but it always gets gobbled up without any questions or complaints.

It took a couple of attempts to get the cloves out.

Now you might question; ‘if they have their favourite pasta dish, why mess with a good thing?!’ Well I am always on the look out for new pasta recipes which are just as simple to make and are as well received as pesto pasta. I dislike getting stuck in a rut with meal times and resorting to the same weekly meal plan.

The recipe below is easy to make and received the thumbs up from all the kids and their dad. As the resident vegetarian, I would have eaten it had it not contained the pancetta! Maybe next time we shall make a vegetarian one and have one of the rare evenings when we all eat the same meal!

Dinner time!

Ingredients

  • 350g of spaghetti, broken into half – this makes it easier for little people to manage.
  • 100g chopped pancetta
  • 100g grated parmesan
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1tbsp butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the packet’s instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a jug and beat with some pepper.
  3. Add the parmesan to the beaten eggs and mix and put to one side.
  4. Gently bash the garlic cloves with a rolling pin and peel them.
  5. Put the butter in a small frying pan and add the garlic and pancetta. Fry together stirring often. Remove the garlic cloves with a tongs once the pancetta is cooked.
  6. Drain the pasta reserving a small amount of the cooking water.
  7. Take the pan of the heat and place on a heat proof mat.
  8. Pour the egg and cheese mixture and the pancetta into the cooked spaghetti.
  9. Mix together while still in the saucepan and ensure that the spaghetti is fully coated.
  10. Add some of the spaghetti water to the sauce to loosen it if required. We needed to add 1tbsp.
  11. Serve immediately.
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Roasted Chickpeas

It is the season for spring cleaning. I am not a huge fan of spring cleaning. Don’t get me wrong, I love the results, I just hate the sheer volume of work we always have to do to make the house look uncluttered. The reason we are in this mess is because we all seem to be hoarders. I am going to make a concerted effort to prevent our house becoming a nest of items with vague memories attached to them once we are done. But, I will probably be writing a very similar post this time next year!

Over half term, we all managed to escape our decluttering project and go to visit my mum. It was lovely not to have to think about sorting out our house and decide what we should keep and what should go. But it seems that we must have missed the process as we spent a significant amount of time helping her declutter. I have discovered it is much easier to sort someone else’s space rather than your own. So if I end up inviting you over for cake or under any other pretence, before accepting, it may be best to check that I am not going to put you to work!

Anyway, between moving boxes and hunting in the loft for other boxes, the kids and I managed to roast some chickpeas. I never thought I would be posting about roasting chickpeas, but the kids discovered that they liked crunchy chickpeas over Christmas when I bought some salt and vinegar ones for me. I was so surprised that they liked them, that I neglected to feel frustration at donating my treat to them! It seems sharing can be just as hard for grown up as their small charges! They have also been known to request them rather than a chocolate biscuit as an afternoon snack. Strange children; I don’t think I would ever make that choice!

This recipe was made with the younger two (five and two). The younger one enjoyed counting out tsp of the spices to add. The elder one trying to read the labels. They both had a good sniff of all of the ingredients. The scent of cinnamon is the one they seem to remember the most – probably because we seem to use it in savoury and sweet bakes. They do often associate it with chocolate though…

Ingredients

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 tsp onion salt
  • 1tsp lazy garlic
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1tsp mixed herbs
  • Spray oil of choice

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°c fan and line a baking tray with a silicone baking mat or greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the chickpeas into a large bowl.
  3. Add all the herbs and spices in with the chickpeas and either mix or gently move the bowl from side to side to ensure that the chickpeas are fully coated in the spices.
  4. Pour or spoon out onto the baking tray and generously spray with oil.
  5. Place in the oven for 40 minutes turning half way through.
  6. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely before storing.
The finished product.

We didn’t have any left from this to store for another day as my youngest two really seem to enjoy them! They served as a substitute for crisps in one of our half term picnic lunches and their wasn’t a single complaint about the lack of crisps from any of the kids!

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