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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Apricot Chicken

I was recently asked to create some recipes using delicious tinned fruit, you can check out my delicious dairyfree Tropical Fruit Cake here.  For my savoury recipe creation I decided to make Apricot Chicken, a childhood favourite that my Mum used to make regularly.  She used a packed mix flavour sachet to make hers, and I wanted to see if I could replicate the flavours using store cupboard ingredients.  It took a couple of attempts but I think I managed it, and my family agreed that dinner was delicious.  

This recipe will be added to our Meal Plans for sure, it's flavourful and quick to make, using store cupboard ingredients.  I always have some tinned fruit in our pantry, so handy as it is has a long shelf life, can be one of our 5 a day, and the canning process preserves nutrients from the ripe fruit.

Apricot Chicken 

1 Tblsp Oil
6 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
2 onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp mild chilli powder (use more or less according to your taste)
3 Tblsp tomato paste
2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
400g can chopped tomatoes
410g can Del Monte apricot halves in syrup, drained
250ml chicken stock

Heat the oil in a large casserole pan or saucepan and brown the chicken thighs on both sides, remove from the pan and set aside.  Add a little more oil to the pan, if necessary, then cook the onion until soft and starting to turn golden.  Add the garlic and chilli powder and cook for a minute or so.  

Return the chicken to the pan and add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir well to combine then cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Uncover then simmer for a further 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.  Serve with mash or rice and mixed vegetables or steamed greens.

For more recipes, information and inspiration, check out Del Monte's website, Instagram and Facebook.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Tropical Fruit Cake (Dairy free)

I was recently asked by Del Monte to create some recipes using their range of delicious tinned fruit and decided the sweet recipe would have to be cake.  The weather has been decidedly wet and miserable recently so I decided to brighten our afternoon by baking a cake with tropical flavours so we could cast our minds back to warmer weather and enjoy a delicious treat after yet another cold and rainy school run.  

I used tinned pineapple in the cake which is handy to have in the cupboard.  I nearly always have a stash of tinned fruit in our pantry, it can be one of our 5 a day, and has a really long shelf life.  Canned fruit can retain more nutrients than fresh because it's picked fully ripe and processed immediately, preserving high levels of vitamins and minerals.   A number of respected studies have proven that canned, fresh, and frozen produce have similar nutrient levels when they come to be consumed.

The cake is very easy to make, just measure then mix and in the oven it goes.  Perfect with a cuppa, deliciously moist, and packed with fruity flavour, this Tropical Fruit Cake is guaranteed to brighten up your day any time of the year.

Tropical Fruit Cake (Dairy free)

435g can Del Monte pineapple slices in juice, drained and roughly chopped into chunks
60ml juice from canned pineapple
150g cup plain flour
75g self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground mixed spice
200g light soft brown sugar
50g desiccated coconut
2 large over ripe bananas, mashed
2 large free range eggs
180ml vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Grease and line a 23cm/9 inch round cake tin with non-stick baking paper.  Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and light soft brown sugar into a large bowl then stir through the coconut.  In another bowl or jug, mix together the mashed bananas, eggs, oil, reserved juice, and pineapple chunks.  

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir gently until completely combined.  Do not beat the mixture.  Pour into the prepared cake tin and cook for approximately 60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean without crumbs or mixture sticking to it.  Serve with a dusting of icing sugar. 

For more recipes, information and inspiration, check out Del Monte's website, Instagram and Facebook.

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