Sundried tomato and olive loaf (no knead!)

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If, like me, you are scared of properly making bread and/or are short on time, then this sundried tomato and olive loaf is for you.  You literally mix all the ingredients together and chuck it in the oven, with no need to knead (!)  Once cooled the loaf cuts brilliantly and the sundried tomatoes, olives and dried herbs give it a lovely flavour.  It looks highly impressive and tastes seriously good with just butter on top.  I also cut the loaf in to small pieces and took it at school pick up, so it works well as an outdoor snack too.

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Allow 20 mins prep and 45 mins baking time.  You could freeze portions in bags then take out the same morning to eat at lunch.  Thank you to http://www.bbcgoodfood.com for the inspiration!

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Sundried tomato and olive loaf (approx 12 slices)

200g self-raising flour

Good shake dried mixed herbs or chopped thyme

3 eggs, lightly beaten

200ml milk

Very large handful pitted black or green olives, chopped in half

100g sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped

100g cheddar, grated

Heat the oven to 190 degrees/gas mark 5.  Line the base of a medium loaf tin with greaseproof paper and grease the sides with oil/butter.

Mix the flour and herbs together in a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre, then add the eggs and milk, stirring all the time to draw the flour into the centre. Beat for 1 min to make a smooth batter.  If it remains lumpy, use a whisk to help separate the lumps (you will need to put some welly in to it!)

Add the tomatoes, most of the olives and two-thirds of the cheese to the batter. Pour into the tin, then sprinkle with the remaining olives and cheese. Bake for 35-45 mins until the loaf is golden and crusty on top and a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out.  It will cut easier once it has cooled.  Will keep for a few days in a sealed container.  Gorgeous with butter on top!

Indonesian fried rice (nasi goreng)

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You may have noticed that I am quite in to rice at the moment.  It’s really versatile, pretty cheap and I find I can be quite adventurous with what I add to it, with a (normally!) happy response from everyone in the family.  This recipe is comforting and delicious, with the tasty texture of prawns, softness of the egg, the crunch of the veg and the subtle flavours of the sweetened soy sauce, ginger and coriander.  You could experiment with the veg content – broccoli, mangetout and baby sweetcorn would also work well.

I got the kids to guess the secret ingredient (ginger) – they didn’t, but were interested to know that ginger (normally associated with gingerbread men!) was in there.

Allow about 30 mins to make the dish (or less if you use microwave rice – just add it at the same point without pre-cooking it).  You can freeze any leftovers.  The recipe is a simplified version of one in Annabel Karmel’s The Fussy Eaters Recipe Book, which is full of great ideas.

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Indonesian fried rice (nasi goreng) – serves 4

160g rice (I like brown rice)

Any oil

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1/4 red pepper, chopped small

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp grated/finely chopped ginger

Handful frozen peas

150g cooked prawns

1 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tbsp brown sugar

4 spring onions, thinly sliced

Small handful coriander, roughly chopped

Cook the rice as per the instructions, then drain.  Meanwhile heat the oil and add the onion, pepper, garlic and ginger and cook for around 5 mins, until the veg is tender.  Add the cooked, drained rice, peas and prawns and stir fry for another few minutes, then add the beaten eggs, stirring constantly and scrapping the cooked egg off the bottom of the pan until it has scrambled (about 5 mins max).  Turn off the heat.

Mix the soy sauce and brown sugar together and stir through the rice.  Stir in the spring onions, then spoon in to bowls.  Serve with the coriander scattered on top!