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fresh fruit

Fruity Friday – Week 8 Spicy date, apple and ricotta dip

Welcome to week eight of my Day Zero Challenge to cook my through a cook book. You can find the details on the original post, Fruity Friday.


Our eighth  recipe is:


Spicy date, apple and ricotta dip.
Serves 4
3 green cardamom pods
1 Bramley’s cooking apple, about 225g (8oz), peeled and roughly chopped
half tsp ground cinnamon
250g (9oz) ricotta cheese
To Serve
crudites such as wedges of red and green skinned apples, carrot, celery and cucumber sticks,
wedges of pineapple, seedless grapes and slices of carambola
Preparation time: 15-20 mins, plus cooling
1) Lightly crush the cardamom pods with the flat side of a chefs knife to split them open, then remove the seeds. Discard the pods and crush the seeds with the side of a knife or in a pestle and mortar.
2) Put the apple, dates, crushed cardamom seeds and cinnamon in a saucepan with 200ml (7 fl oz) water. Bring to a boil over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally.
Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples are cooked and the dates are pulpy. Stir the mixture occasionally during cooking.
3) Remove from the heat and leave to cool. When the apple mixture is cold, beat in the ricotta cheese.Keep covered in the fridge until needed. It will keep for 3-4 days.
4) Serve in a shallow bowl or dish surrounded by an assortment of fruit and vegetable crudites.
Each serving (dip alone) provides
195 kcals
7g protein
7g fat (of which saturated fat 4g)
27g carbohydrate (of which sugars 27g)
2g fibre

Family verdict:

I have to be frank and say it was horrible! The texture after adding the ricotta was terrible and made me a feel a little ill.
Aiden said he liked it so it looks like he’ll be the one eating it because I don’t think the girls will even try it. KayCee said the picture in the book looked horrible before we even bought the ingredients and that she didn’t want to try it!

The next 2 recipes are for muesli and granola. As none of us really care for either of those, I’m missing them out because we don’t want to waste money and food.

Fruity Friday – Week 7 Orchard Spread

Welcome to week seven of my Day Zero Challenge to cook my through a cook book. You can find the details on the original post, Fruity Friday.

Our seventh  recipe is:

Orchard Spread

Makes 1kg
500g (1lb 2oz) cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
250g (9oz) ready to eat dried pears
250g (9oz) ready to eat dried peaches
360ml (12fl oz) apple juice
half teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 and a half tsp lemon juice or to taste (optional)

Preparation time – about 40 minutes plus cooling

1) Place the apples, pears, peaches, apple juice, mixed spice and 120ml water into a heavy based saucepan. Set the the pan over a high heat and bring the fruit mixture to the boil stirring occasionally.
2) Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes or until the mixture is reduced to a pulp and no liquid is visible on the surface. Stir frequently to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
3) Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly then taste and stir in the lemon juice if the mixture is too sweet.
4) Transfer the fruit mixture to a blender or food processor and process to a think puree.
5) Leave to cool completely before serving. The spread can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
1g fibre

A 30g serving provides
40 kcal
0.5g protein
0.1g fat
10g carbohydrate (of which sugars 10g)

Family verdict:

Thanks to KayCee for taking the photo 🙂

Aiden, Ant and I like the flavour but I pureed it a bit too much and now it looks like baby food! I was looking forward to spreading it on some warm toast but it’s too runny.The girls didn’t like it at all, even when told they could use it to dip doughnuts into!

I should have taken note of the amount it makes because there’s far too much for us so now I’m going to be checking out recipes on Google to find something else I can make using apple puree.
If you have any ideas about how I can use this puree up I’d be happy to hear them!


Listography – 5 photos that sum up my week

1) Tassimo – this my best friend before 7am every morning! The only complaint I have is that my favourite caramel drink is always out of stock at Tesco so I may have to resort to buying 5 packs at a time from Amazon!

2) Lists – I decided at the start of last week that I was fed up of nagging the children to do their chores and having to listen to, ‘I forgot’ every time I asked why a job hadn’t been done so I made everyone (apart from daddy who has enough work to do at work!) a list of daily chores.
It worked really well and we’ve had a lovely tidy house all week. One of the best things about the schedule is that doing all the chores daily helped stop them all piling up, like the laundry and the ironing, which meant I had more time to spend with the kids; we’ve had activity time most nights where they take it in turns to choose the activity and it’s been lovely.

3) Cake – ’nuff said!

4) Fruit and blender – We bought this blender from Sainsbury’s a few weeks ago and finally got it out of the box this morning. The kids now have a new love of fruit! We make smoothies, milkshakes and yogurt drinks and the girls especially love chopping up the fruit and adding all the ingredients.

5) The garden has been on mind all week. It needs a really good tidy up and sort out. I’m itching to get out there and get it tidied up, sorted out. The raised bed needs digging and compost adding ready for the vegetables and the pots need emptying, cleaning and sorting ready for the flowers I’ve started to grow. I plan to have lots and lots of pots and hanging baskets this year so we get a garden bursting with colour 🙂

Hop on over to Kate’s place to check out more photos 🙂

Fruity Friday – Week 5 Frozen pineapple and berry slush

Welcome to week five of my Day Zero Challenge to cook my way through a cookbook. You can find the details on the original post, Fruity Friday. Today we’re making frozen pineapple and berry slush.

Our fifth recipe is:

Frozen pineapple and berry slush

Frozen pineapple and berry slush
Serves 4
8 ice cubes
250g (9oz) hulled strawberries
250g (9oz) fresh pineapple chunks, frozen
120ml (4 fl oz) pineapple juice
2 tbsp dried skimmed milk powder
1 tbsp vanilla sugar or caster sugar, or to taste
sprigs of fresh pineapple mint to decorate
frozen pineapple and berry slush
1) Put the ice cubes in a food processor or heavy duty blender and process until they’re finely crushed.
Alternatively, crush the ice cubes in a freezer proof bag, bashing them with a rolling pin and then put them in the blender or processor.
2) Add the strawberries, pineapple chunks, pineapple juice and skimmed milk powder and process again until blended but still with small pieces of fruit and ice visible.
3) Taste ans sweeten with sugar if necessary. Process briefly with the pulse button.
4) Spoon into tall glasses, decorate each with a sprig of pineapple mint and serve with long spoons.
KayCee drinking her slush
Each serving provides:
95 kcal
3g protein
0.3g fat
22g carbohydrate of which sugars 22g
2g fibre
Ella drinking her slushFamily verdict:
Ella LOVED it! It didn’t last more than a couple of minutes and I think she finished off KayCee’s as well!
It was very nice and would make a lovely refreshing breakfast drink on a warm summer morning.

Fruity Friday – Week 4 Citrus Wake-Up

Welcome to week four of my Day Zero Challenge to cook my way through a cookbook. You can find the detaiin on the original post, Fruity Friday.

Our third recipe is:
Citrus Wake-Up
Serves 4

4 juicy oranges, about 500g (1lb 2oz) in total
1 pink grapefruit

1 lemon
1 lime
grated zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
To Decorate (optional)

slices of lemon and lime

1) Cut the oranges, grapefruit, lemon and lime in half cross ways. Juice them using either an electric juicer or a simple citrus squeezer, preferably one that strains out the seeds but leaves in a generous quantity of pulp. If you have no squeezer at all, poke a fork into the flesh several times, then squeeze the juice from the fruit by hand, prodding with the fork now and again.
2) Combine the citrus juices in a jug with the lime zest, 4 tbsp of water, the sugar and shreds of mint. Stir then pour into glasses over a few ice cubes and, if you like, slices of lemon and lime.

Each serving provides:
60 kcal
1g protein
0g fat
14g carbohydrate of which sugars 14g
2g fibre

Family verdict:
Not everyone enjoyed this drink, in fact I think I ended up drinking most of it. It was just too sour for little taste buds.
They had fun getting sticky making it though so it wasn’t all bad!


Fruity Friday – Week 3 Banana & Mango Shake

Welcome to week three of my Day Zero Challenge to cook my through a cook book. You can find the details on the original post, Fruity Friday.

Our third recipe is:
Banana & Mango shake


Serves 2
Half a ripe mango
1 small banana, sliced
150ml (5 fl oz) semi skimmed milk
120ml (4 fl oz) orange juice
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp caster sugar
2 heaped tbsp vanilla frozen yogurt
Sprigs of fresh lemon balm to decorate (optional)
1) Peel the skin from the mango and cut the flesh away from the stone. Chop the flesh roughly. Put into a blender with the banana.

2) Add the milk, orange juice, lime juice, sugar and frozen yogurt and blend on maximum for 30 seconds or until mixed and frothy.

3) Pour into glasses and serve immediately, decorated with sprigs of lemon balm if you like.

Each serving provides:

150 kcal
5 g protein
2 g fat (of which saturated fat 1 g)
30 g carbohydrate (of which sugars 29 g)
1 g fibre

Family verdict:

We all loved it except for KayCee. She didn’t actually say she didn’t like it but she put it in the fridge saying she’d have it later and it’s still there so I think we can safely assume she’s not keen.
She did enjoy helping to make it though, especially when it came to eating the left over vanilla yogurt!
It didn’t take them both long to empty the tub and I reckon they’ll probably be asking me me to buy more the next time they see me doing my Tesco order!


We left out the citrus juices after the results of our first recipe as I knew the tang would put the children off.
The banana also seemed to overpower the flavour of the mango so I think next time we’ll add more mango.
It was extremely nice and we’ll be making more of these. Ella wants to make mango milkshake because that’s what Coraline asks for in the movie and Coraline is one of her favourite movies so we’ll make some of that soon as well.
 I’m really pleased I started doing these recipes because it’s always great to get the kids to try fruit in new ways 🙂

Next Week: Citrus Wake Up

Fruity Friday – Week 2 Mango, Peach & Apricot Fizz

Welcome to week two of my Day Zero Challenge to cook my through a cook book. You can find the details on the original post, Fruity Friday.

All recipes are taken from Readers Digest Fresh Fruit and Dessert book.

Our second recipe is:

Mango, Peach & Apricot Fizz

Serves 4

You will need:
1 ripe mango
1 ripe peach
2 ripe large apricots
500ml (17 fl oz) ginger ale
Fresh mint or lemon balm leaves to decorate (optional)

If you can’t get fresh fruit, substitute with canned fruit in juice.

1) Peel the mango and cut the flesh away from the central stone. Roughly chop the flesh and put it in a blender of food processor. Alternatively, if you’re using a hand blender, put the mango in a large tall jug.

2) Cover the peach and apricots with boiling water and leave for about 30 seconds, then drain and cool under cold running water. Slip off the skins. Roughly chop the flesh, discarding the stones, and add to the mango.

3) Pour over enough of the ginger ale just to cover the fruit, then process until completely smooth. Pour in the remaining ginger ale and process again.

4) Quickly pour into tall glasses, preferably over crushed ice. Decorate with fresh mint or lemon balm leaves, if you like. Serve immediately with wide straws or drizzle sticks.

Each serving provides:
55 kcal
1g protein
0g fat
14g carbohydrate (of which sugars 13g)
2g fibre

Family verdict:

We used tinned peaches and apricots and a fresh mango. We made two batches; one with lemonade instead of ginger ale because KayCee doesn’t like ginger ale.

The girls enjoyed whizzing it all up with the hand blender then seeing all the froth come to the surface as we added more fizz!

After tasting both versions, we all agreed that although the ginger ale one was nice, we all preferred it with lemonade.

It’s a very refreshing drink and I can see us making lots more of it in the summer and pouring it over plenty of crushed ice 🙂

Fruity Friday – Week 1 Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie

Welcome to week one of my Day Zero Challenge to cook my through a cook book. You can find the details on the original post, Fruity Friday.

All recipes are taken from Readers Digest Fresh Fruit and Dessert book.

Our first recipe is:

Strawberry and Yogurt Smoothie.

To make 4 servings, you will need:

450g (1 lb) ripe strawberries, hulled
Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
150g (5 and a half oz) plain low fat yogurt
1 tbsp caster sugar, or to taste (optional)

To Decorate (optional)
4 small strawberries
4 small slices orange

1) Tip the strawberries into a food processor or blender and add the grated orange zest, orange juice and yogurt. Blend to a smooth puree, scraping down the sides of the container once or twice. Taste the mixture and sweeten with the sugar, if necessary.

2) For a really smooth consistency, press through a nylon sieve to remove the strawberry pips, although this is not essential.

3) Pour into glasses. If you like, decorate with small strawberries and slices of orange, both split so they sit on the side of the glass.

Note: To add sweetness without using sugar, add a sliced banana. It will also thicken the mixture.

Each serving provides:
55 kcal
3g protein
0.5g fat (of which saturated fat 0.2g)
11g of carbohydrate (of which sugars 11g)
1g fibre

Family verdict:

The kids enjoyed making the smoothie and all of them said it tasted nice but the orange gave it a tangy taste.
They said it would have been nicer without the orange so next time we’re not going to use it.
While eating breakfast, they discussed what other flavour smoothies they want to make next 🙂




Fruity Friday

Challenge 46 of my Day Zero Project is to cook my way through a cookbook. It was a hard choice because I have quite a few cookery books, but given that I’m supposed to be losing weight (not doing very well at the moment….more about that in another post) I thought the best choice would be a book based on fruit. As you can see, the one I picked is a Readers Digest book and it’s called, Fresh Fruit & Desserts.
I was very, very tempted to cook my way through, Desserts to Die For but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. As the name suggests, all those calories would probably kill me off!

Anyway, back to the healthy recipes. We all eat quite a lot of fruit and vegetables in this house but we tend to stick to the same ones so I thought this book would vary our diet and make things a little more interesting.

I’m going to post a recipe, photos of the finished dish and the reactions from the family every Friday.
I’ve just been browsing the recipes and there are some that look absolutely delicious and some that I’m a bit nervous about getting the kids to try because I know they’re not very adventurous with new food!
It’s something they need to get used to though so this challenge should help with that. I’m sure if I get them involved in the preparing and cooking of each recipe, they’ll be more inclined to try the finished dish.

The first category in the book is breakfast recipes. Come back on the 27th Jan to find out what the taste testers have to say about a very easy first recipe… strawberry and yogurt smoothie 🙂

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