This blog post is sponsored by Mondelez- Cadbury. As always, all opinions are my own.
Everyone in my family has an unbelievable sweet tooth and resisting sweet treats – especially chocolate – is not something any of us are good at. So, when I decided to cut back on some things (salt and sugar mainly) to improve my health and have a more balanced lifestyle, I found that cutting back on sugar was the biggest challenge I had to face.
It was easy enough to replace the sugar in my tea with, for example, honey but it wasn’t as easy to replace the products I use that have sugar in them already, like chocolate bars, cakes, cereal etc. Back when I started cutting back on sugar there weren’t many alternatives available and the ones that did exist were just not pleasant to eat or cook with.
Luckily there are a few new alternatives available now, with one new product hitting the shelves recently: Cadbury Dairy Milk 30pc less sugar. A lot was written about the announcement and as I’m quite the chocolate lover I was quite curious about this chocolate bar as I had been replacing my milk chocolate bars with dark chocolate ones – which I often find way too bitter to enjoy.
I made this lasagne lactose free, as it was created during an Instagram partnership with Avonmore, but you can of course use normal milk & cheese if you have no lactose issues. The quantities will remain the same weather you use lactose free ingredients or not.
As part of my Instagram campaign I made a live video of my recipe as well, I’ve added the video here -it’s really not the best camerawork as I was holding my phone in one hand and cooking with the other, but it might be useful to some people I hope.
2 tablespoons of herbes de Provence (or 1x rosemary, 1x thyme)
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
Preheat your oven to 180°C (fan)
Chop onion in small pieces
Slice up the carrots in bite size pieces
Slice up mushrooms in thick pieces
Mix both minces together, use paper towel to pat the mince, to take up as much liquid as possible
Heat up olive oil in a frying pan, add onion, garlic and the mince mix and cook for 5 minutes, then add carrots and mushrooms. If you see too much water forming at the bottom of your pan, scoop it out with a tablespoon. We don't want our mince to be boiled, we want it fried.
Add herbes de Provence, plum tomatoes and chopped up fresh basil
Let it simmer for another few minutes, then add in the tomato puree
Season with pepper (salt optional)
Simmer for 10 minutes
Meanwhile let's make our white sauce! Add butter to a deep pot at low heat
Once the butter has melted, add in the flour and stir until you get something that resembles a mixture that smells like pastry, make sure it's dry enough so continue to cook it at low heat until it's dry enough and not too shiny (you can add a bit more flour if it's not drying up enough), then gradually stir in milk while mixing vigorously to avoid lumps
Keep adding milk until all the milk is gone, you should now have a nice béchamel sauce
Stir in 3/4 of the cheese (leave enough to cover the top of your lasagne) and add nutmeg as well as a bit of pepper
Spread out some of the white sauce on the bottom of your lasagne casserole
Layer the lasagne sheets on top. Tip: if your casserole has round edges, just break off the corner of the lasagne sheet to fit it in
Add tomato sauce on top, followed by white sauce and another sheet of lasagne
Add white sauce on top of your second lasagne sheet layer and finish with the remaining cheese
Pop in the oven for at least 35-45 minutes until the cheese is crispy and the center is fully cooked
I’m lucky enough to have some really good food at work, and some really good chefs cooking up a storm each day. One of my favourite things they make, is this thing called ‘Chunky monkey protein bars’, which is made with banana, peanut butter, oats, maple syrup, chocolate chips and coconut oil. Unfortunately for me they sometimes sell out before I can buy them so I decided to just try to make them myself and bring them in to work that way. I had tried it twice before to recreate it but it didn’t really have the same flavour, so I went back at it again this weekend and I finally hit the nail on the head! Continue Reading…
I’m baaaaack! I’ve been away for nearly 4 weeks as I travelled to New Zealand to attend my friends’ wedding, and I stopped for a quick family visit in Belgium on my (long.. oh so long) way back. As I’m slowly but surely getting back into my normal rhythm (and time zone) I’m finally beginning to feel like myself again. Now that my energy levels are back up again I’m ready to get back into the kitchen and create some new recipes!
But first I’d like to share my recipe for rice pudding, which I made before I left on my holidays. I had never made it before so I hadn’t a clue what to expect in terms of difficulty but I really liked making it, it didn’t require much work and it was really flavoursome. I used rice milk instead of cow’s milk as well, making this recipe dairy-free as well as gluten-free. I did use eggs however so it’s not suitable for vegans I’m afraid. Continue Reading…
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know I’m on a mission to get Belgian/Dutch chicory put on the food map in Ireland, as it’s one of my favourite vegetables from back home. Ever since I moved away from Cork city I haven’t been able to find my chicory anymore, as the English market was the only place I had found that was selling these so I would usually just bring them back whenever I went to visit my family. Fast forward to 1,5 years later and I simply couldn’t believe my eyes when I suddenly spotted them in the fruit & veg stall at the local market! I wasn’t sure which recipe to go for first as there are a few I wanted to share with you all but I decided to go with a ham & chicory pie first. Continue Reading…
We are only 2 days away from Pancake Tuesday (or Shrove Tuesday)! Last year I took on the challenge to raise money for mental awareness Ireland by baking over a hundred pancakes for my colleagues at work and I of course also wrote up a recipe for my thin pancakes or crêpes. I wanted to do something different this year and created a recipe for gluten-free, dairy free buckwheat cocoa pancakes. There is an egg in it though so it’s not vegan, but I have read that you can replace the egg with 1/3 mashed banana if you want to make it vegan, but I haven’t tried this myself yet.
I also didn’t add any sugar into the batter, as I was using very sweet toppings already, but if you want your pancakes to have some extra flavour then you can of course add a sweetener, as mentioned in the recipe below as well.
The recipe itself is super easy and it takes no time at all to make as we’re not letting the mixture rest, we just stir everything together and put it in our pancake pan. The lovely thing about these pancakes is that they will start to show little bubbles when it’s time to flip them over, so you can’t even flip them too soon and break them. Continue Reading…
This is probably my last Winter soup recipe of this season, as we have been getting some lovely Spring weather coming through already on a few occasions. I wanted to finish my Winter soups with one that features an ingredient that gets overlooked a lot: celeriac. It’s a great winter vegetable that can be roasted in the oven and served with potatoes, made into a mash, or used in a soup like we’re doing today.
To top off the soup we’re going to pan fry slices of garlic and pieces of pancetta, both will provide a lovely crispiness and will give the soup a bit of a kick as well, especially the garlic chips. Continue Reading…