In the past few weeks, I have been experimenting with a range of ingredients to create new cake recipes that are free from eggs, wheat and nuts so that Jumpy can enjoy them with us. I have found that certain vegetables could add another dimension to our sweet treats. Using courgettes with Nath’s recipe (‘The Intolerant Gourmand’) added moisture to chocolate cupcakes and sweet potatoes added texture and fudginess to our Triple Chocolate Muffins.
With that in mind, I thought today would be the perfect day to introduce Mandy and her blog, ‘Sneaky Veg’ on Feature My Food Friday. Mandy is determined to get her children to eat more fruit and vegetables, even if that means sneaking them in without the little ones realising. I love that! Over to you, Mandy!
Tell us about you.
I’m Mandy, I live in London with my husband Daniel and our three children, R, five, Miss R, three and three quarters (as she’d put it) and eight-month-old Baby S.
I love to cook and to eat. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 11 years old, and although we took the decision not to bring our children up as vegetarians I have been saddened by how much my two older children dislike vegetables. Our five-year-old won’t even touch fruit. I started my blog as a way to challenge myself to find new and interesting ways to get them both to increase the amount of fruit and veg they consume – with mixed results!
Where do you find inspiration for your recipes?
All kinds of places. Sometimes ideas spring seemingly out of nowhere when I’m looking in the fridge. Other times I get ideas from other people’s recipes. I’ve bookmarked hundreds over the last few years! Instagram is also great for ideas. I also have a bit of a cookbook addiction…
Is there anything you would not touch if you were given £1,000 to eat it?
Lots of things! I don’t think I’d be tempted away from vegetarianism for £1,000 and I definitely couldn’t eat an insect or something like intestines! I’m also allergic to kiwi fruit – it won’t kill me, but I’m not sure suffering the reaction that gives me would be worth £1,000 either!
Can you give us an anecdote about food?
Last year I was really proud of R for trying masala dosa at a street food stall (it’s a pancake made from ground rice and lentils filled with potato curry). The stall wasn’t run by Indians though and the curry was pretty mild. We then took the children to a real Indian restaurant (Rose Vegetarian in Kingsbury in North London – so authentic, definitely visit if you ever happen to be in the area) and he was very excited about having masala dosa again. Unfortunately it was full of chilli and he shouted “mummy, it’s spicing my face off!” in a panic and drank about 3 litres of water! “It’s spicing my face off” has now become a bit of a family saying…
What is your favourite way to share your recipes?
Well, I suppose my blog is my favourite way, but I also use Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest as well as linking up with other blogs. I’ve only recently become aware of Yummly, but I’m looking forward to finding out more about it. I also have a notebook in my kitchen in which I am handwriting my favourite recipes, with the idea of giving it to one of my children one day. So far Miss R has shown by far the most interest in cooking – she ALWAYS wants to help, whatever the job, although baking is her favourite. We must give Baby S a chance though, at 8 months he hasn’t really got involved yet!
What recipe did you choose to share today and why?
I wanted to share a classic sneaky veg type recipe – that is a recipe that includes vegetables, which are to a certain degree hidden, or impossible to pick out. This cake is a simple adaptation of another cake I’ve made several times, with the sugar reduced and courgette added in.
Photo credit: ‘Sneaky Veg’
Could you share a couple of tips that make your life easier in the kitchen?
I often make big batches of sauce and freeze it in ice cube trays so I can just defrost what I need for the kids tea if we’re not all eating the same thing. I also keep a bottle of chilli sauce in the cupboard at all times so I can cook a family meal for everyone and my spice-addict husband can then add heat to his heart’s content.
1 thing no one should ever do in the kitchen?
Undercook the onions in any kind of sauce, soup or curry – this is one of my pet hates – crunchy onions, yuck!
Thanks so much for taking part in this little series, Mandy! I used to work in Kingsbury and I am pretty sure I had dinner with colleagues in Rose Vegetarian once. Bless R… he might not try masala dosa again in a hurry! “It’s spicing my face off” is such a sweet way of describing what you are feeling when eating something too spicy. I also found out about Yummly a couple of weeks ago, but I still have to remember to ‘Yum’ recipes.
Before I forget, here is Mandy’s yummy recipe:
Courgette and Banana Cake
- 150 g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 120 ml olive oil
- 120 ml Greek yoghurt
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ripe banana mashed
- 2 medium courgettes grated
- 225 g self-rising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the icing
- 300 g icing sugar
- 50 g unsalted butter softened
- 125 g cream cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins.
Beat together the eggs and sugar. Add the oil and beat, followed by the yoghurt and vanilla extract, continuing to beat until well blended.
Stir in the banana and courgettes. When well mixed sift in the flour and baking powder, and fold in with a metal spoon.
Pour the mixture evenly into the two sandwich tins and bake for around 20 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Cool in the tins for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing beat together the icing sugar and butter until it comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese and continue to beat until it's completely mixed in. Continue beating until the icing is light and fluffy. Spread over one of the cakes and sandwich together. Sift a little icing sugar on the top of the cake.
This cake is very moist and gooey and is best stored in the fridge.
Fancy seeing your recipe on Feature my Food Friday? Whether you are a keen baker, a blogger or a reader who would like to see their creation online, I would love to feature you! Just email me and I will send you more details.