Holland & Barrett Ingredient Swap Challenge
Mention food and challenge in the same sentence and I’m there! So naturally the answer to whether or not I was going to take part in Holland & Barrett’s Ingredient Swap Challenge was a simple yes.
I was initially sent a list of ingredients I could choose from but instead of picking the ingredients I wanted to work with, I decided to let them know which ones I already had (like coconut oil etc) and went all in on the challenge by letting Holland & Barrett pick for me … challenging!
When I opened up the package they sent me, I have to admit that my first reaction was that of a daunted foodie. Yes there were ingredients I’d used before but the challenge that lay ahead was to use them all and to swap them with ingredients I’d usually use.
The ingredients for me to use were:
Clipper’s Green Tea – RRP €2.99 / £1.99
Neals Yard Wholefood Brown Rice Flour – RRP €2.89 / £2.15
Neals Yard Wholefoods Quinoa – RRP €6.49 / £4.79
James White Drinks Beet It Organic Beetroot Juice 250ml – RRP €2.59 / £1.75
Neals Yard Wholefoods Cranberry Sprinkle – RRP €3.35 / £2.49
Rowse Light & Mild Honey – RRP €4.05 / £3.49
Bounce Coconut & Macadamia Protein Bliss – RRP €2.79 / £1.99
Neals Yard Wholefoods Pitted Dates – RRP €2.39 / £1.79
Dishes and meal recipes went around in my head. Maybe I’d make a breakfast, or maybe a lunch, could I get a dinner out of these ingredients? Finally I settled on the following;
Brown Rice Flour and Pitted Dates Pancakes with Strawberries, Banana and Honey
I am a very big fan of pancakes and crepes. I love to eat them savoury with ham, cheese and spinach or sweet with sugar and lemon. I would normally make my pancakes using this recipe however as I was swapping all-purpose flour for brown rice flour and because I wanted my pancakes to be more American style than French crepe style I changed the recipe to the following and it serves four …
- I 1/2 cups of Neals Yard Wholefood Brown Rice Flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons Rowse Light & Mild Honey
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cups Neals Yard Wholefoods Pitted Dates, chopped
- rapeseed oil
The method is very simple. In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients, so that’s the brown rice flour, baking powder and salt. Then set the bowl aside. In another bowl whisk all the wet ingredients, so that’s the butter, honey, milk and egg. Next you add the wet ingredients to the dry by whisking together. Finally you fold in the pitted dates. The texture was different than my usual pancake mixture but as mentioned I wanted them to be thicker like American style pancakes as opposed to French style crepes. To fy the pancakes I used a little rapeseed oil but you can use whatever oil you normally cook with. They should only take 2-3 minutes on each side on a medium heat. I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy the pancakes plain but when I added banana, fresh strawberries and drizzled honey over them, they were delicious. I chopped the dates quite small but I think the next time I’d just chop them in four. I didn’t add any sugar because I added honey instead. I think the next time I’ll add some vanilla essence and will try almond milk instead of milk.
Brown Rice Flour is a staple in gluten-free cooking and baking.
Green Tea and a Bounce Coconut & Macadamia Protein Bliss
Beetroot Juice and a handful of Pitted Dates, Cranberries and Nuts
I am a coffee fiend but I also love good quality green tea. Clipper’s Green Tea is very good quality so the swap there was easy. Feedback on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, when I shared my Holland & Barrett ingredients was to add honey to my green tea and great advice that was. The Bounce Coconut & Macadamia Protein Bliss was a chewy yum and I loved the fact that it was high in antioxidant Vitamin E. I came away from that snack experience reminding myself to drink more green tea. I used to drink lots of it when I lived and worked in South Korea those many years ago and brought the habit with me when I moved back to Ireland but gradually over time I forgot how much I enjoy it. It’s great hot or refreshing cold.
The beetroot juice I’m afraid didn’t do it for me but Patrick, my hubby, enjoyed it and I was happy he got his vitamin boost and the value from its natural nitrate qualities. The dates, cranberries and nuts … sure I could snack on them all day and they are a much healthier alternative to a slice of buttery toast or biscuits, which as a busy mother you can find yourself tempted by.
Quinoa with Cranberry Sprinkle and Chicken
The quinoa dish was a huge hit! I kept the recipe very simple but I have to say you know it’s good when your husband tries to sneakily rob it off your plate!
Quinoa is a much healthier option to pasta as it’s high in protein and fibre. It’s also really really versatile and can be used in breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes, just take a look online for inspiration … but before you do here’s my inspiration … this recipe served two but Patrick said he would have eaten more …
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup Neals Yard Wholefoods Quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups Neals Yard Wholefoods Cranberry Sprinkle
- rapeseed oil
This dish as mentioned was simple but delicious. I started out by dividing the Cranberry Sprinkles into two cups. One cup contained all the larger nuts from the pack, such as the Almonds, Cashew Nuts and Pale-skin Peanuts. The other cup contained the Cranberries and seeds, such as the Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds. It didn’t take long at all, only 30 seconds. Then it was cooking time. I heated the rapeseed oil and added the chopped red onion, stirring them until they were soft. I added the quinoa and toasted it with the onions for about a minute before adding the vegetable stock. I brought it to the boil, covered the pot and let it simmer for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes I added the cup of cranberries, covered the pot and let the quinoa simmer until all the liquid was absorbed. This took another 10 minutes. So that’s 20 minutes in total. Finally when the quinoa was cooked I tossed in the cup of mixed nuts and served it out onto two plates. This makes a delicious vegetarian dish but I added freshly fried chicken breast to protein it up even more. The chicken breasts were added to a frying pan half way through the quinoa cooking time and cooked on a low heat so it was timed correctly.
I really enjoyed the Holland & Barrett Ingredient Swap Challenge. I’ve taken a lot away from it. Holland & Barrett will no longer be the place I shop for vitamins only as they have a great selection of quality, authentic ingredients and their prices are really competitive too. Although no stranger to quinoa, it was a stranger to my kitchen, now it’s a family friend. I’m looking forward to trying it as breakfast bake or in cereal bars as well as using it for my tasty dish above and in salads. I’d like to experiment more with the brown rice flour. I saw a recipe for homemade tortillas which could actually be great packed with the quinoa! I’ve reignited the passion with Green Tea my long-lost lover, and the Cranberry Sprinkles will now be a shopping list staple.
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