Roasted Butternut, Egg and Bacon Stack with Almonds and Baby Spinach

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Guess what I have just made….and I actually ended up eating it for a late breakfast! Shock and horror!!! Veggies for breakie!!!  Well if you are not into veggies for breakie, have it for lunch, I mean, it doesn’t get better than this🙂. Here I have done the egg without the yolk, but by all means make a nice poached egg, and enjoy all that runny yolk trickling down as you take a bite. Crisp up that bacon, (if you are not keen on the bacon, you can always sub the bacon with chopped mushrooms….just a thought🙂 ). Toast the almonds and you are good to go.

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Roasted Butternut, Egg and Bacon Stack with Almonds and Baby Spinach

Preparation:  5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

Roasted Butternut Rounds

Crispy Bacon

Egg, cooked (either poached, or boiled)

Almonds, toasted

Handful of baby spinach

Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

Slice a butternut into rounds, and roast in the oven with salt and pepper and a dash of olive oil.

Whilst the butternut is roasting, dry toast some almonds on top of the stove, cook up your bacon either on top of the stove or in the oven.

Just before the butternut is done and the bacon is crisp, cook up the eggs.

Place a handful of baby spinach on the plate, topped with a butternut round, egg, bacon and another butternut round. Sprinkle with some chopped and crushed almonds. Serve hot.

Enjoy:-)

NB*  The baby spinach does not need to be cooked, it will heat up with the heat from the roasted butternut.

Also, to cut down the time issue when you are roasting butternut for an evening meal, roast extra rounds seal them in a container overnight and use them for breakfast the next morning🙂

Easy Vegetable Lasagna

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OMG !!!  I haven’t made this lasagna in awhile, and I really love it.  I was racking my brain for dinner ideas and then this old favourite came to mind, and that was it, mind set…this was happening !

Okay, I know the pics do not give this meal justice, stone me, sue me, do what you will, but just try this combination of vegetables made into a lasagna….almost to die for.

Even though this is super easy, you can even cheat with this to make it even easier if you want…the roasted butternut, roast extra the night before, the corn, cook or grill up extra the night before with your evening meal, or even with the creamy spinach. Hey, if you want to cut corners, go for it, no judgement here.

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Easy Vegetable Lasagna

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  40 minutes (roasting butternut) + 30 minutes (to cook the completed lasagna)

Total time:  1 hour 25 minutes

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

9 – 12 lasagna sheets (I used Gluten-Free, but you can use which ever lasagna sheets you prefer)

1 medium-sized butternut (approximately 500 grams)

sprinkling of either fresh or dried thyme

1 – 2 sweet corn cobs

1 fresh bunch spinach (approximately 150 – 200 grams cut, and uncooked)

For the topping:

1 cup of grated cheddar or matured cheddar cheese for the top

and / or feta cheese

Cream Cheese Sauce:

100 grams salted butter

100 grams all-purpose flour (I used Gluten Free flour)

3 1/2 cups full cream milk, plus extra if thickens too much. (I used a lactose free milk)

salt and pepper to taste

a good sprinkling or two of nutmeg

230 grams tub of plain, smooth cream cheese

Instructions:

Peel and dice up the butternut, place in an oven proof dish with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over some thyme.

Place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit  and allow to cook until done.

In the meanwhile, remove the main vein from the spinach.  Chop and slice the fresh spinach. Wash and drain.

Cook spinach your preferred way, either by steaming, or a quick microwave. Do not over cook, to a wilted stage.  Once done, remove and drain once again. (I usually place mine in a tea towel and pat dry to make sure all the water content is out as best as possible.)

Cook the corn, your preferred way. (I like mine to be cooked but still crunchy.)

Remember the lasagna is still going to get a cooking burst in the oven, so you don’t want to over cook your vegetables before they have even reached the oven.

Then, prepare the white sauce.  Add the butter to a medium sized pot and allow the butter to melt.  Then take the pot off the plate and add the flour, stir with a wooden spoon or spatula and mix well until the flour and butter collect together in a smooth ball stage.

Place the pot back onto the heat, and add one cup of milk, stir continuously until the sauce becomes smooth, it will be a little thick but that is fine.  Add another cup and continue to stir until a thick-ish consistency and then finally add the third cup and stir continuously once again.  At this point add the contents of the tub of cream cheese, stir in well.

Now stir in the cooked spinach.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

At this point, if you are wanting a more refined spinach content, like I did, I suggest you use a stick blender, and blend till you are happy with the consistency of the spinach.

If the white sauce is going to stand a bit before assembling the layers, you will find that the sauce does thicken up quite a bit, I suggest then adding a bit more milk, just to get a thick-ish but workable consistency.

As always this is the fun part.  With an oven proof dish approximately  23 x 23 x 5 centimeters/ 9 x 9 x 2 inches  in size, spoon a couple spoons of the spinach sauce on the bottom of the dish, top with a layer of lasagna sheets, top with a couple spoons of the spinach sauce, then roasted butternut pieces and a handful or two of the sweet corn, top with a little spinach sauce and repeat this method ending in a spinach sauce layer (I also  managed to do three layers of lasagna in my dish)

Top with the grated cheese on the top and feta if using.

Place in a preheated oven for 20 – 30 minutes, until the grated cheese is bubbly, and the lasagna nicely cooked through.

Enjoy🙂

NB*  I also have used baby spinach for this, and in that case I do not cook it, instead I just chop and add it to the white sauce.

Green Goodness Bowl

046 Oh man, now we are talking ! This bowl of goodness is like nothing else….yes, it is jam packed with goodness.

I am so pumped up about this, I think for me, every morning needs to be a ‘Green Goodness Bowl’ or ‘Green Juice’ morning, of course the contents will vary, but that’s fine, so long as it is GREEN !!!

I remember years ago watching an Oprah show, and her guest on the show was Dr Oz?  Who remembers Dr Oz? Anyway, good ol’ Dr Oz (he wasn’t really old) was doing like a morning breakfast thing by doing a green juice.  He maintained, every morning, throw together whatever you have in the fridge that is green, blend it all together and you are sorted.  So, of course, me being me, took that to heart, and yip I had to do it. Green juice it was, and it was yummy.  Sometimes now, I change it up a bit and do delicious healthy green bowls instead, but no matter what it is always good. So, here is a bowl of green yummy delicious goodness….and I have kept it simple.060Green Goodness Bowl

Preparation time:  8 – 10 minutes

Serves 1 – 2

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of lettuce leaves, roughly chopped

1/2 cucumber, roughly chopped

1 handful of baby spinach, roughly chopped

1 handful of fresh parsley

1 green Granny Smith apple, chopped

3 -4 centimetres (1.5 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 avocado pear

Instructions:

Add all the above ingredients into a food processor and process.

If you don’t have a food processor, a good blender will do the trick as well, just make sure you add the lemon juice, avo, cucumber and apple in first, blend a bit and then add the rest of the ingredients.

Enjoy🙂

Warmed Triple Grain Coffee Breakfast Bowl Topped with Dark Chocolate and Coconut

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Hey hey….well you all know my love for grains ……well, this triple grain idea actually happened unexpectedly.  Me being me, and my latest obsession for breakfast (and grains) sort of happened like this.  Leftover cooked quinoa, a bit of millet and some buckwheat, and I kind of wondered what on earth I was going to do with the ‘bits’.  So, I threw them all together, added some instant coffee, tasted it, yum.  And, from there it all evolved.  Thoughts of chocolate, and then coconut entered my brain, and soon more chocolate.  I mean, come on, who doesn’t like a bit of a dark chocolate kick?  Then, the guilt fled in, so I added some chia seeds. Hahahahahaha

So, this breakfast can be prepared overnight, and eaten the next day without any issues.  Warming it up is just the best, as those chocolate chunks just start to melt, OMW !!! and then here and there you get a bit of a chunk of chocolate. Seriously, this is a great way to start the morning or in fact, I could eat this anytime of the day…obvs🙂

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Warmed Triple Grain Coffee Breakfast Bowl Topped with Dark Chocolate and Coconut

Total time:  7 minutes

Serves 1-2 people

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked grains (I used a combination of quinoa, millet and buckwheat)

2 cups rice milk (you can use any milk of your choice)

2 Tablespoons chia seeds

2 Tablespoons instant coffee

1 Tablespoon coconut

chopped dark chocolate chunks

For the topping:

extra coconut – optional

extra dark chocolate chunks – optional

Instructions:

In a bowl add all the above ingredients, stir well to combine.  Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to eat, warm up quickly either in the microwave or on top of the stove in a small bowl.

Top with coconut shavings and more chunks of dark chocolate.

Enjoy🙂

Mint Pesto Marrow (Zucchini, Courgette) Spaghetti with Herb Roasted Chickpeas and Feta

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I totally love this meal.  I don’t even bother to have it hot, it is so good cold.  I usually make extra and then have it the next day for lunch.  I am confused whether that is genius or just downright lazy…whatever, it works for me.  Just one thing with this, is the roasted herb chickpeas must be crunchy.  I don’t know what it is with me, but I just love ‘the crunch’.

I seem to be making loads of mint pesto these days, the mint in my garden is going all kinds of crazy, thanks to the excessive rains we are having.  But it is all good.

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Mint Pesto Marrow (Zucchini/Courgette) Spaghetti with Herb Roasted Chickpeas and Feta

Preparation and total time: 20 minutes

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

3 large marrows (zucchini/courgette) spiralized. (This is what I used but definitely will depend on the size of your marrows (zucchini/courgettes), so spiralize until you have enough for each serving)

roasted herb chickpeas (the amount totally depends on you, I love these, so I feel zero guilt and load them on my meal)

crumbled feta cheese

For the mint pesto

1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed

handful of fresh parsley leaves

2 handfuls of macadamia nuts, crushed

2 cloves of garlic

1 onion (medium-sized) chopped finely

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

Instructions:

For the Roasted Chickpeas:

Once chickpeas are cooked and drained, place the chickpeas on a baking tray. Sprinkle with a salt and pepper and a drizzling of olive oil.  I did mine for about 45 minutes on 180 degrees celsius. Whilst the chickpeas are in the oven, keep checking on them and give them a good toss and stir around, so they roast evenly.  Also, sneak in a taste periodically to check for the crispness you want.  Once they are done, remove the baking tray from the oven and generously add some dried origanum or any other herbs you prefer.

For the Pesto:  

Put all the pesto ingredients in a food processor or good blender and blend until it reaches the consistency that you like.

Add the pesto to the spiralized marrows (zucchini/courgette) and top with the roasted herb chickpeas and feta.

Enjoy🙂

NB*  I like this meal cold, and personally feel that the warmed version sort of loses the actual taste, but if you want you can warm it up by adding it to a pan and heating up and then take off the heat, and lastly add the chickpeas and feta.

Also, if you have extra pesto left over, place it in a sealed jar and keep in the refrigerator. This will keep for a few days.

 

 

 

Orange, Papaya, Butternut and Chai Smoothie

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I made a smoothie with butternut !!!!!

This smoothie, is out of this world, and how dynamic is the colour ???  I know, all that orange, just so bright and vibrant. I think this smoothie is screeeaming summer…yes, it’s heading for summertime here…so I selfishly will be enjoying the sunshine whilst a lot of you will be curled up in front of a heater, apologies, in fact double apologies, as that is how bad I am feeling😦 .

So anyway, of course I made this and loved it.  I actually had to make another, and it has been on the top of my list of fave smoothies, I am not going to lie !!!

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Orange, Papaya, Butternut and Chia Smoothie

Preparation time:  8 minutes

Makes just over 1 cup

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (125 millilitres) roasted, mashed butternut

50 millilitres orange/mango juice

1/2 freshly squeezed orange juice

1 cup (250 millilitres) chopped papaya

1 Tablespoon (3 millilitres) chia seeds

Instructions:

Put all the above ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and the consistency you like.

Enjoy🙂

NB*  The above ingredients can be approximate.  There is no hard and fast rule when doing my kind of smoothie, as it is really all about your taste, and the consistency that you like.

 

 

Nutty Millet Stir Fry with Red Chilli Sauce

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Grains are my new best friends.  I know, I know, it sounds crazy right?  But, they are so awesome.  Only problem is they don’t talk, so I can’t talk to them…I mean that would be ridiculous…Imagine talking to grains, I would need to then answer for them so the conversation is not so one-sided, and then I probably, if heard, would quickly be put in a straight jacket and taken…you know where.  So lets just keep it simple, and just accept these wonderful grains as they are and not expect change🙂.

So, to do a Stir Fry is pretty easy as we all know, but this one has toasted almonds in it which is quite cool. Also, instead of the usual rice, it has millet and a killer chilli sauce! Isn’t that cool?  Not…whatever🙂. When I first did this meal I used quinoa…of course, haha, I am soooo predictable, but then thought I best change it up a bit and give the other grains a chance in my kitchen🙂. I have also done this same stir fry with my favourite roasted chickpeas, instead of the toasted almonds, and it is equally as delicious. So…….anyway, just chop a load of veggies, quickly stir fry them and just before serving, mix in the cooked millet. Meal done. This, with the chilli sauce is dynamite🙂. Oh, don’t think about cooking the millet with the actual stir fry, you will regret it, trust me…it just becomes ‘mush’.

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Nutty Millet Stir Fry with Red Chilli Sauce

Preparation: 10 minutes  (time will increase if Millet is uncooked and Almonds are not toasted)

Cooking time:  7 minutes

Total time:  17 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Red Chilli Soy Sauce

2 1/2 Tablespoons of honey

Zest and juice of one large lemon

For the Stir-Fry:

2/3 cups (100 grams / 3.5 ounces) sliced white onion

7/8 cups (155 grams  / 5.4 ounces) sliced yellow pepper

2 cups (200 grams / 7.1 ounces) sliced red/purple cabbage

4 cups (200 grams  / 7.1 ounces) chopped carrot

1 cup (150 grams  /5.3 ounces) snap peas, roughly chopped

a little olive oil for frying

200 grams (1 cup /7 ounces) cooked millet

100 grams (3/4 cup / 3.7 ounces) dry toasted almonds (plus more if you want)

Instructions:

For the sauce:  Mix the soy, honey and zest together in a small pot.  Add about half of the lemon juice and taste.  If you feel it needs a bit more of a tarty taste, then add the rest.  I generally end up using juice from a whole lemon. Set aside to be heated up just before serving.

On medium heat, add the oil in either a large frying pan or wok. Once heated add the carrots first and give them a head start for a couple seconds, (as they are the hardest raw vegetable) then add the onion, pepper, snap peas and lastly the red/purple cabbage. Stir continuously just for a few minutes until just lightly cooked, but still crunchy.

Add the cooked millet, stir around well and let it nestle around nicely among the veggies. (Now this is the time to multi-task, while you are stirring around the millet, heat up the sauce🙂

Serve hot and add the dry toasted almonds separately.  I prefer to do this to extend the crunch factor.

Enjoy🙂

NB*  Please note, that I use a metric scale for all my measurements.

  • To dry toast the almonds:  On medium heat, place a frying pan, add the almonds and stir continuously.  Almonds toast quite quickly, so don’t leave them unattended, or they will burn.
  • To cook millet:  Cook as per packet instructions.

 

 

 

Polenta Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Cherry Tomatoes and Feta

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Healthy carbs guys!  Healthy carbs, and it is all in a pizza !!!

This pizza just had to happen. Load it up with whatever your heart desires and you are sorted. Pizzas are one of those things you can go all out with and do loads of crazy, delicious toppings and stuff but I was in the mood for simple, so simple it was🙂. For awhile now, I have had this thing for caramelized onions, so I just had to top mine up with them. Then, some cherry tomatoes, I love the baby ones and once the pizza is in the oven, I watch through the glass window of the oven (Yes, I am weird, it is like I am stalking the pizza !  I am a Pizza Stalker !) and eventually those baby tomatoes pop and get all wrinkly.  There is a method in my madness,  with the oven on, I keep warm and I get to make sure nothing burns (because I have a thing with my oven…long story, don’t ask).  Then of course the basil leaves, I mean of course…tomatoes and basil, need I say more, and then of course you have guessed…. feta cheese.  I mean, there has to be cheese on a pizza right? well not really I suppose,  I have had loads of pizzas without cheese, but on this pizza, cheese was just an added bonus.

Okay, so this is not your usual pizza base, but it is a nice light option, if you want to try something a bit different, and it is even gluten free.  What is that saying…don’t knock it, till you’ve tried it !🙂

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Polenta Pizza With Caramelized Onions, Cherry Tomatoes and Feta

Preparation time:  3 minutes

Cooking time:  35 minutes

Total time:  38 minutes

Serves 2 or 3

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked polenta

dash of salt

2 cups water

Topping:

4 medium-sized onions, sliced thinly

125 grams cherry tomatoes (or more if you like)

200 grams feta cheese (or more if you like)

fresh basil leaves

fresh rocket leaves

To caramelize the onions:

a little olive oil

1 – 2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 -2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

a little water (if needed)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large pan, with a little olive oil, saute the onions.  Add a teaspoon or two of brown sugar and allow to cook. Stir continuously to prevent burning.  If you feel the onions are sticking a bit, add a little water. I personally like my onions to be nicely browned, and just before the cooking process is done, I add the balsamic vinegar, stir it in, and then take the pan off the oven and set aside.

To cook the Polenta:  Add polenta to the boiled water and reduce the heat down to simmer.  Using a whisk, whisk for about 5 minutes continuously until the polenta starts to thicken.  The polenta will start to pull away from the sides of the pot.

Once the polenta is cooked, spread it into an oven proof dish approximately 18 x 28 centimetres/7 x 11 inches in size.  Flatten as best as possible and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place toppings on. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes or until the topping has cooked.

Add fresh basil and rocket leaves.  Serve either on its own or with a salad.

Enjoy🙂

 

Raw Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

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Salad anyone?  Well, today it is good ol’ Quinoa ! Man, I love this stuff. Okay, I don’t mean ‘stuff’ in a bad way, I just love quinoa.  The other day I brought out a fair-sized bowl (actually quite large), and loaded it up with a few cups of cooked quinoa, and then topped it up with mountains of raw vegetables and fresh herbs.  I then dug a tablespoon into this mountain of delicious vegetables and sunk the spoon down into the quinoa.  I then tossed and mixed this amazingly delicious concoction all together, and I am not going to lie, I was VERY tempted to take that spoon and dump a huge mouthful of all that deliciousness into my mouth….but I held myself back, took a deep breath, collected my thoughts, counted backwards from ten…. and dished some up on a plate for myself.

When the hubby came home, he opened the fridge and saw this massive bowl of quinoa salad, and by the look on his face I think he thought it would be his food for the week…but fear not, I am not that cruel…although the thought did enter my brain….The salad did not last 24 hours, thanks to my continual snacking on it every time I opened the fridge door !  And man…it was so good, it was like I just could not get enough.  :-) Haha Quinoa obsession !!!

For me, this salad is just the best.  It is totally versatile.  Use whatever veggies float your boat, and if you decide to have corn, do yourself a favour, don’t cook it, have it raw, enjoy that crunch…..it is Cra-zy good !!!

The recipe below is enough for 2 people, but feel free to double up or quadruple the recipe as I did.

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Raw Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Total time:  35 minutes

Makes for 2 people

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 cup black-eyed peas, cooked and roasted with salt, pepper and origanum

1 corn on the cob, kernels cut off

20/30 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 – 1/2 cup thinly shredded purple baby chinese cabbage

3 sliced spring onions, green parts as well

1/2 large red pepper, sliced or diced

1/2 large yellow pepper, sliced or diced

2/3 jalapeno’s, sliced finely

60 grams sugar snap peas, uncooked and chopped finely

a handful of herbs, I used mint and basil leaves and chopped chives.

Instructions:

Quinoa – cook as per packet instructions.

Black Eyed Peas – cook as per packet instructions, then place on a baking tray, with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and dried origanum.  Allow to roast in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15/20 minutes or until crispy.

Once all the veggies are sliced and prepared.  Place in a dish and serve.

Enjoy🙂

NB*  This can be a salad to have on the side or as a main meal.

 

 

 

 

Butternut and Herb Scones

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Hey, hey….lets talk about savoury scones for awhile.  Who is more into savoury than sweet? Personally, I am not fussy. My mom was the queen of scone making, she would throw together a batch in like no time.  Unlike me, who still goes by the written out recipe!  Yip, there is no hope ! She would add this or that, or keep them plain so we could have jam and cream with them (yum). No matter what, they were always delicious🙂. Anyway, scones just seemed to be on my radar lately, but I wanted to just change it up a bit so savoury scones it was.  I have been on a bit of a butternut vibe lately (but that is a story for another time, and apart from the fact that I had bought a pocket of butternuts…I just thought butternut scones just had to happen, I mean …come on, we have butternut everything happening these days, so why not butternut scones! Let me tell you, these Butternut and Herb ones are the Thing !  Just saying!!!

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Butternut and Herb Scones

Preparation time:  15 minutes (prep time will be longer if you do not have pre-roasted mashed butternut)

Cooking time:  20 minutes

Total time:  35 minutes

Ingredients:

125 millilitres (1/4 cup) salted butter

500 millilitres (2 cups) cake wheat flour

1 jumbo-sized free range egg

125 millilitres (1/4 cup) buttermilk

125 millilitres (1/4 cup) mashed roasted butternut

125 millilitres (1/4 cup) chopped spring onion

125 millilitres (1/4 cup) chopped fresh rosemary

a little extra milk for the tops of the scones

Instructions:

Firstly, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (170 degrees Celsius Fan Oven)/350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dust a baking tray with a little flour, to prevent sticking.

In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder and the chilled butter.  Using your hands, yes, I prefer using my hands with this next step, it is a bit messy but persevere and scrunch the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers, with a lifting up motion. Continue to do this until you literally have a bowl of ‘breadcrumbs’.  Shake the bowl, and you will notice any big clumps sitting on the top, just break those down.

(You may want to wash your hands now quickly) Then add the egg, buttermilk, butternut, spring onion and herbs.  Stir well with a metal spoon.

Empty the scone mixture onto a floured surface.  (This may sound ridiculous, but now is the time to flour your hands) Flatten the scone mixture slightly. Using a knife divide the scone mixture into eight. I usually cut, as if I were cutting a pie.

With a little extra milk, moisten the top of each scone.

Place in the preheated oven and let cook for 20 minutes.

Once done, enjoy with a nice smearing of butter.

Enjoy🙂