AFTER SCHOOL SNACKS

AFTER SCHOOL SNACKS by JO PRATT

There’s nothing worse than having to deal with ‘hangry’ kids at the school gate or the moment they walk through the front door. We’ve all been there (numerous times) when our bad tempered little darlings are demanding something to eat NOW and an apple or satsuma simply won’t do!

 

Whilst we plan our lunches and dinners for the family, creating a substantial healthy after school snack can be an afterthought, which will often result in reaching for confectionery, biscuits and cakes. However making something healthy needn’t be time consuming, it just requires a bit of pre-planning. Next time you’ve got the oven on, why not cook up a batch of these delicious savoury muffins. Once cooled, they can be stored in the freezer so you can defrost one at a time, as and when you need them.

And for something nutritious to drink, within minutes you can have a homemade milkshake to treat the kids to, in fact while you’re at it, you may as well make one for yourself as they are delicious, and may well prevent you from becoming ‘hangry’ later on.

SAVOURY MUFFINS

SAVOURY MUFFINS

MAKES about 12
PREPARATION TIME 15 minutes
COOKING TIME 20 minutes

• butter, for greasing (optional)
• 40g / 1½ oz pine nuts
• 225g / 8 oz self-raising flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 100g / 3½ oz polenta or semolina
• 150g / 5½ oz grated mature Cheddar cheese
• 150g / 5½ oz courgettes, grated
• 2 eggs
• 200ml / 7fl oz natural yogurt
• 80ml / 2½ fl oz olive or rapeseed oil
• 75g / 2½ oz ham, salami or chorizo, finely chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/ Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases. Alternatively, lightly grease the holes of the muffin tin, then press a 13cm/5in square of baking paper into each hole, shaping the squares to fit by folding the sides.

2/ Put the pine nuts in a dry, non-stick pan over a medium heat for a few minutes, shaking and tossing the pan continuously until they start to turn golden. (Don’t leave them in the pan or they will quickly burn.)

3/ Tip them out onto a plate to cool.

4/ Mix together the flour, baking powder and polenta in a mixing bowl.

5/ In a separate bowl, lightly mix together two-thirds of the cheese and all the remaining ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix quickly and lightly to form a lumpy batter. (Over- mixing will make the cooked muffins turn out heavy.) Spoon into the prepared muffin cases and scatter the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden.

6/ Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Serve warm or cold.

Leftovers are lovely toasted muffins

The muffins are lovely as a picnic lunch served with some tomato chutney, or for a weekday packed lunch. After a day or so, they will become a little dry, but are delicious split in half and lightly toasted under the grill, spread with butter or cream cheese and topped with chutney or tomato salsa.

MILKSHAKES

EACH ONE MAKES 2 large or 4 small shakes
PREPARATION TIME 3 minutes

Milkshakes

STRAWBERRY OR RASPBERRY SHAKE

• 400ml / 14fl oz milk
• 200g / 7oz strawberries or raspberries, stalks removed
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 4–6 ice cubes
• clear honey or maple syrup, to taste (optional)

1/ Pour the milk into a blender. Add the fruit, vanilla extract and ice cubes and whizz for 30–45 seconds until smooth. Add honey or maple syrup to taste, if you like.

2/ Strain into glasses to remove any pips or chunks of ice and serve.







BANANA AND PEANUT BUTTER SHAKE

• 400ml / 14fl oz milk
• 2 ripe bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp peanut butter
• 4–6 ice cubes
• clear honey, to taste

1/ Pour the milk into a blender. Add the bananas, peanut butter and ice cubes and whizz for 30 seconds until smooth. Add a little honey to taste.

2/ Strain into glasses to remove chunks of ice and serve.

VANILLA AND MAPLE SYRUP SHAKE

• 400ml / 14fl oz milk
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 4–6 ice cubes

1/ Pour the milk into a blender. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and ice cubes and whizz for about 15 seconds until smooth.

2/ Strain into glasses to remove chunks of ice and serve.