Apple and mincemeat crumble

Apple and mincemeat crumble

Apple and mincemeat crumble

Mincemeat is definitely an underrated ingredient. If you’re bored with traditional mince pies, try this crumble, which offers a new take on an old festive favourite. Delicious served with a generous spoon of custard or ice cream.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g apples
  • 450g mincemeat
  • Juice of an orange
  • 100g plain flour
  • 75g butter
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C.
  2. Slice the apples thinly and lay them in an overproof dish.
  3. Stir in the mincemeat and orange juice.
  4. In a separate bowl, rub in the flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon to make the crumble.
  5. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the apples and mincemeat.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crisp on top.

Merry Christmas!

Photo: raspberri cupcakes

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Perfect porridge

Porridge

Porridge

On those cold, clear autumn mornings, you can’t beat a bowl of porridge. It’s so warming and comforting, yet so simple to make. Here’s a tried and tested recipe with a few suggestions for toppings.

Preparation time: 2 mins

Cooking time: 5 mins

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 2 cups of milk (use part water for a less creamy texture)

Method:

  1. Put the oats into a large saucepan.
  2. Pour the milk (and water) over the oats and stir well.
  3. Bring to the boil, stirring to make sure the oats don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Simmer for five minutes until thickened.
  5. Pour into bowls to serve and add the topping of your choice.

Why not try some of the following toppings: brown sugar, banana and cinnamon, honey and yoghurt, maple syrup, a handful of dried fruit (sultanas, apricots, cranberries), or fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries). Get creative!

If you have any other favourites, please feel free to share them below.

Photo: Elana’s Pantry

Mango lassi

Mango lassi

Mango lassi

I’ve tried mango lassi at several Indian restaurants, but never realised how incredibly easy it is to make. Traditionally found in India and Pakistan, but gaining in popularity worldwide, this sweet yoghurt-based drink is perfect for summer.

Preparation time: 5 mins

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 100ml single cream
  • 200ml milk
  • 400ml natural yoghurt
  • 400ml mango pulp
  • 4 tsps caster sugar

Method:

Blend the ingredients together and serve with ice. It’s that easy! Here’s an alternative vegan version, which is made with coconut milk and vanilla.

Photo: Jeannie

Mexican bean burgers

Mexican bean burgers

Mexican bean burgers

This summer may be proving a bit of a washout, but you can still manage the odd barbecue between the inevitable cloud bursts! After last week’s post about vegetarian barbecues, I thought I’d share this recipe for tasty Mexican bean burgers.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time:10 mins

Serves: 3

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • small bunch coriander, stalks and leaves chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp fresh salsa
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Tip the beans into a large bowl, then crush roughly with a fork.
  2. Add the breadcrumbs, chilli powder, coriander, egg and salsa.
  3. Season to taste, then mix together with a fork.
  4. Divide the mixture into six and shape into burgers.
  5. Now they’re ready to stick on the barbecue. They should take about 5 minutes on each side until golden and crisp.

I like to serve these in fresh granary rolls with corn on the cob and a couple of vegetable kebabs. Just spear slices of courgette, pepper, mushroom and halloumi, sprinkle with paprika, drizzle with olive oil and grill on the barbecue for five minutes. Yum!

Photo: Cowomally

Red lentil and aubergine mousakka

Vegetarian mousakka

Vegetarian mousakka

After a delicious meal at Ezo’s Turkish Restaurant last weekend, I decided to have a go at making mousakka myself. This new take on the classic recipe uses red lentils and aubergines. In total, it takes about an hour, but it’s well worth it!

Preparation time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 1 aubergine, sliced into thin circles
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 100g red lentils, cooked according to packet instructions
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping:

  • 125g ricotta
  • 125g Greek yoghurt
  • 3 eggs
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 50g freshly grated parmesan

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Toss the aubergine slices in olive oil, then drain and season to taste.
  3. Fry the aubergine slices until golden-brown on both sides.
  4. Add the onion, pepper and garlic to the pan and fry until softened.
  5. Stir in the tomato purée and continue to fry for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and cinnamon stick and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the lentils and fried aubergines to the mixture. Simmer until warmed through.
  8. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
  9. For the topping, beat together the ricotta, Greek yoghurt, eggs and grated nutmeg in a bowl. Season, to taste.
  10. Pour the topping mixture into the ovenproof dish on top of the filling. Sprinkle over the grated parmesan.
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the topping is golden-brown. Serve immediately.

Yummy!

Photo: Candice Eisner

Polenta with grilled vegetables

Polenta and grilled vegetables

Polenta and grilled vegetables

This is a brilliantly simple summery dish. Just slice the polenta and vegetables, stick everything under the grill and voila – easy! You can even adapt this recipe to use on the barbecue for those sunny summer evenings.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of polenta
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 pack of cherry tomatoes
  • A handful of mushrooms
  • A handful of black olives
  • 1 packet of halloumi
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tsps of pesto
  • Fresh basil leaves

Method:

  1. Cut the polenta into slices, so that each slice is about 1cm thick.
  2. Lay the polenta slices on a baking tray, then brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
  3. Put the polenta under the grill on a low heat and grill until it starts to turn golden. Turn the slices over when they start to brown.
  4. While watching the polenta, cut the vegetables and halloumi into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Toss the vegetables and halloumi in olive oil and season well.
  6. Remove the polenta from the grill and keep warm in the oven.
  7. Spread the vegetables and halloumi on a baking tray and grill until the vegetables have softened.
  8. Mix the tomatoes and pesto in a saucepan over a gentle heat and season well.
  9. Lay the warm polenta slices on to plates and arrange the vegetables and halloumi over the top.
  10. Finish by spooning over the tomato and pesto sauce and garnish with the basil leaves.

Lovely with a chilled glass of rosé…

Photo: Harald Walker

Banana and pineapple cake

Banana and pineapple cake

Banana and pineapple cake

This has to be my favourite cake of all time! It’s wonderfully simple and fruity, with a soft, moist texture and hints of cinnamon. Ideal if you have a bunch of bananas which are starting to go soft.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 1 1/2 tsps vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 medium bananas, chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in the oil, pineapple, vanilla, eggs, and banana.
  4. Mix by hand until well blended.
  5. Pour into a greased and floured tin.
  6. Bake for 1hr 30. Set aside to cool.
  7. When cooled, dust with a light layer of icing sugar.

Treat yourself…!

Photo: Jen Steele