Apple and Cinnamon Tarts

Is there a flavour combination more synonymous with autumn than apples and cinnamon?

Apples are commonplace in supermarkets and fruit markets – yet, it’s only when you tuck into a fresh homegrown apple that you realise just how much you take them for granted.

They say that the best things come when we’re under pressure and this is certainly true with my glut of cooking apples at home. Whilst crumbles have always been the go-to, I’m looking to expand my horizons; even using apples in savoury salads with beetroot (recipe coming soon).

And if you, too, are looking at your apple gluts with a hint of desperation, or a longing for something different – I have just the recipe to help you out. Simple, easy and wholesome – this tart has the warmth and the spice to finish any autumnal dish off perfectly. Or, if you can’t wait til dinner – the odd daytime snack is allowed… So long as no one is looking, of course.

Time: 1hr  Makes: 12 tarts Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

One roll of pre-made sweet shortcrust pastry

Four medium-sized apples, peeled and cored

A teaspoon of cinnamon, demerara sugar, honey and almonds for each tart

Method

Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 6/200C.

To make things easy, roll out a roll of pre-made sweet shortcrust pastry.

Pop a pint glass or cutter over the top of the pastry and begin cutting out your tart cases. Reform the dough and roll out to get the most out of your pastry.

Into a greased cupcake tray, lay the cases out. Once you’ve used up the pastry, pre-cook the tarts for 3-4 minutes. This will help keep them firm.

In the meantime, core, peel and slice four medium-sized apples thinly. Taking the tarts out of the oven, arrange your apple slices over the top and finish by adding a shake of cinnamon, a dash of honey, a teaspoon of demerara sugar and a scattering of flaked almonds to each of the tarts.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the apple has browned on top and is soft.

Serve on their own or with double cream.

12 Meals of Christmas – Day 12 – Croissant and Apple Butter Pudding

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

We’ve saved the best until last. The mighty croissant and apple butter pudding.

What separates this from a normal bread and butter pudding? The buttery croissants and apple pieces create a soft, sweet texture and flavour that will have you coming back for more. Additionally, this dessert can be enjoyed for breakfast throughout this festive weekend and it doesn’t cost the earth.

Before we get down to the recipe, I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who’ve read and supported the 12 Meals of Christmas. I have some ideas in the pipeline for 2018 that I think you’ll enjoy, but for now – grab yourself some croissants and have a go at making this beautiful dessert. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

Croissant, Apple and Butter Pudding (Serves 4)

Four croissants, cut in half

75g of raisins

Two apples, peeled cored and sliced

400ml of milk

200ml of water

Three eggs

70g of caster sugar

Three heaped tablespoons of cornflour

A teaspoon of vanilla essence

A teaspoon of cinnamon

A sprinkling of caster sugar

Turn the oven to Gas Mark 5/180C. Into a saucepan on a medium heat, pour in your milk and water. Crack in your eggs, then begin to whisk the ingredients together. As you do so, drop in your vanilla essence, caster sugar and the three tablespoons of cornflour. Whilst you whisk, make sure that the ingredients aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the custard begins to thicken to a consistency similar to single cream, remove it from the heat and start work on the croissants.

Taking an ovenproof dish, arrange your croissant pieces inside. Layer over your apple pieces, cinnamon and raisins before pouring over the custard. Finish this stage by scattering over a little caster sugar before popping in the pudding for the exciting part of the recipe.

Bake the pudding for around 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and the croissants have soaked up a good deal of the custard. Serve immediately with fresh cream for a delicious treat whatever the time of day. You can also keep a supply of pudding throughout the christmas period by storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

That’s a wrap for the 12 Meals of Christmas! If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to look back at all of the recipes featured.

 

12 Meals of Christmas – Day 11 – Vegetable Crumble

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

Winter Vegetable Crumble (Serves 3)

We’ve all encountered a sweet fruity crumble at some point in our lives. It’s in the same league as the Yorkshire pudding, fish and chips and more. Yet, like every recipe featured on this blog, I don’t just want to settle for the norm. Instead, I’m turning the idea of a crumble as a dessert on its head by making it savoury.

Introducing the winter vegetable crumble. Packed full of nutritional goodness, you won’t feel guilty tucking into this before the big day.

Three carrots, chopped into chunks

One onion, chopped into large chunks 

A leek, sliced

One head of broccoli, chopped

A clove of garlic 

50ml of veggie gravy, created following packet instructions

75g of oats

75g of butter

25g of walnuts, chopped

25g of pumpkin seeds

A teaspoon of sage

Seasoning 

A drizzle of olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200C. Place your vegetables into a roasting tin and drizzle over the olive oil. Season, dash the sage over the top and then add the vegetables to the oven for 35 mins or until they start to crisp and brown.

In the meantime, pour your oats, butter, seeds and nuts into a mixing bowl and, using your fingertips, crumble together until it resembles traditional crumble. Once the vegetables have begun to crisp, remove from the oven and make your gravy. Then pour over the crumble topping and return the dish to the oven for a further 10 minutes to give the topping a good crunch.

Serve with roast potatoes or on its own as a great alternative feast for a Saturday or Sunday lunch.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all of the meals featured.

 

12 Meals of Christmas – Day 10 – Kale Chips and Breaded Broccoli

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

Kale chips are something that I’ve been working on for some time now. After seeing them on several healthy cooking sites, I decided to have a go at making them on my own. Now, after several attempts, I feel like I’ve mastered them. So it seemed only right that I should share the recipe with you as part of the 12 Meals of Christmas series. Even better, to celebrate the shortest day, here’s one of the shortest recipes I’ve ever made too!

Not only do the kale chips work perfectly in this recipe, but the breaded broccoli is just as tasty and equally as crunchy. Both of these vegetables, when baked, will take you to foodie heaven if dipped into a rich, creamy Stilton sauce – but I also enjoy them on their own with a salad.

Kale Chips and Breaded Broccoli (Serves 2)

A handful of kale

Two handfuls of broccoli florets, halved

Seasoning

A teaspoon of paprika

A lug of olive oil

One egg yolk, beaten

100g of breadcrumbs

A teaspoon of rosemary

Dairy/Vegan cheese, grated or scattered, to serve

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5/180C. Prepare your breadcrumb by combining a little seasoning, the breadcrumbs and the rosemary together in a bowl. Dip your broccoli halves into the egg yolk first and then layer them in the breadcrumb and rosemary, before resting them onto a baking tray. Repeat this for each broccoli floret until all of them are covered and ready to go into the oven.

Next, lay out your kale over the baking tray and drizzle over a little olive oil. Scatter sea salt and the paprika over the leaves before placing it all into the oven for around 10 minutes. Check regularly and only remove when the breadcrumb on the broccoli has started to crisp.

Serve this dish with a tasty salad or blue cheese sauce, which you can make by melting 25g of Stilton and popping this into a ramekin or small pot.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all of the meals featured.

12 Meals of Christmas – Day 9 – Pasta with Fresh Broccoli Pesto

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

Broccoli is super. Packed full of nutrients, I try to feature this deliciously crunchy vegetable into my diet daily. Now, simply steaming broccoli every time I eat it can get a little bland. And this has led me to find new ways of bringing it into my diet. One such way is through grating the florets and turning them into a beautiful fresh pesto – and after refining the recipe, I figured that this healthy meal would fit perfectly into the 12 Meals of Christmas series.

So here it is. Gorgeously garlicy, with the crunch of the broccoli and the fragrance of the basil – this easy to make pesto tops a variety of pasta dishes perfectly. And in this particular pasta dish, fried courgette and red onion really help to bring out those vibrant colours.

Pasta with Fresh Broccoli Pesto (Serves 2) VG (with vegan cheese)

Two handfuls of spaghetti

One onion sliced into large chunks

One courgette, chopped into chip-sized chunks

A teaspoon of rosemary

Four florets of broccoli, grated

A handful of crushed walnuts

A pinch of sea salt

A bunch of basil leaves

A lug of olive oil

Two cloves of garlic, crushed

A handful of thinly grated cheddar or vegan parmesan

First, heat a lug of olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Now, slide in your red onion and courgette, frying until they colour up nicely. As your vegetables fry, pop in a little rosemary and then add your spaghetti into a separate pan filled with boiling water and turn the hob onto a high heat.

Once the vegetables start to brown, remove them from the heat and set to one side. Leave your pasta until it begins to soften, and as you wait for this, begin preparing your pesto.

Into a mixing bowl, add your grated broccoli. Follow this with a couple of lugs of the olive oil and the sea salt. Then, add your torn basil, the crushed walnuts, the crushed garlic and either the thinly grated cheddar or vegan parmesan to the mixing bowl and combine everything together thoroughly.

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With your pesto now made, remove the pasta from the hob once soft and drain. Serve up the pasta and vegetables first, before layering up your fresh, zesty raw broccoli pesto. Sit back, relax and indulge on this healthy winter meal.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all of the meals featured.

12 Meals of Christmas – Day 8 – Stuffed Peppers

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

In my vegetarian Christmas dinner, stuffed peppers are often the main event. For those of you who have never had them, they don’t sound all that filling – yet, after you’ve devoured one pepper, you’ll soon realise just how deceptive this dish can be. The beauty of stuffing any vegetable is that you can change your filling from day to day. It’s also really easy to do, making stuffed peppers the perfect dish for a midweek meal. Make batch of these and you can enjoy them right up until Christmas, saving yourself some money and time too.

Here, I’ve created a mix of colours to add a touch of extravagance to your winter afternoon. I’ve used vegan cheese to top these peppers, but cheddar, parmesan and Stilton will all do the trick just fine. If you are using dairy cheeses, pop the peppers back into the oven once you’ve grated the cheese on top and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the cheese is properly melted.

Stuffed Peppers (Serves 2) VG (Without dairy cheese)

Three peppers, halved and de-seeded

Half of a courgette, chopped into small chunks

One onion, diced

A clove of garlic, crushed

Three florets of broccoli

A teaspoon of rosemary

A teaspoon of paprika

A couple of handfuls of vegan parmesan
or 25g of grated cheddar/crumbled Stilton

A couple of lugs of olive oil

Seasoning

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5/180C. Taking your pepper halves, arrange on a baking tray and dash over your olive oil, seasoning and a teaspoon of rosemary. Pop the peppers into the oven once it’s hot enough and then start preparing your filling.

Pop another lug of olive oil into a saucepan and turn the hob onto a medium heat. Slide in your onion first, and then a couple of minutes later slide in your courgette. Fry the vegetables until they start to turn brown before removing from the heat.

Once the peppers have been cooking in the oven for around 20 minutes, take them out and start filling them with your onion and courgette and then the crushed garlic. Slide your baking tray back into the oven for a further 10 minutes, to give the onion and courgette a good colour. If you’re adding dairy cheese, grate your Stilton, parmesan or cheddar over the tops of the peppers once the 10 minutes are up, before returning the peppers to the oven until the cheese starts to brown.

If you’re doing this the vegan way, go straight to adding the grated broccoli. You want to put the florets through the smaller holes as this will create a beautiful, slightly crunchy topping. Finally, add your vegan parmesan. This combo works fantastically with the roasted peppers and flavoursome filling.

If you’re doing it the dairy way, slide your peppers out of the oven. Pop them onto a work surface and grate the broccoli over the top as a garnish.

Serve with a simple salad and dressing for the ultimate, healthy experience. You can also add fresh herby potato wedges if you want to be naughty.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all of the meals featured.

12 Meals of Christmas – Day 7 – Spicy Root Vegetable Pasties

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

There is a good reason for pasties and pies being so popular. With hearty pastry encasing hot, flavoursome fillings, each one is a surprise. I’ve made lots of pasties over the years, with one recipe featuring on this blog earlier on in the year. So, it made sense to have a pasty recipe in this Christmas blog series. What’s more, the Jus-Rol pastry in this recipe is vegan and if you use sweetened soya milk instead of egg you have an entirely vegan dish.

Root vegetables are the perfect winter food. And by combining them with spices such as paprika, cumin and turmeric, you can transform them into something even better. As a pasty filling, these root vegetables will have you feeling Christmassy in no time at all!

As you can see from the picture, they don’t even last long enough to take a photo…

Store these goodies in the fridge and you can enjoy them in your work lunches for the days ahead. It certainly beats the office canteen or a lunchtime meal deal. Best part is, they have actual vegetables in, and because they’re relatively fresh, they’re healthier for you too.

Spicy Root Vegetable Pasties (Serves 3 or 4) VG

One roll of readymade shortcrust pastry

Two carrots, chopped and peeled

Two potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly

Half a leek, sliced thinly

A clove of garlic, chopped

A teaspoon of turmeric

A teaspoon of cumin seeds

A teaspoon of paprika

Sweetened soya milk for glazing or a beaten egg yolk for non-vegans

A splash of olive oil

Seasoning

A knob of margarine (vegan or dairy)

To begin making these delicious pasties, heat a dash of olive oil over a medium heat and slide in all your root vegetables. Fry the carrots and potatoes with the cumin seeds, paprika, turmeric and seasoning until the potatoes can be squashed with a fork or knife. As they begin to soften, add in your leek and chopped garlic, frying for around five minutes more. Remove from the heat and set to one side.

Pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 5/180C. Grab yourself a baking tray and grease lightly with a little margarine. Roll out your pre-made pastry and, using a large bowl, begin to cut out as many circles as you can manage (I got about three out of my sheet), you can grab another sheet of pastry if this isn’t enough for you. Place each of the circles onto the baking tray.

Taking a ladel, dish out your vegetables onto half of each of the circles. With your hands, gently fold the pastry over the vegetables and press it down at the edges to make the traditional pasty shape. With a pastry brush, glaze the pasties with the egg yolk before sliding them into the oven to bake for around 20 minutes, or until the tops of the pastries are golden.

Once the pastries have a nice colour to them, remove from the oven and serve immediately with a hearty winter salad ( I recommend shredded beetroot, walnuts and rocket) or store in the fridge for up to five days ready for work lunches).

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all of the meals featured.

12 Meals of Christmas – Day 6 – Make Your Own Healthy Granola

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

One of the easiest ways to save a little extra cash, I’ve found, is to make your own cereal. Granola, when bought from the supermarket, has way more sugar and other things than its homemade equivalent. Like all things homemade, you also have greater control over the fruit, seeds and nuts you want to add in.

I’ve been making my own cereal for years now. Whilst it’s often a more basic version of granola – every once in a while it’s fun to make this tray baked oaty morning treat too. Make the granola tonight in a big batch and enjoy it throughout the week. There are no rules here, so if you want to enjoy it for lunch or after dinner, go ahead – that’s what winter food is all about!

And if you’re worried it’s going to take a lot of time to prepare – it takes no time at all. Pack your granola full of nuts and seeds and you can go to work this Christmas week feeling ready. Alternatively, pop it into a small container and have it on your work breaks.

Make Your Own Healthy Granola (Serves 3) VG

300g of porridge oats

125ml of maple syrup

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

50g of walnuts, chopped

50g of pumpkin seeds

Two apples, peeled, cored and chopped

Begin by pre-heating the oven to Gas Mark 2/150C. Add the maple syrup, oil and honey into a large mixing bowl and then add your oats, seeds and apples. Stir the ingredients together thoroughly before spreading the granola onto a baking tray with a greased baking sheet. Pop this into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, removing the granola once the apple is baked through and the oats have started to brown.

If you want to eat the granola straight away, leave it to cool for a few moments before adding milk and fruit. For using the next day, store in an air-tight container for up to a week.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all of the meals featured.

12 Meals of Christmas – Day 5 – Beetroot and Goats Cheese Tagliatelle

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

Now, this is one perfect recipe for the weekend. Wholesome pasta, creamy goats cheese and tangy beetroot will make your mouth water. Because of the cheese, this isn’t as healthy as the other recipes – yet, we’ll be making up for this by packing as many vegetables into this dish as we can, giving you your 5-a-day in the best way possible.

I have an obsession with pasta, and I’m sure that those of you who are reading this do too. There is something particularly comforting about enjoying it in the winter – the filling pasta, the flavours of the vegetables and, of course, the indulgent cheese all make a dish that you can enjoy again and again.

Beetroot and Goats Cheese Tagliatelle (Serves 2)

Two or three handfuls of tagliatelle

Two cooked and peeled beetroots

100g of goats cheese

One red pepper, chopped and de-seeded

One red onion, chopped

Five cherry tomatoes, chopped

A teaspoon of rosemary

A tablespoon of olive oil

Two cloves of garlic, crushed

Half a head of broccoli, chopped up

Seasoning

Into a saucepan, gently heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Slide in your chopped red onion and half of the crushed garlic. Stir until the onion and garlic start to brown, adding your chopped red pepper and the teaspoon of rosemary. Following the pepper, add your tomato slices and the chopped beetroot. Keep the heat to a medium heat as you cook, you don’t want to burn the vegetables. Drop in your broccoli florets and a little seasoning before placing a lid over the top of the saucepan and leaving it to continue cooking for around 5 minutes, so that you really bring out the flavours.

Grab yourself a saucepan and pop in the pasta. Pour enough boiling water to cover and turn your hob onto a medium heat. Cook until soft and drain, setting aside.

Once the vegetables have started to turn brown and soften, pop in your goats cheese and combine along with the last portion of crushed garlic. Remove the pan from the hob and continue to stir through the cheese until it melts into a creamy consistency.

Serve up the pasta, followed by the vegetables in the creamy sauce. Scatter over extra pepper and enjoy with a fresh salad or garlic bread for a fine weekend treat.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all of the meals featured.

 

 

12 Meals of Christmas – Day 4 – Beetroot Houmous and Pitta Chips

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

We all love something to dip, right? And this is even truer at the weekends when we’re drinking with friends or recovering the day after. Yet, instead of jumping straight for the sour cream and chive dip and a bag of tortilla chips give my beetroot houmous and pitta chips a go. Through following this simple recipe, you can keep on your healthy road to Christmas and also indulge yourself as much as you want.

This recipe is made even easier if you prepare the beetroot beforehand. Check out the link to see how!

After becoming a houmous addict, I was desperate to try making it myself with allotment produce. However, I wanted the primary ingredient to be homegrown (chickpeas don’t grow well in the UK just yet). Doing a little research, I discovered that beetroot could be turned into houmous instead. Me being me, I had to adapt the recipe and make it my own.

And here it is! In just under 15 minutes you can have a delicious snack for a variety of different parties and meals.

Beetroot Houmous and Pitta Chips (Serves 3) VG

Two beetroot, cooked

50ml of Alpro yoghurt or dairy

A large tin of chickpeas

One clove of garlic

A teaspoon of paprika

A teaspoon of cumin seeds

Half a lemon

Seasoning

For the pitta chips:

Five pitta breads

A dash of olive oil

Seasoning

A dash of paprika

Taking your cooked beetroot, peel away the skins. With a knife, roughly chop the roots into smaller chunks before adding them to a food processor or saucepan ready for the hand blender.

Into the saucepan or processor, add your yoghurt, a tin of chickpeas, a teaspoon of paprika, a teaspoon of cumin seeds, a good squeeze of half a lemon and the rind of half too. If you’re a fan of garlic, crush a clove and add this too and finish with seasoning. Now blend or process all of the ingredients together with your hand blender or food processor until completely smooth.

Once the houmous is smooth, set to one side. Tear your pitta breads into long thin pieces and arrange them onto a baking tray. Heat the oven to Gas mark 6/180C. Dash the olive oil and spices over the pitta breads before placing them into the oven for around 10 minutes, or until they just start to crisp up.

Remove the chips from the oven and serve up with the delicious, zesty beetroot houmous for some perfect Friday festive food.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all of the meals featured.