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 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 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.

12 Meals of Christmas – Day 3 – Beetroot, Orange and Ginger Cake

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.

Cake. Everyone loves it. And by combining beetroot, orange and ginger, you get a taste-combination that sums Christmas up in the perfect way. Of course, ginger can divide opinion – I’m not the keenest ginger fan myself. Yet, by dropping in just a teaspoon of the spice, the three flavours will make those wrap up and watch TV days all the better. You’ll also be the envy of your friends by producing this moreish cake – and best of all, it takes nothing to make!

Beetroot, Orange and Ginger Cake (Serves 6)

One beetroot

An orange

A teaspoon of ginger

200g of self-raising flour

200g of demerara sugar

200g of margarine

A teaspoon of baking powder

Three eggs

Icing (optional)

Four heaped tablespoons of icing sugar

Two tablespoons of water

Preparing fresh beetroot might look scary at first, but it returns far better results than buying it pre-boiled. Start by dropping four beetroots into a saucepan and covering them with boiling water. Place a lid over the top and cook the beets on a medium heat for around 20 minutes, or until your knife can cut through them easily. Once they’re tender, remove them from the heat and plunge the beetroots into cold or ice water. After 2 or 3 minutes, the skin should peel off of the roots. When all of the skin is removed from the beetroot, place three of the roots into an airtight container and store in the fridge for tomorrow’s recipe.

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5/180C. Line and grease a medium-sized cake tin and set to one side. To start making the cake, place the self-raising flour, margarine, baking powder, sugar and ginger into a bowl and, taking your fingertips, combine the mixture so that it resembles a crumble topping.

Next up, make a well in the centre of the cake mix and crack in three eggs. Add to this the zest of one orange and squeeze in a good bit of juice to make the cake extra zingy. With a spoon, carefully fold the mixture – making sure that your pulling air into the batter and combining all of the ingredients together thoroughly. With your batter made, slide the mixture into the cake tin and place it into the oven for around 35 minutes.

When a knife or cake skewer comes out clean, turn your cake onto a cooling rack and begin making the icing. Into a jug, pop in your icing sugar and then follow this with a couple of drops of water. If the icing is not thick enough (something I have not perfected yet), keep adding a little dash of icing sugar at a time until you get the consistency you want. Squeeze another little dash of orange into the icing and grate some zest too.

Drizzle the icing over the cake, starting at the centre and spread it evenly over the surface with a knife. Serve up immediately for “friends” (yourself, of course) or keep back for work lunches by placing into an airtight container and storing.

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 2 – Leek and Kale Curry

Christmas and curry: two of our greatest inventions. So, it only makes sense to combine them. In fact, curry – with it’s colour, spicy flavours, warmth and wholesome goodness – could fit into the Christmas menu very well if you can part with your turkey. This applies to those vegetarians out there who might be stuck between two big meat-eaters (I feel for you).

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.

See the first festive recipe here.

Using two hardy wintry vegetables, kale and leeks, in this curry makes it the ideal comfort food – with the best bit being that you won’t pile on the pounds after two helpings (a very likely outcome once you get a taste of the first mouthful).

And below, you can follow my winter-warming recipe and make your very own fantastic leek and kale curry:

Leek and Kale Curry (Serves 3) Vg

One leek, chopped

Two handfuls of kale

One chilli, chopped and de-seeded

A teaspoon of cumin seeds

A teaspoon of paprika

A teaspoon of turmeric

A teaspoon of garam masala

25ml of soya or dairy yoghurt

Seasoning

 

You want to start by grabbing a saucepan and heating a dash of oil over a medium flame. Pop in your slices of leek and fry these for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the leek fries, slide in the cumin seeds, seasoning and turmeric. Follow this with a crushed clove of garlic, chopped chilli pepper, the paprika and the garam masala. Fry the dry ingredients until the leeks begin to brown, making sure that you continue to stir as you go, adding a little water as you go.

When the leeks are beginning to brown, pop in your kale leaves. Drop in a little extra water, turning the hob down to a low heat and placing a lid over the saucepan. Leave the kale for around 5 minutes to wilt.

In the meantime, set up your rice to boil. Using your hand to measure out a portion, drop into another saucepan as much rice as you might need – Pour over boiling water and turn the hob onto a high heat for around 5 minutes, or until the water is steaming. Once the water is bubbling, remove the rice from the heat and place a lid over the top, leaving the grains to soften up for around 10 minutes.

Remove the lid from your curry saucepan and taking your 25ml of yoghurt, pour this into the other ingredients. Follow this up with the additional garlic, give everything a good stir and place to one side until the rice is cooked through.

Once the rice has softened, drain and serve. Be generous with your curry as it really is something!

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 1 – Roasted Leeks and Parsnip Mash

We all fancy ourselves as a cooking pro, right?

Of course, not all of us have the time, equipment or the money to be a gourmet god. Or perhaps we do?

To celebrate Christmas, I’m launching 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.

All of my meals are veggie, as I am a vegetarian. However, you can add meat to dishes such as today’s offering. In fact, this leek and parsnip mash dish is highly versatile – add roast potatoes and vegetables and you have yourself a far healthier version of a meaty feast, or leave it in.

When buying your ingredients, grab an extra leek, yoghurt, paprika, cumin, tumeric and garam masala for tomorrow’s recipe!

Roasted Leeks and Parsnip Mash (Serves 1)

One leek, halved

A tablespoon of honey

A dash of vegetable oil

Three parsnips, peeled and chopped

A tablespoon of magarine

A teaspoon of cumin seeds

Two pinches of rosemary

25ml of soya or cow’s milk

Seasoning

Whack the oven onto gas mark 6/200C. Taking a baking tray, lay out your two leek halves. Drizzle vegetable oil, a dash of rosemary, honey and seasoning over the leeks before placing them into the oven for around 35 mins.

Into a saucepan, drop in your parsnip chunks. Cover these with boiling water and turn the hob onto a medium heat. Add your cumin seeds, before placing the lid over the parsnips and cooking them for around 20 minutes, or until the chunks are fairly easy to slice through with the knife.

Once this is done, remove your parsnips from the boil and drain. Taking a masher, begin to combine the margarine, seasoning and the soya or cow’s milk in with the parsnips. Once the mash is smooth, set to one side.

Take the leek halves out of the oven and serve up. Add your parsnip mash on the side and finish off by making gravy. This recipe can be adapted for roast dinners and more – make it as big or as small as you like. More importantly, sit back and enjoy your moment of gourmet godliness.

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 keep up to date with all of the meals featured.

 

Broccoli and Stilton Burgers

You vote, I make. The new recipe from last week’s Twitter poll. Keep up to date by following me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and get the chance to vote in the next poll!

We all love broccoli and Stilton soup in the winter, right? Well, I’m taking the match-made-in-heaven to the next level in this latest recipe.

It’s time to stop buying supermarket burgers and have a go at making one yourself. And, with my own personal seal of approval, these burgers will not disappoint.

By adding a couple of other ingredients, you can make a very tasty burger which doesn’t require a lot of time, energy or washing up. Even better, make a bulk and keep them for work lunches or for effortless dinner the following day.

Broccoli and Stilton Burgers (Serves 2)

A handful of broccoli florets

50g of Stilton

A tin of peas

One onion, finely chopped

Four or Five mushrooms, finely chopped

A clove of garlic

A pinch of rosemary

Seasoning

Olive oil

Into a large mixing bowl, take a cheese grater and grate your broccoli florets. Once the florets are all grated up finely, add your onion, mushrooms, crushed garlic and your Stilton, broken down into smaller crumbs. Follow this with the tin of peas, rosemary and seasoning before mashing everything together. You want to make sure that the burgers stick together, so the peas need to be mashed thoroughly and the ingredients should be mixed in well.

Next, turn the hob onto a high heat, take a frying pan and heat up a little oil. Using your hands, scoop up the mixture and form it into patties, placing each onto the pan. After you’ve added all of your patties, cook them on one side for around 5 minutes before turning down the heat to medium and cooking on the other side. The patties may stick a little to the pan. If this does happen, as you turn them maintain their shape by pushing the sides together with the spatula.

When the burgers look cooked on both sides, serve up in delicious buns with a good dollop of mayo or tomato ketchup and a generous green salad for a healthy-but-beautiful dinner.

What did you think of this recipe? Do you have vegetarian recipes that you love to make?

 

Apple and Hazelnut Pastries

Thanks to everyone who voted over on Instagram! Here is the apple and hazelnut pastry as requested. I want to hear your thoughts – drop them in the comments below. Happy baking.

The best recipes are often accidents. In fact, over 50% of the food that I cook is improvised and, as such, doesn’t always turn out the way I wanted. Yet, in the case of these tarts, this was happy accident indeed.

Taking my spare puff pastry sheet I had in the fridge, I decided to slice up homegrown apples and arrange them on top. And what a result! These pastries are best enjoyed as a light snack, or why not eat them fresh and cover them in custard?

Apple and Hazelnut Tarts (Serves 12)

A sheet of ready-made puff pastry

Two tablespoons of caster sugar

Two apples, cored and peeled

A couple of handfuls of chopped hazelnuts

Cinnamon

An egg, beaten

Honey

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200C. Next, grease a muffin tray ready for your tarts.

You want to slice your apples thinly lengthways to begin with. Set these aside and grab your ready-made pastry sheet. Before you begin cutting, take your two tablespoons of caster sugar and sprinkle them over the top of the pastry. Lightly, taking both palms, press the sugar into the top of the pastry. Using the bottom of a glass, cut out several circles and placing these into your tray, gently press them into each case.

You’ll find that you’ll have a little bit of pastry left over. Use this to line the tops of each case. Finish the pastry by glazing it with a brush and the egg yolk. Make sure that the whole tart is covered as this is what will give it that golden look later on!

Next, arrange your apple slices over the top of each tart. Scatter cinnamon, the chopped hazelnuts and the honey over the tarts before placing them into the oven for around 20-30 minutes or until golden.

Once the pastry has puffed up and the tarts look golden on the top, remove them from the oven. You can either serve them up immediately as a delicious dessert with fresh icecream or custard, or place them into an airtight container and store for up to 3 days.

 

Stay tuned for more chances to vote on the next recipes by following me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I hope you enjoy these tarts as much as I do!