My Move Into Garden Vlogging

It’s official! The weekly vlogging series is away.

With the arrival of 2018, a renewed sense of optimism and lots of exciting things to talk about on the allotment, I decided that it was high-time I started making more videos. Alongside regular articles and recipes on the blog, I’ll be covering everything from the whys and the hows of gardening to recipes, reviews and interviews on YouTube.

Whether you’re a gardening pro or a gardening newbie, my YouTube channel will have something for everyone. And, what’s more, I’ll be presenting the sowing, growing and cropping in a way that I hope is unique and refreshing.

There are lots of stereotypes about gardening and growing your own food. It’s time to cut those stigmas loose and open up gardening to a whole new generation.

As food prices continue to rise and food quality decreases, more and more people are actively learning and engaging with their food. Growing your own food is a powerful act. Through taking control over production, you’re helping the environment, yourself and – in some cases – your bank account too.

So, whether you’re new to the growing game or you’ve been gardening for years, join me for the ride. I want this to be a conversation though, so if you have ideas for content or suggestions for the channel, leave a comment below.

You can also find my first two videos below. Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel for all of the latest updates.

Have a good week everyone!

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 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 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 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.

 

Macaroni Cheese with Butternut Squash Makes Squasharoni Cheese

Squasharoni Cheese. There it is, I’m coining it.

What more could you want from the winter than a dish of pure stodge? With the addition of butternut squash, onion, a nice bit of garlic and some herbs, you have a much healthier version of the popular classic though. And wait until you see just how orange and vibrant the squasharoni looks when it comes out of the oven!

I enjoyed this squasharoni cheese for dinner and for my work lunch the day after, saving me all that money on meal deals and expensive subs. Follow the recipe below to make your very own meal of cheesy indulgence:

Squasharoni Cheese (Serves 4)

Half a butternut squash

A couple of cupfuls of Macaroni

One onion, chopped

Five mushrooms, finely chopped

50ml of milk (soya or cow)

Bunch of fresh basil, chopped

Two cloves of garlic, crushed

Seasoning

Begin by turning your oven onto gas mark 6/ 200C. Taking the squash half, carefully remove the skin and de-seed. Chop into thin chunks and place these into the top of a steamer, or into a pan with boiling water. Into the bottom part of the steamer or into a separate pan, pour in your couple of handfuls of macaroni. Cover the pasta with water, place a lid over the top and turn the hob onto a medium heat. Leave the pasta and squash to simmer for around 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through and the squash is soft.

Into a large mixing bowl, drop in your cooked squash. Taking a blender, blitz the squash until smooth. Next up, add the sliced onion and mushroom, along with the basil, garlic and seasoning too. Stir in the 50g of milk then grating the cheese into the bowl. Finish by adding the macaroni pasta, and combining everything thoroughly.

Pour everything into an ovenproof dish, grating a little extra cheese over the top so that it’ll brown up nicely. Place into the oven to bake for 35 minutes or until golden on the top. Once this is done, serve up and tuck in.

I’ll be running the 12 Meals of Christmas to help you keep save money and that belly for Christmas. Make sure you follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date!

 

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!

 

Goats Cheese, Butternut Squash and Leek Pasties

Whenever I head home, the sight of a takeaway is rare. And this is where my love for homemade food comes from. With my stepmum also being a vegetarian as well as an advocate for Riverford veg boxes, the food is rich with variety and flavour. On a recent visit back to my hometown, I came away with some gorgeous roasted vegetable pasties, and this is what has spurred me on to try my own.

Boy, were the results worth it!

First of all, there’s something about combining squash and goats cheese that takes you to another level of happy. But then, by putting this into wholesome shortcrust pastry along with onions and leeks makes it even better.

Perfect for having anytime of the day (yes, even breakfast if that’s how you roll), these pasties will keep in an airtight container for three days, meaning easy work lunches too.

Goats Cheese, Butternut Squash and Leek Pasties (Serves 2)

Ingredients

Half a butternut squash, de-seeded and with the outer skin removed

Readymade shortcrust pastry

An onion, diced

One small tub of goats cheese

A leek, chopped

Pinch of cumin seeds

Olive oil

Pinch of rosemary

Seasoning

An egg yolk

Set your oven to gas mark 6/200C. Lay the squash onto a baking tray and drizzle over the olive oil. Scatter your salt and pepper over the chunks and top this by adding some fragrant cumin seeds. Slide the baking tray into the oven for around 30 minutes. In this time, lay out your shortcrust pastry and, using a bowl, cut out three or four circles. Lay these onto another baking tray.

Once the squash has roasted up nicely, remove the tray from the oven and start placing your slices onto one half of each circle. Layer your diced onion and leek on top of this and finish with a hint of rosemary and a good dose of goats cheese. After the filling has been prepared, take the other side of your pastry and roll it over the filling, pressing down the close with a small roll of extra pastry.

Taking a brush, cover each pasty in a thin layer of egg yolk. When all of your pasties are covered, place the baking tray back into the oven for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the pasties are golden.

Serve these wintry delights up with a green leafy salad and some wholesome boiled baby potatoes for the full effect.

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Did you enjoy this recipe? I’d love to know what you thought – hit me up in the comments below.