Apple, Onion and Potato Parcel-Pies

2 packets ready-made puff pastry (dairy free)

1 tin potatoes, drained and crushed (not mashed)

3 red onions, finely chopped

2 dessert apples, chopped

100ml red wine

300g grated cheese (or vegan alternative)

1 egg, beaten (you can use soya or almond milk instead)

Handful fresh thyme, chopped

Handful fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tbsp oil

 

SERVES 6

 

1. Put oil in pan over medium heat.

2. Add red onion and apple.

3. When the onion is translucent add the red wine and potato.

4. Heat through for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat and set to one side.

5. In a roasting tin or baking tray, roll out one of the pastry pieces. Do the same with the second piece of pastry in a second tin.

6. Place half the onion mixture onto one half of one of the pieces of pastry. Do the same with the second half of the mixture onto the second piece of pastry.

7. Sprinkle half the cheese over one and half over the other.

8. Sprinkle half the thyme and rosemary over each.

9. Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and fold the pastry over to make large parcels. Press the edges together all the way round.

10. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (fan), 200°C (no fan), for 30 minutes or until risen and golden.

11 . Serve slices of ‘pie’ with baked beans and a green salad.

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Heavenly Healthier Chocolate Cake

I have been experimenting with gluten free, grain free and dairy free cakes for a while now, and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.

Lower in fat and sugar than typical chocolate cake this recipe even contains fruit, yet still tastes decadent with its blend of vanilla, cinnamon and coffee. It also contains cacao powder, which is a good source of nutrients and is naturally sweet. Go ahead: try it warm from the oven with homemade yoghurt and blueberries. Mmm…

You will need:

4 small apples

1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh or bottled

2 tbsp coconut oil, softened (vegetable oil will work here too)

2 tsp instant coffee (I use cafedirect fair trade organic decaffeinated  coffee – caffeine doesn’t like me)

3 medium eggs

2 tbsp powdered stevia

30ml almond milk

2 tbsp rice malt syrup

65g coconut flour

50g raw cacao powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

7″ baking tin with a removable base, lightly greased

 

1. Chop the apples and remove the cores. Put the oven on to 180°C (160°C fan).

2. Place apple pieces in a small saucepan with the lemon juice and just enough water to cover.

3. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 10  minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a food processor place the coconut oil, coffee, stevia, rice malt syrup, milk and eggs. Whizz on a high speed until well combined using the blade attachment.

5. Add to the food processor the flour, cacao, baking powder, vanilla extract and cinnamon.

6. Strain the cooked apples and add to the mixture.

7. Whizz again for a full minute, scraping down the sides as needed.

8. You should have a soft dropping consistency. If not, add a tablespoon of almond milk or apple water.

9. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in a pre-heated oven for 35 minutes or until a metallic skewer comes out clean. The top of the cake should be crackled but not burnt.

10. Store in the fridge (if it lasts that long).

 

adapted from this recipe: 

http://www.theculinaryjumble.com/2016/02/24/deeply-rich-chocolate-cake/

Healthy No Grain Chocolatey Breakfast

I initially tried this with wheatgrass powder instead of the cacao powder. It was disgusting. It looked like dried pond scrapings. It tasted worse. So revolting was it, indeed, that I ate a bowl on two consecutive mornings and then decided to throw the rest away. I hate wasting food, but it really was vile! However, this altered recipe is very palatable.

Yes, it’s possible to combine healthy eating and chocolatey-ness and have it for breakfast! This takes just a few minutes to prepare but will last for many breakfasts. Although the initial ingredients are expensive, a little goes a very long way, so this does not become too uneconomical.

 

You will need:

150g chia seeds

150g raw buckwheat

50g banana chips, crushed

50g dried cranberries

50g pumpkin seeds

30g popped amaranth

20g gogi berries

15g dried apple pieces

1 tbsp raw cacao powder (or more, to taste)

 

1. Wash buckwheat and leave to dry on a clean tea towel or kitchen roll paper. If you do this last thing at night it will be dry by the morning.

2. In a bowl combine the chia seeds, banana chips, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, popped amaranth, gogi berries, apple, cacao and fully dry buckwheat.

3. Stir gently to combine.

4. When fully combined, place in an airtight container.

 

TO USE:

Place one tablespoonful in a bowl. Add around 150-200ml water or almond milk and leave to soak for at least 15 minutes (you can even leave it overnight) before eating.

 

TOP TIPS

Watch this YouTube video for how to pop amaranth (you can also buy it ready-popped):

https://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=sqbQDKxDyW4

 

 

 

 

Simple Salad

Takes 10 minutes to prepare.

You will need:

1 cucumber, cubed

250g cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (or salad tomatoes, diced)

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

3 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)

1/4 tsp Dijon, whole grain or French mustard

 

  1. Combine the cucumber, tomatoes and carrot in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad.
  4. Mix well.

 

Serve with rice, jacket potatoes, quiche, etc.

 

PIZZA WRAPS

A tasty, quick midweek tea inspired by my daughter’s school dinners. Serves 4.

You will need:

8 tortilla wraps

Olive oil (or vegetable oil)

100g frozen onions

75g frozen chopped peppers

Tin of chopped tomatoes, drained

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 ball of mozzarella (or cheese of your choice – I use lacto-free cheese or soya cheese)

1 courgette, chopped

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over a medium heat and add the onions, peppers and courgette.
  2. Cook through gently until soft and glistening.
  3. Add all other ingredients except tortillas and cheese.
  4. Heat through on a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and piping hot, about 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 200°C (180°C fan) and put a large casserole dish in to warm up.
  6. Chop the mozzarella into strips or grate if using another cheese.
  7. Lay out a tortilla wrap and add 1/8 of the tomato mixture in a dollop just below the centre.
  8. Add a little mozzarella or other cheese on top.
  9. Pick up the left and right sides of the circle and fold inwards to create a rectangle.
  10. Fold the bottom up, and then continue rolling upwards.
  11. Take casserole dish out of the oven and lightly grease with oil (carefully as it is hot).
  12. Place pizza wrap into casserole dish, folded side downwards.
  13. Repeat with remaining seven tortillas until all of the tomato mixture is used up.
  14. Drizzle the wraps with a little olive oil.
  15. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  16. Serve with a green salad.

TOP TIPS

Why not try wholemeal, herb or garlic wraps

Chapatis would also work well in place of the tortillas, or indeed any other kind of soft flatbread

VEGAN SULTANA SCONES

Sunday tea wouldn’t be the same without a freshly baked treat. These scones are light and fluffy as well as inexpensive. For a real treat serve with clotted cream and jam or freshly sliced strawberries. I don’t eat dairy and I can attest that these taste  l o v e l y  smeared with just jam or fruit spread.

You will need:

565g self-raising flour

1½ teaspoons cream of tartar

1 heaped teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

40g fair trade caster sugar (this recipe uses less sugar than standard scone recipes)

150g sultanas

150g margarine (I use vitalite)

450ml unsweetened almond milk

1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda and sugar.

2. Using a teaspoon, dot the margarine around on top of the mix.

3. Using your fingertips, rub the margarine into the flour mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.

4. Add the sultanas.

5. Gradually add the almond milk and mix to form a sticky dough.

6. Either roll out on a floured surface and cut into rounds, or shape roughly into circles on baking tray. Makes about 12 large scones.

7. Bake for 22 minutes at 200°C. Best served while still warm.

Summer Refresher

In an attempt to boost my family’s ‘five-a-day’, I recently bought a juicer. This is one of my best recipes so far. I urge you to try it. It’s gorgeous. Who knew healthy eating could be so much fun? 🙂

Serves 2

You will need:

100g watermelon (not including rind)

100g raspberries

200g carrots

1. Wash your fruit/veg.

2. Place the watermelon into the juicer, followed by the raspberries and finally the carrots.

3. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

TOP TIPS

Wash the juicer straight away after use, other wise the pulp can become difficult to clean off and could lead to staining or rust.

Although the recipe says to remove the watermelon rind, it is not necessary to remove the seeds.

Apple Turkey Lurkey (for those ubiquitous turkey leftovers lurking around after Christmas)

This is a risotto with an English twist, ideal for using up leftover turkey (or roast chicken or pork). Serves 6.

You will need:

300 – 500g cooked turkey meat (ours was a free range, local turkey – still festive, but more eco-friendly)

1 litre pure apple juice

1 tablespoon tomato puree

1 litre chicken stock

500g Arborio rice (if this is too expensive, use long grain rice)

1 small onion, chopped

1 leftover cooked sausage/chipolata/small chunk of haslet (optional), chopped into small chunks

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

200g frozen peas

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a large-bottomed pan and add the onion and rice. Heat through until the onion is soft and the rice is glistening, stirring gently.

2. Add a ladle-full of apple juice and heat through gently. Meanwhile, tear the turkey into bite size pieces.

3. Add the turkey, tomato puree, sausage/haslet (if using) and peas with another ladle-full of apple juice. Stir gently.

4. On a medium-high heat, continue adding a ladle of apple juice every couple of minutes, stirring gently with a wooden spoon so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

5. Once you have added all the apple juice in this manner, add the chicken stock using the same technique.

6. Continue stirring until heated through and all the liquid has been absorbed.

7. Bueno! Serve and enjoy.

TOP TIPS

Try serving with dollops of leftover cranberry sauce. 

Scarlet Blast

I made the following smoothie this morning for breakfast and it was so good that I didn’t even notice that I’d forgotten to take my medication.

Handful fresh spinach

Handful blackberries

Handful raspberries

400ml water

2 small dessert apples, chopped

2 tablespoons lime juice (I cheated and used bottled lime juice)

1 tablespoon agave syrup

1. Place ingredients in blender.

2. Blitz until smooooooth.

3. Drink straight away otherwise the liquid separates from the solids and it’s not so nice.

Serves four (unless you’re greedy and only share it between two, like we did)

TOP TIPS

If spinach, raspberries and blackberries are not in season, you can use frozen versions. When using frozen, I use spinach direct from the freezer, but usually defrost any fruit overnight in the fridge. 

Ice would also go well with this, especially on a hot day.

Berry Boost Smoothie

Spinach, blackberries, raspberries and oats – four foods that are bursting with goodness and a great way to give you a delicious, low in sugar energy boost of a morning. I also give this smoothie the credit of preventing me from developing a full blown cold, unlike several other family members, and of helping increase my overall energy levels (I have health problems, so this is a big deal for me).

You will need:

1 handful frozen spinach or 3 handfuls fresh spinach

1 handful blackberries

1 handful raspberries

1 handful oats

1 litre of unsweetened non-dairy milk such as almond milk, rice milk or soya milk

1 dessertspoonful agave syrup/molasses/malt extract (optional)

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

Method:

Whizz together in a powerful blender until smooth, then decant and enjoy! Serves five.