Crunchy Apple & Nut Butter Snack

Belated Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it!  I hope you are all enjoying the festivities and gearing yourself up for the New Year.

Do any of you make resolutions for the new year?  I used to make some when I was younger but by mid-January they had been forgotten about!  This year I’m going to try something different, instead of resolutions where I have to give up something, I’m going to try to add something to my life!

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Cottage Pie

There’s something very homely and comforting about cottage pie, it’s certainly perfect to have on these cold evenings; a real Winter warmer.

I try to sneak in extra vegetables in my pie and also I like to switch the topping each time I make it.  This recipe uses sweet potatoes and carrots but I’ve used sweet potatoes and parsnips, celeriac and the classic white potato.  Use what you have at hand, you can also switch up the veggies used.  Make it your own.

This recipe serves 2 but in the past I’ve made the mince mixture and portioned it in to individual sizes and frozen it so it’s easy to defrost and you just need to make the topping and pop it in the oven.

Cottage pie2

Serves 2

Ingredients

-250g organic minced beef

-1/2 Tbsp. rapeseed or olive oil

-1 small red onion, diced

-1 garlic clove, crushed

-handful of mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

-1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

-1 Tbsp. tomato puree mixed with 1/2 cup of water

-1 Tbsp. gluten free Worcestershire sauce

-1 bay leaf

-1/2 cup frozen peas

-salt and pepper to taste

Topping

-2 medium sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped

-1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

How To Make

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over a medium heat and add the onion.  Cook for a few minutes then add the garlic, continue cooking until the onion is soft and translucent.

Turn the heat up high and add the minced beef.  Cook quickly over a high heat until browned.  Drain off an excess fat.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the mushrooms.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms take on some colour.

Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and water, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf and peas.

Give everything a good mix, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Cook, uncovered for 30-40 minutes until sauce thickens.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

To make the topping, add the chopped potato and carrot to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.

Drain and mash.

Pre-heat oven to 190C/375F

It is best to let your mince mixture cool slightly before adding your topping else your topping may sink!

Pour the mince mixture in to a ovenproof casserole.

Spoon on your topping.  Make ridges in your topping using a fork as the pointy ridges will get lovely and crispy (this is of course optional!)

Cook your pie for 35-40minutes until the edges are brown and it is piping hot.

Cottage Pie

Enjoy 🙂

Winter Coleslaw

Coleslaw is often thought of a side dish for Summer months, usually to accompany a few burgers and sausages from the annual barbecue.  Using seasonal vegetables, coleslaw can be eaten all year round…much to my delight!

Winter coleslaw

Now, some store bought coleslaws are, well, grim.  All you can taste is onion and they are either too watery or overly loaded with mayo.  In this recipe I’ve omitted the onion and instead of mayonnaise have used yoghurt.  A little grated red onion would be nice through it but I didn’t have any in and to be honest didn’t miss it.

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Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Root veg stew

This recipe was a happy accident.  I needed to use up some root veg that I had and wanted to do something different instead of roasting and the result was this dish.  When I first made it, I put in about 500ml of stock but it was too watery for my liking, I prefer a thicker stew so lessened the amount of liquid the next time I made it and preferred it.

When I first started cooking if a dish didn’t work the first time, that it was it, I thought I was a failure, shouldn’t venture into the kitchen, I should stick to what I know ie spaghetti Bolognese.  Now, however, if a dish doesn’t work first time, I think about what I could to make it better, what ingredients to switch about, do timings or measurements need to be different, it’s all a learning experience.

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Baba Ganoush (Aubergine Dip)

When I lived in the Middle East I discovered so many delicious foods not only from the local region but from India, Thailand and Sri Lanka to name a few.  This dip is a firm favourite of mine.   There seem to be a few variations of it across the Middle East, some with chilli powder, some with paprika, they both taste great! I used to (and still sometimes do) have it alongside some hummus, falafel and stuffed vine leaves or just on its own with some carrot sticks or  gluten free flat bread; either as a snack or as part of a meal you’ll not be disappointed.

Baba ganoush

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