Individual Bramley Apple Crumbles

It came to my attention over the weekend that this week was in fact Bramley Apple Week! Obviously this was an opportunity to make my favourite dessert, a buttery and spicy apple crumble. It also inspired me to find out a bit more about Britain’s favourite cooking apple.

I grew up with the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” which I used to take literally. Now I know there are plenty of other factors in keeping good health. Apples are well known for their health benefits though and are full of vitamin C and fibre! Does this make my favourite pudding any less virtuous? I don’t think so!

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I actually used frozen apples for this recipe. I’d never used them before so I was apprehensive but they worked fantastically! These only cost £1 from Ocado and they saved us the peeling and chopping that usually comes with an apple dessert. I also decided to make two smaller crumbles rather than a normal family sized one. Me and my boyfriend like slightly different flavours in our apples so this was perfect!

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First I split the frozen apples between the two dishes and we both added our own flavourings. We both used maple syrup then I added mostly vanilla to mine and Steven added mostly cinnamon to his. Then it was just a case of whacking the crumble on the top and putting them in the oven for 20 minutes!

A gorgeous, comforting dessert in half an hour and a perfect way to celebrate Bramley Apple Week.

Recipe

Ingredients:

One packet of frozen apples or 4-5 fresh apples

2 cups of gluten free plain flour

1 cup of vegan margarine (I used Pure Sunflower)

1 cup of sugar

Cinnamon to taste (around 1/2 tsp)

Vanilla sugar

Cinnamon sugar

Chopped nuts (optional)

1 tbsp maple syrup (for each pie)

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Method:

1) Split the apple slices between the dishes and add 1 tbsp maple syrup and cinnamon/vanilla to taste. Give a mix to coat all of the slices.

2) Add the margarine and flour to a bowl and crumble together with your fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar with a wooden spoon.

3) Cover the apple mixture with the crumble mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon/vanilla sugar and chopped nuts.

4) Place in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until the apples are bubbling and the top is golden

5) Enjoy while warm!

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Throwback Thurday (Mofo #4) – Peanut Squash Stew

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We’re coming to the end of our first MOFO week! Hasn’t it flown by? I’ve been enjoying reading everybody’s posts. Make sure you keep an eye out on Sunday for my seven favourites!

My theme this year is making recipes from pregan cookbooks both vegan and gluten free. On Thursdays I will be sharing recipes that you will have eaten before you went vegan but with a conscientious twist!

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Delia’s how to cheat at cooking is a 2008 book aimed at the more “lazy” cook. This is a book full of frozen mashed potatoes and ready made pastry – not something I would usually be interested in! Then I thought why shouldn’t we get to make easy recipes too? The recipe I’ve chosen includes spices from jars and tinned tomatoes which makes it just that much easier to pull together.

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Delia’s West African Groundnut Stew is a spicy stew made with braising beef, onions, carrot and swede. Rather than use a meat substitute here I realised that the flavours of the chilli and allspice would go fantastically with some butternut squash and my vegan version was born!

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Peanut Squash Stew

(Inspired by Delia’s West African Groundnut Stew)

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Ingredients

250g Butternut Squash (cubed)

100g Potato (cubed)

50g Frozen Sweetcorn

1 onion (chopped)

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp allspice

3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

150ml vegetable stock

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Method

1) Add a small amount of oil to a heavy bottomed pan and lightly fry the onions and spices for a few minutes

2) Add the squash and potatoes, stirring to coat in the spices

3) Add the tinned tomatoes, peanut butter and stock to the mixture and bring to the boil

4) Simmer for half an hour or until the vegetables have softened

5) Serve with rice and poppadoms!

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This stew was warm, comforting and peanut buttery! Exactly how comfort food should be!

Apple Pie Smoothie (Vegan/GF)

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Last week something marvellous happened. We got a break from the horrible hot weather and had a couple of days that were reminiscent of autumn! I will admit that I’m probably the only person in the country to be happy when I opened my curtains and found it was raining and a bit chilly. What can I say? As much as I love wearing floaty skirts and eating picnics in the sun, Autumn is my natural time of the year. The rain immediately had me craving cinnamon and I headed into the kitchen to see what I could rustle up.

I named this the apple pie smoothie because it contained the spices that I love sprinkling over apples before cooking them. I added some frozen bananas, a sweet red apple and a splash of coconut milk and had a gorgeous mid morning smoothie!

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Apple Pie Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 frozen bananas

1 red apple

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

a splash of coconut milk (the carton kind – I use Koko brand)

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Method:

Put all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth!

Feel free to change the amounts of the above ingredients depending on how you like your smoothies. The more banana and less milk you use, the thicker your drink will be. You can also adapt the spices to your own taste buds.

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Do you miss your autumn treats in the summer?

Vegan Four Seasons Pizza with a Sweet Potato Crust (GF)

 

For my birthday last year I was given a copy of the Flying Apron Cookbook by my boyfriend. I had never before heard of Flying Apron but was delighted to find out that it was a gluten free and vegan bakery which can be found in Seattle and Redmond, America. Their book includes a beautiful recipe for gluten free and vegan sweet potato bread which I have used a few times now to make loaves. This week I decided to try out the other suggestion in the book which was to use the dough to make pizza bases instead.

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All I had to decide on then were the toppings! Whenever I used to go out for pizzas I was always intrigued by the four seasons, a pizza which is divided into quarters and topped with mushrooms, pepperoni, anchovies and capers. This meaty, cheesy and gluten containing pizza is obviously not suitable for me! I decided to create a take on this classic pizza using fresh vegetables to replace the meat and as you can see, the result is a colourful and healthy alternative. It almost certainly tastes a lot better too.

Ingredients – Makes 2 pizzas

1 recipe – Flying Apron Bakery House Bread

1 tin of tomato puree

4 types of vegetable (I used tomatoes, peppers, spinach and mushrooms)

mixed herbs

garlic granules

nutritional yeast

salt and pepper

Method

1) Follow the directions in the recipe to make the dough for your pizza bases.

2) Split the dough into two halves and roll each one out to your desired thickness

3) Rub olive oil into both sides of each base and lay onto 2 baking trays.

4) Cut off the excess dough to make the bases into long rectangles (note – I used the off trimmings to make breadsticks to dip in hummus!)

5) Spread the tomato puree onto the bases and then top with your desired toppings, ensuring the layers do not overlap.

6) Sprinkle with the herbs, garlic, nutritional yeast and salt/pepper.

7) Bake at 180 for around 15-20 minutes

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Who says vegans can’t have good pizza? What are your favourite toppings?

My Gluten Free and Vegan Foody Christmas

 

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I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas and a wonderful start to the New Year! As you would expect, I indulged in some new recipes over Christmas. My Christmas cake this year was a gluten free and vegan fruit cake which I decorated in a pink and purple theme for a change. It wasn’t a traditional Christmas cake as it didn’t have any alcohol in it and was very much a moist ginger cake with mixed fruit inside. I love marzipan but only ever eat it at Christmas so there was a thick layer underneath the icing!

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One of the most common questions I get when people find out I’m vegan is “what do you eat for Christmas dinner?” Many vegans are fans of a traditional nut roast or a meat substitute for their dinners but I fancied something different this year. I had a roasted butternut squash which was stuffed with mushrooms and chestnuts and tasted deliciously festive. It was served with the traditional roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips and some sprouts. Unfortunately I missed out on buying a gluten free Christmas pudding so I had the slightly less traditional dessert of strawberry and ginger crumble. It tasted much nicer than any Christmas pudding would have!

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What were your favourite foods over Christmas? Do you stick with the traditional menu or try to experiment a bit more?

 

 

Vegan MoFo #18 – A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism (Pastry)

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It’s day 18 of Vegan MoFo and we’re up to P in our alphabet of gluten free veganism. My favourite autumn/winter foods before I went gluten free were pies and pasties but this is the first time I’ve attempted a gluten free pastry.

I used the recipe from Scarletrosita to make a lovely crumbly pastry and made a mushroom mix for these garlic mushroom and leek pasties.

Ingredients

1 pastry recipe 

1 packet of button mushrooms

1 portobello mushroom

1 leek

handful of spinach, rocket and watercress

1 vegetable stock cube

2 tbsp cornflour

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Method

1) Make the pastry dough in advance and put in the fridge, wrapped in cling film

2) Fry the mushrooms and leeks in a bit of olive oil with some garlic. When cooked add a small amount of vegetable stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the greens and mix in until wilted. Dissolve the cornflour in about 4tbsp of cold water and add to the sauce, stirring to let thicken. Leave the mushroom mix to stand until cool.

3) Split the pastry into three or four segments and roll out into long rectangles. In the centre of each, add a few tablespoons of the mushroom mixture. Fold the rectangle over and pinch the sides together. Put two knife pricks in the top of each pasty and bake at 180 degrees for around half an hour or until golden brown.

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I served my pasty with sauteed potatoes, sweetcorn and tomatoes but it would go very well with mashed potato and gravy!

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Have you had any success with gluten free pastry?

Comforting Mushroom and Spinach Soup

It’s been a long time since I last posted. Hopefully I’m back to normal now after a crazy summer of preparing for festivals, going to festivals and then recovering from them multiple times in a row! Please accept my apologies for the lack of posts. Hopefully this lovely soup recipe will make up for it!

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Over the past week I’ve been suffering the after effects of a gluten attack. While I’m pretty sure that I’ve not eaten any gluten, some cross contamination seems to have occured somewhere. Any coeliacs reading this probably know the symptoms which for me include tiredness, stomach aches and a weakened immune system. For the last couple of days I’ve been full of a cold and thankfully the weather has gotten cool enough for me to indulge in the ultimate comfort food – soup!

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The following soup came together when I had an abundance of mushrooms and some fresh spinach. I always love the two together and the thought of an earthy mushroom soup made me feel well enough to head to the kitchen.

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I served this soup with some garlic bread which I made using DS brown ciabatta which I cut in half and smeared with margarine blended with garlic powder and mixed herbs. I then put it in the oven until the margarine had melted and the sides of the bread had gone crispy.

Mushroom Spinach Soup

Ingredients

  • 500g mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Large handful spinach
  • 1 stock pot (I used Kallo)
  • Olive oil

Method

  1. Fry the onion in a tiny bit off olive oil until soft
  2. Add the chopped mushrooms and courgette and stir until slightly soft
  3. Add enough water to cover the vegetables and bring to the boil
  4. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes
  5. Add the spinach and cook for a further five minutes
  6. Blend and serve with lots of black pepper

What’s your ultimate comfort food?