Recipe: Winter smoothie

I’m really pleased with this one! I decided to make a smoothie especially for winter – for enjoying after a chilly run; as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up; or just for the appley, tangy, gingery joy of it. Drink cold, straight from the blender, or heat gently in a pan for a wintery drink that will really warm the cockles. This recipe yields one large serving.
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Recipe: Apple and blackberry crumble cake {an award-winner!}

This is one of my absolute favourite cakes. I’ve made it so many times – including for a Women’s Institute’s cake stall at a street festival, for various afternoon teas, and more recently for the cake table at my lovely friend Jennie’s wedding – when it actually won a prize! I’d never won a prize for my baking before, so to say I was surprised is an understatement. Thrilling!
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Recipe: The perfect bircher muesli

For those of us who eat breakfast at work, it can be tricky to strike the balance between healthy and filling; easy and cheap; tasty and transportable. Daily purchases from chain shops can add up to hundreds of pounds each year; but equally, you want to be able to grab your breakfast and go in the mornings. I’ve been experimenting with different breakfasts for literally years – and with this bircher muesli I think I’ve found the answer.
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Recipe: Easy spiced apple compote

In my previous post, I briefly mentioned ways of using up fruit and veg that have seen better days. Here is another really quick and easy way of using up apples languishing in the fruit bowl – a little too wrinkled to eat on their own as a snack, but still good for cooking up in a pan with some warming spices.
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Recipe: Celeriac, apple and chestnut soup

A warming and flavoursome soup, perfect for blustery winter days. It’s a joyful celebration of the season’s bounty – the creamy earthiness of the chestnuts is a good foil to the celeriac’s crisp taste and the apple’s perky sweetness.

The recipe below is vegan, but if you like, serving it with some fried bacon lardons sprinkled over the top would add a satisfyingly salty crunch. It would also be delicious swirled through with a spoonful of crème fraîche.

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Prep time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Makes 4 large or 6 small portions

 

Cook’s notes:

The apples I used for this were slightly old and wrinkly, but it doesn’t matter at all once they’re peeled and blended. Soup is a very forgiving medium for past-their-best fruits and vegetables.

Unless you’re feeding a crowd, you might want to decant the soup into freezer bags in portions, labelling each portion with the contents and date it was made. In the past I have unearthed far too many containers of unidentifiable frozen stuff (chicken stock? soup?) and am now scrupulous about labelling!

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Celeriac, apple and chestnut soup


Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 200g vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 large (or 2 small) eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp thyme (dried or fresh)
  • Salt and pepper to season

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, over a medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onion and soften for a few minutes, stirring so the onion doesn’t catch or brown.
  • Add the celeriac and apple(s), and allow to soften for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the chestnuts, stock and thyme, increase the heat, and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes, until the celeriac is tender and can be easily sliced with a knife.
  • Remove from the heat, allow the soup to cool slightly, then blitz with a handheld blender, or in a food processor until it is very smooth – there should be no pieces of veg lurking! Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Reheat if needed, and serve with warm crusty bread.