Fragrant Stewed Apples (and the best ever apple sauce!)

Such simple comfort food!

We often wind up making this recipe when the apples (or pears!) we’ve bought are really floury or soft but we don’t want them to go to waste. My biggest little one is very excited whenever this recipe appears. He has Oral Allergy Syndrome and reacts quite badly to raw apple, but cooked he can handle it!!

Like most of my recipes I take the simple (lazy?!) option!

As well as taking less time, leaving  the skin on the fruit is terrific for the added fibre and nutrients. Very simple, and you don’t need to add any extra sweeteners.

  • 6 apples (whichever kind you like)
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 6 cloves
  • 1/4 cup water

Thermal Cooker Method: Core and slice the apples, place them in the machine, sprinkle over cinnamon and cloves. Then use a peeler to remove the yellow layer only of the lemon. Add the strips to the top of the apples.

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Add in the water and set for 15 minutes, speed 1, ST.

Stove top method: place all of the ingredients into a large sauce pan, cook, stirring frequently, with the lid on in between stirring. Will take about 15-20 minutes on the stove.

If you want a sweeter fruit desert, add in a handful of sultanas during the last few minutes of cooking.

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Place in an air tight container in the fridge and use for up to a week. Remove the peel and cloves before serving.

If you want a most delicious, fragrant, thick apple sauce instead, follow the same steps as above, then remove the lemon rind and either transfer to a blender or set a speed 4 for 15 seconds, scrape down and repeat.

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How can I use stewed apples?

  • Eat them on their own!
  • Mix it with yoghurt for breakfast or dessert
  • Use it as a topping for your soaked overnight oats
  • Add it to your cereal
  • Add in some roasted, crunchy nuts and have it for an afternoon ‘pick-me-up’
  • Serve it as a side to a soft tea cake

And the sauce?

  • Perfect if you’re doing baby food
  • Mix it through yoghurt
  • Use it as an egg or sugar replacer in cakes and baking (check out my Apple, Pumpkin and Oat muffins, or my Maple Cinnamon Weet-bix slice)
  • Use it with you next pork roast or pulled pork burgers.
  • Freeze it in ice cube trays so you can grab it out at short notice
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Delicious with yoghurt for dessert!

Enjoy 🙂

Creamy Mushroom Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff was my one of my husband’s favourite childhood meals. And I used to make a slow cooked version for him (it is yummy – and you can find it here), but as we’ve been reducing our meat consumption, it has fallen off the menu in the last year or so.

I decided to give a completely non-meat version a go and was very happy with the results! Peter thoroughly enjoyed it – and even took the left overs for lunch the next day … although he still wants the beef version to make an occasional appearance!

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and crushed
  • 400g button mushrooms – add in different types for a variety in texture if you like
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme and rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt flakes
  • 1/4 cup flour (spelt or GF)
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional yeast (optional but add for depth of flavour)
  • 2/3 cup plant based milk (I used a high protein soy milk for a really creamy sauce)
  • 1 cup veggie stock (the beef style Masssel stock gives a more authentic Stroganoff flavour, but any veggie stock is fine)
  • Vegetables or noodles to serve

Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pan on the stove.

Add in the olive oil and cook for a few minutes until it starts to become translucent, add in the garlic and allow to cook for another minutes.

Add in the chopped mushrooms, stir will to coat in oil and onion mix then allow to cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushroom soften.

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Mix together the flour, nutritional yeast, herbs, paprika and salt. Then sprinkle this dry mix over the top of the mushrooms and stir well until the mix is well combined.

Add in the hot stock and plant milk, then stir well. Bring the mix to a gentle simmer.

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Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the liquid is thick and creamy.

If you love noodles (I don’t – sorry!), stir through your cooked and drained pasta here, to coat it with the stroganoff before serving.

I add in some green beans at this point and simmer for a minutes or 2 so that they still have a bit of crunch, and serve them on a bed of carrot noodles  – SO good!

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Serves 3-4

This one isn’t suitable for freezing but it does well as leftovers for lunch the next day!

Enjoy!

Mushroom Meatballs

People are choosing to decrease meat consumption for many reasons; ethical, environmental, health and budgetary.

Whatever your reason, one of the ways you can decrease your consumption is by not always focusing on meat as the centre of your meal. Thinking about it as the side instead.

For me, it’s a juggle between my preference for a largely plant based diet and my husband’s preference to live as a carnivore!

These meatballs were a pretty good compromise and they were very well received.

  • a dozen  medium button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • half a brown onion, diced
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 500g beef mince
  • 200g cooked chick peas (about 1/2 a tin)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • olive oil to cook

Place the garlic oil in a hot frying pan, fry the onion until it begins to soften, then add in the mushrooms.

Fry the mushrooms until they begin to soften and then add the grated carrot.

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Mix well, add in salt and pepper to taste, thyme and the coconut aminos.

Fry, stirring regularly, until the carrot is soft.

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Into your food processors, place the beef mince, the mix from the frying pan and the chick peas.

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Process until well combined and fairly smooth. (Speed 4, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat)

Place mix into the fridge for at least half an hour but up to a full day – this will help the mix tighten and hold together better when you cook it later on.

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Form teaspoons of the mix into small balls and then place into a frying pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil – don’t have the frying pan searing hot or you’ll burn them before they cook properly. Cook on each side until golden brown and cooked through.

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Next time I make them, I will bake them after spraying with olive oil instead of frying  – I’ll update when I do.

Makes about 24. Serve with your favourite sides – pasta, veggies, salads, or even in a sandwich!

These don’t freeze particularly well (the tend to fall apart a little bit) but they are delicious for lunches over the next couple of days. I had mine with salad and avocado – yum!

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Enjoy

 

Pumpkin pastry parcels

I guess this one isn’t so much as recipe as an idea or a suggestion!

We do our very best to reduce waste from our kitchen.

So many ways to make some little changes that help –

  • We menu plan,
  • Cook in bulk,
  • Freeze leftover for work lunches,
  • Make soup to use up veggies that are past their best
  • All veggie peelings and scraps go to our worms and so back to the garden,
  • Do a swap – we give out overload of veggie scraps to friends with chooks (and sometimes get eggs in return!)

One of the other ways to reduce waste is to get a bit creative when you’re down to the last few bits of veg before shopping day!

I had about 1/4 of a butternut pumpkin, a couple of handfuls of spinach, a small handful of left over roast chicken and the dregs of my walnut container left. Together with a few basic pantry staples – that sounds like weekend lunch!

My husband reckons they are better than a bought pie (and his body feels better afterwards) and he says they’re much nicer than the ones he can buy at a cafe in the city – for an obscene price!

We used: Pumpkin, spinach, walnuts, cooked chicken, puff pastry, Italian herbs, salt pepper, olive oil (garlic infused) and coconut aminos.

But use whatever left overs you have and enjoy and get creative!

*If you don’t eat meat – we often us about half a tin of butter beans or cannellini beans instead – just pop them in the oven together with the pumpkin in the last 10 minutes of roasting time.

*If you don’t eat nuts – pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds work really well here too – use them in exactly the same way as the walnuts.

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Dice the pumpkin into small pieces.

Then roast the pumpkin with some garlic olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian herbs (about 200C for 35-40 mins).

Place pumpkin in a bowl together with the chopped chicken, walnuts and spinach and then add about 2 tsp of coconut aminos. Mix well so that the pumpkin gets a bit mashed up.

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Place mixture into the centre of pastry squares (obviously – use whichever pastry suits your diet)

Fold the pastry over the mix to form a parcel and then use the fork to press the edges of the pastry together.

Bake in a 200C fan forced oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden, puffed and flaky.

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Enjoy 🙂

 

Roasted Garlic Mushroom Stacks

Last night we celebrated 17 years together.

Kid free – but we had to do our tax …. ah well, at least we got to have a yummy dinner!!

Peter says that if I had presented him with this kind of meal 15 years ago, he might have run … but he has gradually learned that you can have delicious flavour and texture without meat. So if you’re looking to add a meat free dish to your repertoire – this might be a very simple place to start – and it has 2 enthusiastic thumbs up from the carnivore!

  • Butternut pumpkin, two discs, about an inch thick
  • olive oil to brush
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 tsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 large ripe avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • Mixed salad greens
  • Handful pine nuts OR pumpkin seeds

Peel your pumpkin discs, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle the nutritional yeast over them. Place on a lined baking tray and into a 200C oven. After about 25 minutes, turn the pumpkin over and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

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While the pumpkin is cooking dry fry your pine nuts/seeds in a hot frying pan until they are golden – be careful… it doesn’t take long! Then set them aside.

Melt together the butter and garlic olive oil and brush it over both sides of the mushrooms. Place these on the baking tray with the pumpkin discs (that have now been in the oven for about 35 minutes). Sprinkle over the thyme and return to the oven for about 15 minutes.

Mash together the avocado with the lemon juice plus the salt and pepper.

Place the salad greens on the plate. Top with the roasted pumpkin, then spread a thick layer of the avocado on to the pumpkin. Top with the mushrooms and then add the pine nuts over the meal.

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When you remove the mushrooms from the baking tray, you’ll see that they have produced a dark juice … don’t waste it – drizzle it over the salad leaves!

 

Sprinkle the top of the mushroom with a little extra thyme and salt.

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Serve immediately.

Enjoy 😊

 

Maple Ginger Pear Tea Cake

My husband’s request for cake is always ginger cake with lemon icing … Lots of icing!

Super simple and easy to knock up when you’ve got visitors arriving… Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

  • 1 3/4 cups spelt flour (I do half wholemeal) OR 1 2/3 cups plain GF flour mix
  • 1/4 cup almond/seed meal
  • 2 tsp GF baking powder
  • 2 heaped tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 medium sized pear (or apple)
  • 4 tbsp aquafaba OR 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 2 tbsp mild tasting oil

Mix together all of the dry ingredients (speed 4, 10 seconds), then set aside.

Core and dice the pear (leave the skin on). Dice and then steam until soft (a few minutes in a microwave or ST Sp 1 for a few minutes)

Blend together the soft pear, syrup, oil and aquafaba/egg until smooth (speed 7, 8 seconds).

Pour the wet mix into the dry and mix until well combined (speed 4, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat).

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Pour into a lined baking tin and place into a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

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Allow to cool before icing.

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I actually enjoy this cake without icing …. but icing is pretty well Peter’s whole reason for eating cake, so there was no way I was going to be able to leave it off!

For the Icing:

  • 2 tsp vegan butter, very soft
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • pure icing sugar – between 1/2 and 1 cup depending on the consistency you want.
  • Fine lemon zest to top

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined and smooth. If you want an icing to drizzle over, use less icing sugar. If you want a thick icing to spread on the cake, use the increased amount.

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Top with zest before serving.

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This one freezes and defrosts well.

It is particularly nice accompanied by a good cuppa or our yummy ginger cordial mixed with soda water

Enjoy 🙂

 

Thai pumpkin soup

Hello soup weather!

I’ve been making this delicious, comforting soup for the past couple of years.

It is an absolute winner with Peter and I and Will. I’ll be honest though … It isn’t a favourite with the other small ones. 2 of them tolerate it … One of them will have a taste but that’s as far as it goes. 🤦

Ah well, you can’t win ’em all … And I’m delighted to have a freezer stocked with lunches!

  • 1.5kg butternut pumpkin
  • 400g sweet potato
  • 2 heaped tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • 1 heaped tbsp red thai curry paste (I like the Ayam brand)
  • 200ml coconut cream
  • 2L hot veggie stock

Place the curry paste into a hot saucepan and stir until fragrant.

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Home grown veg plus curry paste home made from homegrown lemongrass, chillies, onion and garlic – makes me SO happy!!

Add in the diced pumpkin and sweet potato and stir to coat the veggies in the paste.

Add in the stock and bring to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the veggies are very soft.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the coconut cream and the seed butter.

Use an immersion blender to blend until silky smooth.

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We like to serve with fresh damper 😋

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Makes about 10 serves and it freezes and defrosts well.

Enjoy 😊