Spiced Orange, Oatmeal & Raisin Cookies

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cookie 10/06/2017

I realise that the majority of my vegan series has been curries and soups which is partly down to my personal preferences so to cater for those who don’t have quite such an obsession with Indian food, may I present some of the loveliest vegan cookies I have ever tried. The smell that filled my kitchen when baking these was heavenly and the flavour even more so.

Filled with warming spices and zesty orange, these cookies make a lovely autumn treat!

Serves 9

INGREDIENTS:

  • 30ml / 2 tbsp oat milk
  • 40ml /3 tbsprapeseed oil
  • 40g / 1⁄4 cuplight brown sugar
  • 1 tsporange extract
  • 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2 tbsp zest from 1 orange
  • 70g / 3⁄4 cup rolled oats
  • 50g / 1⁄3 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1⁄4 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 45g / 1⁄4 cup raisins

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan). Line a large baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Add the milk, oil and sugar to a mixing bowl and whisk together with a fork until fully combined.
  3. Whisk in the orange extract, vanilla extract and orange zest.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (oats, our, spices, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt). Tip the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient bowl and stir to combine. Stir in the raisins.
  5. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Using damp hands, press the dough balls into cookie shapes (these cookies don’t spread much).
  6. Bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned and dry to the touch.
  7. Leave to cool for a few minutes (the cookies will firm up as they cool) then use a thin spatula to slide them off the baking paper and transfer to a wire rack.
  8. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container where they will keep for a week. They also freeze really well.

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Slow-Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu

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screenshot_2016-10-17-22-20-21-11 17/10/2016

Slow cooked tender beef that pulls apart in a delicious herby, winey, rich tomato sauce intertwines with buttery cheesy pasta for a proper comfort meal that’s packed with flavour. This recipe makes a huge amount and if you do have any leftovers, they taste even better the next day!

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ pounds beef shin, in 2-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped leaves for garnish
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thickly sliced
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 400g can peeled whole cherry or plum tomatoes
  • 1 pound pappardelle
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

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Method:

  1. Season beef with salt and pepper to taste. Place a heavy cast iron pan over medium-high heat, and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add beef. Stir until beef is well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add rosemary and sage sprigs, onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and continue to simmer until liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices. Bring contents of pot to a simmer. Place in an oven preheated to 140C, covered, or on the stove over the lowest heat for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Using two forks, shred the meat and vegetables. Discard herb stems. Loosely cover pan and return it to low heat to keep warm.
  4. Place a large pot of lightly salted water over high heat to bring to a boil. Add pappardelle to boiling water. As it cooks, scoop out 1/2 cup water and reserve. Cook pasta to taste then drain well. Return pasta to pot and add butter and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano; mix gently until butter has melted. Add a little reserved cooking water to loosen.
  5. To serve, lift pasta into each of six shallow bowls. Spoon beef ragù over top. Sprinkle each bowl with a pinch of rosemary, and a spoonful of cheese.

Frangipane Mince Pies

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image 08/12/2015

It’s Christmas time! That means mince pies and not just any mince pies…frangipane topped mince pies! I know.

I visited my best mate at the weekend and, entering into the Christmas spirit, we decided to bake a batch of these. Turns out we didn’t have a cupcake tin and no shops in Norwich sell them either so after roaming the streets and scouring all the shops for said tins we conceded and piled all the ingredients into a large cake tin and made a tart which we consumed in two nights! It was lovely and gooey from the oven and once cooled, was even better the next day. The flavours of the almond and spice really coe through when cool and the ground almonds and luxery fruit filling keep everything moist in the crisp pastry shell.

I returned home to my family the next day raving about how tasty the tart was and my mum had me baking another batch for her within minutes.

I have included the instructions for making both individual tarts and a large tart so make your decision and get baking!

Makes 18 or 1 large tart.

Ingredients:

PASTRY:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 75g butter, cut into cubes
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten

FRANGIPANE:

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 level tbsp plain flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp almond extract, or to taste

FILLING AND TOPPING:

  • jar of shop bought or homemade mincemeat flavoured with about 2 tbsp brandy (you won’t need it all)
  • a few flaked almonds
Method:
  1. To make the pastry, measure the flour, butter and icing sugar into a mixing bowl, then cut with a metal knife until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pour in the beaten egg and incorporate until the dough starts to form a ball. Knead lightly, wrap and chill for about 30 minutes if the pastry is not quite firm enough to roll out. Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C.
  2. To make the frangipane, put the butter and sugar into the unwashed processor and blend until soft and creamy. Scrape down the sides, add the eggs and continue to process. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled at this stage. Add the ground almonds, flour and almond extract, and mix briefly.
  3. Roll the pastry out thinly (handling as little as possible) on a lightly floured work surface and cut into 18 circles. Use to line the tins. Spoon a teaspoon of mincemeat into each tartlet and top with the frangipane mixture. There is no need to spread the mixture flat as it will level out in the oven (but do not overfill the tins). Sprinkle a few flaked almonds on top.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, watching carefully. Remove from the tins and allow to cool on a wire rack.

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VARIATION: If you want to make a large tart, you can use the exact quantity above to fill a 20-23cm lcake tin, which will take about 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven.

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If you have any leftover pastry, enrol the help of your friends and family and shape them into figures. Here you will see a beautiful grumpy cat, penguin with a santa hat, a lego block and a broccoli that looks like ‘somthing else’! Roll out the scraps, shape and bake for 12-15 minutes 😉

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Welsh Rarebit

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IMG_20151118_213733[1] 18/11/2015

There are many variations for this classic dish. Some recipes call for cayenne or paprika, others for ale. This version uses a cheesy bechamel as a base for a beautifully smooth and warming, tangy mustard sauce. A perfect treat for an indulgent brunch.

Ingredients:

  • A knob of butter
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • Approx 100ml milk
  • 40g Mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 2 slices of your favourite bread
  • 1 clove of garlic

Method:

  1. Make a roux by gently heating the butter in a small milk pan then adding the flour. Stir to combine and cook the flour.
  2. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly so lumps don’t form. Add enough milk to make a smooth sauce that is not too runny.
  3. Add the grated cheese and stir in until melted. Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and spring onions then check for seasoning. Remove from the heat.
  4. Toast the bread then cut the clove of garlic in half and rub one half of raw garlic on each slice of toasted bread. Spoon the cheese mix evenly onto each slice of toast then place under a preheated grill until browning and bubbly .