Category Archives: baking

banana raisin flapjacks

Flapjacks with no refined sugar.flapjacksf

Ingredients:
2 cups of porridge oats
1 large tablespoon of vegetable margarine
1 banana, mashed
a handful of raisins
a splash of unsweetened soya milk

Melt the marg in a pan and then stir in the oats. Mix in the banana and raisins, add the soya milk and stir well. Press the mixture into a flat cake tin or oven proof dish (10×10 inch did well) and bake for 10-15 minutes in a hot oven. Score while still warm, leave to cool and cut into squares.

If you would rather have a more traditional sugar laden flapjack, add a tablespoon of golden syrup to the mix, but really, they’re delicious without it!

Chocolate variant: add two heaped teaspoons (or more!) of cocoa in with the banana and raisins 🙂

Recipe inspired by Lucy who always adds banana to her flapjacks 🙂



apple pie

Especially frugal if you should happen to have apple trees in your garden, but thrifty even if you have to buy them. These quantities make two pies – one for eating now and one for freezing – adjust quantities for your own needs.

Ingredients:
600g/18oz/2 and a quarter cups of plain flour
300g/9oz. vegetable margarine
about half a cup of cold water
200/g/6oz/1 cup sugar
about ten medium sized cooking apples (Brambley are good) – peeled and sliced

Preheat oven to 190C/380F degrees. Grease 2 pie dishes (9 inch rounds do well but any shape will do). For the pastry: rub the margarine into flour until you have a breadcrumb like consistency. Add the cold water and mix to a dough (by hand is best) – add gradually as flours do vary and you may need slightly more or slightly less water than stated. Divide your dough into four (two bases and two tops) and roll out the two bases (on a floured board or surface) and place in the pie dishes. Place the apple slices into them, cover with the sugar and roll out tops – place on top and seal with water. Cut an X in the centre of each pie and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake in oven for about half an hour or until pastry is cooked and apple/sugar mixture is bubbling (peek into the X!). Delicious hot with ice cream or cold on its own.

kid tip: if you have some left over pastry let your kids (or yourself!) make some little pies of their own – pastry shapes topped with jam, chocolate, sweets or marmite go down well especially if made by one’s own fair hand!! They take about 10-15 minutes to cook, being much smaller.

variations: this basic piecrust can be filled with anything you like – blackcurrant and apple is good in the summer, brambles/blackberries grow wild in the woods in autumn and can be used in place of apples, as can rhubarb. The same pastry can be used for savoury pies too – try mince or a grated carrot, cabbage and onion filling is tasty with gravy. Mixed roasted vegetable with herbs – let your imagination go (or use up the left-overs in your fridge!)

pie

An alternative, sugar free version has been sent to us by Peter: 1 apple pie flan = 9oz Tescos value eating apples, 90g dried stoned dates, 125g raisins, 12oz wholewheat flour, (as so cheap, could afford to use own brand organic wholewheat flour), 12oz flour, 6oz Tesco Pure soya margerine. Half pint water. Mix up flour and marg, rest/chill in fridge for 30 minutes. Bring the half pint to boil, turn down to simmer, add the dates, stir around, break up with a fork. (If doing more than one flan filling to put in freezer, don’t do loads of water, the reason of the water is to break up the dates). Chop up apples in processor, add apples and raisins to dates, mix all up, that is filling done. Get a standard flan case, (I use the one that bottom comes off, easy to remove flan). Smear the flan case with marge. Weigh out the dough, rollout 2 thirds of the dough, pop in flan case, tip- roll rolling pin around edge to remove excess over edge, pop the filling in. Wet inside edge of flan with water, rollout other third of dough. Place on top, pinch around edge with thumbs. I use a teaspoon handle to make a little hole in center of top of flan. Pop into the middle shelf of a preheated oven at 180 degrees C. Take out after 30 minutes and you have one lovely flan, very filling.

basic pasties

pasties

A truly versatile and cheap dish this as the filling can be more or less anything you want. Weve done basic vegetables here but leftovers can make a spectacular pasty to rival expensive ready made ones (chilli, curry, bean casserole). Making your own pastry is also very thrifty – at the time of writing value brands of flour come in at 43p for 1.5 kilos making the flour in this recipe cost just under 10p. If using margarine at £1 for 500g that’s your block of pastry for 40p all ready to make 4 substantial pasties (or one big pie).

Ingredients:
for the pastry:
300g of flour (any type you like really, self raising will puff up a little, plain won’t – we used wholemeal in these pics, white would be lighter in colour).
150g of vegetable margarine
tiny amount of water (2 or 3 tablespoons)
for the filling:
teaspoon of oil (olive or sunflower)
1 onion, chopped
1 medium sized potato, diced
1 carrot, diced
a little salt for seasoning

That would make the basic pasties but we added optional:
a teaspoon of finely chopped fresh thyme from garden (any herbs you like would do)
a half teaspoon of Vecon Stock (stock cube fine too)
a tablespoon of dried soya mince and a few spoons of water as needed for this and stock to combine well

other additions that spring to mind: frozen peas, red kidney beans, other root veg.

To make the pastry: place flour in a bowl. Break the marg into small pieces and rub it in to the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a very small amount of water and knead this into flour until you have firm dough (adding more water if too dry or more flour if too wet). Sprinkle flour on your working surface, divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll each one out to a rough oblong shape.

To prepare the filling: add oil to pan and heat then add in the vegetables and salt and mix well. Add other ingredients if using, stirring thoroughly to combine and prevent sticking. Cook for a few minutes.

Share the filling out onto the pastry oblongs, placing it on the front half of each, then fold it over and squeeze the edges together to seal (you can use some water for this if a bit dry and not sticking well). Onto a baking tray and into the oven at 200C/400F for 20 minutes to half an hour until pastry is well browned. Nice served with oven chips (50p a kilo in Lidl at time of writing) and salad or great in a packed lunch.

nut roast

nutroast1

A sixth of a cup/30g/1oz of margarine
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 and a half cups of hot water
1 teaspoon of yeast extract (marmite, vegemite or Vecon Stock etc.)
3 cups/550g/16oz of ground nuts (cashews, almonds, brazils – even peanuts do)
2 Tablespoons of flour
2 teaspoons of fresh herbs – winter savoury is great (if using dried 1 teaspoon)
3 cups/160g/6oz of white bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the margarine (in a large pan for mixing) and cook the celery and onion in it for a few minutes. Mix the yeast extract into the hot water (alternatively you could use any stock you like) and add this to the onion and celery. Stir in the flour, nuts, herbs, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper and mix well. Allow to cool slightly while you grease a loaf tin. Place the nut roast mixture in the tin and press down well. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes at 180/360 then turn out of the tin and slice. Nice served with all the traditional trimmings.

Variations:- you can substitute wine (red or white) or soya milk for the water and yeast extract. A layer of sliced mushrooms and garlic is nice. Fill with sage and onion stuffing. You can use this mixture to stuff vegetables like peppers or large tomatoes for a different dish too.

The rosemary and redcurrant jelly detailed here is a gorgeous accompaniment to any nut roast. Amazing in sandwiches too with the cold sliced roast next day. If reading this in winter, sorry, it’s a bit late to go out and get redcurrants (though rosemary plants grow all year round!), but it’s a great one to make for next year. A jar of that would be a very nice gift too.

Other good roasts elsewhere: Lentil Walnut Roast (gluten free), Chestnut Roast and Garlic Lemon Seitan Roast with Stuffing

festive sweets (candy)

Making your own sweets is actually quite fun – children have a great time with this too. They are also nice gifts if placed in petit four cases in a pretty box or packet. You can intersperse bought sweets such as sugared almonds between for more variety.

Mixed Chocolates

sweetsIngredients:
Plain Chocolate
Any or all of the following:
Nuts of your choice (hazel, walnut, pecan, almond, brazil)
Marzipan
Dates
Dessicated coconut
Cocoa
Icing sugar
Crystalised angelica
Glace cherries
Flaked almonds

It’s very simple! Melt the chocolate and then dip things in it – nuts, marzipan balls, dates – and then place them on a sheet of grease-proof paper to set. Decorate with angelica, glace cherries (can be made to look like holly) and flaked almonds before the chocolate sets and then you can sprinkle with cocoa, coconut or icing sugar.

Dates can be destoned and stuffed with marzipan for a non-chocolate treat.

Place in petit four cases and enjoy!

 

Chocolate Rum Truffles

fes3Ingredients:
Some left over cake, crumbled – about 2 cups
2 tablespoons of Apricot jam
2 tablespoons of rum (or rum flavouring)
1 teaspoon of cocoa
50g./2oz (half a large bar) of plain chocolate, melted
Coating of choice – cocoa, chopped nuts, coconut etc.

Mix everything together and then squeeze into balls (about 5 cm. diameter) and roll in the coating. Place in petit four cases.

 

Little Chocolate logs

fes21 chocolate cake prepared in a large square tin so it will not be too deep (see our recipe)
marzipan
plain chocolate
icing sugar for dusting
glace cherries and crystallised angelica for decoration or children might prefer chocolate beans or other sweets (pictured logs have pecan nut topping).

Cut the cake into small rectangles ( 10 cm. X 4 cm. and 2 or 3 cm. deep). Cut thin pieces of marzipan and place on top of the cakes. Pour melted chocolate over the top of each log, decorate to your hearts content and then dust with the icing sugar (snow!).

 

Sweet treats and gifts elsewhere on the web: Solstice Chocolate Refrigerator Christmas Cake from the Among the Trees blog. Homemade chocolate tree decorations from the Modern Housewife blog.


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fruit cake

Ingredients:
8oz/250g/2 cups of cooking dates with the stones removed
10 fl.oz/300ml/1 and a quarter cups of water (you could substitute a quarter cup of brandy or sherry for a quarter cup of the water if you like)
6oz/175g/1 and a quarter cups of wholemeal flour
1 lb/450g/3 cups of mixed dried fruit of your choice – including lots of dried apricots works very well
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
4 tablespoons of orange juice

For decoration: You can either do a traditional marzipan and white icing topping or use rows of different nuts such as walnuts, pecans, brazils and almonds.

Heat the dates and water until the dates are soft. Remove from heat and mash with a fork. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Spoon into a greased 2lb/900g cake tin and level top. If using the nut topping place rows of different nuts on top of the cake prior to cooking. Bake at 170C/340F for about an hour and a half until cooked. Once cooled the nut topping can be glazed with a little syrup (melt some sugar into hot water) or you can ice traditionally.


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gluten free apple layer cake

A low-fat, moist cake using soya and rice flours. Nice served as a pudding with soya yoghurt.

Ingredients:
6oz/200g./1 and a half cups of rice flour
2oz./50g/scant cup soya flour
4oz./125g./half cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon wheat free raising agent
2 large eating apples (peeled, cored and thinly sliced)
1 cup water
1/4 cup of apple juice
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
a few drops of vanilla extract (optional)
brown granulated sugar for sprinkling on top

Mix the dry ingredients together then add the water, juice, oil, vanilla and mix well. Pour half the cake batter into a greased square cake tin (9×9 inches or 20×20 cm approx. works well). Spread the apple slices evenly over the batter and then top with the remaining mixture and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 180c/360F for about 40 minutes or until firm.

Other gluten fee cakes elsewhere on the web: gluten free chocolate cake and banana raisin teabread