We’ve been discussing Christmas this week and how sad it is that so many people end up feeling overstretched in various ways – financial, physical, emotional – come January. It doesn’t have to be that way! Some years ago one of us wrote an article on having the Christmas you want here.
Yes. Pumpkins and squash abound this time of year, and very delicious and nutritious they are to hold us in good stead through winter. We have a lovely new recipe for you to try: Roast Pumpkin and Garlic Pasta. It’s a good one!
Seasonal, delicious and super garlic-y, this pasta in a blended sauce makes a filling and nutritious meal. The texture of the pumpkin with the pasta works really well. Quantities are for four large portions.
You could use the scooped out flesh of a carving pumpkin for this recipe though culinary ones are more flavourful.
For the sauce:
1 culinary pumpkin, deseeded and chopped into chunks
1 bulb of garlic, with the cloves separated and peeled
a little olive oil
a handful of cashew nuts
the juice and rind of 1 lemon
a little salt
1 apple, roughly chopped
Place the chopped pumpkin and peeled garlic in a roasting tin and coat well with the olive oil (with hands is best). Roast for about half an hour at 200C/400F, then leave to cool.
Prepare pasta of your choice according to packet instructions.
While the pasta is cooking you can make the sauce. Remove the skin from the pumpkin chunks and place them in a blender with all the other sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. If it’s too thick add a little water and blend again.
Once the pasta is ready, stir in the sauce and there you go. Yummy Autumnal goodness!
Spicy variant: add a couple of red chillies to the roasting pan and to the mix (best to deseed them after roasting).
Seriously, centuries of Scots are not wrong: this is one of the cheapest and most fortifying meals ever.
Most supermarkets do porridge oats in their value range too.
For one person: Place 50g/half a cup of porridge oats in a small pan. Add 300ml/1and a half cups of liquid. This could be milk of your choosing, or water, or a mix of both. We like to use half soya milk and half water.
Bring to the boil, stirring frequently because porridge does like to stick to the pan, then turn down to simmer for 4 or 5 minutes until thickened, still stirring.
Pour into a bowl and eat.
Toppings. Some days we like a chocolate swirl (choc shot), other times we go for a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and raisins. Some like jam. You could use fresh berries. Blueberries go particularly well with the chocolate swirl!
We recall grandparents having their porridge made with just water and seasoned with salt which is undoubtedly the most frugal way to take it but… *shudder*
You could even sprinkle one compartment of a graze box (first one free) onto it!
So simple. So delicious. Very like little Nakd bars. Made on a day when there were no treats, no chocolate, and only really boring biscuits left in the house. There was an old, but still in date, bag of currants in the cupboard and some almonds… so here we go!
100g currants (raisins would be great too)
100g of almonds (substitute any nut you want)
1 teaspoon of cocoa powder (not actually raw, you could use the more expensive cacao if you prefer)
Food process or blend these ingredients up till they make a soft dough. If using a blender you may have to stop the machine to squash down/stir a bit now and again.
Squeeze the dough into little shapes and eat. You could press them into chocolate moulds or form them into bars to give them a more beautiful appearance. We didn’t do that and they did ever so slightly resemble those novelty Christmas chocolates that get marketed as Reindeer Droppings!
Totally scrumptious though. Totally.
Ailish Sinclair‘s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, and featuring the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, is out Autumn 2019. On Amazon and Waterstones or see Author website for more details.
Underground, overground, brambling free! The brambles of Wimbledon Common are we…
I don’t know if Wimbledon Common is a good source of brambles (blackberries) but many hedgerows are this time of year, and that means: fruity purple cakes. With chocolate chips. Just because.
Bramble Chocolate Chip Cakes
300g Doves Farm Gluten free Self Raising flour
100g caster sugar
a couple of handfuls of freshly picked brambles
about a third of a cup of soya milk
about a third of a cup of sunflower oil
100g of chocolate chips (we used Moo Free)
water to mix to a good thick batter – though you don’t want it too runny
Mix the flour, chocolate chips and sugar together (keep some chips back for sprinkling on top). Blend up the brambles with the soya milk and mix this in along with the oil, adding some water if the batter is too thick. It should be purple!
Divide between 12 cake or muffin cases. Place in a muffin tin if using paper ones; silicone reusable cases are better in many ways, not least of which is that the cakes will not stick to them like glue as gluten-free mixes are prone to do. Top with the remaining chips. Bake at 200C/400F for 15 to 20 minutes until well risen and browning. And slightly purpling!
This recipe contains no gluten and no refined sugar, but is sweet and even sort of juicy! It fitted a seven inch round cake tin.
200g Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
2 apples, peeled and chopped into small chunks
2 bananas, mashed
1 cupful of raisins
half a cupful of sunflower oil
soya milk, or other milk of your choice to mix, about a cup and a half
Place the flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in your oil and some of the soya milk. Add the mashed banana and the apples and raisins and mix, mix, mix, with a wooden spoon, adding milk as you go for a good consistency (thick but not dry, pourable but not runny). Pour into a greased cake tin and bake at 200C/400F for about half an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!
The juiciness of the fruit means this gluten free cake does not dry out like some and is good for two or three days. Best kept in the fridge.
As in: who ate them? Who loves them? Who posts lots of recipes for them? We did, we do and we do!
Well, what’s not to love? They’re simple and filling and people gobble them up. Last night we made the pictured potato and onion pie with a block of cheap puff pastry from Lidl on the top.
The filling was (ingredients for five people, adjust as needed):
a little olive oil
1 bag of new potatoes washed and thinly sliced (skins left on)
4 onions, peeled and sliced up
3 tablespoons original Bisto powder (or other gravy mix)
salt to taste
water as needed (a cup or two)
In a large pan fry up the onion in the oil until softened and add the potatoes, mixing well. Add water (not actually to cover, it will form your gravy) and bring to the boil as you preheat your oven to 200C/400F. Cook the potato mix for a short time so that the potatoes are partly boiled and then add your gravy mix according to packet instructions, though you are going for thick not pouring. Combine well in the pan, adding salt as needed.
Transfer your filling to a large pie dish or casserole. Pictured is the Supersize Enamel Baking Dish from Kleeneze . Roll out your pastry to fit the pie and plonk it on top, tucking in the edges if needed.
Cook for at least half an hour, maybe up to 45 minutes, until the pastry is risen and browned and the potatoes are all soft.
Of course, all manner of ingredients can go into a pie! This one was originally intended to be a cheese, onion and potato pie, but all the cheese was gone at the end of the shopping week.
A super simple and super tasty recipe, made all the more frugal by knowing supermarket ultimate price down time. At two Tescos near us it’s around 7pm each day. Bread goes down to 10p and veg is available from 2p!
Ingredients (quantities are entirely adjustable):
1 bag of new potatoes (filled a medium saucepan), cut into chunks
1 bag of peppers (four peppers), roughly chopped
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
a little oil to coat in the oven
Optional extras: herbs, spices, garlic, other veg such as carrots and parsnips, aubergine, courgettes, mushrooms…
Par boil the potatoes, leaving skins on, while you pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F. Once partially cooked, drain and place the potatoes in a large roasting tin along with the peppers, onion, salt and pepper and toss well in the oil until everything is well covered. Roast for at least half an hour, until the veg is browning up.
Good as a side dish or as a main with rice and salad.