Foodie Friday: Gluten Free Carrot and Apple Oat Muffins

Gluten Free Carrot and Apple Oat Breakfast Muffins

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it loads, but for a while now we’ve been getting an organic vegetable box delivered fortnightly. It’s a great way to eat seasonally, support local farmers and force yourself to make different things all the time. The only downside is that you can end up with too much of one thing….we’ve recently had a spate of cucumbers and we always seem to have too many carrots!

My husband’s mum and brother also have a glut of cooking apples this year, so I set out to find a recipe to use up a whole load of carrots and apples! As usual, I couldn’t find *quite* what I was looking for, so ended up adapting a few recipes into my own. For a first go, I’m pretty impressed too! I usually have to tweak a recipe a few times, but these came out really well on the first attempt. My only goal now is to replace the caster sugar with unrefined sugar, but that’s a challenge for another day!

These make excellent breakfast treats, and you could easily make them the day prior to serve to overnight guests. They’re also pretty healthy (*I* think!) and are a great gluten free, low fat treat.

Gluten Free Carrot and Apple Oat Breakfast Muffins Recipe

Ingredients (makes about 12 large and 12 mini muffins):

  • 240g organic oats (buy carefully if you are gluten intolerant!)
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 60g organic coconut flour
  • 200g fair trade golden caster sugar
  • 4 tspn baking soda
  • 2 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1 tspn all spice
  • 1/2 tspn ground ginger
  • 1/2 tspn grated nutmeg
  • 6 organic eggs
  • 100ml organic coconut oil
  • 100ml water
  • 340ml organic milk
  • 200g grated organic carrot (about four)
  • 125g grated cooking apple (one medium)
  • 120g sultanas
  • 120g chopped mixed nuts (optional)
  • extra nutmeg and nuts, plus some demerara sugar for topping

Gluten Free Carrot and Apple Oat Breakfast Muffins Recipe

How to make them:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / fan 160°C /gas mark 4.
  2. Pop your sultanas in a bowl and cover with hot water to soften them…you can leave them like this until they need to go into the mixture later
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients (oats, almonds, flour, sugar, baking soda and spices)
  4. Beat your eggs and melt the coconut oil, then mix those together with the water and milk
  5. Add the fruit to this, then add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients
  6. Combine until you have a nicely mixed battery-dough, and mix the nuts in if you’re using them
  7. Grease your muffin tins and line with cases if you like, then pour in the mixture level with the top
  8. Sprinkle some extra nuts, demerara sugar and / or grated nutmeg on top, then pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown on top and a skewer comes out clean
  9. Once baked, remove and cool a little before removing the muffins from the tins
  10. Serve warm and with a little creme fraiche or yoghurt if you like!

Do you have a veggie box delivered? What recipes do you use to finish up those gluts of courgettes etc.?

Ems x

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Christmas is coming…. And so are the Under A Glass Sky Christmas Cards!

I’ve been busy all week on a little festive project that’s had me singing Christmas songs and getting over-excited that it’s only 52 sleeps until the big day! I never need much encouragement to get excited about Christmas, but it’s even more exciting this year with a house big enough to have a tree and all my planned crafting projects!

I nearly always make our own Christmas cards to send to friends and family, and we’ve really enjoyed our finger-printing and stamping to get them ready to send! This year though I thought I could combine making our own cards with creating some to sell at my Christmassy craft stalls and on Etsy and Folksy. I’ve been mulling over design ideas for ages, but as it really is about the time people are starting to thinking about their Christmas shopping, I thought I’d best get on with it!

I knew I wanted to paint some pretty illustrations for the cards as that would make them easy to reproduce (much as I enjoy hand crafting cards, making a couple of hundred would take me until the new year at least!), and I had in mind that I wanted to paint some little woodland creatures, as I’m so nuts about foxes and deer at the moment!

So, after painstakingly painting about a gazillion leaves of holly….here they are!

I do hope you like them! And sorry to my friends who read this who have had the surprise of their Christmas card from us ruined!

They will be available on my Etsy and Folksy shops within a week all being well, and on my stall at the Riverside Craft and Farmers Market on 24th November, as well as at the Hitchin Christmas Gala on 9th December. They will be a standard 4″ x 6″ (A6) in size, printed onto good quality white card and provided with an envelope. They will be £2.50 each, or any four for £8 (plus P&P). The Under A Glass Sky logo will not appear on them as above, and they will be printed in a much higher resolution than you see here (that’s just me protecting the images!).

I am delighted to take pre-orders, and larger orders will attract a nice discount, so do get in touch!

Ems x

***UPDATE***
My cards are now listed on my Etsy and Folksy shops! I have also listed the original watercolour art and some full-size prints of the designs too! Go see!

Halloween Recipe: Pumpkin and Squash Soup

With all the pumpkin flesh we carved from our Jack-o-Lantern, I couldn’t wait to make something seasonal and hearty to eat. It always seems a shame to me when people just carve a face onto a pumpkin and let the flesh go to waste. Not in this house though!

Here follows my recipe for pumpkin and squash soup….it has a little bit of a Thai style twist and because it’s thinner than my usual soups (although incredibly velvety) it’s great as a starter. You could of course scoff it with bread for lunch though, which I just did!

What you’ll need to make a batch of eight servings:

  • 1 tbspn butter
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 butternut squash, in 2cm cubes
  • 1 medium pumpkin, in 2cm cubes
  • 2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 thumbs of ginger, grated
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tspn lemongrass paste
  • 2 ltr hot chicken stock
  • 1 tspn Bouillon powder
  • 1 tin of Coconut Milk (don’t forget to shake the tin!)

How to make it:

  1. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan
  2. Add the onions and soften
  3. Tip in the squash and pumpkin, stir well and cook for around 10 minutes until the onions are browned and the rest starts to soften
  4. Then add the chillies, garlic, ginger and lemongrass paste, season well and cook for a further 5 minutes
  5. Now pour in the hot stock, followed by the Bouillon powder and bring to the boil
  6. Simmer for around 30 minutes until the pumpkin and squash are tender
  7. Remove from the heat and blend well
  8. Stir in the coconut milk, and blend a little more if needed
  9. Return to the heat to ensure it’s all piping hot, then serve

I’ve really enjoyed this soup, perhaps because it’s thinner but creamier than the ones I usually make. We certainly needed the bread to dip into it, although I suspect it’d work really well as a starter before the risotto I’m making for dinner (smoked bacon and pumpkin!). Either way, a very satisfying way to make best use of your pumpkin!

Ems x

Sweet Potato with Chilli, Ginger and Coconut Soup Recipe

 

One of the biggest regrets when I joined Weight Watchers was that sweet potatoes are not ‘free’…. meaning that they do cost you some points. I felt a bit miffed because most vegetables, including butternut squash are completely point free! Still, sweet potato is at least a bit ‘cheaper’ for points than normal potatoes, so I’ve not been totally put off them!

Now whilst I usually love to cover them in oil and bake them as wedges, I thought I’d try to find a more healthy way to enjoy the big batch of sweet potatoes I bought at the market last week. And because I’m all about the soups at the minute, that seemed like a good idea. The result was pretty dreamy actually….sweet and creamy, but with a good punch! AND each serving is only a few Weight Watchers points!

What you will need to make four servings:

  • 1 tbspn butter
  • 1 large white onion, chopped fine
  • 1.5kg sweet potatoes, pink fleshed, peeled and diced in 1cm cubes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced fine
  • 1 tbspn grated ginger
  • 2 large red chillies,  seeds removed and chopped fine
  • 1 tspn lime juice
  • 1 tspn Aromat
  • 750ml hot vegetable stock
  • 50g creamed coconut
  • dried, crushed chillies to garnish

How to make it:

  1. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan
  2. Tip in the onions and fry until soft
  3. Add the sweet potato, garlic, ginger and chillies
  4. Cook until the sweet potato starts to soften
  5. Now add the Aromat, lime juice and hot stock
  6. Simmer for around 15-20 minutes, until the potato is tender and ‘mashable’
  7. Remove from the heat and blend until smooth
  8. Pop back on a low heat and crumble in the creamed coconut, stirring through
  9. Once piping hot and well blended, serve up with a scatter of crushed chillies on top

I find this one pretty filling, so I don’t think it needs anything else like bread for dipping (and this coming from a bread fiend!).

Enjoy!

Ems x

Something from the weekend….. adventures with apples

Boy was it good to have a nice simple weekend in our new home finally! It’s lovely to be busy and have lots of things to do, but I have really enjoyed just mooching about the house this weekend! We are nearly there on getting the place sorted (all boxes are now unpacked!!!) and have even hung most of our pictures.

Still, we did get out of the house a little and I’ve grown even more in love with my new local area…..

On Saturday morning, after a much needed lie-in, we yummed up poached duck eggs on toasted English muffins, then took the short walk into town. I’d completely forgotten that it was Apple Day in the old market square (despite getting all excited when I heard about it!) so it was a lovely surprise to find all sorts of apple-themed stalls there. As well as stalls for local farmers and their various types of lovely produce, there were bric-a-brac stalls and a tombola….plus a game of throw the maggots into the apple! Love it!

We pottered about for a while, buying a few bits and bobs we needed, and having a nosey about. I found a gorgeous Hornsea Fauna deer vase for my collection in the Oxfam shop, which I was very excited about! We had a stroll through the market too and picked up some lovely large pomegranates, as well as a huge chocolate muffin and an enormous cream donut!

We scoffed those back at home with a cup of tea, before making our way to Letchworth to drop off the mountains of cardboard we’d accumulated and to have a look for some bits of furniture we still need. We managed to pick up a lovely little plant stand for the stair well, but are still searching for bed side tables and our dream cocktail bar! Adam also picked up a wonderful vintage tweed jacket though, and we were both delighted to meet several darling greyhounds who were in town with the Greyhound Rescue West of England. We spent a good while meeting the wonderful dogs, who have the softest ears imaginable, and just love to snuggle up to you. We found out that it’s possible to foster them, or even just have them stay for the weekend for some post-op R&R, so we really want to look into that!

After supper, we decided to snuggle up on the sofa to watch a film. I’m incredibly excited about Skyfall (the new James Bond film) coming out this week, so we opted to watch Casino Royale to get into the spirit! Adam’s been practicing his cocktail making skills, so he rather aptly decided to make us Martinis to drink whilst we watched. He’s getting really good and they were delicious (although I still prefer his amazing Whisky Sours!).

It was another lie in on Sunday morning, and a bit more sorting out around the house. I also took some time to ‘feed’ my various Christmas offerings….. extra brandy went into the three cakes I’ve made, as well as the mince meat, and more rum went into my first attempt at Christmas pudding! We couldn’t resist a very quick trip to the market though, where there is a car boot sale each Sunday….well, it’s just so close! We managed to come back without buying anything though, which I think is a first!

We’d been lucky enough to be sent a nice big bag of cooking apples, which were harvested on Friday from Adam’s brother’s garden, and so I baked up some little apple pies for our afternoon tea……for which we were joined by dear friends Holly and Jamie, as well as their three super-cute children. We had great fun showing them the new house (especially as the children were so excited about all the secret doorways and all the different rooms) and indeed entertaining the children (although perhaps it was more a case of them entertaining us!). It seemed very quiet once they’d all gone, and I packed away the treasure box I’d been showing them, and the fake mustaches they dressed up in!

We had left over cottage pie for supper, and spent the evening writing letters and emails, before our sleepy heads got the better of us and we retired to bed with Horlicks and books.

What a lovely, relaxed weekend!

How was yours?

Ems x

Domestic Sluttery ‘Just Desserts’ Club….. Sloe Gin Cheesecake Recipe

When the lovely Sara from Domestic Sluttery dropped me a note about their Just Desserts club for this month, I couldn’t help but get excited at the prospect of sharing a new recipe for the occasion…… Especially as this month’s theme is cheesecake. It’s an oft-indulged dessert in our house, as the boyf has somewhat of an obsession with it. So it seemed apt that I join in the fun, and I got to thinking about what I would make.

For Adam, a cheesecake really has to be baked, so that part was decided pretty fast. But what flavour….? Well, loving to keep things seasonal as I do, and having been spending lots of time foraging for sloe berries recently to make this year’s batch of sloe gin, I got to thinking ‘I wonder how a sloe gin cheesecake might work?!’

I had a root around online to see if I could find any recipes, and although there were one or two recipes for non-baked cheese cakes made with sloe gin, there were none at all for the baked kind. So it seemed I needed to fill a gap in the internet pretty fast….and so have been beavering away to make one to share!

I’m pretty pleased with the results too….the flavour is subtle but suitably fruity, whilst the texture is pretty dreamy actually. And it has the Cheesecake King’s approval too (that’s Adam)! It’s super easy (as with all my recipes) and takes only about half an hour’s prep. You’ll need sloe gin (obviously) so if you didn’t happen to make any last year (we are only just today making this year’s batch so I used last year’s), you can easily buy it at the supermarket.

What you’ll need:

  • A 20cm spring form / loose base cake tin, the base lined with baking parchment
  • 100g Digestive Biscuits (about 7)
  • 125g Malted Milk Biscuits (about 14)
  • 125g melted butter (salted)
  • 250g mascapone
  • 600g soft cheese (I used reduced fat to feel virtuous)
  • 2 medium sized, free range eggs
  • 2 medium sized, free range egg yolks (use the whites for Whiskey Sours later)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 120g plain flour
  • 200ml sloe gin
  • 3 table spoons of bramble jelly / blackcurrant jam
  • A further ‘double’ measure (50ml) of sloe gin

How to make it:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees
  2. Put all the biscuits into a metal bowl and smash up into crumbs with a rolling pin (or blitz in the food processor….I just love feeling all powerful and letting off steam with the rolling pin)
  3. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and mix together
  4. Tip the crumby mix into your lined tin and press down into the base to make a nice solid biscuit layer
  5. Chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes, whilst you get on with the filling
  6. Chuck the cheeses, eggs, sugar and flour into a bowl and whisk smooth (I used a stand mixer for speediness)
  7. Now slowly pour in the sloe gin, a bit at a time, and thoroughly blend with the rest of the mixture
  8. Once it’s all dreamy and smooth (I warn you, you’ll want to scoff it at this point), pour the mixture onto your biscuit base in the tin
  9. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for around 50 minutes to an hour
  10. Meanwhile, clean up, sip a glass of sloe gin, and pop the jelly into a small saucepan
  11. On a low heat, slowly stir the jelly with a whisk, then add the measure of gin
  12. Keep it moving until it’s nice and smooth
  13. Remove the cheesecake from the oven once it’s cooked through, and wobbles evenly across the top
  14. Let it and the jelly mixture cool before pushing the base up and out of the tin, placing it on a plate, then pouring the jelly mix over the top to serve (don’t be impatient like I was and whip it out too soon so it cracks!)

I won’t judge you for having it with a little cream or ice cream, but I personally like a slice on its own. So virtuous.

Stand by for a ‘how to’ post later, in which I’ll share my sloe gin recipe and method!

Enjoy!

Ems x

Made with love… Stuffed marrow with feta

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So I was pretty cheesed off that I’ve come down with a cold this week….I’ve had lots to do, and Wednesday was actually mine and the boyf’s 3rd anniversary. We’d planned to go out for a lovely dinner at Galvin La Chapelle, but because I felt so rotten I cancelled so that it wasn’t wasted on me!

Instead though, I did manage to muster up a yummy dinner at home. We got a very lovely marrow in this week’s Abel and Cole box, and along with the aubergine, courgette and cherry tomatoes we got, I could think of nothing better to do with it!

I used to have a very similar dish to this at the gorgeous restaurant Swan at Shakespeare’s Globe, and have actually taken lots of inspiration from it, making stuffed butternut squash and things too. There’s nothing like a super seasonal dish though, and marrow is one of those things I look forward to around this time of year.

My recipe, as usual, is dead easy…. essentially, it’s just a hollowed out marrow filled with ratatouille and topped with cheese. You can use your own ratatouille recipe of course (I actually make it in bulk and keep it in the freezer as it’s such a handy thing to make a quick dish with), and your own choice of cheese. Good melty Lancashire and Cheddar cheeses work really well, but we had goats cheese and feta in and they are not too bad for our Weight Watchers points!

What you’ll need…

  • A marrow (a whole one will make a good four portions)
  • About two teaspoons of oil
  • Red onion, diced
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • About half an aubergine, cubed
  • A courgette, cubed
  • A tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Mushroom Ketchup
  • Lemon Juice
  • Dried Thyme
  • Feta and/or Goats Cheese, around 100g

To make it…

  1. Heat your oil in a large sauce pan, then add your onions to brown them
  2. Pop in the tomatoes, aubergine and courgette once it’s softened, and gently brown these
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well
  4. Season, and add a dash each of Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and Mushroom Ketchup, followed by the herbs
  5. Simmer this gently whilst you prepare the marrow
  6. Slice the marrow into 2 inch-ish thick rounds, then very gently cut around the spongey bit in the middle but do not cut all the way through…..you want to make a sort of a cup out of the marrow, so once you’ve cut around the middle bit, use a tea spoon to carve out the spongey bit, but ensuring you leave the bottom intact
  7. Now spoon in the ratatouille, into the little hollow you’ve made
  8. Place on an oiled baking tray and then pop them into a pre-heated oven, in the middle at about 200 degrees
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes, then remove and add the cheese on top of each round
  10. Bake for another 10 minutes or so, testing the flesh of the marrow with a knife to ensure it’s nice and soft before removing it from the oven
  11. Serve with some bread to mop up the ratatouille juices

This is another of my accidental vegetarian dishes, but you can easily add bacon to the ratatouille if you really must have meat in it. Or even throw in some chunks of chorizo.

Enjoy!

Ems x

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