Category Archives: Recipe

Delicious Amish white bread

My go to bread is normally a basic white loaf which does me well every time. However I recently discovered this Amish bread which I was really impressed with.

Practicing for winter cooking – any excuse!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tbsp dry yeast
  • 2.5 cups warm water (warm is 110 – 120F or 43 to 49C)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 8 tbsp butter (4 go in to the bread itself, so if you’re short, just use 4)
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 7/8 cups bread flour

Instructions

Melt 4 tbsp butter

In a stand mixer or large bowl, add warm water, sugar and yeast then stir and rest for 10 minutes.

Add in the melted butter with 4 cups of flour and the salt.

Mix it all, this will be very wet still.

Add remaining flour until bread dough consistency which takes me up to 8 cups. You don’t want it sticking to your hands nor crumbly. Knead for 5 minutes at this consistency.

Take it out of the bowl and knead for apx 10 turns.

Melt another 1 tbsp butter into a clean large bowl and turn the dough into it to cover it all.

Cover in cling film and a tea towel and leave to rest and rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

After 1 hour, knock back, divide in to 2 and shape to desired shape (use a loaf tin if required).

Leave to rise (either on baking sheet you will bake on or in a loaf tin for example) for up to 45 minutes.

Bake for 30-45 minutes in a medium hot oven. To test it is cooked, turn over and tap the bottom, it should sound hollow.

Leave to rest at least 5 minutes before cooking (if you can!) and brush with the last of the melted butter. It is absolutely delicious.

Rich beef and prune casserole

This is THE best Autumn dish! I look forward to cooking it each year. Delicious, tender beef, tasty rich sauce all served over creamy mashed potatoes and garden vegetables. Who wouldn’t want this?

I cook this on the Aga top and then in the simmering oven however you can use whatever you have to hand. We are all about ease here remember. Stove top or slow cooker, even in the instant pot! The choices are endless. Here I give stove top times but adapt as you need to – let me know if you have questions in the comments below.

Ingredients

  • 500 diced beef (or rump stead)
  • 6 shallots or 2 small onions
  • 100g prunes in juice (I actually use a full tin for ease and it is yum)
  • 1 can tin chopped tomatoes
  • 600ml beef stock (I use beef gravy granules for ease)
  • grated zest of an orange OR 1/2 tbsp marmalade
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or sprigs of fresh
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  • Spray a heavy based, lidded pan (I use my trusty cast iron Dutch oven) with 1-cal spray and brown the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add all of the other ingredients, ensuring you scrape any stuck on bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • Leave for a hour, stir and taste. Simmer for another hour and serve.

You can make a vegetarian version by substituting 450g mushrooms for the meat and using vegetable stock.

Slow cooker recipe – Taco Tuesday’s

I didn’t even know about Taco Tuesday until I started expanding our meals. We are very rebellious though and have tacos on other days of the week too! I made extra of this recipe and froze it in zip lock bags in the freezer. It defrosted great and lends itself to many varieties. I add extra rice to it when I need to bulk it out, more peppers and sweetcorn make a healthy addition. It’s an easy recipe to stretch out, making it super frugal too.

Ingredients

  • 1kg minced beef
  • 2/3 cups (less or more depending how you like it) cooked brown rice
  • 1 tin sweetcorn
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1.5 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1.5 TBSP onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cumin โ€“ optional
  • Tinned Beans โ€“ optional

Instructions

The reason I do this in the slow cooker is to throw it in and leave it. It can easily be done on the stove completely.

I put the mince in the slow cooker for 4 hours on low then drain it and put it back on the warm setting.

Add all other ingredients and leave to until you need it.

We served with soft and hard shelled tacos as that’s what we have it, however it is delicious over wraps or just salad. Served here with cowboy instant pot beans too. Yum!

Instant Pot recipe – honey and mustard chicken thighs

I don’t know about you but chicken thighs are marmite in my house. My husband would choose them over any other part of the bird, my daughter would prefer to be vegetarian and it’s too much effort for my son to have an opinion some days ๐Ÿ˜‰

All that said, every week we are blessed enough to be gifted 2 large thighs, drumsticks and wings off an organic, pasture raised bird. So this week, I am making these honey and mustard flavoured thighs.

Ingredients

  • As many thighs as you need for your family, we had 5/6
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cornflour to thicken as needed

Instructions

  • Season the chicken thighs in salt and pepper
  • If using the instant pot, on sautรฉ mode seal the thighs individually, maybe 3 mins on each side and set to one side
  • Add chicken stock in to the empty instant pot to remove any stuck on pieces. You can use seasoned water if needed.
  • Add chicken thighs
  • Mix honey and mustard and pour over the top of the thighs
  • Set the valve to sealing and cook on manual for 10 minutes the quick release.

We served ours with brown rice and mixed vegetables and they were delicious.

Elderberry Winter Tonic recipe

In my neck of the woods, September and October are the months to be picking elderberries. Sometimes it’s earlier, others it’s later but there is an abundance right now and I’ve been out foraging and thoroughly enjoying myself.

A great point to note is that elderberries freeze very well and even better, once they are frozen they pop off the stalks very easily as when they are fresh you run the risk of squashing them on removal and getting very purple fingers ๐Ÿ™‚

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of ripe elderberries
  • 1 generous chunk fresh ginger (at least 1 inch by 1 inch)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 cups water

Optional extras: a few cloves

Instructions

This recipe is very forgiving, you can use more or less of any of the ingredients to your own tastes, just remember everything you are adding has its natural benefits.

Measure all ingredients into a stainless steel pan. If you use enamel or ceramic coated you risk staining it, as I found out in previous years!

Bring the pan to a simmer and leave for an hour or so. As I say, it’s very forgiving! You can reduce the liquid if preferred as some people prefer a more syrup like texture. I didn’t bother as we drink this as a “shot” at least twice a day. When you’re feeling something coming on, sniffles, head cold or generally run down, take it every couple of hours.

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#elderberry winter tonic to ward off the sniffles ๐Ÿคง

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Seasonal Minestrone Soup

I make this soup in my Instant Pot purely because that’s how I did it the first time and it was SO nice that I didn’t want to risk doing it any other way. It is delicious and a very hearty meal for any time of the year as you can chop and change the vegetables to match the seasons. Great for that glut of courgettes, or any other veg you’d like to substitute!

Practicing for winter cooking – any excuse!

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped (I missed this out on this one as I didn’t have any – I replaced with celery salt)
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin of chopped toms
  • 2 pints stock (I used ham stock from slow cooker gammon joint which makes all the difference)
  • 1 tin cannellini beans, drained
  • 1/4 cabbage or a bag of baby spinach
  • 100g spaghetti, broken or any other small pasta shapes

Instructions

Chop your onion and fry off in oil/low fat spray, whatever you use for 3-5 minutes either in a large pan or sautรฉ if using an Instant Pot.

Add the chopped carrots, courgette and celery if you are using.

Pop in tomato purรฉe and tinned tomatoes, giving it all a good stir.

Season with salt and pepper and add the stock, tinned beans and spaghetti.

Stir in the cabbage or spinach, you could add peas or beans too.

Bring to the boil and simmer until the pasta is tender or if using an Instant Pot select manual for 7-10 minutes depending on how thick your veg and pasta is.

Enjoy!

This won’t freeze well with pasta, omit until ready to eat if freezing.

Golden soup

This recipe is an adapted weight watchers one and great for Autumn. It is silky smooth and very healthy in my opinion. Add extra chilli for a little winter kick and serve with home made bread, yum.

Ingredients

  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 600g sweet potatoes
  • 1 butternut squash or small pumpkin
  • 100g red lentils
  • Pinch chilli flakes
  • 1.2 litres stock (I use chicken as I make my own, but you could use vegetable)
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

Stir fry the onions in a little oil or spray oil to soften.

Add the garlic after 4 or 5 minutes and a few tablespoons of stock and cook for 2 more minutes.

Pop in the sweet potatoes, squash (or pumpkin), lentils, chilli flakes and remaining stock and bring to the boil.

Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Simmer for 20 minutes until you can pierce the vegetables easily.

Blend using your preferred method. I use an immersion blender.

Serve with extra chilli if you like it spicy!

Enjoy!

Basic white loaf

This recipe is my go to for everyday white bread. It hasn’t failed me yet. Remember if it browns too quickly when cooking, you can cover with foil and to make the crust soft, if that is your preference, wrap it in a clean tea towel when it comes out for 10 minutes. The steam softens the loaf. Depending on what we are having I’ll go for a softer or crustier finish.

Practicing for winter cooking – any excuse!

Ingredients

  • 450g strong white bread flour 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp oil (I use sunflower or vegetable)
  • 300-350 ml tepid water

Instructions

Grease of flour your loaf tin or baking sheet. I use non stick paper sometimes instead.

Add flour and salt to mixing bowl (I use my stand mixer here for ease).

Add yeast

Switch on mixer with dough setting to start combining ingredients, or stir.

Add oil and half of the water.

Once combined, add the remainder of the water too 300ml. Do not let it go too wet (it’ll still work but it’s harder to handle). Every flour seems to be difference hence this on you can eyeball. It’ll still work either way so don’t panic.

Knead in a stand mixer for 5, by hand for 10 mins.

Turn on to a floured surface and cover with the bowl you’ve been mixing in.

Leave for up to an hour until double in size.

Knock back (I poke holes in it to deflate it).

Shape it and if using, move it to the bread tin to rise again or leave on a baking sheet that will go in the oven.

You can cover with a plastic bag or tea towel whilst rising.

Leave for 30-40 mins until it’s a nice size. Bake for 20 mins in moderate/hot oven.

With temperatures I have an Aga so I just bung it in hence my terminology ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker – Thick ham and pea soup

This soup is my favourite, well I said that about minestrone too, but you get the idea. The kids love this one too – thank the Lord!! Perfect for cold, dark days and also for summer….and spring….and autumn ๐Ÿ˜‰

Practicing for winter cooking – any excuse!

Ingredients

  • Small smoked gammon joint.
  • 2 peeled potatoes.
  • 2 large white onions.
  • 3 cloves garlic.
  • 1kg frozen garden peas.
  • Water

Instructions

Place the potatoes and gammon in the slow cooker.

Add the garlic, onions and peas around the.ย  Do put the potatoes and gammon in first, unlike me!

Pour in enough water to cover the gammon half way – more if you like a thinner soup, less if you prefer a thicker soup.

Pop the Slow Cooker on high setting for 4 hours or low for 8.

Once cooked and tender, remove the gammon and trim off any fat before shredding with two forks.

Blitz the soup to the consistency you prefer (ie lumpy or smooth) and put the shredded gammon back in.

Combine and season to taste. Serve in a soup bowl with a little of the shredded gammon to garnish if that’s your thing ๐Ÿ™‚

To make a less healthier version, add cream at blending and a little cream to drizzle before adding the gammon garnish but the truth be told, I really don’t think it needs it.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker – BBQ Meatloaf

 (adapted from largefamilytable.com)

Ingredients

Served with buttered potatoes, roasted courgette and tomatoes.
  • 1 lbs minced (ground) beef
  • 1 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chopped veggies (I used onions, courgette, and bell peppers)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • BBQ sauce from a bottle for ease

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together by hand. Take your time with this and be sure everything is combined well.

Form into a loaf shape.

If preparing ahead for the freezer, place in a freezer bag and freeze until the night before you are ready to use them. Thaw in fridge overnight.

Place meatloaf in slow cooker and spread barbecue sauce liberally over the top.

Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for up to 8 hours.  Careful not to burn.  It’ll still taste nice if you do ๐Ÿ˜‰

Enjoy!