autumn

Chilli Cheese Bake

Although we have had a relatively mild winter this year we are still enjoying our hearty warming winter foods this January. This is a family favourite made into something deliciously special with the addition of some good quality sharp cheddar, the use of local beef, organic tomatoes and fresh herbs.

You can adjust the spices in this recipe and add an additional can of tomatoes if you like more of a sauce too.

Click here to jump straight to the recipe

You can serve this classic up with some warm tortilla wraps, crispy taco shells or quite simply with some crispy oven baked potatoes and seasonal salad.

I love using my cast iron pan for this recipe, its so perfect! My pan is well seasoned now and works really well as a non-stick pan which can be used on the cooker and then in the oven to finished off the recipe. Just be careful and remember not to grab for the handle when taking it out of the oven. I have done this a few times. Ouch!

Local produce…

I have been making a real effort to spend more of my grocery budget on foods that are local to me and I bought my mince from a lovely family run farm shop called Edendiack Farm.

They sold a large variety of fresh meat products, pies, sausage rolls etc. and a good selection of fresh vegetables, eggs, sauces and other condiments. I’ve added in a link below for my more local blog visitors or if your touring the countryside up here in the North they are definitely worth a visit.

https://www.facebook.com/edendiackfarm.huntly/

They also visit local farmers markets! I love my local farmers market and spend a good chunk of my monthly food budget there supporting small businesses and buying the best local foods I can afford.

Chilli Cheese Bake Recipe

2 tbsp of butter or olive oil

1 onion chopped finely

2 carrot cut into small cubes

3 garlic cloves

2 tbsp of chill powder (or less)

2 tsp of paprika

2 tbsp of ground cumin

1kg of good quality beef mince

1 tin of kidney beans

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp of tomatoe puree

a little stock (if necessary)

3 good handfuls of grated organic cheddar cheese

Instructions

Heat the olive oil up in a cast iron pan or other large pan. Fry the onion, carrot and garlic for a few minutes.

Add the spices and the beef mince and cook stirring for around 10 minutes. Add in the kidney beans, tomatoes, puree and a little stock if necessary and cook for a further 20 minutes on a low simmer.

Remove from the heat and top with the cheddar cheese and some dried herbs if you fancy.

Add to a warm oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly hot. Serve with fresh bread, in wraps, tacos or with some vegetables or seasonal salad on the side.

Organic Produce…

Mr Organic’s delicious chopped tomatoes are used in this recipe.

I try to use Organic where I can for my family and selected these delicious tinned tomotoes for this dish from Mr Organic. I recently became an ambassador of Mr Organic foods and will be sharing some of their products with you in the future. They are one of my favourite brands and I only work and share brands that I feel fit my ethos and I have been using their products in bulk for quite some time now.

https://mr-organic.com/

If you enjoyed this recipe you might also enjoy my delicious creamy leek tart recipe. Click the image below for the recipe!

There may be some affiliate links in this blog post of which I may earn a small contribution of any purchases.

The Best Crispy Duck & Seasonal Slaw

This is just the best combination for a delicious weekend lunch or as a light evening meal with a few baby potatoes. The crispy duck goes really well with my seasonal slaw of celeriac, brussel sprouts and apple

It is cooked simply in the cast iron pan in butter and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper, it really doesn’t require much else to taste delicious. The skin is crisped slowly in the pan and finished off in the oven with a short period of rest afterwards before slicing.

The crunchy slaw is drizzled in a dressing made of mustard, raw honey (for that additional health boost), olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

You could add a drizzle of sauce and perhaps a red currant or other tart fruity sauce would be delicious here and it would make it slightly more photogenic also but I ask that you try the simplicity of this dish first and I’m sure you will enjoy it!

I really hope you enjoy this crispy duck recipe, it certainly is a new favourite for me!

Love

Seasonal Slaw Recipe

Celeriac (approx 200g)

Brussel sprouts (approx 200g)

Sweet Apples x 2 med

1/4 cup of olive oil

1tsp of mustard

1tsp of honey (preferably raw)

A squeeze of a fresh lemon

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp of chopped walnuts

You can add more veg and apples to increase the quantity.

Slice the celeriac up in chunky pieces, peel the first layers off the sprouts and cut the apple into chunky pieces also.

Run the celeriac, sprouts and apple through the food processor to shred.

Combine the olive oil, mustard, honey, lemon and salt and pepper in a glass and whisk to combine. Adjust the ingredients in the dressing to suit your own tastes if you prefer.

Drizzle over the slaw and mix through, add in the chopped walnuts for extra crunch.

Duck Recipe

Duck breasts with skin

25g of salted butter

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 160oc and melt the butter in the cast iron pan on a medium heat.

Season the duck breasts skin side down generously on each side and place into the heated pan, bring the heat up a little gradually and cook for a few minutes each side.

Place the breasts into an oven proof dish and cook for a further 10 mins.

Leave to rest for 5 minutes and slice and serve immediately alongside the slaw.

This dish is best eaten in the colder months and with locally grown organic ingredients if you can source them. It’s great to support smaller businesses and I would highly recommend a visit to your local farmers market or farm shop if you have one.

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding

The New Year is here and many of us are hitting the gym and pounding the streets with new trainers and sports gear….

…meanwhile I’m in the kitchen creating delicious full fat hearty puddings for the family drizzled in toffee sauce and lashings of thick fresh cream! Oops!

I do promise some healthier winter recipes are on their way but in the meantime please enjoy a slice of this divine Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding with some thick cream.

This pudding is certainly a well deserved treat in the cold winter months. We were out in the garden planning and plotting our growing adventures for this year and it was super cold.

I left the family defrosting by the fire and rustled up a delicious lunch of pan fried duck breast with a side of seasonal slaw and for a treat we had this delicious sticky toffee apple cake drizzled in toffee sauce and cream to warm everyone up. It’s fair to say it went down well with the kids!

I have used organic ingredients in this recipe but you can use non organic if you desire. Its important to use the golden caster sugar if you can source it as I think the flavour is better for the purpose of this recipe.

Ingredients

Toffee Sauce

125g of unsalted butter

60g of golden caster sugar

60g of muscovado sugar

200ml of thick double cream

Pudding Batter

60g of unsalted butter

80g of golden caster sugar

70g of muscavado

2 medium eggs

180g of plain flour

1tsp of baking powder

1tsp of bicarbonate of soda

1tsp of cinnamon

1tsp of ground cloves

1/2tsp of salt

200g of grated apple (2 med apples)

90g of chopped walnuts

Heat the oven to 180 and butter a suitable baking dish.

Add all the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan and gently heat through until the butter has melted.

Bring to a bubbling boil and stir for around five minutes or until the sauce has thickened enough to stick to the spoon or whisk.

Pour half of the sauce into your buttered baking dish and leave to cool while you make the cake.

Beat together the butter and the sugars, then add the eggs to the mixture and continue to beat together until it is all well combined.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt into the mixture and mix again to blend together. Add in the grated apple and the chopped walnuts and mix together gently.

Spoon all of the mixture into the baking dish on top of the sauce and bake in the oven for around 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the hot cake comes out clean.

Make many holes in the top of the pudding with a fork and pour the remaining sauce over the top of the pudding. Leave to soak into the cake for a few minutes and then serve in squares with extra cream on the top.

Enjoy!

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