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When God gives you lemons, make lemonade…When Gran gives you apples, make chutney, and with such a sweet, dark and rich blend, what more could you want?

This easy chutney was created because we didn’t have cider vinegar and were lacking in sugar. With an abundance of balsamic and funds running low, we were forced to adapt. However, if our families agree with our tastebuds, then this chutney will be a Christmas staple. Make it weeks in advance and leave all those wonderful flavours to blend; you can even send it back to Granny to fill her stocking.

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You will need:

  • 1 kilo of cooking apples (homegrown if you can)
  • 320 grams of light muscovado sugar
  • 500ml of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of allspice

Method:

Put all the ingredients in a massive pan and boil down for about an hour, stirring occasionally. If you can, try and resist the temptation to eat straight away and place in sterilised jars for a minimum of four weeks. We can guarantee your chutney will have strengthened in flavour and have caramelised to a beautiful shiny glaze.

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Over the past year or so we’ve tried many different pizza dough recipes and this one’s our favourite so far. There are so many tiny details that make such a difference, and that’s before you start deciding on your toppings! This time we were lucky enough to use homegrown tomatoes for the sauce, which made it even better than normal. So here’s our dough and sauce recipes, a couple of ideas for toppings and a few tips:

Ingredients for the dough (makes 2 14inch pizzas):

  • 400 grams of all purpose or bread flour (3.25 cups)
  • 245 ml of warm/room temperature water (just over 1 cup)
  • 1.75 grams of instant dry yeast (half a teaspoon)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil

Ingredients for the sauce: 

  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes (or six whole fresh tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1 red onion diced (white would work too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 chilli
  • a couple of sprinkles of oregano
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • a pinch of salt and pepper

Method:

First make the dough. Place the water in a mixing bowl and add the yeast, then set aside for at least five minutes.
In a separate bowl combine the salt and flour and mix well. Pour the flour into the water and mix until all of the flour is incorporated. Add the oil and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough should be warm to touch but it is important not to over-knead it too!

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Kneading the dough

For the best results divide the dough into two equal parts and place in  oiled/greased ziplock bags, or a cling-filmed mixing bowl. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 72 and remove an hour before baking.

It’s pizza day! Heat up your oven to 250 degrees celsius and if you have a pizza stone place this in the oven at the same time.

Whilst this is heating up start making your sauce.
Heat up a splash of oil in a small saucepan whilst you chop the onion, garlic and chilli. Gently fry for 3-5 minutes, until onions are translucent, then add your chopped tomatoes. If you’re using fresh tomatoes you may need a splash of water, and leave to simmer, stirring every couple of minutes.Season with oregano, salt, pepper and if you fancy the balsamic then go for it! We also like to use a little fennel or basil occasionally to mix it up.

Once all the tomatoes are softened nicely and your sauce has been simmering for about 10 minutes we like to blend everything. It’s optional but we find it makes for a nice texture, as well as spreading the flavours evenly throughout the sauce.

Now for the hard part…rolling out your pizza dough:
We’ve tried many different rolling techniques, the rolling pin is the easiest but probably makes the worst crust. This guy has a really good video and what we recommend is to try and copy him..:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=33&v=WX2zm_Crxvk

Pizza dough rolled, sauce made, the only thing to do is to choose your toppings! (As a tip, go light on the sauce as you don’t want the dough to get too wet. Also, don’t go too close to the edge if you want a nice fluffy crust).

Here are some of our favourite toppings:

  • Black olives
  • Grilled artichoke hearts
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Red onion slices
  • Capers always go well with anchovies or any fish you have at home (last night we tried out sardines and it was great!)
  • Rocket (add at the end)
  • A classic ‘new york’ pizza is a blend of mozzarella and parmesan and nowadays there are plenty of good vegan options available. It is not essential however, we like it for the texture but plain tomato with vegetable toppings are still delicious!

Once the pizza is topped, take care when moving it onto the hot pizza stone. We recently got a pizza paddle as a present and it works really well.
Two tips: The first is sprinkle a little semolina onto the base of your pizza. This makes it crisp up nicely and also helps prevent sticking. The second one is to make sure you can transfer your pizza onto the stone with ease, before going overboard on the toppings (we made that mistake so you don’t have to!).

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Our pizza’s are placed on a well used stone ready to go in the oven.

Bake your pizza until it is nice and brown. Roughly 10 minutes if you have a pizza stone, but it may take a little longer if not.

Enjoy!

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This is a great way to use up any veg you might have lying around the house, though cauliflower is worth buying specifically for this recipe. This is good soup all year round, as a starter, lunch or a warming mug in the cold winter, we just love it!

We find that roasting the cauliflower with spices adds a lot of depth to the flavours, setting it apart from your usual vegetable soups.

Makes roughly 4 medium sized bowls:

  • 1 whole cauliflower (leaves removed)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam massala
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • small handful of coriander
  • 300 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp coconut yoghurt (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Whilst this is warming up, cut your vegetables roughly and mix with the spices using a little bit of oil, we find that coconut oil gives off a lovely flavour but, olive, sunflower, vegetable or whatever you have will work fine. You may want to skip the oil altogether. Once the oven has heated up put your veg in to roast for about an hour or until they’re browning all over, turning occasionally.

Once the vegetables have roasted remove them from the oven and set aside. In a pan, gently fry some garlic and onion until they’re nice and soft, add the veg and continue frying for about 2 minutes and then add your stock. Leave your veg to simmer until they’re softened and then blend. If you’re using yoghurt add here and mix – the spices may not be to your fancy so add more until it’s to your taste, sprinkle with coriander and serve hot!

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