The best thing about having an allotment is that you can really begin seasonal eating. The rhubarb is in full swing at the moment, which is as good a reason as any to make a pie.
Rhubarb Pie – A British Classic
Rhubarb is actually one of my least favourite fruits. I like fruit that you can pick and eat. Whereas with rhubarb you have all the inconvenience of preparing it and cooking it. However, when I started my allotment there was already some growing (and growing in abundance). Each year that goes by, despite my lack of care to the patch where it grows, the rhubarb comes up as if out of nowhere. Each year I look at it and think how I can’t possibly let it go to waste..
First Pick at the Allotment – Hello Seasonal Eating
Whilst I was whittling away time at the plot over the weekend I waded through the grass to pull up some of the biggest stalks of rhubarb. Oh, and yes that is me in my full ski jacket despite the fact it is the end of April. It’s still freezing!
Despite my advice to fellow allotmenteers to cover over all unused beds (it saves masses of weeding) I’m pretty glad I didn’t cover over the area where these bad boys grow. It’s unkempt and full of nettles but would have been a shame to miss out on the glorious rhubarby goodness.
I’ve finally gotten around to turning them into something delicious today. First thing in the morning I was in the kitchen making pastry and by noon had two golden brown lattice pies staring back at me. Who doesn’t love a good mid-week bake up?
Rhubarb Pie Recipe – Thanks to That Skinny Chick Can Bake
This recipe did kill my plan of eating healthy during the week as I couldn’t help but get stuck into a little slice. Rhubarb is best when it’s caked in sugar and cinnamon and hugged by some nice buttery pastry. I got the recipe from Pinterest from a great food blogger called Liz. This rhubarb pie is home baking at it’s best. The filling bakes to perfection to make a sticky, sweet and enticing centre. Definitely getting saved into my recipe box. Mine looks a little more rustic than the one advertised, but hey, as long as the flavour is there it’s no big deal right?
Easy as Pie
Honestly, pie is such a simple thing to make. If you are thinking of doing some baking then definitely add this to your list. The pastry is just two ingredients and a bit of water. Roll it out, line your tin and then all that’s left to do is add your fruit straight in. I know some people swear by blind baking the pie first but it isn’t always necessary. The top is your choice, so if you don’t fancy making a lattice you can always do a crumble topping for minimal fuss. There are hundreds of great pie recipes out there, I must make my own sometime soon!
This was actually my first attempt at a lattice pie and must say I quite enjoyed the process, it makes baking feel artistic. One rhubarb pie is going into the office with me tomorrow (I am seriously going to be in the good books with my colleagues). The other will be divided between myself, my beau and our parents. It always feels nicer when you can share these delights with those around you.
Eco Friendly Seasonal Eating
On another note, how exciting to be using home grown fruit! This is just the first of so many seasonal eating recipes I am going to make with my own allotment produce. Seaonsal eating is a great way to help the planet. There are no air miles on my pie, as I walked the 30 seconds from my allotment back to my house there are actually no miles at all. I just hate picking up fresh fruit at the supermarket and seeing the origin is Spain when it grows perfectly well over here. See, we can all do our little bit for the world.
I’m off for a run in the rain now, that way I won’t feel too guilty about heating up another slice for pudding later and that extra addition of hot creamy custard. I’m drooling at the thought..
When Christmas is finally over, all the presents have been given out, the cheese selection in the fridge devoured and the fizzy wine popped, what is always left? Chocolate.
Let’s face it, it’s the perfect gift to give to anyone and everyone. Colleagues at work you don’t really like that much? Chocolate. The cleaner? Chocolate. That distant auntie you only ever see at Christmas? Chocolate. Everyone likes chocolate, and it’s inexpensive, which is a great help!
So in my lounge is a huge bowl choc full (excuse the pun!) of Cadburys roses, Reeces peanut butter cups, Lindt truffles..and no matter how many after dinner cups of tea and an ‘oh go on then only one’ moments I have..the supply doesn’t seem to reduce!
But you can’t just throw away good chocolate..so I’ve cobbled together this lovely recipe that will end that stash and produce something even tastier. Which is also freezable, so you can chuck it at the bottom of the chest freezer and dig it out as an when, normally once the post Christmas buldge has had a chance to reduce. Chocolate brownies. Oh yes!
These brownies are really sweet and fudgey, perfect with a hot drink as a treat once in a while. Usually I use rich dark chocolate in brownies but with this recipe it didn’t really allow (depends on what chocolate you have left over!) but it was still lovely. The more refined milk chocolate type leftovers you have, the less sugar you should need to add, so just chop and change as necessary – you can’t really go wrong.
Christmas Chocolate Leftover Brownies:
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup leftover chocolates
- 2-3 cubes of 70-80% dark chocolate
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or regular cocoa)
- 1 and a bit cups full fat greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f.
- Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl
- Melt the chocolates in a bain-marie, over a low heat to prevent them burning
- In a seperate bowl, combine together the melted chocolate with the yoghurt, cacao, sugar and vanilla
- Mix all the ingredients together until fully combined.
- Add any optional extras – I particularly like brazil nuts or chopped pieces of toffee (if using toffee make sure to combine in the batter as if you place them on the top of the mix they sink down when baking!)
- Pour mixture into a prepared brownie pan (or if you are ill-prepared like me, use an oven dish that’s too big and use parchment paper to try and fashion a smaller vessel!) A pan of around 8×8 inches should be perfect, any bigger and the brownies will be a little thin.
- Bake in the preheated oven for around 30-35 minutes, test the centre with a toothpick to ensure there is no wet batter left before removing from the oven.
- Cool and enjoy!
A really nice treat to have a hot brownie, knowing that it’s used all the leftover milk tray that I would have no doubt grazed on for weeks. Perfect to share with friends or if you’re really feeling sick of all the festive indulgence, put these heavenly slices in the freezer individually wrapped in cling film and bring out whenever you are most in need.
Fingers crossed you’ll have most of the ingredients you need without having to pop to the shops – I know I had most of the list in my kitchen cupboards, a bonus is not needing any eggs or butter with this one, just an inexpensive tub of greek yoghurt works wonders.