Gluten Free Apple Pie, ft Silly Yak Pastry

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If you follow me on social media you would have seen my posts bragging about my awesome gluten free Apple Pie I made last week. It’s seriously so good, even if I do say so myself. wBut I have to admit that it isn’t quite as homemade as I make out….I actually use a ready-made gluten free pastry!!

Now, look out for my full review and interview with Silly Yak, who make the ready-roll pastry, which I’ll post in the next few weeks….

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But back to the Apple Pie. It’s always been a family favourite and for the last few years, something I make as soon as Autumn shows it’s colourful face. A comfort food that I enjoy making, it helps it’s one of my boyfriend’s favourite desserts too! It will make an appearance regularly over the next few months…actually, pretty much until Summer is back next year!

I love the simplicity of the recipe, with just a few ingredients and a very simple and quick preparation. It packs a sweet punch and is perfect to warm up those colder, darker nights.

Recipe

3 large cooking apples
1 pack of Silly Yak Ready-Roll Pastry
100g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp gluten free flour
1tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp milk, for glazing
1 tbsp golden caster sugar, for dusting

 

  1. Peel, core and slice your apples and place in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning. The thickness of the slices depends on your preference- I slice mine to around 0.5cm thick.
  2. Dust your surface with flour and roll out your gluten free pastry to the thickness of no more than a £1 coin. Roll it out to slightly bigger than the top of your pie dish, so there is over hang. Place in the base of your pie dish and push into the edge of the base. Leaving a slight overhang, cut off any excessive pastry.
    (It’s good to have a little over hang because as the pastry cooks, it will shrink. The overhang keeps it to the edge of the tin, so it fits to the top pastry case). 
  3. In a bowl, mix together the caster sugar, flour and cinnamon.
  4. Drain the apple slices and pat them dry with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper. Transfer them into the bowl with the sugar mixture. apple-pie-1
  5. Mix thoroughly until all of the apples are coated with the mixture, then transfer into the pastry dish. Spread the apples around the pastry base evenly, and so they’re not sticking out of the top too much (you may have a little apple leftover).
  6. Gently brush the edges of the pastry with some of the milk.
  7. Roll out the rest of the pastry to make the case topping, again to a £1 coin thickness and bigger than the pastry dish.
  8. Lay the pastry over the apple mixture, gently pressing it in to the edges of the base to seal. Trim the edges with a sharp knife.
  9. Using the leftover pastry that you’ve cut off, make four small leaves to place on top of the case for decoration. Using a knife, make a leaf pattern on them for extra effect.
  10. Brush the top of the pastry with the rest of the milk. Place the leaves on the top and then dust the whole thing with the rest of the caster sugar.
  11. Bake in the oven at 190°C/Gas 5 for 40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crispy. You may need to turn the dish so it browns evenly on all sides.
  12. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then serve- try it with custard, cream or ice cream.

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My favourite way to serve apple pie is with warmed custard and a little more sugar sprinkled on the top. I actually make it without the cinnamon as my boyfriend doesn’t like it, so I sprinkle some into the custard instead so I don’t miss out.

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Enjoy!

 

My favourite gluten free snacks

I think I snack more than I eat main meals. Usually it’s boredom eating (especially at work) but also when I’m on the go I love to pick something up. Savoury snacks are my favourite, but I do have a sweet tooth as well. Here’s a few of my favourite gluten free snacks, some new and some old.

Perk!er Oaty Cranberry & Cashew bar

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Perk!er have taken a new, wholesome direction with their products and this year launched their sprouted bars with quinoa. They have five bar flavours, with the newest being the Coconut and Chia seed bar they launched at the Allergy Show London this year. My favourite though is the Oaty Cranberry & Cashew bar, a new firm favourite in my handbag on days out. Click here for a list of their stockists.

Gratify Gluten Free Snacks

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I stumbled across these one day in Tesco and I’m glad I picked up a bag. They have a large range of products online, but so far I’ve only found their Sesame Pretels and Herb Crackers. These would be great to put out at a party or when you have friends over, as they don’t taste any different and the bags are a good size. I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to see their chocolate covered pretzels avaialble too.

Wellaby’s Simple Bakes

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I only came across these at the Allergy Show earlier this month but Oh My God they’re amazing! Baked rather than fried, they’re much lighter and less greasy than other gluten free crisps. The Sweet Chilli flavour is my favourite and reminds me of how Walkers Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli crisps taste (my absolute favourite before Coeliac). They make a nice change to the more plain offerings you usually get, and best of all they’re nut free too!

Peckish Rice Crackers

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This is a new snack I’ve recently come across in Tesco (currently on offer for 2 for £2). A large multi-pack with five individual packets inside, they’re again perfect for popping into your bag when heading out. They come in four flavours: Sour Cream & Chive, Cheddar Cheese, Sea Salt & Vinegar and Tangy BBQ. Made from rice, they’re a different texture to crisps but much lighter. I’ve tried the Sour Cream & Chive and Cheddar Cheese and both taste delicious!

Schar Custard Creams

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By far my favourite biscuits in the gluten free market, as they just taste so damn good! They’re so much like the originals and remind me of my childhood. Inside the box they come in handy sealed packs of two, which make them perfect for transporting where needed. I pick mine up from Tesco and they’re also avaialble in Sainsbury’s.

Pret Crisped Kale chips

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I’m not a big fan of Kale chips but I love the ones from Pret! The simple rosemary and olive oil seasoning is perfect, and the nutritional yeast that’s added gives it a lovely cheesy taste. Not only do these not contain any gluten ingredients, they’re also vegan. I usually pick some up alongside some coconut water as a great post-gym snack for my commute home.

Pret Granola pots

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Pret have recently made all of their bircher muesli and granola pots gluten free- Coeliacs rejoice! This is a great move by Pret and one that’s greatly welcomed, in addition to their gluten free and dairy free Five-Grain Porridge. They even have dairy free coconut yoghurt as part of the offering! Available all day, they’re a great little sweet snack to pick up on the go and there’s enough choice to keep everyone happy. Thanks Pret!

Nakd Bars

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These are one of the snacks that are available in my office and I LOVE them! Bakewell Tart is my favourite flavour and I’m ashamed to say I hoard them in my drawer as they disappear so quickly. They recently launched a new flavour, Carrot Cake, which is equally amazing. As you can find these bars pretty much everywhere, they’re really handy if you’re on the go.
Tip: Heat the Cashew Cookie bar in the microwave for a few seconds, it tastes divine.

Graze Snacks

I used to get Graze boxes delivered to my office, so I was pleased to see these being launched as an on-the-go snack in stores last year. Smokehouse BBQ Crunch is by far my favourite as I love the flavours. Not all are gluten free (they don’t claim this but they don’t have any ingredients in them), so double check, but they’re now available in Sainsbury’s, Boots and WH Smith stores. I usually stock up at the airport and take them away with me as a hotel snack when I’m travelling with work.
Tip: Some places are now selling larger bags of the snacks, so keep an eye out!

 

 

The Allergy Show London 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged (thanks, life) so I thought I’d make my ‘comeback’ with a round up of my trip to this year’s Allergy Show in London, which was my 5th!

Here are some my favourite brands this year:

BFree

 

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These guys have taken the gluten free market by storm in recent years, with their bread, bagels, pittas and wraps. Now avaialble across the country in Tesco & Waitrose stores, they launched their brand new Sweet Potato wraps at the show this weekend. Not only this, they’ve also made their whole range vegan!

Nutri-Brex

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This range of Weetabix-like cereal launched last year as Nutribix and Coeliac’s everywhere rejoiced as they could once again enjoy their favourite wholewheat breakfast. They’ve recently rebranded to Nutri-Bre to coincide with the launch of their second product in the range, which they sampled at the Allergy Show. The Coconut & Cripsy Rice Nutri-Brex is seriously good, with the rice giving it another level of texture. Not only are they sampling & selling their products, but they even gave a box of the original type away in the show goody bag!

Perk!er

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I met Ann & Steve at my first Allergy Show, when they were just a small start-up selling their rocky road & tiffin. They’ve come a long way since then and are a household favourites for many Coeliacs. Sadly some products haven’t made it along the way (RIP Tiffin) but their current range is still so good. I live on their porridge pots throughout winter (great for early starts watching my boyfriend play hockey) so of course stocked up on those, but I also tried their new Quinoa bars, which I have to say are fab! A few of the Sprouted Oaty Cranberry & Cashew Bars made it home with me… keep up the good work guys!

Dean’s Shortbread

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This was a new discovery for me this year, but a welcome one! A household name across Scotland, Dean’s are a family company who have branched out with their gluten free range of shortbread (Butter, Choc Chip and Choc chip & Stem Ginger). I was so impressed with the Choc Chip variety that I bought three packets! Although Walker’s is a firm favourite for me, these definitely give them a run for their money. You can order directly from their online store.

MOMA

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Many of you may have seen MOMA’s range of breakfast cereals, especially if you’re from London where they’re prevalent in so many stations. They’ve now made their whole range of porridge gluten free- hurrah! Their flavours are what make them interesting, with their range boasting cranberry & raisin, super seeds and coconut & chia, alongside the golden syrup and plain/plain (no added sugar) classics. So far I haven’t been able to hunt them down in stores so this was a welcome find at the show.

Venice Bakery

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Venice Bakery are Allergy Show regulars and each year and each year I stock up on pizza bases. You have a choice of either plain or seasoned, and a range consisting of large bases, mini bases, flatbreads and tortilla wraps. Their products are all vegan, gluten free and nut free too! You can see my full review here.

Wellaby’s

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I first found Wellaby’s products at the 2014 Allergy Show, where they were sampling their range of pitta chips and dips. I picked a few up to pack into my suitcase for my upcoming holiday to Ibiza- glad I did as they were perfect for a poolside snack! This year they’re back with their new range, Simple Bakes, which are savoury baked snacks, both gluten free and vegan. I tried the spicy chilli flavour, which taste EXACTLY how I remember Walkers Sesnsations Thai Sweet Chili crisps to taste. Definitely check these out if you ever get the chance!

Rule of Crumb

Many of you probably first heard of these guys through their Dragon’s Den pitch. Sadly they weren’t successful, but their appearance on the show definitely helped spread the word throughout the gluten free community. Their range of products include frozen chicken goujons, frozen fish fingers, part-baked breads and cereals, and they also target the catering business as a safe product to stock in restaurants & hotels. I tried their Salted Caramel Profiteroles and Oh My GOD were they good! Had I had a chance to eat them this weekend I’d have snapped up a few packs!

There were many other brands that I can mention, including Free From Fairy, Smooze, Gratify Gluten Free, London Falafel, Isabel’s and Gosh, so if you can take your time to really check out everyone then it’s worth it! I wish I’d had more time this year, as I keep seeing people’s Tweets and thinking ‘Damn I wish I’d picked that up’. But I’m happy with my haul, as is my tiny kitchen, and I’m looking forward to 2017!

What were your favourite finds at the Allergy Show this year?

Walkers Scottish Shortbread

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Last year Walker’s announced they were going to be launching two gluten free versions of their shortbread, and promptly made Coeliac’s across the UK incredibly happy! A long-time family favourite for many, their all-butter shortbreads seemed to be a distant memory for gluten free folk, so this was welcome news.

I have to admit though, it’s taken until now for me to try them myself! At first you could only order online through their website (and stock didn’t last long), before I spotted them early summer in Whole Foods London. I resisted the temptation to buy them then, but on my first day back in the UK post-holiday, I found them by chance in Waitrose. No hesitation this time, I picked up a pack of both the chocolate chip and plain shortbread.

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These are amazing. Simply no other way to describe them, they taste exactly as I remember all-butter shortbread to taste! They taste rich and creamy, and surprisingly there’s hardly any crumble to them, which makes them fantastic for dipping in your tea! Looking at the ingredients, it’s clear to see why these taste so much like the real thing- there’s no fussy ingredients in here, instead just simple free from alternatives (list of ingredients can be found below). As they say themselves on their website:

‘The range contains no artificial flavourings or colourings, contains no genetically modified ingredients (GMOs)contains no hydrogenated fatsis suitable for vegetarians and is certified OUD Kosher.’

What’s more, these products are certified by Coeliac UK so there’s no question whether their production methods are safe or not. Great piece of mind for Coeliacs!

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The range is new to Waitrose, with an introductory price of £1.87 per pack (until 29/09/15), after which the price will be £2.50. Honestly, I think they’re worth this price!

The full range, including shortbread rounds, lemon & ginger and chocolate chip, can be found on Walker’s website: http://www.walkersshortbread.com/uk/about/gluten-free/ where you can also purchase them (same cost as Waitrose unless you bulk buy). You can also see their new gluten free snack packs, which I really hope will be picked up by retailers across the UK. These would be fantastic to find out & about, and even better if they could be offered by airlines as part of gluten free meals! We can only hope (and maybe hint a lot over on Twitter…..).

Thank you Walker’s, for making such a delicious product available for Coeliacs once more. I can only hope this range expands and is made widely available.

I’d love to know what you think of these products, and if you’ve found them available from any other retailers, please let me know!

Ingredients and Nutritional information:

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Easy Peasy Shepherd’s Pie

Now that we’re in the throes of January blues I need more than just my weekly roast to see me through! I’m currently working my way through a list of childhood homemade favourites to cook for my boyfriend (I’m a typical girlfriend who loves to spoil him with food!) and a couple of weeks ago it was the turn of Shepherd’s Pie.

There’s lots of different variations to this recipe and although it’s traditionally made with lamb mince, I grew up with it being made with beef mince, which is what I used here. It’s probably similar to many that you’ve seen before, but it’s one my Nan has passed on to me so clearly it’s a popular variation! I’ve also used this as a chance to try the new Knorr stock pots, which boast that they add a rich and intense flavour to any dish. As most of these are gluten free, and their stock cubes are the only ones I use for the same reason, I was excited to see how they worked in this dish!

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Ingredients

1 tbsp oil, for the pan (I avidly use Lucy Bee Coconut Oil for all cooking!)

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

3tbsp tomato purée

1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes

500g beef mince

290ml beef stock (I used Knorr Beef Stock Pots)

1tsp dried Rosemary and Thyme

Season with salt & pepper as desired

850g potatoes, peeled and chopped

100g butter

75ml milk

25g grated cheese

1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and carrots and cook until they soften and brown.

2. Add the mince and cook until brown.

3. Add the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, rosemary & thyme and stir in well. Add the stock a little at a time, stirring in well before adding the rest.

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4. Cover and simmer for around 30 minutes until the liquid has thickened. Add seasoning as desired.

5. Whilst the meat is simmering, make up the mashed potato topping. Boil the potatoes in a pan until they are soft and breaking up. Drain, return to the pan and mash until smooth.

6. Add the milk and butter a little at a time and mash/mix thoroughly into the mixture. To get a smooth mix, I first mash them into the potato and then give it a good stir, repeating until all the milk and butter has been added.

7. Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC. Once cooked, turn the meat mixture out into a large dish and spread evenly. Top with the mashed potato, smoothing the mixture evenly and into all of the corners.

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8. Using a fork, drag it in long lines across the potato to create the classic pattern. I like to sprinkle the grated cheese on the top for extra flavour, it’s delicious melted on to the mash!

9. Cook for around 30 minutes, until the potato is golden.

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Knorr Pots

 

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The little pots are just like jelly! To use, you turn them into a jug and make up with 500ml of boiling water, just like you would with a stock cube. Stir continuosly until the jelly dissolves and you have your stock. Personally, I don’t think they’re any more amazing than the stock cubes, but some people might find them easier to use or have a better flavour, particularly if you are only really using stock in your recipe for the liquid (unlike this, where I also had chopped tomatoes). They’re available in the shops now, at around £2.50 for 8 pots.

 

New GF offerings from Pizza Express

Thanks to his handy little Tastecard, my boyfriend and I decided to treat ourselves to a meal at Pizza Express on Monday night. As you all know back in 2012 Pizza Express launched their gluten free base, along with some other dishes and desserts, and Coeliacs everywhere rejoiced! Having worked with Coeliac UK, they’d carefully considered the cross contamination risks alongside how to provide a quality menu for Coeliacs and personal I think they did really well! Did you know, that to prevent contamination from all that flour flying around the kitchen, they made their standard flour gluten free?

I’m always excited for pizza but was even more excited on Monday when I saw that Pizza Express have a new menu, and the gluten free options have expanded! Naturally, I had to try one for each course….

Starter

Previously there has been a Mozzarella salad or Risotto to start, neither of which I really go for. Let’s face it, salad is boring and risotto is too filling before such a carb heavy main. Now however,  those options are accompanied by the new Melanzanine, ‘A mini al forno dish of layered aubergine, passata, mozzarella, garlic, basil and Gran Moravia cheese’.

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This comes served in a cute little baking pot, although the size does make it a little difficult to cut through the insanely thick, stringy cheese layer. Also, they weren’t lying when they say it contains garlic….In fact it overpowered all of the other ingredients! This is a really nice light starter overall.

Main

In the last few years I’ve become far more adventurous with my pizza toppings, but I have a particular love of Pepperoni and Goat’s cheese so 90% of the time I stick to pizzas based around these. Not this time. Instead, my boyfriend managed to convince me to try something new…..The Carbonara pizza! Seeing as I love Carbonara pasta this wasn’t a bad shout, but I had my concerns that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Plus I’ve never really understood egg on a pizza.

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I was pleasantly surprised that zeta lay,  this worked really well! It tastes exactly like a Carbonara,  topped with a creamy sauce, herbs, streaky pan cotta,  loads of cheese and of course, the egg in the middle.  Whilst I’m still on convinced that egg works on pizza, I added the taste of this option and highly recommend it!

The base as always,  was lovely and crispy whilst retaining the doughy texture. Definitely the best base on offer in mainstream restaurants!

My only complaint is that when they launched the gluten free base,  they were all served with specially colour coded pizza cutters,  but in the last few months these have disappeared. It really bugs me because despite the base being lovely, sometimes it can be a bugger to cut, and a standard knife and fork don’t cut it! I’d love to know the reasoning behind this.

Be warned, this option is filling (well, after that starter anyway)!

Dessert

I have a love hate relationship with Pizza Express and their desserts.  It’s great the have the options but they always make me feel…sad. Sorbet and Gelato are lovely,  but if I’m paying to eat out frankly I’d like something a bit more exciting. The gluten free brownie they offer is also nice, but it’s tiny, only comes with a drink (until they serve soya milk, this is out of the window for me) and, well, it’s a brownie.

These options are still there, but now the brownie comes with or without the drink ( and considering it’s about £5, a lot bloody bigger I hope too), and the Gelato has had a makeover. Now you can enjoy a delicious Banoffee or Tiramisu flavoured scoop instead. 

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I chose the Tiramisu flavour, partly on the recommendation from our waitress and party because I’m not keen on Banoffee. Dear God, this is delicious. Seriously, seriously tasty! With the first spoonful I got a heavy dose of the rim flavouring (not a bad thing) and on second the coffee really came through. My view of boring Gelato has been changed and although I was desperately full by now, I finished every last bit.

So worth the food baby!

Overall, I’m really impressed that Pizza Express have ramped up their menu even more and have included much tastier treats for their gluten free customers. They’re really leading the way for mainstream restaurants tapping into the market and making me on happy Coeliac in the process.

To view the full gluten free menu, visit their website: http://www.pizzaexpress.com/our-food/our-restaurant-menu/glutenfree/

Simply delicious Apple Crumble

Like most people, Apple Crumble is a childhood favourite of mine. I’ve tried many different variations over the years and in particular since my Coeliac diagnosis, but I keep coming back to this recipe. It’s the one passed on to me by my Nan after we made my first apple crumble together when I was little. It’s simple, doesn’t need any complicated substitutions to make it gluten free and tastes delicious!! I think it tastes best served with Ambrosia Devonshire Custard 😉

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Ingredients

3-4 Bramley Cooking Apples
125g granulated sugar
115g salted butter
225g gluten free plain flour ( I use Dove’s Farm )
2 tbsp water
Custard to serve

1. Peel and slice the apples. Place them in a pan of cold water as you go along to prevent them from browning until you have sliced all of the apples.

2. Drain the water. Add 50g of the sugar to the pan.

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3. Heat on a medium heat, stirring, until the apples turn to mush. Remove from the heat and tip into your ovenproof dish.
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4. In a bowl add the flour, butter and the rest of the sugar. With your finger tips, rub the ingredients together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs ( this will only take a couple of minutes but if you prefer, you can whizz it up in a mixer ).

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5. Pour the crumble mixture over the top of the apples, spreading evenly.

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6. Bake in the oven at 200 ° C for 10-15 minutes or until the apples start to bubble and the crumble has hardened.

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7. If you wish you can place the crumble under the grill for a few minutes to brown the topping, but watch it doesn’t burn.

8. Serve with delicious hot custard.

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This really is a great simple recipe that’s perfect for those cold winter evenings, and even better served after a yummy Sunday roast! If you give this recipe a try I’d love to know how you get on!