Friday, 31 October 2014

Men's Pie Manual - Giveaway #1

I'm far too excited to give a long prelude to this post - welcome to my very first giveaway!!! I've been wanting to run a competition or giveaway on here for so long now and this seemed the perfect opportunity to do one. Think of it as an early Christmas present to yourself, or if you are very generous, to a loved one. Here we go!

Do you remember this review I did for the Men's Pie Manual by Andrew Webb? There was a perfectly autumnal pie recipe in there too where I got to try gnocchi for the first time too. Well, as it turns out, I was sent another copy of the book. As  much as I love to build my recipe book collection I can do so without having multiple copies of the same book so I thought why not give my wonderful readers a chance to enjoy it too and offer it as a giveaway prize. Now can you see why I'm super excited?!!!

There are some wonderful recipes in there and I cannot ait to try more of them out. This would be a perfect present for someone for Christmas, or a little treat for yourself. I'd really appreciate it if you could spread the word on this one. It would really make my day. And I'll repay your kindness with cake.

Oh, and Happy Halloween! No tricks around here this year!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
  • Giveaway open to UK entrants only. Really sorry to those abroad but postage costs you know.
  • No alternative prize will be offered and no back up will be given if it gets lost in the post. The prize is coming direct from me and not the publisher so all postage costs will be on my shoulders.
  • The winner will be chosen at random after the closing date. Once notified the winner will have three days to get in contact to arrange delivery and if no contact is made another winner will be chosen.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Biscuit Barrel October 14 Round Up

October has been a very busy month for me, bringing the first round of stress of my final year so seeing all your recipes in the Biscuit Barrel has brought me comfort in more ways than one.
If I had been presented with each one of these entries in reality I would now be as fat as a pig. I present them all to you now to see if you would have been like me. Or are you slightly more restrained and havea favourite?!

Rebecca from BakeNQuilt finds pupkin cookies partiuclarly comforting and has made these Pumpkin Crinkles to demonstrate how much. Just look at how crinkly and sparkly they are with that dusting of sugar! Would they be better with tea or hot chocolate? Only one way to find out...

I got my entry in quickly this month with these Chocolate Chip Iced Latte Muffins. A soft moist muffin is a comfort food indeed, especially if you bit into one warm from the oven and a crunchy crumble topping a coffee glaze seals the deal.

Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog made this Oaty Ginger Chocolate Biscuits saying there is little more comforting that oaty ginger biscuits - a statement many people would agree with. The warmth of the ginger with the sweet chocolate pockets all wrapped up in chewy oaty goodness.

Kate, the Gluten Free Alchemist, promotes her Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes as perfert comforters to go with a good book or to enjoy nice and relaxed in front of the telly. Play cupcake bingo with these melty chocolate cakes made all the more decadent with a rich ganache topping - will you get a mini peanut butter cup or a Rolo?

Ros, the More Than Occasional Baker makes a heartfelt statement when she says chocolate muffins are the most comforting sort and when they contained crushed Oreos, like her Oreo Chocolate Chip Muffins, they are even more so. Perfect for sharing or simply to satisfy a desperate urge to bake soon after moving house, these muffins were enjoyed by all.

New but very welcome to the Biscuit Barrel is Kevin from The Crafty Larder with these After Dinner Mints which he feels are necessary to finish of a meal. Anybody would be hard pushed to argue with this on being presented with these perfectly formed beauties with the choice of chocolate coated or refreshingly unadorned. You could go for one a few of each....

Sometimes comfort comes inthe form of a link to childhood which Corina from Searching for spice shows with these Cake Balls. Not only for children, an afternoon spent baking a cake then getting stuck in mixing it with chocolate and rolling it into little balls is time well spent.

Ros has transformed Oreos into another great comfort food, this time with these Oreo Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies. Sinking your teeth into a gooey fudgy brownie cannot be beaten, and then there is the hit of peanut butter and crunch or broken biscuits to add to the delight.

Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen has made these Delicious Patisserie Chocolate Biscuits in a variety of shapes and a choice of decorations. They are beautifully shaped dainty treats to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee and friends and one of Alidas favourite sweet comforts.

Caroline from Caroline Makes favours the salty sweetness that peanut butter brings to baked goods, just like in these pleasingly large Peanut Butter Cookies, packed full of Reese's Pieces. Inspired by a film, Caroline might be making these again soon to use up some more Pieces. Be warned - even those who don't like peanut butter like these.

Ros questioned whether I would accept another muffin recipe this month but I hope she never has doubts like this again because the more the merrier, especially with examples like these Banana, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip ones. We all know how lovely chocolate chip goodies are and then there is the lovely mosit texture from the bananas and the warming spices to bring commfort on these dark chilly nights of this time of year.

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe has taken a classic to another level with these Vegan Choc Chip Cookies with Smoked Almonds and Cacao Nibs. Sweet and smokey, salty and wrinkly there is a flavour for everyone so that all present can safely agree chocolate chip cookies are always comforting - Johanna even thinks they are one of her best yet.

Janine from Cake of the Week made these White Chocolate Chip Biscuits to ease herself into soe much needed relaxation. There is a dash of whisky in these niccies too which adds a warmig background flavour which is welcome to compliment the sweet creaminess of the always comforting white chocolate. Yummy! 

Caroline from Caroline Makes entered a second bake this month, reiterating the pleasure of cookies with these Pumpkin Spice M&M Cookies. Soft and melting there is enough of a hint of pumpkin flavour to add to the overall cookie while the special Halloween themed M&Ms are hidden treasures throughout each helping. A dunker for sure. 

There is always something pleasurable and reassuring about traditions and Alexandra, The Lass in the Apron, describes one of here Thanksgiving traditions with these Cheddar Sage Biscuits, which here in the UK you might recognise as closely resembling a scone. Too good to be kept just for Thanksgiving, Alexandra usually ends up making these several times a year which is no surprise when there is a promise of the deep herby aroma of sage and tang of cheddar in the finsihed buttery biscuit.

That's it for another month. If you were under any stress at all ready this then hopefully you are now relieved of it and if not quite, then there is a good selection of treats for you to choose from and recreate in your kitchen. Though the choice might take some time! Thank you to all who have entered. Pop back soon for another challenge!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Bonfire Toffee and Apple Muffins

I wasn't going to post these in October but I thought I'd sneak another one in there seeing as these were so popular. Plus, they are an excellent way to use up that bonfire toffee you bought five bags of when you saw it at 10p a bag after Bonfire Night in Sainsburys last year. Oh, that was just me was it?
Bonfire Treacle Toffee and Apple Muffins. Perfect comforting flavours of autumn or fall.
At least I wasn't the worst. A couple of guys walked off with an unopened box of the stuff because it was such a good deal. You know, the boxes that the packets get shipped in and left on the shelf until the opened stock has gone down? Yep, those ones. It was nice of them to save the staff the job of opening one box. I wonder if they have some left and are reading this post now.......
Bonfire Treacle Toffee and Apple Muffins. Perfect comforting flavours of autumn or fall.
Even if you don't have any bargain treacle toffee left over after Bonfire Night, it is all over the place at the moment so you can still make these muffins which is certainly good news. They nearly didn't get made you know. I had planned to make apple and peanut butter muffins with pecan praline on top but that will have to be a recipe for another day. I decided when it came to it that I wasn't fancying peanut butter in my cakes and would prefer to stick to eating it out of the jar. I know, I'm terrible. My peanut butter addicts is getting worse.
Bonfire Treacle Toffee and Apple Muffins. Perfect comforting flavours of autumn or fall.
I still wanted to bake with apples and when I remembered the bags of toffee waiting patiently I my drawer these muffins were born. They were everything they ought to have been. A soft caramel hinted muffin with, tender enough to be pleasurable yet substantial enough to tke care of the chunks of fruity apple waiting within. The chopped bonfire treacle toffee nestle among the apples, mailing soft and yielding in every bite. Ad the toffee on top....if you ever wantd an easy way to make a luscious treacle toffee caramel then this is it. Sprinkle chopped bonfire toffee on top of each muffin then let the moisture from below seep into it's hard confines until it dissolves into a sweet river with that slight molasses bite. You could even call these a self glazing muffin.
Bonfire Treacle Toffee and Apple Muffins. Perfect comforting flavours of autumn or fall.
For something that was a spur of the moment idea these muffins were autumn and fall heaven. And if you find yourself with even more leftover bonfire toffee may I suggest chopping some up and striking it through this flapjack? These ginger cookies would also love you for the addition of toffee too and this sister cake would be happy to accommodate some as a decoration or an add in. Apple and ginger give you a fairly wide scope for ideas of how to use up leftover toffee. I'd love to here if you have any more.

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Bonfire Toffee Apple Muffins
Makes 6 muffins
A soft, tender caramel flavoured muffin hiding chunks of perfectly soft apple and deeply flavoured treacle toffee. Ideal to use up leftover bonfire toffee.
  • 190g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.75 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped (ideally a sharp one)
  • 100g treacle/bonfire toffee, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 80g dark soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60ml sunflower or olive oil
  • 120ml buttermilk (or milk + 1tsp vinegar)
  • Extra treacle/bonfire toffee, to decorate
1. Set the oven to 220 C/200 C fan and line a muffin tray with 6 paper muffin cases. 2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl. Toss in the chopped apples and toffee. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, sugars, vanilla, oil and buttermilk.3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently stir together until only just mixed. Lumpy batter is fine. Divide between the muffin cases.4. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes then without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 180 C/160 C fan and bake for another 15 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.5. Cool on a wire rack (five mins in the tin, then until cold out of the tin) and decorate with the rest of the chopped toffee as you wish.

It might be my third entry (I think) but hopefully I can still enter these muffins into the No Waste Food Challenge, this month hosted by Vohn of Vohn's Vittles on behalf of Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. Also, I'm sending them off to Helen at Casa Costello for her Bake of the Week which I haven't entered for a little while but I miss doing so!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Mini Double Chocolate Pecan Pear Crumbles

You all know I like to experiment. A lot. Most of the time Mum is supportive of my meddling though I can usually tell her level of apprehension from her facial expression. Knowing her favourite flavours helps though so I knew I was onto a pretty safe bet when I first mentioned Paul Hollywood's recipe for a Pear and Pecan Crumble. 
I've had it bookmarked from his How to Bake book since I first got it fresh off the press and I finally made it a couple of months ago as a homecoming pudding when my parents had been away in Dorset. Mum was looking forward to it the entire journey home. There was only I didn't tell her. I had added extra chocolate to the crumble topping. 
Extra chocolate cannot be a bad thing. Can you remember this chunky blackberry hazelnut crumble where I first roasted the fruit in wine? Well these mini pear crumbles were the precursor to that. I felt a bit naughty rummaging about in the alchohol cupboard to find the semi-forgotten bottle of wine that I needed but I don't really know why. Maybe it was because it was the middle of the morning so dabbling with booze felt wrong even though I wasn't going to be drinking any. 
At the same time the bit of mischief felt good. Like the mildy disobedient child who furtively carries out plans with the best of intentions but knowing they may have their parents scowling. That little bit of nughtiness carries over ito the eating of these individual pots of autumn too. Underneath the intense darkly rich chocolate hit of the cocoa is the grounded nuttiness from the roughly chopped pecans and flaked almonds. Their time in the oven allows them to roast to perfection, mingling with the heady scents of the melting chocolate that forms between the crumble-fruit interface. The wine soaked pears sit sweetly in their own sauce waiting tenderly for their soft nature to be enjoyed juxtaposed to their crunchy topping.
At this time of year these crumbles would be the perfect way to use up any windfall harvest. That is actually where I got the fruit from for these despite me making them in August and only writing this post in October. Hey, what can I say, this is England. the weather does as it pleases. One way to please yourself though - add chocolate to your next fruit crumble.

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Mini Double Chocolate Pecan Pear Crumbles
Individual autumn crumbles made extra special by roasting the pears in wine and using chocolate in the crumble mixture.
  • 4oz ripe pears, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1  rounded tsp cornflour
  • 150 ml wine, white or red
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g oats
  • 25g demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 50g butter, chilled
  • 50g pecans, roughly chopped
  • 25g flaked almonds
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped
1. Heat the oven to 180 /160 fan. Toss the pears with the maple syrup and cornflour, divide between four ramekins and pour over the wine. Cover with foil and roast for about 20 mins until soft.2. Meanwhile, combine the flour, oats, sugar and cinnamon then rub in the butter. Stir through the cocoa powder then the pecans and almonds.3. When the pears are ready, remove the foil and sprinkle over the chocolate chips. Divide the crumble topping between the ramekins and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.4. When the nuts have coloured so they look toasted, remove from the oven and serve with custard, cream, ice cream etc.

I'm sending these mini crumbles off to the trick or treat/autumn themed Treat Petite, this month hosted by Kat, the Baking Explorer, who alternates with Cakeyboi Stuart. Also, by using the ancient wine I was given for my 18th birthday to make sure it didnt get chucked I reckon they are suitable for the No Waste Food Challenge, this month hosted by Vohn from Vohn's Vittles on behalf of Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. I can't resist adding them to Lucy's CookBlogShare at Supergolden Bakes too and because I've had it bookmarked from Paul Hollywood's How to Bake for so long I'd like to share it with Bookmarked Recipes, this month hosted by Katie from Feeding Boys and a Firefighter on belhalf of Jac at Tinned Tomatoes.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Individual Gnocchi Topped Pie and Men's Pie Manual Review

If I was to be asked what my favourite sweet thing to bake was, the answer would immediately be cakes. I LOVE cakes. If I was asked the same question for savoury the answer would be equally as fast: pies. Yes, I like all the healthy things. That is precisely the reason why I started jumping about in my chair when I got the chance to review Men's Pie Manual by Andrew Webb. 
Gnocchi Topped Chilli Pie from Men's Pie Manual by Andrew Webb book review
Normally I don't go in for the whole stereotyping thing. Sure, as a joke when one of my friends has been wound up by some bloke and needs a supportive 'Men!' but really I'm all for equality. For this book though, it works perfectly and yet I still didn't feel excluded. A bit like a Yorkie bar maybe (which I realllly like). Here's what I thought of the Pie Manual.
Gnocchi Topped Chilli Pie from Men's Pie Manual by Andrew Webb book review
 What I liked best
  • The styling and layout - The book is published by Haynes, the people who make manuals for just about every car model going. Although I've never had a car my dad has always bought their books so it is instantly recognisable. The layout is clear, the instructions simple and some of the photos are wonderfully homely and beautiful.
  • The fun - It's quite a chatty book, plus, by saying men need an instruction manual to bake pies, you know nothing inside the cover is going to take itself seriously. Plus, for those who really do need a manual to teach them how to bake pies, it really is informative so they can soon be wowing family, partners and friends in the kitchen.
Gnocchi Topped Chilli Pie from Men's Pie Manual by Andrew Webb book review
  • The recipes - Each recipe comes with a little bit of history and there is a good variety of recipes including meaty ones and vegetarian ones. Sweet pies are of course featured and there are sections for the basic types of pastry as well as pie accompaniments, as well as a chapter for 'things that are almost pies'. It is nice to see some traditional English pie recipes especially some harking back year . The World War Two classic recipe named after the head of the Ministry of Food, Lord Woolton pie is on my baking radar. I'll give you the recipe for another pie which really intrigued me (see photo) a bit later.
Gnocchi Topped Chilli Pie from Men's Pie Manual by Andrew Webb book review
There was very little which I thought could be improved so I had to be really picky. It seems strange to give instructions on how to make different types of pastry but then list shop bought in many of the recipes. Also, I'd like to have seen more potato topped pies. A potato topping can give equally delicious but quicker results if you are pushed for time. Finally, and this is just a difference of opinion with the author, tomato ketchup is NOT just for children and it deserves to go on every pie in the book. End of. If he can say it shouldn't go anywhere near a pie because it is his book, British Pie Awards judge or not, then I can say otherwise because it is my review!
Gnocchi Topped Chilli Pie from Men's Pie Manual by Andrew Webb book review
I struggled to pick a recipe to make from the Pie Manual but eventually settled on a gnocchi topped pie because I think it exemplifies to resourcefulness that pies are. The author says use any pie filling you want to top with potato so it is the perfect way to use up leftovers and save yourself a bit of money. I recently made this slow cooker apple pie chilli which is AMAZING and I wanted to have another portion of it. Hence why I ran out to buy some gnocchi (no time for making my own!), whacked it on top of the chilli in a cute dish and scattered over some cheese. A quick flash under the grill or bake it from cold and that's it. Comfort food heaven of a warming, spicy and savoury fruity chilli base hidden under a crown of lovely golden cheesy potato dumplings. Would I recommend buying the book? Absolutely. And what a stroke of luck, Christmas is on it's way soon.......
The Men's Pie Manual is out on 2nd October 2014 from priced £21.99. 

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Individual Gnocchi Topped Pie
 A wonderfully comforting pie which will provide comfort and sustenance through the autun and winter months. Choose whatever filling you wish, cover with gnocchi an load up with your favourite cheese.
  • Approx 200g leftover pie filling or enough for your chosen pie dish
  • 125g gnocchi
  • 1 tsp butter
  • A small handful grated cheese of your choice
1. Reheat your pie filling in the microwave until piping hot.2. Meanwhile, boil the gnocchi for a few mins until they float to the top of the pan. Alternatively cover with boiling water in a large bowl and microwave for a few mins until they stary to float. 3. Drain the gnocchi and toss with the butter so it melts. Place the pie filling in your pie dish. Cover the top with the buttery gnocchi either neatly by placing each one carefully or roughly. Cover with the grated cheese.4. Place under a hot grill until bubbling and golden or in a preheated oven at approximately 200 C/180 C for about 20 mins. Serve immediately. (With ketchup!)

By using leftover pie filling for this unusual recipe it makes it suitable for Credit Crunch Munch, this month hosted by Hannah from A New Addiction on behalf of Camilla at Fab Food 4 All and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours. For the same reason I'm also sending it off to Vohn at Vohn's Vittles who is hosting the No Waste Food Challenge for Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary this month.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Men's Pie Manual to review and my musings were not required to be positive. All images are my own. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Bakehouse - Farnley Market Review

When life throws a gem in your path you drop what you are doing and pick it up. You know it will be worth it, worth having to load back up with what your were doing because the break will be sweet. That is exactly what happened when I was invited to go and have a chat with Steve and Simone from the newly opened Bakehouse at Farnley Market, champion of all things local.
The Bakehouse first caught my eye when I saw something about its opening event pop up on Facebook via the local paper and as much as I thought it was a brilliant concept, I did wonder if it would work. So many people have dreams of opening heir own bakery and selling locally produced goods but they haven't got the knowledge or plans to back them up. It took me all of thirty seconds of being on the premises to make me think I was wrong and perhaps another 15 seconds of talking to Steve to know I was wrong. I was impressed. Seriously impressed. 
secret recipe Valrhona brownie
I mean, come on, how could I not be when presented with a brownie like that. The range of products on display was only one of the things that got my attention though. First and foremost was the atmosphere. I'm not sure it could have been more perfect. The whole place felt alive with passion and dedication which filtered through from the busy kitchen to the comfort of the equally busy, yet perfectly relaxed, content and not at all packed cafe seating area. Even at 3pm people were still arriving for a drink and a cake, selecting their seat from just enough choice to show the popularity of the place without it being crowded or too close. Others were sauntering in for their choice of freshly baked bread - and I mean fresh, Steve had to keep running off to check on a batch of beer bread which one customer bought a loave of pretty much straight from the oven. If it wasn't bread it was one of the home made pastries or classic cakes or biscuits for afternoon tea.
Pain au raisin
The location only adds to the atmosphere. Nestled down a little country lane opposite the Golden Cock pub in Farnley Tyas, Huddersfield, the bakery is easy enough to access but out of the way enough for customers to be able to enjoy the peace that country surroundings bring. The view of fields out of the shop front window would help anyone to unwind - I should know, I left a stressful literature review write up to go for my visit and I didn't want to leave when the time came. The location really helps to force home the message that when you are eating is locally produced. Honey, preservesIn fact, the product with the furthest food miles besides the olives (I think we can make an exception for those due to the wonderful British weather) is probably the Yummy Yorkshire ice cream, made abour four miles away.
Flour for the bread comes from a local mill, eggs, honey, preserves and cheeses from local farms and the veg that goes into the daily soups comes from a patch half a mile away. If the veg isn't seasonal that you won't get it in your soup. Simple as. Steve was really adamant wbout that. Eating in season reduces food miles even further and teases out creativity to produce something wonderful with what is available. Steve has really done his research too, having trained at the Artisan School of Cookery in Wellbeck before setting up the venture and gathering together an army of local producers to fill the shelves with a gorgeous array of groceries.
Simone, Steve's wife and business partner who I'm a little sad I didn't get chance to talk to more, looks after the customers, events and running of the business, putting into practice Steve's entrepreneurial ideas and providing the steady support that all businesses need for them to grow. One of these ideas, which I'm pleased to say has proved (no joke intended I promise) to be a success last week is a new proving method for the pastries to get them ready and baked in time for the breakfast customers. I sat there in awe listening to Steve describe when he had built to make this work, a nod to his engineering background. I won't say anymore though - when you visit for yourself you can ask and I'm sure you'll be amazed at the ingenuity of it too. 
I have so much more to say about the Bakehouse, from their oh so chocolatey brownies to their blissful buttery pain aux raisin but that would take me all day, meaning less time for you to go and visit. Normally with a review I like to do a 'what I thought could be better' section too but in this instance I really can't think of anything. Errrr, make my Apple Almond Traybake recipe on of the daily cakes sometime maybe? Seriously though, if you are ever in the Huddersfiled area the Bakehouse is one of the places you need to visit. Go say hi over at their Facebook page or on Twitter where you can also keep up with their product news. Get there early to get your choice of loaf named after a local landmark or maybe a scone and a cup of tea. You won't regret it. Say hi to Simone and Steve for me. I wish them and their future expansion plans all the best of luck. I hope to be back soon.

Disclaimer: I was invited to the Bakehouse to see their premises and I was not required to write a positive review. I was also too busy enjoying the bakery to take my own photos apart from the brownie and the pain aux raisin so all other images belong to the Bakehouse.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Chilli

How many of of you have a slow cooker? I absolutely LOVE mine! I've used it three times in the three weeks that I've been back at uni and each time it has produced a meal which has been delicious. Even when I made chilli in it without any chilli powder in because I forgot to buy some.
Slow Cooker Apple Pie Chilli - apples instead of tomatoes make this warming spiced dish extra delicious
The meal forgave me when I quickly stirred in some newly bought chilli powder that I took a detour to get on my way to pick up a box of cereal. Yes, I know how that sounds but I won it over Twitter. Stranger things have happened. Like putting apples in a chilli recipe.
Slow Cooker Apple Pie Chilli - apples instead of tomatoes make this warming spiced dish extra delicious
I found the recipe over at The Cupcake Project and the idea of a spicy apple chilli instead of a tomato based one had me hooked. Except I couldn't be bothered with the individual steps so I decided to bung it all in the slow cooker and hope for the best. It was a dream. A dream I wanted to have a second portion of straight after my first. There is no burn your mouth out heat, simply a beautiful aromatic cocoon of sweet spices swirling around the meat which cooks to a seductive crumble which gives itself up at the slightest bite. The apples cook down to a state where they can melt in the mouth, combining with the soft, fluffiness of slow cooked pulses. I don't know what could be more comforting, besides maybe a square of almond apple cake with custard for afters.
Slow Cooker Apple Pie Chilli - apples instead of tomatoes make this warming spiced dish extra delicious
It may seem bizarre but just go with it. And I found are still questioning the combination let yourself be swayed by the thought of having it ready and waiting after a hard days work and a journey home in the tortuous cold.  Seriously, throw it all in the slow cooker, stir and go. You work hard enough to keep going through the discomfort of the autumn and winter months. Let your slow cooker take its turn.

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Slow Cooker Apple Pie Chilli
A slow cooker chilli containing plenty of warming aromatic spices and chunks of apples to give it a new dimension and alternative to tomatoes.
  • 2 slices bacon, trimmed of fat and chopped
  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
  • A good squeeze garlic puree
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 0.5 tsp cumin
  • A squeeze tomato puree
  • Approx 500g apples. peeled, cored and chopped
  • 400ml cider (ajust according to how liquidy you like chilli), heated
  • 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1. Place all in the ingredients into the bowl of a slow cooker and stir until evenly distributed. Make sure the cider is hot when you add it so the slow cooker doesn't have to work to heat it up first.2. Put on the slow cooker lid and leave on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. If there is too much liquid for your liking towards the end of cooking time, turn to high and leave the lid off for a bit before serving. Alternatively, make a cornflour paste with some of the liquid, stir it back into the pot and leave on high with the lid off to thicken. 3. Serve with rice, pasta, nachos etc as you wish.

I don't post savoury recipes anywhere near as often as sweet ones so I'm pretty lucky I've posted this right when Janice from Farmrsgirl Kitchen has set an open theme for her Slow Cooked Challenge. I'm also pretty lucky that I Shopped Local (ok, free) for the cider which went in this so I'm sending it to Elizabeth at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary too. dad made the cider a couple of years ago from the apples off the big tree in our garden. The apples also mean there is an extra lot of fruit in each portion so it should be suitable for Extra Veg, this month hosted by Emily from A Mummy Too on behalf of Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle at Utterly Scrummy. It's also something a little different from my usual entries for Lucy's CookBlogShare at Supergolden Bakes.