Mince Pies

It's just not Christmas weather outside and I also really dislike Christmas is over the weekend. I don't know how things are your end, but it feels like we have to squeeze Christmas in this year. Even the supermarkets are open on the 26th. But I'm trying my best to be in a festive mood and these mince pies help along the way.

Ingredients for the filling

500 gr apples (Jonagold or Pink Lady)
250 gr currants
100 gr dried cranberries
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
zest of 1 orange
500 ml of organic apple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for the dough

375 gr flour
260 gr (cold) unsalted butter
125 gr white caster sugar
1 egg
12 aluminium ramekins

Preparation

Cut the apples into small pieces. Mix the apples, currants and cranberries in a saucepan. Add the apple juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla extract and orange zest and cover the pan with the lid. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, make sure to stir. Add more of the apple juice, if necessary, to the mixture to keep it moist and juicy. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Knead all ingredients for the dough in a food processor until you have a ball. If you don't have a food processor, then knead the dough with your hands in a large bowl. Push the ball flat, wrap in plastic foil and let the dough 30 minutes cool in a refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Dust a smooth surface with flour and roll out the dough about 2 mm thick. Use a bowl which is just slightly larger as the aluminium baking dishes and cut out circles from the dough. Push them into the aluminium ramekins. Scoop the fruit mixture into the ramekins and cover with a star cut out of the dough. Bake the pies for 15-20 minutes in the oven. Let the pies cool slightly and dust with powdered sugar.

For 12 mince pies

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Asparagus

It's that time of the year when I eat pork but just tenderloins and bacon, I won't eat any other part of this animal as I rarely eat something that walks on four legs. I try to avoid it for health and environment reasons.

Ingredients Pork Tenderloin

  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 250 gr each)
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 6 sprigs fresh coriander
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g smoked bacon
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Ingredients Asparagus

  • 350 gr green asparagus tips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 50 gr unsalted pistachios
  • 25 gr feta cheese

Preparation Pork

Preheat the oven to 225ºC. Cut the pork tenderloin lengthwise carefully in half (butterfly cut), about 2 cm from the edge. Fold open, you now have a flat piece of meat. Chop the herbs finely and mix them together with the sea salt and olive oil. Rub all the seasoning on the meat and then roll the meat shut. Roll the slices of bacon around the meat. Mix the honey and maple syrup in a bowl and paste it with a brush over the bacon. Place the pork tenderloins in a roasting tin and bake for 15 minutes on full heat in the oven.

Preparation Asparagus

Preheat the oven to 225ºC. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Lay the asparagus on the baking paper in the tray. Grind lots of salt and pepper over the asparagus and pour the olive oil over the asparagus. Place for 15 minutes in the oven. Chop the pistachios into fine pieces and scatter over the asparagus. Crumble the feta with your fingers and scatter over the asparagus.

Soup Pots on the Go

Over the weekend I wrote about lunch in pots and boxes in my weekly SJIEK column. I promised the readers to show the mixed version of the lovely soup pot lunches. Prepare them at home and just add hot water when you're ready to eat it.

Preparation Chicken with Noodles

Bring a pan with a little water to the boil. Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water. Grind the salt and pepper on the bottom and top of the chicken and place the chicken in the pan. Fry the chicken with the lid on the pan and heat to the lowest setting for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the noodles in boiling water.

Use this order to the pot:

  1. chicken broth paste
  2. peas
  3. onion
  4. noodles
  5. chicken
  6. dill

Add 250 ml of boiling water. Stir well until all ingredients are mixed.

Preparation Tikka Masala with Coconut

Use this order to fill the pot:

  1. tikka masala
  2. corn
  3. onion
  4. spring onion
  5. shrimp
  6. coconut milk
  7. cilantro

Add 200 ml of boiling water. Stir well until all ingredients are mixed.

Easy Peasy Party Snacks for Kids

And adults of course ...

Banana with Peanut Butter Tufts

1 banana
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp chocolate sprinkles
1 tsp disco dip

Preparation

Cut the banana into thick slices. Use a knife to paste the peanut butter on the banana. Pour over chocolate sprinkles and disco dip.

Popcorn with White Chocolate

1 bag of sweet microwave popcorn
150 g white chocolate
1 tbsp disco dip

Preparation

Pop the popcorn in the microwave, follow the instructions on the packaging. Heat the white chocolate in a bowl that's placed in a pan of boiling water until the chocolate is melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the popcorn and mix the chocolate and popcorn. Let it cool for 5 minutes and then sprinkle the disco dip over the popcorn.

The plates, cups and straws are by Meri Meri.

Sweet Potato Hummus

My husband, Bo, didn't schedule any work for two whole weeks so I'm taking things easy with him. I do however have quite a lot of work scheduled so I want to keep meals simple so that we get to do stuff during the day.

This is a super tasty, quick recipe that will fill you up.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 410 gr chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparations

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Steam them in a closed bowl with a pinch of salt in the microwave for 5 minutes at 1000 watts. Rinse the chickpeas well and place them in a food processor with the other ingredients. Let the sweet potatoes cool, place them also in the food processor and blend all ingredients into a hearty hummus.

Serve on whole wheat tortillas with coriander and grated mozzarella cheese.

Serves 8

Quick Lettuce Tacos with Tuna

Mix a pinch of salt, black ground pepper (turn 15 times) and 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 240 g of tuna fish in a bowl. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the mixture on a lettuce leaf. Garnish with cherry tomatoes, a dollop of mayonnaise, some more ground black pepper, a bit of lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice, pine nuts and a few leaves of fresh basil.

Eat with your hands!!

Shrimp Risotto

Ingredients

  • 1 l chicken stock
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 260 g risotto rice
  • 20 large shrimp
  • 8 sprigs fresh parsley
  • black pepper and salt to taste
  • fresh Parmesan

Preparation

Prepare a litre of chicken stock from a stock cube. I love to use the stock cubes from Kallo as they are organic and do not contain much salt. Cut the onion finely and crush the garlic. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic, about 5 minutes. Pour the risotto rice in the same pan and mix with the onion and garlic, about 1 minute. Now add 750 ml of the chicken stock, place the lid on the pan and leave the risotto on low heat until cooked, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid from the pan, stir the risotto and add the remaining 250 ml chicken stock and the shrimp. Stir again, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, put the lid on the pan and let the risotto stand for 5 minutes. Finely chop the parsley and mix it into the risotto with ground black pepper and salt to taste. Grate fresh Parmesan individually per plate.

For 4 people