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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Chocolate Wheatens

I was challenged by the lovelies at Sainsbury's to come up with an idea to use up leftover Easter Egg chocolate.  We don't ever seem to have leftover chocolate, my hubby usually eats it in the blink of an eye.  However, should you have some leftover chocolate languishing in the cupboard after Easter give these biscuits a whirl.  

Chocolate Wheatens

120g softened butter
110g light soft brown sugar
100g wholemeal plain flour
40g white self raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon or ground ginger
30g rolled oats
up to 4 Tblsp milk
Leftover chocolate, broken into chunks

Cream the softened butter and sugar then add the flours, cinnamon and oats.  Mix in the milk one tablespoon at a time until a fairly firm dough forms, you may not need to use all 4 tablespoons of milk.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth, don't overwork the dough or your biscuits will be tough.  Roll out the dough to about the thickness of a £1 coin (3mm) and use a 6cm cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can, re-roll the scraps and keep cutting out biscuits until all the dough has been used.

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan and line two large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.  I pricked each biscuits a couple of times with a fork to stop them rising up too much in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.  Leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Melt chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Spread the chocolate over one side of each biscuit, put on a tray and leave until the chocolate has set.  Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Rainbow Chard and Leek Quiche

We have an abundance of rainbow chard at our allotments and some leeks ready to harvest so I decided to make a Rainbow Chard and Leek Quiche for our lunch.  The stems of the rainbow chard are so colourful and a contrast to the rich green leaves.  Both are delicious, it is such a shame that the stems don't retain their vibrant colour after cooking.  They do make a great addition to a salads when finely chopped and lightly blanched, I also use them in stirfries, stews and other dishes to ensure nothing is wasted.  We have chard and spinach regularly as a side dish but I wanted our colourful homegrown rainbow chard to be the main feature of a dish instead of being relegated to 'steamed greens' status.

Rainbow Chard and Leek Quiche

For the pastry:
225g plain white flour 8p
pinch salt
110g cold unsalted butter, cubed 49p
1 medium free range egg yolk 9p
Cold water

Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.  Add the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.  Add the egg yolk and a little water.

I add a tablespoon of cold water then add more, if necessary, a teaspoonful at a time.  Mix to a firm dough and press out to a disc shape.  Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for half an hour before you attempt to roll it out.
For the filling:
1 Tblsp oil 1p
1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
1 large bunch of rainbow chard, leaves shredded and stalks finely sliced
5 free range eggs 90p
200ml milk 10p
100g grated cheddar cheese 13p
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and freshly ground pepper 

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan.  Roll out the pastry into a circle about 0.5cm/5mm thick.  Line a greased loose based tart tin with the pastry, mine measures 25cm in diameter.  Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper and baking beans or dried rice and blind bake it for 15 minutes.  Leave to cool whilst you prepare the filling before removing the baking beans and paper.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan or saucepan over a moderate heat.  Add the leek and chard, cooking until the leek softens and the chard wilts slightly.  Pour the vegetables into the blind baked pastry case.

Beat together the eggs, milk, cheese, herbs, a few grinds of pepper and a large pinch of salt.  Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and bake the quiche for 25 - 30 minutes or until set and golden brown.

I'm entering this quiche into Extra Veg, a monthly blog challenge created by myself and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours to encourage us all to add extra vegetables to our meals.  Helen is hosting this month.

I am also entering this recipe into Credit Crunch Munch, created and hosted alternately by Helen and Camilla.  Camilla is hosting this month.  The chard and leeks were free and the rest of the ingredients cost £1.80 (not including energy costs to cook the quiche).  This quiche was a thrifty and filling lunch for our family of 5, we did have large slices and it could have been stretched over 2 lunches if accompanied by more salads and crudites.