I adore sweet and savoury flavours together and this recipe from The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking nails this perfectly. I have tweaked it a bit because the first time I cooked them the cooking apples burst and so I had to start again even though they tasted amazing, so I went with Braeburn apples instead. I have also added more pine nuts and currants as I thought the recipe needed it and replaced the sugar with maple syrup as it’s low GI and used basmati rice. They are perfect as a side to a roast instead of stuffing or cold with a salad.
There really isn’t anything as delicious and comforting as a home made mince pie that’s still warm from the oven. It’s totally evocative of Christmas with the smell of all the spices, dried fruit and brandy. These mince pies are totally vegetarian and don’t use beef suet or the unethical palm oil which are in most shop bought mince meat jars and mince pies. They are easy to make, you use shop bought pastry if you can’t, like me, be bothered to make it and because the filling is so good, no one will notice. They are fun to make with kids too as they can decorate the top their way. I use a Christmas tree cookie cutter, but there are lots of different Christmas themed cookie cutters you could use.
This rice salad is taken from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook, only I have made it simpler. My friends all complain that his recipes are too complicated so they don’t bother to make them. Perfect with meat and chicken or just vegetarian dishes.
400 g can of chickpeas, drained
1 bag of cooked basmati rice (about 2-3 cups)
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon of curry powder
100 g currants
Crispy onions from supermarket (in a plastic tub)
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of chopped coriander
1 tablespoon of chopped dill
Salt and pepper