Easy Autumn Planting

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When looking at any type of container planting, there are a few good rules to remember.

  • Plant for the season
  • Try to  have a tall plant, a filler and a trailing plant per pot.
  • Use foliage for color.
  • Make sure that the plants you are planting like the same type of soil.
  • Ensure good drainage.

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Heather, Conifers and Ivy go well together and love a bit of acidic soil. A good Ericaceous compost is ideal and affordable.

When changing container plants or creating new ones it doesn’t have to cost the earth, looking around in garden centres is great, but you can find better deals elsewhere.

These plants are all from Lidl, costing a  fraction of the price, they are perfect for containers.

  • Pick  a pot or container.
  • Add grit or stones for drainage.
  • Fill with soil.
  • Take your plants out of their containers and gently wiggle the roots around.
  • Put them in and arrange as you like.
  • Water.
  • It’s easy, affordable and looks great.
  • Get planting!

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Mini Apple Pies

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As The autumn leaves are falling and the colours are changing, my craving for comfort foods are peaking.
Like many others, I start thinking of holiday recipes and longing for the subtle notes of Christmas music in the background.

Every year around this time, I fantasize of how the festive seasons are going to be, laughter, music, mulled wine and candles burning, filling our homes with the scent of  cinnamon and cloves.

Trying out new bakes and roasts while wrapping a few presents well ahead of time.

It’s always calm and dreamy around this time of year, with  building expectations of what’s to come.

Come December, I’m  rushing around with screaming kids, lists of what needs to be purchased, recipe fails as there is no patience and love going into anything, just frantic manicness.

It is only November and the plans are vivid and on track. I calmly and lovingly plan and potter around with a smile on my face.

In the breath and spirit of autumn, I dug through my old recipes and fancied some sweet and  fragrant, apple pie, to go with all the fantastic local apple varieties currently around.

So here we go,

Mini portion sized apple pies with the best filling made using Granny Smith and Cox apples.

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I made these with a great flaky pastry recipe I have used for years.

When I’m in a pinch, I just make the filling and buy premade pastry, which works a treat!

Flaky Pastry

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Blend until you reach sand or crumb consistency

Makes  9 small pies

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  • 400g Flour
  • 220g salted butter
  • 1Tbs sugar
  • 4-6 tbsp cold water

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Ingredients

  1. Add the flour to a food processor or to a bowl.
  2. Cube the cold butter into the flour.
  3. Add the sugar
  4. Mix it until you have a sand or crumb consistency.
  5. Add the cold water a tablespoon  at a time until the crumbs come together into a ball.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

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While your Pastry is resting, get started on  the divine pie filling.

Apple Pie Filling

Makes more than needed for the pastry, but I always freeze a batch so I have spare.

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  • 700g apples
  • lemonjuice
  • 600ml water
  • 270g sugar
  • 40g cornstarch
  • 1tbsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp pure vanilla powder or vanilla extract

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  1. Preheat the oven 175C
  2. Cube apples and cover with a bit of lemon juice.
  3. Add all the other ingredients to a pan and bring to a boil stirring constantly.
  4. Boil for about a minute.
  5. Add the apples.
  6. Bring to a boil on medium heat and let the apples cook for about 5 minutes.
  7. Let the mixture cool slightly.

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Now its time to assemble, roll out your pastry (I always roll between greaseproof paper to make my life easier.)

Cut out the pie shapes and the leaves for the tops, add the pie filling and you can use some of the pie filling to brush over the pies before they go in the oven.

Leave for about 30-35 minutes depending on your oven.

Tada!


Yummy Little pies perfect for the season and the soul.

Hope you like them.

Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite thing is in November.

Katarina

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Autumnal Low-Carb Pesto Chicken

We have had a mild October so far but it’s definitely getting chillier so something warming was in order.
Rummaging around in the cupboards and fridge I found some yummy bits and bobs and those chicken thighs looking sad in the corner of the fridge came to perfect use.
This recipe is a quick and easy low-carb family friendly cook up.
Hope you give it a try !

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I also added some single cream ( not pictured )
I dug out a jar of roasted pepper pesto which we have never tried before and it turned out lovely.
The roasted pepper flavour and thyme was a lovely combination over the juicy chicken.
Served  with a steaming bowl of cauliflower rice and a simple cucumber salad.

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Enjoy!

Warming One-Pot Low-Carb Pesto Chicken

Serves 8
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INGREDIENTS
* 1 kg  Chicken thighs
* 1 Large Onion
* 2 Garlic Cloves
* 4 Spring onions
* A Jar of Pesto ( any pesto will work but I had roasted pepper pesto)
* Handful of thyme ( save some back for garnish)
* 250g chestnut mushrooms
* 100 ml of single cream
* 2 Tbs avocado oil to sauté ( any cooking oil is fine)
* salt and pepper
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INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 180C
2. In a frying pan add oil and let it heat up
3. Add salt and pepper to the chicken thighs and massage them for a bit.
4. Add the chicken, skin side down to the pan and leave for 2 minutes, you want the skin to get some colour.
5. Turn them for another minute on the other side.
6. Arrange them in an oven safe dish.
7. Chop the onion and mushrooms,  in the same pan sauté until the onion is transparent and sweet.
8. Add chopped garlic,chopped thyme , spring onion, pesto and cream.
9. Bring to a simmer .
10. Add salt and pepper to taste
11. Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for about an hour.
12. Garnish with chopped thyme.

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