Oat and apple chocolate brownies

A 'healthy' brownie with less butter and sugar, but just as delicious fudgey textureI have had a lot of yummy treats in the house recently, due to several big family occasions and much testing for new recipes! So, to counteract all of the temptation, rather than not cook any sweet treats at all, I thought I’d have a go at making brownies without all of the butter and sugar as per usual.

A 'healthy' brownie with less butter and sugar, but just as delicious fudgey texture

I would not go to as far as to say that these are healthy, but perhaps offer a less decadent choice! They sure don’t taste less decadent though! Super rich, with a fudgey texture and very very chocolatey.

These took me approximately 10 mins to make, and because they bake so quickly too, they’re the perfect recipe to have up your sleeve for last minute guest baking.

A 'healthy' brownie with less butter and sugar, but just as delicious fudgey texture

Oat and apple chocolate brownies

  • Servings: approx. 30
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Ingredients

  • 100g rolled oats
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 375g apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 75g dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil and line with baking paper.
  2. Mix together the oats, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and brown sugar. Add the apple sauce and egg and mix to combine.
  3. Pour half of the mixture into the baking tray and spread to evenly cover the base.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips all over the mixture and cover with the remaining brownie mixture.
  5. Bake for 15-20 mins. Do not be alarmed if the centre is gooey – the chocolate chips will have melted which is intended!

Apple and custard tart

An apple tart with a creamy custard filling

Growing up, my family and I would often go for holidays in regional Victoria. Sometimes a long car trip was required. I remember my dad had these bingo sheets that he would hand to us at the start of the journey. It had lots of pictures of typical things you might see – a red car, a cow, a petrol station etc. You had to colour in the boxes until you’d found them all. It was a fun way to pass the time when travelling as a young child.

An apple tart with a creamy custard filling

Whenever we made a pit stop, we’d find a park to play in and a local bakery in the little town. And we’d get pies for lunch, with chocolate milk or a vanilla slice or custard tart if it was teatime. I’d always pick the custard tart. I like the fact that it’s not too sweet, and the texture is deliciously creamy.

I’ve put a spin on the custard tart today, adding apples as we have plenty of them at the moment. I added far too much cinnamon for my photos, but it still tasted delicious! I took it to dinner with my family, and we all had a slice for dessert with tea.

 

An apple tart with a creamy custard filling

Apple and custard tart

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 240g plain flour
  • 160g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbs caster sugar
  • ¼ cup water

For the apples:

  • 35g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 apples, sliced
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch cinnamon

For the filling:

  • 1 ½ cups cream/milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup caster sugar

Directions

  1. To make the pastry, beat the butter and flour together in a mixer using a dough attachment. Add sugar and combine. Add enough water to bring the pastry together into a ball. As soon as the pastry comes together, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 mins or until needed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius. Grease a quiche flan with spray oil.
  3. To make the apples, melt butter and sugar in a small saucepan.
  4. Add the apples to the saucepan with the vanilla and cinnamon. Shake the saucepan to cover the apples with liquid, cover the saucepan with a lid and cook on a low heat for 10 mins. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Take the pastry out of the fridge, and sprinkle the worktop with flour. Roll out the pastry until it is big enough to cover the base of the quiche flan. Line the flan with pastry and trim the edges, leaving extra height to allow for the pastry to shrink while cooking. Weigh down the pastry with baking paper and baking beads, and blind bake the pastry case for 20 mins in the oven.
  6. To make the filling, whisk the eggs and sugar together. Add the milk or cream and whisk.
  7. Remove the pastry from the oven and lower the heat to 160° Celsius. Remove the baking beads and baking paper. Line the pastry case with an even layer of the apples, and pour in the custard filling.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30 mins or until custard is set but wobbles when jiggled. Serve hot or cold, with ice cream or cream.

Fennel and apple soup

A cosy winter soup with fennel and apple

Winter is the season for homemade soup. I have fond memories of growing up eating soup for lunch at the weekends. Minestrone, pumpkin, and pea & ham were the family favourites.

For this soup, I experimented with a new discovery for me: fennel. I had never made soup with it before, and as it was in season, I thought I’d experiment.

A cosy winter soup with fennel and appleA cosy winter soup with fennel and apple

This soup balances the aniseed flavour of the fennel with the sweetness of the apple for a light but flavoursome meal. It goes well with garlic bread, and a garnish of sour cream.

I like to make extra portions of soup and freeze them for future weekend lunches. This time around, it came in handy for our first weekend getaway as a new family. With one night away and a little 4 month old in tow, we decided to book accommodation that had a kitchen and self-cater for dinner. And my fennel and apple soup was just the thing! Frozen, it was easy to pack into the car. And super easy to heat up in an unfamiliar kitchen. Yum! Hot, warming, homemade soup. Minimal effort for a cosy holiday dinner.

A cosy winter soup with fennel and appleA cosy winter soup with fennel and apple

Fennel and apple soup

  • Servings: 4 as a main
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Ingredients

  • ½ leek, finely sliced
  • 20g butter
  • 2 fennels, sliced
  • 3 apples, diced
  • 1-2 tbs plain flour
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • Fennel fronds, to serve
  • Greek style plain yoghurt, to serve

Directions

  1. Fry leek in butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat until soft.
  2. Add fennel and apples and fry for 3 mins.
  3. Add flour, and stir to form a roux with butter on the base of the pan.
  4. Add chicken stock and 1 litre of water and bring to the boil.
  5. Simmer soup until vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes.
  6. Puree soup with a stick blender until smooth.
  7. Serve topped with fennel fronds and a dollop of yoghurt.