Baked Apples with Ginger and Orange and the Flora Pro.ativ Christmas Challenge

Monday 16 December 2013

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I was recently contacted by Flora Pro.activ and asked if I would like to participate in a special  Healthy Christmas recipe challenge.  It's no secret that Christmas is the time of year that we have a tendancy to over indulge . . . what with holiday celebrations and those special foods we like to treat ourselves to at this time.  Winter is a time of canoodling and wanting to stay warm indoors and wanting to indulge ourselves in comfort foods.  The challenge was to show that we can still enjoy delicious comfort foods whilst also taking pro-active steps to help lower your cholesterol and maintain a health heart, and . . .  with that view in mind, they sent me a lovely hamper filled with goodies that would help me to do just that.

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It really was a  wonderful hamper containing every thing that I would need to  create the recipe included . . . a fab Jamie Oliver mortar and pestle, some delicious honey, preserved ginger, a Christmas Apron, a really nice wooden cutting board . . .

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Some lovely baking apples, macadamia nuts, ginger, orange, a beautiful Le Creuset stoneware casserole dish . . . heart shaped of course.  (As was the cutting board)

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A tub of Flora pro-active.  Flora pro.activ spread contains plant sterols. Plant sterols have been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. Consuming 1.5-2.4g of plant sterols per day can lower cholesterol by 7-10% in 2-3 weeks when consumed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle with sufficient fruit and vegetables.

The Recipe . . .  Baked Apples with Ginger and Orange.  

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Cooking apples are very tart.  I had my doubts as to whether this recipe would be sweet enough.  Stuffed with chopped dates and stem ginger . . . which were the only sweet ingredients involved with the exeption of 2 TBS of liquid honey in the topping which you create to spread over top of the baked apples when they are done.

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They turned out to be absolutely gorgeous!  The apple was delightfully fluffy and the dates and stem ginger stuffing gave them a lovely flavour  . . . 

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The topping of honey, beaten together with some Flora Pro-activ and some finely grated orange zest and powdered gave it just a touch of richness, and a bit of spice that was like the gilding on a quite, quite delicious lily . . .

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They were absoutely flippin moreisly tasty,  and . . . . if I had not known that they were healthy and low in fat and sugar for myself, I would not have believed it.  They made for some definitely luxuriously feeling eating . . .  truly festive in appearance and in taste.  Worthy of being called a comforting holiday indulgence, but truth be known . . .in eating these you were actually doing your heart a favour rather than a harm.  Who knew healthy eating could be so delicious?  I'm converted!

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*Baked Apples with Ginger and Orange*
Serves 2
Printable Recipe

A heart healthy recipe from Flora Pro Active.   It's nice to know that delicious can also be healthy!

2 cooking apples
30g (1 oz) stem ginger, finely chopped
55g (2 oz) ready to eat dates, finely chopped
4 TBS water

To finish:
25g (1 oz) Flora pro.activ
the zest of 1 orange, finely grated
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 TBS liquid honey 

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Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Have ready a baking dish.

Using an apple corer, remove the core and pips from each apple.  Carefully score the skin with a sharp knife all around the outside middle of each apple.  Place them into the baking dish.  Mix together the dates and stem ginger.  Stuff the centres of the apples with this mixture.  Add the water to the dish.  Bake in the heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the apples are soft and cooked through.

Blend together the Flora pro.activ, orange zest, ground ginger and honey.   When the apples are ready, spread this mixture over the top of each, dividing it equally and allowing it to melt over the apples.   Delicious!

Normally with something like this we would have been tempted to have some cream or some custard, but my custard loving hubster did not miss it at all, nor did he ask!    I loved that we were eating something healthy, and that I was doing the Toddster a favor to his cholesterol by feeding it to him.

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If you would like to take on the Flora Pro-activ challenge hop on over to their recipe page where you can find this recipe plus many more for you to enjoy!  (They have some truly lovely recipes, so DO check it out!)

Here are some easy to follow top tips  from Tanya Footman, the resident nutritionist at Flora pro.activ to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Opt for healthy snacks:  Why not make up your own mix of seeds, nuts and dried fruit for healthy snacking at your fingertips. Or to get in the festive spirit, try roasting nuts for that delicious Christmas aroma.
  2. Choose the right meats:  Opt for fish and poultry over fatty meat products.  Or try replacing fatty meats with beans, lentils, fish, and poultry without skin or lean meat.  Turkey is a great lean meat packed with flavour.
  3. Get active:  Even every day activities can be turned into moderate exercise.  All that extra housework during the festive period is a great way to keep fit.  Small changes such as taking the stairs instead of the escalator and even hand washing your can can make a difference.
  4. Plant Sterols:  Plant sterols are found at low levels in every day foods like vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, grain products, fruit and vegetables.  But to get a significan cholesterol lowering effect include foods with added plant sterols like Flora pro.activ in your diet.
  5. Salt:  Eat no more than six grams of salt a day.  Experiment with herbs and spices instead and avoid salty snacks like crisps.  
Many thanks to Sarah and the people at Flora Pro.activ for sending me this lovely hamper and challenging me to get a bit healthier with my holiday cooking!


  1. What a nice Christmas package for you:)
    You must have loved unwrapping and creating.Bravo.

  2. The delivery man must know the route to your home in the dark! You get a lot of great things to try.


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