So the time and space for blogging has been a bit thin on the ground recently, and I think it’s going to get a whole heap worse before it gets any better. It’s all well and good planning your ideal kitchen but somehow I underestimated the preceding chaos. And that’s saying something considering the background chaos that we’re used to dealing with around here, believe me. So for the next couple of weeks or so (fingers crossed) simple is the name of the game. Don’t even ask about the couple of weeks after that.
Fish pie is one of those nursery favourites that I at least, have never seemed to grow out of. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, as we all should be getting more fish of all types into our diets and this old children’s supper is as good a way as any to start.
So it is almost time for the pinnacle of all that seasonal autumnal eating; Thanksgiving. Now, I’m not American, but the few years I spent living stateside were enough for me to become an obsessive fan of it. Who wouldn’t? After all, it is a festival that has preparing and sharing food at its heart, without a lot of the commercialisation that so often goes hand in hand with Christmas nowadays. I absolutely adore the colours, flavours, and the way that all the best of autumn seems to be condensed down onto one plate. This doesn’t just stop with the main course; the seasonal flavours are also echoed in the desserts, and that’s just the way it should be.
At this time of year, we are all getting a little tired and more than likely our immune systems will be getting more than a little stressed even if you are taking your rose hip syrup. We need to ask a lot of our food, not only that it provides the vital nutrients that we need along with some good immune support, but we also want to feel warmed and comforted by it; there are not usually many raw salad takers in the run up to Christmas.
So it’s Stir Up Sunday here in the UK. That means that it is the last Sunday before advent starts, and all the craziness that goes with it. A perfect time then (especially looking out of the window today) to steam up the windows and fill the kitchen with some gorgeous christmassy smells. Just don’t put on the Christmas music though- that’s bad luck until December the 1st! Tradition dictates that once all of the ingredients are in the bowl, every child in the house should have a stir (hence the name stir up Sunday) and make a wish. I have lovely memories of doing this as a child, mostly wishing for some Christmas tat I think, or a horse. The magic of it is something that makes making the pudding worthwhile; traditional recipes often leave you with a lot of leftovers- the pudding is geared more towards the Victorian tastes, when you did not have puddings on a regular basis. This one was meant to be the one to crown them all, decadently crammed full of expensive ingredients; dried fruits, brandy and suet.
After a good roast, my favourite way to cook meat has to be braised, in a cast iron pan with some softened and slightly browned vegetables, generous quantities of thyme and bay and a lot of red wine, letting the oven to do all the hard work. This is one of my winter favourites, when I feel like filling the kitchen with mouth watering homely smells and can be used for whatever meat you have to hand; chicken thighs, lamb, stewing steak and game (well venison and rabbit) all transform into a perfect autumn/ winter supper when given this treatment. Continue reading
Those of you out there who are regular readers will have, quite rightly, gone away with the impression that I really love beans in all forms. It’s true, I use them to bulk out an awful lot of recipes, when I want to cut out half of the meat in a dish, or just by their delicious self. But sadly, I do have to confess to (and quite possibly the only person who does, in this country at least) loathing tinned baked beans. In fact, they are actually the only food that I have discovered to date that I do not like. But, never fear, I am continuing on my mission to sample every food known to man, and others that aren’t just to make sure there aren’t any others. I do, however like my baked beans recipe, and if you have only ever eaten them to date out of a tin, I suggest you give them a go to see what you have been missing out on. Continue reading
If you hadn’t noticed from other posts, I do love to cook, and more importantly to devour what I have lovingly produced afterwards. However, I don’t have a lot of time mid week, but I do still want to eat well. In fact, it’s one thing I don’t think I can compromise on. Everything else can go to pot, as long as I’ve had a good meal, everything seems fine to me.
I don’t know about you, but we seem to be doing quite well with the aubergine season this year. Originally from warmer climates, the season is usually from around May until October, but here we are in November and I have had a few recently in my veg box.
Now the traditions that revolve around Guy Fawkes night or bonfire night in Britain (November the 5th) vary all over the country, and range from the universal collecting money for the guy all the way to men running through the town holding flaming tar barrels on their back, and, of course, this toffee. Sometimes called Plot toffee or bonfire toffee, it is one tradition that seems to dying out, but that I am staunchly trying to defend. Continue reading