Thursday, 29 October 2015

Mulled Apple Juice

Christmas.  Like it or loathe it, it's not far away.  In my house, Christmas presents are being bought, house is getting sorted, old toys no longer played with are being smuggled out of the house... I'm joking.  He'd see me a mile off and I'd never get away with it but I try.

But upcoming is the season of over indulgence, too much alcohol, food, partying and for many, a busy work period too.  Time to look after yourself.

I experimented last year with mulled grape juice and thought I'd see if something would work with apple juice and you know, it does.  It's a great way for drivers and non drinkers to feel like you've made an effort.

If you kept this warm, the spices would only infuse for longer which would be no bad thing.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Autumn Bircher Muesli

I posted a very fruity Bircher muesli back in May but the seasons have moved on and berries are not so plentiful in the shops.  My Braeburn apple tree is laden with fruit begging to be picked and eaten.  This year has been a fantastic year for apples and there is something about autumn which just makes me crave the flavours of cinnamon.

Perhaps not quite as healthy as my previous version but certainly seasonal.  Nothing makes you feel better than eating fruit within minutes of picking it.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Friday, 23 October 2015

Vegetable Biriyani

I had a day off this week and so went to one of my favourite thrift second hand shops.  I know, it's a bit sad having a favourite shop for this kind of thing but this has all kinds of furniture and bric a brac. When you're a food blogger, however much you tell yourself you don't need any more props, there is part of you that uses the blog as an excuse because you love kitchen stuff.  Oh yes (and I have a small kitchen.  I may need to rationalise although I also have the unhappy habit of being clumsy so a dish doesn't always last long.)

The reason I digress into my obsession with baking dishes is I came across a small oven proof dish with a lid and it got me thinking.  I had always wanted to cook a proper biriyani in the dum method where you seal the lid with a simple flour and water dough.  I once had such a dish in Leicester town centre with melt in the mouth mutton but I also wanted to try it as a vegan dish.

And do you know what?  I have no idea as to the authenticity of this, I made this dish to my taste and I loved it.  I hope you love it too.  The saffron is a pricey addition but does add more to the flavour than you'd imagine but no problem if you miss it out.

The curry made double the amount of sauce I could fit into my pot, if you have a larger pot you could use more or freeze the other half to use for a delicious mid week biriyani or as a simple chickpea curry as part of a thali.  The recipe is also easy to double for two, just cook more rice.

Apologies for the presentation of this, it tasted and smelled great, I wanted to get straight to eating.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Quick noodle salad for a work lunch

This is not so much a recipe as an assembly but it tastes great, it's filling and depending on the noodles you use, can be gluten free or vegan.  You want to use a firm noodle for this, nothing too mushy.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Apple, walnut and chestnut stuffing

I love a bit of chestnut stuffing, it was a glorious Christmas treat when I was little but a tin of chestnut puree makes it so much easier to make this lovely autumnal or winter treat.  I would happily (and did) eat this as a dish on it's own but it's equally great as a side dish with roast chicken or turkey and fantastic cold in sandwiches.  This forms quite a loose stuffing but a very tasty one.

chestnut stuffing

This is easily doubled or even quadrupled if cooking for more people but just be wary that the cooking time will lengthen if you cook more in a larger dish.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Simple Apple Tart

This simple apple tart was inspired by my laden apple tree in my garden and a roll of puff pastry in my fridge.  I love this kind of recipe as it was an absolute doddle to make and looks and tastes like more than the sum of it's parts.

I cooked this in an oven with Sunday lunch to maximise the use of the oven space to keep things a bit more thrifty.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Savoury Goats Cheesecake

Cheesecake?  Savoury?!  I remember hearing the concept of "cheesecake" when I was about 10.  It wasn't common in the UK before the late 80s or 90s to have cheesecake and the only ones you could find in the shops were from a cake mix packet with some blackcurrant compote on top.  I remember thinking it very odd to have cheese in a cake (as my mental image was of a block of cheddar) and shouldn't cheese be savoury?

Well this version is savoury and it would make a delicious main meal for a vegetarian guest or possibly a starter.  Don't underestimate this though as it is very filling with all of the lovely goats cheese inside but definitely a success.  Even my 5 year old proclaimed this a winning recipe!

I've suggested this may be for 2 but if you are very hungry it might be a single person portion (although be warned it is rich), alternatively, keep half in the fridge for a lovely lunch the next day.

Goats cheesecake

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Fig and Goats Cheese Tart

A friend of mine kindly brought me a jar of delicious beetroot chutney to say thank you for cooking him dinner.  Sadly for him, he got what can best be described as "Mum food" and then I make this for myself instead.  Hardly fair.  Sorry mate.

Anyway, this is super quick, using ready rolled puff pastry, this is in the oven in 5 minutes and cooked in 12.  Fantastic when you've had a busy day.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Don't forget to enjoy food!

I try to eat reasonably healthily but I am not ruled by it.  My ethos, as the name of my blog would suggest is that food is enjoyable, food is lovely and I cook for people I care about (including me).  So often though, especially when people are trying to be healthy or trying to lose weight, people lose sight of this.  So, on this Wednesday morning, I thought I'd try and help you fall back in love with food!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Sea bass with Crayfish

Sea bass and sea bream are my absolute favourite fish.  When I first started working, nearly every Saturday I would go to the fishmonger in my local market and buy a sea bass or sea bream.  It was a wonderfully indulgent treat on my meagre salary at the time.  I would bake it and have it simply with vegetables, sometimes some salsa verde or a butter sauce but ultimately just enjoy the fish.

Nowadays, sadly I don't live near a good fishmonger and sometimes sea bass and sea bream can be hard to find in good condition but today, some lovely looking sea bass fillets caught my eye.  A pack of prepared crayfish also went into my basket and an idea was born.

I have been fantastically lucky with the green beans in my garden this year.  Despite an inauspicious start, the beautiful autumn sunshine we have been enjoying has lead to a bumper crop and the flavour has been amazing.  I had never noticed the slight hint of bitterness in a green bean until seconds of my beautifully sweet beans, devoid of bitterness were being fought over last weekend by me and my 5 year old son.  That is a good sign.  Anyway, green beans are a fantastic foil for fish fillet but you could always make it even more substantial with some slices of cooked waxy potatoes.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Courgette and Pepper Tian

I love a good tian.  It's a lovely late summer or early autumn dish.  This is a fantastic vegetarian meal for one or a great side dish.