Tag Archives: autumn

Autumn at Winkworth Arboretum

High Up (8286)

During the past few days I am spending most of my time sorting through some old photos (and other stuff). It just had to be done. I didn’t find any actual treasures but I came across good memories: more shots of that magical time when nature starts preparing for the cold winter. The one we call Autumn. They form part of a kind of set taken at Winkworth Arboretum which I published almost a year ago. I have no idea why I didn’t include them in an earlier post. As mentioned previously, I do tend to either forget about stuff, or I would have decided to let them fester a bit in my photo files.

Continue reading Autumn at Winkworth Arboretum

Autumn Colours

The Red Tree (8270)Last night’s/today’s big storm has passed over our area. It’s still raining heavily but the wind has calmed down. We knew it was coming, so this weekend we went to Winkworth Arboretum to take some pictures of the trees. We fell in love with the fall when we lived in Michigan, and here we managed to get a little taste of the season. This beautiful place is very near to where we live, so I will never understand why we’ve only been there twice. It opened late today, due to some storm damage, though the trees are generally ok and everything still looks lovely. It’s one of the places to be during the autumn.

Autumn Leaves (8278)

The Red Tree (8263)

Near The Pond (8322)

Fall Colours (8336)

Hope you enjoyed the pics. Happy Autumn!

Rob x

Sweet Potato Pasta bake

Sweet Potato Pasta Bake (6695)Earlier this year a very dear friend of mine stayed with us for a few days. She travelled to London everyday. By the time she arrived back it would have already been late in the evening, tired as one would expect. After a day’s work there’s nothing better than a warm meal, especially when it’s rainy and cold I must add. J loves a good pasta bake too so I made this for all of us. It makes for a light meal, perfect if you’re having a late supper. Just don’t serve a crumble for dessert! Or please do. I’m hungry!

Sweet Potato Pasta Bake (6696)

You might think that for a little pasta bake my method has quite a lot of faff, but I really don’t mind it. And you know how impatient I can get. I will tell you though that it also works if you choose not to cook the onions and sweet potatoes beforehand. I have tried this too when I was in a bit of a hurry. Just prolong the baking time to around 25 to 30 minutes. Then add the greens and Gorgonzola just before serving. I might give today’s pizza a miss and cook this instead. It is delicious.

Serves 3-4

  • 300g wholemeal fusilli (or penne)
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 small dry sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (and more as needed to top things off)
  • pinch salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • some greens to serve (I used rucola)
  • Gorgonzola, to serve

Line a roasting tin with parchment paper or kitchen foil, or grease it with a little olive oil. Set aside.

Boil the sweet potatoes for a few minutes, but don’t cook them through. Drain and put them in a large mixing bowl. If you decide to use the onions sweat them with a little olive oil in a shallow pan over medium heat, till they turn opaque and golden brown. Tip these in the bowl with the sweet potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cook the pasta as per packet instructions, preferably leave them al dente, or slightly undercooked. Place this in the same bowl with the cooked sweet potatoes. Add the sage, thyme, drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, mix the whole lot and tip this mixture into your prepared roasting tin.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and bake for not more than 15 minutes.

When the pasta is out of the oven, add the rucola and serve with a few cubes of Gorgonzola on each individual serving.

Enjoy!

Mushroom risotto.

Mushroom-Risotto-(5164)

You know you have a winner when you cook something again and again without minding that much. This is one of my go-to recipes whenever I don’t want to think about fancy dishes or when I’ve had a tiring day. There is some prep work involved and some stirring, but you could always get someone to help with that! You can use a mixture of fresh mushrooms and it’s even better with some dried porcini soaked in a little hot water. (Don’t even dream of using the canned stuff, and if you do please don’t tell me.) I like to use chestnut mushrooms because they are tastier than the white button mushrooms. (I don’t buy porcini often!) Anyhow, you will get more flavour from the grated cheese and fresh parsley later. This is a simple but delicious winter dish. Serves 4.

  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • 250g arborio
  • knob of butter (approx. 25g)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 2 tablespoons grated cheese (Pecorino or Parmeggiano)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  1. Pour the olive oil and butter in a large-ish saucepan and add the onions, garlic and mixed spice. Stir until everything is coated by the melted butter.
  2. Add the arborio and 1 ladle of stock, and stir until this is absorbed by the rice. Continue to add 1 ladle full to 2 of vegetable stock at a time while stirring often. Add the mushrooms when you have used around half of the amount of stock. When you have finished adding the stock and the rice has absorbed it you should end up with a creamy consistency. If it is too dry try adding more stock.
  3. Remove it from the heat, add the grated cheese and parsley and mix these into the rice. Call everyone to the table and serve at once.

A note on something completely different: I will be away for a couple of weeks, but will be back with some new recipes as soon as I’m back in Surrey, just in time for the run-up to Christmas. Enjoy!

Rob x