This recipe – or various variations of it – is what I go for when I want something warm and comforting, with a little saltiness and some veggies thrown in, and whenever I’m eating alone in the evenings. I generally prefer to eat my main meal for lunch and keep things very light during dinner, say for example Greek yoghurt with honey and some fruit, porridge (yes, porridge), a salad or simply a warm drink before bed. It’s got nothing to do with strange diets or the likes; it’s just something that works well for me.
This blog should be called Chocolate and Thyme or something on those lines. Seriously. I just ran through all the chocolate entries: the amount of recipes and photos that include the marvellous ingredient is almost absurd. And I could still refer to it as C&T so it’s an easy change. I wouldn’t even feel that guilty about it. I know of very few people who dislike chocolate – and here I mean, chocolate as a whole. If there are more out there please leave me a message, and give this chocoholic your I-don’t-like-chocolate list of reasons, and perhaps a few pointers on how you manage your waistline.
These days I rarely have impromptu suppers at home but when I do I don’t even think twice about making this recipe for crumble, or adaptations of it. Crumbles are so versatile, plus they take almost an insignificant number of minutes to assemble. The baking takes a little longer but you don’t have to do anything while it’s in the oven anyway. It takes the pressure off cooking, especially when you know you have a standby recipe for emergencies.
This is technically not a typical seasonal recipe, but I thought to include it today because for me this time of year is all about emergencies, and a great pick-me-up during stressful times. I know that for many of you Christmas preparations can be a nightmare, but I hope the work and planning that goes on behind the scenes is ultimately worth it. I dare to say this is one of the healthiest recipes in this blog, excluding those times when there’s cream involved, of course – however it is Christmas so there’s nothing wrong in a little indulgence!
For the topping you need:
- 125g butter
- 60g jumbo oats
- 40g flaked almonds
- 30g sunflower seeds
- 70g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 75g light brown sugar
For the fruit mixture:
- 500g frozen blackberries (mixed summer fruits would also be a good option)
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 50g vanilla sugar or caster sugar
Preheat your oven to 200ºC/Gas mark 6. Melt the butter and put to one side.
In a bowl combine the oats, flaked almonds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and brown sugar.
Place the fruit of your choice in a round shallow pie dish and sprinkle the cornflour and sugar as evenly as possible over it. Move the dish about to mix. (You’ll need the cornflour to absorb some of the juices since the fruit has been in the deep freeze for some time.)
Stir the melted butter into the topping (dry oat mixture), and spoon this on top of the frozen fruit on top. Do not cover completely as to end up with some of the fruit peaking out of the topping. It will look really pretty!
Bake for around 25-30 minutes. Serve this alone or with double cream during the colder months. (In Summer it’s perfect with ice cream.)
(Recipe adapted from Nigella Express, Chatto & Windus, 2007.)
I’m trying to update this blog from top to bottom. I have been wanting to do this for ages but the procrastinator in me told me that it was going to be a chore and therefore I would hate it. Fact is I’m really enjoying it, although I do have to apologise for being such a patronising git during the early months of writing. I don’t like being patronised and I’m sure you don’t like to be either. I hate being that person! That being said I’m trying to find ways to avoid making mistakes, but that doesn’t always work, and after all the most important thing is to learn from them.
Rummaging through photos and recipes I found this one, which I wrote about a long time ago. It was hiding in another post, which I now re-wrote, and I’m including this soup recipe here. I think that as long as a recipe is valid it should be given at least some thought. I haven’t made this in quite a while but I made a promise to myself to make it again as soon as possible, especially for this time of year, when we generally tend to overindulge!
To the original recipe I add celery, potatoes and green lentils mushed to make a thick creamy concoction either for an easy supper or to take along for a picnic in a thermos jug. Leave out the lentils if you don’t want to fuss about too much, but feel free to use tinned ones instead.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 100g green lentils, soaked and cooked
- 200g frozen peas
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
- pepper, to taste
- 100g pesto (approx. half a jar)
- 2 litres vegetable stock
In a large pot gently stir the garlic, onion and celery in the oil. You could add a little bit of butter here if you wish.
Add the potatoes and peas and coat these with the onion mixture.
Add the stock and the lentils. Leave to cook for around 30-35 mins or until the potatoes are completely cooked. All the other vegetables will be ready by this time anyway. Leave to cool slightly, blend everything and eat. Serves 4.
(Recipe adapted from Nigella Express, Chatto & Windus, 2007.)
I hope you have excused my absence but I haven’t been well at all. This year the flu came down with a bang, fever and all. J was not that good either, poor thing. I just couldn’t eat anything substantial during that time – I’m sure you know what I mean. So when the fever finally went away and I was able to get up, this cake is all I wanted. I must stress that this is not something we eat every day. I would so like to, but I like to make this mainly around Easter and of course, during this time of year. It might not look pretty, but it’s good.
The recipe is an adaptation of the one you will find in Nigella Express; incidentally there’s a similar one using chocolate in her first book How to Eat, but this one is even easier, making it the one I like best. (You will find another post similar to this with a link to Nigella’s website, but this time I’m also giving you the recipe.) I find Christmas to be very stressful and honestly I am not often filled with seasonal cheer, but this is my pick-me-up. I just love it and it does taste of Christmas if you know what I mean. So for me, it makes sense to kick off the prep with this holiday bake. It will give you 4-6 servings.
- 150g plain flour
- 100g light brown sugar, plus another 150g needed later
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 125ml semi-skimmed milk
- 60ml vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 6 teaspoons butter
- 500ml boiling water
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan and place a baking sheet on to the middle shelf. Put the kettle on and boil the water.
In a medium bowl mix the flour, 100g of the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of the ground ginger, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, milk, oil and egg. Be careful not to overmix the batter. If the mixture is lumpy, then so be it; you’ll have a softer spongy base.
Lightly grease a round baking dish, preferably a ceramic or pyrex one, and pour the batter into it.
In a small bowl, tip in the 150g remaining brown sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon of ground ginger and the 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Mix these well together and sprinkle this over the batter in the baking dish.
Take the 6 teaspoons of butter and place each one gently over the sugary mixture. Now slowly pour the boiling water over this. Slowly. Don’t worry, everything will work out fine!
Place the baking dish onto the baking sheet already in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. You will end up with a lovely cake on top and gorgeous toffee sauce on the bottom layer. Let it stand for around 10 minutes before serving. In the meantime whip up some double cream into soft peaks and serve up. Make sure to give everyone some toffee sauce together with the cake.
Reserved for special occasions, but well worth the wait! Enjoy!
(Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express, Chatto & Windus, 2007.)
I live in a Victorian building. It’s not insulated well and even though we do have heating, it still gets cold in the evening. Last week temperatures were almost unbearable, and everyone was rightly complaining. Main reason: the snow. We’re still using the oven almost everyday. Baking pizzas, cakes and the likes helps to warm up my tiny kitchen. Yep – that’s the excuse you see!
One of my favourite things is the Holiday Hot Cake from Nigella Express. It’s easy and you don’t need any fancy equipment to make it. It doesn’t look good on photos either but it *is* good. I don’t like advocat too much so I don’t add anything with the whipped cream. I make it during Christmas, but this year it has made a very special appearance during the Easter break. No one minded.
You can find the recipe on Nigella’s website here. Enjoy!
This is something which we made very recently. It’s really nothing special but a pork and apple pairing does wonders. Good quality meat is lovely even all by itself – any good quality ingredient really. However I feel that with some extra effort any meal can be heart-warming or festive.
Unfortunately, when we moved to a new place last year I found the freezer to be too small. Having said that, I now find that it suits our needs just fine now; I have learnt to buy less and use what I have before buying anything. I had a couple of pork loins which I wanted to use but didn’t want to worry about any complicated recipe. I always have apples in the fruit bowl and I had three unattractive ones past their prime. I found a quick sauce in Nigella Express which was perfect, but which I changed around with more shortcuts. All I needed was an large onion, around 2 tablespoons of butter, pinch of salt, my three apples, 2 tablespoons of gin (Nigella uses pink gin, but the white variety which I used is ok), juice of a lemon and some chilli flakes to taste. (A fresh chilli is preferable but I had just made some chilli oil with mine, so flakes had to go in with the apples instead.)
It’s so quick and easy. All you have to do is soften the onions in the butter, with some salt. Peel and cut the apples in bite-seized cubes and add them with the onion mixture. Pour in the gin and lemon juice, add the chilli flakes (or use a fresh one) and mix. Cook on the hob on medium heat for around 20 to 15 minutes. And you’re done. Good with anything. I think I could eat this as is – without the meat. Enjoy!