The story doesn’t change much after all. You have a bunch of apples which you will surely hate if you don’t do something with them. That’s how this recipe came to be. If I had to choose a fruit as a mid-morning snack I would most definitely not go for an apple. How can that be, you might ask? I can’t give you a valid reason for that I’m afraid. (Although, come to think of it, this might be indicative of having to eat boiled apples when I was a child every time I got sick.) However give me an apple pie and I’ll devour it. Add a couple of ice cream scoops and I’ll polish it off till the last crumb. Come on, admit it, won’t you do the same?
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. It’s all about family and friends, and everything that should be celebrated about life. My year has been full; to be honest I really don’t know how quickly it passed by. Someone once told me that the older we get, the more we feel that. I think it’s true. For me it’s so important to stop once in a while and appreciate all the good things that come my way. My year has been like a yo-yo, like everyone else’s I guess, but still I feel thankful for the dearest people in my life. Especially those friends with whom I reconnected. You know who you are. Also a special shout-out to Sadie from Sadie’s Nest, Julie from Hostess at Heart, Anna from Life Bellissima and Sarah from Sarah’s Attic of Treasures. Four lovely ladies right there!
You might have noticed by now that I don’t really give much attention to any particular feast days or special occasions, except for Christmas on this blog. I have been asked so many times about it over the past few months but I have never given an answer. Perhaps it’s because I really don’t have one. What I know is that I am not into trends, but this week I will give in.
I won’t bore you with the notion that love should be celebrated every day of the year. Let’s leave it at that! I made this recipe some weeks ago and I loved it, and I thought it would be a great Valentine’s Day post. It’s got chocolate and cream, and the pecans come as a bonus. I still find my liking this kind of dish a bit of a shock, especially because the nature of Nigella’s latest book somewhat perplexes me. I thought I would warm up to it, but I really didn’t like it as much as her other titles. However I found myself wanting to make this. You wouldn’t feed this to an Italian, but I’m not an Italian anyway. Chocolate pasta, which in my case are penne, just because those were the only kind I found in the shops, are a bit hard to come by. Luckily for me I managed to find them at one of my local stores, although online was the way to go on this one.
But beware – this is rich. I would say that with these quantities, which I changed a little, will give you 2 substantial portions. You will need a glass or two of water to drink, apart from a little bubbly if you want to. At first it will not taste that sweet, but you’ll see as you go along that the sweetness will catch up with you. It’s all good mind you, as long as you don’t eat this everyday! And I know you will not! And you won’t need any dessert – this is an all-in-one meal and takes minutes to prepare.
- 250g cocoa pasta
- pinch salt, for the pasta water
- 60g unsalted pecans, roughly chopped
- 60g unsalted butter, softened
- 60g soft light brown sugar
- 100ml double cream, plus around 3 tablespoons for serving
Boil the water for the pasta, add some salt to the water and cook according to packet instructions, preferably al dente.
In a pan (non-stick will make your life easier but stainless will work fine, at least it did for me), toast the pecans. When they’re ready, put them in a small container and set aside.
In the same pan, over medium heat add the softened butter and brown sugar, and gently stir. Let everything bubble up and when it turns into a lovely toffee colour, stir in the cream. Add the toasted pecans and take it off the heat.
Reserve some of the water from the pasta, and drain. Add the cocoa pasta to the caramel and pecan sauce and mix well. If needed, add one to two tablespoons of the reserved water, and give the pasta another stir until every bit of it is coated with the sauce.
Serve immediately with a little cream on top.
(Recipe adapted from Nigellissima, Chatto & Windus, 2012.)
This is *not* a sponsored post.
So during the last few weeks I have had one main aim in life you might say, i.e. to use up all the food in my fridge and pantry. It’s the classic situation really, I’m always tempted to purchase one or two ingredients for a particular recipe. Then I end up with a gazillion packets of dried fruit and nuts. Now one thing which I absolutely hate is to throw away food. When it’s bad there’s no other option of course, but when it’s good then the possibilities are endless…well, that’s what I keep telling myself…and it’s true.
There’s no doubt that these cookies are delicious, if you like cranberries and white chocolate that is. I know that not everyone likes white chocolate, but I guess it would be easy to use milk or dark chocolate instead. This recipe comes from Nigella’s Christmas. I have thought about waiting until the holidays to include these lovely little bites here, but I couldn’t wait that long and really you can make them any time you want. (White chocolate and cranberries remind me of Christmas though.) I made these three times and when it comes to any kind of cookie it’s always a party especially for J (and if you know him then that goes without saying)!
Some notes before you start: the mixture yields around 30 small cookies or 15 large ones, depending what you prefer. I made the latter. No news there I’m sure! Also you could use less chocolate if you like, as I did the first time I made them. However it’s tricky to mess about with an already good recipe. You could leave out the salt though, which I did the third time round.
- 150g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- 75g rolled oats (not instant)
- 125g butter, softened
- 75g dark brown sugar
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 75g dried cranberries
- 50g pecans, roughly chopped (works also with walnuts)
- 150g white chocolate chips or chunks
- Preheat your oven to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the flour, baking powder, salt and oats in a large mixing bowl.
- In a medium-sized bowl place the soft butter and sugar and beat until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.
- To the above mixture add all the ingredients in the large bowl, then fold in the dried cranberries, nuts and chocolate chunks.
- Using your hands roll the dough into roughly golf ball size and place them on the baking sheet. (You will need more than one tray to make the cookies in two or more batches). Push them down with a fork if you prefer.
- Bake the cookie dough for 15 minutes, and when done they will be too soft to lift from the tray so let them cool for around 5-10 minutes after taking them out of the oven. Then leave them to cool on a wire rack.
As in the previous cookie recipe, you can freeze the dough for up to three months so if you’re serving these at a party you can prepare them way ahead of time and bake them two days before. They are super easy to make so why don’t you give them a go?