An afternoon cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur book group meets each month, but every other gathering is essentially an excuse to drink tea and eat cake. Waiting for everyone’s schedules to accommodate a new book was delaying the regular catching up that everyone was really after, so this was the pragmatic compromise. Book or no book, these afternoons offer a perfectly reasonable excuse to try out a new cake recipe. Continue reading “An afternoon cake”

Hot Cross Buns

Broken up sideEaster crept up on me a bit this year. Usually, we would have been off work for at least a four day weekend. We would have planned to get out of the city, gather with family for a big meal and enjoy plenty of chocolate treats. With our new work patterns this year, neither of us took the typical long weekend. We’re counting down the weeks (less than three!) until we head to Japan, so this Easter really caught me by surprise. Continue reading “Hot Cross Buns”

For love of cabbage

Savoy leavesWe’ve been eating a lot of cabbage around here lately, and I think it’s time to tell you a bit about it.

I imagine there’s a divide among you about this very affordable, sometimes beautiful and often times under appreciated vegetable. You probably know already whether you love cabbage or not, and I suspect that if you’re in the latter group, you’re not looking to be persuaded. So this post is more of a showcase and offering of what we’ve been doing lately. Continue reading “For love of cabbage”

Christmas cookies

Teacakes 7

A few years ago, I shared a list of Christmas cookie recipes with my sister-in-law, whose commitment to homemade treats for all occasions is a bit of a legend among her family and friends. Although I had at that time been observing and collecting Irish and British Christmas traditions for a few years already, it was sharing that list that made me notice how integral Christmas cookies have been to my memories of this holiday. Continue reading “Christmas cookies”

Cinnamon Apple Cake

Apple cake titleIs there still time to talk about cinnamon apple cake? Have we all switched out of harvest mode and directly into there-are-so-many-Christmas-cookies,-how-will-I-find-the-time mode already? On these islands it’s more like why-would-you-eat-anything-other-than-mince-pies-in-December mode, but I’m wondering if we can still sneak this one in. I hope so. Continue reading “Cinnamon Apple Cake”

Pumpkin season

Dig in squash
Thank goodness for pumpkins. We’ve only roasted two three this year, but here’s where they’ve ended up:

– Ottolenghi’s Pumpkin, saffron and orange soup
– Ottolenghi’s Halloween Soufflé, from Plenty (2010), but the recipe is also online here
– This Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup (optional recommended bourbon splash served on the side)
– These Pumpkin cinnamon rolls by Smitten Kitchen (we halved the sugar filling and the cream cheese icing, and still loved them)
– Pumpkin and pea risotto
– Pumpkin pasta bake (this is a classic in our house, and someday I’m sure it will appear here. Using pumpkin purée, or other winter squash, as the base of your sauce turns an average baked pasta dish into a rich, vitamin-packed meal with so little energy that it’s a shame not to roast and freeze as much as you can now while they’re in season.)
– Pumpkin and aduki bean quesadillas
– Feeding our freezer to have on hand for upcoming needs.

Thankfully, the season is in full swing, and I’m storing these recipes to check out soon:

– This soup, these muffins, this salad, and another soup from Heidi Swanson
– These Pumpkin smoothies, shared by SouleMama
– Some form of Pumpkin spice latte (maybe this, or this but with the spices we know and love?)
– My grandmother’s pumpkin pie (because even if it’s not a holiday where you live, Thanksgiving should be celebrated somehow)

I hope you’re enjoying this very colorful squash season as much as we are.

Oatmeal Sandwich Loaf

Bread in panI found this bread on Smitten Kitchen, and it inspired me to take a chance on a homemade loaf. Since our visit to the Black Sheep Inn, with their packed lunches each day to encourage walking in the hills, I’ve had in mind that we could be making our own sandwich bread and rolls at home.

This was my first attempt.Full oatmeal breadOatmeal bread sideOver the next little while I hope to be sharing with you some pictures and stories from volunteering at Bread Matters, so it feels a bit strange to be writing about a sandwich loaf now. I’ve been reading Andrew Whitley’s book about the benefits of sourdough baking and the need to return to slower, more traditional bread baking all around. More on this later, but I’d love to be back here soon sharing early successes from integrating these principles into our weekly bread.

However, I’m practicing the art of not waiting for all the conditions to be in place before writing, so here we go. Continue reading “Oatmeal Sandwich Loaf”