Autumn bits and pieces

So another month has passed without any updates.  But there’s been cooking and baking aplenty over the last few weeks.  The colder weather of autumn has definitely brought out the bit of me that wants stews and casseroles and warm fruity puddings (I have not yet made apple crumble – though I have thought about it often – but it’s surely only a matter of time).

One of the new recipes I’ve tried was actually a drink – a recipe for ginger tea that used cinnamon, cardamom and ground almonds (in addition to ginger) to make just the sort of thing to try to ward off colds.  Whether it does ward off colds is another matter.  But it’s nice enough that it’s no hardship to drink it, just in case.

On the baking front there have been Nigella’s Granola Muffins (from Feast; I’m pretty sure that the link – to the New York Times – gives the same recipe, just with American measurements).  The recipe may say that they’re best warm, but they freeze and defrost (to room temperature) pretty well too.  They’re breakfasty-ness makes them a good mid-morning snack I find.  The most tricky thing was finding the buttermilk.

I’ve also made Nigella’s Banana Bread from How to be a domestic goddess.  I may have undercooked it slightly, but this only meant that it was nicely moist.  I didn’t soak sultanas in rum (as I didn’t have any) so just used some warm water (a la Flora’s Courgette Cake from the same volume), and though I had reservations about including them at all, the sultanas and walnuts were a very pleasing addition.  Despite the name, this is definitely a cake (unlike Nigella’s Banana Breakfast Ring, which I generally make in portion-controlled muffin form) and a lovely treat for the afternoon  – if it lasts till then.

I had intended to make a gingerbread or parkin for Bonfire Night, as it feels traditional even though I’ve never done it before, but I can’t decide on a recipe and through dithering the moment has passed.

On the savoury front there has been soup (using a packet of casserole vegetables roasted in the oven with some herbs, before being added to stock and blended), my first attempt at homemade burgers (I feel more virtuous for having made them myself) and a really very moreish Black Bean Chilli from November’s Good Food Magazine.  Black beans (not to be confused with black-eyed beans; easy mistake, anyone could make it…) took a little bit of tracking down (to my local health food shop, rather than the supermarket) but gave a meaty sort of aspect to the dish (aided and abetted by the use of beef stock in place of the specified vegetable).

As for clothes, there have been new trousers (which I probably need to wear with heels if the hems aren’t to get soaking wet and chewed up) and cabled jumpers.  Exciting? Maybe not.   But snug.  Not to mention cosy.  And that’s just what I’m after at the moment.

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