Pear and ginger compote

I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m nothing but grumpy and miserable about the cold. But right now – while it’s still tolerably cold – I’m loving autumn (apart from the rain). I love the autumn light, when the sun’s a little lower and all the colours appear golden and glowy.  And then there’s that crispness in the air and the damp, earthy smell after rain.

What’s also exciting me is all the produce coming into season, with butternut squash being top of the list. It is definitely way up there with my all-time favourite vegetables. Roasted, simmered in a stew, a curry or a tagine, tossed in a salad with goat’s cheese and parma ham, alongside roast chicken or sausages, with some blue cheese and pasta, or sage and risotto, puréed into soup or even puréed with milk and lots of cheddar to make a sauce for macaroni cheese (I really hope to post about this recipe soon!) Butternut squash is the ultimate autumn food, sweet, comforting and cheery coloured to brighten those rubbishy grey days. Continue reading

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‘something chocolatey….’

‘Bake something chocolatey.’

Those were the parting words from my boss when I left the office on Friday.

There are few requests I am more happy to oblige than to ‘bake something chocolatey’.

It was also very handy to have my focus narrowed. I am notoriously bad at making decisions, especially when it comes to baking – there is so much choice!  Without such direction, my entire Friday evening would likely have been taken up with hours of searching through cookbooks trying to decide what to bake on Saturday. Continue reading

Apricot and almond granola bars

Is it a sign you’re getting older when the cereal bars you used to eat so many of as child/ teenager suddenly start to taste too sweet, too artificial and generally unpleasant?

I brought one to work with me the other day, and despite feeling really hungry, struggled to finish it. It just didn’t taste much like ‘real food’. Is this what happens when you start baking all the time and cooking everything from scratch? Everything that comes in a packet begins to taste like plastic?

So, no longer liking shop-bought cereal bars, but still wanting a cereal bar type snack, I clearly only had one option – make my own. Continue reading