Bits and Bobs

Bonfire Night

I’ve always enjoyed Bonfire Night, especially our local celebration which takes place in a clearing in the Forest. There are no streetlights to dim the sky and so the fireworks look absolutely wonderful.

The fire is always huge and the heat from it incredibly intense, even stood well back your cheeks end up glowing.

The ticket price goes in part to local charities and the turnout is always excellent.

It’s a really friendly atmosphere with a fun fair and food stalls, a proper community event.

If you have any left-over sausages from your Bonfire Night party I have a recipe for them which I will share with you tomorrow.

Stay safe tonight and enjoy!

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Bits and Bobs · quick and easy · recipes

Hallowe’en

Here we are, on the most magical night of the year. The night when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is at it’s thinnest.

Witches, shapeshifters and all manner of sprites, goblins and faerie folk are roaming the land.

This is the time for casting spells, divining the future and making mischief.

Or, you can just stay in and eat something nice!

For this easy and delicious treat you will need Munchkin Pumpkins, butter and grated cheddar. The Munchkins can be found in farm shops and supermarkets at this time of year, but are also easy to grow (I’ll be adding some gardening posts in the future).

Simply cut carefully around the stalk of the pumpkin and remove it, along with the seeds. Leave the skin on as this tastes lovely when it’s cooked.

Then fill the pumpkin with grated cheese and a knob of butter. You can also add some chopped, fried bacon or sausage, and then roast in the oven for 30 minutes on gas 6/ 200c/ 390f.

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biscuits and cookies · Christmas · festive treats · pudding · quick and easy · recipes · snacks

Spiced Biscuits

125g unsalted butter at room temperature
6 ti 8 tbsp splenda according to taste
2 tbsp double cream
250g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Using an electric whisk cream the butter and Splenda thoroughly then add the cream and blend well.
In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients and then stir into the butter mix gradually until a dough forms.
Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Divide dough into 2 and roll into a sausage shape which can then be sliced into rounds and placed on a baking tray covered with baking parchment.
Bake at gas mark 4 / 350f/180c for 10 to 13 minutes.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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dinner · quick and easy · recipes

Bangers and Mash

Probably the best easy meal ever!

Sainsburys gluten free sausages fried in butter with swede mash.

Peel and chop the swede into 1 inch chunks, place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a pinch of sea salt and boil until soft.

Drain the water and set aside to make the gravy.

Add a dash of double cream, ground black pepper and a handful of grated cheddar cheese to the swede and mash with a potato masher until smooth.

I use chicken stock cubes for my gravy.

Pumpkin pie is a perfect pudding for this. Click on the menu button above for the recipe.

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pudding · quick and easy · recipes

Warm Berries and Cream

1 Sainsburys 400g bag of frozen mixed berries or fresh berries
300ml extra thick double cream
3 tbsp splenda
1/2 tsp rose water
1/2 tsp of lemon extract

Place the berries in a microwaveable dish and defrost.
Whilst they are defrosting whip with a hand mixer the cream, splenda, rose water and lemon extract until thick.
Once the berries are defrosted heat them for 2 to 3 minutes on full power in the microwave, then cover them with the cream and grill for 5 minutes until the top becomes golden.
Serve immediately.

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dinner · lunch · quick and easy · recipes · soup

Butternut Squash and Chicken Soup

Serves 4 to 6

1 Butternut squash
1 cauliflower
60g butter
150 sour cream
1tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Smoked sea salt and black pepper to taste.
750ml of chicken stock (1 and a half stock cubes in boiling water).
1 pack of Sainsburys Oak-smoked chicken breast mini fillets.
Olive oil

Pre heat the oven gas 6/200c/390f
Break the cauliflower into bitesized florets and place on a baking tray. Drizzel with a little olive oil or butter and sprinkle with smoked sea salt. roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Peel and chop the squash into 1 inch chunks and place in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat on full power for 10 minutes or until the squash has softened.
Transfer the squash to a large sauce pan and add the butter and sour cream. Simmer on a medium heat, stiring gently, for around 20 minutes or until the squash is soft enough to be pureed easily with a potato masher. Remove from the heat to do this and ensure the pan is on a non slip, heatproof surface.
Return to the hob and make up the stock with boiling water then add to the squash along with the smoked paprika, ginger and nutmeg. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, stiring gently.
Finally add the roasted cauliflower and chopped chicken breast. Allow the chicken to be heated through before serving with fresh buttered bread rolls, click on the main menu above for the bread recipe.

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Bits and Bobs

Autumn

Autumn is definately my favourite season. The crisp air, first frost and gorgeous golden light which intensifies the magical colours of the trees is just beautiful.

For me it is a time of renewal. Of looking inward and taking stock, both physically and mentally.

Good food that nourishes us is essential all throughout the year, but particularly now before the harshness of Winter arrives. Even in our well insulated modern homes, Winter has an effect on us, both in body and mind. Darker days can trigger low moods so it is essential to get outside as much as possible to benefit from natural light and fresh air. Exercise is important too, and if you can get close to nature, even better. City parks are just as beautiful as the countryside at this time of year, and the trees on our city streets are really lovely.

One of the most common sights this time of year are pumpkins and squashes. The sheer variety of colours and shapes is fab.

Carving pumkin lanterns is great, but making soup is even better!

In my next posts I will share with you my simple and delicious recipes which are ideal for this season, hearty and warming they are particularly good for Halloween and Bonfire Night dinners.