Seasons

Chatting with a friend the other day, we started to discuss the seasons – random I know – and tried to pick a favourite.

I found this really difficult but in doing this task I realised that my love of the different seasons revolves around food choices!

Spring: I love spring – the fresh colours – vibrant greens of new buds, blossom laden trees – replaced with fruit in the autumn, blankets of yellow for daffodils. Planting of vegetables under glass ready for the frosts to stop. Hens, ducks and quail come back in to lay.

Summer: fruit sorbets / nice cream. Arrays of salad vegetables. New potatoes…yum

Autumn: the amazing palette of colours and the trees enter their quiescent phase for the winter. This is when I really wish I could paint. With autumn comes such a marvellous bounty of fruits and vegetables and the sound of the tractors harvesting wheat, barley, maize. hay for the animals etc. Nights turning cooler – one pot suppers / casseroles / fruit crumbles  /  jam/ liqueur and chutney making / freezer filling.

and then there is winter…curtains closing early, log fires burning, mulled wine, fruit cakes, mince pies, rich food and of course – family gatherings.

If I had to choose one…probably  autumn.

How about you?

 

 

Baked apple stuffed with raisins and honey

A deliciously simple desert that reminds me of autumnal suppers as a child.

Take a large cooking apple and remove its core. Place on a oven proof dish. Stuff dried fruit of your choice into the hole and place a heaped teaspoon of set honey on top. Bake in the centre of the oven- gas mark 5 / 180 C until the apple is soft. I served this with a generous pouring of cream. If you wish to play around with the flavours and make it a grown up pudding – a drizzle of a liqueur on the dried fruit before cooking is a tasty addition.

Personally I like the simplicity of the flavours as it is.

Is 3 the magic number?

The other day I fancied a super speedy breakfast – in truth I couldn’t be bothered to put much effort in! So, 3 minutes later I was chomping on a piece of gluten-free toast slathered (such an onomatopoeic word) in crunchy peanut butter and topped with slices of banana.Delicious.IMG_20160812_100340My caption within my IG post stated, ‘Two’s company but in this case three is definitely not a crowd.’ This got me thinking… I often eat a combination of 3 flavours without thinking about it.

This morning I had a kefir, coconut and maca smoothie. Yesterday’s lunch for my hubby – quail eggs and bacon on gf toast. The day before…avocado, scrambled eggs and oatcakes.  Don’t worry I’m not going to list all my meals over the last month. But, when I look back over my IG account over 50% (always like a statistic) of my meals are a 3 flavour combination.

I started to think about old childhood favourites …fish, chips and mushy peas, beans on toast with grated cheese on top…ooh…choux pastry, cream (i.e. profiteroles) and chocolate sauce.

I have just looked up from typing at my cookbook selection and there on the shelves is Three Good Things by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Not sure whether I feel a challenge coming on…would I have to count spices and seasoning as one of my three?

Another winning combination – smoked salmon, lemon juice and bread. Must stop||

It does make me wonder though how much we complicate things – do we need to combine so many flavours in one dish or do we actually savour simple, more?

Love to know your thoughts and your favourite combinations of 3.

 

 

 

 

Ginger and lemon gluten free muffins

Recipe testing this afternoon coincided with visitors arriving so these muffins had willing victims / volunteers to test them. With the mention of ginger within, one of the visitors who normally resists cake grabbed a sample with gusto. The cakes didn’t let me down. I am using coconut sugar in lots of my cooking at the moment – still a sugar but with less fructose content.

The resulting cakes were flavoursome, light and an even texture…success 🙂  We ate them whilst drinking tea…they would be delicious served as a desert with vanilla ice cream / Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of Limoncella!!

20160813_154557

Preheat oven to 180c / gas 4

12 muffin tray  – good quality non- stick ( I used Prestige – didn’t need to grease)

Ingredients:

170 g gluten-free self-raising flour       150 g butter

150 g coconut sugar         4 eggs (3 if not using gf flour)

2 pieces of stem ginger chopped into fine pieces

1 tbsp of syrup from stem ginger jar

grated rind of 1 lemon

Method:

Put all the ingredients  for the muffins in to a bowl and mix well until smooth. Spoon the mixture in to prepared tin.

 

Bake for about 15 mins – until skewer is clean.

Place on a rack to cool.

Devour 🙂

 

Ginger sponge pudding (GF) filled with Greek yoghurt mixed with chopped stem ginger

20160703_152316

Serves 4/6

Microwave  2-3 mins on full power  4/6 individual large ramekins e.g. Prestige /souffle dishes

Ingredients:

For the pudding:

100 g gluten-free self-raising flour       100 g butter

100 g light muscovado sugar         3 eggs (2 if not using gf flour

3 tsp ground ginger

For the filling:

6-10 tbsp Greek yoghurt                  4 pieces of stem ginger coarsely chopped

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a bowl and mix well until smooth. Divide equally between the ramekins. Put in the microwave for 2 mins – test with skewer. Cooked when skewer comes out clean.

Mix Greek yoghurt with the chopped stem ginger. Scoop the centre of the pudding out and fill with yoghurt mixture and pop ‘lid’ back on.  Serve whilst puddings still hot.

Blackcurrant ‘nice cream’ (gluten and dairy free)

image

2 ingredients: blackcurrants and ripe bananas

Last years crop of blackcurrants are still in the freezer and my blackcurrant bushes are laden with ripening fruit. So operation empty the freezer is taking place!

This dish is a great way to use up the pitiful looking bananas that look at the bottom of the fruitbowl – turning brown.

Method:

Put some frozen blackcurrants in to a blender (needs strong blades) / or food processor.I rinse the blackcurrants to remove any excess ice.

Add 1 or 2 bananas (some people add frozen bananas at this point – I prefer to mix everything and the pop in the freezer for a couple of hours ahead of serving)

20160618_154851

Pulse until blackcurrants are broken down – I use the ‘ice setting’ on my blender

Then I switch the settings to ‘desert’ and blend until all the banana is incorporated.

 

I then spoon it into a plastic container and pop it in the freezer.

Chocolate fudge pudding

Sauce on top before cooking and sauce underneath after cooking!

Preheat oven to 180c  / gas mark 4

Ingredients:

For the cake:                                                                                  For the sauce:

170 g gluten-free self-raising flour                                         1 tbsp cacao powder

150 g light muscovado sugar                                                    1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar

170 g softened butter                                                                  Boiling water

4 eggs (3 if using non gf fl)

2 tbsp cacao powder

Method:

Mix all cake ingredients until smooth and put in to an oven proof dish (about 20cm square).    Put the sauce ingredients in to a cup and add boiling water and stir. I fill the cup to about 3/4 full with boiling water. Pour the sauce over the top of the cake mixture. Bake in centre of oven for about 30 mins.