Seasonal Tastes: January

Seasonal Tastes January

With a new year comes new seasonal delights and whilst it may seem like we are living in a blanket of grey in truth allsorts of jewel toned foods are popping up everywhere. I love a bit of colour in January usually in the form of some sort of colourful jean, but when I can have rich and bright foods on my plate I am even happier.

So bring on the Oranges and Pomegranates.

I have already been mixing all of the above into my now daily salad, but have also been on the look out with some other options for these fantastic January treasures. So why not have a go at some of the below.

These Honeyed Carrots and Oranges looks delicious 

Although I am not much of a fan of Marmalade, there is something so attractive about making preserves so I may well have a go. 

These Pistachio, Orange and Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls look like the perfect Sunday Morning treat.

Pomegranates seem to make the perfect topping to so many yummy looking dishes. 

Like this Roasted Pink Radishes & Carrot Salad 

or the scrumptious looking Cardamon and Plum Trifle - definitely on my dessert list.

Also these Avocado and Pomegranate Crostini look like a simple and delicious snack

So after all that holiday excess, why not ease your way back into the new year with some simple weekend cooking.

images: Oranges found here, Pomegranates found here

Now I am Three

Now I am three

Isn’t it amazing how time flies. Three years of blogging seems to have gone in a flash. I can’t really believe that Suppers From Scratch is three years old.  It’s great to chart this journey, looking back at some good meals and recipes. This last year my blog has had a makeover and gobbled up more content. I hope you are still enjoying the journey as much as I am. Really all I want to say today is Thank you.  Thank you for reading and sharing the journey. Without you guys this wouldn’t be anyway near as much fun! So Happy New Year – Here’s to a great 2014, what an exciting year it is going to be.

Yule Log Love

Yule Log

Don’t you just love a Yule log, the great alternative to a Christmas pudding, chocolatly decedant and just plain great. I make one every year, occasionally I toy with the idea of doing something crazy, like a black forrest gateau version, or a white chocolate version, but every year the old reliable classic that my Grandma taught me comes out and every year it is excatly what I want. As they say if it aint broke, don;t fix it.

So here we go. You still have time to make it trust me, I am making mine today!

Ingredients

For Sponge
6 Eggs
5 oz Caster Sugar
2 oz Cocoa Powder

For filling
250ml Double Cream

For Icing
6oz Butter
12 oz Icing Sugar
150g Dark Chocolate Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a rectangular shape inch deep tin (I actually use a roasting tin)
  2. For the sponge separate your eggs placing the yolks in a big bowl
  3. Whisk yolks until they thicken, then add the caster sugar and continue to stir until the mixture thickens further
  4. Sift your cocoa powder in and mix together
  5. In a separate bowl mix your egg whites until they form stiff peaks
  6. Fold the egg whites into your chocolate mixture. Mix them in carefully so you don’t loose the air
  7. Pour the mixture into your tin and bake for 20 mins
  8. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave for 5 mins to cool
  9. Before the cake has completely cooled take a clean tea towel and sprinkle with icing sugar. Place your sponge on the tea towel and carefully roll. Wrap the tea towel around and leave to cool. It is important to do this stage before the cake cools completely.
  10. For the icing melt the chocolate in a double boiler and leave to cool
  11. Cream butter and icing sugar together. When the chocolate has cooled stir in.
  12. For filling whisk double cream until it is thick
  13. To put together carefully unroll your sponge and place onto board fill with cream and roll back together again. If you have any cracks or breakages don’t panic as you can cover this with icing
  14. Then ice your log. Run a fork through the icing to make it look more log like and sprinkle with icing sugar. 

So there you go, the Yule Log recipe as far as I am concerned. Have fun making!

And if I don’t write until after the Big day have a very Happy Christmas!!

 

Sweet Christmas Inspiration

hot-chocolate-dessert-bar

You may (or may not) have noticed the absence of posts over the last month or so. I have been in a mini shame spiral as a result of this. Feeling guilty about not posting, but at the same time not really feeling like I had much to share or write. Now don’t get me wrong it has been a busy month, making 3 completely different kinds of Birthday cakes, prepping all sorts of Christmas goodies, planning a wedding, working a lot, seeing friends and family and generally having a ball. So in short that is where I have been. Busy, and not particularly inspired. However Christmas is just around the bend and I am now planning a few delights for Christmas day, listening to my Christmas Soundtrack I couldn’t help but feel like a I should share the best of the Christmas Inspiration and recipes I have been pouring over.

So here we go: 

I know this is for a party but I want to have always have a table filled with Christmas cookies and other treats

And here are some treats that would definitly make the table

A Great list of Holiday starters and snacks - The baked Brie and Cranberry compote looks particuluary good

Indoor Smores – nuff said 

I also want a hot chocolate bar

And finally I really want to make these for Breakfast on Christmas Morning – what a perfect way to start the day! 

I hope that list helps to inspire your own Christmas Treats. Personally the one thing I know I am definitely going to make is a Yule Log. My own personal favourite Christmas Treat. 

So check back tomorrow for some Yule Log love!

Image via House of Ernest 

 

Seasonal Tastes:December

Seasonal Tastes: December

 

December! I mean can you believe it.  All of those yummy winter vegetables are now in season and it is most definitely time to start long slow root vegetable roasts, slow cooked Tagine’s with orange and dishes sprinkled with bright red cabbage. Proper heart warming food. 

As a result I have picked Clementines, Parsnips and Red Cabbage for this months seasonal favourites and have already found some amazing recipes to try out.  So I thought I would share them with you all and hopefully we can cook up some delicious dishes this December. 

So how about some Clementines is Spiced Cider, or dipped in Chocolate for a sweet treat. 

Or what about Parsnip Chips, or Wheat Berries with Roasted Parsnips, Butternut Squash & Dried Cranberries. 

And finally why not pull out all the stops with some Pulled Pork and Red Cabbage sandwiches  or mix things up with a Red Cabbage and Mango Slaw. 

All in all the days are getting shorter which means more time to be spent inside cooking and eating. So let’s fire up the stove!

Clementines via FrenchBasketeer, Parsnips via Martha Stewart, Red Cabbage

The full Thanksgiving report

Happy Thanksgiving

I survived!! The Turkey didn’t burn and wasn’t undercooked and everything managed to make it to the table. What a relief.

More to the point it was a great evening, good food, good people and pumpkin pie. Life doesn’t get much better. It also pushed me beyond my current knowledge of food to dishes I had never tried. A few of my favourites were: the Ritz Cracker topped Broccoli Casserole, Pecan topped Sweet Potato (this was SWEET) and of course the Pumpkin Pie. The Jello salad as I expected was a 1950′s American House Wife classic, I don’t think it will be making it into the rotation anytime soon.

But all in all it was a yummy meal, made even better by some pre food crafts – I have posted a picture of my ‘Hand Turkey’ below.

Thanksgiving_craft

However if I am going to pick one recipe to share… well it just has to be pumpkin pie. The quintessential Thanksgiving food. Surprisingly simple to cook and pretty delicious to eat. So if you didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving yesterday, why not whip up your own Pumpkin Pie to carry you into December. Yes, it’s December this weekend… bring on Christmas!

Classic Pumpkin Pie (unashamedly only slight adapted from the back of the tin! How very American of me!)

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

1 tin Pumpkin Mix ( I found mine in whole foods)

2 eggs lightly beaten

6oz caster sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

½ pint of evaporated milk

Around 250g Shortcrust pastry (either shop bought or from scratch)

Cream to serve ( I would whip double cream with a touch of vanilla essence and a sprinkle of cinnamon)

 

Method

  1. Roll out your pastry and place in a pie/tart dish (remember to leave excess the pastry will shrink in the oven)
  2. Prick with a fork and blind bake in an oven at 220C degrees for 10-15 mins
  3. Once baked lower the oven to 180C degrees
  4. In a large bowl mix together your pumpkin, eggs and sugar. Once combined add the salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Stir until combined
  5. Finally add your evaporated milk and stir until fully combined
  6. Pour the mixture into your pie base and bake for 40-50mins or until a knife comes out of the centre of the pie clean (mine took closer to 50mins)
  7. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool
  8. Serve with some delicious whipped cream

And that’s it. Your classic Thanksgiving dessert. 

And just like the Macy’s day Thanksgiving Parade it is time to say Goodbye Thanksgiving, Hello Christmas. Be prepared for seasonal excitement!

 

Adopting Thanksgiving

Beautiful-Thanksgiving-Table-Ideas-01-copy_thumb

In approximately two days time I will be sitting down with friends and family having my first ever proper thanksgiving meal. For someone so into their food I know it seems strange that I have never had a thanksgiving meal before but I just have never had the opportunity or particularly cared. After all it isn’t our holiday. It belongs to our good old friends across the pond. At its core its very much to do with America as a separate country. However this year I am going to find myself helping to plan and host Thanksgiving. How did this happen you ask? Well this year has been my perfect Thanksgiving storm.

Well not really a storm but a mixture of being able to host thanksgiving from one of my best friends who happens to be an American in London on Thanksgiving. And the fact that having just returned from a trip to the states I have got over enthusiastic and am now trying to adopt the holiday.

After all if nothing else it is a great opportunity to spend time with the people I love, being grateful and eating good food. Sounds pretty darn good to me.

I promise a full report on Turkey, Broccoli Casserole, Green Jello Salad (yep, that is a dish that exists!) Pumpkin Pie and so the list goes on. But for now, just in case you are planning your own Thanksgiving I thought I would share a few of the great places I have been getting inspiration from for my very first hosting gig.

Friendsgiving from A Beautiful Mess

Table setting inspiration from Honey Suckle Catering

Love and Lemons Vegetarian Thanksgiving ideas

Ina Garten’s Thanskgiving guide

and of course you when it comes to American holidays you always have to check in with Martha 

Fingers crossed I pull it off!

Image via A Place for us

Autumnal Dream Cake

pumpkin cake 2

Hurray for Halloween. I realised this halloween that I still think of myself as a child. This realisation came when I sat in my living room slightly scared of the witches in Hocus Pocus just incase they came and wanted to suck the life out of me. Then I realised they wouldn’t want to do that – they only go after children and I am not a child anymore. Oh well. Hopefully the fear will one day subside but until then it makes Halloween that little bit more exciting.

The other exciting thing about Halloween – Pumpkin Cake. Yes pumpkin cake, with toasted marshmallow filling and cinnamon icing. It sounds good right? Well it was pretty delicious, nice and moist and very autumnal. So if you have the odd pumpkin lying about and fancy having a go I thoroughly recommend it.

Pumpkin Cake

Makes 4 Mini cakes ( 12 cupcakes) (1 small cake)

Ingredients

4 oz Butter

4 oz Caster sugar

2 Eggs

5oz Self Raising flour

The flesh of half a Small Pumpkin – peel, chopped, steamed and mashed ( or you can buy canned pumpkin)

½ tsp Cinnamon

½tsp Nutmeg

For the filling:

3 handfuls of Mini Marshmallows

1oz Butter

3oz Icing Sugar

For topping

2 oz Butter

4oz Icing Sugar

¼ tsp Cinnamon

A handful of Pecans for decoration

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and prep your pumpkin
  2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar
  3. Then whisk the eggs until they are light and fluffy
  4. Measure out your flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, add the eggs to your creamed butter and sugar bit by bit, intermixing with your flour if it gets too runny
  5. Add the rest of you flour and stir until everything is combine
  6. Finally carefully add your mashed pumpkin and stir gently to combine
  7. Pour into your cake tins and bake in the oven for about 25 mins (the timing differs depending on what tins you are using so keep and eye on this)
  8. Whilst your cake is baking you can sort out the filling and the icing
  9. For the filling cream the butter and icing sugar together and set to one side
  10. For the Icing cream the butter, icing sugar and cinnamon together and set to one side
  11. Once your cakes have cooked remove them from the oven and leave to cool for about 15/20 mins
  12. In the meantime place your marshmallows on a non stick baking tray
  13. Place in the oven and let them colour slightly and melt – this does not take long ( about 1 min) and you don’t want burnt marshmallows so keep and eye on them
  14. Once they have softened remove from the oven and quickly mix into your filing mixture, they will clump a bit but if you just keep stirring you should get a nice consistency
  15. Once you cakes have cooked place the filling in the middle and sandwich your two sponges together
  16. Finally add a touch (literally a few drops) or water to your cinnamon icing to loosen it slightly and ice the top of your cakes. Sprinkle with pecan nuts and serve

Voila the perfect autumnal cake, ideal for eating in a warm house with a cup of tea. Looks like my afternoon is planned perfectly!

 

Pumpkin Soup

I love pumpkins

After my weekend post I suspect you won’t be surprised to find I am currently throwing my culinary tastes at all things involving Pumpkins. There are so many good pumpkin recipes out there for everything from savoury treats to sweet pumpkin pie. It’s pretty hard not to get swept up in all the orangeness. 

I decided the best place to start would be pumpkin soup. I love a good soup, so far this week has felt very rainy and autumnal so my craving for warm and comforting food has definitely started to kick in. 

My associations with pumpkin always seem to be slightly sweet so I usually add either carrot or parsnip to my soup just to give it the slight edge and avoid me tipping actual sugar into the soup. I would use carrot or parsnip interchangeably, but you do whatever you prefer.

I also wanted to have a go at extracting my own pumpkin seeds from there shells – this was an exciting experience – I am not convinced I did it quite right and I ended up eating some of the shell as well – but it actually tasted delicious. It’s pretty simple you just dry of the seeds place them in a dry pan over a low heat and let them cook for about 5/10 mins, (it’s very exciting as they start spinning around in the pan all of there own accord) keep moving them around so they don’t burn  - then pour them out and crush in a pestle and mortar. Not sure if I would recommend this method completely as I did eat some shell and I don’t know if you are supposed to eat them or not – but oh well! 

Pumpkin Seeds

Anyway enough of the garnish and on with the main event. 

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients 

1/2 a regular Pumpkin, peeled, deseeded/ fleshed and chopped into chunks

1 Carrot (or Parsnip) peeled, and chopped

2 Garlic Cloves

1cm Ginger

1/2 Red Chilli

1 small Onion

1 handful Red Lentils

500ml Vegetable Stock 

A few sprigs of Thyme 

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method 

  1. Chop your onion, place in a pan and fry on a low heat to soften 
  2. Add your chopped pumpkin and chopped carrot and leave to soften slightly 
  3. Then add chopped garlic, chilli and ginger and stir in 
  4. Pour on your vegetable stock, pour in the lentils, put the lid on and leave to slowly simmer for about 20-25mins, adding more liquid if necessary
  5. In the meantime toast your seeds ( as I instructed above)
  6. After 25mins check your soup and if everything has softened blend with a hand blender, pour into bowls, and serve with a sprinkle of Pumpkin seeds. If the vegetables still feel a little hard, let them simmer for a further 5mins, adding more liquid if necessary (although try not to add too much excess liquid at this point as it will dilute the lovely flavour)

Pumpkin Soup

And that is it – Simple Pumpkin and Lentil soup, nice and hearty and a great comforting antidote to feeling cold. 

 

 

Weekend Love List – Holiday Inspiration

doily_pumpkin1

I know we are not quite there yet as well frankly it is the middle of August but with Haloween on the Horizon I can’t help but get excited about the upcoming Holiday Period. Whilst I try and control myself on the Christmas front until at least the 1st of December there are still plenty of celebrations before that. I am helped in my family by having a number of important birthdays on the run up to Christmas as well.

But let’s break it down for a second. Over the next few months we have Halloween, Bonfire night, Thanksgiving ( I know it’s not technically a british holiday but one of my best friends from the states is in London this year so we are firmly celebrating Thanksgiving – a new holiday- so exciting) then I have a lot of birthdays. And then Christmas ( oh and still more birthdays – thanks family!)

Oh wait and then New Years.

For someone who likes a party and anything with a theme this is a dream.

So whilst I thought I would share some of my favourite links for the week I also thought I would maybe slightly theme it ( don’t you love a theme) with some of the things that have been getting me in the mood for Holiday time.  

This has got Bonfire night treat written all over it. Obviously along with bonfire night fudge, toffee apples and sausage rolls. Obviously.

Some lovely Autumnal Craft Ideas

Cake baked in a Pumpkin! Umm. excuse me that might be the best sentence ever written. There are no words.

This got me all excited about Christmas – boy do I want to make smores. 

Some useful fonts for any party invitations and christmas cards. Always useful.

A must for Halloween decorating!

And finally if I was going to dress up as one things this Halloween – it would definitely be this.

I hope you all have great weekends! Whatever you are up to why not treat it like a holiday. 

image via allysonbakerdesign