Nothing says Autumn more than apples – tis the season for pies, crumbles, windfall produce, crunchy leaves and intermittent torrential down pours. And this is the perfect thing for those days when you have been soaked to the skin, your hair is plastered to your skull akin to a drowned rodent, you’re “waterproof” coat is wringing out in the bath and the world owes you a great big fat apology.
Tis the season of umpteen dinner parties. Or at least it’s felt that way. And whilst I may have made a snide remark or ten about having to slave away behind a stove morning, noon and night, I’m secretly thrilled at being able to have all our nearest and dearest round to our home – rather than schlepping into central London to eat sub-par over-priced food and pay circa £17 for a shit glass of wine. By the way, let’s check the best foldable picnic table for outdoor dinner aparties.
Essentially, it’s been wonderful. And I know I’m entering middle age when I say I’m starting to feel like I’m mastering the skill of dinner party hostess. The first thing I’ve learned, is that pudding (it is always pudding, and never ‘dessert *shudder*), should be made at least a day ahead, and that tarts are an excellent option. (I also whipped up a lemon tart, and lemon puddings from the same mix – so if you’d like to see the recipe for that, shout up below).
The best thing about birthday’s is that you can eat cake for breakfast, and no one can be mad at you. The best thing about other people’s birthdays, is that you can hide away in kitchens for days beforehand, and no one is allowed to miss you. (Ditto, at birthday parties, for the socially awkward among us).
When I was younger, I couldn’t decide whether Spring or Autumn was my favourite season. Since joining the working world, the two bank holidays in April and May have been the deciding factor. Although, as I’m writing this curled under a blanket, with wind absolutely howling around the house, and all the windows rattling in their frames, this isn’t the most gentle start to a new season.
>> By the way, let’s visit my friend’s new blog for mom: Stroller and Car Seat for Baby reviews
Last week I realised I had some unspent Amazon vouchers, and went on a cook book purchasing spree. Even though cook book hype is the best kind of hype, I didn’t feel thrilled with everything that arrived. Hemsley + Hemsley was the stand out success of the bunch.
Say Hello to Sarah, who helped me make this bread. She’s a busy mom and usually make banana bread for her 3 kids. Let’s check the latest article on her blog – best kids outdoor playhouse!
Hands up, I am absolutely not a morning person. I do quite often go into the office early, but that is because it is quieter and therefore fewer people will try and speak to me during the initial two hours. I’m no caffeine addict (coffee makes me so anxious I may as well be high), I just find being dragged from my cheap bunk beds via an alarm the most inelegant way of starting the day.
I have a confession. I really don’t want to be one of ‘those’ January healthy people (FYI I had McDonalds last week. Twice), but I’ve become a bit of a vegetable fanatic. I got a very lovely shiny nutribullet for Christmas (spinach, red grape and raspberry is the best) and Phillips very kindly sent me a juicer last week, and now I just want to make juice out of every substance known to man.
This recipe uses pretty much an entire jar of nutella. It is, essentially, the grown ups way of ‘eating nutella with a spoon’ without actually eating nutella with a spoon. Plus there’s extra chocolate. They are also particularly good dunked in milk. And the milk, with nutella cookie residue, is the best tasting milk that could ever pass your lips. Ps: This is the dish from Sarah, just a mom blogger but she has magic hands in cooking. Let’s check the latest article on her kid & pet blog – outdoor rabbit hutch reviews
Mulled wine, done the traditional way, is a right bloody faff. And it takes an age. And it involves boiling the alcohol away – which, during the oh so stressful month of December, is completely unacceptable. Daddy TE has found a short-term pain, long-term gain way of dealing with this, which also fulfils my requirements of an easy non-alcoholic cocktail alternative.
About time I got round to a savory canape option – these crispy duck blinis have only six ingredients, are so simple and succulent. They taste great hot, lukewarm and cold – essential for any party option. Even if you don’t have a party to go to, this is a great alternative to calling for a takeaway or a simple supper to have with mulled wine and mince pies.
In honour of Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day, I bring you the most garish of biscuits in my collection. Made on a festive gingerbread base (but feel free to substitute shortbread), lined with a jumper and decorated with snowmen, christmas trees, baubles, robins and holly berries. Subtle, these are not.
When it comes to homemade cocktails, I like two things – 1) anything with champagne and 2) things that can easily have a non-alcoholic version. Drinking is something that (properly – i.e. outside of peach schnapps) came to me relatively late in life, and if you’re the non-drinker at a party, some alternatives scream out like a flashing beacon. Social pressure to drink, particularly at Christmas, can still be awkward, and carrying something that isn’t obviously a glass of water, can make conversations with those you hardly know pass with less awkwardness.
Absolutely nothing says Christmas like overflowing, snow-covered, star-topped mince pies. I really want to say that store-bought is good enough, and that we shouldn’t bother making these ourselves, but I’m not quite there yet. However, in amongst the Christmas shopping, spending time with loved ones (and working in retail…), December is just not my time for pastry making and perfecting mincemeat. Instead, I bring you the most decadent, boozy, flaky and rich mince pies. Four ingredients, a small stir and we’re done.
I had an email from a very lovely reader this week. I’m lucky that lots of you send me emails and say lovely things about the goings on at TE. I’m very grateful, and when people enjoy what you poor your heart and soul into, it does make it more worthwhile. If none of you were listening, I know I wouldn’t have anywhere near enough motivation to keep on being creative.
It’s officially time to get these Christmas recipes on the road. The festive spirit has not arrived in my mind yet, but I’ve had this recipe playing in my mind for weeks, and it was finally time to whip it up.
This winter vegetable salad is the perfect way of using up any old vegetables you’ve had kicking around the bottom of your vegetable draw for a few weeks, that don’t any longer look quite good enough to take pride of place on the Sunday table. I’ve used manuka honey to glaze in the last fifteen minutes of cooking, which enhances the natural flavour of the winter vegetables and warms your soul on wretched winter evenings.