In Season: December

Caramel spiced rum

Caramel spiced rum + hot chocolate mix = perfect gift

The tree’s up – the traditional red baubles and white lights, despite my attempt to trick the flatmates into allowing wonderfully tacky coloured lights and my lusting over the pink and white baubles from Junk and Glitter – the first glass(es) of mulled wine have been drunk, and the “What do you want for Christmas?” texts have both arrived and been sent. So naturally, it’s time to think about the food and drink. You’ll notice I say that as if “thinking about food” isn’t my permanent state.

An evening at Harrods, for the launch of their hampers, showed how decadent Christmas food can be – any present with big quantities of cheese and booze is good in my book, and there were plenty of options that weren’t more than my monthly income – and this month’s list is no different. Continue reading

Pork and chorizo casserole (recipe revisited)

“I’m sad that you’ve already blogged the recipe for that stew, that means you can’t write a post about cooking it for us.”

“That’s what you’d like? You’d want me to write about cooking for you pack of weirdos?”

Because that’s the thing about food – it’s 90% about the people. This recipe was about the people the first time round, and now, as a dish that’s on semi-regular rotation, it’s got it’s own whole history, with in-jokes, knowing which people to leave the olives out for, and a couple of tweaks.

The history has informed the recipe itself, not just with the olives, but also in that I have to admit that despite Delia’s original assertions, if your buddies are anything like mine, this recipe does not serve six. More than that, I can now say that I no longer have cans of Stella sitting around to put in food, but have instead upgraded to white wine.

Proud growth moment, guys. Continue reading

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In Season: November

In the UK, we get pears in season for a good portion of the year – but winter is when it really kicks off, with varieties ranging beyond the faithful Conference. There are around 550 types in Britain, and a lot of them sound like something you’d expect to find in Care of Magical Creatures class, but the shelves are dominated by just four. As imported varieties typically test highly for pesticides, it’s worth making the most of the UK’s pear seasons while it’s here. So what do we make with them? Continue reading

Pear & cinnamon crumble cake

Pear and cinnamon crumble cake // The Dinner Bell

I might call this “Surprise Victory Cake”, instead of its actual descriptive name, because I did not expect this to work, and my god, it did. It really did.

I just about half-followed a recipe: made the topping up as I went along; tasted and guessed at the spice quantities; set to work bringing it all together with bowls strewn around the kitchen. The mixing stage was nerve-wracking, and for a split second, I wondered if it was a a waste of time and ingredients.

But then I put it in the oven and the kitchen filled with the smell of autumn. Cut into it and found it had the perfect level of springiness,  just the right amount of cinnamon and nutmeg flavour.

It turned out to be a cake that you take into the office and ten minutes later start getting “Oh yes 10/10” messages. A cake that might make your flatmate mutter, “Marry me,” as they take a bite. Maybe a couple of “I feel all warm and cosy inside”s. Continue reading

Seasonal greens & chorizo – two ways

simeCan we be super honest? I’m a lazy cook. When it’s not bashing out a batch at the weekend, cooking means evening meals, and that window of time between work and bed is one that I cherish. It’s for reading, or baths, or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. It’s not the time to create a masterpiece in the kitchen.

But there’s room for not-quite-recipes: the food you can prepare with one knife and one pan, making the most of seasonal veg at its simplest. This is one such throw-these-things-together plan, which allows you to prep tomorrow’s high-protein breakfast frittata(ish) while you eat dinner.

Go forth and exercise that scrolling thumb. Continue reading