Category: Autumn/Winter

Basic pumpkin bread

I feel like by calling this basic I am insulting it but what I mean is, this is a delicious no frills pumpkin bread that is easily adaptable should you wish to add any kind of browned butter, chocolate chip, cranberry frills. I’ve made this a few times and each time I felt like I was adding too many frills, at one point you wouldn’t have known there was pumpkin in it (largely due to too much treacle) so I stripped it back and there it was, a super simple but delicious loaf perfect for afternoon coffee.

This was what I had been thinking about just before I made this bread. Stop overcomplicating life/recipes. The reason my last few recipes had failed was because I had made them too complicated. I like a strong ginger flavour so I put 1.5 teaspoons in but you can adjust the spices to your taste. I’ll be sneaking a slice of this into work for my 3pm sugar craving. Read More

Pecan paprenjaci

Pecan paprenjaci // The Dinner Bell

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while, since my enthusiasm for festive food got the best of me far before it was acceptable, but the tightness of my jeans indicates it is time.

These little darlings are based on traditional Croatian Christmas biscuits –  the inclusion of black pepper sounds a little odd but it gives a subtle warmth to the biscuits, which are similar to gingerbread and have a comforting softness to them.

As I inherited a slight walnut allergy from my mother, along with sturdy thighs and a love of food, I switched out the traditional walnuts in favour of pecans. I also used a tiny squirrel cutter instead of the wooden moulds they’d be made with in Croatia, because the tiny squirrel was too cute to resist.

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In Season: November

There are many things about Britain that are completely mad – morris dancing, Crufts, teachers’ work loads – but one of the weirdest has to be the fact that 400 years on, we still celebrate the failure of a plot to blow up Parliament.

The celebration of Bonfire Night was brought about by the Observance of 5th November Act 1605, which called for annual public thanksgiving. Although the act was repealed in the late 1850s, we still love a big ol’ fire and watching explosions timed to a playlist that seems to always include something by Queen (sadly, it’s rarely Fat Bottomed Girls).

It’s one of my favourite nights of the year. Read More

Sweet potato cake with maple cream cheese frosting

This cake is perfect for autumn. It’s just slightly adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe for carrot cake and you probably wouldn’t know it was sweet potato if I didn’t tell you but it’s the maple frosting that makes it. I had a glut of sweet potatoes lying around and I figured there was no reason why I couldn’t use them in the same way as carrots. This frosting is much sweeter than your basic cream cheese frosting so you don’t need a big slice when it comes to eating, but who am I to tell you how to eat your cake?!

It is crumbly without being dry and has the right balance of sweet and spice. As with all cakes, I recommend a strong coffee. Read More

In Season: October

They’re the brightest food market indictor of autumn, as well as being a versatile and storable staple ingredient: oh my gourd, squash season is upon us.

I love a butternut squash soup as much as any cosy-seeker, but when it comes to branching out to the myriad other varieties, I’ve been nervous. Will the skin of an acorn squash destroy a peeler? Can you cook anything beyond pie with a pumpkin? It’s time to find out. Read More

Masala chai scones

It’s a blessing and a curse, being with someone who loves food as much as you do. A curse because of the inevitable weight gain that results from eating a lot of cheese; a blessing…for so many reasons. You know — brie, camembert, weird Wensleydale varieties.

Our story is a long path studded with pubs and restaurants, coffee shops and stores filled with local produce and good beer. It took a while, with months of not talking, then hours-long phonecalls, both of us too idiotic to know the other’s feelings. It featured a lot of chai teas, and these days a lot of scones. We got there in the end.

I’m not sure why I expected making chai scones with our story in mind to be a smoother process.

Two recipes, both alike in dignity, in fine Norwich, where we lay our scene… Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More