Saturday 17 November 2012

Cold weather cooking...& which one?

The last full moon had that late Autumn feeling...a harder, brighter look that comes with the onset of the colder seasons...time for some cosy dinners!

But first I wanted to show you the beautiful cake that my youngest sister baked for my birthday...and my youngest nephew (4 year old Will) decorated! Gorgeous marbled spongecake...buttercream icing...and you may be able to spot at the centre back amongst all the candles (ahem!) a plastic tyrannosaurus rex!! A must for any cake. The peanut M&Ms were, apparently, his eggs! So not only delicious, but a useful dinosaur incubator too....

The last Farmer's Market was cold & damp...perfect weather for this sticky oat & syrup parkin (the Yorkshire version of gingerbread) It's becoming a bestseller...and it keeps so incredibly well (in fact, you really need to make it at least 6 days before eating, so that it has a chance to mature and really get sticky!) Yum!

New to the stall were these Butterscotch Blondies...perfect for those who don't like too much chocolate (those poor, mad people.....!) and they sold out quickly too...but not as fast as...

my cheese scones. This time I added the last of the chives from our garden to the mixture. Each month I bake more...but it's never enough!
We've been eating more warming, comforting suppers too...making the most of the vegetable bounty around right now...

This baked mushroom rice was fabulous...I added some dried porcini to the rice for extra shroom-i-ness...really a baked risotto, but much easier & so good!

Butternut squash is another favourite...this one was scored and roasted with roquefort cheese & pine nuts...

the leftovers went into a lasagne later in the week....too good to waste!

Sometimes I cheat & buy ready-rolled puff pastry...if I've been baking all day, it can be hard to summon up the enthusiasm to put lots of hard rolling into dinner! But puff pastry has the magical ability to give the illusion of effort, without actually using much at all!

This open tart was full of tomatoes, fennel, courgettes, red onions, feta cheese...all those wonderful mediterranean ingredients that taste so good together!
Indian food is something we love...vegetable curries are infinite in their variety, but I wanted to make one containing okra, which can be gluey in texture...

thankfully,  this one wasn't! Fresh, green, hot enough to squeeze the tongue but not to paralyse it...beautiful!
And the last of this treasury of vegetarian dinners was the aubergine, tomato & black-eyed bean stew that still makes my mouth water to think of it! I cooked the beans from scratch...not always necessary (tinned are so much easier!) but I think that black-eyes especially benefit from soaking & cooking at home as the tinned ones can be too mushy for my taste...

Served over brown basmati rice, this was just delightful and so hearty and warming!
I am currently cooking for a special lunch, which I'll tell you more about soon...but I have a question for you before I go!
I can't write them all here, but is there a recipe for one of the dishes in this post that you'd particularly like to have? If so, please leave me a comment and tell me which and I'll post the two most popular very soon!
I hope that you are enjoying some delicious food too, this November....there's so much that's good around this month!
Happy weekend xoxo


  1. I'd love the Parkin recipe, please! :)

  2. Oh I LOVE hearty food on cold days! All those dishes and desserts look so delicious. What would you recommend with Beaujolais nouveau?

  3. All of these dishes look and sound delicious for winter enjoyment, but as it's almost summer here, I think your open tart with a light salad on the side would go down well either hot or cold.
    Greetings from a mild Melbourne.

  4. Oh Rachel, SO WONDERFUL to hear from you----this is so delightful! You've been a busy chef in the kitchen my dear! Your foods always seem so exotic---so unusual and it!!

    I'd LOVE the cheese scone recipe---perfect for family who CAN eat wheat and I may be able to convert to a GF recipe. They sound scrumptious!

    Another yummy post...
    Love from CO,

  5. oh please recipe for the baked mushroom rice! Love those fungi! :) would love a recipe for that one. cheese scones come in 2nd for my request. it's cool here too, and I also went to the farmers market yesterday and got 2 huge stalks of brussells sprouts, along with many other autums greats. was delighted to see they still had a few tomatoes since I dispise the winter variety that are mushy and colorless. - Barbara (Michigan)

  6. Ooo--it all sounds wonderful. I think perhaps the parkin would be the perfect treat to mail! The cheese scones would have to stay home with me! Sounds so cozy and yummy-by-the-fire. Thanks for inviting us in--

  7. Dearest Rachel,

    All your cold weather cooking looks fabulous, but if I had to pick just one recipe it would have to be the cheese scones. I would love if you could share the recipe with us! I was wondering if you could make your pictures any bigger? It would be nice to see them in a larger size. By the way, your birthday cake looks gorgeous! Home-made birthday cakes are the best! Tere's nothing like a cake baked with love (and a plastic dinosaur too)! Have a wonderful week, sweetie! xoxo

  8. The parkin recipe would be my choice please, I always think of gingerbread and parkin as being November food, probably harks back to my childhood because my Mum always made some for Bonfire night.
    Ann x


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