We’re usually having lunch on a Saturday around the same time that people without kids might be getting up and thinking about brunch. Eggs often feature on our Saturday lunchtime menu because we like to get out and about in the morning and there isn’t much time left for cooking, so it kind of feels like brunch anyway.
This weekend we went for a glorious autumnal walk in Sydenham Hill Woods and all four of us were ravenous when we got home. We’d stopped en route to pick up a loaf of sourdough bread from a local bakery and I decided to jazz up our usual scrambled eggs on toast in order to do the bread justice.
A glance in the fridge revealed not very much in the way of veg other than a large bag of kale. So kale it was.
Ingredients (for two)
A large handful of shredded kale
Olive oil or butter for cooking
One shallot, finely chopped
Four large eggs, beaten (add milk to taste if required)
50g feta cheese, crumbled
30g pine nuts
Steam the kale for around five minutes until slightly wilted. Toast the pine nuts. Heat up some olive oil or butter in a large frying pan and gently cook the shallot until soft. Add the eggs and stir frequently until cooked. Turn the heat off and mix in the kale, feta and pine nuts. Serve with toast.
Needless to say the kids had plain scrambled eggs, and one of them didn’t even eat those! To read more about my adventures in feeding small people check out Sneaky Veg.
Last time I visited my parents this is what I found in the conservatory:
Needless to say we went home with a lot of butternut squashes that day. Still, I’m not complaining, I do love them, although three squash based dinners in a row last week was a bit too much even for me.
Big thanks to Faerietale Foodie for the idea and recipe for these fritters, shared via Instagram.
Ingredients (serves 2)
500g grated butternut squash or pumpkin
Shredded cavolo nero (I used around 100g)
1 finely sliced shallot
2 large spoons of plain flour (I used around 4 tbsp in the end)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
Chilli flakes to taste
First squeeze as much water as possible out of the grated squash using a clean tea towel. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
Heat up some oil in a large frying pan. Shape into fritter sized portions with your hands (this is messy) and flatten into the frying pan with a spatula. Fry for a few minutes and then turn over to cook the other side.
You will need to use more than one pan or do these in batches, you can keep the cooked ones warm in a low oven.
We had these with a green salad and some grilled halloumi.
Where have crumble cakes been all my life? Somehow they have passed me by – yet in the last month or so I’ve come across two or three different ones. As a lifelong lover of crumble, and indeed, cake, I knew I had to make one. So when I found a bag of gooseberries in the freezer that my dad had given me a few months ago I had the perfect opportunity.
I suppose that gooseberries are quite summery but to me crumble always goes best with custard and served this way last night we found it was a perfect autumn dessert to eat with friends.
Based on a Nigel Slater recipe I found online.
180g butter, softened
90g golden caster sugar
90g light muscovado sugar
80g ground almonds
150g self-raising flour
2-3 drops of vanilla extract
400g gooseberries (Nigel says 350g but I had 400g and didn’t want to waste them – it worked well)
For the crumble:
110g plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 175°C/gas mark 3.
Grease and base line a 20cm round tin with baking paper.
First make the crumble topping. Either blitz the flour and the butter to crumbs in a food processor or rub them together with your finger tips until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add the caster sugar and mix lightly.
Next make the cake. Beat the butter and sugar together, either by hand, with a handheld mixer or in a food mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs gently then gradually introduce them to the mixture while beating slowly.
Fold in the ground almonds and flour then add the drops of vanilla extract. Transfer the mixture to the tin and smooth it flat. Scatter the gooseberries on top, pressing them down a little.
Scatter the crumble mixture loosely over the gooseberries. Bake for an 60-75 minutes, checking whether it is done with a skewer. The skewer should come out damp from the gooseberries but without any raw cake mixture attached. Leave to cool in the tin.
A lovely, hearty autumn dish, made largely with store cupboard ingredients and things I had cluttering up my fridge. A confession: I didn’t note down quantities when I was making this (will try harder next time – sorry) so apologies if it’s a bit iffy/vague in places. Still, it’s the kind of meal where it doesn’t really matter anyway so just chuck in whatever you’ve got and hope for the best.
For the aubergine, lentil and potato bake
5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into eight pieces
200g green lentils
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small chilli, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp garam masala
2 aubergines sliced
A 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the lentils in a pan of boiling water, bring to the boil and then simmer for 30-40 minutes until soft. You could use tinned green lentils if you prefer.
Next prepare your potatoes, place in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook until soft. Be careful not to overcook them as you don’t want them to go mushy.
Place the onion, garlic, chilli, cumin seeds, garam masala and aubergine slices in a large oven proof dish. Cover with oil, stir well and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, stir well and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Mix in the lentils and then cover with the cooked potatoes. Cook for another 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are turning brown.
For the spicy carrots and peas
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into batons
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
Steam the carrots until almost soft, add the peas and steam for a few more minutes until cooked. Meanwhile heat a little oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds and cook until starting to turn brown. Lower the heat and gently cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute before mixing in with the vegetables.
I do love a date slice – they’re one of those tasty snacks that makes you feel like you’re eating some healthy, when actually they’re full of butter and sugar and therefore really tasty.
I’ve made these before using a different recipe and they weren’t nearly as nice as these ones. Lovely simple recipe from Rose Elliot, definitely recommended.
225g (8oz) chopped dates
1tsp vanilla essence
175g (6oz) plain wholemeal flour
175g (6oz) porridge oats
175g (6oz) butter
75g (3oz) demerera sugar
2 tbsp cold water
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Line a 20cm x 30cm swiss roll tin with baking parchment.
Put the dates into a saucepan with the water and heat gently for 5-10 minutes until the dates are mushy. Remove from the heat and mash with a spoon to make a thick purée, looking out for and removing any stray stones. Stir in the vanilla essence. Set aside to cool.
Sift the flour into a bowl, adding also the residue of bran from the sieve and the oats.
Rub in the butter with your fingertips or a fork, then add the sugar and water, and press the mixture together to form a dough.
Press half this mixture into the lined tin, spread the cooled date purée on top, then cover evenly with the remaining oat mixture. Press down gently but firmly.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cool in the tin, then mark into sections and remove with a spatula.
I really enjoy the unusual (to us English folk anyway) taste of cornbread and was hoping to increase my children’s culinary repertoire with this as well. Sadly they wouldn’t touch it (I think they might have been expecting cake…).
However, the husband and I enjoyed it, particularly with a veggie chilli.
Oil for the tin
225g yellow cornmeal or polenta (Local folk: I got the cornmeal from Brixton Wholefoods where it’s called maize meal)
75g strong white flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50g caster sugar
475g low fat plain yoghurt
2 medium eggs
25g melted butter
The recipe calls for a “round ovenproof skillet or baking dish 20cm in diameter”. I used a 20cm cake tin. Pour a few tablespoons of oil into it and rub it up the sides to stop the mixture sticking. Place it in the oven and heat it to 200°C/180°C fan/390°F/gas mark 6.
Place the cornmeal (or polenta), flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and sugar into a bowl and mix them together. In a separate bowl beat the yoghurt with the eggs and melted butter.
When the tin is hot take it out of the oven and place it on the stovetop.
Beat the yoghurt mixture evenly through the dry ingredients, and quickly spoon the mixture into the hot tin. Smooth the top gently then place it back in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until it starts to pull away from the sides of the tin. Don’t worry if the top hasn’t coloured much. Incidentally, it took twice as long as this to cook in my oven so make sure it’s cooked inside before you take it out.
Remove from the oven then leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a serving plate.
I’d like to see a cornbread recipe that is gluten free so I can make this for my mum – so please share if you have one.
This recipe is from Dan Lepard’s Short & Sweet. I’ve been making use of our local library’s collection of cookbooks lately as if I buy any more the kitchen shelves are going to fall down under the weight. This is one of my favourites from the library so far.
Two friends invited themselves round for dinner at short notice (you know who you are) and the bean soup was already underway so I didn’t have the option to change to make something else. When one of them told a work colleague he was going to a friend’s house for dinner and they were making bean soup the work colleague was appalled. But I think that the result was ok and saved my reputation!
This turned out less like a soup than expected but it was delicious.
310g/11oz dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight, or fresh ones if you can find them
1 bay leaf
1 tomato, squashed
1 small potato, peeled
2 small red onions, peeled
3 sticks of celery, trimmed
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
a pinch of ground fennel seeds (I used whole because our pestle and mortar broke and frankly life is too short!)
a pinch of dried red chilli
1 x 400g tin of good-quality plum tomatoes
310g cavolo nero, leaves and stalks finely sliced
2 large handfuls of good-quality stale bread, torn into chunks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Drain your soaked beans and add them to a large pan of water with the bay leaf, tomato and potato. Cook until tender – around an hour for dried beans, 25 minutes for fresh. Drain, reserving about half a glass of the cooking water, and discard the bay leaf, tomato and potato.
Finely chop your onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add the vegetables along with the ground fennel seeds and chilli. Sweat very slowly over a low heat with the lid slightly ajar for 15-20 minutes until soft, but not brown. Add the tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer for a few minutes.
Add the cooked and drained beans with a little of the water they were cooked in and bring back to the boil. Stir in the sliced cavolo (don’t worry if it looks like too much as it will reduce), moisten the bread with a little of the cooking water and stir it in too. The soup should be thick but not dry so add a little more cooking water if you need to loosen it (the problem I had here was that our pan wasn’t quite big enough so no space for extra water!). Continue cooking for about 30 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and stir in some good quality olive oil before serving.
The recipe originally came from Jamie’s Italy and is called “la mia ribollita preferita“