Monday, 18 October 2010

Recipe time

Oh my, Autumn is definitely in full swing now! I'm sitting on my sofa with the heating turned up listening to the wind rattle the windows... Seems the perfect time to share a warming seasonal soup recipe. Pumpkin soup is one of those things that to me, has always sounded better than it tastes - I always imagine it as rich and hearty and flavoursome, but I've never quite managed to perfect a recipe. But this one which I've adapted from the Abel and Cole cookbook seems to tick all the right boxes! I think roasting the pumpkin first gives it the depth of flavour which has been missing from my previous attempts, and the chilli gives it a nice spicy kick which keeps the sweetness of the apple and cinnamon from being too, err, pudding-y? The original recipe uses plain toasted pumpkin seeds, but I had a jar of tamari seeds ready made so I used them and it worked really well. I like to toast large quantities and keep them in an air tight jar to sprinkle on things at will, they pep up a salad like nobody's business.

Good lord I am rambling, but recipes excite me! On to the important bit -

Pumpkin and Apple Soup with Tamari Toasted Seeds

1 small pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large bramley apple, peeled and cut into chunks
olive oil for roasting
sprinkle of chilli flakes
sprinkle of cinnamon
drizzle of maple syrup
salt and pepper
vegetable stock
squeeze of lemon or lime
soya cream/yoghurt (to garnish)

Tamari Toasted Seeds
mixture of seeds
(I like - pumkin, sunflower, flax, fennel and cumin)
good pinch of basil
good pinch of oregano
splash of tamari or shoyu sauce
black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
  2. Place the pumpkin and apple on a roasting tray, toss with a glug of olive oil and sprinkle with the chilli flakes and cinnamon. I prefer just a hint of spices so you get the flavour of the pumpkin, but you could add more if you like a kick! Drizzle over a little maple syrup and roast in the oven for approximately half an hour, turning the veg occasionally. It wants to be tender, but not too browned.
  3. Meanwhile, place the seeds in a dry non stick pan, and place over medium heat, occasionally shaking the pan, until they begin to pop. Continue to cook until they are lightly toasted, then add the herbs and black pepper. Finally, add the tamari or shoyu - quickly pour a splash in, then immediately stir the seeds with a wooden spoon to coat them evenly. cook for a few moments more until the sauce has reduced and the seeds are dry and crisp. You shouldn't need to add salt as the tamari is very salty. Remove from the heat.
  4. Once the veg is tender, place the contents of the roasting tray into a large heavy based pan. Pour on enough stock to cover the veg and a bit more (depending on how thick you like your soup -I tend to go for a thick puree that I can dilute later if necessary). Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

In other news, I finished my garland! I am very pro seasonal decorations, by which I mean decorations which celebrate the SEASON. It annoys the hell out of me when shops and places put up Christmas decorations in October, what about the Autumn??? Anyways, excuse the background of my messy messy soupy kitchen, I kind of forgot that our hatch is see through when I took the pictures, I really should have tidied it first. (It is a far more accurate representation of my kitchen than my kitchen post though....)

I hope everyone else is enjoying Autumn? I have become a bit sick of just wittering about myself on this blog and want to make it a bit more interactive, so if on the rare chance that there is anyone reading, please leave a comment! What is your favourite Autumn food to make or eat? How do you celebrate the changing of the seasons? What do you like best about Autumn?

To further this new interactive approach, I am also going to start a series of posts highlighting some of my favourite blogs that I follow regularly. Coming very soon!

Sarah xxx

p.s. small note - after posting yesterday how much I wished there was Apple Day in Bristol this year, my boyfriend found out that yesterday only WAS flippin Apple Day! Honestly I was crushed. I felt like I did when I accidentally went to school the day it major-snowed and was the only person in my class.

p.p.s. I meant it. PLEASE please leave a comment! Even just to say hello! I am going to get my commenting hat on and spread some commenty goodwill on the blogosphere, see you out there somewhere

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Hullo Autumn

Have I mentioned before how much I love Autumn? (And gourds?)

Yesterday I popped into the lovely posh toyshop on Gloucester Road to look for present inspiration for my niece, but ended up buying presents for myself, in the form of nine felt Autumn vegetables, to make a seasonal garland for my living room. I might even take down the paper snowflakes that have accidentally been up since last Winter (then I can make new ones this Winter, woop!) Seasonal decorations should not just be confined to Christmas, oh no.

In other news, I finished my patchwork quilt/duvet hybrid! The top is quilted, but it also has a extra back with poppers to put a duvet in, so it can be a duvet cover, or go on its own on top of the bed, clever huh? I finished it at just the right time, when it's suddenly very much AUTUMN. It's really great Autumn weather, golden sunshine and chilly nights - I think the fornight before clocks changing is one of my favourites, not yet having given into the ever-present dark of Winter, but feeling all cosy in my little flat with blankets and candles. Plus I've been rewatching Gilmore Girls from the very beginning, it's the perfect, cosy comforting Autumn viewing... I wish there was Apple Day at St Werburghs this year, I've never felt so much like I could be living in Gilmore Girls at when I went to Apple Day...

Other than that the days have been filled with obsessive watching of Mad Men, Uno paying, baking crumble, parties with bonfires, listening to Nancy Sinatra and planning sewin projects. I keep meaning to do a separate sewing post, but I know I'll never get round to it so I'll squeeze it in here, after finishing this post I'm going to cut out this vintage Maudella dress pattern in lovely bright blue gabardine from John Lewis haberdashery, ooh!

I also got this pattern on Ebay so I can start knocking up lots of lovely gingham shirts for George, my first men's pattern, I'm kind of excited.

Right, Sunday is slipping away and I've got pottering a plenty to do... For tonight's dinner I am planning an Autumnal treat of crepes filled with mushroom ragout... so ta-ra for now xx

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Come on in my kitchen

A slight deviation from my usual blog topics and a post on one of my most favourite of things, home! Or, more specifically, kitchens...

Kitchens have always been my favourite room in the house, right from when I was very little, arranging the furniture in my dollshouse, to now, slowly taking over my the tiny kitchen in my little flat with all manner of vintage kitchen clutter.... Even when we were teenagers having a bad time in secondary school, me and my best friend Kim would phone each other up before school on blustery grey days to say "bring a tea bag", so we could spend breaktimes hiding out in the little pretend Food Technology kitchens at the top of the science block, drinking tea and watching all the cooler kids sneaking off up the lane to smoke.

This post was inspired by my second trip to Jacob's Antique Market in Cardiff, where I picked up the two Kathie Winkle dinner plates above (having given myself specific dinner plate purchasing limitations). There is just something about 60s and 70s kitchen things that make me feel all warm, the orangey-brown colours remind me of my friend Anna's kitchen when I was in primary school, tiny with a brown rayburn and brick tiles, my heart is so full of happy kitchen memories!

(illustration by Ruby Star Rising)

Actually I credit Anna's house for a lot of my favourite things today, it was the first place I was allowed to walk to on my own (being only a 5 minutes walk through a field thus avoiding any roads) and I used to stay there almost every weekend but it would always be a last minute thing - an invitation to stay for supper followed by me and Anna dragging piles of bedding (candy striped flannel sheets and floral duvets) out of the airing cupboard to make a bed on her floor... Such a safe and welcoming place, I hope if I ever have a family our home can be like that to other people's children. At the moment all my homey/mothering instincts are inflicted on people too tipsy to walk home and touring bands!

Anyways, a bit of a long post but I wanted to share some more pictures of kitchen inspiration.

My mum and dad's cat in the kitchen window of their first home

Kitchen inspiration from Design Sponge
I really want this print I saw at the V&A

Hornsea spice jars
I couldn't possibly do a post on kitchens without lovely pyrex

That's it for now, I have a post on quilts and vintage patterns in the making.. check back soon! Sarah x