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Archive for November 2010

Banana Loaf (Hummingbird Bakery)

Posted 16 November 2010 by
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When you have that perennial bunch of overripe bananas, there are lots of things you can do to use them up. One of the best is baking a banana loaf. This recipe comes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, a lovely cookbook from the folks at London’s Hummingbird Bakery, full of recipes for American-style sweet things. The banana loaf is definitely one of the less decadent things in there!

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A-Z Author Challenge: The Beginning

Posted 15 November 2010 by
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A little while ago, I started the A-Z author challenge after seeing it on 43things.com. I love reading, but I seem to do it so rarely these days; I’m too easily distracted by other things! So this is a perfect way to motivate me to read more. Basically, I have to read a book by an author who’s name begins with every letter of the alphabet. (26 authors, not one author with 26 names!) I decided to concentrate on fiction, although I’ve already read a non-fiction book. It’s biographical though, and I’m just going to let it count. I’m not going in alphabetical order. So far I’ve read Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (A) and Chicken by David Henry Sterry. I’ll be keeping track here.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Posted 14 November 2010 by
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Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a classic Italian dish with cheese, pancetta, black pepper and eggs. There are lots of Carbonara recipes on the internet, and several in my cookbooks. One thing seems certain: the seemingly more-authentically Italian recipes don’t include cream, deriving all the creaminess from the cheese & eggs. This is perfect comfort food for a chilly autumn Sunday evening; cheese, bacon, garlic—what’s not to love?! I say bacon as, being a last minute dinner idea on a Sunday night, I have no pancetta and no reasonable chance of getting any. So, bacon will have to suffice. Also, I have no pecorino, just parmesan. Still, I’m doing pretty well!

It looks quite yellow, I think they were particularly yellow eggs.

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Christmas Spiced Plum Chutney

Posted 13 November 2010 by
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Christmas is on its way! Forget cinnamon/pine scented candles, absolutely the most Christmassy smell I’ve ever smelled is this spiced plum chutney bubbling away on the stove. It’s got figs, oranges, cranberries and cinnamon (and plums!) and is Christmassy enough to inspire Scrooge himself to start singing “Mary’s Boy Child”. I adapted the recipe from one at Allotment Growing Recipes, but there’s also a great-looking one at Domestic Sluttery that I’ll try one day.

Chutney with a nice, sharp cheddar

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Bramble and Elderberry Jelly

Posted 11 November 2010 by
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On to the next round of hedgerow jelly! I made this bramble and elderberry jelly back in September when the hedgerows were still brimming with berries. I used to love bramble jelly as a child, so I thought I’d try to recreate that. While I was foraging for blackberries, I spied an elder tree so picked some elderberries too, for a bit of a kick!

Elderberry and bramble jelly on homemade English muffins

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English Muffins

Posted 11 November 2010 by
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Mmmm… English muffins. How hard could they be to make? Actually, not hard at all. I was inspired by the beautiful photos on this post over at Pinch My Salt. Looking at the recipe though, I was slightly put off because I didn’t have any buttermilk, so I had a look around for alternative recipes and found this one by Delia — no buttermilk! I’ll have to try the other recipe another time.

Toasted English muffins with butter

English muffins, toasted and buttered

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Hedgerow Jelly

Posted 9 November 2010 by
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Apparently, we are having a particularly bountiful autumn.  I guess we’re coming to the end of it now, and the berries left in the hedgerows are looking a bit sorry for themselves. Back in September, however, it was a different story. The hedgerows were weighed down with ripening  blackberries, rosehips, elderberries and haws. Our crab apple tree was looking beautiful, full of yellowy-pinky-red fruits. I couldn’t bear the thought of them all being kicked under the hedge or squished under car when they fell, so I decided to get jelly-making. Hedgerow jelly-making, to be precise.

Sun shining though jar of ruby-red hedgerow jelly.

Ruby-red hedgerow jelly

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