Hot apple and rum cocktail recipe

Hot apple and rum cocktail recipe

Fingers crossed November is as mild and dry as October. This Autumn has been glorious and reinforced my love for Britain’s seasons. OK, I know we are obsessed with the weather here, but the magic of watching the seasons changed is one of our – unsung – national treasures. Autumn 2016 has been almost poetical in its beauty. Blue skies, crisp air and spectacularly coloured leaves. But the transition between seasons, is not just a change of weather and outfits but a change in what we eat. What I love most about this time of the year is that hunkering down with a bowl of apple and blackberry crumble and custard is not just one of life’s biggest pleasures, but a legitimate way to spend a Friday night.  So with that in mind this month over on YouTube (if you’ve not already subscribed to our channel, it only takes a second, is free and means you will find out what we’ve eating before anyone else) we have been cooking some of our favourite Autumn dishes.  All of them perfect for celebrating Bonfire Night this Saturday. There is our very easy sausage one pot, our ingenious lid potatoes (jacket potatoes with the top lopped off – made this way, they are very transportable and can be wrapped in foil and eaten easily outdoors) stuffed with bacon and cheese or even baked with an egg in the top. And a delicious apple, ginger, pear and rum cocktail (inspired by a recipe from the wonderful Anna Jones) that will warm the cockles of your heart, put some colour in your cheeks and a spring in your step. On...
Raspberry ice lollies

Raspberry ice lollies

I am obsessed with frozen raspberries and always have some in the freezer for every eventuality. Seriously. They are great in smoothies, cakes and on cereal but have a myriad of other uses too:  as fruity ice cubes for lemonade or pimped up Prosecco. I am not sure what kind of magic fruit pickers and freezers do to keep them in such a perfect shape, but whilst fresh raspberries (even the ones I have attempted to grow on my allotment) are always a bit squidgy these perfect pyramids are a wonder to behold – lots of tiny spheres stacked up perfectly – perversely their helmet shapes remind me a bit of the stick-on hair on Lego toys. I used to stick them on the end of my fingers as a way of getting my children to eat fruit when they were very young. It worked with one, whose idea of a top treat is filling them – when still frozen – with maple syrup and allowing them to dissolve slowly in her mouth. This week I had some sugar syrup left in the fridge from a failed elderberry experiment – I had planned to make a cordial to drizzle over ice-cream from some berries I foraged but wasn’t 100% sure they were actually elderberries and didn’t want to kill myself or my children experimenting. So instead, with the help of my eight-year-old, we made ice lollies. First we defrosted some frozen raspberries (from Iceland) and using the back of a wooden spoon mushed them through a fine sieve over a large bowl, until we had a lovely seed-free puree. Then we...
Celeriac and potato gratin – oh joy!

Celeriac and potato gratin – oh joy!

Finally! It’s cold. We  can see our breath, winter coats are on, even gloves. It’s winter. I’ve felt the need for cold weather for some time now. A slightly tepid Christmas feels wrong and January shouldn’t be balmy. I want frost, a red nose and cold toes. I think the urge for these things is in our nature. We need a cold snap to kill off bugs and diseases, plus how else are we going to show off our new winter wardrobe without over-heating? It’s also a chance to eat. To pile in and devour. Root vegetables are my favourite so give me this celeriac gratin over a summer salad, any day. This is so easy to make. If you’ve got a food processor. If not, don’t bother as life is too short to finely slice a kilo of vegetables. But in a food processor it takes about a minute. And when you take into account that the potatoes aren’t peeled (yahoo! knocks at least 15 minutes off the prep time), and the winning crunch comes from a few handfuls of Lizi’s Low Sugar Granola slung on top with grated cheese, you realise you are on to a winner. I served this on Sunday to friends, and it was great, alongside a roast chicken and some charred cabbage. It’s the sort of thing you can prepare ahead easily and has none of the nervous breakdown pressure of roast potatoes – or is that just me? Celeriac, rosemary and gruyere gratin Serves: 4-6 Start to finish: 15 minutes prep, 90 minutes in the oven. 5g butter 700g red potatoes 300g celeriac 400ml double...
Warm winter salad with butternut squash, feta & granola

Warm winter salad with butternut squash, feta & granola

I love the onslaught of winter. The countdown to Christmas, losing yourself in big cosy jumpers and warming your hairy legs (bare pins out, black tights in!) by the fire are more than compensation for the bitterly cold weather and the fact it is dark by 4pm. But really for me the changing of the seasons is all about food. After a summer of lighter dishes, sinking into a fug of comfort food is heaven. Cauliflower cheese, bangers and mash, sturdy pies and apple crumble and custard are all weekly staples in my house as soon as the clocks go back, but amidst all that stodge are a few surprises because I also love a warm winter salad. This butternut squash and feta one –  made with Lizi’s granola – not only looks very pretty with its bright oranges and leafy greens, but the granola adds a lovely and unexpected texture whilst the salty feta cuts beautifully through the sweetness of the squash. In the run-up to Christmas it is the perfect antidote to all that rich food and is full of vitamin-C.  Serves: 4 as a main meal Takes: 10m prep, 40m cooking time 1 butternut squash olive oil sprigs of thyme 4 large handfuls washed baby spinach 200g feta cheese white wine vinegar extra virgin olive oil squeeze of lemon dash of maple syrup handful Lizi’s low sugar granola  salt  pepper Heat the oven to 200c. Cut the butternut squash into quarters (carefully does it, they are quite tricky to cut) and then chop each quarter into five sections but making sure that you don’t cut all the...
The only apple crumble recipe you will ever need

The only apple crumble recipe you will ever need

Apple crumble There is something comfortingly nostalgic about apple crumble. For me it conjures up memories of Sunday afternoons in the kitchen with the family as a child, feeling safe and warm and like all is well with the world. Crumble still has that affect on me now. It is a low-effort, high-reward kind of pudding that works with just about any fruit…. including tinned. Really! As a student, we often topped our Sunday roast off with a tinned peach and strawberry crumble, although these days mine is more likely to be made with apples from the garden and blackberries from the allotment. I like to sprinkle some Lizi’s granola on top for added texture and only need to decide whether to have it with custard or vanilla ice cream. Serves: 6 Takes: 20m to make, 40m to bake You will need: Filling 600g cooking apples (about 3-4) peeled, cored and sliced into eighths ½ lemon squeezed 2 tbsp caster sugar 1 tsp cinnamon Crumble 175 g plain flour 110g sugar 110g cold butter a handful of Lizi’s apple and cinnamon granola 1 tbsp demerara sugar Preheat the oven to 180c. Peel and cut the apples – tossing them in a bowl with some lemon juice to stop them browning, as you go. When they are all cut toss them again, this time with the sugar and cinnamon. Put them in a 20cm round baking dish making sure they are spread evenly. Of course you can go for a wider dish – or even a square one – it depends how deep you like your crumble. It is personal! In...
Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Not got any plans this weekend? Then may I suggest making this banana bread…. in a jar. Yes, cake in a jar. What’s not to love? This is from our cookbook and if screwed tightly shut lasts for weeks. You need never be cake-less...