I’ve recently just posted the start of my sourdough journey on YouTube! It’s super exciting for me as I tried to create my own sourdough 5 years or so ago when we moved to our smallholding and I failed! We didn’t enjoy the taste and I don’t think I managed to make it particularly active, though in hindsight I think it might have been impatience on my part!
This weekend I will make an updated video to share with you how it is going. In the meantime, I’m going to continue making comfort food and hiding from the cold 🙂
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This is THE best Autumn dish! I look forward to cooking it each year. Delicious, tender beef, tasty rich sauce all served over creamy mashed potatoes and garden vegetables. Who wouldn’t want this?
I cook this on the Aga top and then in the simmering oven however you can use whatever you have to hand. We are all about ease here remember. Stove top or slow cooker, even in the instant pot! The choices are endless. Here I give stove top times but adapt as you need to – let me know if you have questions in the comments below.
500 diced beef (or rump stead)
6 shallots or 2 small onions
100g prunes in juice (I actually use a full tin for ease and it is yum)
1 can tin chopped tomatoes
600ml beef stock (I use beef gravy granules for ease)
grated zest of an orange OR 1/2 tbsp marmalade
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme or sprigs of fresh
Salt and Pepper
Spray a heavy based, lidded pan (I use my trusty cast iron Dutch oven) with 1-cal spray and brown the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
Add all of the other ingredients, ensuring you scrape any stuck on bits from the bottom of the pan.
Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer.
Leave for a hour, stir and taste. Simmer for another hour and serve.
You can make a vegetarian version by substituting 450g mushrooms for the meat and using vegetable stock.
I didn’t even know about Taco Tuesday until I started expanding our meals. We are very rebellious though and have tacos on other days of the week too! I made extra of this recipe and froze it in zip lock bags in the freezer. It defrosted great and lends itself to many varieties. I add extra rice to it when I need to bulk it out, more peppers and sweetcorn make a healthy addition. It’s an easy recipe to stretch out, making it super frugal too.
1kg minced beef
2/3 cups (less or more depending how you like it) cooked brown rice
1 tin sweetcorn
1 TBSP chili powder
1.5 TBSP garlic powder
1.5 TBSP onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Cumin – optional
Tinned Beans – optional
The reason I do this in the slow cooker is to throw it in and leave it. It can easily be done on the stove completely.
I put the mince in the slow cooker for 4 hours on low then drain it and put it back on the warm setting.
Add all other ingredients and leave to until you need it.
We served with soft and hard shelled tacos as that’s what we have it, however it is delicious over wraps or just salad. Served here with cowboy instant pot beans too. Yum!
I don’t know about you but chicken thighs are marmite in my house. My husband would choose them over any other part of the bird, my daughter would prefer to be vegetarian and it’s too much effort for my son to have an opinion some days 😉
All that said, every week we are blessed enough to be gifted 2 large thighs, drumsticks and wings off an organic, pasture raised bird. So this week, I am making these honey and mustard flavoured thighs.
As many thighs as you need for your family, we had 5/6
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and Pepper
Cornflour to thicken as needed
Season the chicken thighs in salt and pepper
If using the instant pot, on sauté mode seal the thighs individually, maybe 3 mins on each side and set to one side
Add chicken stock in to the empty instant pot to remove any stuck on pieces. You can use seasoned water if needed.
Add chicken thighs
Mix honey and mustard and pour over the top of the thighs
Set the valve to sealing and cook on manual for 10 minutes the quick release.
We served ours with brown rice and mixed vegetables and they were delicious.
In my neck of the woods, September and October are the months to be picking elderberries. Sometimes it’s earlier, others it’s later but there is an abundance right now and I’ve been out foraging and thoroughly enjoying myself.
A great point to note is that elderberries freeze very well and even better, once they are frozen they pop off the stalks very easily as when they are fresh you run the risk of squashing them on removal and getting very purple fingers 🙂
1 cup of ripe elderberries
1 generous chunk fresh ginger (at least 1 inch by 1 inch)
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup honey
3 cups water
Optional extras: a few cloves
This recipe is very forgiving, you can use more or less of any of the ingredients to your own tastes, just remember everything you are adding has its natural benefits.
Measure all ingredients into a stainless steel pan. If you use enamel or ceramic coated you risk staining it, as I found out in previous years!
Bring the pan to a simmer and leave for an hour or so. As I say, it’s very forgiving! You can reduce the liquid if preferred as some people prefer a more syrup like texture. I didn’t bother as we drink this as a “shot” at least twice a day. When you’re feeling something coming on, sniffles, head cold or generally run down, take it every couple of hours.
I make this soup in my Instant Pot purely because that’s how I did it the first time and it was SO nice that I didn’t want to risk doing it any other way. It is delicious and a very hearty meal for any time of the year as you can chop and change the vegetables to match the seasons. Great for that glut of courgettes, or any other veg you’d like to substitute!
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped (I missed this out on this one as I didn’t have any – I replaced with celery salt)
1 medium courgette
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin of chopped toms
2 pints stock (I used ham stock from slow cooker gammon joint which makes all the difference)
1 tin cannellini beans, drained
1/4 cabbage or a bag of baby spinach
100g spaghetti, broken or any other small pasta shapes
Chop your onion and fry off in oil/low fat spray, whatever you use for 3-5 minutes either in a large pan or sauté if using an Instant Pot.
Add the chopped carrots, courgette and celery if you are using.
Pop in tomato purée and tinned tomatoes, giving it all a good stir.
Season with salt and pepper and add the stock, tinned beans and spaghetti.
Stir in the cabbage or spinach, you could add peas or beans too.
Bring to the boil and simmer until the pasta is tender or if using an Instant Pot select manual for 7-10 minutes depending on how thick your veg and pasta is.
This won’t freeze well with pasta, omit until ready to eat if freezing.
This recipe is my go to for everyday white bread. It hasn’t failed me yet. Remember if it browns too quickly when cooking, you can cover with foil and to make the crust soft, if that is your preference, wrap it in a clean tea towel when it comes out for 10 minutes. The steam softens the loaf. Depending on what we are having I’ll go for a softer or crustier finish.
450g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp oil (I use sunflower or vegetable)
300-350 ml tepid water
Grease of flour your loaf tin or baking sheet. I use non stick paper sometimes instead.
Add flour and salt to mixing bowl (I use my stand mixer here for ease).
Switch on mixer with dough setting to start combining ingredients, or stir.
Add oil and half of the water.
Once combined, add the remainder of the water too 300ml. Do not let it go too wet (it’ll still work but it’s harder to handle). Every flour seems to be difference hence this on you can eyeball. It’ll still work either way so don’t panic.
Knead in a stand mixer for 5, by hand for 10 mins.
Turn on to a floured surface and cover with the bowl you’ve been mixing in.
Leave for up to an hour until double in size.
Knock back (I poke holes in it to deflate it).
Shape it and if using, move it to the bread tin to rise again or leave on a baking sheet that will go in the oven.
You can cover with a plastic bag or tea towel whilst rising.
Leave for 30-40 mins until it’s a nice size. Bake for 20 mins in moderate/hot oven.
With temperatures I have an Aga so I just bung it in hence my terminology 🙂
This soup is my favourite, well I said that about minestrone too, but you get the idea. The kids love this one too – thank the Lord!! Perfect for cold, dark days and also for summer….and spring….and autumn 😉
Small smoked gammon joint.
2 peeled potatoes.
2 large white onions.
3 cloves garlic.
1kg frozen garden peas.
Place the potatoes and gammon in the slow cooker.
Add the garlic, onions and peas around the. Do put the potatoes and gammon in first, unlike me!
Pour in enough water to cover the gammon half way – more if you like a thinner soup, less if you prefer a thicker soup.
Pop the Slow Cooker on high setting for 4 hours or low for 8.
Once cooked and tender, remove the gammon and trim off any fat before shredding with two forks.
Blitz the soup to the consistency you prefer (ie lumpy or smooth) and put the shredded gammon back in.
Combine and season to taste. Serve in a soup bowl with a little of the shredded gammon to garnish if that’s your thing 🙂
To make a less healthier version, add cream at blending and a little cream to drizzle before adding the gammon garnish but the truth be told, I really don’t think it needs it.