Wednesday, October 30, 2013

cream of pumpkin soup 78

I was visiting Mum when her neighbour gave me a pumpkin. She is a wonderfully generous person as most of my garden is made up of cuttings from hers. We share a love of the old fashioned geranium.

Pumpkins and I have a strange relationship. As a child I didn't like them. Then I discovered pumpkin soup and things changed. Now I quite like pumpkin, but I don't have it as a standard vegetable in my kitchen. I do love them to look at, especially the heirloom varieties. So, sometimes I look too long and they end up rotting. Ooops!

I am the first to admit that my pumpkin soup isn't always the tastiest, so I decided to try the Cream of Pumpkin Soup and use a recipe. I had a head start as I already had homemade chicken stock in the fridge. Unless I'm cooking on a whim, I always make my own stocks. It isn't hard and they taste so much better. You also get to eat the carrots as a 'cook's treat' after they have simmered with the other ingredients. So yummy!

The quality of the pumpkin really is the deciding factor in the final soup. I loved the strong orange colour of this one and Jap or Butternut pumpkins I think are best for soup. Onto the stove, a quick blitz and into the bowls. The verdict...

Bowls were empty. That's the real test of a good pumpkin soup!


Friday, October 18, 2013

jam shortbread 70

The kids needed some baked goodness for their lunchboxes and this was the one. They were also upset that there had been no strawberry jam in the house for a few weeks, so these HAD to be made with strawberry jam. 

After work I thought I'd pop these in the oven. It had been a full on day and I felt like some quiet, so I creamed the butter and sugar by hand.

Into the fridge to set and I fell into the usual evening routine. The next morning I rolled out the dough and into the oven the tray went. I really love cooking things early in the morning. It feels like I've fed my soul before anyone else gets up. 

After these had cooled I cut them out into little hearts and sent them off to to school. They taste wonderful, all buttery and jammy and homely. 

I'll make another batch soon and send of to my girl at boarding school. A little bit of home when she's away. 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

A quick note

I just though I'd post a few things about this blog and the reason behind starting it.

Each post which has a recipe from 'Apples for Jam' will be titled just as they are in the index of the book. If you have a copy of this book then it will be nice and easy for you to find the recipe and have a go at cooking it for yourself.

As well as the challenge of trying to actually use this cookbook for its intended purpose, I'm using this blog to fool around a bit with design and photography.

SO, don't be alarmed if somedays it looks great and others just so-so. And feel free to let me know if you like something or not!


(And here's a picture which my Aunt took in Scotland recently. Just because!)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

risotto with fried egg 119

Well, at last a start!

 A dust storm was blowing outside and our spirits needed lifting. I found this comforting and satisfying for a Sunday night. 

I cooked the eggs in my wok. Not particularly Italian, but I find it gives that lovely crispy edge on the eggs. The contrast to the creamy risotto was a delight.  

I know I've got a whole year to get through, but I know I'll be making this again. 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Year of Apples for Jam

I love cookbooks. 

I'm sure I'm not the only person with a shelf full of cookbooks, each bought because of the beautiful photography, the promise of simplicity or just because you were hungry at the time. I get them out occasionally, flick through the pages, maybe cook one thing, then put them back on the shelf. 

I'll skite a bit now. I'm a pretty good cook. My cupboards are stocked with ingredients from all around the world and I love nothing more than whipping up Japanese, Indian, Turkish dishes. My family have come to expect good food, and that I can make just about anything. 

So why do I still buy cookbooks and foodie magazines? I get sucked in by the pictures and the idea of food. But I don't generally use any of the thousands of recipes in my home to create meals. I just forge off on my own and get the troops fed.

So I've set myself a challenge. For the next year I'm going to have one book permanently in my kitchen. I'm going to use it as my 'main cookbook' to actually use it. I often start with grand plans to do this kind of challenge, and then fall away when life gets busy. Let's see if I can keep this going for the next year!

I've narrowed down my choices to four cookbooks. Annabelle Langbein's 'The Free Range Cook' was bought after I tasted Caz's version of the caramelised onion tart. I then watched the series and loved the other things in it. I've made a couple (you need to try her coleslaw!), and want to make more. 

Nigella Lawson's 'Forever Summer' has given me the recipe for chocolate pavlova, my kid's favourite, and I'd love to share her Margarita Ice Cream with friends. 

'Saraban' by Greg and Lucy Malouf is a recent purchase and gosh I'm glad I did. We love making the breads from it and there is a lot of flavour in the other recipes. 

As lovely as these books are there is one which has to be the one I use for this challenge. 'Apples for Jam' by Tessa Kiros I bought on a whim. I'd read a review of the book and it sounded good. I hopped online and when it arrived I was drawn in to the idea of the stories behind lots of the recipes. 

Food is so much more than just nourishment. It is memory. I wonder what my favourite memory of the coming year will be?

Kylie x.