Small Joys

It’s been a busy week with friends and family popping in for over night visits to check out our new home. With two birthdays to celebrate, a farewell to cry over and a house to be warmed, there were lots of cozy fires and one messy winter kitchen full of scrumptious flavours.

There always seemed to be a pot of pumpkin or french onion soup bubbling away on the slow combustion stove, soaked up with freshly baked bread,  banana or raspberry and white chocolate muffins popping up in the oven,  a spinach and bacon quiche browning away next to a rhubarb, berry and apple crumple. All washed down with plenty of warming cups of tea.

‘Cups of tea’ brings me to my LOVE of the little draws in the kitchen – perfect for my wide collection of yummy herbal teas!

If you’re up for a few winter warmers… here are my recipes…

Pumpkin Soup

Brown one leek and garlic in olive oil, add 4 chopped carrots, 4 diced potatos and half a pumpkin (diced). Add lots of chicken or vegetable stock (making sure all vegetables are covered in liquid), and herbs – I use sage, rosemary and a few bay leaves. Let this simmer away until everything is very soft…. then blend (remove bay leaves before blending!). I use a bar mix so I can blend in the pot it’s cooking in.

Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of parsley. YUM!

Banana muffins

These are my stock standard muffins that I could probably whip up blindfolded, (I know my sister is going to hold me to that one day). I can highly recommend them as delicious, easy, moist and versatile (I use the same mix for a lovely moist banana cake!).

Mash 2 large or 3 normal bananas. Add 3/4 cup of sugar. Mix in 50 grms of melted butter, one egg and a generous dash of vanilla essence. Stir in one cup of flour with a half a teaspoon of bicarb soda.  Done. Pour into muffin tray – will make around 12. Bake at 180 degrees until golden brown.

(For an added treat, pop a choc. button on top just before popping into the oven).

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Heat oven to 180 degrees. Mix 2cups of SR flour and 3/4 cup of caster sugar in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix 1 tsp of vanilla essence, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of oil. Pour this into the flour mix and stir – until just combined.

Roughly chop up 1 cup of white chocolate (I use a nut free brand of chocolate for Josh who is allergic to nuts) and at to mix along with 1 cup of frozen raspberries.  Now put into muffin tray (these portions usually make 11 … I know, not 12… but it never does?!)… and bake for 12-15 mins, or until golden – YUMMY!!!

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

Cook one thinly sliced onion, 4 rashes of bacon and a bunch of spinach – I do these separately in the microwave and make sure most of the liquid is drained of after steaming.

Wisk 5 eggs and half a standard tub of sour cream – add the onion, bacon and spinach – oh and throw in lots of fresh herbs from the garden (I use whatever needs to be picked – thyme, oregano, chives, spring onions etc).

Pour into well greased quiche pan – alternatively you can line it first with puff pastry.

Bake at 180 degrees until golden brown.

Apple, Rhubarb and Berry crumble

Steam one apple (peeled and diced) and a bunch of rhubarb with a few heaped spoons of brown sugar.

Prepare crumble – rub plain flour into softened butter and add a little brown sugar and oats. Amounts are depended on how big your dish is. My amounts always vary – if I make too much I keep left over crumble mix in the freezer for the next crumbling occasion.

Pour stewed apple and rhubarb into dish, scatter mixed berries over the top and then cover with the crumble. Bake at 180 degrees until crumble is well cooked and the mix below is bubbling through and your house is filled with the most delicious aroma!

Bread – I use a bread maker. So easy – just throw in all the ingredients and three hours later you can float away on the delicious scent of freshly baked bread… YUM!!!

Beetroot Salad

I’m loving this salad at the moment. Diced beetroot (either roast your own fresh beetroot or use tinned), cream cheese and baby spinach, beetroot leaves and other baby lettuce leaves.

For a dressing I pour over honey, lemon juice and olive oil.

ENJOY!!!

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