September is finally here, although you wouldn’t know it. I dug out all my cosiest knits over the weekend and was reunited with my favourite fluffy grey jumper. I very proudly threw it on to head off to brunch with the dog and husband on Sunday only to end up throwing it in the wash when I got back because it was drenched in my sweat. Lovely. Why does September always do this to us? Just when you let yourself get excited for colder days, jumpers and boots chunky enough to crunch through fallen leaves, one of those trademark September scorchers suddenly arrives. Sadly my favourite fluffy jumper is going to have to wait for a while, but there is one Autumn tradition that’s well and truly under way in my house and that’s Autumn baking – especially with apples.
One of my lovely neighbours gave me a bag full of cooking apples the other day and I cannot wait to get stuck in making making Apple Fritters, Apple Cookies and of course, my favourite Apple Pie Cake. But the truth is that I got a head start on the Apple Bakes back in August when I whipped up this Apple Rag Pie. The original recipe comes from Nigella Lawson, who made a traditional Greek Rag Pie using feta, sesame seeds and plenty of honey. Problem is, I’m not a big fan of Feta, but the basic idea was definitely something I wanted to try and so I switched out the cheese for spiced apples and toasted flaked almonds. Crunchy and packed full of juicy spiced apple chunks, it’s not only a doddle to make but is banging served hot with a blob of ice cream and packs a little extra punch from some Calvados soaked sultanas. It also freezes well, so whip it up now and it’ll be there waiting for you when those cold nights really begin to draw in. 🙂
4 apples, skinned, cored, chunked (…is that a thing?)
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
100g caster sugar
100ml Calvados (or regular Brandy)
50g toasted, flaked almonds
Place the sultanas in a bowl, pour over the Calvados Brandy and leave to soak ideally overnight or until they’re plump and drunk. 🙂
Boil the apple chunks in water until they’re soft, but still hold shape. Drain, sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon and then set aside.
To assemble the Rag Pie; line the base of a deep rectangular baking tray with one layer of filo pastry, then brush with a little melted butter. Next, separate the remaining filo sheets into three equal piles. Take the first pile; tear and scrunch the sheets of filo – loosely balling them and placing them into the tray (careful not to press down!). Scatter over half of your apple mix and sultanas, then pour over a little more melted butter. Repeat the process with your next pile of filo.
Scrunch and tear the last layer to top the pile, then pour over the last of the butter. Section the pie into equal slices with a sharp knife, being very careful not to squash down your layers of filo (otherwise you’ll get a soggy pie). Whisk together the eggs and milk, then pour over the pie. Top with the toasted, flaked almonds.
Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 180°C and serve hot with ice cream or whipped cream.
(You can also freeze it and cook it from frozen, just pop it in a cold oven, then heat it up at 180°C for 45 minutes. 🙂
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I somehow ended up marrying a man who hates soup. I know! I mean, I love soup in all forms and all its glory. From chicken noodle to ramen to country vegetable, you’ll be hard pressed to find a week this time of year where I don’t whip up a bowl and slurp away to my heart’s content. I love it because it’s warming, I love it because it’s easy (…and – I’m just throwing it out there – it kind of helps that it usually comes with a hulking chunk of crusty bread). But according to Sunny, it’s not food, it’s (get this…)SUSTENANCE. Apparently it’s boring. It’s bland. It’s… bleughhh (whatever that means). You get the point.
So I kind of made it my mission this Autumn to find a soup that he will eat, so that I can eat more of the stuff (win-win, right?). And I think I’ve found it! We’re both big fans of Mexican Food, it’s our weekly jam; Burrito Bowls, Quesadillas, Chilli con no Carne (Quorn Mince, yo; it’s brilliant) are foods we can definitely agree on. He loves the beans and the smoky chipotle heat, I love the tomato and pepper based sauces and – let’s be honest – all the cheese. So I thought, why not throw all that (minus the cheese) into soup form? And that’s exactly what I did. Roasted tomatoes and peppers, chipotle chilli paste and coconut milk make up the stew, while the added onions, borlotti beans and butter beans bring in a little texture. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s absolutely delicious (and vegan friendly) – and best of all? The hubs totally agrees. Boo-ya. 😉
Creamy Mexican Red Pepper and Bean Stew
So good you’ll want seconds…
1 red romano pepper, chopped
250g mixed baby tomatoes, sliced
1 white onion, diced
1 can of butter beans
1 can of borlotti beans
good glug of olive oil
2 tbsp chipotle chilli paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes
1tsp barbecue sauce(oh yes…)
1 can of coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream to serve
fresh coriander to garnish
Set your oven to 180C. Throw the chopped red pepper and sliced tomatoes into an oven proof dish with 1 tbsp of the chipotle chilli paste, season with black pepper and then roast for 30 minutes.
Pop a deep cooking pot on the hob on a medium heat with some oil. Fry up the garlic paste and 1 tbsp of the chipotle chilli paste with the diced onion – until translucent.
Pour in the roasted pepper and tomatoes, then add the paprika, coriander and barbecue sauce. Stir until well-combined. Pour in the butter and borlotti beans, and then the coconut milk and water. Stir well to combine.
Crank up the heat and allow the stew to boil. Pop on a lid, turn the head down and allow the stew to simmer for about 20 minutes – stirring occasionally.
Season, then serve with fresh sour cream and chopped, fresh coriander. Yum!
You can watch a video of me making this soup over on IGTV. Have a lovely week everyone – keep warm! 🙂
How many pairs of boots is too many, would you say? Especially for someone living in Wales where on the rainy scale it’s anywhere from mildly damp to soaked through to your knickers soggy for at least 9 months of the year. I’ve got three pairs and according to my husband, that’s two pairs too many. Oh, and that’s not including the wellies (whole other category, I think you’ll agree) that I trudge around in every single day on the dog walk. I mean, they’re an Autumn staple right? They’re brilliant because they’re easy; throw on a pair and you’re good to go. No fuss, no muss. And you know you’re going to need at least a few different pairs bashing around at the bottom of your cupboard to cover every single weather situation and occasion that Autumn/Winter slings at you. I mean, they’re kind of the fashion equivalent of a slow cooker or casserole recipe; cosy, reliable, minimal effort.
It’s about that time of year that – along with your boots – you’re probably fishing out your favourite crock pot out of the back of the cupboard (hopefully you don’t keep both in the same cupboard, that would be weird…). Friendly reminder; the clocks are going back this weekend, and yep, it’s the good one. You know, the one where you get an extra hour in bed on Sunday. The one where you utter the words, “Bloody hell, it’s really dark outside” when you tune into the new Attenborough documentary at six-ish (…Honestly, the penguin episode of last year’s offering almost broke me – I don’t know whether I can handle a second helping…). The one where you realise that the extra hour was actually totally pointless when you wake up an hour too soon on Monday morning. Pfft. It’s going to start getting a lot gloomier in the evenings and – like me – I’m sure you’re going to start hunting down a few easy, one pot, just “bung it in the oven” kind of recipes to see you through the winter.
I love a good curry this time of year, but honestly? Sometimes I just can’t be bothered with all that faffing around on the hob cooking it up. Well, here’s a way to whip up a very simple, very tasty veggie curry in the oven (or the slow cooker, if you’ve got one). 🙂
Roasted Butternut Curry
Creamy and warming, the perfect curry for a cosy night in…
First, grab a casserole or roasting dish and set your oven to 160°C. Pour the vegetable oil into the dish, along with the garlic and ginger paste, ground coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric and curry powder. Mix it all together to make a paste.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes and chilli flakes, and then stir everything together to create the curry sauce. Next, throw in the butternut squash chunks, sliced onion and diced pepper, and then stir well to coat them with the sauce.
Pop the dish in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Take the dish from the oven and pour in the coconut milk – stirring until everything is well-combined. Season with salt and pepper, then return the dish to the oven to cook for 10 minutes.
Scatter with chopped, fresh coriander and serve with basmati rice. 🙂
Seriously, how many pairs of boots is too many? I’m curious!Have a great weekend! 🙂
It’s right about this time of year that my blood starts turning to into custard because – oh yeah – it’s finally getting cold enough to scoff puddings and pies again! I love pies, but when it comes to custard? Meh, I’m more of a hot, strawberry blancmange kinda girl if I’m being totally honest (I’m an 80s kid through and through, okay?). Sunny, on the other hand, is an absolute super fan who likes to drown his desserts in the stuff and would happily drink it on its own if I let him 😉 When it comes to the dessert itself, he does love a good old apple pie or crumble but would probably admit that at the end of the day they’re just a vehicle for the custard, and as for me I get a bit bored baking the same old apple dishes every year. So, I’ve been on a mission to come up with an apple pie that’s so damn good it upstages the custard.
Enter the apple pie cake. There’s no crust, just a fluffy, moist sponge, with juicy, cinnamon-spiced apples and it be eaten either hot or cold – unlike old humble apple pie. I adapted the recipe from the fantastic buttermilk plum cake I baked over the summer and came up with a keeper. 🙂
Apple Pie Cake
3 Apples of any variety (I used Pink Lady), peeled, cored and thinly sliced into segments.
Juice of Half a Lemon
175g Caster Sugar
100g Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
50g Ground Almonds
Boil your apple segments in lemon juice and water until they’re just soft enough for a knife to pierce them, then leave to cool.
Set your oven to 170° and grease a 20cm open bottom cake tin. Sprinkle with a little flour and then set aside.
In your mixing bowl, cream together the butter and 125g of the sugar. Stir in the egg.
In a separate bowl sift together most of the dry ingredients; that’s the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Combine with the wet ingredients.
Stir in the buttermilk to make a light batter.
Pour the batter into your cake tin and smooth over the surface. Arrange the apples on top in a spiral starting about a centimeter away from the edge of the tin. Make sure you overlap them so that when the cake rises in the oven you’re not left with any gaps.
Before you pop the cake in the oven sprinkle over the remaining sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon. Bake for 50 minutes and then serve up warm with custard or ice cream. Add some toffee sauce to turn it into a toffee apple cake!
I honestly don’t think I’ll be baking any apple pies this year, it’ll just be this cake over and over and over again. If you want to see me making it, check out my IGTV for the recipe in video form. ♡
I finally got around to carving up my pale pumpkin today, and I was faced with that annual dilemma; what the hell do I do with all those pumpkin guts? I’ve been guilty of just chucking it all in the bin many a time, until last year, when I blitzed it all into a puree and attempted to make soup and pumpkin risotto. But both were a massive flop and ended up in the bin anyway! So this year I decided to make something sweet instead and settled on this spiced pumpkin traybake with cream cheese frosting and roasted pumpkin seeds on top. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out… which is good, because there’s a whole tub of pumpkin goo in the fridge to get though! I think I’ll be making batches loooong after Halloween is over with! 🙂
Leftover Pumpkin Traybake
100g Pumpkin Puree (just blitz or boil and mash your pumpkin guts)
100g Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (I roasted mine with salt and cinnamon for 10 mins)
100g Brown Sugar
100g Self Raising Flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
100g Cream Cheese
200g Icing Sugar
Grease and line a deep rectangular baking tray and set the oven to 180°.
Cream together 100g of butter with the brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger, then stir in the pumpkin puree.
Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, then stir into the main mix.
Add the flour and baking power, then fold in to make a batter. Spoon into your baking tray and bake for around 25 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean). Once baked, allow it to cool completely before removing from the tin.
To make the cream cheese frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar and stir until smooth. Spread over the top of the cake, then cut into equal squares.