Autumn is my favourite time of year, not just because of the colours and dark nights. What I really love are the fantastic fruit and vegetables that come into their own.
I love warming, stick to your ribs comfort food at this time of year. I’ve had some really bland apple crumbles, so for a while I experimented with different versions and this is my favourite. I’ve used cinnamon, but cardamom also works really well.
I also added chopped dates, which adds a lovely toffee back note. The crumble has oats and nuts to add flavour and texture. It comes out of the oven with a crunchy topping and gooey jammy fruit base. I like mine with custard, but it also works well with ice cream.
600 Grams Plums (stones removed)
75 Grams Dates (finely chopped)
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
100 Grams Brown Sugar
200 Grams Plain flour
100 Grams Porridge oats
50 Grams Almonds (chopped)
100 Grams Butter (cut into cubes)
Cut the plums in half and remove the stones
Put the plums in an oven proof dish, and mix with the cinnamon and chopped dates
For the crumble, you can add the flour, and butter to a food processor and mix. I couldn’t be bothered with the faff of getting the food processor out and then cleaning it. Instead I added the ingredients to a bowl and rubbed the flour and butter together
When the flour, and butter are combined, add the sugar, oats and nuts and mix well
Sprinkle the crumble over the fruit. Put the dish in an oven preheated to 180 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until brown and delicious
On a wet Friday night, I was transported to the Caribbean by Debbie and her amazing food. Partly in the name of research for my own supper club, and because I knew very little about Caribbean food, I went to Debbie’s supper club, D Rum Pot.
Debbie warmed up the evening with a rum and mango cocktail (dangerously easy to drink), and the company was great, including a couple of very glamorous ladies in their nineties!
What can I say about the food, fresh, delicious and full of flavour. I had jerk beef which was fantastic, but she also served vegan vegetable curry which was also great.
The side dishes were amazing as well. Flakey flat bread, roast tomato chutney, coleslaw with a kick, and I don’t know she did to the corn but it tasted out of this world.
Debbie and her friend Angela were fun and relaxed hosts, and we all probably ate and drank more than we meant to. Having listened to Debbie describe her home of Trinidad I definitely want to visit.
On a wet night, when I was tired after week at work, D Rum Pot definitely put some pep back in my step. Debbie runs the supper club but also provides outside catering. Check out D Rum Pot on Facebook.
I did the thing I normally do when I go to a farmer’s market. I bought way too much random stuff because I thought it looked good. I got it home and then had to think what I was going to do with it.
This is a scrummy mix of colours and textures. Delicious Autumn vegetables in a creamy sauce, with a little bit of heat from smoked paprika, topped with crunchy, cheesy garlic bread.
Who doesn’t like garlic bread (weirdos, that’s who). You can use any combination of vegetables you like, pumpkin, butternut squash, or green beans also work well.
I tried this recipe on one of my oldest friends. I was nervous because she owns a steak restaurant and is a confirmed carnivore and got two enthusiastic thumbs up (still sorry I forgot to send you home with a doggy bag Mags, but here is the recipe as promised). Go get your comfort food on.
1 Tbsp Olive oil
250 Grams Brussels sprouts
150 Grams Cavelo Nero (or Kale)
175 Grams Mushrooms
400 Grams Cream cheese
250ml Vegetable stock
1/2 Tsp Smoked paprika
Handful of parsley
25 Grams Butter
2 Cloves of garlic
50 Grams Cheddar Cheese
Cut the bottoms of the Brussels sprouts and halve. Remove the stalks from the cavelo nero and slice. Cook the sprouts and cavelo nero in the vegetable stock for 5 minutes, until just tender
Slice the courgettes, onions, mushrooms and pepper, and fry in the olive oil in a large frying pan for about 5 minutes until soft
Add the sprouts, cavelo nero and vegetable stock to the frying pan. Sprinkle the smoked paprika over the vegetables, and add finely chopped parsley and cream cheese
Mix until thoroughly combined
Crush or mince the garlic and combine with butter
Slice the baguette into 2cm slices, and spread with the garlic butter
Put the vegetable mix into an oven proof dish and top with the slices of buttered baguette
Top with grated cheese and bake in an oven preheated to 180 degrees, for 30 minutes until golden brown
I was having one of those nights when I came home and there was nothing in the fridge that immediately lept out at me for dinner.
I cobbled this together from what I had at hand, and it was amazing. Gorgeous with pasta, its also fabulous drizzled over roast potatoes, or use it as a spread to tasty up sandwiches. This pesto is really versatile, I stirred some through plain boiled rice and the freshness of the parsley and slight hum of garlic totally transformed it. This takes 5 minutes to make and will live in a jar in your fridge for 3-4 days (if it lasts that long)
100 Grams Almonds
25 Grams Parsley (stalks and all)
100 ml Olive oil
25 Grams Parmesan (you can use vegan parmesan if you have dairy free diet)
1 Clove of Garlic (roughly chopped)
Salt and pepper
In a dry frying pan toast the almonds until they are lightly browned and smell nutty
Add the almonds to a food processor and blitz until the almonds look like course sand
Add the rest of the ingredients and blitz until we’ll combined, check if it needs salt and pepper. Some people like it super smooth, but I prefer it a bit chunkier. Serve with pasta or roast vegetables, save any left over pesto in an airtight jar in the fridge
A friend recently suggested that I start a supper club in Belfast.
I’ve been to a couple over the years and honestly a great time at each. It was cheaper than eating in a restaurant. I met really interesting people from different walks of life and got to eat some great food.
Let me know if you think it’s a good idea. Have you been to other supper clubs, and what you thought of them. What worked, what didn’t? What you liked and what I should avoid. Maybe you run your own supper club, and if so I’d welcome any insights you might have.
I’m hoping you’ll be my focus group. So let me know what you think, and what you might like to see if I take the plunge.
Shop bought granola can be expensive and sometimes a bit blah. This version is a feast of different tastes and textures. It’s also quick and easy to make, and tastes better than anything you can buy.
I like to team it up with some Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit for a quick and wholesome breakfast that will definitely keep you full until lunch. It also tastes really good sprinkled over ice cream for some crunch. This will keep well in airtight container for 10-14 days.
250 Grams Porridge oats
100 Grams Dessicated coconut
25 Grams Sunflower seeds
25 Grams Pumpkin seeds
50 Grams Pitted dates
50 Grams almonds
100 Grams Peanut butter
3 Tbsp Maple syrup
100 Ml Vegetable oil
Add all the ingredients to a bowl
Get your hands in and makes sure the peanut butter is rubbed thoroughly in the mixture
Transfer to a baking tray, and put in an oven preheated to 180 degrees
Bake for 30 minutes, half way through take the mix out and stir the mixture to make sure it cooks evenly
I’ve played around with a couple of different versions, including one with courgettes that turned into a gloopy mess. This is the best version I’ve tried, and tastes really good with eggs for breakfast/brunch, or with a salad for a light lunch.
The sweetness of the carrot and sweet potato tastes really good with the savoury hit of the spring onion and creamy tang from the cheese. When cooking these they take on on quite a lot of colour but don’t worry, this is how they are meant to be.
1 Large Sweet potato
1 Large Carrot
2 Scallions/spring onions
2 Tbsps Plain flour
109 Grams Feta cheese
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
Grate the sweet potato and carrot, set aside in a bowl
Chop spring onions, and add to the bowl.
Crumble the Feta and add to the bowl along with the flour, eggs, and seasoning before mixing well.
Heat oil in a frying pan, and when hot add the mix in large spoonfuls to makes individual fritters
Press the fritters down with a spatula and cook for 5 minutes on each side
These go quite dark, but don’t panic they’re meant to
If you prefer not to make individual fritters, you can add the whole mix to a pan and cook like a hash
Moroccan food is amazing, and healthy to boot. I had a proper tagine pot (authentic clay pot with a cone shaped lid), for all of 3 weeks before breaking it. The good thing is that you can make in any pot or dish with a well fitting lid. I cooked my tagine on the stove top, but can bake it in the oven if you prefer.
Tagines are slow cooked stews, and can be made with a variety of meat, and vegetables. Authentic tagines often use dried fruit such as prunes or apricots to add sweetness to balance out the heat of the harissa. I didn’t have any dried fruit, but this is still delicious. This is pretty hot, if you can’t handle alot of spice use less harissa or do what it did and add a dollop of yoghurt to cool things down.
8 Small Chicken thighs
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Large carrot
1 Large onion
1 Large courgette
1 Red pepper
1 Tsp Ground cumin
2 Cloves of garlic (minced)
1-2 Tbsps Preserved lemons (I made these myself, but you can also buy them from most supermarkets
1 Tbsp Harissa Paste (Again I made this myself, but you can buy this in supermarkets)
500ml Chicken stock (I used a stock cube)
400gm Can of chickpeas
In a large pan with a lid, add the olive oil, and when hot add the chicken thighs and seal
Cut the vegetables into chunks (I like this quite rustic)
Add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes
Chop the preserved lemons finely and add to the pan along with the other ingredients and stir
Put the lid on to the pot and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 45 minutes
I was inspired by another food blogger, Damned Delicious in this recipe, I prefer to use rosemary as a seasoning because I think it works well with mushrooms, but use what herbs you like the taste of.
I liked this recipe because it used a premade pizza base. This was a relief, I have a bit a chequered past trying to make pizza bases from scratch. Using a premade base also makes this recipe probably as quick as calling a pizza, and significantly cheaper (most take away pizzas have a 900% mark up).
Cheese, garlic and mushrooms are one the best flavour combinations ever and the only problem with this pizza is that fights over the last piece can get mean.
Makes 1, 12 inch Pizza
1 x 12 inch Pizza base
125 Grams Mushrooms (sliced)
2 Cloves of garlic (minced)
200 grams Mozzarella
50 Grams Ricotta
1/2 Tsp Rosemary (Rosemary can overwhelm everything else if you use too much, if you’re going to use other herbs you can use a bit more)
1 Tbsp Butter
Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees
Melt butter in a pan, and add the mushrooms rosemary and garlic and cook for 5 minutes (don’t stir too often)
Put the pizza base on a baking tray and top with slices of mozzarella, the mushrooms and garlic, and dollops of ricotta. Give the pizza a light sprinkling of salt
Bake for 15-20 minute, until golden brown and damned delicious