Monday, November 9, 2015

Guest Post: Georgina Fuggle - Roasted Pumpkin with Freekeh, Chestnuts & Parsley

A few weeks ago Georgina from Fuggle Antics proposed a recipe exchange. Of course I jumped at the idea! It is a lovely way to meet get inspired, find new ingredients, add recipes to the repertoire and meet new people.  I have posted a recipe on her blog for a Tarragon and Apple salad and today she is posting a gorgeous fall salad recipe here. 
In addition to her beautiful blog Georgina has also published two books, Take One Pot & Take One Veg. Recently she has launched a line of produce inspired jewelry- Little By Little
Below, she shares her recipe for a bright autumnal salad. YUM!

The change in Seasons between the warm summer and dusky autumn always seems the

starkest of the four. Long days are squeezed into seemingly shorter hours, coldness bites
and our menus shift from vibrant citrus to a russet palette.

We’ve had change in our home. My husband has abandoned his long, disheartening
commute in favour of working closer to home so we have him for a more minutes in each day. Even these relatively few moments lift the atmosphere and make the days feel simpler
for me; I’m able to indulge in food a little more easily and have verve enough to cook for us

My youngest baby seems only to eat orange food at the moment so he is in heaven with
October’s bounty of carrots, squash and pumpkin, I feel like I’m roasting them every day. So
this recipe is an ode to him, though I’m not sure what he would make of parsley and
This salad is a flawless, auburn Autumnal number. Sweet pumpkin and chestnuts with sour
feta and plenty of fresh parsley. I’ve used a gorgeous blue pumpkin; they have a robust
flavour and a sweet sticky texture ideal for roasting. And Meet Freekeh – the Middle Eastern
grain that is stacked full of protein, very easy to make and has an unusual smoky taste when
cooked (once picked, the wheat is roasted over fire to burn away the husks). It is becoming
widely available and worth seeking out. But don’t panic if you can’t find it, use cous cous or

We ate this for dinner with nothing more than a glass of water and a bar of dark chocolate
for pudding. I hope you all enjoy it.



SERVES – 4-6
1 medium pumpkin, peeled and sliced into crescents
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried chili flakes

50g Freekeh (alternatively cous cous or barley)
1 onion, sliced

180g Merchant Gormet Whole Chestnuts, roughly chopped

100g Feta, crumbled

1 tbsp rosemary, chopped 

A handful of Parsley, leaves picked

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

1. Preheat the oven to 200C, fan 180C, gas 6.

2. Arrange the pumpkin on two baking trays. Drizzle the 1 tbsp. olive oil over the crescents
and gently coat before sprinkling over the chili flakes. Roast in the hot oven for 30-35 minutes or until the crescents begin to caramelize. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

3. Bring a medium pot of water to boil and add the freekeh. Bring back to a boil, then cover
the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the grains are al
dente. Drain excess water and set aside.

4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in large frying pan over a high heat. Add the sliced
onion and fry for 2-3 minutes, until softened before stirring through the chestnuts and
rosemary. Continue to cook for a further 3-4 minutes.

5. Get your dressing ready by whisking (or vigorously shaking) the crushed garlic, olive oil,
balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Taste and adjust according to your pallet, this is the
moment to trust your own opinion.

6. Place the squash crescents in a large mixing bowl and add the freekeh, fried onion and
chestnuts. Add the parsley leaves and half the crumbled feta. Pour over the dressing and
very gently, mix with your hands until the ingredients are combined.

7. Arrange the salad on a platter, season with salt and black pepper and garnish with the
remaining crumbled feta and a few extra parsley leaves.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Long Way Home

Yoga has become a huge part of my life, almost every day either begins or ends with a practice and through it, I have established a sense of rhythm. This personal rhythm has a liquid like quality, mercurial even, for it is ever moving, changing adapting to the particulars. In yoga, each pose prepares us, our bodies to move into the next pose. 

I am, we are, leaving London. 

London has meant more to me than I could have anticipated when I landed here, in a snow storm on April Fools in 2013. It has been an incredible personal journey that I was neither searching for nor expecting to find. In hind sight, this caught me very much off guard and I wont lie, I struggled. 
I struggled to maintain my sense of self, my understanding of who I thought I was in the absence of my community and where I fit into this new city. I went through an array of emotion ranging from anger and frustration to deep sadness to love and appreciation. What I believed to be a negative I understand now to be only positive. Part of this comes from the moment when I realized something, something so utterly simple; I have the power and possibility of choice in every situation. This seemingly simple, tiny notion has given me access to a different perspective on the world around me and a deeper understanding of  my true foundations. These rudimentary foundations have not changed so much as strengthened, softened and solidified in all the right ways. 
This chapter has not been a solitary one, and so many people along the way have stepped in, have stepped up to help me. They have helped me find the cracks in the walls where the light was coming through and I am truly grateful. But I also realized that community is there if you simply open yourself to the possibility and allow yourself to receive the generosity of others instead of closing yourself off. 

Jen wrote a beautiful piece about her experience and decision to leave London here. Her image of a house built but never lived in resonates very deeply with me. In ways London, the force of a city this size, with this many lives makes you confront your weaknesses head on and prove to yourself the possibility of things you thought impossible. 

And now on to the why. 
Why are we leaving this big, brutal, romantic, wonderful city? 

The easy answers are because our lease is up, because we are far from families, because we are restless. But of course its more complicated than that. 
In my dreams I could always hear an echo of the soil. It would seep in and saturate the backs of my eyelids at night, flooding through me but then, at some point the echo died away. Perhaps I even willed it away, purposely stopped dreaming all together so as to block out the sound, the reverberating call of the landscape of my memory. 
Recently thought, like a spring which has changed its course, gone under ground, the echo suddenly bubbled up through the surface again. Making a pool in my dreams once again where I could see my reflection and leaving its pebbly residue behind. 
We have been on the road now for ten years, setting up lives, houses, communities in cities with no real intention of staying or settling. We have never had any clear plan either, we have simply stayed on until an unseen force has called for change and we answered with a move. It was exactly how I always wanted to live my life ... 
I wanted to concentrate on growing, stretching and unfurling as many leaves as possible to catch up and soak in every drop of the world as it fell upon me. I feel now happily saturated, heavy at the top, bending under the weight and it seems the moment to strengthen the base. The time to put roots down deep into the dirt to support those far reaching branches. And I cant help thinking that maybe this is what home looks like, the parts beneath the surface which keep us grounded, rooted and supported so that we can project those beautiful leaves further out into the world - 
In ten years I have never asked myself what home really looks like but recently I have found it is one of the only things I am able to think about. After sitting with this thought, searching my thoughts, asking friends, talking with Sean, home has started to look like the grasses and stonewalls, blueberry bushes and apple trees and reaching white birches of my childhood.  
I never imaged that I would find home there. I think I may have even  purposely fought it off, not wanting to believe that I would circle back, but now I hear the echo of the soil and not just in my dreams.  

Wanderlust hasn't released its grip however and our craving for adventure has not dampened only the feeling for a more permanent base has strengthened. So on November 1st, we will say our farewells (I don't believe in good-byes) to London and take the long way home. Transition is never uncomplicated and it is not something I have done well in the past. Rushing through, overlooking, dismissing the process of transition - but this time I am intent on giving it the focus and attention it deserves because I know that there is some good meat here with much to be learned.  

An so this place, this pose has prepared me to move into the next place, the next pose.  
As yoga has taught me, this next pose will not be forever and inevitably another pose will follow. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Apple Oat Bran Muffins

 The moon these past few nights has truly been something; bright gentle light which seems to ignite the air itself 

I have repeatedly, happily, been stirred from sleep by its glow. I awake bathed in its peaceful still light as it pushes its way over the wall of the back garden and into the room. 
It is truly something to awake to moonlight, none of the sleepiness of dawn, it feels filled with both strenght and fragility. I am conscious that these very magical few moments are a gift and a fleeting one at that.  But oh the energy. When I awake, I feel as if I'm being propelled by Selene herself, having hitched a ride on the back of her chariot. 

Magic seems possible in these few strange hours between sleep and waking. 
Throwing on robe and slippers I make my way through the deep blue darkness to the kitchen. I do not stumble as I know my kitchen  by the feel of things, each in their place. I go, moving through this in-between darkness, as if existing in two worlds ~

And so I start the day with making - 
What I have been making also feels a bit of a departure; breakfast foods. Not something I am normally that interested in. Typically I have a bowl of yogurt with a few berries and maybe a sprinkle of some sort of muesli I've made up during the week. 
Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate but filling and it feels like a good start to the day. 

But this moon - its making everything feel different. Even the weather in London has been amazing; beautiful and reliable. As if the moon's coming so near earth has brought a new rhythm and something has shifted. This change feels like it should be acknowledged, celebrated in some small way.
And for whatever reason, that small celebration has taken the form of muffins, for breakfast! what next.. 
Admittedly these muffins are also partially inspired by the fact that I somehow ended up with two huge bags of oat bran in my pantry. Not an ingredient I am in the regular habit of using either. 

These muffins aren't big extravagant things mind you. They are sweetened only with the fruit and nuts baked inside and are quite textural as they are made with oat bran only.  You could use seeds or other nuts instead of the hazelnuts and pear, raisins or dates wouldn't seem amiss in them either. But the point is that they feel nourishing and subtly luxuriant for a week day breakfast. 

I have been enjoying them with big mugs of milky deeply steeped early grey tea (I know some of you likely just flinched when I said I put milk in my earl grey, not a regular habit but the flavor combination is really doing it for me at the moment) straight from the oven so they are still warm. The come together quickly and while they bake,  I have been sitting and enjoying the moon as it arches across the sky before giving way some pretty incredible sunrises. 

I'm enjoying this time to be a dreamer. 
Apple Oat Bran Muffins 

2.5 cups of oat bran
2 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger 
1tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground nutmeg 
60g (4 Tbsp) butter
2 eggs
280ml buttermilk 
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cups chopped hazelnuts
3 smallish medium apples peeled and diced (should equal about 2 cups of 1/4' pieces) 

preheat oven to 200c/400f 

mix together the oat bran, baking powder, spices and salt. Then work butter through with your fingertips until it is the consistency of course sand. 

lightly beat the egg add to it the buttermilk and vanilla and combine. 

lightly flour apple pieces so they distribute more evenly, only if desired. 

quickly mix through the apples and nuts and immediately spoon the mixture into a generously greased and floured 12x muffin tin. Bake 25/30 minutes or until they are browned on top and bottom and a knife inserted comes out clean 

let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack 

*my oven is a very poor one and it takes about 35 minutes for them to cook through so you may need to adjust your cooking time for your oven. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Country Lunch: Beetroot Tart & Seasonal Kale Salad

Yesterday, the first day of autumn, was bright and clear - a huge blue sky, fluffy white wisps of fast moving clouds and strong sunshine. However it is evident from the chilly breezes coming through the open window that the sunshine isn't quite strong enough to completely erase the the snap in the air.  Summer has succeeded once more to Autumn in that epic aged old battle. 

This day last week, a similar sort of sunshine with a similar sort of air wrapped around me as I stood on a small patch of tall grass, in a gully between a very high old brick wall and a line of thick hedge, every inch of me wrapped up in a white protective suite as I waited for Louise to open the top of the smallish white house-shaped beehive in front of us.

I had the pleasure of attending a gathering at Deans Court, a nearly 600 year old estate set within the charming village of Wimborne.  This gathering, 'Honey & Harvest' was a true celebration of the efforts of the year and indeed the efforts of many over many hundreds of years before. The history of such things, the legacy of the land and the efforts of those who work to ensure its success is not lost on me and truthfully only enriches the experiences and deepens my appreciations. 

Deans Court, it is idyllic in all the ways you imagine the country to be, should be. It is nothing short of an oasis. The stately old home sits at the heart of it all but somehow does not overshadow the  charming outbuildings, cottages, a store and cafe and wonderfully English gardens. Indeed, perhaps my most favorite of all, a veritable Eden encircled by serpentine brick walls, which have seen their share of of seasons. On these walls grow various espalier trained fruit trees in in the middle all manner of vegetables, flowers and fruits. 

Guests gathered around an enormous table, lavishly dressed in linen, voluptuous autumnal flowers and foliage foraged from the grounds and gardens. The glassware sparkled in the early afternoon sunlight an simple but elegant white plates graced each setting. 
Ali, William & Lottie, our hosts for the day, each gave wonderful descriptions of the life and history of Deans Court before a seemingly endless array of dishes were passed around. Each dish inspired by and made with ingredients produced on the farm - all manor of orchard fruit; pear, plums and apples, eggs, kales in various shades, leeks, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs and perhaps best of all roast figs straight from the fig trees inside the walled kitchen garden. 

The recipes for this post are inspired and adapted from a few of the dishes prepared by Julia at Deans Court for the spectacular country lunch. I can think of no better way to showcase the flavors of the season than simple straightforward dishes which capture the bounty and richness of the harvest season. 

For the tart, I have adapted the recipe for spelt crust from the plum galette to work here - I like the rustic texture and nutty tones it lends to dish. I also substituted buttermilk for the cream - its not as lush as the cream would be but its still delightful and a lot lighter. If you wanted a complete meal, a dessert wouldn't go a miss here as this tart is quite light and the kale salad hints at the sweetness of fruit but goes in a more savory direction - 
Baked apples or crumble with a few blackberries thrown in or a few beautifully executed types of local cheeses and a small glass of fortified wine if you are serving this as an evening meal perhaps. 
Beetroot & Goats Cheese Tart 
inspired by Julia from Deans Court
adapted from a recipe by Valli Little

For the Pastry
200g spelt flour
100g cold unsalted butter
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves 
1/2 tsp or about 20 grinds from a pepper mill of black pepper
3 Tbsp ice cold water

Fort the Tart
400g (ish) beetroot
2 red onions
60 ml unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2 tsp thyme leves + a few extra sprigs for serving 
1 tbsp caster sugar 
150g goats cheese 
2 eggs, lightly beaten
150ml buttermilk 
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg 
1/4 tsp ground corriander 
3 tbsp olive oil

prepare beetroot and pastry crust 

for the beetroot - place trimmed, scrubbed beets in a pan of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until beetroot is fork tender - this will depend on the size and age of the beets your are using - when beets are easily pierced by a fork through to the center. Remove from heat and let stand at least 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel under cold water and dice into 1/4 pieces  - set aside 

for the pastry - 
in a large bowl mix together flour, thyme & black pepper. Either with a food processor or with your fingers rub in the butter until the mixture resembles corse bread crumbs. Make a small well in the middle of the dry mixture and slowly dribble in the iced water a little at a time until the dough comes together in a loose ball. Be very careful not to overwork the dough 
Pat it into a disc shape, wrap in parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes. Lightly grease a 30cm loose bottom tart pan.
On a lighly floured work surface, roll out the dough, about 5mm (just shy of 1/4in) in thickness - line the tart pan and cut away any excess from the edges. Then chill again for 15min 

Assemble the Tart
preheat oven to 180°C

Line chilled pastry shell with parchment paper and pastry weights and bake for 10 mins. Then, remove weights and paper and bake an additional 5 minutes or until dry. 

Heat olive oil in a pan then add the onions, thinly sliced and 1 tsp salt, cook covered, stirring occasionally until softened, aprox 8 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar to the mixture and cook aprox 3 minutes. Then add the chopped beetroot & 1 tsp thyme leaves and stir to combine. Cook and additional 3 minutes until the mixture has thickened and liquid has reduced. 

Spread mixture over the tart shell and crumble goats cheese over the top. In another bowl whist together the egg, buttermilk, nutmeg & coriander. Pour over the beetroot mixture and top with the remaining 1tsp thyme leaves 

Bake aprox 35 minutes or until set. Serve warm or cold but keep chilled if making ahead 

Kale Salad with pickled Onion & Pear 

1 large bunch of Lacinato Kale 
1 large firm pear
1/2 red onion, pickled 
1/4 cup tasted hazel nuts or cobnuts if in season, cut in half 
Juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp good quality olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper 

For the pickled red onion 
place 1/2 red onion thinly sliced in wedges from top to root in a nonreactive bowl sprinkle with 2 tsp of salt and let it stand 10 minutes. Then cover with red wine vinegar and 1/2 tsp sugar. Let stand at least an hour or place in a jar overnight 

Wash kale and remove the thick center rib. Rough chop into 3 inch pieces and set aside 
In a large bowl, mix the spices and add the cider vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Add Kale to dressing and massage until the kale begins to break down and soften a bit. Let it stand while 

Top and tail the pear, cut in half, core, then slice thinly and toss with lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt. Add this to the kale mixture and top everything with the toasted hazelnuts jut before serving so they stay crunchy 
taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. 

Serve a slice of the tart with a portion of the salad. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Plum & Thyme Galette with Spelt Pastry

I think many of you would likely agree when I say that, I love being in the kitchen. Standing in the kitchen just feels good, right. I love the ritual of washing hands, putting on a clean apron and setting about what ever it is with purpose. I will happily spend all day there working away, listening to music or pod casts with my camera at the ready.
There are many reason why this room appeals to me, not least of which is its openness to possibility. I love it early in the morning when I am making my first cup of coffee and I love it on those warm evenings with the windows wide open and a gentle breeze stirring as I cook. It is a room where magic can happen. A room where people seem to gather as if seduced by some ancient attraction to heat and fire. In my kitchen laughter happens, serious discussions happen, bottles of wine are opened and savored, food is prepared, tasted, shared, memories exchanged.  There is a tiny black stool in my kitchen which has traveled with me to several apartments, countries and continents. Inevitably if someone is in the house they will end up sitting on this short little stool in my narrow galley kitchen - 

But also my kitchen is a space of mediation, for me alone. I can practice, think, breathe and explore. I might be making a dish I have made so many times before that the act of preparing it has nearly become ritual. I might be trying to recreate the flavors of something I had while traveling, working to bring back my memory of that place. Or, I could just be experimenting- prodding, needling at some ideas in my head. I love thinking about how things might, would, could fit together, work to create harmony and something new. Sewing bits of one recipe into another is possibly my most favorite type of work in the kitchen. 

This recipe for a plum and thyme galette with spelt crust was born from an afternoon of this sort. Plums in England are beautiful this time of year -they transition from late summer into the autumn and seem to gain an intensity and sweetness when other produce like tomato and eggplant seem to wane. It is not a sweet dessert and lies somewhere closer to a savory - serve it with a little creme fresh for something even more decadent.

The spelt crust is flaky and light but needs to be handled with a bit more care than normal pastry crust - its is crumbly at times and delicate. Make sure you let it chill properly and take care when rolling it out. Its has such a wonderful texture thought, its worth a tiny bit of extra attention. 

Plum & Thyme Galette with Spelt Pastry

For the Crust 
315g spelt flour 
185g unsalted or lightly salted cold butter
1/3c ice water (likely you will only need around 2 tbsp)
1/2 tsp raw granulated sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt 

For the Filling 
500g fresh plums, pitted stoned and sliced into 1/4" slices 
4 large thyme sprigs, de-stemmed 
3 tbsp good quality olive oil 
2 tbsp of dark brown sugar
1 tbsp spelt flour 
1/4 tsp each of freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg 
2tbsp fresh whole milk

Preheat your oven to 190c / 375f

combine the flour, sugar, salt and mix. Cut butter into small 1/4 cubes. Scatter butter cubes over the flour mixture and rub together with your finger tips to combined - it should be the texture of a very course sand - a few larger pieces are ok. Then make a small well at the center of the dough and slowly add cold water, mixing well as you go until the dough just comes together into a soft ball. *you will likely need only around 2-3 tbsp of the water but its good to have extra on hand in case. Once the dough is just combined, tip it out onto a flowered work surface and gently form into a disc. Then wrap it tightly in parchment paper and a clean dish towel and refrigerate - at least 1hour but up to 24. R
Remove from refrigerator aprox 20 minutes before you plan to roll it out. 

While your dough chills 
prepare the plums and add them to a large bowl with the thyme, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss gently to combine and then add the olive oil. Toss well and sprinkle with the flour bit by bit until it is well combined. 

Roll out your pastry onto a cool,  lightly floured work surface. Working from the middle of the dough gently roll out into a disc shape, taking care that is the same thickness throughout. It should be around 15-18 inches. Then, transfer the dough with the help of the rolling pin and lay it out on a parchment lined baking pan. Add the plum mixture, taking care to drain off any excess juice/oil and spoon on top of the crust. There should be about 1.5/2" between the fruit and the edge of the galette. 
 Starting from one side, gently fold over the edges of the dough to form a pretty boarder around the fruit. 
Gently brush the pastry with the whole milk. 

Bake approximately 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet around once. The crust should be browned and the fruit soft. Timing may vary based on your oven