Guess what, we (in the UK) are into British Summer Time. Longer evenings, alfresco dinners and sunshine! The online downside to this is winter veg will be out of season. I thought I’d make the most of these last wonderful squashes that are around, and whizz up this roasted squash hummus. Dips are my go to, I like to make sure there’s always a pot of some variation of hummus in the fridge. Ready and waiting for when I get in from work and need something stat, ready to dollop on my packed lunch to give me some energy through the day. Read more
Last week saw another trip to Devon, to attend an evening soirée at River Cottage. It has been just over a year since my last trip there, and I was excited to explore the place once again. River Cottage, was of course made famous by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his famous Channel 4 show. Hugh has a wide range of cook books, and has been vital in promoting reducing waste. At his River Cottage Canteens, nothing goes to landfill!
I travelled down with some local bloggers; Chris from Thinly Spread, Kate from Veggie Desserts and Diana from Little Sunny Kitchen. We all live within 30 minutes of each other, and it was good to have a natter and catch up on the way down. We arrived and rain welcomed us. We ran into the shelter and huddled around the wood burner until our chauffeur driven tractor ride arrived to collect us. The ride takes 10 minutes, down a bumpy mud track, but the views across the Devon landscape and down onto the farm were stunning.
There has been an awful lot in the media recently about the healthy/’clean’ eating craze. Foodies and cookbook authors have been getting a lot of bad press. The thought is that the ‘clean-eating’ phase is getting taken to the extreme by some people, resulting in eating disorders. The media deems it necessary to target the current top ‘wellness’ stars and pick faults. It saddens me that as a nation we always need to pick a target and point the blame at someone. Some of the people who are being targeted are some of my main inspiration sources. They do not tell you what will work for you, just what has worked for them. They believe in a balanced lifestyle and use natural ingredients and healthy fats. If that encourages someone to cook a homemade meal instead of a ready meal then I think that’s fantastic. I have never been on a diet in my life, and don’t intend to. As soon as I tell myself I can’t have something, it is all I want. Moderation is key. I listen to my body, some days it needs extra carbs, some days it’s happy on salads. My plant based diet, and regular exercise, makes me feel good, in my mind and in my body. I also love cake. Life is about balance. As Michael Pollan said; Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
If you are a regular here, you’ll know my love for beets is high. Those pure purple hearts with their bright pink juice. I love it in stews, salads and this awesome hummus, yeah, beets are my bag! We eat salads a lot here in our floating abode. We pretty much have the same 5 salads on rotation every week. It’s easy for dinner and sometimes we are both too exhausted after work to cook anything different. Every now and again, I fuel us up with a hearty stew, something a bit comforting after a long day at work.
I was recently sent this gorgeous Le Creuset cast iron casserole dish from Steamer Trading. The dish is from their Vida Brazil range. I’m totally crushing on the colour – Marseille Blue – it reminds me of roaming French hypermarkets as a child and gazing at all their kitchenware. Steamer Trading Cookshop have a vast range of kitchen cookwear. Set up in 1985 by Liz and David, they opened their first store in Sussex. Now with multiple stores across the UK, they’re firmly established as one of the nation’s favourite cookshops. I’ve currently got my eye on a shallower casserole dish to match the one I made this stew in. I need more baking tins and adore this cute heart shaped one! They also offer free delivery on orders over £45 – all the more reason to stock up your kitchen supplies.
This Beetroot Bourguignon is an adaption of a lovely recipe from A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones.
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see my daily eats!
- Glug of extra virgin olive oil (or 2 tablespoons coconut oil)
- 2 shallots
- 2 garlic cloves (peeled and finely chopped)
- 3 large beetroot
- 2 carrots
- 1 small sweet potato
- 2 bay leaves
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 500ml vegetable stock
- ¾ cup pearl barley
- OPTIONAL - 150ml red wine
- First, finely dice your shallots.
- Then, peel and roughly chop your beets, carrots and sweet potato.
- Place a casserole dish on a medium heat on the hob, add in a glug of oil and throw in the shallots. Stir well to coat them. Add in a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the onions for 5 minutes.
- Next, add the garlic, stir well and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Now, add all your vegetables, stock, tomato puree, harissa and pearl barley. If using, add in the wine.
- Simmer gently for 40 minutes. Enjoy with some crusty bread.
I’m adding my recipe to these awesome link ups;
Steamer Trading Cookshop sent me the Le Creuset pan you can see in my images. I was not paid to write a positive review, and of course, all opinions are entirely my own. Happy cooking!
I love the colours that autumn brings. The bright oranges and reds, the endless pink skies. But it’s been a little wet of late, and it is getting to me. It gets to my bones and makes me ache inside. But I am lucky to be able to come back to the boat, get the fire roaring and snuggle up in front of it. Our wood burner packs some heat, and in no time I’m sat in a vest with the windows open, fanning myself with an old magazine.
This recipe is a great alternative to a good old Sunday roast, or just when you need something warm and comforting to see you through these long winter nights. It’s really easy to make, and you can play around with the herbs and spices to fit the flavours to suit your needs!
Unfortunately, we both enjoyed these so much, they barely even touched the plates. Hence the no ‘end result’ photo. But hey, use your imaginations, and serve these little beauties with whatever you wish!
Roasted Aubergine Cabbage Rolls
Makes 4-6 Rolls
1 Red Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Tin Cannellini Beans (rinsed)
1 Savoy Cabbage
Fresh Thyme / Rosemary
Other dried herbs such as Majoram
1 tsp Cumin
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil (for roasting)
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5 (190 C)
Peel the onion. Roughly chop with the courgette into large chunks. Slice aubergine down the middle.
Place in a baking tray with the garlic cloves. Drizzle with oil and scatter your herbs and salt and pepper. Toss all veg in the herbs to get an even coating, but leave your aubergine flesh-side down in the tray.
Cover with foil, and roast in the oven for 35-40 mins, or until the courgette is soft.
Once cooked, leave to cool on the side.
Place a shallow pan of water on the hob to boil.
Discard the first outer layers on the cabbage. Then peel off 6/7 leaves, be careful not to break them. Add them to the boiling water and steam (covered) in the pan for 5 mins. Drain and rinse them with cold water.
Once cooked, carefully remove the thicker parts of the cabbage spine with a knife (just the lower thicker section). Leave to one side.
Scrape the aubergine flesh out of the skin, and into a food processor. Add the roasted courgette, onion and garlic. Add cumin / cayenne pepper if desired. Blitz in food processor for 30 secs. Add to bowl and mix in cannellini beans.
Lay cooked cabbage leaves on a board and add a large spoonful of the vegetable mixture to the centre of the leaf and starting at what was the stem-end, fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage to enclose the filling. Place the cabbage rolls side by side, seam-side down, in a ovenproof dish.
Bake (covered) in the oven for 35 mins. Serve on a bed of mashed sweet potato, with a big, warm helping of gravy.