This time of year is the best when it comes to inspiration for feeding my family. I love the wide variety of seasonal produce that autumn has to offer, berries gathered amongst the hedgerow just as summer fades away, a basket full of fallen apples picked in the autumn sunshine and the promise of ripening squash in the fields at our local farm shop (I could feast on this soup all season).
With a basket full of brambly cooking apples and a challenge set by Steamer Trading we spent a cozy autumn afternoon in the kitchen making chutney. I chopped the apples and onions, whilst Arthur mixed in the raisins. I dug deep into the back of the cupboard to find a jar of mixed spices that smelt so amazingly fragrant the kitchen was instantly warmed by the aroma.
I have never bought a good quality knife before and I didn’t realise just how much of a difference they made until Steamer Trading got in touch and asked if I would like to take part in #TheSteamerChallenge to compare a Chefs Knife with a Santoku Knife. A good quality knife makes the job of chopping and preparing food simple and effortless, here are my thoughts on using each knife:
- A versatile, all purpose knife that’s great for chopping fruit, vegetables, fish and meat. I think I would make this my go-to knife and perhaps, with the exception of a bread knife, I would say this is all you need
- I really like the way it feels to hold, the handle fits comfortably in my hand and feels weighted and balanced which helps with the performance and feels safe to use
- The curved blade allows for a good “rock, chop” motion meaning the knife does not need to lift away from the chopping board whilst preparing ingredients
- Best of British design with a 25-year guarantee
- A good everyday knife. Although it’s roots are in eastern cooking where finer ingredients are used, it is a suitable knife for many vegetables, fish and meat
- The hollow dimples along the blades create air pockets so finely chopped ingredients like herbs don’t stick.
- The depth of the blade makes dicing easy, it is also a great knife for scooping up ingredients and transferring it into the pan for cooking
- Best of British design with a 25-year guarantee
When choosing a good quality knife, look for one that has been fully forged from one single piece of steel – where the blade continues to runs through the handle, this makes for a stronger and more durable knife. No knife will stay sharp, one made from a good quality steel, however, will stay sharper for longer. Both knives featured in this post provide an excellent ability to chop smoothly and with ease. However, my preferred favourite is the Chefs knife as it felt more comfortable in my hands.
Old English Apple Chutney
This recipe is taken from an old WI magazine and makes about 1kg of chutney. Preparation and cooking time is about two and a half hours (ensure you sterilise your jars before use)
- 250g onions, chopped
- 1kg cooking apples
- 125g raisins
- 1tbsp ground coriander
- 1tbsp paprika
- 1tbsp mixed spice
- 1tbsp salt
- 350g sugar
- 700ml vinegar
Put all the ingredients into a heavy pan and slowly bring the mixture to the boil, stirring often until the sugar has completely dissolved. Then simmer for an hour and a half to two hours, stirring from time to time to stop the chutney from sticking to the bottom of the pan. To check the chutney is ready, drag a channel through the mixture with a wooden spoon so that the bottom of the pan is visible. If the channel fills with liquid immediately the chutney is not ready. cook for a further fifteen minutes and check again. The chutney is ready when the channel does not fill immediately and the mixture has become thick. remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand briefly. Fill warm, sterilised jars with the chutney and allow to cool before labelling and storing.
With thanks to Steamer Trading for sponsoring this post and providing
me with two excellent quality Robert Welch knives.
And so summer has finally arrived here in our little corner of the world. This week has been truly beautiful, long slow sunny days, seeking shade beneath the big tree bottom of the garden and splashing in a makeshift paddling pool. It seems like perfect timing to share this simple recipe with you. Peaches make a delicious summer treat and we have been enjoying these after dinner most days this week.
juicy ripe peaches
a sprinkle of soft brown sugar
a drizzle of honey
toasted almond flakes
Halve the peaches and remove the stones. Pop them on a baking tray and drizzle with a little honey and a small sprinkling of soft brown sugar. Roast them in a hot oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the sugar begins to caramelise.
Serve with natural yoghurt and toasted almonds.
We eat breakfast every day without fail, it has always been one of my most favourite times of the day, even if we are in a rush to be somewhere, which is quite often the case. But taking a moment to sit and eat can often seems quite meditative and is alway a great way to get the day started.
After a camping holiday at Fforest
in south Wales last summer I was inspired to make my own granola having tried their homemade version at the camp kitchen. Granola is so tasty and so simple to make. I have, from time to time, made a fresh batch right before breakfast, it is so easy and even lovelier when it’s still warm.
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped mixed nuts
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
125ml maple syrup
Method: combine all the ingredients and pop in the oven on a medium heat for about 20mins. perfect!
What’s your favourite breakfast, do you have a favourite way to start the day?