Sticky Chocolate Orange and Prune Loaf

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Things that are happening lately...
I’ve started a new job!  After 7 plus years in the same company it’s scary being the new girl again.  I’m two weeks in and surviving so far.
I no longer have a huge commute.  This is absolute bliss, quite literally.
I get an hour extra in bed.  Again, bliss.
I’ve hardly had a moment to get to grips with cooking/baking/blogging.  Things should balance out soon.  After all just think of all that time I’m saving not commuting.
I’m stuck in a lunch rut of either avocado or baked beans on toast, not together...ok sometimes together (this appals my husband).
I’ve made this apple cake but with pears 4 times since Christmas. It’s too good.
I’m desperate for warm sunny days.  Oh winter how I loathe you. 
This sticky chocolate orange and prune loaf cake over at London Bakes is a rich and decadent treat while still being on the lighter side.  I used brown rice flour to make it gluten free and skipped the liqueur as we never have anything so sophisticated to drink around here. 
Recipe here.

I hope you have a good weekend. x

Everything in a Bowl

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Well this has been a sorry state of affairs, no blog post for nearly a month and then all I have to show you is soup, and more butternut squash at that.  I’ve also caught myself in an awkward time zone.  It’s far too late to be mentioning Christmas, New Year or any of those resolution things so let’s just skip it all, talk about soup and pretend I didn’t fail to blog about any of that stuff. 

Soup has featured heavily around here lately.  Since the UK has been battered with storms and relentless rain we’ve gone in to hibernation mode, abandoning our usual routines in favour of reading books and eating anything out of a bowl, which usually means soup or stew but can also stretch to a jacket potato and baked beans.  The civility of the dining table has been abandoned for the comfort of the sofa and the odd film.  Meal times have really gone to pot around here. 

I made this soup for my Dad when he visited for a few days recently and he said it was “wizard” which I choose to take as a compliment.  It requires very little effort to pull together and lets the flavour of the roasted squash take centre stage. 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Serves 2-3
600g butternut squash peeled and chopped in to chunks *you can make them smaller than the ones in the photo for speedier cooking time.
Approx 600ml stock
1 -2 tablespoons olive oil
Sprinkling of dried rosemary
1 garlic clove finely chopped
2 shallots finely sliced.

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C, 400°F
Line a baking tray with parchment.  Place the chopped up butternut squash on the tray, toss in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with dried rosemary.  Roast for 40 minutes until the squash is nicely caramelised. 

About 5 minutes before the squash is ready place a splash of olive oil in a large pan and sauté the shallots for 5 minutes until soft.  Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute.  Remove the squash from the oven and tip in to the pan.  Next add the stock and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Leave the soup in the pan to cool for a few minutes then blend until smooth.  Return the soup to the pan and heat through.  Serve with crusty toast and toasted almonds if you like.