Tag Archives: autumn

kuri squash pancakes: a breakfast at home

November 10, 2016

jmclaughlin-krissyosheaphotography-2016-12

jmclaughlin-krissyosheaphotography-2016jmclaughlin-krissyosheaphotography-2016-4jmclaughlin-krissyosheaphotography-2016-6jmclaughlin-krissyosheaphotography-2016-8Things are truly winding down at the farm. The last vestiges of summer, a few unripened green tomatoes clinging to the vine, have been picked. The garden has surrendered and will lay dormant now until next season. The hens are laying less. The dark mornings, chilly wet days and early evenings give them no motivation and they seem preoccupied with foraging in the field anyway. The shorter days mean less time spent outside and with the daylight growing more scarcse, I am looking forward to bright mornings and seeking out the warmth of the indoors.  continue reading

Apple Oat Bran Muffins

October 2, 2015

 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. 





Plum & Thyme Galette with Spelt Pastry

September 10, 2015

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


enjoy! 

Kuri & Quinoa Porridge

October 31, 2014

This month I worked on a recipe for the lovely ladies at The Pressery. If you aren’t familiar with them, they supply London with gorgeous, all natural almond milk. It make using almond milk accessible and easy in my daily routine since I don’t make it myself. Typically it goes into smoothies, but since fall and winter aren’t great for fresh fruit and berries, I wanted to find a way to keep using it in my morning routine. 


The recipe below has been the stand out favorite –  a lovely autumnal breakfast; warm, comforting and deeply flavorful. It is gluten & dairy free and uses only natural sugar from the sultanas. I start this the night before – when using kuri squash to top salads or accompany a risotto – reserve around 200 grams for the mornings breakfast. I really like the savory element that the salt, black pepper & olive oil lend the breakfast. 


The same is true for the quinoa – soak it over night (add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the water) and in the morning drain and rinse before cooking. It makes nutty fluffy quinoa and cuts down cooking time. 

I have been experimenting with other grains for breakfast such as amaranth & millet but the quinoa has been my favorite
Serves 2 – 4 
You will need:
200g roasted Kuri squash cut into chunks. 
1 cup quinoa soaked over night (if not soaked in water, anticipate needing more almond milk during cooking. rinsed & drained)
2 cups almond milk (1/2 cup reserved for serving)
1/4 tsp fresh ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp of vanilla paste 
1/4 cup sultanas 
1 small apple washed & chopped into small pieces.
handful each of shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds & chopped raw walnuts 
****
Place a medium sized sauce pan over moderate heat & toast the cinnamon until fragrant. Next, add chopped apple & stir to combine, about 2 minutes. Then add the rinsed quinoa and toast for another 2 minutes. Add the kuri squash & sultanas, stir to combine and quickly add 1 1/2 cups of almond milk  & 1/4 tsp vanilla – bring to a quick boil and reduce the heat to low. Cook until quinoa is the desired tenderness, stirring occasionally – approx 10 – 15 minutes. 
Keep an eye on the mixture while it cooks as you may need to add a bit more almond milk. 
Spoon porridge into individuals bowls and pour a bit of the remaining almond milk over each, making sure it is equally divided. Top with some of the shredded coconut, pumpkin sees & chopped walnuts. If desired, drizzle with a bit of maple syrup. 

Quick Blackberry Jam

September 3, 2014

There are blackberries abound here in London. Along the riverbanks, lining the footpaths, twirling and twining in the underbrush. And, they are ripe and ready for the picking. 


I have been walking around the city with my eyes to the edges, the peripheral view, scouting & taking stock. Last weekend I hit the jackpot – a brier of blackberries in beautiful sunny spot with big juicy, perfectly formed berries laden on the vines. 
I find it remarkable just how many things grow here, flower and produce fruit. It is so pleasant to see apples, pears and plums dangling from the tips of branches hanging above concrete, iron and brick. It is a simple pleasure but softens the hard corners of such a big city. 

Making small batch jams are great because they are the perfect place to play and experiment with flavors without requiring large amounts of time or ingredients. So, I wanted to share this recipe as more of a guideline, a jumping off point for flavors. This is a quickly made jam or compote using honey, sugar & vinegar as the preservatives. I chose rich dark spices to compliment the sweet deep flavor of the berries and fresh thyme to elevate the brightness of the fruit. The jam brings a little of the city’s bounty to my table and is delicious spread on thick slices of toast, stirred through a breakfast porridge or topping yogurt. It is equally delightful dolloped over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, served alongside a creamy goats cheese or paired with a nutty gruyere. It should keep nicely in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days. 





Blackberry Jam


4 pints of wild blackberries (washed and picked through) 
1 small black cardamom pod 
peel from 1/2 medium orange, excluding white pith  
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 tbsp red wine vinegar 
1 tsp salt
1/4 c honey (more or less to your taste)
1/2 C water


place the water, orange peel & black cardamom pod in a large sauce pan.  Bring it up to a brisk simmer and once there, sir in the honey until dissolved. 

Then add the blackberries, salt & thyme. Bring the mixture up to a boil and add the red wine vinegar. Boil for 3 minutes more, then reduce to a simmer. 

Simmer down until most of the liquid is absorbed & has reached your desired thickness. It should coat the back of a spoon quite thickly. I like mine on the thick side. 30-45 mins should do the trick. 

Keep an eye on the pot, you don’t want the berries to break down too much – it is nice to have some fully formed for great texture. Remember, it will thicken as it cools. 

Remove the cardamom & thyme sprigs, place in an airtight jar and store in the fridge for about a week. 

Beet & Plum Salad

August 25, 2014

I love the change of seasons. That gentle, nearly imperceptible shift from summer to autumn is my favorite. 
It comes in, barely noticeable, on the tops of the warm summer breezes, chasing at their heels. A coolness, the smell of earth, the little changes in the light ~ 

My neighborhood farmers market starts not too early every Sunday morning. And there isn’t anywhere else I would rather be, coffee in hand, pick over produce for the coming week. Its become a ritual I’ve come to cherish. 
Apples, fennel, cob nuts, the most gorgeous colored beets and sweet plums have been first on my shopping list of late. 
They bridge the gap between the light sweet flavors of summer and darker earthier flavors of autumn. 
This salad mixes some of those early flavors of autumn with some of the last bits of summer lightness. Rich jewel tone beets, sweet english plums, toasted shallots, and creamy goat cheese ricotta. 

Poach the beets covered in a baking dish in the oven with a bit of red wine vinegar and water to really release their sweetness. The skin should be tender enough that you won’t need to peel them just make sure to scrub each really well before putting them in the oven. Use the freshest ricotta or better yet, make some! Its really very easy and super satisfying. Bring a pint of goat’s milk and a dash of salt up to just boiling, take it off the heat, stir in 3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice, stir once or twice and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then pour the mixture into a strainer lined with cheesecloth. I like to keep the whey that runs off and use it in smoothies! After about an hour the ricotta should be ready.

Beet & Plum Salad 

1lb of beets. mixed colors but roughly the same size. scrub well and place in a shallow baking dish with 1 cup water and 1/4cup red wine vinegar, cover with foil and bake aprox 1 hour at 200C/400F until tender. When they are cool slice, rough chop into various sizes – the different textures are wonderful. keep lighter color beets away from the darker red if you want to keep their color. 

1/4 lb of plums. washed and chopped 
1 large leek sliced very thin and toasted over a low heat with a knob of ghee until tender add in 1 clove crushed garlic and  1 tsp grated fresh ginger and cook another few minutes until fragrant.
For the dressing, whisk together in a bowl the juice of 1 lemon, 1 lime 1 tbsp honey 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill a pinch of sea salt and a grind or two of black pepper. Then whisk in the cooked leeks & ginger. discard the garlic clove. 
sautee a few shallots in ghee over a very low heat until lightly browned and crisp. transfer to a paper towel to drain and cool. should make some leftovers which will keep in an airtight container for a few days.  
Mix chopped beets & plums through half the dressing (reserve some to drizzle over the top), stir through until everything is well coated. 

Plate the beets along with any golden beets, if using, and a large dollop of the ricotta. drizzle with some of the remaining dressing and sprinkle with a generous handful of crispy shallots 

Fall in The French Laundry gardens

October 5, 2010



yesterday i had the privilege of walking through the fall gardens of the world renowned The French Laundry. not only are the gardens immaculate they stand for me as a symbol of many of the things i hold most important in my life. Its a thrill for me to be walking among their neat rows.

“Take your time. Take a long time. Move slowly and deliberately and with great attention” – Thomas Keller