Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal... Perfect breakfast!

Who doesn't love a nice, warm, cooked breakfast on a chilly Autumn morning...?! Well, I definitely do - pity I always have to cook it myself and it can't be delivered hot, straight into my bed (with some strong coffee on the side!) well, maybe one day ;) As it's October - a month of pumpkin as it seems - I also gave into the world wide craze! Last few weeks there's pumpkin almost in everything I bake and cook. Can't complain because of that really - there's something comforting and cheerful at the same time, in that bright orange mush that comes out of the tin (how convenient!). 
I wanted something different this time round, not yet another pumpkin cake, pumpkin bread etc. so I turned to somewhere we all turn when on a "quest" for a new recipe (or sometimes in an act of desperation...) - Internet. And what a result! On one of my favorite sites TheKitchn I came across - Pumpkin steel cut oatmeal (pinhead oats for those living in Ireland or UK), what a brilliant idea! Yes, you might have to get up those few minutes earlier, but it's SO worth it! I've stick to the recipe religiously this time  - something that's rarely happening, unless I'm baking something completely new... - and I don't regret it! This unusual version of "porridge" literally disappeared in minutes! Sweet, spicy (almost "Christmasy"), warm, very creamy consistency and because I've cooked my steel cut oats that little bit longer  - very soft and smooth too. There's no crunch to it, as I wanted it that way, but cook it not as long as me and you'll have a nice bite to it with almost "al dente" oats. The smell while it's simmering away is very intense - cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg it all almost made me start singing "Jingle Bells"... So comforting and "cosy" feeling.
I ate my portion (and I had two, yes NOT one, but two extra helpings) with some Greek yogurt and a little bit of honey drizzled over the top. Please DO try it! It really is that good :)




How to make it...

Apple and Calvados pie...

I'm always on a look out for a nice pie crust recipe (when it's so easy to make yourself why would you buy it?!) and nice pie in general - being it sweet or savory, although having a bit of a sweet tooth it's usually the first one ;) This particular recipe caught my eye in the "Fruit" cookbook by Hugh from River Cottage. The crust is quite sweet (not like Nigel's from Pie of plums) but it goes perfectly with my sour apples and Calvados. Yes, crisp, fresh, aromatic, strong but gentle at the same time - Calvados :) Whenever I can smell fresh apples I'm thinking about Calvados, I don't think (I hope so anyway!) that I'm the only one with such thoughts/comparisons ;)

Back to today's pie. Autumn is a perfect time for me to make pies, time when I need warm, full of flavor, pungent, indulging, comforting food. And sweet, fruity pies are my answer to it! The smell of this particular pie being baked - heavenly! I could barely wait for it to cool enough, so I can cut into it! The addition of Calvados and raisins are my own (original Hugh's recipe calls for some almonds in the filing, but I didn't want any in my version). The below pie literally disappeared! I barely noticed and it was all gone. Luckily I was able to treat myself to a big slice, with some Greek yogurt on the side and string coffee.... I really DO hope that you'll make my pie! If you don't have Calvados I think that a little bit of apple cider would work here quite well too ;)
What's your favorite fruity/sweet pie?






How to make it...

Eggs on toast...

Something quick, easy and most of all tasty. I have an egg on toast very often - but I usually just make a toast, poach an egg and place it on a "bed" of bread, ham, cheese, few slices of salad and few slices of tomatoes. Yes, that's how my egg on toast usually looks like. This time it's a little bit different, but such an obvious way of doing it one might think! Well, I've never made it that way, so it was a first for me. I went all the way to make it oh so pretty, but my egg had a different plan and ruined my presentation a little bit ;) Nicely cut out heart shape was literally unrecognizable when the egg decided to take over... but nothing was left and the cut out piece of bread got a very "posh" when toasted and treated with some butter and raspberry jam and served as a "dessert" after my little brunch.
Egg on toast is so versatile, you can "dress" it up with whatever you fancy - I went simply with some Parmesan and basil, as I wanted it simple, but "sky is the limit" as they say and I'm sure you can find something this very minute in your fridge, that would make a great accompaniment to this fun version of an egg on toast.


Idea and inspiration taken from "Fast" by Neven Maguire.

How to make it...

Soft chocolate cookies...

I love a good cookie and those chocolate cookies turned out to become my favourite ones! :) They are simply delicious alone or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. They are soft in the middle and have a thin, crunchy "skin" on the outside. They are very chocolaty, but not too sweet, not sickly sweet as some chocolate baking creations can be. Perfect treat with a cup of strong coffee.
The recipe caught my eye straight away, the moment I saw it in Neven Maguire's new cookbook "Fast". Recipe was very easy to follow and I made them in no time at all! They'll be definitely a success on any party and among work colleagues ;)






How to make it...

Pie of plums and berries... by Nigel Slater

I'm very apprehensive when it comes to making pies. I'm usually worried about the pastry, being it soggy, or too dry or just under baked. Nigel Slater's version turned out to be very easy to make, pleasant to handle and very tasty. It's not very sweet, which I liked a lot. I'm planning on using this pastry for other fruit - sweet cherries or custard & strawberry filling. Original recipe calls for plums and raspberries, so to make this pie more cost effective (I got plums for free) I used what i had at hand - which was a bag of mixed summer berries in my fridge. This combination worked brilliant! My plums were little tangy and their skins quite bitter, so it mixed brilliantly with sweet raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. I was worried that the pastry will be very wet, soggy as there's no blind pre-baking of the pastry case, but I shouldn't worry at all! Everything turned out perfect and the smell in the house - amazing! The result is crumbly, short pastry with juicy, soft, sweet fruit inside. Ideal dessert to finish of the meal or simply any time of the day treat with some strong coffee on the side.






How to make it...

Plum, apple and honey with walnut crumble...

Crumble is something that is relatively easy to make and quite quick too. I love crumbles - soft, juicy and sweet fruit hidden underneath crunchy, crispy topping. I love experimenting with crumble - both the fruit combinations as well as the crunch on the top. This crumble was inspired by one of Hugh's recipes from River Cottage "Fruit" cookbook. The original crumble topping calls for ground almonds but I thought that chopped walnuts will fit in here better and I'll achieve more crunchy texture. Hugh uses only plums for his filling, but seeing as I had some apples I added few as well. Sweet apples made sharp plums a little bit better, especially that those plums I got from work colleague (and I don't know their exact name) have quite bitter skins. All in all this crumble proved to be great! Apples and plums, softened in butter and honey, became almost caramelized in the oven. Crumbly topping had nice bite and crunch to it thanks to chopped walnuts, which taste was perfect with sweet fruit.
Plums, apples, walnuts - no better combo for this time of the year!





How to make it...

Apple pie biscuits...

Apple pie, who doesn't like a pie?! OK, I do believe that there are people out there that aren't fans of pies - but I'm definitely NOT one of them :) This isn't a pie as we know it - the components are still there: crumbly pastry and sweet, juicy apple filling, but assembling is somehow different ;) The recipe comes from a blog that I've been reading for some time now. Joy's recipes always sound so delicious and her photos are mouthwatering to say the least. This time I decided to finally give in and make one of her creations. Timing couldn't be any better - I had a bag of apples I got from a work colleague and I was looking for a recipe that was easy and quick to make (I have 2 little sous chefs - one 4 and the other almost 3 hears old). The result was fantastic! Lovely, sweet smell in the house (always a sign of good things to come!), crumbly soft pastry and sweet apples! I loved the form of biscuits rather than a traditional pie. Very practical for little hands, allowing them to eat on their own, also perfect size for my lunch box for the next day. Apples worked great in those biscuits, but I would be very slow to experiment with other fruit (like all kinds of berries or plums) in case they would "escape" from this little biscuit "sandwich" ;) Hope you'll give it a go - especially this time of the year - and I hope you'll go and visit Joy's blog too!






How to make it...