Autumn Term and a Warming Stew

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Enjoying the colours!

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There is a definite change in the air, the turning of the colour on the leaves and the last few days has seen an omni present dewy dampness in the morning that is burnt off in the September sun.

This is one of my favourite times of the year from a cooks perspective.  The foodie will notice the change on the cover of magazines, long gone are the healthy salads ready to make you virtuous before the day is out ready to hit the beach in your skimpy speedos.  Now is the time to hit the comforting autumn bounty, the central heating is on after all.  With squashes and apple delights adorning the magazine racks.  To pick one up makes you feel comfortable just to the touch.

The weekend saw me caught between the headlights on so many fronts and trying to cope and keep the family nurished is a priority.  If you find yourself in this situation then putting something in a slow cooker is ideal with minimum stress.  This version completely disregards sealing the meat, a faff at the best of times!  Although I can hear a million voices cry out in anger…..I just didn’t have the time.

  • 2 medium sized onions diced
  • 1kg Stewing Lamb
  • 2 tins of pulses (Chefs choice, I use chick peas and canneloni)
  • 250g chopped mushrooms (I quarter them)
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprika (or a spice mix that gives a little warmth)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 50 grams red split lentils
  • 50 grams brown split lentils
  1. Soften the onions in a glug of olive oil
  2. Add the spice to the onions and stir in for a minute or so
  3. Put everything in the slow cooker at this point, except the split lentils
  4. High heat for a good 2 hours
  5. At this point give it a good stir and use your judgement.  Think about how you like your stew, I find a good hundred grams of lentils at this point is the ideal thing to both soak up and thinken the juices.
  6. I leave in the slow cooker for another hour or so on low heat in order to cook the lentils

This easily does the four of us two meals, great for freezing and good for a quick reheat mid week. Serve with potatoes or couscous. Or as a chunky soup with a big chunky slice of bread.

Scribble and Scran – the why

Day 1 on the 2015 blogging 101 scene reminding me to ask a few fundamental questions about why do this……..that probably runs through my head on a weekly basis.

For the most part I was terrible at English at school, however I have this constant recurring theme that I have an urge to improve on both my writing and share.

Sometimes I feel like there is very little point to adding another food blog into the world, the world is littered with self publishing foodies. The defeatist in me…..then I wrestle with this for a while and I come up with the fact that mine is different, not much but it is! and the best part it comes from me.

I’ve gone through a few site names in my time. I think of a new domain name every couple of months out on my bike or my walk into work. Thankfully I usually forget, however when I do remember and I manage to plug it into a domain checker and find it’s free…..the quandary starts. Do I stay or Do I go? Most the time the price puts me off and I go on my merry way, other times like this one it niggles at me, eats at me and I’m then caught like a rabbit in the head lights. This time I made a run for it and made the switch, it fits me and my thoughts.

I do have a running theme through my head around food and places which are aligned to my non working life. Every now and then there is a social side to me …the optimist that says somebody might be interested in that nugget.

I also just want to make something great that I own, something that I can reflect on. This could be a personal journal, instead I’d like to write to be read and to be absorbed.

I intend to write about food and the odd recipe. How I’ve managed to bring up two boys who seem to hoover up most things. How I’ve fed them on good food with a few treats on the way and how I’ve fed them on the rich tapestry of the open doors. I’ll write about those moments where I prepare a decent meal for the two adults of the house and a few scribbles in between.

If I make a success of this I’d like to write a recipe book of my own, something that will get passed on with phrases like Dad used to make this and this was my favourite. Remember the time I wore my swimming goggles so the onions didn’t make me cry!

Blip in my Mojo

Yesterday I took a blip in my Mojo, don’t know what happened.  5 weeks into our new home and I think an overwhelming feeling came over me, a sense of dread, a feeling of what have we done.

The boss was away helping her aunt get ready for a huge upheaval of a move and I was manning the fort.  I’d had some good successes, got  both boys to their respective morning activities, slotted in a coffee stop in between and got them home safely, cut the grass, done a wash, planted some rhubarb for next year.

What hit me was trying to dismantle a set of shelves, shelves that had been installed a good 20 years, the dust and a rotting apple core sat there at the top was just a little too much.  My 9 year as a tool jockey was definitely getting bored and a good hour later I’d still only managed to get one screw out.

Then tea was calling, I was planning on toad in the hole, and sticking a slow cook lamb stew on, the beet root still hadn’t been roasted from the veg box, and the lettuce hadn’t been washed.  It’s at this point of writing I realise how stupid all this sounds and why I took a blip!

I know my mum would say I’m doing too much and need to slow down, you can only do so much.  I know she’s right, I’m trying to build a home at the same time as live.

Expectation, running out of time and self doubt crept in.

Woke up this morning rested an eager to go, the sun shining and the view from the bedroom a sustaining reason of why we moved.