Monday, 22 October 2012

More Autumn Recipes

File:Apple coffee cake.jpg

Source for this image here.

On Papa Bear's birthday proper, I made his favourite caramel apple cake (which is not the same as the one that I made for him on Father's Day).  For the last few years, he has asked for this cake, which is really very delicious, and not too difficult to make!

I got the recipe from Taste of Home and you can see it on their website here.  I have baked it in a 9 x 13 inch pan, a round 8 inch cake tin, and also in a 2 lb loaf tin.  Do note that if you choose not to bake it in a 9 x 13 pan, it will take a little longer to bake.  We like it best in the 9 x 13 pan because the ratio of delicious crisp caramel topping to sweet moist apple cake is best!  For Papa Bear's birthday, I do usually put candles on it too!  He really loves this cake and sometimes I will make a double batch so that he can take the second cake to work with him to share with his workmates.  It travels well so is great for pack-ups, but it also keeps well too, getting moister and more delicious as the days go by.

Recently we have also enjoyed a delicious savoury tomato and olive loaf that I made by adapting a Gooseberry Patch recipe that I had.  At the moment at least two or three times a week we enjoy a recipe from one of my beautiful (and ever increasing!) collection of Gooseberry Patch cook books that Papa Bear has been buying me.  For this bread recipe, this is what I used -

1 1/4 cups warm water
1/4 cup olives
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons garlic paste (or use 2 finely chopped cloves)
3 cups strong white bread flour
3/4 cup rye flour (I soaked both the flours together overnight in the water before using)
2 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast

Add the ingredients to the pan according to the instructions that come with your bread machine.  Set the machine to "basic white" or the equivalent setting.  Do not use a quick cook setting.   If you pre-soak the flour as I do, you may need to add a little more liquid once the machine has started.  I didn't add the olives or tomatoes to begin with, as the machine would have ground them up too small.   This loaf rose hugely while baking!  It was delicious served warm, and the cubs enjoyed leftover slices with cheese for their pack-up at college today.

To go with this bread I served a home made butternut squash soup.  To make this you will need ...

1 butternut squash
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons garlic paste or 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
2 cups red lentils (these don't need pre-soaking, though I always do)
1 tablespoon dried coconut powder (not flaked coconut)
1 teaspoon coriander
about 1 pint hot stock

1.  Start by preparing the squash.  The easiest way to do this is to cut it in half (even this I find difficult) and place it, cut side up, on a baking tray.  You can add a little seasoning, and some oil if you wish, but I don't usually bother.  Bake in a hot oven for about 30 - 45 minutes, until the flesh is soft.  Remove from the oven, peel the skin from the squash and then chop the flesh into 1 inch size chunks.  This is easier if you let it cool a bit first!

2.  Sautee the onion and carrots, and garlic cloves if using, in about 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan.

3.  When the vegetables are soft, add the red lentils and stir well.  Add the coriander and sizzle for a couple of minutes, then add the stock.  Bring back to the boil, then add the chunks of already cooked squash.

4.  Cover the pan, turn down the heat and let it simmer gently for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't overcook.  If it looks like it is getting too dry, add some more stock.

5.  About 15 minutes before the end of cooking time, add the powdered coconut and stir in well.

6.  When ready to serve, you can blend it so that the soup is smooth if you prefer.  We like ours with a few chunks of squash and carrot still visible, but however you serve it, I can guarantee it is delicious!  It has a pleasant, very slightly sweet but still spicy taste that I have found is popular with all ages, and even those who say they don't like pumpkin or squash will often happily eat a bowl of this!

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