Saturday, 23 December 2017

The inevitability of Autumn and orange ...


Summer is multicoloured, until that day it edges the corner and turns. A moment in September when you are in the garden happily listening to the bees buzzing and the chugging engine of  a light aircraft pulling a glider across the blue sky and suddenly you notice it. That whiff of autumn and you know that soon it will be October and full-on halloween pumpkin colour.  It's inevitable. 

Making and baking

  • nut roast
  • apricot flapjack crumble
  • red lentil and tomato soup
  • Loobya chitti
  • Pomegranate and red pepper hummus

Apricot Flapjack crumble


  • 750g fresh apricots
  • 75g butter or alternative, non-dairy margarine  or coconut oil work well 
  • 75g oats
  • 75g muscovado sugar (I substitute with maple syrup
  1. Halve and stone the fruit and place in an oiled ovenproof dish
  2. Melt the margarine in a pan and add the maple syrup or sugar and oats and cover the fruit with this mixture
  3. Bake 180c/gas mark 4 for 35 to 40 minutes until the fruit is tender and the crumble mixture light golden brown
Lovely served with coconut milk yoghurt and custard. I like making mine with almond milk.
I often make more topping for a more substantial pudding. Sometimes I'll add a little ground almonds, desiccated coconut or flour to the crumble. 

Red lentil and tomato soup

  • One medium sized onion red or white will do, or a couple of large shallots
  • Two cups of orange lentils
  • Fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped and a little tomato paste, or passata
  • Sea salt 
  • A couple of cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil or alternative 
  1. Peel and slice the onion finely. Pour a little oil into a heavy base pan, heat and then sautee the onion until caramelised
  2. If using garlic, mince and add to the onions, stir well and cook briefly
  3. Season with sea salt and mix well
  4. Wash the lentils and add to the onions. Stir well and cook for a brief few seconds. Then add the tomatoes and puree or passata. 
  5. Add a couple of glasses of cold water. Stir well, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and allow to cook until the lentils are tender. Check every so often to ensure that it hasn't reduced too much and add hot water or vegetable stock if necessary.
  6. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  7. The soup is then ready. If you like a smooth textured soup blend with a hand blender. We like this soup with the rustic texture of the cooked lentils.
It always feels like I'm cheating when I make this as it is so simple. It's a big favourite though, and depending on the season I make it for lunch, once or twice a week. Using passata cuts down on the work of chopping and peeling tomatoes and the orange lentils cook much quicker than some other varieties, so this takes little work but just needs to cook on the hob for forty-five minutes or so. Great, if like me, you work at home. It's inexpensive to make, substantial and very more-isa. 

Loobya chitti

These are pinto beans, slow baked with water, salt and a big spoonful of tamarind paste for a hit of sour umami. Alternative beans are rose-cocoa. Served with a good squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and a glug of good olive oil. Yummy...   cheap and cheerful... Again very little work but you just need to be somewhere in the house and remember to check them every so often. A good heavy based pan, like cast iron is the best tool for this. 

Pomegranate and Red Pepper hummus

Basically I just use my regular hummus recipe with cooked chic peas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic a little water, roasted peppers, seasoning and spices to taste and blitz in a mini blender but then add a good drizzle of pomegranate molasses, another source of  deep umami flavour. Yummy...

But don't dare blink, or heaven forfend close your eyes for a minute or you'll open them and it's Christmas in all it's ruby red...


  1. Hello Debby:
    Happy new year for you and your family
    Beautiful autumn photos.


  2. Hi Montse. It's so good to hear from you. Thank you. I wish the same for you and your family. I'm sorry that I haven't been in touch much over the last few months. But hope to rememedy that. Belated Happy New Year to you and yours. debx

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