*This blog post is part of a sponsored collaboration with British Gas* I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but I blooming well love Christmas. A holiday that revolves around food is always a winner in my book, and having an extended period of time in the depths of winter to batton down the hatches with…
Sweet, earthy and incredibly nutty, I feel they are one of the most exciting luxuries of the winter larder, and while I love them roasted, skin-on, to crispy caramelised lusciousness with rare roast beef, this recipe makes them the centrepiece and uses their flavour to lace a savoury pie befitting of any special dinner or Sunday lunch.
Very simply, buying organic is a sure-fire way to ensure quality and to know that you’re buying into an ethical and sustainable food chain. For a food to be certified as organic means that there are fewer pesticides used in its production; no artificial additives and preservatives, and there’s been no routine use of antibiotics or any GM ingredients.
Every day I feel like I learn something new, and while I try and retain as much as possible (though my brain seems to be intent on making space for new things – aka – having massive memory lapses), it’s often a case of relearning, and reminding yourself of things you learned before. Such was the case a few weeks ago when I went back to cookery school for the second of our Taylors of Harrogate x Creating For Good workshops.
At this time of year, it’s so nice to have some recipes up your sleeve for dishes that are comforting, warming and nourishing, but also – more crucially – that don’t take hours and hours to prep. With Christmas just around the corner, we’re all going to have so much cooking to do, and subsequent kitchen fatigue, it’s a relief to find some dishes that hit the spot and only take a matter of minutes to rustle up. Dal is one of the few things I could genuinely eat every day – it’s both satisfying and interesting, not just in the context of curry, but as a vehicle for eggs, poached or fried, and a side for all manner of proteins.
I spent a large chunk of my twenties travelling about, exploring the world, sometimes with friends and boyfriends, but mostly for work, via press trips that took me to far flung places I could never have afforded on a freelance writer’s wage.
Reporting on the food and drink of a particular place is a sure-fire way to cut through the tourist trap cliches and get to an authentic local experience, and I was lucky to find myself in unlikely places enjoying delicious things – be it eating freshly caught whelks at a plastic table at the corner of Rungis – the legendary French Food market; or chewing garlic and fish sauced-laced pork skewers, cooked for me by an elderly Vietnamese woman crouching on her haunches in the Street in Hanoi.
Autumn is absolutely one of my favourite times of year. It’s just a glorious sensory overload – all those crunchy burnished leaves, the smell of bonfires, the bulbous pumpkins and squashes, the ripe orchard fruit. I can’t get enough of it, and thankfully we really live in the best spot to make the most of it. Walking the dog along the canal and across the marshes every day we can’t help but enjoy all the colours and smells, and – despite the golden sunshine we’ve been blessed with these past few weeks – the distinct crispness in the air that just makes you want to come home and make a crumble. And put on some lovely autumnal dinners…
Back in July, I was chuffed to bits to be asked to take part in a fun campaign called Organic Feed Your Happy with the Organic Trade Board that saw me cooking dinner for radio DJ and foodie Sara Cox and her friends, using beautiful organic ingredients.