I first made this soup for my Dad when he was recovering from cancer surgery. It’s simple title belies a tonne of delicious flavour, and good vibes for the healing power of soup.Continue reading “Sweet Potato Soup”
It’s autumn, which means that I usually overdose on Pumpkin Spice Latte’s. And I’m cool with that. I love those warming spices against comforting blanket of dairy goodness. But what I’m less cool about is why I have never tried to replicate the Pumpkin Spice flavour at home. This recipe remedies that!
October through December is also when I love to indulge in toasted carbs. Pancakes, not crepes but American Style or Drop Scones as they are traditionally known in Ireland, are a firm favourite for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But also toasted Barmbrack – the traditional Irish fruit tea cake that gains popularity in the lead up to Hallowe’en, or Samhain, because of the trinkets stored inside said to bestow good or bad luck on whoever found them hidden amongst the cake. Toasted crumpets, drowning in butter; ditto toast in general and raisin and cinnamon bagels…
All of these things are vastly improved with butter. Vastly improved yet further if that butter is THIS butter: flavoured with the heady notes of Pumpkin Spice and the sweet succulence of maple syrup.
Of course, the irony of Pumpkin Spice is that it doesn’t contain pumpkins or even taste of them. I probably should have looked into the history of that more, but I don’t think it really matters because, ultimately, what’s important is flavour and comfort and this flavoured butter has both of those things in droves!
Word to the wise: using unsalted butter and adding maple syrup to it does make this a soft butter that melts really quickly. I make sure it is well chilled before I use it, so the butter gets a fighting chance of sinking in to whatever you have lashed it on without just dribbling onto the plate and down your chin – although these are both perfectly acceptable too!
Ingredients (makes 1 x 15cm log of butter)
- 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground clove
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until fully combined.
- Empty out down the centre of a piece of parchment paper.
- Wrap the parchment paper over the butter and start to twist the ends of the paper to force the soft butter into a log shape. Keep rolling and twisting until the butter feels compacted together into a tight butter log.
- Place in the fridge and chill for at least four hours until very firm. If you can’t wait that long, pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Slice into disks and serve on top of anything that is warm and deserves this delicious butter!
In January every year we ditch the heavy sauces, rich dishes and heavy carbs for a much lighter way of dining altogether. It’s a month that is screaming out for cleansing, fresh, zingy flavours. Reducing the meat (or using lighter alternatives) and really packing in the fish. Plenty of veggies, raw and cooked and swapping spuds for rice and noodles. Each time we do this, we try something new.
This time around we have been on a journey of discovery with Fiona Uyema’s simply excellent cookbook “Japanese Food Made Easy”. Aside from the trickiness that is unavoidable with regards sushi and sashimi, the book totally delivers what it says on the tin. You thought Japanese food was difficult? Not with this book in your arsenal it’s not!
Maybe it’s the fact that there is no denying the nights are getting shorter and, despite the Indian Summer, there is a chill in the evening air but my thoughts are more and more turning to comfort food and nothing says comfort to me more than a great big hug of a pudding! This baked cheesecake recipe is not for the faint hearted – it is extremely calorific! But with the flavours of far flung Asia it will still get you thinking about the long hazy days of summer whilst preparing your hips and waistline for a long cold winter!