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Pinterest challenge: apple and butternut squash soup

Apple and Butternut Squash soup recipe So the soup season is continuing here and I am trying to explore more and more flavours to stock up with (for the freezer). I find these soup portions very handy for lunches (super kid friendly too!!).

Apple and butternut squash seemed like a great match, was very eager to go and try it out as soon as I saw it on Pinterest. Made few changes, because I needed dairy free option as well as keeping it rich in flavour (I am talking about butter here). Hope you like it too as much as I did. Scroll down for the recipe ;-).Apple and Butternut Squash soup recipe APPLE AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP adopted from Foodess

serves 6 adults (you are welcome to double it up!)

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large cooking apple, cored and chopped
  • 1tbsp fresh sage, or 1 tsp dried
  • olive oil for roasting and frying
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1l chicken stock
  • double cream (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Place butternut squash and apple into the baking tray, sprinkle with sage and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the veg for 25min.Apple and Butternut Squash soup recipe2. In large pot fry the onion for 5 min and add the mixed spice.Apple and Butternut Squash soup recipe 3. Add roasted veg (and fruit) together with chicken stock. Bring everything to boil and simmer for 20min.Apple and Butternut Squash soup recipe4. Puree soup using a blender. Stir in cream, if using, and return to a simmer (although it tastes totally wonderful without the cream as well). Season with salt and pepper. Apple and Butternut Squash soup recipeEnjoy!

Rasa xx

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Pinterest challenge: broccoli, cumin and yogurt soup

Broccoli, cumin and yogurt soup So the chill is on and I thought to better start the soup season (well... I have started it a while ago actually). Joni cooked this soup last year for Lukas dedication and I have been revisiting it ever since. Its my favourite soup at this moment! Whats not to like, its flavoursome (sorry to say it is better than stilton and broccoli soup), kids love it, packed with all the green veg and its freezable (lunches sorted in advance). It's found on Pinterest but it is not challenging at all ;-).

BROCCOLI CUMIN AND YOGURT SOUP  adopted from Trois Fois Par Jour (thank goodness for Google Translator)

serves 12 adults or makes many many portions for kids lunches

  • 50g butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, sliced or cubed
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 2 large handfulls spinach
  • 2 large broccoli heads, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 2l vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 200ml yogurt

1. In the largest pot you can find, melt the butter and fry the onions for 3 to 4 minutes. Add potato and cumin, continue cooking for about 3 minutes.Broccoli, cumin and yogurt soup2. Add broccoli, spinach and garlic then mix well so that broccoli is soaked in spices and spinach has wilted. Cover everything with vegetable stock, then add maple syrup and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

Broccoli, cumin and yogurt soup3. Blend the soup and stir in the yogurt. Season and serve it while still hot! Broccoli, cumin and yogurt soupEnjoy xx

Rasa :)

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Butternut squash & jam roly-poly

butternut squash & jam roly poly recipeWell... I have not posted here for a while! Motherhood turned out to be the hardest job I have ever done...

Only a month ago I imagined being a mother is going to be hard, but I thought I will still manage and blog while baby sleeps. Little did I know that when my baby sleeps I will want to sleep too! I also realised that decoding baby cues is a learned thing, not something that comes as an instinct (or at least it did not come as an instinct to me like I thought it would). I sometimes spend hours to figure what baby Lukas wants and sometimes I have a breakthrough and sometimes I just want to cry out of desperation :(.

Anyways during the weekend I had some luck and I managed to bake while my baby boy is sleeping. It may have taken me to do it in few baby sleeps, but I am totally proud of myself and the outcome! I wanted to bake this for quite a while, the idea of butternut squash and jam combination have been lingering in my mind for few months at least. So why butternut squash? Because I use butternut squash to replace the pumpkin (like here in the cupcakes)... because in England this is a rare vegetable to find... Hope you like this recipe I created :). Btw this is not a swiss roll, jam roly-poly is a British pudding that has a similar to shortbread consistency. So don't expect a cakey spongy roll here!butternut squash & jam roly poly recipe BUTTERNUT SQUASH & JAM ROLY-POLY

  • 300g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground nutmeg
  • 70g butternut squash puree (boil around 1/3 butternut squash and puree it)
  • 70g butter, grated
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 40ml-70ml whole milk

1. First prepare the oven. We want to steam this pudding therefore put a deep roasting tin half filled with boiling water onto the bottom shelf of the oven, and make sure that there’s another shelf directly above it. Heat the oven to 170C.

2. In a bowl combine the flour together with baking powder, spices, butternut squash puree, butter and sugar. Kneed it roughly into dry mixture. Gradually add milk until the mixture turns into pastry like dough. butternut squash & jam roly poly recipe2. 3. Roll the dough on the floured surface into the square. Spread the jam all over, leaving a gap along one edge, then roll up from the opposite edge.butternut squash & jam roly poly recipe4. Carefully lift the roll onto the piece of foil lined with baking paper.  butternut squash & jam roly poly recipe5. Loosely bring up the paper and foil around it, then scrunch together along the edges and ends to seal. The roly-poly will puff quite a bit during cooking so don’t wrap it tightly. Lift the parcel directly onto the rack above the tin and cook for 1 hr.butternut squash & jam roly poly recipe6. When baked, carefully open the foil and paper, and thickly slice to serve.butternut squash & jam roly poly recipeTraditional jam roly-poly is served with custard, but I always prefer the ice-cream. Luckily I got some ;-)butternut squash & jam roly poly recipe butternut squash & jam roly poly recipeEnjoy!

Rasa xoxo

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Green tomato chutney

Green tomato chutney recipeI wanted to make green tomato chutney since I heard about it from my mum-in-law. What a great idea! I often failed to get my tomatoes ripe enough before autumn and they used to rot instead of being eaten. I so wish I knew I could use them!

Now my mum-in-law was staying over this week as Joni went away to Dublin. It was a great opportunity to make some green tomato chutney (especially when we had some green tomatoes in hand!). Joni's mum pretty much made the chutney while i took few pics in between. She followed this recipe that she swears by (apparently the chutney using this recipe always turns out perfect). I forgot the title of that book, but will let you know once I get it.Green tomato chutney recipeGREEN TOMATO CHUTNEY

  • 1.8kg green tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 700g onions, pealed and chopped
  • 450g cooking apples such as bramley, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 600ml vinegar (we used malt vinegar)
  • 8 red chillies (we used green chillies)
  • 25g root ginger
  • 225g raisins
  • 2tsp salt
  • 450g sugar (we used soft brown sugar)

Green tomato chutney recipe Green tomato chutney recipe1. Put the chopped tomatoes, onions and the apples in a large pan with half the vinegar. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 30min.

2. Add the chillies and root ginger into the pan, make sure you count them as you will need to fish them out later.

3. Add the raisins and cook, stirring from time to time until the mixture thickens, after about 1 hour.

4. Add the salt, sugar and the rest of the vinegar, stirring well till sugar dissolves. Continue cooking until the chutney thickens again.

5. Remove the chillies and ginger from the pot before potting and sealing (see how by clicking here). Leave to mature for 6 weeks. Green tomato chutney recipeHappy weekend everyone!

Rasa xoxo

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Piccalilli

My piccalilli recipeHey! It's Autumn here and what is Autumn without canning? I do like to make preserves and when Joni suggested to make piccalilli I got excited as I thought it would be really cool to make it.  Piccalilli is a great condiment that is tasty in sandwiches and pairs well with cheddar cheese. Yum!My piccalilli recipePICCALILLI

Makes about 2-2.5kg

  • 1 small cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/2 head broccoli, chopped
  • 2 courgettes, chopped
  • 5 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 200g green beans, chopped into smaller bits
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 medium onions, pealed and roughly chopped
  • 50g salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg, grated
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 600ml cider vinegar
  • 2 cox apples, grated
  • 1 mango, pealed and chopped
  • 6 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped

1. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt and cover it with water. Leave it in a cool place for 2 hours, then drain thoroughly.My piccalilli recipe2. Heat a large saucepan. Add the oil to the pan, then fry the mustard seeds, mustard powder, cumin, turmeric and nutmeg for few seconds. Lower the heat, add the flour and a splash of vinegar and stir to make a thick paste.

3. Gradually add the remaining vinegar while whisking all the time to make a smooth paste with no clumps.

4. Add the apples, mangoes, garlic and honey and cook for 2–3 minutes. 

5. Drain the salted vegetables and add them to the pan, stirring well to coat with the spice paste. Cook for 15 minutes until the vegetables have just softened and released juice.

6. Spoon Piccalilli into sterilised jars and close the lids tightly.My piccalilli recipe My piccalilli recipeHappy autumn canning ;-)

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Little things I am knitting for our new arrival

knitting for a babyJoni and I are expecting our new arrival very soon and lots of you have been asking what I am knitting for our new baby. To be honest I only started knitting recently and so far I finished a hat and little socks. Time permits you might see here some baby pants and maybe even a jumper.

As for inspiration I have been mostly inspired by Pinterest (of course) and the book called "What to knit when you're expecting" that was a gift from my mum in-law (love the title of it!).You can learn how to knit baby knot hat by clicking here.And if you prefer to learn to knit socks then click here (although you might need to get your own measurements for the baby as their feet proportions are completely different to the kid's sizes).knitting baby socks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA baby socksI hope I inspired you ;-)

Rasa xoxo

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Quick to make no sew crochet edge scarf

Lace edge scarf DIY with crochet trim chardAutumn is ending and soon we will be entering winter season... brrr, hopefully it won't be so cold this year! Because this scarf might not be the most perfect one to wear when is chilli outside. On the other hand it's really pretty and it's so easy to make (that is if you know your way round lace crocheting).

Last weekend we took Leia (our beloved cat) to the vets and this scarf was just enough to accessorise my otherwise plain top. In case you are wondering... our kitty had an infection after spaying, but she recovered really quickly. Her stitches came out last weekend and today we are removing her cone of shame (as Joni calls it). Yey!auntumnAnyways, if you fancy making this scarf, here is the place to click for crochet chart and more ;-)Lace edge scarf DIY with crochet trim chard Lace edge scarf DIY with crochet trim chard Lace edge scarf DIY with crochet trim chard Lace edge scarf DIY with crochet trim chardEnjoy your last weeks of autumn :-)

Rasa xoxo

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Pinterest challenge: apple and cheddar quiche with hash-brown crust

Apple and cheddar quiche with hash-brown crustThis time I took a double challenge. I practically combined two recipes from Pinterest! I loved the flavour match in this quiche, but I did not want all that dough at our dinner table, so I have decided to seek for alternative. I once baked this quiche that had hash-brown crust. I loved the idea of making quiche gluten free by adding extra vegetables. It's like the pizza I made once with courgette crust!Apple and cheddar quiche with hash-brown crustIt turned out well (luckily!) and we did end up having a nice dinner! The only thing I can say about the hash-brown crust is that it does not go with all quiche fillings out there. I thought apple and cheddar filling was just ok with that kind of crust, but if you made it let's say with pears or something than this would be totally wrong. But then again, it's up to you! You may have completely different taste to me ;-). Joni did not like apples in the quiche as much as I did, so there we are... everybody have a different taste!

APPLE & CHEDDAR QUICHE WITH HASH-BROWN CRUST

(for the crust, adopted from Martha Steward

  • 420g grated raw potatoes (about 3 large ones)
  • 1 egg
  • 30g butter, softened + some for greasing

(for the filling, adopted from Bob Vivant)

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 120g ham, diced
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 115g grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 110g sour cream
  • 190ml milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped sage leaves

1. Line a pie dish (or any other baking tin) and grease the baking paper as well.

2. Combine grated potatoes with butter and egg, and press the mixture into lined baking dish. No need to blind bake, yey!Apple and cheddar quiche with hash-brown crust2. Fry the onions and apple in butter for few minutes, than add it together with cinamon and cheese into baking dish on top of the hash-brown mixture

3. Lightly whisk the eggs together with sour cream, milk, salt and chopped sage.Apple and cheddar quiche with hash-brown crust4. Pour the egg mixture over ham, cheese and apples (and all the rest). Bake the quiche in preheated 180C oven for 30-40min.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Apple and cheddar quiche with hash-brown crust Apple and cheddar quiche with hash-brown crust Apple and cheddar quiche with hash-brown crustEnjoy!

Rasa xoxo

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Autumn vegetable risotto

Autumn vegetable risotto recipeSince november is a last month in autumn, I though I will make something special and heartwarming. This autumn vegetable risotto is the best risotto I ever made (and I made quite many in my lifetime). I picked roasted root vegetable for the topping and that went like a dream with goooeeey risotto.Autumn vegetable risotto recipeAUTUMN VEGETABLE RISOTTO

  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 4 beetroots, pealed and chopped
  • 1 large parsnip, pealed and sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 200ml white wine
  • 700ml chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 20g butter
  • 70g parmesan cheese

1. First make the vegetable topping. Place all chopped/sliced vegetables into the oven proof dish. Sprinkle everything with garlic (reserve one for the rice) and herbs, season it and drizzle it with olive oil.  Bake it in preheated 200C oven for 30min. Autumn vegetable risotto recipe2. Meanwhile cook risotto rice. Fry the onions and remaining garlic clove in the pan with generous mount of oil. Then add rice, continue frying for a minute until rice become sort of transparent and then pour in the wine.

3. Now reduce the heat and add the stock gradually while stirring the rice constantly. This process should take about 15min or so. Every time you add some stock just wait until everything becomes thick again. At the end of this process the rice should be cooked and nice!

4. At the end add butter and some grated parmesan cheese into the rice and let it rest. Remove roasted vegetables from the oven and serve it with rice.

Autumn vegetable risotto recipe Autumn vegetable risotto recipeEnjoy!

Rasa xoxo

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Things I look forward in November

local shops in CleyIt's getting really busy here running up to Christmas (you know, crafting gifts and stuff), but there are plenty of stuff I look forward to. Here are few...

1. VISITING CLEY-ON-SEA. We visited this lovely village briefly in September, but now we will be visiting Grandma Elizabeth for the whole weekend. Really looking forward to that!countryside in Cley2. BONFIRE NIGHT. I have made these pasta tortilla bites with leek and bacon last year. Really hoping to go and see fireworks in Bedford this year! Do you know any good places?picking food3. CHRISTMAS MARKET! This is something that has made me even more busy! I'm prepping for it now as I will be selling Friendly Nettle goodies there. It's a perfect place if you want to get a unique gift for someone. Save the date and come along (I will be sharing my tips on crochet, embroidery and more).GFC Christmass Fair

 

Happy November!

Rasa xoxo

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Few ideas on how to survive Halloween at home

vanilla and peppercorn candyI don't want to be a fun spoiler, but I really don't like Halloween. I think I mentioned my reasons last year, one of them being the difficulty of making Halloween deco pretty. Anyway it's fun for kids and you don't want to stop that! Have you ever had one of those awkward moments when group of kids knocks on your door and say "trick or treat" when you have no single sweet treat in the house? To avoid this, here are few tips/ideas on how to avoid these unpleasant moments ;-).

1. Treats! Yes, stock up on treats! The best treats are candies and if you feel like making some here is the recipe that I made last year (it's vanilla and black pepper BTW!). Or if you prefer, bake this ghost meringue cakeAutumn butternut squash cupcakes is another alternative if you want something sweet yourself while you wait ;-).Halloween treats2. Decorations, at least at the front of the house. Because you don't want to bother and decorate the whole house! Garlands are grate for this. Here is one for you to try. Just make sure it's all ready before 6pm this Friday!leaf garland3. Failed to do no. 1 and 2.? Just pretend you are not home and switch the lights off or something. Close the curtains and light the candle, that should be fun!

Happy Halloween!

Rasa xoxo

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Things I look forward to in October

Autumn colours in the boxOctober may be uneventful, but there are plenty of things to look forward to... such as autumn itself! :)

1. AUTUMN is a beautiful season. Look at all the colours! And it's not only orange, brown and yellow.... I love the combinations of pink, forest green, orange and cream. And lets not forget purple! I have been so inspired by it all that I have been painting last night like mad (and that does not happen very often). I love creating new patterns. New autumn pattern bellow is here for you to nick, use it to wrap a gift or put in on the wall ;-). Friendly Nettle autumn pattern2. KNITTING JUMPERS is almost my part time job. I took on three (yes, three) jumper knitting projects so far. But that's quite enjoyable as I can do it while watching a movie or chatting with a friend! Here is my first cardigan in progress, can you guess what part it is? Yes, it's a sleeve! Many more parts to go :-).Progress on my knitted cardigan3. DRINKING HOT DRINKS kind of goes with knitting. It's important to keep yourself warm and all snuggled up while doing some crafty work! My favourite hot drink at the moment is spiced coffee (although I haven't had any this year yet, but will make some soon!). It's one of those drinks that is satisfying and not too fattening (minding my figure right now!). Click here for the recipe ;-).Spiced CoffeeHappy October!!!

Rasa xoxo

 

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Apple & berry crumble and ice cream dessert

Perfect autumn warm&hot dessert: apple&berry crumble and ice cream This year (especially in the summer) I was really addicted to ice cream! I have made few of my own such as Banoffee ice-cream sandwiches, super easy fresh strawberry ice cream and my favourite goat's milk and roasted rhubarb ice-cream. While in Italy we both (me & Joni) tried many gelato flavours, on some occasions 5 flavours in one go! Have you ever tried red wine tasting ice-cream? Our newest finding is Kelly's Clotted Cream & Honeycomb ice cream (actually Joni found it first), you should definitely try it ;-).

Although Ice cream may not be the most  suitable dessert for this weather, we have been enjoying this warm crumble and ice cream dessert. You see, I quite like a contrast in food and this combination is definitely contrasting. If you are like me you would understand what I mean!Perfect autumn warm&hot dessert: apple&berry crumble and ice creamAPPLE & BERRY CRUMBLE AND ICE CREAM DESSERT serves 2 generously

  • 2  granny smith apples
  • 1 handful of mixed berries (can be frozen ones)
  • 100g  brown sugar
  • 50 ground almonds
  • 20g oats
  • 50g flour
  • 60g coconut oil
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)
  • good quality vanilla ice cream (with vanilla seeds if you can find it)

1. First, make an apple and berry filling. Peel, core and chop apples into the saucepan together with berries and brown sugar. Cook it for 5 min until sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes jam-like. Spread the filling into the baking dish. Perfect autumn warm&hot dessert: apple&berry crumble and ice cream2. Mix coconut and caster sugar together with almonds, flour and oat. Combine everything well by working it with hands. If using, mix in poppyseed as well (it just makes everything look prettier!).

3. Cover the fruit filling with the crumble. I like the filling overflowing, therefore I make very little amount of topping. If that's not the case for you, then double the amount of ingredients for the crumble.  Perfect autumn warm&hot dessert: apple&berry crumble and ice cream4. Bake the apple & berry crumble in 180C oven for 30min until the top is lightly golden. Serve it in the bowls with at least 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream on top of each.Perfect autumn warm&hot dessert: apple&berry crumble and ice creamEnjoy your weekend ;-)

Rasa xoxo

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Autumn wardrobe inspiration

Good old days knitwear style First things first, happy happy first day of autumn! Aren't you loving this? If you asked me this question 5 years ago I would ask what is there to like about autumn? I really disliked the cold wether (still do). But recently somehow I have learned to love autumn. I guess I have to thank my friend Vicki here, who claims to like all the seasons :-). I finally see what she means! Autumn brings rich amber colours, reminds you that there is Christmas to look forward to, inspires you with new wardrobe to wear and makes you to snuggle in comfortable chair with some knitting project + cup of hot chocolate. Yey, about the last bit! We (me, Vicki and her mum) are even thinking to knit together some day over Skype!

Anyhow, today I have been looking for some autumn wardrobe inspiration. This time I ditched Pinterest and browsed trough my old knitting books instead. I used to laugh at these old clothes styles thinking "who would actually wear these hideous looking sweaters?". But now I have complete different outlook on them. I think the clothes can be quite wearable if only they were styled differently. I guess dieting were not an option those days ;-).

Good old days styleMy dream right now is to knit an autumn dress. But to be completely honest, this is one of my high sky dreams. To knit a dress in fine stitches would take forever considering I have three other jumper projects on the queue! Oh, well... I  still like dreaming about it and you never know what will happen in next few months... Good old days style knitted dressesOne thing I must note about old books, they are brilliant in explaining how to knit. There are so many things I have learned from them! They all have very clear illustrations and actual written pattern with no abbreviations! This is what I call straight forward knitting!good old days knitwear styleHope you enjoyed having a glimpse at my old (Lithuanian) kitting books ;-)

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Wake up to an autumn Sunday coffee ♥

IMG_4690Since today is an International Coffee Day, I have decided to share how I recently started drinking spiced  coffee! I once tried spiced coffee in the food exhibition and it tasted surprisingly AMAZING. Although I would not recommend this coffee for an everyday brew, I occasionally enjoy it on Sunday mornings :).

IMG_4682SPICED COFFEE

(for 2 adventurous coffee drinkers)

 

  • 2 scoops ground coffee
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp grated nutmeg
  • 300ml water
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 1 star anise
  • milk and sugar if desired (recommended)

 

  1. Place ground coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg into the french press pot.

IMG_4680

  1. In the milk pan heat the water with cloves, cardamon pods and star anise. Let it boil for 5-10min.
  2. Pour boiled water over spiced coffee and let it sit for another 2-5min.
  3. Press the coffee to filter and pour it into the cups. Serve it with milk and sugar if desired. I don’t usually drink coffee with sugar (I used to in the past), but I do think that sugar (only little) go well in the spiced coffee. So do try it out!

IMG_4697

I like September not only because it is my birthday month, but also because it is a last warm enough month to enjoy my coffee break outdoors on my terrace. My coffee is usually accompanied with the crepes and jam...hmm. September, you will be missed and this is probably the last Sunday I am enjoying it!

 

Rasa xoxo

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