Beetroot and pumpernickel stuffing

You know when you make something a bit random on the offchance it’ll be nice but you don’t hold out much hope, and then it turns out to be delicious. BEST FEELING EVER.

This was such a surprise find that I didn’t take photos the first time around. I just  bunged it together and when it came out  tasty I scarfed the lot.

This time I have been a bit more careful so we have pictures. This is honestly one of my favourite creations.

Enjoy.

Stuffing mix as the egg goes in

This stuffing mix is very colourful

You will need:

1 medium sized beetroot

1 small onion

180g pumpernickel bread, crumbled

1 egg beaten

25g butter plus a little extra to grease the dish

a tablespoon lemon juice

salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease an ovenproof dish.
  2. Beetroot stained hands

    And my hands are colourful too. (There must be some way to prevent this...)

    Peel and grate the beetroot.

  3. Finely chop the onion and fry in the melted butter in a covered pan over a very low heat until translucent but not browned. If they begin to brown stir and turn the heat down.
  4. Mix all the ingredients  together thoroughly (make sure you get all the butter the onios were fried in) and transfer into the ovenproof dish.
  5. Cover with foil and bake until set. Remove the foil and allow the top to brown.

I serve this with roast chicken (slide a bay leaf under the chicken skin on each breast and thigh, place a quartered onion in the body cavity and salt the skin all over, roast  breast down until the last twenty minutes and breast up to crisp at the end). The  sharpness and subtle flavour of the stuffing aren’t overpowered by the chicken and bring out its meatiness.

Hot stuffing just out of the oven

Hot stuffing just out of the oven

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Possibly the world’s easiest and most satisfying pattern

Ewes Full Acres Blue Passion Yarn

Ewes Full Acres Blue Passion Yarn

The gorgeous and generous Ms Playful gave me a skein of Ewes FullAcres handspun and handdyed blue passion wool yarn. I’d been eyeballing this stuff thinking it’s rather bright for my normal wear and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Ms Playful suggested slippers but I wasn’t convinced. I normally have hot feet rather than cold ones and the idea of wearing slippers seems foolish to me.

Then I saw this lovely pattern on Ravelry and knew that I should give it a try. After all when  I visit my parents’ house the stone farmhouse floors are flipping chilly and a pair of cosy footmitts seem like an excellent idea.

I’m so glad I did. There was something incredibly satisfying about this pattern. It genuinely is super easy to adapt so you make the slippers exactly the right size for your feet. Look though aren’t they cute!

Hooray slippers!

Hooray slippers!

I took a couple of tries to get the width right. The key is to make the initial circle really quite small compared to your actual toes. Squish it in half to see the actual diameter across your feet. Be aware that the first  couple of rows without increasing will still add width to the slippers.

I would suggest that you want to err on the small side and let the slippers cling and stretch over your feet rather than make them loose. Particularly if like me you make the opening on the top fairly big and low. The yarn will relax with time anyway and they will get bigger.

Anyway, I have wide feet and find buying shoes a bit of a trauma so making something for my feet that fit just right was a very cheering experience. They worked up super quickly taking just one evening of watching old episodes of Hill Street Blues on Channel4.com. I can imagine that I would make these again for gifts and I think they would look lovely with various forms of decoration for those that like that sort of thing. Me, I’m happy to keep these simple. I think the variegation from the yarn is decoration enough.

Anyone else made anything so simple and satisfying lately?


Baked avocados with garlic herb butter

Baked avocados? Baked avocados?

Oh yes. Definitely yes. Very definitely yes.

The idea for these came from the wonderful Leiths Vegetarian Bible by Polly Tyrer.  Her version has garlic herb cheese in it but I am a funny bunny and don’t like cheese. No not even cream cheese. Not even marscapone. I do like garlic butter though, so I took the cooking time and temp and made a new thing.

I must confess I’d had cooked avocados before in Ethiopian stews with chicken. They were delicious but pretty much buried under the flavour of the spices and the fire of the scotch bonnets. This recipe lets them shine and shine they do. They have a flavour a little bit like artichoke but really unlike anything else. What you really notice is the fantastic texture and the very enjoyable sense of eating a genuinely decadent tasting vegetarian dish.

This is also super quick and simple to make.

I’m going to give you a per avocado recipe and you can adapt it for the number of people you have. One avocado will serve one person as a main course or two as a substantial starter.

Garlic, herb and lemon butter

Garlic, herbs, lemon and butter are friends.

You will need:

1 ripe but firm avocado

1 dessert spoon softened butter

1/2 lemon

1 clove garlic

1 sprig each fresh thyme, sage and rosemary

salt and black pepper to taste

Set the oven to 200C/gas mark 6

Grate the zest from the lemon.  Chop the herbs very finely. Crush the garlic into a paste. Mash all of the above into the butter with a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper.

Avocado fresh out the oven

Avocado fresh out the oven

Halve the avocado, remove the stone and peel.

Smear the avocado and fill the stone hole with the butter mixture. Place the avocado face down on a baking sheet. No need too butter the sheet because as you’ll see the the avocado is well  greased already and won’t stick.

Bake for ten minutes. No longer. Timing is important.

Serve with a wedge of lemon, a side salad and crusty bread. Drizzle the melted butter from the pan over the avocado.

Avocados ready to eat

Creamy, garlicky, herby goodness...

Feel smug that deliciousness is so bloody easy.