Autumnal Colours & Pretty Eating

Colour is a massive part of making a meal not only look delicious, but also knowing that it is seriously good for you. A well known, and very simple method of getting more vitamins and goodness into your food is the more colours on your plate, the better. So it’s got to be a sure thing that the most colourful season of the year brings forth some of the most nutrient filled produce! Think about it, in the Autumn we get all those gorgeous colours in the leaves, in a multitude of shades of orange, yellow, green, with some wonderful splashes of red and purple thrown in for good measure. And it occured to me this morning on the drive to work, seeing all these glorious colours brightening up an otherwise dull and cloudy day, that these colours match almost exactly the hues of the fantastic seasonal produce we get this time of year! Bright yellow squashes, brilliant orange pumpkins, lush green courgettes, and not forgetting the stunning variety of beetroot we are treated to, especially the vibrant purples and pinks!
What got me thinking about seasonal produce this year, was not only the wonderful colours of the trees, but also the ‘Our Growing Edge‘ project, headed up by Genie of BunnyEatsDesign. This is a really wonderful blog hosting and sharing platform, where each month has an idea or a theme for bloggers to try new things and then write about, which is then hosted on a different blogger’s site each month – this month’s hosted by Kerene from The Dream Baker.
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One of the suggestions for October was to start thinking about cooking with seasonal produce, and this got me thinking about something I’ve been meaning to do for a while; find my local greengrocers and start making the most of Great British goods! It seems like a no brainer to me really, not only are you helping local farmers and reducing the miles travelled by your food before it makes it to your mouth, but you’ve instantly got guaranteed variety throughout the yearas you follow what is in season, as opposed to sticking with the same safe options. I’m always up for learning new things!
Unfortunately this month I wasn’t able to make it to a greengrocers – there just aren’t any in our immediate vicinity, but I have scouted one out for when we move into a new area in a couple of weeks, which I’m really looking forward to checking out properly 🙂 I still wanted to make sure I got some seasonality into our meals, and we’ve all got to start somewhere, right? So I opted for a really lovely looking butternut squash to be paired with some gnocchi, goat’s cheese and spinach, and some bright and beautiful beetroot for a beef curry with a real difference.
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I’ll be honest, we weren’t blown away by the Butternut Squash & Gnocchi meal – more due to the lack of flavours in the meal itself than anything wrong with the squash. That was probably the most flavoursome bit! I think the textures in the meal were all a bit too similar; the soft roasted squash, the wilted spinach and the heavy gnocchi coated with the goat’s cheese made it all a little bit – claggy. That along with the lack of other flavours in the meal… maybe some sage would have saved it, but it is unfortunately one I won’t be making again. Luckily I have plenty of other squash recipes in the pipeline – just not much left of the season!
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The Beef and Beetroot Curry however… that really was just sublime. This was a whole afternoon job, so I set it aside for a Sunday afternoon where I could really take my time and enjoy the long process. What with the cooking and peeling of the beetroot, the making of the curry paste and the hours baking in the oven… I can tell you from the incredible smells floating through the house we were well and truly ready for this by the time it was ready! The whole seeds which make up part of the paste became so aromatic and toasty as the curry cooked, and the sweetness of the beetroot with the deep savoury notes in the beef really made us both impatient to start eating! Slow cooked meals like this are also great, as you don’t have to shell out on expensive bits of meat, as the chunks of beef cook slowly in the curry paste and stock, becoming more and more tender as the hours tick by.
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The best part about all of this is that I still have some squash and beetroot leftover! So I get to try out a whole set of new recipes next week – I think a beetroot risotto might be calling out to me…
Lotsa Love! Abbie x

Seeds of Doubt…

Yeah… I’ve had a few interesting experiences with seeds this week…

So I wanted to give Chia Seeds a go – everyone is absolutely raving about them, Pinterest is fit to bursting with ‘Top 10 Chia Pudding Recipes’, and I had never even heard of them until a couple of months ago! I was really intrigued by the prospect of them – this little tiny spec that tastes of nothing but is jam packed with nutrients and protein, and the variety of recipes with different fruits sounded like a great way to mix up breakfast, which I have been struggling with recently.

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I found a small pack in Holland & Barrett, and a nice easy cinnamon apple recipe with ingredients I had already – I didn’t want to buy too much as I was still a bit wary about the end result of the Chia Seeds, taking in the milk and liquid they are soaked in overnight and expanding into a jelly like substance. Jelly, for breakfast. It seemed a bit strange to me, but as the whole world seemed to be obsessed with these things, I presumed that it was more like a porridge consistency, and couldn’t be that bad!

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I’m sorry to say that I was wrong >.<

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Each to their own, and I’m glad that there is this superfood out there that many people seem to be enjoying, but for me, it was disgusting! It really was a totally jelly like texture, with the seeds adding an unpleasant grittiness, and it was so watery there was barely any flavour to even mask the texture 😦 The apples and cinnamon smelled divine as I was cooking them the night before, I really don’t know what happened to what I was hoping to be a really gorgeous flavour to fill me up in the morning. I persevered for a little while, but it really was making me feel quite sick, the consistency and total lack of… anything really.

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I feel bad writing anything negative, but I suppose it would also be helpful for some people in a similar situation as me to read that Chia Seeds may not be all they’re cracked up to be :/ if you think you can cope with eating jelly for breakfast, then I’m sure using stronger flavours like berries would help, but at the end of the day jelly is jelly and not something that is desirable for breakfast in my opinion. Bleugh!

The other interesting experience we had this week with seeds was quinoa – you may remember from my last Leftovers post that I was planning an asparagus and avocado tabbouleh – something that would be perfect to actually make Leftovers for Lunch too 😉 I’ll be honest it was an extremely labour intensive meal, a lot of very fiddly bits and I remember calling out to Dave from the kitchen, ‘this had so better be worth it!’

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Luckily, it turned out pretty as a picture and tasted just as fresh and gorgeous and green as I was hoping – Dave unfortunately wasn’t so convinced :/ We have now discovered that he is not a salad-for-dinner kind of guy, and that’s fine now we know – but his main argument for not liking this meal was, and I quote, ‘the quinoa looks weird’. Bless him ;p I loved it, and subsequently have been eating it for the past couple of days all by myself…

So, just a few words of warning when venturing into the seedy world of… seeds. (NB – quinoa is a good word to play around with too :p )

Lotsa Love! x

Abbie