It’s that time of year where I put squash, or pumpkin, in pretty much everything. For some people pumpkins are only relevant for Halloween, or as the word in front of ‘spiced latte’, but for me it’s an ingredient I look forward to all year. It’s a great change from sweet potato, offering so much colour, a level of nuttiness and an incredible versatility. Last year I put up recipes for Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns (I’ll be putting up a new glaze recipe for this soon), a pumpkin & nutella pie & pumpkin jam and the year before that it was a pumpkin cinnamon loaf cake. This year, thanks in part to Maddie buying the Ruby Tandoh cookbook it was into savoury muffins. The original recipe actually called for sweet potato, but as just that morning I’d raided our local shop for as many squashes as I could carry it only felt appropriate to make them Pumpkin & Feta Muffins.
It’s dark outside, and cold. I’ve not been getting enough fresh air at all. So a chance to get away for a weekend to the outdoors was just too good to pass up. We’d been looking around for somewhere to stay and needed something that was manageable from London in the time we had and we’d been looking at too many things on both Tumblr and Pinterest that meant we didn’t just want your standard “room” or “cottage”. Our criteria were along the lines of “cute”, “rustic” etc and we wanted a cabin in the woods. After trawling through various sites and a whole heap of “glamping” type places that offered accommodation that was alright, I guess, but next door to about 20 of the same thing with them all about 2 metres apart, we eventually found a “shepherds hut” at a little place in Wales. The hut in question was in the grounds of the Kingstone Brewery in Tintern, Wales. We were in luck, it was just a couple of hours drive away and the hut itself (especially at this time of year) was private. It had its own cabin next door with a lounge area, kitchen, bathroom etc and the hut itself had a bed.
I’ve started on the autumn food. I’ve jumped in head first and I’m as good as swimming in the piles of coloured leaves after a few of the things I’ve made this week (more of those to come soon). I’ve also gone veggie for the month of October (partly in solidarity to a couple of workmates giving up smoking for Stoptober and partly because of wanting to see whether I could). The main issue is lunch options. Most shops have them, but due to my (completely rational) hatred of cucumber and not being keen on cold egg, it’s better to make my own. I’m good with this anyway as I try to make my lunches each week as it is. This is one I’ve made countless times, and when I got to the shop to find they’d not got any butternut squash, it was my go to fall back option. Sweet potato, coconut & chilli soup is warming, creamy and has a nice little kick.
First of all, I’m sorry. I’ve been really bad with baking updates the last couple of weeks. While I hope you all enjoyed my Scotland updates (you can see part 1, part 2 and part 3 here), I understand that they aren’t what you likely come to this blog for. I am warning you now that there will likely be one from my Chicago trip next week as well… featuring a lot of Pizza.
Anyway, before I get sidetracked rambling about pizza and my travels I thought it was time to do something a bit different. A week or so ago one of my closest friends put out a Facebook status declaring she wasn’t doing too good and asking someone to send her cake. So I am. She is currently doing a Paleo diet, which is something that I’m not even going to begin to pretend I’m an expert on. So she sent me across a few ideas she’d found while she herself had been doing Paleo cooking research.
I opted for Sweet Potato & Ginger Brownies. A lot of the Paleo recipes I came across asked for ingredients which I likely wouldn’t use again, unless I was to regularly do Paleo things. This meant that I wanted to be careful with what I was baking and not shell out for a heap of fancy ingredients. Being my first attempt at this sort of thing I also wanted to keep it simple. These Sweet Potato Paleo Brownies were just right. With the only slightly awkward (read: Expensive) thing I needed to buy being Coconut Flour. I opted for this recipe here.
Plenty of the Paleo recipes call for sweet potato or avocado, often both. They help replace a lot of the flour, butter and chocolate, the avocado being naturally oily and also creamy. The sweet potato being good to bake and help hold things together. A few other recipes that use these sorts of things can be found here.
Oh yeah and the big news? I’m moving to London at the start of October.
Sweet Potato Paleo Brownies
- 1 Large Sweet Potato (approx. 2 cups once mashed)
- 3 Eggs
- 57g Butter
- 60ml Honey
- 3 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
- 3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 75g Dark Chocolate, chopped roughly.
- Peel and dice the sweet potato. Place in a pan of boiling water and boil until tender.
- Mash the potatoes until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C(160 °C fan assisted) prepare and line a 9x13 inch brownie tin.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the potato, butter, honey and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix well, then stir in the chocolate.
- Pour into the prepared tin and spread into the corners.
- Place in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes (a tooth pick inserted into the middle should come out clean).
- Remove from the oven and place on a rack, only removing from the pan once cooled.