Mushrooms with Cinnamon

This is a very different and gutsy dish. Well worth trying.
You allow the mushrooms to burn slightly, then they absorb lots of lemon juice to create sharp contrasting flavors.
Serve these on a plate of “mezze” roasted vegetables

Serves 2

1lb mixed button and chestnut mushrooms
About 2 oz chopped flat Italian parsley, plus extra for garnish
3 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
About 2 fl oz (5 tbsp) olive oil
About 3 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 lemon, very thinly sliced
Salt and pepper

Heat up the oil in a large flat pan until smoking
Meanwhile toss together the mushrooms, herbs, cinnamon sticks and garlic.
Pour onto the hot oil and leave on a hot flame for about 7 to 9 minutes. be patient, do not stir or shake.
Now stir the mushrooms, allowing any left juices to evaporate.
Pour in the lemon juice, ground cinnamon and plenty of salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat.

You can serve this warm or at room temperature, just make sure you stir in the extra parsley and lemon slices at the last minute.
Adjust the seasoning again

Cranberry Liqueur

This is slightly adapted from “The Essential New York Times” recipe book by Amanda Hesser.

Yields 2 cups

2 cups cranberries
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup water
12 oz vodka
2 cinnamon sticks

Combine the cranberries, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Boil until cranberries are soft and start to pop, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree.
Pour into a jar and add the vodka and cinnamon sticks.
Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 week and up to 3 weeks.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth if you don’t want any straggling seeds.

Serve and/or refrigerate and it will last for up to 1 year!

Pumpkin-Apple Streusel Coffee cake

This is from the food blog, “One Perfect Bite” and is gorgeous!

3 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cups diced peeled cored Granny Smith apples (about 4 large)
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs

Prepare the apples; Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples; saute until apples begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add sugar and cinnamon and saute until golden brown, about 3 minutes longer. Cool.

Prepare cake;  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 inch diameter springform pan. Combine flour, brown sugar, butter and salt in a large bowl. Using the electric mixer beat until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Place walnuts in a small bowl. Add 2/3 cup of crumb mixture to nuts and set aside.
Beat pumpkin, sour cream, 2 tbsp sugar, spice and baking soda into remaining flour mixture, beating just until smooth.
Beat in the eggs. Transfer the batter to the pan. Scatter the apples evenly over the top.
Sprinkle reserved topping over the apples.

Bake the cake;  Transfer pan to the oven and bake until the topping is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes.
Cool cake in pan on rack for about 20 minutes. Run a knife around the pan sides to loosen cake. Release the pan sides from the cake. Transfer the cake to a platter.
(Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature)
Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.

Serves 6 – 8



Dried figs pickled in port and whisky

I have a jar of these sitting in my pantry and even when I first put them into the jar, they smelled incredible. Can’t wait to have them with a dollop of creme fraiche or icecream

Makes about 3 cups

1 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp pickling spices (mixed whole spices)
1lb dried figs, halved
2-3 tbsp whisky
1 cup port

Combine the water, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and spices in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, then add the figs and simmer for another 20 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to stand for 24 hours.
Drain the figs and reserve the syrup
Sprinkle the figs with the whisky and pack into a sterilized wide-mouthed jar. Add the port to the reserved syrup, bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour this hot mixture over the figs to cover.
Seal the jar and store in a cool dark place for 1 month to mature (yeah baby!) before using.