In my kitchen – November 2015

Welcome to my kitchen. I’m linking in with Celia and other bloggers as we welcome the new month and virtually visit each other. I always feel that November is one of those months that nobody gets excited about. It tends to be a bit dreary, washed out and meh. But as I got on with my day today, I came to realise November shouldn’t get all of that bad press. My first day of the month began with a burst of colours and home comforts.

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Bourbon and vanilla brioche French toast – drenched in icing sugar and maple syrup and with a generous serving of fresh raspberries. I have baked sourdough brioche earlier in the week and the end of the loaf could have ended up as toast but since this was our last day of holidays, I decided to push the boat out a little. I am not usually a fan of French toast but this one was utterly delicious and made for a very luxurious start to the day.

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Crown prince squash – just before it went in the oven. I have roasted it simply with some olive oil, fresh thyme, pepper and salt. I love this particular variety for its amazing flavour hiding within the blue grey skin and contrasting deep yellow flesh. Once the squash was soft and caramelised, I added it to sautéed onion, celery and carrot and topped up with vegetable stock. Cumin, chilli and a pinch of ginger rounded of the flavours nicely and made for a very tasty meal. With a swirl of creme fraiche and toasted pumpkin seeds, this smooth soup was very well received by everyone.

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Tiger loaf – to accompany the soup, I have baked a white bloomer with its distinctive cracked coating which I always think looks more like a giraffe than a tiger. The effect is achieved by applying yeast and beer paste onto the surface of the loaf and as the bread bakes, the coating cracks and creates random patterns. Tiger loaf is a firm favourite in this household and this one was no exception.

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Beef brisket pot roast – went in the oven at the same time as the squash and bubbled away all afternoon leaving me to enjoy some late sunshine in the park with both girls. It felt wonderful to be returning home to the welcoming smell of ready made dinner. The beef was meltingly tender and the vegetables together with red wine jus created deeply savoury dish. We had it with some smashed potatoes and young sautéed kale with plenty of leftovers for tomorrow. Stews and pot roasts are often on our menu at this time of the year and during the week I reach for my slow cooker to do the job efficiently. It makes a big difference when things get busy in the family calendar.

Clementines – are in my kitchen on the console table, sweet and juicy. Citrus fruit is always welcome at this time of the year and clementines are my son’s favourite. He takes at least two of these as part of his packed lunch everyday and is capable of demolishing a bowl like that in one sitting.

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Pomegranates and persimmons – adorn my dinning table at the start of November. We all love pomegranates, both on their own as well as additions to other dishes. One of the family favourites is a side dish of shredded brussel sprouts, chestnuts and pomegranates which is no longer limited to our Christmas table – in fact, it makes a delicious accompaniment to roast duck. Persimmons on the other hand will be consumed as part of small plates alongside of cheese and biscuits selection when we settle down to a few of family TV evenings.

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Fresh chestnuts – to be roasted and to accompany the pomegranates. I love chestnuts at this time of the year. In fact at any time of the year. These ones will be roasted in the oven but I am already looking forward to visiting markets and eating chestnuts that have been roasted on a fire, all sweet and smoky.

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Chambord – and a raspberry collins to round off the last day of holiday. The raspberry liqueur is full of flavour and simply delicious. Its packaging is eye catching too, very regal looking in both the shape as well as the adornments . It has taken a prime position in my drinks cabinet and with few celebrations planned later this month, perhaps one bottle is not quite enough…

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Chrysanthemums – we had an unexpected but a lovely visit earlier in the week and these flowers remind me of our visitors and the good time we shared. They are also very apt for this time of the year since today is All Saints Day and for me they are synonymous with celebrating all those that have departed and are no longer with us. Back in Poland the day would be spent visiting cemetaries and graves of our loved ones with bunches of chrysanthemums and candles placed upon them. Late in the evening, all of the graveyards look stunningly beautiful with sea of candles flickering in the wind.

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Tea-coloured roses – to mark the memory of both my Mum and Grandma alongside of a lit candle I have these beautiful flowers keeping me company in the kitchen. They were both incredible women, strong and loving and their beliefs live through me and my children. This particular colour of roses was their favourite and I love it as much for its warmth and beauty.

So that’s my November kitchen’s round up. Wishing you a happy month ahead x