Wednesday, 27 November 2013

French Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons

I've no idea why, but French onion soup is something that I have been craving for ages. Topped with a chunky crouton with heaps of gruyere cheese melted on the top is pretty much as good as it gets.

What you'll need:

  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg white onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 pint chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/4 pint white wine
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • Salt & pepper
  • 4 thick slices of baguette
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp French mustard
  • Gruyere cheese, grated
(Serves 4) 

Melt the butter with the oil in a large saucepan. Add the sliced onions, stir to coat them in the liquid and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until they begin to soften. Stir in the thyme, reduce to a low heat and cook for 30 minutes with the lid on until they are very soft. 

Uncover the pan and increase the heat slightly. Stir in the sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes. Your onions might start to brown at this point which is great. Don't worry if they stay yellow, this will happen if they are quite juicy. Add the sherry vinegar and cook for a further 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 150c. 

While your onions are still cooking make your stock. Grease a baking tray and place the 4 slices of baguette in the centre. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile stir the cornflour into the onions and then gradually add the hot stock. Add the wine, brandy, season and simmer for 15 minutes. When your croutons are toasted rub with the garlic, spread with a little mustard and top with gruyere. Put them back in the oven and allow the cheese to melt. 

Ladle the soup into bowls and float a crouton on the top. 


Monday, 25 November 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

On Saturday Tara and I headed down to the Christmas market at Southbank to sample a few mulled wines and festive treats. I got very over excited and took a lot of photos. Here are just a few for you to to nosy through. If you live in London it is well worth heading down to and you must have a nutella and banana (because fruit makes everything healthy) crepe followed by a Baileys hot chocolate.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... x

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Stir Up Sunday: The Alternatives

Happy Stir Up Sunday! I was only made aware of this tradition just over a week ago and am fully (sort of) jumping on the bandwagon. For those of you that don't know Stir Up Sunday is a custom that dates back to Victorian times when a family would gather on the last Sunday before advent to prepare their Christmas pudding. 

Christmas pudding should be made over a month before Christmas so all the impossibly sweet and rich flavours have plenty of time to develop. The ingredients should be stirred from east to west (clockwise) in honour of the Three Wise Men and each family member should take their turn to stir it whilst making a secret wish and chanting the rhyme:

"Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot, 
And when we get home we'll eat the lot"

Now if, like me, you aren't a fan of Christmas pudding you can still don that apron, get out the kitchen scales and create your own pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance for the big day. I've turned to pinterest and picked out the best alternatives to Christmas pudding.

Double chocolate and raspberry pavlova
Chocolate roulade with coffee cream

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Butternut Squash and Rosemary Gnocchi

Okay so I know cold weather isn't entirely unexpected but I didn't expect to be scraping frost off the inside of my car just yet... This recipe is perfect mid-week warmer and will only take 40 minutes to throw together after work.

What you will need:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 pack of gnocchi
  • 1 pack of Boursin (or similar) garlic cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A couple of springs of fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
(Serves 4) 

Firstly you need to prep your squash so peel it, cut in half (lengthways) and scoop out the middle with a spoon. The cut into cubes, roughly 1-2cm.

Boil your cubes of squash for almost 20 mins until they are almost done and then drain. Place in a roasting tin with the two cloves of garlic (crush) and the rosemary. Then drizzle over the olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Roast for another 10-15 minutes on 190c. 

When the squash is almost ready put your gnocchi on to cook. It only needs 3-5 minutes on a high simmer. When it is ready all the pieces will float to the top. Drain and add to the roasting tin, give it a quick stir so it combines with the oil and garlic then sprinkle over the cheese and a few more bits of rosemary.

Bon appetit! x 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Tartan Trend

So the weather might be turning sub-zero but until the last leaf has fallen from the last tree I am firmly flying the flag for Autumn. Orange leaves, country stomps and wrapping up in scarves are just some of the reasons I adore Autumn. And then there's the food: soups, stews, pies, crumble... but I digress. Like Spring, I think Autumn is the perfect time to give your home a quick makeover and add some cosy touches.

Tartan is back in a big way this season. No longer is it confined to punks and dodgy school uniform it is a trend that everyone can get involved and its slowly creeping in to my wardrobe and my home. Here are my top picks to keep on top of the trend, and not break the bank:

Lambswool tartan scarf from
Red and green check treggings from Topshop
Tweedmill red tartan blanket from Urban Outfitters
Sandhurst chaucer boot by Hunter
Welsh wool cushion from
Cooperative tartan cardigan from Urban Outfitters

And if you're still thinking about the food try this epic hot chocolate recipe.

Mug, marshmallows and salted caramel dippers all available from