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Creamy Mushroom Soup with Black Rice

Delectable, creamy winter soup created from a blend of mushrooms, herbs, and wild rice — this is our choice for an easy and healthy vegetarian or even vegan supper that highlights the variety and richness of the fungi kingdom.  

Ultimate English Toffee

It’s Christmas, so it’s time for toffee! English toffee, that is, made the proper, scientific way, and coated with either milk chocolate and almonds, or white chocolate and pistachios. Or both! A double-whammy of sweet holiday delight.

Real, Homemade Egg Nog

Rich, creamy, and unapologetically boozy, this is an egg nog whose virtues are sung by poets. Probably. Once they’ve had a few. 

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Black Rice

Delectable, creamy winter soup created from a blend of mushrooms, herbs, and wild rice — this is our choice for an easy and healthy vegetarian or even vegan supper that highlights the variety and richness of the fungi kingdom.  

Ultimate English Toffee

It’s Christmas, so it’s time for toffee! English toffee, that is, made the proper, scientific way, and coated with either milk chocolate and almonds, or white chocolate and pistachios. Or both! A double-whammy of sweet holiday delight.

Real, Homemade Egg Nog

Rich, creamy, and unapologetically boozy, this is an egg nog whose virtues are sung by poets. Probably. Once they’ve had a few. 

Rustic Shortbread Biscuits (or Cookies)

Rustic Shortbread Biscuits (or Cookies)

Rustic Shortbread Biscuits

These deceptively simple shortbread rounds are so rustic, you’ll think you’ve time-travelled to 1740.

We’ve recently been doing some behind-the-scenes overhauling of the site, cleaning up old links, testing a new recipe plugin, that sort of thing, and I found myself looking at one of the first articles I ever wrote for the blog, in 2013. In it I talk about finding three wooden biscuit stamps at my grandmother’s house after she died. Her kitchen cupboards were seemingly endless and there was always something at the back that you never knew was there. Into the 90s I swear we were still finding foodstuffs at the very back of the larder with halfpence prices (which were phased out in 1983). Certainly I don’t remember ever seeing, let alone Nan ever using, these stamps.

So, just to recap, the stamps are, at first glance, a shamrock, a thistle, and a dragon. If you’re British, you’ll be saying “yes of course, that makes total sense”; if you’re not, you will probably be singing the “One of these things is not like the other” song from Sesame Street.

Smothered Pork Chops with Cipollini Onions and Grapes

Smothered Pork Chops with Cipollini Onions and Grapes

Smothered Thin-cut Pork Chops with Cippolini Onions and Grapes

Smothered Pork Chops with Cipollini Onions and Grapes

Tender, thin-cut pork chops smothered in a rich, savory sauce, with sweet cipollini onions and grapes. This is a dinner party-worthy dish quick enough to whip up after work. 

Is it just me or has 2016 been a beast? Maybe it’s only pre-election madness but lately everything seems just a wee bit more stressful than usual. I look around and all signs seem to point to YEP, TIME TO PANIC. Not that I’m turning into a crazy survivalist or anything (surreptitiously steps in front of industrial-sized case of organic ketchup). What? That was on sale at Costco.

Now that I think about it, if the apocalypse really is coming I want to have lots of condiments on hand to mask the flavor of boiled weeds and roadkill. I’d probably be the Walking Dead zombie that sprinkles fancy salt and a splash of vinegar on my victims before I chew their faces off. There’s really no excuse for bland brains, m’right?

Okay, I seem to have strayed raaaaather far off topic. What I mean to say is, even during stressful times, nay, especially during stressful times, it’s important to take an hour out every once in a while and make a nice dinner.

Farro Salad with Roasted Grapes and Baby Kale

Farro Salad with Roasted Grapes and Baby Kale

Farro Salad with Roasted Grapes and Baby Kale

A farro salad is the perfect way to extend salad season into the fall. This combination has great intense flavors and only a little preparation.

[Matt says: We’re reposting this popular recipe from the first year of the blog. The evenings are colder in these parts but we’re still getting warm sunny days; even though there’s nothing fresh in the garden, I still want a healthy green lunch, and this does the job. A good boxed baby kale or even baby spinach is perfect here.]

A long, long time ago, on my first “grown-up” trip, I was at a tiny little restaurant in Florence, Italy, when a waiter asked me if I was a fan of “Farrah”. “Um, huh?” I asked, eloquent as always. “Farrah, you like?”. “She’s… ok, I guess”. I was very confused as to what a 70’s sex symbol had to do with Italian food but was too embarrassed to ask. The waiter, befuddled by my response, wandered away, I’m sure annoyed that he ended up with the table of weird Americans.

Later I noticed a special on the menu, “Farro con Pomodori Arrostiti” (Farro with roasted tomatoes). Aha! Farro, not Farrah! Farro, of course. Farro… I had no idea what Farro was. I didn’t order it.

Concord Grape Jelly

Concord Grape Jelly

Concord grape jelly

Making concord grape jelly is really easy and you don’t have to be a homesteader to do it. All you need is grapes, sugar and lemons – no added pectin!

I may as well put it out there straight away: we’re not homesteaders. At least, not yet. If you’re reading this (frankly, if you’re not reading this, I don’t know what the hell’s going on), you’re no doubt into food, and home cooking, and perhaps you subscribe to the newsletters of people who have acreage and live off the land and have their very own scoby and sourdough starter, both of which have names (I’d name my sourdough starter “Scrimshaw”, I think. How about you?) People who pickle. People who can.

Ultra-Chocolatey Brownies with a Pretzel Crust and Salted Caramel Drizzle

Ultra-Chocolatey Brownies with a Pretzel Crust and Salted Caramel Drizzle

Pretzel Brownies with Caramel Drizzle

Fudgy, ultra-chocolatey brownies kicked up with a salty pretzel crust and caramel drizzle. Want to win a bake off? This is your guy. 

Have you heard? Have you heard the news about Great British Bake-Off? Have you? Have you heard it? Of course you have, I imagine it’s all people are talking about down your way. It’s certainly all they’re talking about in our neck of the woods. Of course, the show is not technically ending, but it’s been bought by Channel 4 and won’t have Mel, Sue, or Mary, and will no doubt be presented by Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell and Paul Hollywood all exploding in an underground parking garage or something.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, bless your very face, and go and find an episode or three. It’s shown on PBS in the US, and they have to call it “The Great British Baking Show” because apparently Pillsbury has a legal lockdown on the term “Bake Off” and will send goons, floury goons, to give you a right drubbing should you flout compliance.

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