Back from Grasmere, Lake District, which is renowned for Wordsworth’s memorabilia and the best gingerbread in the world. Sarah’s Nelsons little shop, with the sales assistant outfitted in a bonnet and long skirts, sells celebrated rum butter gingerbread. They’ve been baking it every day to a secret recipe for the last hundred and seventy years.
You’d imagine they’d be marvelously tender, fragrant soft cookies, perchance coated in chocolate? You could not be more wrong. These must have given birth to the ‘tough cookie’ expression: threatening to take out your teeth, they are certainly an acquired taste. Now it becomes clear whence the biscuit dunking habit originated - with Sarah’s gingerbread.
Joking aside, once you’ve acquired the taste, they are quite nice. But I’d like to bake some less hard-core biscuits this week: maybe the ginger molasses cookies or double ginger biscuits. The weather’s going to be rainy and unpleasant – perfect conditions for baking.
For dinners, it might be time for warming, autumnal dishes like lentils and chorizo, lamb shanks or gammon hock. Or how about a taleggio and fennel pie – I know it’s quite a bit of work but if you make the pastry ahead, even better double the amount and freeze some for the next time, cooking the filling doesn’t require that much effort.
Mussels are back in season, and so are sprats: both super good value as far as seafood goes. Sprats are best simply fried in a light flour coating, served with spiced mayo, and mussels in a curried sauce.
Perhaps you’ll have a gratin or a bake one night? Cauliflower parmigiana is a satisfying veggie bake; pasta bake with prawns – a flexi option.
And don’t forget breakfast becomes more important as the days grow shorter: buckwheat banana fritters for when you have more time in the morning and the prepped-ahead fruit and oats breakfast bowl when you just want to grab some healthy cereal.
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