Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend
It’s been snowing here in Bath! Yay!
Snow is something of a novelty here. Last year it only snowed for one afternoon!
Lil’ L was so excited when he awoke on Friday and saw the snow. Not only did it mean that he got a bonus day off school, but it also meant that he would finally get to use the sledge that his grandparents had bought him two years ago!
He quickly gulped down his breakfast, threw on some warm clothes, and was out the door!
With all this freshly fallen snow, the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful!
As lunch time, M came for a spot of sledging. The boys had a huge amount of fun!
They were moving so fast that I only just managed to catch a shot of them. Can you spot them? They’re behind the tree!
I’m a big scaredy cat when it comes to things like this, so I’m very happy to watch from the sidelines.
As well as sledging, we’ve had some beautiful walks this weekend, including one along the Kennet & Avon Canal into Bath City Centre.
Upon arrival, Lil’ L suggested we warm up with a veggie pasty from our favourite pasty shop (Pasty Presto) by Bath Abbey
Back home, we’ve been warming up with lots of hot chocolate. Our current favourite blend is the Elements for Life Raw Hot Chocolate. It’s totally lush! (check out my review here). To make it into a filling, nutritious snack, I’ve been throwing a bunch of ingredients in the blender (1 cup Alpro Almond Milk, 1 tbsp raw hot chocolate powder, 1 tbsp chia seeds & 1 tbsp ground almonds per person) and blending it on high speed before gently heating it through. It’s delicious, thick, creamy and leaves you feeling totally full up
I’ve also been making lots of comfort food. For the second Sunday in a row, I’ve made a Sweet Chestnut Casserole with Herb Dumplings. We absolutely love this dish and it’s perfect for this time of year.
In my book, this is the ultimate comfort food! Of course I’ve ‘healthified’ the dumplings as much as possible by using wholegrain flour and non dairy margarine instead of suet, but I think they taste as nice, if not nicer, than regular dumplings. You’ll have to try them and let me know what you think!
It’s a very simple one-pot dish. Here’s the recipe:
Sweet Chestnut Casserole with Herb Dumplings
Hands on time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 55 minutes Ready in: 60 minutes
If you wish, you can make the casserole up to 3 days in advance, then simply make the dumplings and heat through when required.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium potatoes, diced (if the skin is thin, leave it on)
1 large carrot, finely chopped (if it’s organic, no need to peel it)
140g / 5 oz / 1½ cups chestnut mushrooms, chopped
500ml / 17 fl oz / 2 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh mixed herbs, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried herbs) (I use sage and rosemary)
1 tsp paprika
100g / 3½ oz frozen spinach
200g / 7oz cooked ready to eat chestnuts, halved (I use 1 packet of Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts)
4 tbsp mixed seeds (I use hemp and sunflower)
1 tbsp cornflour, mixed with a little water to form a paste
190g / 6¾ oz / 1¼ cups fine wholemeal (wholewheat) flour (I use chapatti flour, which is a very fine wholemeal flour and super cheap too)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary or sage (or 1 tsp of dried herbs)
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried parsley)
1 tsp mustard powder
pinch of salt
60g / 2 oz / ¼ cup non dairy margarine (e.g. Pure)
6 tbsp cold water
- To prepare the casserole: Heat the oil in a large casserole or saucepan and sauté the onions and celery until they start to soften. Add the garlic, potato, carrot and mushrooms, cover and gently sweat on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, tomato purée, vinegar, herbs and spinach. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to break up the spinach. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, as needed.
- To make the dumplings: Place the flour, herbs, mustard powder and pinch of salt in a bowl and mix well. Rub in the margarine. Add enough water to the mixture to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. With floured hands (or wearing kitchen gloves) divide the mixture into 12 pieces and roll into round dumplings.
- Add the chestnuts, seeds and cornflour paste to the casserole and stir through. Arrange the dumplings on top, cover with a lid and gently simmer for 15 minutes or so until the dumplings are light and fluffy. Serve immediately in warm bowls.
Have a great week everyone! Stay warm xx
Is it snowing where you are?
What are your favourite Winter warming comfort foods?