Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins; My Annual Tradition

Autumn holds a very special place in my heart.  It always has. Growing up in the Midwest of the US we were treated each October to beautiful, richly coloured orange, red and yellow trees, the joys of pumpkin and apple picking- both of which sometimes included a hayride, but always included a warm cup of (non-alcoholic) spiced apple cider and an apple fritter to top it off.  My love of this particular season in this particular place is why Nick and I got married in October in Cleveland. It’s why I drag us out to the apple orchard each year, why I throw a Halloween party, and prepare a Thanksgiving dinner no matter what country we are in.

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Easy Peasy Creamy Lemon Pasta with Smoked Salmon

When kids are small, food seems to fall in and out of favour on a pretty regular basis.  It makes it very hard to keep up, hard not to over-saturate their plate and palate with whatever the ‘ingredient of the week’ is (everything will contain peas, no sweet potato, no wait now it’s cheese!) and exceptionally hard to make a successful family meal without any form of negotiating, picking food out, or getting up from the table a million times to fetch whatever the requested condiment, beverage or new food item may be.

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Remember when dinner parties weren’t messy? Yeah me neither…

Earlier today I was reminiscing about the dinner parties I would throw in my previous life pre-kids. I’ve always loved cooking for people, but these were the sorts of evenings that despite my intention of being casual, collected and breezy, I would obsess about the food, obsess over the finer details, how tidy the house or flat was, and how put together I would look and feel.  They were still fun (I hope!) but looking back there was so much time spent worrying!

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My first attempt at making chutney…

Ask any American what they know about British cuisine and they are bound to tell you one of three things (only two of which are actually correct by the way):

1. Fish & Chips (duh)

2. It’s all bland and boiled (so outdated and untrue) and

3. Great Indian food!

The fish and chips are good, I mean they are slightly salty and dipped in batter and fried until crispy, so what’s not to like really. The second assumption is just plain outdated and based on post-war culture which included food rations. Totally not reflective of the multi-cultural influence and access to fresh ingredients that is today’s reality.  However the third assumption about British cuisine, the access to and influence from incredible Indian food, for me, has been nothing short of eye-opening.

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