Sunday Snacks

 Good day, dear reader!

Here we are on a lovely, sunny afternoon in the Garden of England although you wouldn’t have thought that this morning; it was dreary and rainy…yuck!  I think that Autumn is truly upon us now.  We’ve had our Indian Summer and now that is just a distant memory, even though it was only last weekend that we were walking around in shorts and people crowded the beaches.

Before I decided to sit down and post, I had to make myself a nice warming cuppa.  I picked up a box of tea a couple of weeks ago in the ‘reduced to clear’ section because it sounded enticing.

It has a lovely cinnamon flavor along with citrus peel and the mint flavor is really not that strong, which I prefer.  If you can find this, buy it as I highly recommend it.  I made a nice cup of it in my new kitty cup that I picked up at the charity shop this past week.

On Friday night I made an Autumn Casserole with butternut squash and bell peppers to accompany the pork chops and apples.  I’ve made this several times and was a big hit when we had my family over at Christmas a few years ago. It’s quite simple to throw together and it has simple ingredients.  It’s deliciously aromatic and colorful.  This dish can even be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to cook.  Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to baking.

~~AUTUMN CASSEROLE~~

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large bell pepper, red or green, although the red looks nicer

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 chili pepper, chopped (optional)

2 tbsp olive oil

sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 200c/400f.

In a large bowl, toss everything together except the Parmesan cheese.  Pour into a large baking dish.

As you will see in the upper left of the photo, there are two Thai chilis sitting on the edge of the baking dish.  Please note that these are optional, but if you like it hot, then by all means, put them in.  I don’t normally add them, but decided to and so asked my hubby P to get a couple of chilis out of the fridge for me as he was standing in front of it pouring himself a glass of wine.  He then proceeded to ask, ‘Medium, hot or Oh Shit?’

I just gave him a look and shook my head and told him ‘hot’.

For most people, chilis can be very hot when added to foods and some might say that perhaps their mouths are on fire.  Not hubby; he just says that it ‘has a nice tang’.  What can I say?  I married a crazy man!  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind a bit of heat, but too much is just not pleasurable.

Now getting back to the recipe…

Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until tender.

You may notice that there doesn’t appear to be any cheese on this…that’s because there isn’t!  Silly me forgot to put it on.  I highly recommend that you do not forget the cheese because that really adds a good deal of flavor to the dish, although it still tastes good without it.

Along with the squash, I made pork chops with apples which is a recipe I got (and tweaked) from another blog I just started reading, Exploits of a Food Nut .

His recipe was pork with pears, but since I didn’t have any I used apples.

I’ll briefly explain the recipe here, but you can check out his blog by clicking on the link above.

Peel and cut up an apple and put it into some water with a squeeze of lemon juice to stop it from turning brown.  Chop a clove or two of garlic.  Measure out about 4 oz/75ml each of white wine and chicken stock.

Heat up a pan over high heat, add some olive oil.  Season the chops(or loin steaks) on both sides with salt and pepper.  Sear for about a minute on each side, lower heat and add the apples and garlic and cook until nearly tender, turning chops once or twice during cooking.

Remove the chops from the pan and keep warm.

Add the white wine to deglaze the pan and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the stock and reduce by half.  Pour the apple mixture over the chops and serve.


I served mangetout/sugar snap peas alongside.

Enjoy what is left of the weekend everyone!

Ciao!

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