Wild Mushroom Toasts with Watercress Salsa

Wild Mushroom Toasts and Watercress Salsa

The sky is gun-metal grey, our living tree – Angus – is twinkling multi-colour in the living room, and I have an ever-growing pile of secrets under the bed.

Fa la la la la – Christmas is here!

The absolute best part of this time of year for me is all of the planning, preparing and looking-forward. The anticipation. The ticking-off of many lists, and the long moments inbetween: smelling the front door wreath, listening to the winter birds in the garden, eating chestnut cake for breakfast.

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Pear, Cranberry & Hazelnut Baked Oatmeal

Pear, Cranberry & Hazelnut Baked Oatmeal

I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve reached that point in the year when it’s time to wind down. I’m tired. It’s cold. And it’s really dark.

Not that I’m complaining. I’m tired because I’m busy taking some big steps in my copywriting business, and I’ve just completed NaNoWriMo for the first time. I love walking in the winter cold and taking inspiration from the morning frost and mist. And the dark allows me to hunker down in the evenings with books, pens, ideas and tea.

But all of this does mean that my eyes are weary and I’m in search of warm and filling festive flavours. A hot bowl; something mulled maybe.

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Vegan Blue Cheese Dip

Vegan Blue Cheese Dip

It’s certainly getting festive, isn’t it? With Thanksgiving weekend already in full swing in the States – happy holidays to my American readers! – and Christmas preparations underway all over the UK, my mind has firmly set its path on celebration recipes.

So this Vegan Blue Cheese Dip is a little step in the direction of party season. It’s one of my favourite easy-to-make additions to a snack platter when we have friends round for dinner, drinks, board games and catching up. It’s great with crisps and raw veggies, and just delicious drizzled over sweet potato fries!

And it really is so easy to make, with only a handful of store cupboard ingredients. Oh, and it’s ready in under five minutes. Shouldn’t all party food be this simple?

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Chilli Cheese Polenta Muffins

Chilli Cheese Polenta MuffinsChilli Cheese Polenta Muffins

How do you feel about making some real comfort food? These Chilli Cheese Polenta Muffins are little morsels of savoury deliciousness with a big punch of  yum. They’re a coming together of flavours and influences: part-Mexican, part-American. I guess these might come under the banner of ‘corn bread’? Who knows.

What I am certain of is how good they taste! They’re:

  • savoury and slightly nutty, with a mix of spelt flour and polenta;
  • a little sweet, thanks to the delightful cubes of sweet potato combined into the batter;
  • spiced with cumin, coriander, paprika and chilli flakes; and
  • stuffed with a cheesy centre!

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Sweet Potato Popcorn Pie

Sweet Potato Popcorn PieSweet Potato Popcorn Pie

Well doesn’t this look like a seriously intriguing cake? I’ve been so looking forward to sharing this one with you all, but I wanted to bring it in all its seasonal, festive glory – and Bonfire Night here in the UK seems perfect.

But before I tell you just how deliciously wondrous this pie is, a warning: if you’re a traditional sweet potato pie connoisseur, this does not play by the rules. Because I don’t really know what the rules are, and I haven’t actually looked at a recipe for a sweet potato pie …

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