November 02, 2014

A Cat's Life #16

Is it just me or has November dawned upon us pretty damn quickly? Before we know it, fires will be lit, winter coats will be aired and dusted and warming stews will be bubbling on the stove (if they aren't already). 

As the darkness draws in, so does the time for introspect. This week has seen long, hot drinks, slow walks and a bounty of comfort food - all evocative of nostalgia, thoughts and feelings.

At Home
Sally Gurteen
 When the weather turns, it's almost as if vices and habits increase five-fold and those with their curious patterns just think 'oh sod it' and do as they please. This is the time of year where I officially take up residence in a woolly hat and refuse to take it off. A bit like a comfort blanket, for me, a hat feels a bit like home on my head.

 I also seem to go into overdrive in the kitchen. This morning I made a delicious cornbread topped with cinnamon-sugar that will see me through breakfast for the week with greek yoghurt, spiced nuts and Kentish honey on top.
After long walks to pick up ingredients, a cup of chai tea was just the ticket and filled the house with sweet aromatics. It went perfectly with the dark chocolate batons infused with rose that I picked up from Madame Oiseau Chocolate.
Chocolate Batons Infused with Rose

To Meet
Macaron Bauble
 As Christmas gets closer, there's more likelihood that us Londoners will have to go central for shopping, meetings and more. While Aubaine is a small chain of French restaurants, they capture the magic of the season quite uniquely with quality plates of food, autumnal displays and mulled wine that boasts a lovely anise note. What's more, their pastry selection is rather splendid, making a wonderful addition to a hamper or to the dinner table. With branches in Marlyebone, Hampstead, Mayfair, Regents Steet and more, it makes a good bolt hole from the crowds.

To Play
Thomas Hardy Tree
 We took a mid-week day off and went on adventures, my mother, brother and I. Have you ever been to St. Pancras Old Church? It's an interesting spot indeed. It sits above the now 'lost' Fleet River of London and boasts a rather remarkable church ground. Jonny stands in front of the Hardy Tree, which is where Thomas Hardy worked (before literary fame) to move bodies and headstones to make way for the railway line. Here you can see the stones laid to rest against a gnarled, old tree that has grown in and amongst them.

To Eat
Recipes from a Food Blogger
 Keep your tummy warm this winter with bowls full of soup and stew. Marks and Spencers do a great cream of asparagus but you can't beat homemade fare. I bought some lamb neck chops and slow-cooked them with spices, aubergine, pomegranate molasses and tomatoes before topping them with a chickpea, cumin seed, honey and feta cheese crumble. Sweet and spicy, it goes well with roast potatoes, natural yoghurt and chopped coriander.

To Read
 On the subject of food, I've been avidly seeking new blogs to read. I'm not entirely sure how I missed the glorious Adventures in Cooking but she remarkably encapsulates everything I hold dear about each season within her recipes. Maple Hot Toddies, Winter Squash Coffee Cake with Ginger Caramel, and Braised Chicken with Hot Hungarian Paprika are some of autumn's highlights. Oh, and these black tea candy apples.

To Travel
I was pining for green grass and fresh air again this week and so we hauled ourselves to Kent for Halloween night. And what a treat it was! The sun was mild and the sunsets pink. We made sure to visit Badgers Hill Farm, where you can watch the skies and animals with a jacket potato loaded with beans and cheese for just £2.95.
Animal Farm
Things to do in Kent
And so that's that from me. My roast potatoes are almost done, the stew needs warming and I'm looking forward to a night in on the sofa with my book.

What have you got to share from your week? What have you been eating, drinking, seeing, doing? I'd love to know.
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