This week, I’m craving…

This week I’m craving…traditional British fare, homemade with love, and little flecks of chilli heat to warm me from the inside out.

My culinary inspiration for the week ahead:

A homemade loaf

Oat and wheat sandwich bread
Image from Smitten Kitchen

To me, there are few things more pleasurable than making a loaf of bread on a Sunday morning. I love the satisfying hollow noise when you tap the freshly baked crust to check it’s ready. Even better when you get to slice off the little crusty end bit and eat with a pat of butter just to make sure it’s come out okay. This sandwich bread recipe makes a versatile loaf that you could just about pair with anything. I’m planning on using the bulk of mine for easy ploughman’s lunches (see my next point).

A ploughman’s lunch

Ploughman's lunch
Photograph: Alamy via the Guardian website

This article on how to eat a ploughman’s made me chuckle – it’s funny how we get so het up about the etiquette of traditional dishes. The article will give you a rough idea of how to assemble one too seeing as you probably don’t need a recipe to put bread, cheese/ham and pickle on a plate. I use my ploughman’s as a vehicle for any leftovers in the fridge. In fact, I’ve even served it with leftover roasted vegetables, jacket potatoes or stuffing balls! And I’m not averse to a little smooth pate on mine either, unlike the writer of the article. Anything goes, as long as there’s cheese, bread, salad and pickle.

Homemade scones with ‘lashings’ of jam

Scones and jam
Image from Mary Berry’s website

Sometimes, not very often, I feel the need for a scone. They’re odd crumbly, flour-heavy objects that I always think resemble dumplings more than cakes. Maybe that’s why I tend to seek out different sweet treats before thinking of the humble scone. It could also be the connotations of high tea; you couldn’t possibly eat them at any other time of day! Seeing as I never ‘do’ high tea, scones often elude me. Whether you say scone or scon, I think we can all agree that the best are eaten warm out of the oven, with slightly softened butter, strawberry jam and cool clotted cream. A cup of tea on the side would not go amiss either. Mary Berry is seen by many as the Grande Dame of British baking, so why not try her quintessentially British recipe?

A Sunday roast with a twist

Masala roast chicken
Image from the BBC Good Food website

Do you ever get sick of the usual roast dinner? I might be committing a cardinal sin by daring to say as much, but a Sunday roast doesn’t always do it for me. I honestly can’t say that a plateful of dry meat, overcooked vegetables and a watery or (heaven forbid!) packet-made gravy is my favourite meal, especially with the pressure and stress that all regular roast dinner cooks I know put themselves under. Most of the time it’s just not worth it. However, when done properly and not indulged in too often, a roast can make a very good meal with leftovers to reinvent and look forward to. This Sunday roast with a twist by Madhur Jaffrey looks like the perfect recipe to try if you’re stuck in a roast dinner rut. I love her fusion of British home cooking with Indian twists.

A spicy little number to warm you up

Mexican style hot chocolate
Image from the Wholefoods website

There’s something about chocolate when it’s served with an unexpected savoury twist – a bar of chocolate with a pinch of sea salt, dark chocolate squares in a moreish chilli con carne, or a creamy spiced hot chocolate with a hint of chilli. This tasty beverage is just the trick to warm you from the inside out this November!

What’s on your menu this week? Are any of these dishes making your mouth water?

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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