I love this time of year, I love the food of the season, and the switch from salad days, to more substantial, comforting fayre.

A trip to my favourite Farmers Market yielded purple carrots, and a friend presented me with some golden beetroot, so this juxtaposition just had to be utilised together, with their earthy flavours and autumnal hues.

Those observant amongst you may have noticed my hiatus. I just wanted to let you know that Monistical is back; I apologise for the lengthy and untold absence, I've been rather preoccupied you see. 

I fully intend to resume normal service within a few weeks, if not days.

Thank you for your patience.

Rachael xox

It's been a long time coming, this post-festive-post; I think maybe Christmas and all of its gourmet frivolities left me yearning simplicity in my meals. I didn't think anyone would appreciate a photo of my beans on toast, so it's taken a while to return with something worthy.

I don't think there's harm in having a break now and again, occasionally writing a blog can feel, instead of cathartic and restful, a little chore-like. Blog writers are known for putting immense amounts of pressure on themselves to post prolifically, regularly and with gusto...I am not one of those writers, preferring instead to share a recipe or a small writing piece as and when the mood and inclination takes me, I do hope that's OK with my readers; I write as I'd like to read.

In England, we have Bakewell Tart. It has a sweet short-crust pastry case, spread with a layer of (usually) raspberry conserve, topped with a frangipane sponge and baked in the oven. There is a version that is iced and topped with a single glace cherry, at which point it becomes known as a cherry Bakewell.

I think that this rather grand title is likely to rile cherry lovers, as half a sweetened, preserved cherry, does not a cherry desert make, and is a tad misleading.

I have made something a little more accurate, by using a cherry conserve, it was very well received and delicious served warm with cream, as well as cold with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

There are few things more comforting than bread, and this particular bread is one of the most spectacular comforts foods I've had. I guess if you have a nut allergy you might disagree, but otherwise, I suspect that you too will find this a little bit special.

A little sweet, a  little salty. Good with cream cheese, lemon curd, or just on it's own. It looks quite impressive, but there's nothing really to it, you just need the time that all good bread needs to allow it's flavour to develop.

If you're here, you probably like food rather a lot. You may enjoy eating out rather more than your bank account enjoys it. 

There are several discount dining schemes around, but one of the most comprehensive and wide-covering (is that a word?) has to be The Gourmet Society. 

You don't need to decide whether it would be worth the money, as I am able to offer you a 60 day free trial membership, so that you can see for yourself.

As a member myself, I've found it really worthwhile, not only because of the discounts; I've found out about new restaurants, and it's encouraged me to eat on days, and at times, I normally wouldn't, in order to really maximise the deals available. 

Michelin starred Tuesday lunch anyone?
Enjoy up to 50% off meals at over 6,000 restaurants throughout the UK and Ireland with a completely FREE 2-month membership to the Gourmet Society.

Dine out for less at some of the country's best-loved restaurants, from popular names including Prezzo, La Tasca and Loch Fyne, to award-winning venues and great local independents. Whatever you fancy, there's something to suit all tastes and pockets.

Here’s how it works:

JOIN the Gourmet Society and download the app to receive your digital dining card.

CHOOSE where you want to dine using the app or Gourmet Society website.

ENJOY your meal, present your card, receive your discount - it's that simple!

Find participating Gourmet Society restaurants near to you with this easy-to-use app. At the touch of a button you can check an offer, receive directions, get contact details, and read about restaurants - all while on-the-go.

Also, with the Smart Membership feature you will receive a digital version of the Gourmet Society card on your phone. Present it in your chosen venue and receive the advertised discount.

Claim your FREE dining card now and start saving today.

Visit HERE

Terms and Conditions: Offers and availability may vary. Restrictions may apply. Participating restaurants subject to change. Gourmet Society membership is in digital form - you must be able to download the app on a supported platform to redeem this offer. An option to receive a physical card is available with a £1 charge. For full terms and conditions visit www.gourmetsociety.co.uk

Chocolate, mint, and more chocolate. Who doesn't love an ectoplasmic Halloween cake?

Now is not the time for sophistication.

It may seem a strange recipe to revisit, it's simple, traditional, and nothing new. But I was never very happy with the post I wrote some months ago, and more importantly, I was not happy with the resulting pesto, it didn't blend well, and what I wanted to capture, I didn't.

What I wanted to capture was the experience of tasting pesto, the first time you make it for yourself. I was about 15 years old when I made it for the first time, and I couldn't believe how amazing it tasted. It bears absolutely no resemblance to the jars of pesto you can buy. None whatsoever. 

It is fresh, and delicious, and so versatile; that said, my favourite way to eat it remains simply, with linguine and an extra sprinkle of Parmesan, unusually, I actually prefer dried pasta with this sauce, it seems to stand up to the strong flavours better, making it one of the simplest dinners ever.

Shelley Mccorquodale at Ditchling Beacon, by Heather Rolfe
Autumn is my favourite season, and already we've had some fairly nippy starts to the day, but summer's not quite over; I still have my *big* holiday to take, and my ice cream machine is not quite ready to go into flexible retirement.

I will be away for a few weeks, but when I come back I have big, ambitious gastro-plans, if  I manage to pull any of them off, you'll be the first to hear about it.

In the meantime, I wanted to punctuate my Egypt trip with yet more ice cream, the richest, most decadent frozen chocolate custard to sustain you for September.

Just look at it, it's totally ridiculous. Read on for recipe, and plan to start 5 days before you want to eat; ice-cream like this doesn't come easy.

Imagine, if you will. 

An arrangement where someone else creates easy-yet-delicious recipes for your dinner. Then, they go shopping for you, they only buy the very best of ingredients, and never more, or less, than you'll need.

Then, as if that isn't enough, they deliver said ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes (with pictures and everything). Plus, an exclusive offer for Monistical readers, naturally.

All you need to do is cook...

I'm not sure I like to use the word 'scented' when referring to food. However, the lavender infused fruit used in this recipe does exactly that, adding just a hint of perfume to this fruity, creamy concoction. More like a frozen fool than a custard, this ice cream is complex enough to eat alone.


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