We had friends from Cambridge to stay in a fleeting visit this weekend and I was in the mind to make a nice warming and seasonal dinner. My father had just given me the delicious and beautifully designed Leon: Ingredients and Recipes book which I was reading with glee and mentally bookmarking more recipes than was possible to cook in one day (planned lunch of homemade flat breads, Sicilian salad, roast pumpkin humous and sweet potato falafel none of which was technically difficult, but what with proving the bread for two hours, roasting potatoes and baking falafells, the logistics had me floored and we wouldn't have eaten until tea time. So we gave up on that plan and went to our favourite Indian cafe - Al Faisals for a quick and dirty lunch instead - delicious as usual). So I just and supper to think about, shop for, prep for and get in the mood for. The winning Leon recipe was Sausages with Flageolet Beans and Kale which I can confidently report as a blinder of a recipe. I made it just as directed (as I generally do with a new recipe) just adding extra garlic. We already had three different sausage types in the fridge from our excellent local butcher, Axons of Didsbury, Peter had bought them earlier in the week but couldn't remember what they were apart from one with visible chunks of black pudding speckling the pale sausage meat. So our creamy, sweetly beany, sausagy casserole was full of chunks of three varieties of butchers bangers, apart from the black puddingy one there was one which had the distinct tang of fennel seeds and the other was I think, just a plain un-messed with porker. Delicious. We had the leftovers for lunch today with the addition of some dark brown mushrooms and a sprinkling of peas.
For pudding I wanting something quick and easy as I can't generally be bothered with puds apart from my utterly divine French chocolate mousse which really is one of the most gorgeous and luxurious things I've ever eaten - but I made than last weekend. I fell back on a tried and tested old favourite from Alastair Little's book Keep It Simple: Fresh Look at Classic Cooking - Compote of Winter Fruits. Which is a divine smelling, jewel coloured sticky delight which is the real essence of autumn. Pears are poached in an aromatic syrup of red wine, cinnamon, star anise, lemon zest, peppercorns, vanilla pod with added dried apricots and prunes which have been plumped up in sweet Lapsong Suchong tea.