30 Things I Love About Autumn
1. AW clothing. It’s not very often that I get warm so dressing for summer is an absolute nightmare because all I want to do is shove a jumper on. Now I can.
2. Burnt oranges, browns, deep reds, mustard yellows and navy.
3. Thick, woollen blanket scarves. Especially the one my dearest best friend bought me for my birthday.
5. Massive bags of dark treacle toffee, even though I pulled a couple of my teeth out with it when I was a child.
6. Waking up to frosty, but deliciously warm mornings.
7. Sticky toffee apples but disregarding the fruit and instead munching on the shards.
8. Bonfires, and the sound of crackling logs.
9. Starbucks pumpkin spiced latte.
10. The arrival of darker evenings.
11. Cable knit tights, big winter boots and fingerless gloves.
12. Soups and my mother’s pearl barley broth with hunks of crusty bread.
13. Being able to sit in bed, wrapped in duvets, and reading with a cup of tea.
14. Chai, cinnamon and nutmeg.
15. When the house smells of home made hot apple cider.
16. Hunting for the cosiest pair of socks in the shops.
17. Going for long walks and crunching leaves.
18. Pumpkin everything. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin soup, pumpkin seeds.
19. The ritual of making your own pumpkin purée.
20. Breathing in the crisp air.
21. Snug evenings in the confines of pillow forts and fairy lights.
22. Cookie and cinnamon scented candles.
23. Listening to Bon Iver.
24. Baked oatmeal and stewed apples for breakfast.
25. Carbs. Carbs are okay in Autumn/Winter
26. The ale festival at the old man pub down the road, with the smell of an evening hog roast and the sound of acoustic guitars.
27. My bear hat/ scarf which I can now wear with no shame.
28. Deep dish apple pie and crumble with custard and vanilla ice cream.
29. Farmer’s markets.
30. Super moist carrot cake, warmed up with lashings of frosting. Especially in the afternoon and enjoyed with mugs of tea and a movie, which is exactly how I’m spending my day today.
I’ve been looking forward to returning from a good morning at work with the notion of tucking myself in loads of blankets, with mugs of tea and my favourite carrot and ginger muffins. I love, love, love carrot cake and I always make mine with the substitution of apple sauce and honey to make it extra moist. I like them straight out of the oven, so that the frosting melts thus making it that little bit more indulgent. Mm. It’s always something I enjoy this time of year, it’s homely and comforting, all the more for the colder weather outside. Autumn would definitely not be the same without them.
MAKES 10 MEGA MUFFINS
- 1 cup of sultanas
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tea bag to soak above in, I used Twinnings Orange & Cinnamon
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 cup milk, you could use almond milk here to make it that bit better for you
- 1/4 cup honey
- just over 1/4 cup yogurt, I used The Collective’s Spiced Pumpkin yogurt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 2 large eggs
- 3 large carrots, grated
- roughly 1/4 cup of ginger preserve
- vanilla or cream cheese frosting (optional)
- mixed nuts and seeds, to sprinkle
- icing sugar and ground cinnamon, to powder
1) In a small, heat-proof, bowl pour hot water over the raisins, cinnamon stick and teabag. Leave to soak until ready to add to the muffin mix.
2) Preheat the oven to 220C and line a muffin tin with cases.
3) Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarb of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Add the tea infused raisins (not the added liquid!), and carrot and then mix thoroughly to combine.
4) In a jug, whisk together milk, honey, yogurt, apple sauce and eggs. Gradually pour in half of this to the dry mixture, stir, then pour in the remaining liquid. Be careful not to over mix this, you can stop once it has just combined.
5) I’ve found the trick to achieving a sky-high muffin is filling the cases TO THE BRIM, not 2/3 thirds full where these are concerned. Once you’ve filled them pop them into the oven for 5 minutes and then immediately reduce the temperature to 190C for the remaining 15-20 minutes. When done, remove from the tray and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
6) Once the muffins have cooled, cut out circles from the centre. DON’T THROW AWAY.
7) Heat the ginger preserve until runny and then spoon into each centre of the cake. Pop the circles back on to seal in.
8) Liberally top with a spoonful of frosting (I used this one) and then with a palette knife, smooth over to cover. Sprinkle with some extra nuts and seeds and then sift over icing sugar and ground cinnamon.