Finding Unexpected Joy at Home
Autumn days when the grass is jewelled. And the silk inside a chestnut shell. All the things we love so well..... Autumn makes us smile.
What could be nicer than walking with a coffee with your face basking in the low sunshine? We love cosying in in front of a fire to watch The Bake Off. We love an insanely early hot bath followed by lounging around in jim-jams and our gorgeously soft alpaca bed socks.
Autumn is a time to slow down, to harvest and preserve, to put the garden away for winter, to batten down the hatches at home and this year in particular for all of us its a poignant reminder to find joy in small things at home. We’ve been particularly looking forward to autumn this year as conversely it marks the start of a new beginning for us; the birth of our brand PAIRS Scotland on 2nd October 2020, just after we tumbled over the the Autumn equinox, while bonfires smolder and wisps of fragrant wood smoke tinge the air.
We are so excited to share with you collections of thoughtfully made socks and we hope they bring you and your friends and family unexpected joy! When we’re not beavering away on our new business, or tearing around after our children, chances are you’ll find us taking a quiet moment on our sofas with a very strong cup of coffee wrapped in our mohair or alpaca socks.
For those who are still on metaphorical sun loungers and needing a bit of encouragement to get into the autumn spirit here’s a delicious recipe from Ottolenghi’s Simple:
SLOW COOKED CHICKEN WITH A CRISP CORN CRUST
This is a wonderful meal on an autumn day, served with a crisp green salad. The slow-cooked chicken is packed full of flavour and the crust – gluten-free, rich and corny – makes for a welcome (and lighter) change to a heavier mash. You can make the chicken well in advance if you want to get ahead: it keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days or can be frozen for 1 month. You want it to go into the oven defrosted, though, so it will need thawing out of the freezer. The batter needs to be made fresh and spooned on top of the chicken just before the dish gets baked, but it then can just go back in the oven. It can also be baked a few hours in advance – just warm through for 10 minutes, covered in foil, before serving. I love the combination of the chicken and the corn, but the chicken also works well as it is, served on top of rice, in a wrap or with a buttery jacket potato.
3 tbsp olive oil
3 red onions, thinly sliced (500g)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3tbsp rose harissa (60g)
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
850g chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
5 large tomatoes, quartered (400g)
200g jarred roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 2cm thick rounds
15g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
20g coriander, roughly chopped
salt and black pepper
70g unsalted butter, melted
500g corn kernels, fresh or frozen and defrosted (shaved corn kernels from 4 large corn cobs, if starting from fresh)
3 tbsp whole milk
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
● Heat the oil in a large sauté pan, for which you have a lid, on a medium high heat. Add the onions and fry for 8–9 minutes, stirring a few times, until caramelised and soft. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, harissa, paprika, chicken, 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the passata and tomatoes. Pour over 350ml of water, bring to the boil, then simmer on a medium heat, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while.
● Add the peppers and chocolate and continue to simmer for another 35–40 minutes, with the pan now uncovered, stirring frequently, until the sauce is getting thick and the chicken is falling apart. Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander. If you are serving the chicken as it is (as a stew without the batter), it’s ready to serve (or freeze, once it’s come to room temperature) at this stage. If you are making the corn topping, spoon the chicken into a ceramic baking dish – one with high sides that measures about 20 x 30cm – and set aside.
● Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.
● Pour the butter into a blender with the corn, milk, egg yolks and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Blitz for a few seconds, to form a rough paste, then spoon into a large bowl. Place the egg whites in a separate clean bowl and whisk to form firm peaks. Fold these gently into the runny corn mixture until just combined, then pour the mix evenly over the chicken.
● Bake for 35 minutes, until the top is golden-brown: keep an eye on it after 25 minutes to make sure the top is not taking on too much colour: you might need to cover it with tin foil for the final 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before serving.
For more recipes from Ottolenghi head to www.ottolenghi.co.uk or buy Simple by Ottolenghi which is available now.