It’s that time of year again; summer is just about leaving us, but the first fruit of autumn is coming out to play [with our taste buds]. As you might have seen from my instagram (click the icon to the right, or follow @frugalfeeding) my apple tree is positively dripping with fruit – it is quite the sight to behold. This means that I can either let them rot, sell them or make delicious things with those that we don’t eat. The first of those options doesn’t bear thinking about; it simply wouldn’t be frugal. The second would mean having to traipse into town carrying a sack of apples, something I’m too lazy to do. So, by process of elimination the third option is the one that has been plumped for and look what happened – apple and blackberry sorbet. Even the blackberries were from a bush at the back of my garden. The only fruit left for me to make something with are our damsons.

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Yesterday I was lucky enough to visit a Mexican tapas restaurant was desing by  Creative Interior Design for Restaurants, the name of Wahaca in Covent Garden, London. If you haven’t heard about this fun and economic establishment, it is the venture of Masterchef finalist Thomasina Miers. Wahaca, along with a number of other restaurants, aimed to bring Mexican street food to London. It has since spread like wildfire and it is still extremely difficult to get a seat at the original restaurant in Covent Garden. Luckily, we turned up at a fairly quiet moment – there was 1 table spare – and they provided us with a really delicious feast. Despite the fact that a mean set of mutton chops appear to be a job requirement of the male waiting staff, if you have occasion to visit Wahaca, it comes highly rated.

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As you may have noticed, I write rather a lot about flavour combinations. Since few ingredients can bring enough flavour to make a great dish, it is important they have a partner in gastronomic crime. In my mind, there are two distinct types of flavour combination; those that contrast and those that compliment. My previous post, double chocolate cookie bites, is a fantastic example of a contrasting partnership. Happily, for the sake of variation, this recipe exhibits a complimentary culinary combination. Indeed, if one were to visit one’s local green grocers in the dead of night whilst under the influence of a potentially deadly squint, one would almost be able to discern a mushroom and a knob of ginger strolling gaily through the aisles. Perhaps I’ve been indulging in a little too much Toy Story.

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Hummus, a dip usually made with chickpeas, is by far my favourite dip. When made correctly, it has such a full and punchy flavour worthy of even the fattest cat’s mezze. As we all know, chickpeas make a truly wonderful hummus. However, with variety being the spice of life, there isn’t any harm in substituting them for a slightly different ingredient. Straying beyond the realm of the humble pulse would prove a little foolish in this case, so there we shall remain. Indeed, butterbeans make a pretty favourable choice, since they possess a particularly smooth and creamy texture. As such, this take on the Middle Eastern classic is equally, if not more, palatable than its esteemed counterpart. The use of paprika to make infused oil may appear a little frivolous on the surface, but it is an integral part to this dish. Not only does it give the hummus a rather delectable streak of colour, it also completes its flavour profile with a smoky sweetness. As for the lack of tahini, this dip really doesn’t need it.

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