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Do you find yourself struggling on these grey and cold autumn days too? I’ve got the perfect treat to comfort and cheer you up today.

Sticky Toffee 132

I’m sitting here snuggled up in a warm blanket, a steaming mug of tea next to me and trying to avoid the sideways glance outside. It’s grey, it’s miserable and I’m in need of some escape. As I’m recalling mild summer evenings and the wonderful aroma of my summer tomatoes, I pretend that the slowly ripening green tomatoes on the window sill are nothing but a temporary glitch. But I can’t pretend forever – the central heating is humming and the greenhouse is almost emptied, ready for some well-deserved hibernation. I guess it really is time to embrace casseroles, soups, warming puddings and my stripy, woolly socks!

tomatoes

My favourite autumn treat comes from a vegan cookbook that is very, very close to my heart. Didsbury Dinners was originally started as a community project in 2011 to raise funds for a community garden and free cookery classes in the Didsbury area of Manchester. Amanda Woodvine, who is the driving force behind this project, commissioned me for the recipe photography and has told me today that since the launch around 1000 copies of the book have been sold already. The money has been used to fund…. now, get this:

two community orchards, containing 880 trees
– a community garden in Didsbury Village
– a tool library and community garden in Burnage, South Manchester
– and nine free ‘Learn to cook’ courses so far

Didsbury_Dinners_cover_hi-741x1024
The cover
Sticky Toffee 2011
My original image from the book

As you have probably gathered already, I truly love my work as a food photographer (www.flavourphotos.com) and this project will always be very special to me :-). It’s a privilege to have been involved and so exciting to see the momentum gathering. Amanda is already talking about future projects and has won the Manchester International Women’s Day ‘Women Protecting Our Environment’ Award in recognition of her work.

Sticky Toffee 13

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Serves 6

250g/9oz pitted prunes
250ml/approx ½ pint soya milk
100ml/1/5 pint water
120g/4oz soft brown sugar
120g/4oz margarine
Pinch of nutmeg
½ tsp fresh ginger, grated (or you can use ground ginger)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
200g/7oz self-raising flour

Toffee Sauce
40g/1½oz margarine
40g/1½oz dark brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp molasses (or treacle)
100ml/1/5 pint soya cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 5. Grease a 20 x 20cm (8 x 8’’) baking tin.

Chop the prunes, and put them in a pan with the soya milk and water. Simmer until the prunes are soft. Remove from heat and then set aside to cool a little.
Beat the sugar into the margarine until it makes a smooth mix. Stir in the prune mixture.
Mix the spices and bicarb into the flour, then fold this into the margarine mix a bit at a time. Pour it into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile make the sauce. Melt the margarine over a low heat. Add the sugar, syrup and molasses. Once the sugar has dissolved (no graininess visible when you tip the pan from side to side) turn the heat up to a low simmer.
Keep simmering it until it’s getting quite thick, and the bubbles coming through it are going quite slowly – around 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the soya cream.

You can either pour all the sauce over the cake, or reserve some of it to spoon over when you serve.

It’s so delicious and so easy to make, go on… you know you want to! Have you got a favourite autumn recipe? I’d love to read (and try out!) your suggestions.

Come on over to www.flavourphotos.com for more beautiful food inspiration and say Hi!

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