Christmas will soon be upon us, and I have not even thought about it. It is not a time of year that I particularly enjoy, and add to that the stress of trying to find suitable gifts for people, and all I want to do is hibernate until Spring.

The clocks went back last weekend, so it is dark early and I am enjoying sitting in front of a roaring fire with my hands hugging a mug of steaming hot chocolate. Not that I can get close to the fire for sleeping furry bodies. They tend to lie in a heap as close to the heat as they can get without actually melting and no amount of explaining that the fire is for my benefit, not theirs seems to be working.

If you have read this blog before, and why wouldn’t you, you will know that I like to bake. This week I was in my local supermarket when I saw what looked like a nice ceramic loaf “tin.” I have only ever made bread in a non-stick metal tin so I have absolutely no idea how this is going to work, if at all.  I have oiled and floured the tin and the bread is cooking as I type, so it remains to be seen what difference it is going to make. I wonder if there is a science behind the fact that most loaf tins you buy are metal, although silicone ones are available too, and I wonder whether it is just because they are not breakable or whether you get a better bake. I will find out shortly.

I am on the lookout for a nice vegetarian casserole recipe. Temperatures have cooled considerably, and I am craving tasty, filling comfort food that is easy to make and good to eat. The trouble is that vegetarian cookbooks do not seem to have casseroles and even searching the internet is not coming up with much. I am planning on making a sweet potato curry tomorrow which is about as close to a casserole as I can find. This curry should be made with pumpkin, but I thought that sweet potato would make a great alternative. This is why I like cooking. You can take a recipe and if there is an ingredient you are not keen on, you can substitute it for something else, a vegetable, a herb or a spice can be changed from one you don’t like to one you do. Not only do you get a tasty dish you like, but you can easily make it your own by doing so.

Now that I have mastered pastry, I might have a go at a savory pie of some description. I am off to hit the books for inspiration.