Ashley English
Wife + mama + author + eater + maker + doer + feeler. || Living with gusto, looking for awe in the everyday in a forested cove in the mountains of NC.

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My Recipes
Snow day snow cream sundae making me all kinds of giddy. We woke up to around 2 1/2-3 inches of snow here in the cove, so @glennbenglish seized on the opportunity to make snow cream. He layered it with some of my peach lavender butter (the recipe is in my “Canning & Preserving” book), and topped it with canned pear halves, my homemade black pepper maraschino cherries, caramel-covered mulberries, candied ginger slivers, and chocolate-covered mint cookie stars. It was almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. 😉❄️🍨
Raising the bar. This hot chocolate bar from my Ladies Cookie Exchange on Sunday afternoon was a hit with the little and big sets alike. Whether spiked with Kahlua and mounded high with whipped cream (raises hand), or loaded up with chocolate chips, marshmallows, a candy cane, and a chocolate-covered pretzel (my son’s M.O.), there was an option for everyone. We made a large batch of hot chocolate on the stove using @frenchbroadchocolates baking chocolate, transferred it to the slow cooker on a low setting, and then surrounded it with both expected (marshmallows) and creative (maple-glazed pumpkin seeds) toppings. A fun idea to offer your holiday guests, whether on Christmas Eve, Christmas breakfast, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or, really, any other day, for any other occasion. Guaranteed to warm bellies and deliver smiles.
In the past week and a half, I have baked: a fresh pumpkin pie, a pumpkin cheesecake, a minty chocolate pie, a batch of orangettes, some s’mores brownies, and this here coconut lime cake. They were baked for Thanksgiving, a freelance magazine article, and yesterday’s one year anniversary cake competition at @eastforkpottery. With each one, most or all of the work was done with Alistair strapped to my chest in the @ergobaby. While I love cooking, baking brings me deep, deep joy and satisfaction in the kitchen. I feel like I fell off the proverbial horse the beginning of last October, when I got pregnant and started to feel awful. That awfulness lasted pretty much until I had him on April 5th, and then morphed into worry and anxiety during his 79 day hospitalization and the first few months after he came home. This past week and a half, with this flurry of activity in my kitchen, my baby resting against my heart, has made me feel like I’m back in the saddle again. It’s been a wild ride for the past year, but I feel like I’ve got the reins now. It’s a very, very good feeling. P.S. My cake didn’t win because there was some truly stiff competition, but it’s still crazy delicious and I can’t wait to share the recipe with you when Southern From Scratch publishes in April!
Living with an ace chef certainly has its perks. Take, for instance, this massive Indian feast he whipped up for us over the weekend. You know, just like that. Like it was no big deal to bust out some tandoori fried chicken (best. idea. ever.), biriyani with roasted veggies and oyster mushrooms and pink radishes, saag with greens from our garden, cilantro-mint raita, hot buttered naan, and two types of chutney (admittedly one of which I made; the recipe for my pear chutney can be found in my book "Canning & Preserving"), and serve it on the patio, in the autumn sunshine, with @noble_cider Chai Spice hard cider. @glennbenglish, you treat your family, so, so very well! We love you!!!!
An out of this world meal for a celestial day. My boys and I are so lucky to have @glennbenglish, with his penchant for deliciously "playing" with his food. He made us this "Solar Eclipse Sandwich" today, and it was downright heavenly. Here's what he used: curried spatchcock chicken salad, crescent moon-shaped Great White tomatoes, foraged Cinnabar chanterelles, egg yolk crescent moons, turmeric-roasted peanuts, golden raisins, orange bell pepper, dill, and black chia seeds, on a grilled @citybakeryavl potato-rosemary ring. I've remarked all day on how lovely it has been to see folks united, for nature, irrespective of other perceived differences. To rally together, instead of experience divisions. Warms me to my core. Happy Eclipse Day!
Our go-to breakfast/brunch this summer has been our take on Tortilla Española, also known as "Spanish Omelette". A type of potato and egg dish, we've been making ours with hashbrowns in the base layer and loads of fresh veggies, herbs, and cheeses on top. @glennbenglish has spent the past three Saturdays foraging for mushrooms with @herbandrootsnursery, as part of Mateo's mushroom identification/foraging series. A number of the fungi he found have made their way into these Tortilla Española. If you're looking for a light yet filling dish, that makes the most of whatever is in season, this is it!
Good people of Instagram, it is #nationalsmoresday! You got your chocolate, you got your cookies, and you got your marshmallows, all toasted and roasted and smooshed together in gooey perfection. In celebration, I'm taking you back in the day, to when I was a regular contributor to @designsponge. My post for "Homemade Marshmallows and Seasonal S'mores" was written several summers ago right around this time of year, and offers creative suggestions for making these sweet treats even better, with the addition of fresh fruit, dreamy spreads, and flavored marshmallows. Click the link in my bio for the original post. Photos by @jenckjacobs.
When life hands you cherries and buttermilk, put 'em in a pie, I say. Here's my Buttermilk Cherry Pie, one of the recipes in my book on creating southern foods from scratch that'll publish next spring. In between marathon nursing sessions (you don't pack on 10 ounces in a week without running your mama ragged 24/7, oh baby!), I've been doing the final round of proofreading on the book. @glennbenglish and I worked our butts off on this book, giving it our all. I am truly, sincerely beyond pleased with and excited by how it turned out. And I like the fact that I've LOL'ed at a number of my own jokes within its pages. Call me corny, or sentimental, or maybe just call me someone that loves food, and ridiculousness, and combining the two.
Another image from yesterday's photo shoot for my southern foods book with @roostbooks (publishing 2018). While I grew up eating ambrosia salad, it most certainly wasn't the version I've created here. Fresh fruits, sour cream, almond extract, and lemon verbena give this southern classic a much-needed (I believe) update. And eating the shoot's leftovers for breakfast this morning? The cherry on top. Happy Saturday, friends. ???|| P.S. How gorgeous is that antique French platter @charlottecooks styled the salad in?! ?