Monthly Archives: October 2017

Sloe Gin and Cranberry Jellies with Syllabub

I think that people fall into two camps – those that love jelly and those that don’t   It’s a bit like people and marmite   Very divisive

This is a grown up jelly and converts the jelly haters into jelly lovers.   It’s also a great way to show off the sloe gin or plum Shrub (Plum Shrub Fruit Liqueurs – Part 1 ) you’ve made.  If you haven’t got around to making any don’t worry, you can make this using port or any shop bought sloe gin.  It’s fantastic should you want a lighter pudding but one that still packs a flavour punch   It looks fantastic and very sophisticated and tastes delicious

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Quince and Cardamon Mincemeat

Last year I posted a recipe for Home-made Christmas Mincemeat and was asked whether it was possible to make mincemeat without using suet.  At the time I suggested replacing suet with butter which works very well.    Last week I was reading Nigel Slater’s recently published “The Christmas Chronicles” (a great book and a wonderful Christmas gift idea for anyone interested in cooking) when I came across a recipe for quince mincemeat jumped out at me.  It doesn’t use suet – or any fat at all – so not only would it be ideal for those who don’t want to use suet but it would be great for vegans too.  I have to admit that I have poached the quince differently to that in Mr Slater’s recipe as I think using spices in the poaching liquid gives a better flavour and allows you to use the cooked quinces in many different ways but, other than that, the rest is the same. The recipe for my  Poached Quinces is here

It is true that this recipe doesn’t result in a traditional mincemeat in so far as it’s more the consistency of a conserve.  There is a real plus if you make this though, as you can not only use it as a filling for mince pies but it also works well as an accompaniment to cheese and cold cuts Continue reading

Poached Quinces

I have a quince tree in the garden that my mother bought me 20 years ago   It holds a very special place in my heart as it was the last thing she gave me before she died.  If you have never tasted a quince it is a fruit that has to be cooked and tastes like a cross between the best apple and the best pear you can imagine.  Maybe the most popular and famous recipe that quince is used for is membrillo – the Spanish quince paste that is frequently eaten alongside manchego cheese.

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Old Fashioned Treacle Tart

I seem to be obsessing about puddings right now   Unusual for me as I don’t have a very sweet tooth.  I can’t keep blaming the change of weather but there is something about Autumn that begs for warming stews and “proper puddings”  as my husband would call them (he is definitely obsessed with puddings).   Just the thing to come home to after a walk or have with a Sunday lunch   In fact I think proper puddings are made for Sunday lunches…….then again this Treacle Tart is also very good to have sliced with a cup of tea

Treacle Tart is one of those proper puddings.  It’s a wonderfully British and rather old-fashioned pudding which, if homemade, isn’t as cloyingingly sweet as commercial ones. In fact I would go so far as to say that if you make this it will make you think again about what Treacle Tart is really like. The bread gives it a nutty texture – particularly if you use sourdough or wheaten breadcrumbs – and the zest and juice of a lemon balances the sweetness of the golden syrup and honey. I like it to serve it with a little greek yoghurt or cream but icecream, double cream or lashings of custard do very well too. Continue reading

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (Pate Sucre)

I know that some people find the prospect of making pastry really daunting.  You don’t have to make it. There are really good shop bought packets of pastry and I definitely use them when it suits me.  Or if you want to make a tart without pastry but which still slices try my Plum and Walnut Crumble Tart


Plum and Walnut Crumble Tart

If you do want to give pastry a go and have a food processor then this recipe is an easy one of making a sweet shortcrust or pate sucre as cheffy types call it.

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Basil and Courgette Cornbread

This is particularly wonderful as an accompaniment to the Vegan Chilli recipe earlier but also great with a great British fry up, with soups or with chicken.  The Americans are big fans of cornbread and if you make this you can see why.  It can be made really quickly and somehow, maybe because we don’t make it that often over here, it always makes people want to try a bit.   I make it using measuring cups as it is just so easy to do rather than measuring and very American so in the true spirit of cornbread but in case you don’t have them I have given equivalents in grams as well

Its sweet yet intensely savoury. It’s got texture from the polenta/cornmeal and in this version its yeast free AND vegan!!!

It freezes well of course and I microwave it or stick it in the oven from frozen. You wouldn’t know the difference from fresh out the oven!!!

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Vegan Chilli

Yesterday was my Goddaughter’s 29th birthday (Happy Birthday Chloe!!).  She recently became a vegan and is still experimenting with vegan recipes so I thought I’d put on her favourite chilli recipe (followed by the one for Basil and Courgette Cornbread) so that she could make it whenever she wants.

I promise you that this is another of those dishes that doesn’t shout out it’s vegan credentials – it is just really tasty.  You can serve it on top of rice or a baked potato loaded up with thick yoghurt and cheese (vegan or otherwise) and the tomatoey, rounded chilli flavours will make you lick your lips with anticipation.  The roasted and spiced sweet potato flavour just balances the whole thing though if you only have butternut squash use that instead.  In fact adapt this chilli to how it suits you. Use a mix of red and yellow peppers instead of just red.   Add more chillis if you like it hotter.  Replace the red wine with water if you don’t have a bottle open (though I think adding it makes a huge difference). Continue reading

Porcini Mushroom and Pancetta Baked Pasta

There is something extremely comforting and homely about the smell of this dish as you take it from the oven.  The deep earthy aroma of the mushrooms and the salty tang of the pancetta and parmesan makes me salivate.   All you you want to do is to curl up on a sofa and dive into a big bowl of this.   It doesn’t matter if all those fallen leaves are dancing around in the wind outside because this dish will make you feel cosy.  The silky, intense mushroom and bechamel coated pasta warms you and all is alright with the world.   True comfort food.

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Cider With Rosie

You may not realise it but you can actually use any type of apples to make cider.   What you use normally depends on what you have growing in your garden.  For us here in Suffolk it is a combination of the dessert and cooking apples which we have growing in our back garden.  The blend of their juices gives us what they call an “Eastern Counties” cider that has a clean, sharp taste (as opposed to the richer “West Country” style which is made from cider apples).   As it takes 20lb or 9kg of apples to produce enough juice to fill a 4.5 litre or a gallon demijohn it is a good way of using up any surplus fruit, particularly as you can use windfalls

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Cumberland Sauce

This is such an old fashioned and largely forgotten sauce made with red currant jelly, oranges and lemons and spiked with mustard and ginger.   No onions, which makes it a great sauce for people who can’t eat alliums who often find savoury sauces difficult.

My Mother loved this sauce. She used to serve it with roast gammon and mashed potatoes for her supper parties and it went down a storm   So she kept making it and making it until my Father felt forced to ask whether she could perhaps make a different meal when they next entertained!  She did but it was still a regular favourite and made many more appearances!

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