Wednesday, 21 November 2012
I made pasties to take into the woods, as the coppicing season starts again. These are filled with a mixture of Roasted Pumpkin, Carrot and Shallots, Steamed Leeks, Ginger, Chilli, Tomatoes, Apricots and Raisins... The pastry is Wholewheat Flour, Butter, one Egg and a splash of Milk.
The ultimate autumnal pocketable sandwich!
Saturday, 13 October 2012
This morning, with the leftover pastry I made an Apple and Pear Tart. Glazed only with Brown Sugar.
Monday, 30 April 2012
Thursday, 29 March 2012
Friday, 17 February 2012
The snow melted, this morning I set out to see what edible greens could be found and foraged for a raw Garden Pesto.
I was hoping for Wild Garlic, but it doesn't seem to be coming up yet. There was however a little bit of wild green: Dandelion, Nettle, Comfrey. And in the cultivated garden: Land Cress, Chard, Beetroot Tops, Curly Kale, baby Leeks, Mustard, Poached Egg Plant, Red Veined Sorrel, Fennel, Parsley, Marjoram...
I pinched the smaller leaves of all of the above and chopped the lot very finely indeed. Toasted and ground some Cashew Nuts that were sitting around, these and some Pumpkin Seeds and Hemp seeds. Stirred the lot into a mixture of Olive and Rapeseed Oils, added a squeeze of Garlic, some French coarse Sea Salt...
Oh! The joy of a raw vegan Pesto from the scrapings of a winter's garden. We ate it for lunch on some hot pasta, to pre-empt Spring.
If this is covered in a lot of oil it should store six months or so. But it's so delicious immediately - why not feast on it these next days awaiting the first Spring Shoots...
For when those Ramsons do appear, a recipe for Wild Garlic Pesto.
Thursday, 9 February 2012
This is a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi. It is a soup for Tomato season, but if you happen to have bottled Summer's Tomatoes, or made Passata, these can be used. I followed his recipe, which can be found here, skipping the Sugar and the tinned Tomatoes, and using half a pint of Tomato Passata made in Summer, extra Cumin, and Parsley instead of Coriander. This soup brings a wonderful ray of Summer in the winter's durge.
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Spring, Summer, Autumn, were spent, you might remember, madly concocting inifinite beverages, that the winter might be spent hunkered down by the fire, a glass of some sweet form of hedgerow inebriation in the hand. And, thank goodness! For now, winter is ripe, and the cupboards overspilling with tipple.
First then, the infused liquers. Gin left to mull with Bullace from the garden, Whisky full of wild Blackberries, Vodka with Elderflowers and Gooseberries. I have learnt a lot about these. Often the tendency, and the recipes I have found, have doused the alcohol full of sugar, as well as fruit. As, it appears, the alcohol alone preserves the fruit and is quite palatable with only the barest brush of sugar, the amount of sugar often reccomended is really for those with a sweet tooth. I prefer a sharper, dryer and often bitterer drink, so for next year, I will use the following quantities:
Secondly, as I am not a drinker of summer cocktails with ice, shaken in tall glasses, I have found the lighter Vodkas and Gins (Gooseberry, floral etc) harder to drink, too sweet mixed with tonic, and not quite my thing on their own. I have found these best as gifts. The darker, winter brews, are wonderful alone, warm by the fire, and I will make these again by the bucketful next year.
The Quince Brandy was long awaited, hoping to capture that wondrous floral perfume and tart flavour. I tried two versions, one raw, and one cooked. I have to say that having left the both three months in bottles with a variety of spices, the Quince sadly hadn't given much of its inimitable flavour to the Brandy, it instead tasted mainly of the spices, of which too much Star Anise for my palate was evident! The cooked version did have a slight fruitiness. Next year I shall attempt with grated Quince, as one friend suggested, no spices and leave it longer, perhaps even with a dash of Quince Juice. However, it made a wonderful spiced warming drink, and another great Christmas present...
2011 Recipes for infused Alcohols:
Gooseberry and Elderflower Vodka
Gooseberry and Whitecurrant Gin
As for the brews, the Elderflower Champagne was a dream, drunk young, aged well to a sharper wine, and I shall be making much in the future - despite the explosions in the shed!
Otherwise, I still have to perfect my brewing. My tactic seems to be: mix it all up, forget about it... and in one case mice had found my muslin bottle tops rather tasty, another had turned to vinegar. The experts on home-made wines are Carl Legge - see his wonderful blog. And, Christophe, on Clare Island. I spent November there racking, bottling, and tasting a variety of brews. My memory is still sharp with the sweet sour and perfectly musty Rhubarb and Apple Wine, the two years aged Vin de Cassis, which was sweet and rich and drank like a good Port.
The Hedgerow Syrup has been a favourite. Pasteurised as it was in bottles, it has kept well, and serves as a hot and heartwarming winter drink, to fend off flu, to ward off the weather. I also made a Quince Syrup, along similar lines, which i drink as a cordial, a lovely flavour, and great quencher of the thirst after a stint in the garden. Both can also be used in crumbles, compotes and wintry puds...
So... with the coming of Spring, and first the Elderflowers, I look forward to a new spell of concocting drinks to fill the cabinet, for yet another winter hunkered down by the fire.
Monday, 30 January 2012
A Pot-Roast Partridge
Saturday, 14 January 2012
Thursday, 12 January 2012
Winter Feasting (iii) A Feast Indeed! or How to eat Terrine: with lashings of Bread & Butter, Pickles, the like...
Besides the Terrines, how to satiate the stomachs of twenty-odd banqueters?
An enormous Pumpkin
...chopped in big, beautiful chunks, sat in marinade
Great sloshing bowls of Pickled Apples, Pickled Crabapples, Bar-Le-Duc Redcurrant Jelly and Rosemary Jelly were lain between bowls full of Butter.
Apples baked in Gin-soaked Bullace
...breakfasting on leftovers
Tuesday, 3 January 2012
In a moment of over-zealous Christmas jollity, a last-minute festive feast was planned, friends were invited, crockery searched out, rugs shook, candles borrowed, firewood cut, a Christmas Tree erected. Long debates necessarily ensued over the menu, how to seat and feed such numbers, more to the point, on what… So it was that we settled on a variety of cold Terrines, and on Boxing Day, while others slept off their Christmas indulgence, banqueted languorously on cold cuts, on Tongue and the previous day’s Plum Pudding, or set themselves up for a serious bout of telly-watching, we mopped our brows and set to concocting Terrines.
Chop the Pheasant Livers; Roast the Chestnuts;
Soak the chopped Figs and Apricots
...to follow: the entire feast.