Sunday, 28 February 2010

Rhubarb and Orange Chutney

Yields about 4 lb

900g rhubarb, weighed after trimming
3 onions, peeled and chopped
2 oranges, grated zest and juice only
450g raisins
900g demerara sugar
900ml malt vinegar
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp white peppercorns
1 level tsp ground allspice

Cut the rhubarb into 1" pieces and put in a large pan. Add the chopped onions, orange zest and juice, raisins, sugar and vinegar.  Tie up the spices in a square of muslin and add it to the pan.

Bring to the boil and simmer until thick.  It is thick enough when a spoon drawn through the chutney leaves its mark and does not immediately fill with excess liquid.

Put jars in the oven at a very low heat for 10 minutes.

Remove the muslin bag from the pan and fill the warm jars with hot chutney put the lids on at once.

Label and date.  Store in a cool dark place and leave it to mature for 3 months.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Bun Loaf

This is a recipe I used years ago but had forgotten about until I found the scrap of paper it was written on, stuck to the wall of a cupboard I was clearing out.  I remember that I used to make 2 and freeze one I also remember how delicious it was spread with butter and eaten with a cup of tea.


8 oz mixed dried fruit
6 fl oz cold tea
8 oz self raising flour
Pinch of salt
4 oz soft brown sugar
1 beaten egg

Soak fruit in tea overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas 4

Place sugar, flour and salt in a bowl, mix to combine.

Drain the fruit, reserving the liquid.

Mix the fruit and beaten egg into the flour using a little liquid to make a soft dropping consistency, depending on the size of egg 1-2 tbsp of liquid should be enough.

Grease a 1lb loaf tin or round cake tin (should be at least 1 1/2 pint capacity) and line the base with greaseproof  paper.

Bake for 1 hour until firm.

Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out to cool.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Indian take-away deliver your own

Chicken Dhansak
with Pilau Rice


4 portions chicken, boneless
250g lentils, steeped in boiling water for 10 minutes then drained
125g oil or ghee
125g tomatoes, sliced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
30g fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp chilli powder
2 fresh green chilli, de-seeded and sliced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black cardamom (ground)
1 tsp ground cummin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp garam masala


Heat the ghee, or oil and fry the onion, tomato, garlic and ginger until soft.  Place half the mixture in a large saucepan with the lentils, sliced green chilli, salt and enough water to cover.  Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes or so until the liquid has been absorbed. Place in a blender and puree well.

Meanwhile add the rest of the ingredients to the remainder of the mixture in the frying pan, with the chicken and 1/4 pint water.  Cover and simmer gently until the meat is cooked and tender.  Turn the chicken portions over once or twice during cooking.

Add the lentil puree, stir well, check the seasoning and if the sauce is very thick add a little water or lemon juice.

Serve with pilau rice and nann bread.

For the Pilau rice

250g basmati rice, washed in lots of cold water
1 stick cinnamon
6 cloves
1 tsp turmeric
1 bay leaf
6 green cardamom pods, bashed
1 onion, peeled and sliced
A little oil for frying the onion
25 g ghee or butter

Melt the butter in a large saucepan add all the spices and cook in the butter for 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir round for a minute or two.  Add water (twice the volume of the rice) and bring to the boil, simmer with a lid on for 5 minutes, turn off the heat and leave for 6-7 minutes.  Remove the lid and cover the pan with a tea towel till needed.  Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onions until dark brown but not burnt.

Fluff up with a fork before serving and top with fried onion.

Thursday, 25 February 2010


For a more authentic Moussaka use grated Greek Kefalotyri cheese for the sauce and add some cubed Feta cheese and black olives to the salad.


2 large aubergine, sliced
Large pinch of salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
500g lean minced beef or lamb
6 large plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
150ml stock
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
Freshly milled black pepper


30g butter
30g plain flour
300ml whole milk
100g grated cheese
Freshly milled black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/ gas 4

Arrange the aubergine slices in a baking tray, in a single layer, brush with olive oil and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until soft then add the minced meat, stir until browned.  Add the Cinnamon and stir to combine.  Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree and stock.  Season to taste and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Arrange the aubergine slices at the bottom of an oven-proof dish, add the meat mixture and then top with another layer of aubergine slices.

Prepare the sauce

Heat the butter until melted add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add the milk a little at a time.  When the sauce has thickened add the grated cheese, stir until the cheese has melted and season to taste.

Pour the sauce over the meat and aubergine, top with grated cheese and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let it stand for 6-7 minutes, it will keep it's shape better if you allow it to cool slightly.

Serve with a salad.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Skewered Spiced Salmon with Tabbouleh 

Prepare the Tabbouleh first and set aside.

(see below)

For the salmon

1 clove garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 tsp ground Cumin
2 lemons , zest and juice only
4 salmon fillets, around 5oz in weight, cut into cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped Coriander

Crush the garlic with the salt in a pestle and mortar, add the olive oil, grated ginger and crush to a paste.  Add the Cinnamon, Cumin, Chilli powder, sugar, lemon juice and zest.  Stir in the chopped Coriander.

Add the salmon cubes to the mixture, coat well and leave them to marinate for 15 minutes.

Put the salmon cubes onto skewers, 2 per person (if you are using wooden skewers soak them in water first) and grill the salmon for 2-3 minutes each side, under a hot pre-heated grill.

Serve hot with the Tabbouleh.


4 tablespoons bulgur wheat
100ml (4 fl oz) boiling water
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped mint
5 tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 dessertspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
salt to taste

Place the bulgur in a small mixing bowl.  Add the boiling water, mix and cover with a tea towel.  Let it stand for 1 hour.  Drain off any excess water.  Combine the bulgur with the rest of the ingredients, mix well and serve with the salmon skewers.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Mid-week Warmer

Pot-roast Beef Brisket

Brisket is one of the cheaper cuts of beef, its also one of  the least tender cuts but with the right recipe the tastiest.

Slow cooking at a low temperature is the way to go with this pot-roast, but you don't have to watch it just put it in the oven and forget about it for a couple of hours.


1.5 kg rolled brisket
4 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp plain flour
500ml beef stock
200g carrots, peeled and sliced
100g swede,peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf Parsley + a few sprigs to garnish
2 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp mustard powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and brown the beef on all sides.  Remove from the pan (leave the juices) place in a large casserole dish and cover.

Pre-heat the oven to 140C/ 275F/ gas 1

Add the onions and garlic to the pan and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the flour and gradually stir in the beef stock.  Add the remainder of the vegetables and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes, stir in the bay leaf, Parsley, tomato puree and mustard.  Season to taste, then add to the casserole dish and mix well.

Cover and place in the centre of the oven for 2-2 1/2 hours. Test the meat to ensure it is tender.  Remove the bay leaf, garnish with Parsley and serve with mashed potatoes.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Onion Marmalade

1 kg onions, finely sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
125g caster sugar
300ml white wine vinegar
4 cloves
2 bayleaves
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato puree
Large pinch Cayenne pepper

Saute the onions in the olive oil until they become translucent.  Add all the other ingredients, cover and cook gently for 1 hour.  Check the seasoning and add a little more sugar, salt or pepper if necessary.  Continue cooking gently until the mixture has reached a marmalade consistency.  When cool pour off any oil and pour into jars.  Store in a cool place.

Serve with cold meats, pate, soft cheese, goats cheese, Welsh rarebit or pizza.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Herbs and Their Uses

Have you ever thought about growing your own herbs?  Now is the time to start planning and it's easier than you think.

Whether you buy seeds or plants, always follow the instructions as some herbs are sun loving and others like Parsley, Chervil, Sorrel and Basil prefer a bit of shade. Whether it's in pots in the garden or on your kitchen window sill, not forgetting, if you have the space, a complete herb garden. Its a very satisfying project.

If you have not grown herbs before why not start small with, perhaps Parsley and Cress on the window sill or a window box, or, if you have one, a balcony. When you see how easy this is you may want to invest in a book about herbs which will give you all the advice you will need.

Popular herbs like Basil, Coriander and Lemon grass are very easy to grow and the recipe possibilities are endless. You can experiment with dishes from all around the world.

My personal favourites are


  Great with fish, seafood, pickled cucumbers, cakes, pastries, Dill vinegar and is most important in Scandinavian and central European cuisine.


An essential component of French cuisine.  Plants of the 'true' French Tarragon are difficult to find and quite hard to grow.  The more common Russian variety, fresh or dried is widely used for salads, steak, fish, preserves, pickles, shellfish, lobster, herb butter and in some perfumes and liqueurs.

One of the most popular uses is with chicken.  Fresh Tarragon tucked under the skin of chicken breast with slices of lemon is delicious.


 Very easy to grow, but best contained in a pot or the roots will spread and mint will start to appear everywhere in the garden. Fabulous in pea soup or with roast lamb. Can be pureed with a little olive oil and drizzled in soups. Mint is also very good in some desserts.


There is so much you can do with them: Soups, casseroles, fish pies and even sandwiches are automatically pepped up by adding some chopped Chives.

The more tender herbs eg Basil, Chervil, Coriander, Dill, Chives, Parsley, Mint and Tarragon should be added near the end of cooking or the flavour can disappear. The more robust herbs like Thyme, Rosemary, Sage and Bay can be added early on in the cooking to allow the flavours to develop.

Tender herbs are delicious raw in a mixed leaf salad.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Barley Risotto

Pearl barley is normally used to add to soups and stews but it also makes a delicious risotto to which you can add mushrooms, courgettes, herbs, cheese, spinach and just about anything you would use for a rice risotto.

Barley is much cheaper to buy than risotto rice and also contains less carbohydrates (good news for those on a low carb diet).

Barley risotto doesn't need quite as much attention as rice risotto, which needs almost constant stirring.


250g pearl barley
125g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
25g butter
A drizzle of olive oil
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
50g Chorizo sausage, finely chopped
1 tbsp Creme Fraiche
700ml chicken or vegetable stock
50g Parmesan cheese, grated plus some shavings of cheese to garnish


In a large heavy based frying pan, melt the butter and add a drizzle of olive oil (this will stop the butter burning).  Add the barley and stir over a high heat for about 5 minutes until the barley is golden and coated with the butter, then add the Chorizo, shallots and mushrooms to the pan and stir round for a further 5 minutes.

Add 1/3 of the stock give it a stir and leave to simmer until most of the stock has been absorbed (about 10 minutes) then add a further 1/3 of stock and simmer again until the stock has almost gone, repeat with the remainder of the stock.  Taste the barley, it should be tender but still have a bit of bite.  If you find it is not tender enough add 1 ladle of boiling water and simmer again, repeat if necessary.

Test the seasoning and add freshly milled pepper add salt if necessary.

Add the chopped parsley, grated Parmesan and Creme Fraiche, stir well and serve in warmed bowls with a sprig of parsley and some Parmesan shavings.

Friday, 19 February 2010

A Vintage Recipe

Devonshire Cakes
This is a recipe from a very old and tattered cookery book, I'm not sure how old but there is also a recipe for 'Boiled head of a sheep' .

Some recipes, like this one for Devonshire cakes are really worth trying but I think I will give the sheep's head broth a miss.

Just as it was written many moons ago.

1 lb plain flour
1 1/2 level teaspoonfuls cream of tartar
1 level teaspoonfuls bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoonful baking powder
6 oz butter, or lard and butter, or lard and margarine or margarine
6 oz sugar
1/2 lb currants or other dried fruit
Mixed spice to taste
2 eggs, fresh or reconstituted

Time: About 20 minutes.  Temperature: Regulo mark 4; electricity 350F; Solid fuel: moderate; oil: moderate.

Method:  Grease some patty pans.  Sieve the flour, a pinch of salt, the cream of tartar, the bicarbonate of soda and the baking powder into a bowl.  Rub the fat in lightly.  Add the sugar, currants and mixed spice.  Beat the eggs in a basin and stir into the mixture, add enough milk to make a dough.  Put into the prepared tins and dust over with sugar.  Bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes.  Cool on a wire sieve.

Makes about twenty to twenty four cakes, according to size.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Gingerbread Cookies


50ml maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground Cardamom
125ml single cream
90g caster sugar
90g butter, softened
1 egg
270g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder


Put the maple syrup, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring to dissolve all the spices.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit, then stir in the cream.  Mix well making sure nothing is stuck to the bottom.

Beat the butter and sugar together, add the egg, mix in the flour and baking powder alternately with the maple syrup mixture, mix well until the mixture is thick and smooth.

Cover the dough with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to190C/ 375F/ gas 5

Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Take 1/4 of the dough and roll out, on a floured surface to 5mm thick.  Cut out shapes with a biscuit cutter and place them on the baking tray with a little space between them to allow for spreading.  Repeat with the second 1/4 and bake, 1 tray at a time for 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown.  Cool on a wire tray and repeat the process with the second half of the dough.

When cool store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Baked Rice Pudding with Roast Rhubarb

A great pudding for the cold wet days of February when the forced rhubarb is in season.

For the rice pudding

120ml pudding rice
1 x 410 g tin evaporated milk
1 pint whole milk
40g sugar
1 whole nutmeg
25g butter
2 tbsp double cream (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 150C/ 300F/ gas 2

Mix the evaporated milk and whole milk together.  Place the rice and sugar in a large oven proof dish, pour in the milk and stir, grate the nutmeg over the top and dot with little knobs of butter.

Bake in the oven for 2 hours.  Give it a stir after the first 30 minutes and again after the next 30 minutes.

Serve warm with roast rhubarb and a drizzle of cream.

Roast Rhubarb

500g rhubarb, trimmed, washed and halved
100g sugar
1 large orange, juice only

Lay the rhubarb in an oven-proof dish, sprinkle on the sugar and pour over the orange juice.  Roast for 25 minutes (less for thinner stalks) until the rhubarb is tender.  This can be done at the same  temperature  while the rice pudding is cooking.

Serve warm with the rice pudding.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Easy Fish Pie


2 fillets Haddock or any available white fish
2 fillets smoked Haddock (undyed)
250g cooked prawns
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 tbsp chopped Parsley
1 1/4 pints whole milk
1 tbsp cornflour, mixed to a paste with a little milk
1 kg potatoes, peeled and evenly cut
25g butter
75g grated cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Place the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and milk in a large pan over a moderate heat.  Bring up to a simmer and add the white fish and smoked haddock.  Cook gently for 4 minutes, switch off the heat and put on the lid and leave the fish to finish cooking in the hot milk.

Meanwhile put the potatoes in a pan and cover with cold water, add 1 tsp salt.  Bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are tender.

Strain the fish, remove the carrot, onion, celery and bay leaf and reserve the milk.  Remove the fish, flake it and place in an ovenproof dish, add the prawns.

Mash the potatoes with butter and a little of the reserved milk.

Heat the remainder of the milk in a saucepan,gradually add the cornflour mixture until the sauce is thick and smooth.  Add the chopped Parsley.  Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning accordingly, add half of the grated cheese and stir until melted.

Pour the sauce on top of the fish and stir gently to combine.  Top with the mashed potatoes and sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese.

Place in a preheated oven at 200C/400F/ gas 6 for 15 minutes.

Serve with peas, green beans or buttered spinach.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Pancakes with Toffee Bananas

Serve your Shrove Tuesday pancakes with the traditional sugar and lemon or make them more of a dessert with toffee bananas and a scoop of ice-cream.

For the pancakes

100g plain flour
Pinch salt
7 fl oz milk
3 fl oz water
50g butter
2 eggs

Sieve the flour and salt, make a well in the centre and break in the eggs. Using a balloon whisk, start to incorporate the flour into the eggs, the mixture will be quite thick at this stage, add the milk a little at a time whisking between each addition. Whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is the consistency of cream. Melt the butter and add 2 tbsp to the mixture, stir well.

Heat a frying pan on a high setting and using a piece of kitchen paper, coat the bottom with melted butter. Add approx 2 tbsp of the batter (depending on the size of the frying pan) swirl it round to coat the bottom of the pan, lower the heat to moderate and cook the pancake until bubbles form, around 1 minute, turn using a spatula and cook the other side for about 15 seconds turn onto a plate and keep warm. Repeat until all the mixture is used.

For the toffee bananas

2 bananas, cut into vertical slices
100g caster sugar

Heat the sugar in a clean pot until melted and golden. Place the pot in a bowl of cold water to stop the toffee from cooking any further.

Carefully (the toffee will be very hot) dip the banana slices into the toffee to coat and place on greaseproof paper to set.

Serve the banana slices rolled up in a warm pancake.

Friday, 12 February 2010

 Smoked Haddock Kedgeree with Curry Scones


Serves 4 people

300g smoked haddock, undyed
250ml milk
100g Basmati rice
50g butter
freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste, depending on how salty the fish is
2tbsp double cream
2tsp medium curry powder
2 eggs, hard boiled
1tbsp chopped parsley

Heat the milk in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the haddock and simmer for 5 minutes till tender and flaking. Drain the haddock and remove any skin. Flake roughly.

Wash the rice thoroughly under cold running water and cook according to the instructions.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the curry powder, cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the rice and stir to combine, add the haddock and season to taste. Stir in the cream.

Transfer to a serving dish and decorate with wedges of hard boiled egg and chopped parsley.


Curry Scones

250g wholewheat flour
2  tsp medium curry powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
125g finely grated Parmesan cheese
50g butter
5 fl oz milk
50g sultanas (optional)
Cheese to top

Mix flour, baking powder and curry powder together, season lightly. Rub in butter and mix in the cheese add the sultanas.

Mix to a stiff dough with the milk.

Roll out on a floured surface to 1/4in thick. Cut into rounds using a small cutter.

Place on a lightly greased baking tray and sprinkle with a little cheese, bake at 220C/425F/ gas 7 for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and  transfer them to a cooling rack.

Serve the warm scones buttered, with Kedgeree and Mango chutney.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Split Pea and Bacon Soup

300g split peas, green or yellow
6 rashers bacon
1 onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 large carrot, sliced
50g butter
1 1/2 litres stock
a little extra stock
Salt and pepper

Bring the stock up to simmering point in a large saucepan then add the split peas, put a lid on and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Heat the butter in a separate pan and cook the bacon and vegetables for 15 minutes until soft and golden. Add the bacon and vegetables to the split peas, season lightly, cover and simmer for a further 45-50 minutes.

Remove the bacon from the soup and let it cool slightly then blend until smooth.

Return the soup to the pan and check the seasoning . Add a little more stock if its too thick.

Reheat gently and serve in warmed bowls with a slice of bacon on top.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Irish Cottage Pie

Serves 4

500g minced beef
2 onions, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1 dessertspoon flour
300ml hot beef stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
Oil for frying
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp finely chopped Thyme
1 tbsp chopped Parsley
Salt and pepper

For the potatoes

1 kg potatoes, Desiree are good for mashing
2 leeks, washed trimmed and finely chopped
40g butter
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil and fry the onions over a moderate heat until they are soft then add the diced carrot and minced beef, cook for about 8 minutes, stirring until the beef is browned. Season with salt and pepper and add the spice and herbs. Stir in the flour then the tomato puree and hot stock. Simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, meanwhile cook the leeks in butter.
Drain the potatoes and mash them, stir in the leeks along with the butter they were cooked in.

Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F/ Gas 6

Put the minced beef into an ovenproof dish and top with the potato mixture. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Serve with fresh vegetables.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Orange Marmalade Cake


175g butter
Grated rind of 1 orange
2 heaped tbsp orange marmalade
55g chopped candied peel
90g chopped walnuts
75ml water
175g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
280g s.r. flour
2 egg whites


Butter a large cake tin,(18cm across).

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas 4

Soften the butter and beat in the orange rind. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks 1 at a time, adding a little flour after each addition. Stir in the marmalade, chopped peel and nuts and mix well. Add the water and fold in the rest of the flour. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 1 1/4-1 1/2hrs.

Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Seville Orange Marmalade

900g Seville oranges
1 lemon
1.8kg sugar

Put 4 pints of water into a large heavy based pan.

Cut the scrubbed fruit in half, squeeze out the juice and remove the pips.  Place the pips and any loose pith on a square of muslin on top of a plate.

Add the fruit juice to the water.  Cut the orange peel into shreds depending on whether you like fine or thick cut.  As you cut the shreds place them in the water any pips or pith should go in the muslin square (the pith contains pectin which helps the marmalade to set).

Tie up the muslin square containing the pips and pith to form a little pouch,  tie this on to the handle of the pan so that the pouch is suspended in the water. Then bring the liquid up to simmering point and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 hours or thereabouts until the peel is completely soft.

Next, remove the bag of pips and leave it to cool on a plate. Pour the sugar into the pan and stir it now and then over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Now increase the heat and squeeze the bag of pips over the pan to extract all of the liquid.  Stir well.

Boil for 15 minutes, add a small knob of butter halfway to disperse any scum. then test by putting 1 tsp of the marmalade on a saucer and leave it in the fridge for a couple of minutes.  Push it with your finger, if it wrinkles its ready, if not boil it for a further 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes.

Warm clean jars (without a lid) in the oven at a low heat.

Using a ladle or a funnel fill the jars with the marmalade to 1/4" from the top.  Put a wax disc on top and seal with a lid. The marmalade will not set until it is cool.  Wipe the jars with a damp cloth to remove any stickiness.

Have fun making labels.  My labels have a picture of me which was taken hundreds of years ago.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Chicken Maryland

With Corn Fritters

Chicken Maryland


3-31/2lb roasting chicken cut into quarters
40g plain flour
15g salt
1 tsp paprika
1tsp ground black pepper
A pinch of cayenne
2 eggs, beaten with 2 tbsp milk
150ml vegetable oil for frying


Remove the skin from the chicken (leave it on if you prefer).  Mix together the flour, salt, paprika, pepper and cayenne.  Dip the pieces in the flour mix, dip them in the egg and milk mix and then into the flour mix again.
Heat some of the oil in a frying pan, when it is hot enough put in the brown pieces of chicken then 5 minutes later the white pieces.  Cook for 15-20 minutes turning once.  Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the corn fritters.

Corn Fritters


225g corn kernels
4 tbsp double cream
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar


Put the corn in a bowl and stir in the cream add the flour, salt, pepper and sugar, mix well.  Heat a frying pan and grease it lightly with a small piece of butter.  Drop in spoonfuls of the batter and flatten them slightly. Cook for about 4 minutes each side until golden brown.

Serve hot with the fried Chicken Maryland.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Eve's Pudding

A traditional British pudding with a reference to the biblical Eve and the apples of the tree of knowledge.

Eve's Pudding is one of the nicest and most comforting desserts to have with custard.  I quite often throw in a handful of sultanas when the apples are cooking. I find it nicer to eat warm rather than piping hot though, you really get the tangy flavour of the apples.

Serves 4


450g cooking apples, cored, peeled and sliced
135g caster sugar
75g butter, at room temperature
100g self raising flour
2 eggs


Preheat the oven to 175C/350F/ gas 4

Put just enough water in a heavy pan to cover the bottom.  Add the sliced apple and 40g of sugar and cook gently until soft.

Turn the apples into a large, buttered oven-proof dish.

Cream the butter and sugar together, fold in the beaten eggs and the sifted flour in alternate spoonfuls, mix until blended.

Spoon over the apples to completely cover them.  Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and puffy.

Serve with hot custard or chilled cream.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Celeriac Remoulade
with Prawns and French Beans

Celeriac is in season and I think, under-used, the recipe possibilities are endless, they can be used for soups, stews, added to and mashed, with potatoes used raw in salads and my favourite celeriac remoulade.

Celeriac is the root of wild celery  and has a delicate but distinctive flavour of celery and Parsley and tastes slightly nutty.  They contain vitamin C, potassium and phosphorus.

There are many recipes for this French classic but my favourite recipe comes from Ainslie Harriot.  The addition of prawns and French beans make it more of a meal than an accompaniment.

Peel quite thickly and expect to lose about 1/3 of the weight.

Serves 4

600g celeriac
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 tbsp good quality mayonnaise, Home made is best but not always the quickest option
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp chopped Parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh Tarragon (optional)
150g French beans
150g cooked prawns
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Peel the celeriac, cut it into big chunks and coarsely grate or shred, mix in the lemon juice.

In a large bowl mix together the mayonnaise, mustard and creme fraiche.  Season well and add the herbs.  Add the celeriac and mix well.

Add the topped and tailed beans to boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes until tender.  Drain and refresh in cold water, pat dry and add, along with the prawns, to the celeriac mixture.  Gently mix to combine.

Chill and serve with lots of crusty bread.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Lemon Chicken with Egg Fried Rice and Spring Onions


4 chicken breasts, skin removed
Small onion, diced
150ml chicken stock
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1tbsp dry sherry
2 whole garlic clove
2 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Cornflour, mixed to a paste with a little water

Egg fried rice

250g basmati rice
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp roasted sesame oil
Spring onion to garnish

Melt the butter and fry the chicken breasts at a moderate heat, for about 4 minutes each side.  Add the chopped onion and fry for 5 minutes.  Place the whole garlic cloves in the pan and add the stock, honey, sherry, lemon juice and zest.  Bring to the boil and simmer gently with a lid, for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken from the pan and keep it warm.  Add the cornflour to the pan a little at a time, stirring continuously until you reach the desired thickness.

Wash the rice thoroughly and cover with cold water and just a little salt.  Bring to the boil and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cover with a lid.  Let it stand for 10 minutes.

The rice will have absorbed the water strain off any water that may be left and fluff up the rice with a fork.

Heat the vegetable and sesame oil in a walk, add the beaten egg and stir until it starts to cook.  Add the rice to the wok and stir thoroughly into the egg.  Add the soy sauce, then give it all a good stir.

Serve the chicken with the sauce poured over and some rice sprinkled with chopped spring onion.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Almond Biscuits


125g golden syrup
Grated rind of 1 lemon
50g unsalted butter
110g brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Cloves
1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg
1 egg
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g flaked Almonds


Preheat the oven to 140C

Heat the syrup, 60g sugar and butter until the sugar has dissolved.  Leave till almost cool.

Stir the egg, spices, lemon rind, the remaining sugar into the mixture.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mix and knead it together.  Let it stand for 1 hour.

Grease a baking tray and roll the dough out to 1/2cm thick.  Cut into 3cm rounds, lay them on the baking sheet and sprinkle on the Almonds.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and shake over some icing sugar (optional).

Leave to cool and store in an airtight container

Monday, 1 February 2010

A Winter Warmer

Chicken and Mushrooms in Cider

Can be made the night before and kept refrigerated. Reheat gently for 15 minutes. Serve with rice or potatoes.


1.5 kg chicken joints
250g smoked bacon lardons (little cubes)
2 bay leaves
1 small bunch fresh thyme
250ml dry cider
1 kg shallots, peeled
250g open cup mushrooms. sliced
4 cloves garlic. peeled
olive oil for frying
250ml chicken stock
25g butter
25g plain flour
Salt and freshly milled pepper
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and diced

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan and brown the chicken joints, two or three at a time, on both sides until they are golden brown.

Place the chicken in a large heavy pot. Brown the bacon lardons in the frying pan and add them to the chicken. Finally brown the shallots and diced apple, add them to the chicken and bacon.

Bash the garlic cloves and tuck them into the chicken portions. Pop in the thyme and bay leaves. Season with pepper and just a little salt (the bacon may be salty).

Pour in the cider and stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently, covered with a lid, for 45 minutes until the chicken is tender. Add the mushrooms for the last 15 minutes of cooking time and stir them in to the chicken.

Remove the chicken, shallots, bacon and mushrooms with a slotted spoon and keep them warm.

Mix the butter and flour to a paste and add, a little knob at a time to the simmering liquid, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.

Serve the chicken with the sauce poured over.

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