Spinach with chickpeas

This recipe and the spices are from Seasoned Pioneers, who do a range of organic spices.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tsp Baharat spice mix
  • 1 can of organic chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can organic chopped tomatoes
  • Around 500g spinach
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint.

METHOD:

  • Rinse the chickpeas, and set aside.
  • Chop the garlic, and fry for 1 minute in the olive oil.
  • Add the onions and fry for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the spices and fry for another 2 minutes.
  • Mix in the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas and bring to a simmer, cook for around 5 minutes, until the chickpeas are hot through and the sauce is reducing down a little.
  • Meanwhile, bring some water to the boil, and cook the spinach for 5 minutes until wilted.
  • Mix the spinach into the tomato mixture, and put into a serving dish
  • Combine the lemon juice, olive oil and mint, and dribble over the top just before serving.

This was very tasty indeed.

Coq au Vin

An old classic. I have got very good at jointing chickens that have been passed on after meeting a sad end.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50g butter
  • 1 chicken, jointed (or 1.5kg chicken pieces)
  • 1 onion
  • 225g mushrooms
  • 100g lardons, or bacon bits
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 300ml red wine
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 150ml stock
  • thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp butter squished with 1 tbsp flour

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter in a large casserole dish, and fry the chicken pieces for five minutes, and then set aside
  • Fry the onions, bacon, mushrooms and garlic in the same pan for another five minutes
  • Return the chicken to the pan, and then pour the brandy over the lot, and set alight for a minute or so.
  • Pour the wine and stock into the pan, along with the thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of hours.
  • Mix the flour and butter together, and add to the pan, about 10 minutes before the end.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

This is a classic. I use a very old version from a book by Marguerite Patten; the book is priced 2/6! The jam is best with rhubarb cut late in the year. I have recently reviewed this alongside the ‘Maw Broon’s cookbook’ and updated it. As usual, most of the ingredients can be ethically sourced.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 800g-1kg Rhubarb, locally grown
  • 200g crystalised ginger
  • 1kg jam sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

METHOD:

  • Cut the rhubarb into 1 inch pieces, and cover with the sugar to stand overnight.
  • Chop the ginger finely and sprinkle into the sugar.
  • Cook slowly in a jam pan, until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the lemon juice and bring to the boil. Heat quickly until the jam is thick, and boil for about 15 minutes.
  • Pour into clean warmed jars.

Greek pot-roast beef with spaghetti

This recipe combines local beef with a recipe from The Home Book of Greek Cookery by Joyce M. Stubbs, which I bought in a jumble sale in the 1980s for 20p. This was very easy and very tasty as well.

INGREDIENTS:

    • 3-4lb rolled beef, for example brisket or silver-side
    • 250ml olive oil
    • 2 medium onions
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • 1 dsp sugar
    • 3 tbsp tomato paste (organic paste from the wholefood co-op)
    • 1 stick or 1 tsp cinnamon (all herbs and spices available from the wholefood co-op)
    • 1 bayleaf
    • 2 cloves
    • salt and pepper
    • Spaghetti (75g per person)
    • grated parmesan

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a heavy pan and brown the meat on all sides.
  • Remove the meat from the pan, and add the finely chopped onions, garlic, salt and pepper, and the spices, and fry very gently together
  • Mix the tomato paste with 300ml of hot water, and add to the fried onions. Bring to a simmer, and add the bayleaf and the meat.
  • Simmer for around 2-3 hours, either on the hob or in a low oven, until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick and rich. Keep an eye on the pot-roast and add a little water if it looks like it might boil dry.
  • Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the pack.
  • To serve, mix about half of the sauce with the spaghetti, divide between the serving plates, and top with parmesan cheese. Next add a thick slice of meat and another spoonful of sauce.
  • The book also suggests serving the pasta as one course and the meat as part of the next course.

Sweet tomato sauce

The Moro cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark is one of my all-time favourite recipe books. This particular recipe is from their first book, and was a revelation. Until now, if I wanted to make a tomato sauce, for example to pour on meatballs, I would have added all kinds of things, and certainly started with an onion. This recipe is easier and better.
INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tin organic tomatoes from the co-op (or 500g fresh tomatoes with the skins removed)
  • 2 tbsp organic olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • If you are using fresh tomatoes, chop them finely. If you are using tinned tomatoes, put them in a bowl and squish them up with your hands.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat up the olive oil. When hot but not smoking, add the finely sliced garlic and fry until the garlic is beginning to turn brown.
  • Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over a low to medium heat until a lot of the liquid has evaporated

If you wish, add cinnamon or chilli with the garlic at the start.

Pork with prunes in wine.

This was amazing; the first time I cooked it, I was still telling people about it for days afterwards. I got the recipe from Frances Bissell’s book, the Organic Meat cookbook. I used a random bit of Ken Wilson’s pork, and some white wine from the fridge. The book specifies a cut that I didn’t have, and some wine that I didn’t have. It was still amazingly delicious. Serves 2.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tenderloin of pork approx 250g, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 8 large prunes
  • 150ml Vouvray or other white wine
  • 1oz butter
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Soak the prunes in the wine for at least 6 hours
  • Melt the butter and cook the shallots very slowly until soft
  • Turn up the heat, and add the meat, browning on both sides
  • Add the wine and prunes, and bring to a simmer: cook until the pork is tender
  • Stir in the redcurrant jelly, lemon zest, cream, salt and pepper. Bring to simmering point, and stir to amalgamate the cream with the sauce.

I served this with new potatoes and braised spring cabbage. Delicious.

Spiced slow-cooked mutton

I love having my girls home. One of them cooked this for us this evening. We used a shoulder of mutton, but the original recipe calls for 4 lamb shanks.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 shoulder of mutton, or 4 lamb shanks (local, of course)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 small dried hot red chilli
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram or oregano
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large or 4 small carrots, chopped
  • 6 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 170ml dry white wine
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tins of organic chopped tomatoes
  • A bunch of parsley, chopped

METHOD:

  • Season the lamb with salt and pepper
  • In a pestle and mortar, crush the coriander seeds with the chilli and dried herbs.
  • Put the herbs, spices and mutton in a bag together, and coat the lamb, squeezing well. Add the flour to the bag as well.
  • Heat a casserole dish, add the oil, brown the meat, then set this aside.
  • Add the chopped vegetables to the pan with a pinch of salt, and cook slowly until the onion and celery is soft.
  • Add the vinegar, and start to reduce to a syrupy consistency
  • Add the wine and bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the anchovies and tomatoes, and bring back to a simmer again.
  • Add the lamb back to the pan, bring to the boil, cover and then cook in a moderate oven 160C for a couple of hours. Remove the lid and cook for another half an hour.
  • Once the meat is tender, garnish with chopped herbs, and serve with mashed potatoes, or possibly polenta.

Rose water rice pudding

This is the strangest recipe for rice pudding I ever saw. But it works. These proportions serve six. I’ve adapted this from an American recipe, so it is by volume rather than weight.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 125ml  short-grain rice (we used arborio)
  • 500ml water
  • a pinch of salt
  • 750ml full fat milk
  • 125ml of whipping cream
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 50ml cup rose water
  • 50g sugar

METHOD:

  • Put the rice, water and salt in a large pan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is tender
  • Add the milk and cream, bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 55 minutes
  • Add the sugar, rose-water and cardamom, and simmer for a further 10 minutes

Either serve whilst warm, or chill in individual serving bowls to be served with stewed pears or quince.

Beefheart and kidney stew

INGREDIENTS:

  • One beefheart, chopped into large cubes
  • 2 lamb or pig kidneys, prepared and chopped
  • 1 or 2 rashers of streaky smoked bacon, or lardons
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 florence fennel (if available)
  • vegetable oil, dripping or other cooking fat
  • 1 large glass of wine
  • 1 can organic butterbeans
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 bayleaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 heaped tbsp flour blended with a little butter

METHOD:

  • Using a deep cast-iron casserole dish, heat the cooking fat and fry off the chopped meat, and set aside.
  • Fry the bacon in the fat with the finely chopped shallots
  • Add the meat back to the pan, along with the glass of wine, herbs, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer
  • Cook in a very slow oven, around 110C for approximately five hours
  • Add the beans and the flour mixture, stir and cook for another 20 minutes or so.

We ate this with mashed potato, carrots and leeks. Any left-over stew could be used for a pie filling.

Kohlrabi with garlic & parmesan

I have successfully grown a lot of kohlrabi in my garden, and I have a number of recipes. I have usually sliced it thinly and braised it in butter and a little stock, but this is much more delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 apple-sized kohlrabi, peeled and sliced into batons
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 200ml stock
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese, grated

METHOD:

  • Heat the butter in a small pan, and add the kohlrabi and garlic, and cook for around 3 minutes
  • Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper, stir in parmesan cheese