Grilled grapefruit

One of my mother’s recipes from the 1970s.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

METHOD:

  • Cut the grapefruit in half, remove the pips and loosen the segments with a grapefruit knife.
  • Mix the butter, sugar and spice together, and spread onto the grapfruit halves.
  • Place under a hot grill for five minutes, to caramelise the sugar.

Aubergine sauce for pasta

This sauce is good mixed with small pasta, or layered with lasagne and a bechamel sauce and baked. In fact, I bet you could mix it with small pasta and bake it. I have tried it two ways, once using some mystery chilli and herb seasoning that a relative bought back from Italy for me. I made a small quantity suitable for two or three people, so double this would be a really good lot of sauce sufficient to serve around six people.

Top tip discovered whilst doing this: One handful of small pasta weighs a good ounce. Three handfuls is one good-size portion of pasta. There are other versions of this classic sauce around: I found one in The Pasta Bible, and another on Allrecipes website

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsbs olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • A handful of fresh parsley (I used fresh flat-leaf parsley from the garden)
  • 1 medium aubergine, diced
  • 1/2 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp ground chilli (or use a small fresh chilli and add it with the garlic)
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 tsp marigold stock powder
  • 1 tin chopped organic tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (If you are using the mystery Italian seasoning from the holiday pack of pasta, use this in place of the parsley, chilli, basil and paprika, and add with the aubergines: I would suggests a heaped teaspoonful)

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, and add the garlic and parsley.
  • Turn the heat to very low, squish the garlic with a wooden spoon, then cover and cook for about 10 minutes while you chop the aubergine. I got nervous about this, it seemed a long time, so I checked every so often, and took it off the heat once the garlic looked cooked.
  • If you used a small whole fresh chilli, remove this now. Add the aubergines, chilli powder, basil, half the water, and cover to simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • I put the marigold stock powder into the remaining hot water, along with the saffron and sugar and allowed this to infuse.
  • After the 10 minutes is up, add the water, saffron, sugar, stock powder, wine and tomatoes, along with the paprika. Season to taste, cover and settle it to simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Once the sauce is cooked, put it somewhere safe, boil up the pasta of your choice, drain and then stir in the sauce.
  • If you are using this for a baked pasta dish, stir in the cooked pasta, put it into an ovenproof dish, top with mozzarella, and bake for 20 minutes in a hot oven.

Persian herb omelette

A Kookoo is a large omelette dish from Iran. It has a little flour and raising agent added, and it is baked in the oven, a bit like a Spanish frittata. It tastes wonderful, spiced and flavoured with herbs. It often has vegetables in it as well. This version is full of herbs from the garden, with spices and barberries, which I sourced from Seasoned Pioneers.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50g butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp advieh (Persian spice mix)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup of chopped herbs, to include chives, parsley, fennel
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp dried barberries

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 170C
  • Melt the butter in an 8 inch frying pan or skillet that will go into the oven
  • Break the eggs into a bowl, and lightly beat in all the other ingredients
  • Pour the egg mixture into the pan and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes

Serve with salad and bread, possibly a little Greek yoghurt. A herb Kookoo is a traditional New Year dish, a taste of the start of spring.

Braised pork chops

This is another recipe from the fantastic Organic Meat cookbook, from Frances Bissell. The accompanying mashed potatoes with pears is a real discovery, absolutely delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 pork loin chops
  • 30g plain flour, seasoned
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 can chopped organic tomatoes
  • 140ml marigold stock
  • 140ml dry white wine or dry cider
  • Salt, pepper
  • chopped parsley

METHOD:

  • Trim the fat from the chops, dust lightly with flour, and fry the chops in the oil in a large frying pan. Transfer them to a shallow casserole dish.
  • Fry the onion until golden brown, and add to the pork
  • Pour the tinned tomatoes over the meat. Deglaze the frying pan by pouring the wine and stock into it, and then add that to the casserole as well.
  • Season the casserole with salt and pepper, and cover. Bake in the oven at 220C for 30 minutes, and then 180C for 45 minutes. Take the lid off the casserole for the last 15 minutes.
  • Serve with a scattering of chopped parsley, your favourite seasonal vegetable, and mashed pear/potato.

Mashed potatoes and pears with ginger

This is an astonishingly good combination to serve with pork.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Enough potatoes for the number of people being served
  • About half that quantity of hard pears
  • Salt, pepper, butter
  • A tiny amount of finely chopped crystalised ginger

METHOD:

  • Peel and boil the potatoes as you would normally for mashed potatoes. Drain them, saving the boiling water
  • Peel and core the pears, and poach them in the potato water until they are soft
  • Mash the pears and potatoes together with salt, pepper, butter and the chopped ginger

Moroccan spiced Lamb hearts

Another chapter in my quest to make sure that there is nothing to waste for our local meat. I was amazed how many lamb’s hearts were going for such a low price the last time I was buying local meat. I have got a dab hand at removing the fat and coronary arteries from the top of the heart: a bit like removing the top from a pepper. I find the best way to prepare a lamb’s heart is with a pair of sharp kitchen scissors. I snip the fat off around the top of the heart, in which the coronary arteries lie embedded. This includes snipping of the auricles, which are small, brown grissly looking appendages up at the top. You should be left with a cone of thick heart muscle. I also hoick out any blood clots still in the ventricles. As a guide, one heart serves one person.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 lamb’s hearts, trimmed, and cut in quarters lengthways
  • 2 tbsp organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds (you can use ordinary cumin as well)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 carrots
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 pint stock

METHOD:

  • Grind the fennel, coriander and cumin together
  • Put the lamb’s hearts in a resealable plastic box with the freshly ground cumin, coriander, fennel, and the turmeric, ginger, crushed garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Put the lid back on, give it a shake to mix, and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  • Peel and cut the onions in half, then slice into half-rings.
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  • ry the onion gently in a small amount of olive oil for 10 minutes on a low heat, then add the meat and turn the heat up to brown it.
  • Preheat the oven to 140C
  • Add the carrots and stock, cinnamon and bayleaves, bring to a simmer and season to taste
  • Cover the pot and bake in the oven for a couple of hours

Serve with rice, couscous or pitta bread, salad as a side-serving. You could subsititute ras al hanout for the spices at the start, and add apricots instead of carrots.

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

We had some ground hazelnuts, so we tried this recipe. It was delicious, and it would have been even better if I had a cake platter. It also keeps well, and can be frozen. If you don’t have ground hazelnuts, you can start with whole nuts. The recipe is from ‘Chocolate’ by Patricia Lousada.

INGREDIENTS (CAKE)

  • 90g Hazelnuts, toasted and rubbed to remove skins, or 90g ground hazelnuts
  • 140g fair trade caster sugar
  • 90g fair trade continental plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
  • 90g fair trade dark cooking chocolate (50% cocoa solids minimum)
  • 180g organic salted butter, chopped
  • 4 free range organic eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 30 organic plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

INGREDIENTS (GLAZE)

  • 90g fairtrade continental style dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
  • 90g plain cooking chocolate (50% cocoa solids minimum)
  • 125g salted butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup

METHOD:

  • Prepare a 23cm springform tin: grease the tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
  • Heat the oven to 190C
  • Grind the hazelnuts with 2 tbsp of the sugar.
  • In a double pan, melt the two chocolates with the butter
  • Whisk the egg yolks with 90g of the sugar until pale, thick and creamy
  • When the chocolate mixture has cooled a bit, mix it with the egg yolks and sugar
  • Mix the flour and salt with the hazelnuts, and fold that into the chocolate mixture as well
  • Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until ’soft peak’ and then add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until the peaks are stiff.
  • Fold the egg whites carefully into the chocolate mixture, and scrape into the prepared tin.
  • Bake for 35 minutes; the centre will still be moist, and the torte should not have risen much, if at all.
  • Cool the torte in the tin on a wire rack. Quick note: at this point, you could cool the torte, turn it out of the tin and then freeze it for up to two months.
  • When the cake is cool, make the glaze. Melt the two chocolates with the butter and golden syrup in a double pan.
  • Spread about a quarter of the glaze over the cake, and then chill: this stops annoying crumbs getting into the surface of the glaze later on.
  • When the first bit is set, rewarm the glaze a little, and pour over the cake. This is best done on a wire rack over a large plate.
  • If you are feeling really creative, melt 1 oz white chocolate and 1 oz milk chocolate separately, and pipe designs into the setting glaze. Circular stripes feathered with a skewer are suggested in the book.

We served this with pouring cream.

Peanut butter bread

This is part of the campaign to find recipes for all the stashed ingredients we have. Why, I wonder, do we have so many jars of peanut butter? I thought of making bread with it in the bread maker, and finally I think I have got the proportions right. This makes bread that is delicious with jam in particular, but is also good with salad, or with marmite.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 325ml cold water
  • 2 tsbp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 350g white bread flour
  • 125g wholemeal bread flour
  • 1 tsp yeast for bread machines

METHOD:

  • Put the ingredients in the bread machine in the order above
  • I used the white bread setting, middling sized loaf. Some bread machines prefer you to put the yeast in first, then the dry ingredients, and then the liquids.

Wild goose curry, with coconut

I have been experimenting with goose curry recipes. Most of the recipes I could find are aimed at people who have bought a posh home counties goose that has been roasted, so we have been adapting what is out there. This is the report on the second version.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 wild goose breasts, in thin strips
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

METHOD:

  • Put the goose in the fridge overnight with the lime juice
  • Heat the oil in a large pan, and saute the onion, celery and carrots until lightly browned.
  • Next, add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, bayleaf, sugar and salt. Continue cooking and stirring for 2 minutes
  • Add the lime juice, tomato paste and coconut milk, bring to a simmer.
  • Meanwhile, slice the goose meat into thin strips, and flash-fry before adding to the curry sauce about 3 minutes before serving.
  • Remove the bayleaf, add a sprinkle of cayenne, and serve with rice.

I’m sure this recipe could do with a bit more tinkering. I think it could possibly do with more coconut milk, and leave out the paprika. BUT it was delicious as it was.

Spanish scrambled egg with mushrooms

I love the Moro cookbook. The recipes are simple and the flavours are bright and fresh. We had mushrooms and we had eggs so I followed their recipe. Just like you’d think, but better.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g mushrooms, a mixture of wild and fresh if available, including porcini, chanterelles, etc. We used horse mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp organic olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 25g butter
  • 6 organic free-range eggs, preferably local
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 40g slice serrano ham, optional
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • salt and black pepper

METHOD:

  • Clean and roughly chop the mushrooms.
  • Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil, and when the oil is hot, add the crushed garlic. Fry it until it begins to colour.
  • Immediately, add the chopped mushrooms and stir well. Fry for around 4 minutes
  • Add the sliced ham at this point, if you are using it.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and put the fried mushrooms aside in a bowl.
  • In the same pan, melt the butter
  • Meanwhile, break the eggs with the milk, and stir until the yolks are broken; the mixture should not be well mixed.
  • Add the eggs to the melted butter and stir until the eggs begin to set
  • Add the mushroom mixture and the chopped parsley, and continue to stir until the eggs are as cooked as you wish them to be. The white of the egg should be set.

Serve with toast.