Blackberry & apple jam/cheese

Blackberry pips in jam; bothersome. Jelly; too much fruit wasted. There is a third way, making a fruit ‘cheese’ – essentially you cook the fruit and then force it through a sieve or mouli

INGREDIENTS

This can be made proportionally. 

  • 1 quantity of blackberries
  • half that weight in cooking apple, such as bramley, chopped, cored but not peeled
  • 1 tbsp water for each 150g blackberries
  • jam sugar

METHOD

  • Simmer the apple and the blackberries together in the water, until the apple is soft. 
  • Put the cooked fruit through the mouli on the finest setting. 
  • Measure the pulp: for each 100g pulp add 100g jam sugar
  • Boil the sugar and pulp together to setting point. 
  • Pour into warmed clean jars. 

Sweetcorn fritters

These are a childhood classic – we used to get these about once a week, often served with bacon. I’ve no idea whose idea it is, but I made them this afternoon for Cedar, who is three today. He helped me make them, mixing the egg in and stirring in the milk. He ate three and a half before he was full. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 100g self-raising flour (or 4 mounded tablespoons)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • a pinch of salt
  • around 150ml milk
  • 1 small can of sweetcorn, drained. 

METHOD

  • Sieve the flour into a bowl, with the pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre and put the beaten egg in, mixing together. 
  • Stir the milk in gradually, until the batter is the consistency of cream. 
  • Add the sweetcorn, and mix again. 
  • Fry in an oiled pan over a medium heat. Drop in dessert-spoonfuls of batter, and when the bottom is cooked, you should be able to see bubbles setting on the surface of the batter. Turn them over and cook on the other side. 
  • Serve with bacon, and if you like it, tomato ketchup.

Blackberry and apple crumble

Bramble season in the Hebrides, much later than on the mainland. The blackberries we picked last weekend were sharp and flavourful, juicy and small. I’ve frozen some for making bramble jelly later, but I made a crumble for Malcolm, because he loves it. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 very large cooking apple 
  • around 200g blackberries
  • 1 tbsp date syrup or dark brown sugar
  • a pinch of cinnamon, or allspice
  • 90g butter
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 90g sugar

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Make a crumble mix – rub the butter into the flour and then add the sugar. You can add porridge oats, ground nuts, use brown sugar, or add spices if you wish.
  • Peel and chop the cooking apple, and then combine with the blackberries and the date syrup and allspice (or other sugar, sweet spice). 
  • Put the fruit evenly in the bottom of an oven-proof dish, then cover with the crumble mix. 
  • Bake for around 30 minutes, then serve with custard or cream. 

Crab and pea risotto

We had a big tub of crab meat, almost 500g, much more than I could eat in one roll, so I made this delicious risotto. The crab meat came from Kallin – Namara seafoods 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 800ml of hot stock (vegetable or fish)
  • 200ml white wine
  • 25g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 175g risotto rice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • A tiny pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 400g crab meat
  • 1-2 tbsp chive flowers, or chopped chives. 

METHOD:

  • Make sure the stock is hot, bring to a simmer.
  • Melt the butter in a large pan, and gently fry the onion and garlic until soft – around 5 minutes. 
  • Add the rice, and cook for another couple of minutes. 
  • Add the lemon zest and then the white wine, and then the pinch of saffron.
  • Add the hot stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring to mix and waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful. 
  • When the rice is nearly cooked (about 18 minutes into the cooking process) add the peas, lemon juice and crab meat, season and cook for around 3 monutes. 
  • Once the rice is cooked, add a knob of butter, another tbsp of stock, stir and leave to sit. 
  • Serve with wedges of lemon, and garnished with chive flowers. 

Teeny tiny potatoes

OK, so nobody admits to growing teeny tiny potatoes. I was given a bag of mixed potatoes by a friend, their first go at home-grown spuds. I think the plants had had a hot dry time of it, and were probably harvested too early as well. At the bottom of the bag was a selection of potatoes about the size of a marble. This is what I did with them. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Teeny tiny potatoes.
  • Butter
  • Garlic 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsley

METHOD:

  • I boiled the teeny tiny potatoes in salted water for ten minutes, and then drained them. 
  • I melted the butter in the pan, and fried the garlic until it was golden, then added the tiny potatoes along with seasoning and continued to cook until the potato skins were beginning to colour and crisp up a bit. 
  • Then I added the chopped parsley, and served

I added some very fresh cooked carrots the second time I made this. 

 

 

Chickpeas and potatoes

I have no idea where I found this recipe, I think it dates back to student days in the 1980s. There are lots of notes and at least two totally different versions in my old recipe book. It works well with or without the potatoes. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chipped
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin seed, ground
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tins of chickpeas (do not drain)
  • 1 tbsp amchoor or juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1cm cubes, and put into cold water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 fresh green chillies, very finely chopped
  • 2 tsp grated ginger (or 1 tsp dried ginger)

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat, until beginning to brown, around 10 minutes
  • Add the cumin, coriander, cayenne and turmeric, stir, and reduce the heat
  • Add the tomato paste, stir to combine and then add the chickpeas with their liquid from the tin, and around 200ml water, and the amchoor, and paprika. Bring to a simmer and cook for around 10 minutes. 
  • At this point, it may be wise to set the pan aside for a day or too, for the flavour to develop. 
  • To serve, drain and pat dry the potato cubes. Fry in oil for 10 minutes over a medium to high heat, stirring. 
  • Stir in the ginger and chillies, and then the fried potatoes, and serve. 

Leeks and carrots cooked in olive oil

This is a lovely lemony dish, good as a side-serving with sausages and mash. It could be served at room temperature with bread for a light lunch. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g leeks, sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, cut in half lengthways then thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp basmati rice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 240 ml hot water
  • 1 tsp sugar, or date syrup
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • In a wide heavy frying-pan, heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the onions and carrots for 3 minutes or so. Then add the leeks and rice, and stir to combine. 
  • Add the hot water, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper, and stir again. 
  • Cover the pan and simmer over a low heat for around 20 minutes. Set aside to cool with the lid on. 

This is good garnished with chopped parsley. 

 

Green bean and potato kuku (Persian frittata)

We have a lot of potatoes at the moment, so I’m digging around in the recipe books for new things to do. This is a recipe from ‘Nightingales and Roses’ by Maryam Sinaiee. This is quite filling, and is good cold the next day as well. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tbsp oil
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced (around 1 cm cubes)
  • 3 packs of green beans (around 600g)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • a large pinch of salt 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten. 

METHOD:

  • Heat about 3-4 tbsp oil in a deep frying pan and cook the potato cubes for around 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oil and put in a bowl lined with kitchen paper.
  • Fry the beans and carrots in the same oil for around 10 minutes, and then add them to the potatoes. 
  • Set the oven to 200C. Mix the salt, flour, baking powder and spices.
  • Beat the eggs, add the vegetables and flour/spice mix and stir to combine. 
  • My frying pan has an oven-safe handle so it is perfect. Otherwise use a shallow casserole dish. Put 2 tbsp oil in the pan and heat it in the oven for four minutes so it is hot. Pour in the mixture, and bake for 30 minutes, so the top is golden. 
  • Remove from the oven, allow to cool a little, and cut into wedges. 

 

Salmon and mash

Our fridge went on the blink, so we are making our way through a selection of ingredients that need eaten up. At the same time, we have got a lot of vegetables, mostly home-grown. Tonight’s triumph sorted out the massive bit of smoked salmon, a jar of capers and a lemon that needed used, plus some of the potatoes. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g potatoes (a variety good for mashing)
  • 500g sliced leeks
  • 250g shredded cabbage
  • 125g butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 500g smoked salmon (or a mixture of salmon, prawns and scallops)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsley

METHOD:

  • Peel the potatoes, and boil in salted water for 15 minutes until cooked. Drain when cooked. 
  • Meanwhile chop the leeks and boil in salted water for 10 minutes. 
  • After around 5 minutes, add the shredded cabbage to the leeks, so that the cabbage cooks as well, and is ready at the same time. 
  • Melt half the butter in a pan, and roughly mask the potatoes. Add the cabbage and leeks, salt and pepper. 
  • Quickly fry any raw shellfish in the rest of the butter, if you are using these. Add the lemon juice, capers and the salmon, and season with salt and pepper, heat until warm. 
  • Serve each scoop of mashed potato with a scoop of the salmon, garnished with chopped parsley

Beef stew with fried peaches

This is a Persian recipe, which we made with some locally raised beef. The co-op has some peaches ready for ripening at home, which are ideal for this recipe, which is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large white/yellow onion
  • 450g beef, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 firm peaches
  • 20g butter
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Tiny pinch of saffron
  • chopped pistachio nuts

METHOD:

  • Put the saffron in a small cup and add a tiny amount of boiling water, and set aside
  • Heat the oil in a large flat casserole dish, and gently fry the onion until it is beginning to brown. 
  • Add the beef, turn up the heat a little, and fry until browned. 
  • Add the turmeric, cumin, white pepper, coriander, stir and add the tomato paste. Cook for another two minutes, stirring until the meat is well-coated. 
  • Add just enough boiling water to cover the meat, and bring back to the boil, then add the cinnamon and salt. Turn the heat down very low, and braise for a couple of hours, until the beef is very tender. 
  • Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to peel the peaches, halve them to remove the stones, and cut each half- peach into three segments. 
  • Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and fry the peach segments over a medium heat, until they are beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. 
  • When the beef is tender, add lemon juice to taste, and add a teaspoon of saffron water. 
  • Arrange the peach segments over the stew, spoon over the sauce, cover and cook over a low heat for a further 5 minutes
  • Garnish with chopped pistachio nuts, and serve with plain rice.