I was buying rye bread in a local shop, delicious for light summer lunches with cheese and salad. Now it isn’t available, and I was looking to make my own. This may need a tweak here and there to suit, but it works very well.
- 500g rye flour
- 2 tsp of dried yeast
- 1 tbsp treacle or brown sugar
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp ‘8 seed mix‘ or ‘5 seed mix‘ from Seasoned Pioneers (or a mix of poppy seed, linseed, sunflower seeds, caraway, as you prefer)
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 430ml water
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the seeds, flour and salt.
- In a measuring jug, measure out the water, sugar and oil, and add the dried yeast.
- Once the yeast has mixed into the water, add it to the flour mixture a bit at a time, mixing together to a dough, ensuring that all the flour is incorporated. You don’t want the mixture to be sloppy.
- Top tip at this point – if you have some left-over white bread dough, you can kneed a bit of this in as well.
- Coat a work surface with a bit more sunflower oil and kneed for ten minutes or so. The dough won’t be as stretchy as a gluten-based loaf, but it will get smoother.
- Form the dough into a loaf shape. I use a loaf tin, but you could make a cob loaf as well. Put the formed loaf into a tin or a baking sheet, cover with a teatowel and leave to rise for up to eight hours. I don’t usually wait as long, I like a dense and heavy rye bread.
- Heat the oven to 220C, and bake the loaf for 30 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped.
This works on the rye setting on my bread machine as well.
This is not a modern recipe book. There are no pictures. A lot of the quantities are sketchy, and some of the writing is about the history of dishes, references to other cultures. But this is a classic. I was so pleased it was reprinted and is still available. It conjures the resonance of meals past, it brings to mind flavours and atmospheres, it tells you how to prepare ingredients just so. The adverbs are well chosen, and it encourages experimentation.
It was first published in 1960, her fifth book. She lived in France with a French family whilst studying at the Sorbonne, and when she returned to the UK, she set herself to learn how to cook.
The first paragraph tells you about her love of food and of discovering how to cook. ‘Staying in Toulouse a few years ago, I bought a little cookery book on a stall in the Marche aux puces held every Sunday morning in the Cathedral Square. It was a tattered little volume, and its cover attracted me.’
It is still available widely, describing how to cook simple French food well, and how to attempt the more complex dishes with a bit of knowledge.
I made this a while back and forgot to post it here – I used apples from Dr Johnson’s garden.
- 130g butter, cubed
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 eggs. lightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 300g self-raising flour
- a good pinch of salt
- 200g sour cream
- 2 large cooking apples (Bramley) peeled cored and cut into wedges
- 1 crisp eating apple (Granny Smith) peeled cored and cut into wedges
- 130g demerara sugar
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- Preheat the oven to 160C, and grease and line a 23cm round tin
- Beat the butter into the caster sugar until light and fluffy
- Slowly add the eggs and vanilla, beating in as you go
- Add the flour and salt in batches, alternating with the soured cream. Beat just enough to mix all the ingredients, and then spoon the batter into the cake tin.
- Put all of the apple slices into a bowl and coat with demerara sugar and mixed spice. Spoon them onto the top of the cake mixture.
- Bake for 60 to 65 minutes until the cake mixture is cooked through.
- Cool in the tin for around 30 minutes before removing it. This cake is best served still warm, or at room temperature. It is not that easy to cut, so use a serrated knife.
This is a fantastic quick side dish. The asparagus in the shops just now is great quality, thick and tasty British spears.
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Pecorino cheese
- Lemon rind
- Trim the asparagus
- Heat the olive oil in a pan, and fry the asparagus over a medium to high heat. Season with salt, pepper and a little grated lemon rind.
- When the asparagus looks cooked, transfer to plates and grate pecorino over the top.
I’ve been reading ‘Curry Easy’ again. I had some salmon fillet from the reduced section in the co-op and Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe book had several very good ideas. I picked this one, but now I want to go and buy more salmon so I can try the other recipes too. I did tweak it a bit so I didn’t have to go to the shops again.
This is very easy to prepare the sauce and fish in the morning, ready to cook when you get in after work. I served this with rice, and stir-fried chard.
- 600 to 700g salmon fillet
- 1/4 tsp salt
- black pepper
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 250ml single cream (approx.)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
- Start by dividing the salmon into 8 pieces. Season with a little salt and black pepper, turmeric and cayenne, and leave to marinade in the fridge. I used a plastic container with a lid, but a plastic bag would do.
- Combine the tomatoes, cream salt sugar, garam masala, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and coriander leaves. Use a soup wand to make the sauce smooth. Just before using, stir in the lemon juice.
- To cook the fish, heat some oil in a pan, and when it is hot, add the cumin seeds, and cook for 10 seconds.
- Pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer before adding the salmon pieces. Spoon the sauce over the top of the fish, and continue this way for another 4 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.
This is a delicious Ottolenghi recipe from SIMPLE. It is so rich and full of flavour, you don’t need to add anything much. It is great sliced and spread with butter, or with a thin slice of smoked salmon. I made it as part of a mega cooking session so that I had lots of food that was good with salad, as this certainly is. I had to adapt a bit to fit with locally available ingredients.
- 50g rolled oats
- 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 50g pumpkin seeds
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- 2 tsp nigella seeds
- 100g plain flour
- 100g wholemeal flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 200g grated raw beetroot
- 2 large eggs
- 80ml sunflower oil
- 80g soured cream
- 1 tbsp honey
- 20g grated parmesan
- 120g goat’s cheese
- Preheat the oven to 180C fan. Grease and line a loaf tin.
- Mix the oats, thyme, pumpkin, caraway, and nigella seeds in a small bowl.
- In a medium bowl, mix the flours and the baking powder and baking soda, along with 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk together to aerate, then add the grated beetroot and all but one tbsp of the oat mixture
- In another bowl, lightly whisk the eggs together and beat in the oil, soured cream, honey and parmesan.
- Mix the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, and fold in the crumbled goat’s cheese.
- Pour the mixture into the tin, and add the remaining oat mixture to the top.
- Bake for 40 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for another 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, and set to cool for around 5 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling on a rack. It needs to be cooled for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
From SIMPLE. The book says it serves 2, but it fed two of us for two nights.
- 150g bulgar wheat
- 250ml boiling water or light stock
- olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 punnets of mushrooms, preferably mixed, around 500g – sliced to about 5mm thick.
- 2 tsp dried thyme, or 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dill seeds
- around 100g feta (half a block)
- 1 tsp mild chilli flakes
- salt and pepper
- Rinse the bulgar wheat, add a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and add the boiling water or stock. Cover the bowl and set aside while everything else is sorted out.
- Put 2 tbsp oil in a large frying or saute pan, heat to medium, and add the onion. Cook for 7 minutes, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown. Add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp dill seeds, and continue to fry for another couple of minutes. Keep stirring to ensure that nothing sticks or burns. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
- Add another 2 tbsp of oil to the pan. raise the heat, and then add the mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, and fry for 7 minutes, stirring until the mushrooms are browned and soft.
- Add the rest of the cumin seeds, and the thyme and continue to cook for another minute
- Add the balsamic vinegar, and cook until the liquid has almost disappeared.
- Mix in the bulgar wheat, onions, feta cheese and chilli flakes and heat through.
Serve garnished with fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
This is based on a recipe using tonnarelle, which is similar to spaghetti. I am trying to get the fridge a bit emptier, and we had some streaky bacon and some fonteluna sausage from Valvona and Crolla, as well as some pecorino cheese. This is so simple, and very filling.
- 200g spaghetti, or tagliolini or tonnarelle, if available
- 300g mushrooms, sliced thickly
- 75g streaky bacon, cut in thin strips (should be pancetta, but I didn’t have any)
- 75g fonteluna sausage cut into small pieces (if you have no sausage, use 150g bacon or pancetta)
- 30g butter
- freshly ground black pepper
- 60g Pecorino cheese
- Melt the butter in a pan, and fry the bacon and sausage very slowly, and when it is starting to cook, add the mushrooms, and continue to simmer together
- Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When it comes to the boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 minutes or so.
- When the mushrooms are cooked, season with salt and add the grated pecorino cheese.
- When the pasta is done, drain it, and return it to the plan. Pour the sauce over the top and serve. You can stir extra butter in, and add extra cheese as well.
I had a side salad with it, it is a bit rich without.
I kind of made this up, basing the flavours on a vegetarian recipe that I have. There may be edits as I try out tweaking the recipe. It was good enough the first time, though.
- Approx. 200g onion, chopped
- 200g pancetta (or streaky bacon) (optional)
- 2 tbsp olive oil or lard
- 2 tsp Hungarian paprika
- 1 tsp caraway, lightly crushed
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- freshly ground black pepper
- 300 to 400g beef, cut into cubes
- 300ml beef stock
- 300ml tub of sour cream
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 or 3 potatoes, peeled and diced (or use small salad potatoes, around 200g)
- Set the oven to 160℃
- In a large oven-safe casserole pan, fry the pancetta until crispy on the outside, and set aside.
- In the same pan, fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until golden yellow and soft
- Add the paprika and caraway seed, and stir into the onions, around 15 seconds.
- Add the meat and stir to brown the meat on all sides as well as coating it with paprika
- Add the stock, bacon, tomato puree, black pepper, salt to taste, and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and put the pan into the oven for around 2½ hours
- Add the peeled chopped potatoes, and check the seasoning, and then cook for another half an hour or so, until the potatoes are cooked. You can add other vegetables as well, such as carrots, or celeriac, if you wish. If the stew is not thick enough for your taste, simmer on the stove top with the lid off, to reduce it down.
- Stir in the sour cream, and garnish with chopped parsley to serve.
Oh, this is so delicious, I would cook it every week if I had enough local lamb. I got the basic recipe from ‘Dear Francesca‘ but adapted it to use some ingredients that I already had.
- 2 to 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 1 kg (+) gigot chops (or other chops) or lamb shoulder – trim the chops of fat,
- salt and black pepper
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 pinches of dried thyme, or 1 tsp of Italian dried herbs
- 1 tbsp red pepper paste
- 200ml stock or water
- 8 small new potatoes, or 4 large potatoes peeled and cut into chunks.
- In a large casserole dish, heat the olive oil, and fry the garlic and onion over a low low heat for ten minutes.
- Set the onions aside, and fry the meat in the olive oil to seal it.
- Return the onions and garlic to the pan, and add the tinned tomatoes, pepper paste and herbs. Bring to a simmer.
- Cook in the oven at 180C for 30 minutes. At this stage, the stew can be frozen or kept in the fridge to finish cooking alter.
- Add the potatoes to the pan, and the extra stock if required, and cook on the stove top until the potatoes are cooked (about half an hour or so)
And you’re done! The book suggests chicken or beef versions of the same stew, but with lamb it is just glorious. We served it with a green side salad.