The weather is very dank at the moment, rain every day, overcast and cold, hardly like midsummer at all. I made this tonight, using vacuum-packed chestnuts, carrots and celery from the garden, and some cooking chorizo from the freezer.
The recipe is from the Moro cookbook, full of interesting recipes that are generally easy to cook and taste wonderful.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 stick of celery, finely sliced
- 120g mild cooking chorizo, chopped into 1cm cubes
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 small dried red chillies, crushed
- half a tin of chopped tomatoes
- around 500g cooked peeled chestnuts
- 20 saffron threads, infused in 4 tbsp boiling water
- 1 litre boiling water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, and fry the onion, carrot, celery and chorizo for around 20 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables are caramelised.
- Add the garlic, thyme, cumin and chillies, and stir in well
- Add the tomatoes, stir again and then a couple of minutes later, add the chestnuts, water and saffron water and simmer for around 10 minutes
- Remove from the heat and mash the chestnuts. I used a soup wand, leaving the soup slightly rough and chunky. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I think you could add a glass of dry sherry to this, I’ll try this tomorrow. It freezes well too.
The vegetable garden is growing really well in spite of the high winds trashing the potatoes and the beans. This afternoon I started thinning out the root vegetables and removing some random kale plants that had self-seeded in amongst the leeks. I used about 500g of thinnings and leaves to make this soup.
- A mixture of vegetables. I had some mizuna greens, orache, Russian kale, carrots, mange tout, and some small beetroot tops. All washed and chopped small
- A small onion, finely chopped.
- Celery salt
- Marigold stock
- 2 tbsp Green pesto sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Around 1/5 litres of boiling water
- A handful of soup pasta, such as quadretti or stelline
- Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
- Heat the oil on a low flame, and gently fry the onion until it is soft.
- Add the vegetables in the order in which they will cook, slowest to fastest. I added the carrots, then the beetroot tops, mizuna and kale, then poured over the boiling water, and seasoned with celery salt, black pepper, and some marigold stock powder.
- Once the kale is beginning to cook, then add the orache and peas, and the soup pasta. Check for taste and simmer until the pasta is just about done.
- Stir the pesto into the soup, and serve sprinkled heavily with grated parmesan or pecorino.
The pea season is coming. The mange tout are already ready, and some of the peas are podding up nicely. I did a massive pick-through of the peas at Tagsa Horticulture, and made this curry based on one in ‘Curry Easy’ by Madhur Jaffrey.
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1/2 small onion, chopped finely
- half a can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 punnets of chestnut mushrooms, around 400 to 500g, chopped into chunks.
- 300g peas, could be frozen, or mange tout, freshly picked and halved
- Combine the dry spices in a bowl and add around 1 1/2 tbsp water to make a paste
- Pour the oil into a medium pan, and heat to medium hot. Add the onion and start to stir and fry, until the onion is becoming a little browned at the edges.
- Add the spice paste, cook for a minute and then add the tomato, mixing and stirring.
- After about five minutes, when the tomato is hot and beginning to cook down, add 450ml boiling water and the salt. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes
- Add the chunks of mushroom, bring back to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Add the peas, bring back to a simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes.
This was best served warm, rather than hot, with a flat bread such as a nan.
Somewhere along the line, I ordered some chorizo for cooking with, in a huge pack, and then froze it. This weekend, I started trying out recipes that use chorizo. I bought the pork loin from MacLean’s shop in Benbecula, and the spices are mostly purchased online from Seasoned Pioneers. I got the recipe from the Moro cookbook. Most of the other ingredients I found in the co-op. Irritatingly, you can only buy peppers in packs of three in the co-op, so I went to MacLennan’s for the green peppers. The recipe took about 45 minutes to make.
- 7 or more tablespoons of olive oil
- 350g pork fillet or loin, cut into 7mm strips
- 120g cooking chorizo, cut into little pieces
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 1 large green pepper, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 250g paella rice
- 2 ñora peppers, or a good pinch of sweet paprika
- 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 900ml hot chicken stock
- 500g spinach
- 1 lemon, cut in wedges
- salt and pepper
- In a large flat pan, such as a paella pan or a very large frying pan, heat the olive oil on a high heat, and then quickly fry and stir the pork strips so that they are just about cooked, it doesn’t take long. Remove the pork from the pan with a slotted spoon. season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In the same pan, put in the chopped chorizo, stir and add the onion, stir and add the green pepper. Turn the heat down to medium. Make sure you aren’t stingy with the oil. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring to make sure that all of the onion caramelises.
- Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- Add the rice, and stir so everything is evenly mixed.
- Season with salt and pepper, and add the paprika. If you are using ñora peppers, these should be torn up, seeds and stalks discarded, and soaked in hot water first so that they are soft. Add the hot chicken stock. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid and is just about cooked through.
- About 5 minutes before the end of the cooking period, put all of the washed spinach in a very large pan, turn up the heat and cook until it is all wilted down.
- When the rice is cooked, add the pork and spinach and push it into the paella, so that the oil soaks in. Cover with a lid and let everything settle for around 5 minutes.
- Serve with lemon wedges. The lemon is absolutely essential for bringing out the best flavour. It needs a lovely fresh salad as well, for example a green salad or a tomato salad. So delicious.
The season for this dish is coming soon, but I just longed for it. I had eggs, some frozen broad beans from last year, and some dried dill, and it was very good. It will be even better when my dill plants and broad beans are ready. Thanks to Susannah and Alexander for the eggs.
Thank you to ‘nightingales and roses‘ for the recipe.
- 500-600g broad beans
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
- 1 tbsp flour
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 60g fresh dill, chopped, or 2 tbsp dried
- 4 tbsp oil
- Defrost the beans, if using frozen beans. For larger beans, remove the tough outer skin.
- Heat the oven to 190C.
- Mix the salt, baking powder, pepper, garlic, flour and turmeric and beat into the eggs. Squish any lumps, then fold in the beans and dill.
- Oil a 20cm springform tin with half the oil, and heat it in the oven. When the tin is hot, pour in the mixture and return to the oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, and brush the remaining oil over the top. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the top has a lovely golden crust.
Serve with a radish salad, flatbread, a yoghurt dip, some fresh walnuts.
I’ve got bags of carrots in the freezer, and I’m experimenting again. I also made a very peculiar soup with pickled beetroot and sour cream that I don’t think I will try again. This was so quick and easy, and there are at least six servings in there. It is better made with a chicken stock.
- 30g butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped – do not include any coarse leaves
- around 500g carrots, grated or finely chopped
- 1 litre + of chicken stock or similar
- around 150ml plain yoghurt, unsweetened
- Salt and pepper
- Gently fry the onion and leek in the butter. Cover the pan and let them sweat for around 3 minutes
- Add a good pinch of salt and the grated carrots, stir together, and cook for another 5 minutes
- Add the hot stock, and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes
- When the vegetables are tender and cooked through, use a soup wand to blend the soup, and to blend in the yoghurt.
- Stir through the chopped chives, and add salt and pepper as desired.
Serve with some good rye bread, or other wholesome brown bread.
We were given some very tender loin of venison from a sika deer. Sika deer are a non-native species that have become widespread across the UK, interbreeding with our native species, red deer and roe deer. They pose a threat to the native populations.
This recipe is from Norman Tebbit’s book of game cookery.
- Around 500g venison loin, divided into portions
- Vegetable oil (not olive oil)
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 6 juniper berries
- a small teaspoon of sea-salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Mix the herbs, juniper berries, salt and pepper in a pestle and mortar, and grind together.
- Sprinkle the herbs onto the meat and set aside until needed. Heat the oven to 180C.
- About ten minutes before you are ready to eat, heat the oil in a large frying pan until it is good and hot. Sear the meat on all sides, and put into a small roasting tin.
- Cook in the oven for around 8 minutes, while you sort out the vegetables and mash. When the time is up, remove from the oven and allow the meat to relax.
- Slice the venison and serve on warmed plates. We had mashed potato, Cumberland sauce, spinach and tender-stem broccoli.
I made this to go with some delicious loin of venison given to us by a friend. I cooked the venison hot and fast, so that it was tender and medium-rare, and served it with mashed potato mixed with fried spring onions, spinach and tender-stem broccoli. This is a traditional sauce, which sounds unlikely, but works really well with venison, hot or cold.
- 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 4 large tbsp recurrent jelly, or a mixture of red-current and rowanberry jelly
- 4 tbsp port
- 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp cornflour
- Pare the lemon and orange with a potato peeler, and simmer in hot water for 3 minutes or so, and drain.
- In a small pan, melt the jelly into the port, and then whisk in the mustard, the juice of the orange, and the juice of half the lemon, then add the ginger and the rind. Add the cornflour and simmer for ten minutes.
- We left the sauce to reach room temperature, and strained it before serving with the meat.
There has been a culling of the Muscovy duck flock in Loch Eport. I am planning on a Persian stew with the jointed duck, made with walnuts and pomegranate molasses. After I jointed the duck, I made a delicious broth from the carcase, and then followed and adapted a recipe that I found online, to cover the ingredients available locally.
The whole time, I was thinking of this classic film: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_Soup_(1933_film)
- 1 duck carcase, chopped into three to fit into the stock pot
- 2 small onions, chopped into quarters
- Parsley – could be stalks or leaves
- 20g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/2 head of garlic, cloves chopped across the middle
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 2+ bayleaves – I used 4 small leaves
- 5 black peppercorns
- 3 medium or 1 very large carrot, finely diced
- 2 sticks of celery, finely sliced
- 1 can of flageolet beans (not always available, I used haricot beans instead)
- 40g pearl barley
- 150g chard or spinach, chopped roughly
- 50ml sherry
- salt to taste – about a teaspoonful
- freshly ground pepper
- grated parmesan cheese
- Put the duck carcase, onions, parsley, porcini mushrooms, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns into the stock pot, and fill with water to cover everything. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 hours.
- Strain the stock, and put in a soup pan. Pick any meat off the carcase and reserve
- Add the barley, and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add the carrots, celery, bring to a simmer again for 10 minutes, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the beans and spinach, and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the sherry and any duck meat.
Serve in large soup bowls, garnished with grated parmesan, and with a good bread, such as sour-dough bread. You could also drizzle good quality olive oil on the soup or the bread.
I found the original recipe I was given rather sweet, so I have reduced the amount of honey in the recipe here. I’m currently trying out all sorts of recipes with potato in, if you hadn’t noticed.
- 1 can of borlotti beans
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 carrots, 1cm dice
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 dried chillies, crushed
- 1/2 tsp mild dried chilli flakes
- 2 medium potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- juice of half a lemon, about 2 tbsp
- a good grind of black pepper
- 1 tbsp honey
- flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to serve
- Heat the oil over a medium flame, and fry the onion, garlic and carrot for around ten minutes. Keep stirring so that the vegetables don’t catch.
- Add the tomato paste, chillies and chilli flakes, and cook for a minute.
- Add the borlotti beans, potato, dried basil and salt and cook for a few minutes to heat everything through
- Add 500ml boiling water and the lemon juice, and simmer for around twenty minutes until the potato is cooked.
- Add the black pepper and honey to taste, and stir the parsley through. Leave the stew for around ten minutes before serving, to allow the flavours to mingle.