Sunday, 13 December 2015


This is what I have made for my family over the past couple of days.

Cheese biscuits...Around 5 dozen,as they always disappear fast. 
one lot quite hot, with chilli, and the other I put chopped black olives in the basic cheese mix. They are really delicious. Made with the left over scraps of cheese, and equal amounts of flour and butter,and various seasonings, depending on how I feel, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, chopped nuts, chilli flakes,
or whatever.           Somehow the photo of the apple and pineapple cake has come here, so sorry!

3 & a half dozen  mini tartlets 
filled with goats cheese, pecans and spring onions . The pastry is made by melting butter stirring that into the flour ,and then adding the white of an egg, which makes the pastry very soft and malleable, so pressing the pastryinto the tiny tins one handed takes quite a while. 

A dozen mince pies , home made mincemeat, and a short pastry with orange zest and juice for flavour. 

Sticky toffee pudding...need I say more? 

Caramelised Apple Pudding. 
Make the caramel, exactly as if one was doing a tarte Tatin, but cover the apples with a batter,rather than pastry. It's still in the oven, so I can't see if it has worked.
Oh rats! The Apple has stuck to the pan, so now it's an apple and pineapple upside down cake,as I have caramelised some  slices of fresh pineapple, put them on the top ,and it now looks even better. 

A fruit cake,
 made with apricots, dried mango, sultanas and marzipan. I used spelt flour rather than the wholemeal stated, so it's quite gooey! The marzipan( which I bought) exploded inside the cake, so there are lots of little eruptions in unexpected places.

And I made some chocolate discs, quite thin with ginger, or dried fruit on the tops. 

Later on, I shall do a main course for both families ... But not yet
And anyway, I need to do some replacement shopping! I'm right out of so much !   
Now for a cup of tea, and at last, a well deserved sit down. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Damson gin.

Today I have bottled up the Damson  Gin that  I set to seep back in late August. 
Only made 4 bottles of 125 mls  though.
 However , I had the damsons ,and made some damson chutney with them. One red onion, finely chopped, a good pinch of salt, the same of mixed spice, pepper,and a shake of Turkish Chilli peppers., they are not too hot,and add a  warmth to the mix. Let it all soften in the pan with the fruit, add cider vinegar to just cover the mixture, and enough sugar to taste. I never like an over sweet chutney, and as usual, the picture is somewhat lopsided. It has made 2 jars. 
plus a little Olive oil, then added vinegar  and sugar to taste. I don't want it too sweet. 
Will keep till Christmas easily.  

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Chocolate brownie tart with Saffron poached pears

From last week's" Cook " in The Guardian ,a really lovely recipe from Ruby Tandoh.
Not a good pic,as I still find it so hard to get the thing in focus ,try and hold the iPad steady, and then take the picture with only the left hand ( the camera button is ,of course, on the right,) 
Pears ,chocolate, what more can anyone want? It's all on a slant, but I'm sure you get the picture. I have got a friend to take a better one, so am trying to put it here as well.   Without success far! 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Friends for supper.

I don't seem to have had anyone round for ages, so last night I made a mushroom soup,with both fresh and dried mushrooms, a clove of garlic and some beef stock , rather than use cream as we were having a very rich main course. 
Since I have recently  returned from my first trip abroad in 2&1/2 years , I went to Normandy, 
Poulet Vallée D' Auge was in the menu, so apples and cream and of course, Calvados  were the main ingredients. 
Fried in unsalted butter, first chopped shallots, then the sliced apples, they were removed in order to fry the chicken breasts. Around 150 mls  of chicken stock was then poured over the chicken ,  then it  simmered  for about 20 minutes. 
Finally, a tub of Créme Fraiche ,plus a good slug of Calvados,salt & pepper to taste, chopped parsley over the chicken, and hey presto! It was done.  Absolutely delicious. 
Finally I made a damson ice cream, with fresh raspberries and home made shortbread. 

I took a photo of the Chicken dish, but now I can't remember how to transfer it from Photos into the blog! Will have to ask someone to help me......

Friday, 21 August 2015

Friends for lunch, plus 2 Border Collies.

Four for lunch yesterday,and I cooked what I thought was loads of food 
Rare beef, on  the griddle, done the night before ,and sliced thinly just before lunch, 
then I did a Peperonata, red peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes coked until the tomato juice was thick
 Caponata, the Sicilian dish which has aubergines, celery, onions, tomatoes, black olives, sultanas,capers and pine nuts, the liquid coming from Cider vinegar and a little sugar, so that it is sweet and sour .
I griddled some yellow and green courgettes,and drizzled  over a walnut pesto ,a change from pesto Genovese. 
Some roasted carrots and beetroots, with a cumin ,salt and oil base, then 10 minutes before  they are fully cooked ,a honey and lemon juice dressing is poured over ,that caramelises the vegetables. Soft goats cheese,plenty of chopped dill and Higella seeds finish off the dish,which can be found in Persiana,my newest cookery book.
Spinach, avocado,bacon and blue cheese was another salad ,
and finally my favourite palate cleanser, lightly cooked mange tout and raw cucumber slices  with Sesame oil and salt. 
A Foccacia,which was a but thin,since  I stretched it to fit a large tin, ( should have used more flour) my fault,as I never weigh the flour ,just tip in what I think will be enough! 
Then after cheeses ,and coffees , with homemade chocolates ( you see what special friends they are,) we had an ice cream ,made with whipped cream, some Greek Yoghurt, crumbled meringues and a little icing sugar to taste ,and with a good slug of KirschWasser, which has been hanging around far too long in the cupboard. Fresh raspberries, stewed apricots if required,or eaten just as it is. 
Not much left  to speak of, and No pictures  

Saturday, 15 August 2015

My Saturday morning.

Anyone who reads this blog will know by now that I am a waste not cook, so today I was looking at some smoked mackerel pâté ,which lurked in the fridge. Too much to throw out, so what can I do with it?
Answer. To make a tapenade, but with slightly different ingredients.
 Black & green olives obviously, then some grainy mustard, a couple of Cornishons, some capers,garlic and parsley.a slug of oil,and the smoked mackerel pâté, but the extra ingredient has been some of my chilli in vinegar ,in fact the tail end of a pot! The colour is paler than the usual tapenade, but it tastes reasonable enough. 
I have also made 3 jars of Apricot jam ( the fruit is such good value in Lidl) ,
plus some ,Peperonata  and then a big pan of Caponata, some of which I had with a little broccoli for my lunch .
Very Sicilian! 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

I need to be inventive!

As last night some of my family came  down for the night on their way to catch a ferry in Plymouth to Spain .they brought with them much of their produce from their allotment, mainly COURGETTES!
I had friends for supper on Ftiday,and had cooked steak with Chirimchiru sauce,which is garlicky and hot, 3 cloves  of garlic chopped, ,3 spring onions chopped, flat leaf parsley, thyme,and oregano all chopped fine, then the juice of 1& 1/2 lemons, a slug  of Balsamic Vinegar, chilli flakes and smoked paprika and then mixed together . After  an hour you add enough Olive oil so that the mix is covered. Leave at room temperature till needed. 
Well of course I had masses left over, so the first thing I have made with some  of the  Courgettes is a sort of omelette ,with grated courgettes, a good tablespoon of the Chirimchiru sauce,a couple of chopped spring onions , lots of fresh mint, basil and parsley, to which I added an egg,and a tablespoon of flour. Cooked the sauce and onions first ,and then mixed in the rest.    Here it is.....tastes quite good surprisingly. 
 Next I have made some Raspberry jam, fresh as can be. And sieved  some raspberries to make a sauce which has gone into the freezer for another time.
Now I just have to  think of recipes using more courgettes.   
 Most probably a chocolate & Courgette cake, which is moist ,and you cannot tell there are vegetables in it.  Also courgettes in rosemary and cream,a lovely recipe from Jane Grigson's Vegetable book,  and then  a courgette soup., perhaps courgette and cheese scones? At least it's healthy,and organic!.  They  also brought me some sorrel  from which I shall make a sauce to have with salmon, it has a unique taste, not to everyone's liking though, being very tart,and as my mother used to say " takes the skin off your teeth".

Sunday, 21 June 2015

My best ice cream ever.

It's just so simple, I had some double cream in the fridge that was nearing its past it date, so I beat it till this, added the similar amount of Greek Yoghurt,and 2 tablespoons of homemade lemon curd,and then drizzled some Damson purée into the mix, the purée was in the freezer,so I took about 3 tablespoons out to mix.  Freeze,and it never needs to be touched after that,as it freezes without any ice crystals forming, smooth and totally luscious. I.  Oops, I completely forgot to add that I also put in the seeds from a passion fruit to the mixture. 
Result is as shown

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Entertaining, big time!

Over the past 10 days I have had friends here almost every day... Then of course. I'm totally worn out afterwards. 
The first evening I made a selection of Salads, tabbouleth, roasted Mediterranean vegetables, Waldorf salad, with Smoked duck breast, sliced thinly with  pink grapefruit plus an orange  on the top. Just fresh fruit fir pudding, but with some good cheeses.
Two nights after that, I gave other friends Chicken Ceasar Salad ,with home made Ceasar salad dressing, a  potato salad , cucumber and sugar snaps with a sesame dressing, and a tomato and red onion salad ,plus there was enough if the roasted  vegetables from Thursday to have again.
  We had an Avocado, Greek yoghurt and lemon cold soup to start with ,loosened with some chicken stock , and then I made an Apricot frangipani tart to finish.
The next day I had family to come  and eat the leftovers! 
The following day,  Only one to supper.  Can't even remember what we ate, so it must have been unmemorable. 
2days after that, an almost vegetarian meal. 
Starting with 2dips, a pea & Parmesan with garlic ,and a beetroot one with horseradish and orange zest,which was delicious. They looked so pretty together.
Then the meal... A quinoa Salad with courgettes, chopped preserved lemons ( home made, they're so easy) black olives, spring onions, mint , a red chilli,and roasted pistachios on the top. A salad of sliced fennel with barberries,dill, and Apple ,and a melon, cucumber and tomato salad,with a little cider vinegar.,and finally some Piedmontese peppers. 
A few slices of both Parma and Serrano Hams, a Chorizo sausage that  I bought in Cornwall ( very delicious) and made locally. 
Cheeses, and fresh berries to end the meal.
The next day,another friend who came to help eat the leftovers ( again!)
Finally last night I had a fairly large slab  of fresh Tuna, which I covered in a mix of crushed peppercorns, pink,green and black plus some  sea salt flakes and a little Dukkah,the Middle Eastern spice and nut mix. 
Flashed onto the griddle,and eaten with French beans , and courgettes that I had cooked in a sauce of red& green peppers, onion, and garlic, and spiked up with a little lemon juice as it tasted rather bland. 
No potatoes, no bread. A bottle of Prosecco however!
Enough fish  left over for me to have today  ,with a salad of course!

Monday, 8 June 2015

I don't know what's happened to me, but it's a very long tine since I posted anything interesting.

There hasn't been much going on here,as once again I have been unwell! Therefore cooking goes on the back burner,and I seem to live off porridge, hot custard ,and cheese on toast if feeling peckish. Not a very culinary experience at all.
However, I have friends coming to eat at the end of the week, so I shall make a Feta cheesecake , or rather it will go into pots  ,and then be jazzed up with some cucumber in a sweet chilli and black olives there is so much great fresh fruit that we will have a good chice of what's best, and for the main course, it will either be PastaPuttanesca,  or a salad of smoked duck breast with  oranges and avocados ,and a potato salad with capers and celery mixed in.  
See how I feel on  the day

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Today I made a chicken dish with a 3 Cs sauce,

The sauce,
  And The 3Cs are .....
Cashews, coriander and chillies!

Firstly I sweated a couple of onions, 2latge cloves of garlic till they were soft. Then added the cashew nuts, and cooked them all together for about 6 minutes. 
A large handful of coriander leaves and stalks, plus some Turkish Chilli flakes, salt, and the juice of half a lemon.
Blitzed the lot together,and since it was a bit stiff, added enough water to loosen the mix.
Added the previously cooked chicken pieces, heated them through,and served with another slice of lemon on the side, plus a scattering of Chilli flakes on the top.
It was quite delicious. 
Definitely make it again.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Almost forgotten how to blog!

There hasn't been much that I felt was interesting enough to put up, but today I have four for lunch,and we are having rack of lamb, with potatoes, carrots,creamed leeks and French beans. Just enough mint to make a mint sAuce, then a pudding made this morning. 
A fatless sponge, with cream and raspberries on the top. It's a sort of birthday cake,as there is an imminent birthday this week. 
Well I suppose that will have to do, it's all wonky, but it's very simple anyway. At least it is the right way up!
With the lamb we are drinking some Crozes  Hermitage,2008, brought here by my wonderful goddaughter who lives in France.   Just put in the lamb, ready for 1.00 p m as long as they arrive in time. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Haven't posted anything for weeks!

Because it all seems rather boring , but I have cooked some fabulous Chocolate Brownies, made with dark soft brown sugar, and they went so fast! Also some EASTER Biscuits,as we are so near....have tried to take a photo ,but it won't come around the correct way,and I don't know how to rectify that. Pity ,as now I shall have to eat the brownie ! 
OH ,how I hate being one handed, it's SO FRUSTRATING. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Carrot cake my way.

I decided to tweak the recipe a little,and used grated parsnip as well as grated carrot, plus some finely chopped fresh pineapple added to  the mix.  Came out moist and delicious, as you can see ,there's not  much left! 
Iced the top with a citrus mix, in fact it was some of the liquid from my lemon and lime marmalade

Sunday, 4 January 2015

And finally, everything has been used up!

I have sliced the last of the oranges and put them into a sugar syrup with vinegar, peppercorns, mace, cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks, simmered it until they are cooked and soft,and when cool I will bottle them to have with cold meats such as ham or pork.
There was a box of mushrooms right at the back of the fridge,so I have made some soup, in this weather it's nice to have some ready to use.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Food left from christmas time.

I have all sorts of stuff lurking ,needing to have something done with them.
Parsnips, carrots, sweet potato have been made into a mash,with some butter to enrich it. Made two dishes. 
Then the tomatoes were completely tasteless,so I stewed them up with lots of garlic and onion,plus rosemary and a huge bay leaf,and some almost gone over fresh  basil.i blitzed the basil with  the tomato, which was flabby and weak tasting,so I added some tomato purée which gave it some  more body then sieved the lot .i have frozen the sauce,and used the residue to cook a guinea fowl Breast .  Then I roasted some garlic which was a bit soft, and blitzed that with some cream,and have frozen that. It will come in useful later on.
Finally I made some more lemon curd ice cream with the leftover Double cream,and Greek Yoghurt, it has made a kilo! That will come in useful at any time. 
In all, a good morning's work !
And I cracked and shelled all the walnuts and hazlenuts ,have frozen the walnuts,as they tend to go rancid easily,and have grilled the hazlenuts,and of course, left then too long under the grill so they are somewhat bronzed....