Recent Recipes - a record of new recipes month by month.

The recipe book is here.

June 2016

Even fewer new recipes this month. The best was Boulangère potatoes from BBC Good Food.

Have made lots of cakes but not to any new recipes. The photo is of yet another quiche and the new recipe part is that the only flours used were Teff and Coconut.


May 2016

Not many new recipes this month because I have been repeating old favourites. I have used the slow cookers a couple of times and this chicken recipe was new to me.

Menu of the month prepared for guests was:

Roast scallops with chestnut velouté, maple syrup, apple, pancetta and watercress, by Shaun Rankin from Great British Chefs.

Mushroom Risotto by Paul Heathcote, also from Great British Chefs

Raspberry and Rhubarb Crumble and Peach, Apricot, Almond and Amoretto Crumble

Apart from that I have been making cakes: Black Bean and Chilli Chocolate, Raspberry Traybake, Californian Lemon Cake and Lady Dundee's Orange Cake pictured below.



Lady Dundee's Orange Cake



Lady Dundee's Orange Cake


April 2016

Only one recipe link this month because I have been revisiting old favourites such as: Venison in Damson and Sloe Gin Sauce, new potatoes, asparagus and broccoli sprigs and Hake with Cannellini beans.

This recipe was a starting point for my own Turkey Breast cooked in lemon juice and zest with thyme and Martini, served with roast potatoes and rainbow beetroot from the garden, parsnips and peppers roasted with Maple Syrup.

A website that was new to me was one that listed foods currently in season

Menu of the month made for guests: Turkey curry with various rices and salads and a vegan lentil bake. Followed by various fruits and cheese and biscuits.


Vegan Lentil Bake

March 2016

I started March with a soup recipe I made up: celeriac, leek, onion and walnut - with creme fraiche loosely based on this River Cottage recipe.  Walnuts and celeriac go together really well.  It was a smooth, creamy and plentiful soup.

Antother invention was salmon with lemon, chilli and ginger served with Basmati rice and kale. The first time I made it could have done with even more lemon, chilli and ginger. So I made it again served with egg fried rice made to this recipe but with prawns added.


Salmon with lemon, chilli and ginger served with egg fried rice.

I dabbled with fresh season cauliflowers and made spicy cauliflower according to this recipe.  Another was cauliflower cheese with nutmeg served with Corned Beef Hash.

Then came the inclusion of cashew nuts starting with Nigel Slater’s, pork with cashews, lime and mint (available from food blogs on the web) and continuing with BBC Good Food Chicken and Cashew Nuts.

Lamb and anchovies combined is a favourite of mine but in this Nigel Slater recipe he inserts the anchovies into slits in the meat.  Beautiful combination and really good served cold as well.


And finally just a standard quiche using mushrooms and ham and pepper etc. The 'new recipe' bit came from using a flour combination of rice flour, polenta and coconut flour.

February 2016

One of the first recipes this month was from the rice collection from the Observer mentioned last month - see link below. It was Roast Shoulder of Lamb stuffed with Saffron Rice by Sam and Sam Clark.

Another recipe from an outside source was chicken thigh stuffed with spinach, mascarpone and lemon, wrapped in bacon and baked with mixed vegetables. Page 46 BBC Good Food February 2016.

The other recipes I have chosen to add here this month are ones I invented or modified. I have included the recipe for the first one: Celery and Cashew Nut Soup.


Pork in a pune sauce with almonds.


A flan of mascarpone cheese with spinach, eggs, milk, Parmesan cheese, red pepper and onions.

marscapone pie

January 2016

There was a fascination with rice in The Guardian and Observer food sections and I joined in with some of the recipes they published and one or two more.

These recipes can be found at this link.

Claudia Roden's Paella, Skye Gyngell's chicken with rice and basil, and Stephanie Alexander's beef donburi. I really enjoyed each of those.



I then went on to make a mushroom risotto using Jamie Oliver's recipe. I liked the griddled mushrooms on the top, they definitely added extra flavour.


Mushroom Risotto

Menu of the month made for guests:


Medjool dates stuffed with chorizo or goats cheese

Main courses:

Christmas Easy Slice Loaf- Turkey, sausage meat with chestnuts, cranberry sauce and sage and onion stuffing wrapped in bacon.

Jamie Oliver's Ultimate Nut loaf

served with carrots, green beans, mashed potato, celery, and leeks in mustard sauce.


Millionaire's Ice Cream Bombe - a combination of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, caramel sauce, Malteesers, and digestive biscuits.



December 2015

The star recipe this month was Salmon Coulibiac. I based mine on one by The Hairy Bikers.


Salmon Coulibiac

I also made salted caramel parsnips and Parsnip, Rosemary and Hazelnut risotto (December Good Food  page 111 not yet available on the web.)

Menu of the month made for others

Canapes - Medjool dates stuffed with blue goat's cheese, parsnip and carrot crisps, parmesan crisps.

Main courses - grilled halloumi cheese with garam masala sprinkled on one and black cardamom seeds on another, cod and prawns in a tomato sauce, gnocchi both boiled and roasted, very large dish of roasted vegetables (butternut squash, courgette, parsnips, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potato) with rosemary, garlic and maple syrup.

Dessert - mandarins and plums in port with ginger and black pepper with vanilla ice cream.


November 2015

Not so many new recipes this month.

A main course I dreamed up myself was baked smoked haddock wrapped in coppa ham with sun dried tomatoes. I served it with three recipes new to me: salted caramel parsnips; Brussels Sprouts with chestnuts, nutmeg and cream; and spiced red cabbage. For the red cabbage I combined recipes from BBC Good Food and Jamie Oliver.

baked smoked haddock


November saw an old favourite reappear Pumpkin and Parma Ham Risotto.


Pumpkin and Parma Ham Risotto

Menu of the month - prepared for friends

Baked Field Mushroom with red onion marmalade and camembert on a bed of salad.

Main Course
Slow cooked chicken in red wine with herby dumplings, served with mashed potato with fried bacon pieces in it.

Pumpkin Pie with vanilla ice cream.
Cheese and biscuits

October 2015

Main course recipes new to me this month were: spinach and chickpea burgers and pan fried venison with sloe gin plum sauce.

Two delicious side dishes were : polenta oven chips and boulangre potatoes.

Figs were abundant this month and lunch was often watercress with figs, goat's cheese, walnuts and balsamic glaze. I made a batch of fig jam and a beautiful velvety pumpkin and fig soup.


Menu of the month was:

Watercress with Figs, Goat's cheese, walnuts and balsamic glaze and fig jam

Main Course
Pan fried Venison steak with sloe gin and plum sauce

Boulangere potatoes

Courgette with mushrooms and lemon

Butternut squash and celery bake

Runner beans

Baked Apples with raspberries in Maple Syrup


September 2015

Although I don't seem to have the time to write about recipes in the way I once did I am still finding new recipes and preparing food for others so I thought I would at least try, even if this ends up as nothing more than a list of recipes.

A soup new to me that works was Courgette and Lemon - link removed. A fish dish that really worked was Pan Fried Place from the British Larder Collection.

Some main courses that worked were: Ultimate Makeover Moussaka, Smoky Aubergine Tagine with Lemon and Apricots and my favourite of the month was Crusted Polenta Tart with Courgettes.

Two dishes to accompany main courses worth a mention were: Crispy New Potato Bake and Zingy , Courgette and Spinach Salad.

Desserts featured these: Baked Nectarines and Raspberries with Almonds and Honey but I made Vegan Almond Cookies instead of using Amaretti biscuits. Perhaps the favourite dessert was, Black Bean and Chili Chocolate Brownies.

A few food photographs in lieu of recipes for the gap period.








November 2014

This month I made up quite a few recipes of my own but did not write them down. I'll start with pork medallions in a lime and ginger sweet and sour sauce with leeks, carrots, mushroom, onion, green pepper, sultanas and crystallised ginger. The sauce was thickened with arrowroot and a teaspoon of demerara sugar was added.


Three other recipes I made up were : chicken and mushroom in lemon and tarragon sauce with cauliflower, carrots and purple sprouting broccoli; cauliflower with mushrooms and bacon in a cheese and mustard sauce served with a stir fry of sweet pepper, fennel and celery; lamb shank slow cooked in red wine with celery, pepper, carrot, onion, fennel, rosemary and ginger served with mashed potato.

I also made some party food : York Slice, Devils On Horseback, Quinoa and Chickpea with Curry Mayonnaise. The recipes for these are in the recipe book.


Devils On Horseback


Quinoa and Chickpea with Curry Mayonnaise.

A recipe new to me was a River Cafe recipe for Roasted Wood Pigeon by Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray on the web site. As you would imaging the recipe worked a treat.


Roasted wood pigeon stuffed with garlic and thyme and covered with bacon and a port gravy served with roast potatoes, roast parsnips, steamed cauliflower and French beans.

Four other recipes new to me this month were all from the November issue of BBC Good Food Magazine. I will put the links in next month.


Smoked mackerel, parsnip and puy lentil salad.


Spanish meatball and butter bean stew. I did not photograph the other two: mustard and sage chicken with celeriac mash and kale; Persian Lamb Tagine.

The menu of the month prepared for others consisted of only a main course at their request: pork tenderloin on a bed of kale with apple sauce, served with baby carrots, baby sweetcorn, crushed, buttered garlicky new potatoes, and a warm salad of red onion, beetroot and fig.

Eating out has not been so varied this month I had a reasonable steak and chips in a hotel and had a chicken and mushroom risotto that was very tasty in Pizza Express at Salford Quays.

Cheeses - only two new to me this month: Llechwedd Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar, which is a very solid, strong cheddar with a deep and complex flavour; and Chaource which is a soft cheese with a nutty, buttery salty and slightly fruity tase. Delicious and improving as it becomes more runny.

October 2014

Not many receipes new to me this month. What do chefs do to increase flavour? There are lots of ways to concentrate or intensify and perhaps the most obvious is by reduction. Another, is to cheat and use something prepared by someone else. So my for my first recipe I did just that. This dish was simply thinly sliced mushroom, red onion, courgette in butter and cream with Fresta Wild Mushroom Sauce served with pasta.


Just one teaspoon of this sauce transformed the whole dish. It is available in Sainsbury's. Try it.

My next dish used up the rest of the sauce and was a simple mushroom risotto.


The only other recipes I have uised this month that were new to me were: Crock Pot Potatoes Boulangere and Chickpea Curry.

Tasting different cheeses has been an enjoyble experience this month. For me the best was the naughtiest. A triple creme cheese called Montagnolo Affine which is manufactured in the Allgau region of Bavaria . It was really creamy and yet has a real bite to the blue culture. Speciality Food Magazine voted it 'The Best Cheese in the World'.

Other cheeses I tried were Bleu Des Basques, Morbier PDO, and finally Kaltbach, a Gruyère type cheese matured in the Kaltbach sandstone caves.

The best restaurant I have eaten in this month is definitely The British Larder.

I had: Pan fried salmon with apples, cucumber, grapes, creme fraiche and pumpkin seeds.
Pheasant breasts on a bed of kale with new potatoes served with pheasant sausages wrapped in bacon.
Banana parfait with caramalised banana ice cream and brown sugar meringue.

And my guest had: Olives.
Pork belly with potato mash and caramelised carrots.
Chocolate cremeux pudding.

This is a photo of her Chocolate cremeux pudding.



September 2014

I start September recipes with the quotation from the actress, Emma Kennedy, who won Masterchef some time ago, "Everything, but everything, tastes better with butter." From an article in The Guardian.

The first recipe to mention is The Ultimate Kedgeree a BBC Good Food Recipe that works.


The next recipe is Somerset Pie which is a dish I remember from many years ago. When I first had it the pastry formed the base and the pie was open. I made my version this way to contain the flavours as it cooked. It contained Bramley apples, red onion, sage, Cheddar cheese and brandy.

somerset pie


Somerset Pie served with tomatoes roasted in Balsamic vinegar, peas, new potatoes, runner beans and a dish of Bramley apple, marrow and ginger chutney.

As the Bramley apples were ripe and the marrows were producing well I made Marrow, Apple and Ginger Chutney based on these three recipes: one, two, three.


The next recipe was a modification of Sole Veronique from the Marks and Spencer Freezer Cookery Book by Heather Lambert first published in 1981.


Plaice Veronique with turnips in lemon and buttered, peppered kale.

I searched the internet for a recipe for marrow stuffed with seafood and didn't find one so I just made this one up.

Marrow stuffed with seafood medley in a fennel, Martini and cream sauce, topped with Parmesan and prawns, served with plain Basmati rice.

On the 15th September I went on a gluten free cookery course at River Cottage. It was run by Naomi Devlin and was excellent. We made seven different items during the day.


This is a photograph of apple muffins I made on the day.

The last recipe new to me this month involved a dish that was served at River Cottage by the chefs there and that was a simle warm salad of beetroot, red onion and fig.


Pork loin with apple sauce on a bed of spinach, with crushed, buttered new potatoes and a warm salad of beetroot, red onion and fig.

Menu of the month was:

Starter: Toast and duck pate with apple marrow and ginger chutney.

Main course: Red peppers stuffed with beef mince, bacon, onion, mushroom and buckwheat, served with brown buttered new potatoes, runner beans, courgettes, mushrooms stuffed with spinach and buckwheat topped with cheese, runner beans, buckwheat in tomato sauce and turnips.

Dessert: Apple muffin, fig, ice cream and whipped cream.

August 2014

The first new recipe this month I made up but I did not write it down. It was broad bean, fennel and leek risotto.


The next was Chorizo in red wine loosely based upon this recipe.


Another dish was Baked Salmon With Lemon and Fennel, Served With Hasselback Potatoes With Sun Dried Tomatoes, Steamed Courgettes and French Beans (Picked 10 Minutes Before Cooking) and a Tomato (Picked At Lunchtime), Red Pepper and Basil Coulis.  The coulis was based upon this recipe for tomato coulis.


The Hasselback potatoes were loosely based on this recipe and this one.

Steak and ale pie loosely based on this recipe and using gluten free pastry based on a recipe by Rosemary Kearney.


Two other classic recipes used this month were: Beef In Red Wine With Carrots and Chicken With Tomatoes And Black Olives.

Two further recipes that perhaps are not classics were:

Leeks and turnips in a cheese, bacon and nutmeg sauce with mushrooms and courgettes.


Marrow stuffed with beef, bacon, mushroom, onion, tomatoes and herbs.




I have eaten in a number of restaurants this month and this offered the best food, wine and view Aqua Restaurant where I had Smoked Haddock Risotto.


Petit Reblochon -  this has a mild and fruity taste and was excellent as a topping on stuffed marrow.

Gould’s farm cheddar - a really powerful cheddar, well worth the small extra expense beyond huge factory blocks.

Doux de Montagne - creamy and fruity

Brillat-Savarin - tasting of butter, salt and mushrooms

Neufchatel - heart shaped, cow’s milk cheese, one of France’s oldest supposedly dating back to 1035.  Nutty and becomes more crumbly with age. (Bit like me)


July 2014

It always feels like a good time of year to cook when you can at least take some of the ingredients from the garden. This month I have returned to some recipes that have been used before but also included, as always, some new ones.

Recipes from before that have been repeated because they are so enjoyable are: Buckwheat Cauliflower Cheese, and Chicken and Bacon with Peas and Lettuce. Recipes new to me this month that I have made up are: Beetroot Risotto which was loosely based on the recipe in this article. Pork with Prunes in a Cider and Mustard Sauce. I didn’t write this recipe down but it is as simple as put the ingredients in a casserole dish in the oven at 190 degrees C for 30 minutes.


Beetroot Risotto


Pork and Prunes in Cider and Mustard Sauce.

Recipes new to me from other people are: Beefy Melanzane Parmigiana, Amatriciana Chicken Traybake,

Baked Hake With Lettuce And Artichoke Gratin


Baked Hake With Lettuce And Artichoke Gratin

Seared duck breast with cherry, honey and port sauce

seared duck

Seared duck breast with cherry, honey and port sauce. This was served with asparagus, butter browned new potatoes and tomatoes baked in Balsamic vinegar topped with goat's cheese.

Menu of the month that I have prepared for other people is:
A quartet of smoked salmon, cooked salmon, mackerel and prawns served with herbs, a bistro salad and horseradish mayonnaise.  There was also lentil, chestnut and chickpea pate as an alternative to the fish.

Main Course
Mushroom risotto served with courgette (own), Chantenay carrots, cauliflower and baby sweetcorn.

Meringue nests with strawberry and raspberry compote and whipped cream. A selection of cheeses.

The best meal out this month was at Ego a Mediterranean Restaurant.  

It has been a poor month for cheese.  I hoped to go to the Nantwich Cheese Festival but was leading a walk that day and could not go.  Maybe next month I’ll find some different cheese.


June 2014

After a long gap I think I am now ready to start plugging new recipes.  Hope to go back to doing it month by month but for now here is a collection from recent times.


Steamed Orange and Thyme Rainbow Trout. I enjoyed this and the recipe was taken from BBC Good Food  May 2014 page 87.  However, it is not included in their web site and I think that is because it is copyright to Tom Kerridge.  It appears in Kerridge's Proper Pub Food: More Than 130 Proper Pub Recipes, with Simple Twists to Make Them Sensational by Tom Kerridge

Other recipes I would recommend are: Beetroot and smoked mackerel salad, Cod in coconut, Polenta and mushroom ragout, Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie.

I have made this collection of recipes a number of times both at home and at another person's house: Herb Crusted Leg of Lamb with Red Wine Gravy, Spring Greens with Bacon, Brown Butter New Potatoes, Honey and Thyme Carrots with lemon, served with steamed asparagus.

After I had planted this year’s potatoes I still had lots of last year’s crop to eat up and so it was potatoes every way for a while. One recipe I made was simple herb baked trout with lemon, dill and horseradish, served with beetroot baked in sherry vinegar and honey and potato dauphinoise. Other potato recipes were: Potato, rosemary and onion layer bake, Angela Hartnett's potatoes boulangere and cavalo nero recipes, and another from good old trusty BBC Good Food.

From the food that I have prepared or has been prepared for me recently I have chosen two menus.

Food I prepared for others:

First Course
Quenelles of smoked mackerel, lemon and horseradish pate decorated with chervil and served with baked honey roasted beetroot, watercress and toasted almonds and a choice of parmesan biscuits or oat biscuits.

Main Course
Italian chicken with cream cheese and spinach served with steamed cauliflower and a medley of buckwheat, fennel, peppers and mushrooms.

Meringue nests with whipped cream and raspberry and rhubarb compote.

Swiss Emmental, Blacksticks Blue, Alvis Mature Farmhouse Cheddar, French Comté.

Wine: Award winning South African Stark-Condé Cabernet Sauvignon - hand-crafted in small volumes using traditional methods: hand sorting, open-top fermentations, hand punchdowns and manual basket pressing. All the Stark-Condé wines are bottled without fining and filtration.

Food others prepared for me:

First Course
Pea soup with prosciutto.

Main Course
Chicken wrapped in prosciutto on a bed of puy lentils in a mustard sauce with warm beetroot and an olive oil drizzle.

Summer pudding and some panna cotta pots with strawberries and mint.

Didn’t make a note of them all but there was definitely Little Black Bomber.


I really enjoy regional cheese and we are blessed with more types in this country than they have in France.  During my travels around England in the last six months I have made a point of sampling local cheeses.  These are some I noted:
Single Gloucester cheese.

Norfolk White Lady which is made from milk from British Friesland dairy ewes.  These are  British Milksheep.

A visit to Suffolk Food Hall furnished these: Suffolk Gold and Suffolk Blue and a visit to Penrith furnished this one Berwick Edge,

Ones I have bought locally are: Wigmore made from unpasteurised ewe’s milk, this semi-soft cheese has been described by cheese guru Juliet Harbutt as a "taste sensation of wild flowers, burnt caramel, macadamia nuts and roast lamb", Rachel, Peakland Blue, and Ossau-Iraty AOC.

A visit to Lincoln introduced me to The Cheese Society Shop  where I tried the following: Delice de Bourgogne, Soumaintrain, Old Winchester.


I have eaten out quite a lot recently but one place that stood out was on a visit to Salisbury where I took some friends out for a meal at Cote Brasserie.  My menu was : starter; crab mayonnaise, main; haddock baked in prosciutto with pea puree and watercress with side dishes of green beans and creamed spinach.

August 2013

The first new recipe was a crab risotto and I based mine on one of Angela Hartnett's and one from The True Taste of Wales. Our garden is now producing so much that we are struggling to use all the crops. We have been making salads of beans and courgettes as well as the more obvious ones of lettuce, radish and cucumber. We made a courgette, pea and herb frittata with manchego cheese served with French beans and runner beans which was delicious. Cherries have been available which meant we went back to an old favourite of Duck Breast with Cherry and Port sauce. On the subject of old favourites, we have made Chicken and Bacon with Peas and Lettuce a number of times.

The September 2013 edition of BBC Good Food, which arrived early in August, has offered us some appealing treats. I will put the links in once the recipes appear on line. Cheese and Sage Scones and Chicken stuffed with Goats Cheese and Taragon both by James Martin were two we tried that worked really well. Another was a really tasty recipe for Lebanese Chicken with Spiced Aubergine Pilau Rice by Sara Buenfield which we will be making again.


Lebanese Chicken with Spiced Aubergine Pilau Rice

Unusually, we have only had one guest for a meal this month and the lunch menu was lots of salads, cold meats, salmon parcels, cheeses and fresh fruit.

July 2013

At last we are back to finding new recipes. Two recipes new to us were based on dishes we had in hotels.  The first was: avocado on brown crab meat stuffed with white crab meat with mayonnaise, fennel and a honey and mustard dressing. This link is to a simpler recipe based on the same idea. The second recipe was: Smoked Haddock and Leek Risotto. A variation on this is to add mustard. Another recipe we made up but did not write down was chicken and leek in a cheese and tarragon sauce topped with cheesey mash. Our new potatoes are now ready. The variety is Aaron Pilot which have a distinct taste of their own and are superb with just butter. However, we did try and enjoyed a Nigel Slater recipe with butter and fennel tops. We made some gluten free sultana scones using a recipe from Sara Buenfield in the August edition of BBC Good Food - recipe link not yet available. A dessert recipe we used for the first time was from a site we mentioned in June, Great British Chefs. The recipe was Pimms jelly with cucumber sorbet.


The garden is now producing well after a shaky start. So far we have had: rhubarb, courgettes, French beans, broad beans, lettuce, spring onions, radishes, pak choi, tomatoes, ruby chard, spinach, and Aaran pilot potatoes. Yet to come are: runner beans, pumpkins, marrows, carrots, beetroot, leeks, cucumbers, Borlotti beans, blueberries, damsons, apples, onions, garlic, purple sprouting broccoli, sweet peppers and kale.

Menu of the month for long suffering guests: Lunch: Cheese and sausage quiche, tomato and cheese quiche, cold ham, new potatoes with butter and fennel - a Nigel Slater recipe; Beryl's, now famous, mixed bean and chickpea salad; garlic mushrooms; tomato, red onion and basil salad; avocado, cucumber, green pepper and lime salad; red and yellow pepper and cherry salad; beetroot with balsamic vinegar and lemon thyme; fennel, courgette, pear and walnut salad in lemon juice; lettuce, radish and cucumber salad.

Dessert: Pimms Jelly with cucumber sorbet, with shop bought ice cream for the less adventurous.

June 2013

Sorry to say another month has passed by without new recipes. However, we have been interested by some new developments. 'The Independent' newspaper does a 'Fifty Best' column in its Saturday Magazine and it featured food websites on 22nd of June. In this selection we became aware of Fuchsia Dunlop, a much quoted blogger and Great British Chefs, a website we have looked through and know will feature here again. Among the fifty there are many other links worth following and I hope that is acceptable after posting no new recipes again. We also bought a recipe book from a stall at the carnival, 'The Food of Italy' by Claudia Roden, goddess to some. It has been a really interesting read before we have tried any of the recipes. How can we have been interested in recipes without being aware of her until now?

May 2013

No new recipes this month! For the first time. We had guests staying with us for nearly three weeks and we spent the last week of May on the island of Harris in the Hebrides. Whilst the guests were with us we cooked recipes that we liked from our recent discoveries mentioned here.

April 2013

Only a few new recipes this month because, although we have done more entertaining than usual, we have been using the previous recent recipes that pleased us so much.

Recipes we would recommend written by other people we tried this month.

Mustardy Spring Greens ( spring cabbage and peas in butter and mustards), Crispy Vegetable bake from Eatin Magazine which unfortunately does not store its recipes on line, and a superb cake recipe from Sara Buenfeld of BBC Good Food, Rhubarb and Orange Cake.

A recipe of our own that I liked was Smoked Cod and Parmesan Oven Baked Omelette.

Menu of the month:

Canapes: Blinis with cream cheese and salmon
Mains: Slow Cooked Goat in Red Wine, Easy Crispy Chicken from the Hairy Dieters, Crispy Vegetable Bake from ‘eatin’
Vegetables: New potatoes, celery and red pepper, carrots, Mustardy Spring Greens, broccoli and cauliflower cheese,
Dessert: Rhubarb and Orange Cake, Custard and Vanilla Ice Cream.


March 2013

We start this month by paying homage to cheese. I have been reading the World Cheese Book by Juliet Harbutt and enjoying it and we have sampled some cheese this month which we thought we would like to mention. The one we enjoyed most was called Shipcord which is produced on Rodwell's Farm near Ipswich. We bought the cheese from a delicatessen stall at the Thriplow Daffodil Festival. Later in the month on our trip to Much Wenlock we tried two more local cheeses. Hereford Hop, a semi-firm cheese with a sharp, almost citrus, buttery flavour. It is coated with dried hops which impart a rich toasty flavour to the cheese. Next was Wrekin White a nutty cheese with an aroma of fruit. There is a huge variety of English hand made cheeses now and each time we travel somewhere we look for local types to try.

Recipes written by other people we tried this month.

Nigel Slater’s Butter Bean and Mushroom Casserole - excellent as always. We also tried all of these by The Hairy Bikers in their book The Hairy Dieters: Italian Meatballs with Chunky Tomato Sauce, Lemon and Thyme Chicken, Southern Style Jambalaya, Baked Chicken With Parmesan. Every one was good, particulalry the last one which Dave recommended to us personally! That came about on 2nd March when we were in Jack Rabbits, a local foodie heaven, chatting to Hannah, a friend of ours who works there, and one of the things we talked about was The Hairy Bikers. At that point Dave Myers walked past the shop window so I went out and asked him to come in and meet Hannah which he duly did.  Beryl told him which recipes we were having of theirs that week end and he recommended the Parmesan Chicken one.

We made a John Torode recipe: Chocolate Pudding in its Own Sauce. Another recipe written by somebody else was Root Vegetable Strudle. It came from a magazine called Eatin. I don't recall an author attributed to it and the recipe is not on their web site but it was really tasty and looked like this before it was cut into slices.


Root Vegetable Strudle


Polenta And Mustard Bites With Red Onion Marmalade And Crab Meat

Recipes written by us this month.

Smoked Cod and Cheese Baked Souffle Omelette, served with samphire and cauliflower. This recipe was not written down. Polenta And Mustard Bites With Red Onion Marmalade And Crab Meat. Again, this recipe was not written down but there is a photograph above. It was loosely based on this recipe. Wild Boar, Chestnut and Mushroom Casserole, again, loosely based on this recipe. Finally, Salmon, Lemon, Ginger and Sesame Seed Fishcakes which is now in our online recipe book.


Salmon, Lemon, Ginger and Sesame Seed Fishcakes

Menus of the month

I couldn't decide which of these was the more enjoayble of the two so have included them both:

Canapes: Cheese scones with onion chutney
Mains: Root Vegetable Strudel, Wild Boar, Mushroom and Chestnut Casserole, served with cheesy mash, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
Desserts: Mary Berry's Lemon Pudding, Chocolate Pudding in its Own Sauce.

Canapes: Polenta And Mustard Bites With Red Onion Marmalade And Crab Meat.
Main Courses: Baked Chicken with Parmesan from The Hairy Dieters, Gluten Free Black Farmer Sausages, Barry's Sausages, cauliflower and broccoli cheese, roast potatoes, poached fennel, carrots and leeks.
Dessert: Easter Cake with cream and various ice creams.


Easter Cake - Gluten free sponge layers with lemon curd and vanilla butter icing topped with chocolate stars and Easter Eggs.

February 2013

Not many new items this month. Our own new recipes are: Baked Salmon in Orange and Ginger Sauce served with Potato, Celeriac, Onion and Mint Rosti; Sausage and Bean Cobbler; Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Cobbler. We did not write down any of the recipes though.

We tried a new Nigel Slater recipe of Baked Red Pepper Stuffed with Cannellini Beans which was, as usual, excellent.

I was given a new cookery book which I have made much use of:


So far we have made Quick Cod and Prawn Gratin and Old Fashioned Chicken and Vegetable Stew, both of which were excellent.

Menu of the month:
Starter: Sweetcorn Chowder
Main Courses: Sausage and Bean Cobbler; Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Cobbler; green beans with shallots, carrots with pine nuts and sesame seeds, leeks, Romanesco, potato wedges
Dessert: Rice pudding with golden syrup and various ice creams.

January 2013


'Mise en Place' for a simple lamb curry done in the slow cooker - just the spinach, almonds and yoghurt to go in near the end.

We continued to seek out new recipes for the slow cooker and have bought a few more recipe books to widen our range. Lamb with orange and Cointreau was so good we prepared it twice, once for ourselves and once for guests.  We thought lamb curry would do well in it and made it to our own recipe but this one was worth reading.  This one didn’t look very appetising and was a bit too heavy on the garlic for us but we used the Cumin Infused Rice With Peas part of the recipe and enjoyed it.  Mediocremum also has a really good slow cooker section.

Our next culinary adventure started with the excellent Observer Food Monthly which we devour as soon as it arrives.  There was a collection of recipes by top chefs most of which we will be trying and an excellent article about cooking on a budget.  The article was written by Miss South - as she calls herself - and with her brother, Mr North, she runs a blog called  It is full of fascinating links.  Do visit.  We have used one of Miss South’s recipe suggestions and plan to use others.  The first recipe we tried was Corn Chowder and it turned out brilliantly - thank you Miss South.  Because we changed her suggestions slightly by adding mussels I have written our recipe here.  It has been really interesting to look at the history of Chowder as a recipe.  Like paella and cassoulet its origins are as 'peasant food' and while some aspects of the recipe have changed over the years the basics remain the same.  A good account of the history is here. More about 'peasant food'.

Other recipes we have tried and would recommend are from the BBC Good Food Magazine (again!):  Golden Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie, and Berry Slump.  I wanted to make Devils on Horseback and used my usual recipe but searched the net and found a version by Martha Stewart which I shall use next time I make them.  We have also made Tuscan Beans to go with a pork steak recipe.  We used our own version which involved grinding fennel seed in the pestle and mortar but this recipe would work very well.
    Lamb Curry and red plonk - fine by candle light

Almost finally, I came across this site and thought of people who do not enjoy cooking but have to do it and it seemed like a good place to start.  Lots of good ideas here.

And finally, Menu of the month
Canapes: Devils on Horseback
Main courses: Slow Cooked Lamb with orange and Cointreau, Golden Veggie Shepherd’s Pie, served with Romanesco, carrots, Brussels with Hussle, Potato wedges,
Dessert: Berry Slump (Gluten Free version)


Corn Chowder

December 2012


Rum balls coated with cocoa, desiccated coconut, melted chocolate - see below.

What is in your freezer?  The big one in the garage has lots of fruit which we have picked at various times during the year and during December we made two dishes based on items from the freezer.  The first was Red Gooseberry Sauce which appeared as: Trout stuffed with onions baked in foil with red gooseberry sauce, served with new potatoes, carrots, Brussels and  tomatoes baked with yellow pepper and basil drizzled with lemon olive oil. A brilliant combination.

The second was to diminish the damson mountain. Damson, apple, date and lemon stuffing for the turkey which we had on New Year's Day.

As predicted the slow cooker has been used a lot and I have now signed up to this site so there will be more slow cooker recipes to follow. One of the best was Slow cooked Lamb with Oranges and Lemons but we also had Pheasant slow cooked with chicken stock, onions, garlic, sweet peppers, carrots and thyme and our Christmas Day meal was slow cooked pheasant in red wine.

In looking for pheasant recipes I came across some bizarre combinations on sites in the USA.  This site seems to like tinned soup and peanut butter combinations.  But this one has to be the winner of the bizarre banner offering pheasant cooked in Pepsi Cola and barbeque sauce.

Two new recipes which we feel comfortable with are from BBC Good Food Chicken thighs in honey, lemon and mustard and Ham Hock and Mustard Terrine which is superb.

I was given a new Gluten Free Cook Book for Christmas and put it to good use by making the rum balls pictured above, cinnamon biscuits and Traditional Lamingtons.

Menu of the month
Main Courses: Roast turkey, sausages wrapped in bacon, pork and garlic stuffing balls, damson, apple, date and lemon stuffing, cheese and tomato quiche, served with roast potatoes, roast parsnips, carrot and sweet potato mash, Brussels with Hustle, cauliflower and broccoli cheese, leeks in mustard sauce.
Desserts:  rum balls coated with cocoa, desiccated coconut, melted chocolate; traditional Lamingtons; cinnamon biscuits with melted chocolate; Golden Syrup ice cream, Chocolate and Cornish Cream ice cream, Vanilla Cornish Cream ice cream.


Traditional Lamingtons

November 2012
Three recipes we make each year during this season have been enjoyed again this year.  That is what being seasonal is all about!  We only make them once or twice a year though.  They were Pumpkin, Coconut and Prawn Soup, Pumpkin and Parma Ham Risotto, and Pumpkin Pie.

As predicted in the October item we explored more slow cooker recipes.  Notable ones were Vegetable Casserole loosely based on the one in the Hinkler Complete Series cookbook. We added about two inches of grated root ginger to the recipe. It was delicious. Leek and Bean Casserole from the same cookbook and Mushroom Casserole to which we added the juice and zest of a lemon.  We are currently using lemons and limes in lots of dishes and the addition of lemon to mushrooms really enhances the flavour.   

We have also made Goat in Red Wine Casserole again and this super recipe from BBC Good Food for Chicken and Red Wine Casserole with Herby Dumplings.  The dumplings, made with Dove’s Farm Gluten Free flour, were excellent. Another recipe new to us which we enjoyed - not a slow cooker one this time - was Angela Hartnett’s Sardines with Fennel Stew.

Menu of the month
Canapes: Blinis with cream cheese, honeyed salmon and prawns.
Main courses: Tomato and Curd Cheese Tart,  Chicken and Red Wine Casserole with Herby Dumplings, cauliflower and broccoli cheese, carrots and new potatoes.
Dessert: Pumpkin Pie with Cornish Cream ice cream.


October 2012

Three new recipes as an opening paragraph for this month: Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds; Mediterranean Vegetables with Lamb; and Chicken livers cooked with onions in sherry served with new potatoes and peas. Our newly refurbished Morrison’s now has samphire in stock daily and so we had fried hake, samphire and asparagus because it was available.

On Saturday 6th October the village association had organsied a coach visit to the Melton Mowbray Food Festival.  We had a really enjoyable day and came back with bags full of goodies including goat meat from Chestnut Meats. Because we had goat meat we decided that we wanted a slow cooker, so one was duly purchased.  Expect lots more slow cooker recipes.  This is our recipe for Goat in Red Wine Casserole.  Since then we have had a rabbit casserole from the cooker using our own recipe not written down.  We have bought a couple of slow cooker recipe books and made a note of some recipe sites.  More to follow.

Menu of the month, of course, involved slow cooking:
Canapes: Gluten free cheese straws. Mains: Beef in gluten free beer casserole, Goat in red wine casserole, broccoli and cauliflower cheese, runner beans, brussels, brussels with hustle, carrots, mashed potato. Dessert: Rice pudding with ice creams and jam.

September 2012

Prawn and Coconut Risotto


A recently revamped Morrison's has provided us with a wealth of new ingredients. The fruit and vegetable section is one of the best we have ever seen in a supermarket and makes Harrods Food Hall and Fortnum and Masons look tired, old, sad, and expensive. We bought a whole range of mushrooms and made Mushroom and Chickpea Stew with Red Pepper Coulis. In searching for recipes we came across this site, More to Mushrooms, which we shall return to another day because it offers lots of suggestions.

Three favourite recipes new to us this month are Crispy Topped Cumberland Pie, and Panfried Chicken With Tomato And Olive Sauce, both from BBC Good Food and one of our own, Prawn and Coconut Risotto.

We have done a little baking recently and a recipe new to us was Cheese and Onion Chutney Scones. They were really tasty. We also made some old favourites but using Doves Farm Gluten Free flours: Coffee Kisses and Sausage Rolls from the Bero Cook Book and a variation my mother used to make when I was a child of mashed sardines with black pepper rolled and surrounded with cheese pastry to make rolls about the same size as the Sausage Rolls.

Menu of the month: Canapes: peppered cheese pastry sardine rolls; Main course: Crispy Topped Cumberland Pie, chicken, cheese and tomato pizza, served with new potatoes, asparagus, Romanesco, carrots, runner beans. Dessert: Cooked Chocolate Cheesecake and creme fraiche.

August 2012

Not much to report this month in terms of new recipes.  As last month we have been eating produce from the garden cooked as simply as possible.  We usually steam vegetables briefly but stir fries have featured quite a lot because of an abundance of Pak Choi.  I really like cucumbers thrown into a stir fry at the last minute and we have had plenty of those this year.  Our tomato crop has been a disaster again because of all the rain.

Because we have been on holiday we have been letting other people do the cooking. These are some of the places we have tried: The Burnt Gate at Anslow caters for all sorts of diets: coeliac, vegetarian, pescetarian, vegan.  The food is freshly prepared and to a very high standard.  It is an excellent local place to eat and one we hope to use a lot.  We visited with two friends and two of the four of us are coeliacs and we had a really good meal there.

When we went to North Wales these are some of the places we visited.  The Oystercatcher  is a chef’s training restaurant on Anglesey where we had excellent food and good service.  It was within sight of Cefn Dref where we stayed and had superb breakfasts.  We also ate at Sullivans restaurant where the food was acceptable and at Sandy’s Bistro where the food was disgusting.  On the last evening we stayed at The Porth Tocyn Hotel where the food was as good as it claimed to be. We also had an excellent lunch at Grosvenor Hotel in Victoria on one of our days out in London.

One new salad recipe we tried was Lentil and Buckwheat. Other than that these are some of the dishes we have prepared. Chicken, capsicum  and ginger stir fry with spinach, pak choi and cucumber fresh from the garden; Steamed Salmon with lemon, prawn, caper and creme fraiche sauce, steamed broad beans, spinach and butter and peppered courgette; Goats cheese and watercress tart with broad beans and courgette with lemon zest and wild sumac; Crab and mushroom risotto with fennel seeds, courgette and yellow pepper, spinach; Salmon and Crab Fritata; Prawn and Mushroom risotto.

We had lunch at a friend’s house recently where we were very well looked after.  This was the menu.
Starter: Salmon parcels stuffed with crème fraiche and served with a salad and brown bread, including gluten free. Main: pork filet wrapped in pancetta with mixed griddled vegetables, new potatoes. Desserts: Mixed fruit in Prosecco jelly, chocolate crème brulee, meringues stuffed with strawberries crushed in frozen yoghurt.

Of our own menus prepared for others this is the one that reflects most our attempts to be seasonal with almost everything coming from the garden.
Roast Aitch Bone Beef with roast potatoes, broad beans, runner beans, broccoli and cauliflower cheese and mixed roast vegetables: onions, fennel, courgette, patty pan, celery, orange pepper, tomatoes and garlic with rosemary and sage.
Dessert: Blackberry and apple pie with vanilla ice cream and creme fraiche with sloe gin.

July 2012

Not many items this month. We have been concentrating on using our own fresh ingredients from the garden and not doing much with them. But, here are some recipes new to us this July.

Canapes: Polenta Tarts

Salads : Amaranth Salad

Mains : Chickpea and cauliflower curry, a recipe from The Guardian, Avocados stuffed with crab from the Easy Cook magazine, crab and prawn risotto, and crab cakes by Yotam Ottolenghi. The best new main course recipe was Stir fried beef with ginger and pineapple from BBC Good Food August 2012 Page 103 (I will put a link in when it is available).

Menu of the month:
Canapes: polenta tartlets with chicken and pesto topped with cranberries
Mains: barbecued: chicken, lamb burgers, beefburgers, sausages and pork chops, vegetable kebabas, served with own new potatoes, asparagus, carrots and cauliflower and broccoli cheesey bake.
Desserts: Lavender and almond biscuits, coated with icing sugar and vanilla butter cream, topped with strawberries, topped with whipped cream, topped with lavender meringues.


This month's favourite salad.
Our own version uses chocolate to increase the instensity of the flavour.

June 2012

Salads - This month’s salad ingredient was quinoa.  For lots of recipes and cooking instructions do have a look at  Clearly this wonderful ingredient may be used in all sorts of ways and we do, but I just thought I would mention it in salads here.  One recipe from this site we used was Quinoa, Blueberry and Walnut, then I modified one of Wendy’s suggestions and made Quinoa and Chickpea with Curry Mayonnaise which had been one of the most enjoyable salads I have had in a while.

Two other salads we have had recently were store cupboard suggestions.  One was a simple combination of Dove’s Farm Fusilli pasta, pasata, chopped anchovies, chopped sundried tomatoes, and black olives with our own dried oregano. The other was even simpler: tin of tomatoes whizzed up with a tablespoon of tomato puree, a tablespoon of tomato sauce, a handful of dried mixed herbs then added to a tin of butter beans.

Two other salads we very much enjoyed were: Spiced cauliflower with chickpeas, herbs and pine nuts and Red cabbage, beetroot and apple salad both of which came from BBC Good Food Magazine.

salads beetroot salad quinoa

Vegetables and starters - A vegetable dish worth mentioning is tomatoes stuffed with minted peas which I shall do again using cherry tomatoes as a canapé.  Two recipes we combined to make a starter were one we will be making again and again. We served Caponata with Sundried Tomato Bread.  The Caponata was something completely new to us and our recipe is based on various versions we read elsewhere.

Mains - Our first suggestion here is Poached Salmon with lemon creme fraiche sauce, the recipe is not written down but we intend to return to this and add dill and capers to the sauce so I may write the recipe down if that works well.

Creamy Chicken with Tarragon and Asparagus from BBC Good Food June 2012, worked very well as did Stir-fried Pork with Ginger & Honey.  Also from BBC Good Food Magazine was Chicken with Spinach and Ham (July page 62 I will add a link when the recipe appears on line) which we enjoyed and had the spinach fresh from the garden.

Desserts - we have not eaten desserts much this month but one recipe new to us that went down well was Custard and White Chocolate Biscuits.  Another version of this recipe appears on this blog which is well worth a look.

Menu of the month uses a number of the recipes mentioned here.

Starter: Caponata, Sundried Tomato Bread, cream cheese and chilli jam
Main courses: Chicken with asparagus, tarragon and creme fraiche - BBC Good Food June 2012 Page 101, Black Farmer Sausages, Trout stuffed with orange and fennel, wrapped in foil and baked, Brocolli and caulflower in cheese and chive sauce,  Red and white cabbage with onions and celery, chantenay carrots, mashed potato.
Desserts: Ginger biscuit log (one made with biscuits soaked in rum the other soaked in orange juice and masked in cream); Bananas baked in Amaretto with toasted flaked almonds, and a sprinkling of chocolate; Custard and white chocolate biscuits; Toffee Ice Cream.

May 2012

During the short period of hot weather, which may well turn out to be the summer for this year, we had a barbecue and our party of eight were able to spend the whole afternoon and evening out on the patio enjoying the air and the view. We had an array of the butcher's finest concoctions and, now that the herb garden is established, some vegetarian kebabs covered in fresh herbs. We made a Sweet and Sour Sauce and a Gluten Free Brown Sauce.

Main course recipes new to us this month were: Chicken with Red Wine and Mushroom Sauce; Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto, and an Irish Beef Stew from the BBC Good Food site. The most enjoyable main course recipe of the month was definitely Lamb with Asparagus published by Nigel Slater in The Observer.

Dessert recipes were: Flourless Pineapple Cake; Flourless Chocolate and Lime Cake by Nigella Lawson; Almond and Lemon Meringue Roulade; and my own recipe for Honey, Avocado and Lime Ice Cream.

And finally, if you like reading and you like recipes, and if you have read this far then you do, have a look at this site which includes both.

April 2012

Salads - This month's salad ingredient is millet. I have had a lot of pleasure from exploring different recipes with this ingredient. My favourite so far is Millet, Black Bean, Prawn and Coconut Salad.



Others I liked were : Millet Salad with Sweet Corn and Avocado, Shrimp, Watercress, and Millet Salad. A more varied list of Millet Salads can be found here.

Main courses - Crab risotto. We based our version on these two recipes, one by Jamie and one by Angela Harnett. We enjoyed this so much it led us on to: Crab stuffed mushrooms. If you like the idea of crab and fancy looking at a whole range of recipes have a look at Platinum Recipe's Crab Selection.

We also really enjoyed Meatballs in red wine gravy from The Hairy Bikers 'Mums Still Know Best' (p.124) and chicken with preserved lemons using this recipe from the Los Angeles Times.

Vegetables - This month's outstanding dish in terms of vegetables was samphire. We found some fresh in a fishmongers in Whitby where we also bought some fabulous hake. The dish we made was pan fried hake on a bed of puy lentils with bacon and onion served with wilted samphire.

Hake with potatoes and samphire is popular and this recipe looks as though it would work. Now I have found that Hugh wrote an article about samphire a number of years ago. and, of course, the BBC food pages deal with it.

We ate in an excellent restaurant in Robin Hood's bay called The Wayfarer Bistro a couple of times and ate Seared Tuna with pesto and crème fraiche, sea bass with olives and capers in a tomato sauce served with three distinctly different salads and on another occasion queen scallops with a crab crust, garlic mushrooms (the best I have ever had) and Halibut in a crab sauce. With this last item we had a cracking bottle of wine, a Black Shiraz. We felt the bistro was our sort of place - straightforward people, top quality ingredients prepared with respect for those ingredients and excellent flavour and texture combinations. It was really interesting to be able to watch a chef preparing food under instruction of the head chef/propriteress. If you are in Robin Hood's Bay do eat here.

Finally for April a Sunday lunch menu for our long suffering guests was:
Rice balls; Packington chicken, Black Farmer sausages, Tomato and Curd Cheese Tart, Hugh's brussels with shallots, roasted carrots; roast potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, purple sprouting broccoli, cider and mustard gravy
Chocolate bird's nests with ice cream - Cambridge Blue cheese and gf oat cakes.

March 2012

A few more new recipes this month than last.

Salads - Last month I enthused about lentils used to make salads and this month it is Buckwheat. To start with I used this recipe as a base : warm buckwheat and mushroom salad. Then I tried this, Buckwheat Salad with Mushrooms and Parsley Oil. The combination of garlic, lemon and balsamic really made this for me. Finally, this combination of ingredients was really good, A.B.C. Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette, not sure about the web site though.

Main courses - We decided to make a One-pot Moroccan Chicken dish and this is the recipe we loosely based our dish on: One-pot Moroccan Chicken from BBC Good Food. However, we were spoilt for choice, we could have made this one by Mandy Sinclair, this one by Kim Conte, or this one from the McCormic site. Another was this odd one but it shows how recipes cause people to write blogs and I find that interesting....I wouldn’t use this one because it uses cous cous, an ingredient I miss a lot.  However, millet when cooked properly comes close.

A recipe I did not write down was Pan Fried Pollock, egged and gf breadcrumbed with ras al hanout mixed in with the breadcrumbs, steamed carrots and a stir fry of bean sprouts, radishes, cucumber, spring onions and shredded cabbage. Two more recipes from other sources were: Smoked haddock with lemon & dill lentils and Spiced carrot, chickpea and almond pilaf.

Vegetable dishes - Two recipes we really liked were Braised leeks and apples and Mustardy Baked Onions. Two others were tried and liked but do not have links to were from Hugh's book 'River Cottage Veg' listed below: Caramelised Carrots (page 355) and Roasted Brussels with Shallots (page 352). These were both good especially the the carrots with the gremolata on. The Brussels could do with being steamed for a while before being roasted.

Balls -

      Sesame Almond Brown Rice Balls
  Spicy Lentil Balls with Poppy Seeds.    
  spicyballs   riceballs
  These were really tasty and most enjoyable.   These were not so good because they did not bind in the way they should have. You could vary the fillings in the centre of the balls really easily though. I will put chopped apricots in next time I make them.

February 2012

February has not been a month of many new recipes.  A recipe I invented but didn’t bother to write down was monkfish and butterbeans with onions and garlic in a tomato sauce. We decided to make an old favourite, Coq au Vin and loosely based what we did on this recipe and this one.  Whilst on the subject of web sites, I used foodblogsearch to research some recipes.  It refers a lot to 101 cookbooks, a site I have mentioned before, but it also came up with lots of other suggestions worth a look. Another site I used for the first time was foodnetwork. Recipes, though limited in number, are attractively presented and with helpful preparation information. Worth pointing your mouse at if you have not been there before.  

We came out of The Cambridge Cheese Shop with a bag full of goodies.  Our favourite, which we have purchased there in the past, was a cheese called Cambridge Blue (made with full cream).  We mentioned that we had been unable to find this delight anywhere else and the shop keeper told us that it is made specifically for them.  We have tried other regional varieties, at various times, such as Suffolk Blue and Oxford Blue but they didn’t quite match up.  So if we want it we have to go to Cambridge.  A visit is planned in March.  We had another cheese of note in the bag and that was a Rosemary Manchego which is available generally.  One thing we learnt is that when you buy a range of cheeses ask the cheese merchant to write the names on the paper bags they are wrapped in!

‘Ey some snap’  is Ilkeston dialect meaning ‘have some lunch’. It originates from a mining term.  Every miner would take his packed lunch in a ‘snap tin’.  They were made specifically for the purpose by Acme.  


Photo of an original miner's 'snap tin'

We now have plastic boxes with clips that ‘snap’ to lock the box so that the contents can’t fall/drip out.  What has this to do with our recipes?

Having given up with gluten free bread as a food for lunches I now make up a different kind of salad each time we go walking.  I have not had the same salad twice and lunches have been more interesting than ever before.  Recently, my passion has been for various lentil salads. Now I have added another snap tin with fruit salads of all sorts as a dessert. Let’s hear it for ‘snap tins’.

January 2012

Christmas Presents!

  highveg   hairy   jamie

Recipes new to us this month have been influenced by those whose books we were given for Christmas.  They were not necessarily taken from the books, some came from web sites.

Our first offering was Turkey Curry by the Hairy Bikers but we found that it was a very dry dish so we added coconut milk to it.  We then made a selection of Canapes based on their ideas.  A canape should be just one mouthful in size. Instead of their recipe for the base I made cheese gluten free pastry but then used their suggestions for egg and bacon, and ploughman’s lunch.  These looked so good and I had some pastry left so I made some crab and prawn cocktail ones using the same idea of a small base with a miniature version of the filling on the top.  Good fun to make and they looked good.  There were none left over!

Next came a Jamie Recipe that did what it said.  It converted Brussels haters.   His ‘Brussels with Hustle’ recipe really works and is very easy to make.

We made a long list of things we wanted to try from Hugh's book and so far we have made Parsnip and Ginger Soup which was excellent and Chestnut and Sage Soup which was not so good. He has a recipe for stuffed Chile peppers which I modified to become red peppers in tomato sauce stuffed with: buckwheat, butterbeans, onion, garlic, celery; served with carrots. There are lots more items on the list and so I shall be referring back to the book next month.

Thank you to those who gave us the presents. We are definitely enjoying them.

December 2011

A couple of 'winter' meals we had before Christmas were: rabbit casserole, with mashed potato, cauliflower and broccoli; roast pheasant with wild bilberry sauce, gluten free herby popovers, roast potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. We also had turkey stuffed with my own gluten free sausage, bacon, onion and herb stuffing, some of which I kept back to make sausage rolls using the cheesy pastry recipe I mentioned in November. I was about to egg wash the pastry when I thought I would look it up on the web where I found this useful table of various egg wash finishes.

During our usual trip to London before Christmas we continued with the Morrocan theme and went to The Sahara restaurant where we had a superb meal of fish tagine and a lamb tagine with cinnamon, onions and raisins served with toasted almonds and sesame seeds. We also visited Kensington Place, a recently refurbished fish restaurant where we had some good food.

Our Christmas meal together was Guinea Fowl pot roasted in cider and cream and on Boxing day we had pot roast top side of beef, red cabbage with beetroot and various other vegetables. After the festivities we had a bit of a reaction and opted for steak and chips and liver and bacon with peppered onions and mash.......sometimes it feels good to go back to simple foods you used to eat. That poses the question: Is taste the strongest memory trigger? Which could lead on to the question: Do we define ourselves by the food we eat?

November 2011

We have been struck this year by how much we are still using from our garden. We had lettuce and tomatoes from the garden in the last week of November. At the same time last year the garden was covered in four inches of snow. There is some seasonal confusion. So, on the Sunday 13th we had a brace of partridge - currently abundant at the butchers - covered in bacon and roasted, roast potatoes, cauliflower and the carrots from the garden - still abundant when they would normally be finished or frosted. The herb garden continues to serve us well. Mary Berry featured herbs on a recent television cooking programme and made a delicious galette using puff pastry, thyme, red peppers and goats' cheese. My variation was to make the pastry base using the Gluten free cheese crackers recipe - without the salt.

We have stayed with Morrocan recipes for some of the month as our Sunday lunch with the Halls and Dave and Mary shows. Canapes: Goat's Cheese and Red Pepper and Thyme Galette and Gluten Free Cheese Crackers. Main Courses : Pot roast Beef - Chicken with preserved lemon and green olives and sausages, Yorkshire Puddings, roast potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, Romanesco, mixed roasted vegetables (pumpkin, peppers, tomatoes, and shallots). Dessert: Bread and butter pudding. We also offered Dave and Mary on another day Ras el Hanout lamb served with rice and popadoms, garlic mushrooms and leeks in mustard sauce. An English recipe we offered them was by Jason Atherton, Pork loin on red cabbage puree, with sweet potato and orange mash, carrots and cauliflower.

Turkish food took our interest this month and these are some of our attempts. Lamb with butter beans, wild sumac, allspice, and cardamom with basmati rice, supposedly a Turkish recipe based upon Etli Kuru Fasulye. We then had Kiymali Mercimek (Lentils, beef, onions and tomato) served with sauted leeks like the dish Kiymali Pirasa Sote (Leek Saute with Ground Beef ) My recipes were taken from the notes of a Turkish lady who works at Holbrook Hall but there are lots more Turkish recipes here. I doubt that we will return to Turkish recipes because I do not like vine leaves and we do like lots of herbs and spices.

Finally for November, a succulent Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe, Caraway and Orange Seed Cake. This was baked one Saturday morning and served warm with coffee when the house filled up with guests. It seemed to be much enjoyed and there was very little of it left.

October 2011

October was a bountiful month. The hedgerows were so abundant this year that it seemed wasteful not to use some of the crops. So, we enjoyed foraging. We went on a number of fungi forays as well but are adamant that we only eat mushrooms we buy from shops or those that have grown in our garden after we have applied mushroom compost.

I remember reading Food for Free by Richard Maybey when it first came out over thirty years ago and John Seymour’s Guide to Self Sufficiency when I lived at Wheathills Farm. It was part of what we did to make food from what we found around the farm. There were memorable puff balls in the old walled garden which we sliced and fried in bacon fat. I digress. Now I have the time to indulge in returning to things that were important to me before earning a living took over. The first thing we made during the month was Sloe Gin and then Sloe Jelly. After that we covered the stove with pans (and what boiled over from them) and made: Quince Jelly, Crab Apple Jelly, Redcurrant Jelly, Damson Jam and Damson Cheese. The recipes for these came from a book we treasure 'Domestic Preservation of Fruit and Vegetables' Bulletin 21 1962. We hardly ever eat bread and jam: these were made to go with cheeses and cold meats.

We have been through a Moroccan phase this month with most of the recipes coming from one web site, Maroque. During the month we made: Chicken tagine with dates, ginger, honey and lemon; Lamb with prunes, served with millet; carrots, and cauliflower; Lamb with Quince served with mashed sweet potato with orange rind, mashed parsnip, steamed kale, broccoli, leek, cabbage; Lemon and sumac chicken kebabs, served with green lentils and courgette; Honeyed Carrot and potato Tagine; Winter fruits in ginger syrup with cardamom yoghurt. All of the recipes worked well, there are many more recipes for us to try, and we would thoroughly recommend the site.

We had our usual seasonal dishes of Pumpkin, Prawn and Coconut Soup, Pumpkin and Parma Ham Risotto, and Pumpkin Pie. This year we added a new British Larder recipe of Pumpkin Chutney to our repertoire. We also made Chilli Jam which I am enjoying immensely especially with Gluten free cheese crackers. If you use this recipe make sure to leave out the salt! The recipe is a fiddle but it is worth the effort of chilling, folding and rolling over and over again. The pastry was very like commercial puff pastry and is the best gf pastry I have made.

One of our Sunday lunch menus with The Halls was: Canapes: Gluten free cheese crackers with quark and chilli jam or pumpkin chutney.
Main Courses: Slow roasted pork belly on chicory with apple sauce, pot roasted topside of beef in red wine with mushrooms, leeks, carrots and onions, served with Yorkshire puddings, Romanesco, brocolli, roast potatoes, new potatoes, gluten free sausages, organic orange and yellow carrots, and Brussels.
Desserts: Gluten Free Banana Cake with toffee sauce, banana custard and cream. The Banana cake is a winner, it is really moist, light and fluffy. Beryl has made two of them now in her Kenwood they were easy to make and have been the best gf cakes we have had so far.

  Gluten Free Banana Cake  

September 2011

On the 9th September the village community group had organised a trip to The Ludlow Food Festival. We had a really interesting day out. In anticipation of the bounty in the season ahead I bought Mallard from a stall, but our most memorable find was the cheese called Ogleshield which some say is similar to Raclette but which I think is in a class of its own. It is a wonderful cheese - do try it if you see it. From the same stall we also bought Damson Cheese which was eaten before the end of the next day.

  ogleshield   damson


During the rest of the month we prepared lots of Thai recipes, often based upon Kit Chan's book mentioned in April. We had Mushroom risotto in various forms and made lots of tomato sauce. We also made tomato soup from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals - delicious.

Two other recipes we enjoyed were salmon in lime juice cooked in the steam oven and a classic Tart Tatin which I didn't eat and also didn't make a very good job of in that I didn't follow a recipe and put too few apples in it. I am told the flavour was good though.

August 2011

We went away a number of times during August and generally ate very well in hotels and restaurants. We had good food and service in the award winning restaurant at The Valley Hotel in Ironbridge. At the end of the month we had some excellent gluten free food at The Fairbank Hotel in Crantock Bay in Cornwall including a delicious recipe of monkfish and mushrooms in a cream sauce.

We had lots of courgettes, although not quite on the industrial scale we used to grow them. I like to pick them and fry them in butter with black pepper within a few minutes. Two variations on that idea were courgettes fried in butter with lemon and chervil and courgettes fried with a sprinkling of curry powder.

One of the Sunday lunch menus for the Hall family was - Canapes: Quinoa Flour Cheese Muffins, Anchovy Palmiers, Black olives, Chestnut and buckwheat flour bread with golden linseed.
Mains: Pork and borlotti beans in a tomato and cider sauce, Italian beef stew; Horseradish mash, roast vegetables - peppers, courgettes, beetroot, red onions, carrots, garlic, broad beans and runner beans.
Desserts: Snow Queen from The Hairy Biker's book 'Mums Know Best' , Peach and Blueberry Grunt.

We also served snacks to some friends who came to look round the garden : Chestnut and Buckwheat flour bread; cream cheese, broad bean and roasted red pepper pate; prawns, Quinoa Flour Cheese Muffins, blinis, black olives, green olives stuffed with almonds, Anchovy Palmiers; followed by Raspberry and Coconut slices (Darina Allen Page 124)

July 2011

In July we actually visited The British Larder Restaurant and had a superb meal of crab and tomato with gazpacho, Beryl then had skate with potatoes and ruby chard, and I had duck leg with bacon and broad beans. The duck was tender and had a richness to it, the bacon had a sort of maple syrup flavour on the outside and the parsnips had a sprinkling of brown sugar slightly melted on. Sounds very sweet but it was not. Absolutely fabulous flavours. Jay Rayner, The Observer food critic, thought the restaurant was pretty good too. His review is here.

A Sunday lunch for the long suffering Halls was : Canapes: parmesan cheese twists, brown gluten free chervil bread toasted with chicken pate spread on it. Main course: Sausage and bean hotpot, Chicken with bacon, peas and lettuce, carrots, new potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower gratin. Dessert: Strawberry Arctic Roll from The British Larder served with extra strawberry ice cream, vanilla ice cream and cream.

Two main courses we did that were notable were our own invention of Hake, prawns and butter beans in Vermouth and vegetable stock served with spinach and one of James Martin's from BBC Good Food Magazine : roast Leg of lamb with lavender and honey served with boiled minted potatoes and green beans with shallots. A dessert we prepared twice because we liked it so much was Peach and Blueberry Grunt from BBC Good Food Magazine.

June 2011

We were away for parts of June and so did not search out many new recipes. We gave some serious attention to 'Mums Know Best' and 'Mums Still Know Best' compiled by The Hairy Bikers. We had Bhuteko Dumba Ko Masu, Alludam, Sesame Chutney and bean sprouts with orange, pepper, soy and sherry; 'Snow Queen' and Spaghetti Carbonara.

Our own recipes worth noting were roast pork loin in mushroom sauce with asparagus, broad beans, and roasted new potatoes and cottage pie, carrots, asparagus - with all of the vegetables coming from the garden.

May 2011

The first new recipe for May was Marlborough Pudding. There is another version here. We wanted to cook duck in cherry sauce and this recipe worked very well. We made a couple of salads from the BBC food web site, they were mushrooms al la greque and fennel and orange. We also made a number of chicken and rabbit dishes from the BBC Good Food Magazine. We also made a gem of a Nigel Slater recipe of Asparagus in Lemon and Tomato.

Other recipes we fiddled around with during the month were Thai dishes incuding: pork curry, beef, mushroom and peanut curry, chicken and cashew nut curry with bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and bean sprouts, with rice and popadoms.

April 2011

One of the first things I noticed this month was that there had been some changes in the British Larder web site with a new seasonal section looking particularly interesting. It is also worth exploring the ‘lists’ section but be careful when looking at the ‘shop’ - so many desirable kitchen gadgets! This remains one of my favourite food web sites.

We have been through a Thai food phase this month starting with Thai chicken stir-fry with pak choi from Darina Allen (Page 101). We then took out an old favourite recipe book, Taste of Thailand by Kit Chan and had Pineapple Fried Rice and Thai Prawn Curry. Later in the month we had Sweet and Sour Pork with rice and noodles and popadoms. Using Kit Chan’s recipes as a base I then did Beef, Mushroom and Peanut curry.

We also did a quick store cupboard meal of Spaghetti with sardines, with black olives, capers and tomato sauce from BBC Good Food. We thought it was really tasty and as it took about ten minutes to prepare we may well repeat it.

Beryl had what seems a very appropriate present as part of her birthday gifts from her son and daughter-in-law. Both of the Mum’s know Best cook books. Lots of fun to be had exploring the dishes in those.

Menu of the month would be one that we trialled with our long suffering Sunday lunch testers, The Hall family, and then repeated for Beryl’s brother and his wife when they came to stay later in the month.
Canapes: sausages on sticks.
Maincourse: Italian Beef Stew (Darina Allen Page 107) served with cheesey mash, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, Brussels and peas.
Dessert: Carrot Cake (Phil Vickery Page 81 ) served with Cinnamon Ice Cream, Carrot and Ginger Sorbet (both my recipes), and the fourth of the quartet, Chocolate, Toasted Hazelnut and Orange Zest shards. (A variation on Mark Hix’s recipe published in The Independent 23rd April 2011)

March 2011

This has not been a particularly notable month for new recipes, if anything, I can see old favourites re-appearing in the form of treacle sponge pudding and roast pork tenderloin.

The first new recipe was Buckwheat Cauliflower Cheese. I started with a recipe found on the web and modified it to suit our taste. It made a tasty change to our usual cauliflower cheese. For me, the addition of bacon pieces would turn it into a very satisfying main course.

The next was Asparagus and Pea Soup. We had some new season asparagus which was too long to fit in the steamer we were using so I cut off the bottom pieces, combined them with an onion, a couple of potatoes, some chicken stock, and, shock horror, a tin of mushy peas. Usual cooking method and then blitzed in a food processor and pushed through a sieve and seasoning adjusted to taste. It was very green but delicious, didn’t waste any food and cost next to nothing.

We decided to take a trip down memory lane and have roast pork tenderloin which is something we used to eat a long time ago as a kind of treat (perhaps buying it from M&S was the treat). We served it with kale, leeks, spinach and roast parsnips from the garden which finally finished using everything planted last year. We also had roast gnocchi an idea given to us by the temptress, Nigella Lawson. Sheer naughtiness, much worse than packets of crisps, but very enjoyable.

We also had Grilled Monkfish with Rosemary and Caprese Salad from the book ‘Fresh’ by Mitch Tonks (page 44). It was good, but for a monkfish recipe I still prefer Monkfish, Chorizo and Puy Lentil Casserole.

In our previous house we had a large kitchen and a range cooker with eight burners, two ovens and a grill. When we moved we selected the new range cooker but were disappointed to find that it was two inches too long to fit in the space. So we decided to buy a worktop combination oven and manage with the four burners on the cooker that was already in the kitchen. The Panasonic Combination Oven has introduced us to steam oven cooking which we now use often. I was worried that being coeliac would mean no more light and fluffy Golden Syrup Puds for me. However, the combination oven produces a wicked syrup sponge pudding in a very short time using Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour.

We use the steam oven a lot for steaming fish. One recent meal was steamed salmon with lime and pepper served with new potatoes, salad nicoise and a new gluten free recipe of millet and pepper salad.

I have still been exploring food blogs and cooknkate is a site I looked at and a recipe I chose not to use for a millet salad with corn and pepper. This web site, thecooksnextdoor, is new to us and lists some recipes we will be using soon.

February 2011

An early success this month was to drag out the bread maker from the back of the cupboard and make my own bread. The recipe seems a little strange but it works in that it has lots of flavour and quite a lot of ‘lift’ for a gluten free bread. It is more like a cake in texture than bread. I shall be varying the recipe by using lots of herbs once they rejuvenate in the garden.


  Gluten Free Brown Bread


 Quinoa Flour Cheese Muffins.

Next came crab cakes made to my own recipe. The addition of ground almonds made them really delicious. Unbelievably, there was some crab left over and so that became a mousse to dip the home made bread into.

One Sunday lunch we had turkey because I had gone through the whole Christmas period without eating any and I missed it. Served with the turkey was my own Canberry, Rice and Walnut Stuffing.

We had another recipe from the super book : Healthy Gluten-free Eating by Darina Allen and Rosemary Kearney.  Meatballs with Tomato and Caper Sauce ( Page 108)

At our last Sunday lunch of the month there were more of us than usual including a vegetarian. This was the menu:
Canapes: Home made gluten free bread and oils, Quinoa Flour Cheese Muffins. These were very well received and several people have asked for the recipe.
Main course: Roast Packington chicken, Black Farmer gluten free sausages, Barry’s traditional sausages, Packington streaky bacon, sweet peppers stuffed with buckwheat, onions, garlic and tomatoes; mushroom, sweetcorn and asparagus pie; Quinoa, Celery, Apple And Walnut Stuffing.

Caramelised Fennel (Delia Smith), roast potatoes, cauliflower, leeks, carrots, Brussels Sprouts, asparagus.
Dessert: Cherry and Almond Pie (own recipe), Hot Chocolate Fondant Puddings with Raspberries (Phil Vickery page 161).

We used the recipe from his gluten free baking book listed below, not the one from the web. Coconut and raspberry slice, a selection of ice creams and cream.

January 2011

We started the year with a determination to eat well and healthily and without gluten free cooking feeling like a restriction.  A good place to start seemed to be the books I was given for Christmas.

Nigel Slater’s carrot and coriander fritters (Tender page 174) were delicious. Cream of Chicken, lemon and tarragon soup from the New Covent Garden Book of Soups was really good, served with Genius toast, pate and cheese.  We had Quinoa tabbouleh (page 47 Grace Cheetham) as part of lunch one day.  At the moment I still prefer cous cous but I am sure that is just familiarity.

We then cooked a series of recipes from the excellent book Healthy Gluten-free Eating by Darina Allen and Rosemary Kearney.  These included: Stuffed Red Peppers with Pesto Rice and Cherry Tomatoes (page 87).  Steamed cod with watercress butter served with buckwheat cauliflower cheese.  Chicken, Mushroom and Tarragon Pie (page 98).  Buckwheat pancakes with smoked salmon, capers, onion, parsley and creme fraiche (page 64), served with stir fried cabbage, onion, red pepper, celery, tomato, grated ginger, sherry and - gluten free - soy sauce.  Italian Beef Stew (page 107) served with stir fried cabbage, onion, red pepper, celery, tomato, grated ginger, sherry and soy sauce and bubble and squeek cakes. Chickpea and potato curry (page 89), served with soda bread (page 118). The soda bread was the only recipe that didn't really work for me but as all of the others have been so successful I think I ought to try again. It's the old complaint about solid bread.  Lamb korma with stir fried mung bean shoots and fennel, and popadoms. (page 105)



  Buckwheat pancakes with smoked salmon, capers, onion, parsley and creme fraiche


 Coconut and Raspberry Slice

I was beginning to think that I would never bother to eat fish fried in batter when I came across this recipe from BBC Good Food: panfried cod with polenta and orange crust.  It was a delicious combination of flavours.  I varied the recipe in that I used gluten free flour and the zest of a whole orange and then used the juice to cook julienne carrots in.  Fish and chips with carrots and peas - almost like the old days!

The last set of recipes to gain a mention here is from lunch on the last Sunday of the month.  We had Pork and borlotti bean casserole, sausage hot pot, cheesy mash, broccoli, carrots, Brussels, mung bean sprout and fennel stir fry followed by Coconut and Raspberry Slice (Darina Allen page 118) with rice pudding ice cream by Mark Hix and banana custard.

December 2010

Not much new this month because we went away twice.  A memorable meal was the one at the hotel in Portmeirion where Beryl had : salmon with fennel and apple, poached brill and lobster with curly kale, rice and a light sauce. I had Carpaccio of Welsh beef with carrots and horseradish, partridge with celeriac, mushroom puree, and deep fried onion frazzles.  Both meals were beautifully cooked and presented.  One new recipe I did cook was Duck with honey and figs by Nigel Slater.  The following books were gratefully received as Christmas presents and I look forward to making a start on trying them in the new year.



November 2010

We had excellent Partridges from the butcher which we roasted and have ordered Teal ready to make Pan Roasted Teal with Damson Vinaigrette.  We have also had Wild Boar casserole using a Rick Stein recipe. This was superb and several guests asked for the recipe.  Chicken in Red Wine also went down well.

A significant development for me is that I have now had a diagnosis confirmed that I am coeliac.  For someone who has made his own beer for forty years to not be able to drink beer has been quite a wrench.  I have also loved making bread and cakes for more years than I care to think about and I experienced a period of gloom - lasting a few days, I like to be positive in my outlook - that I would be restricted in what I could eat.  In the new year I hope to develop a whole new section of the web site devoted to all things Free From.

My first little rebellion against restriction was to make chicken breast stuffed with cheese, gluten free sage and onion stuffing, wrapped in bacon. I think it was even better than the ones the butcher makes.  It was also much bigger! 

In terms of baking, I made Orange, Polenta and Wild Sumac Biscuits  from the excellent web site The British Larder.   I really enjoyed them and tried the recipe again with gluten free flour and I think it worked even better than with ordinary plain flour.  Another recipe I tried was Apricot and Orange Polenta Cake from the web site.  It looked good and tasted fine but was flat.  Lots more experimenting for me to do there.

October 2010

You can tell the seasons by the butcher's shop window.  Pheasant, hare and rabbit appeared and we have ideas for each.  A new recipe for us was Rabbit Cacciatore from BBC Good Food.  From The Observer came Skye Gyngell's Carrots with honey, lemon zest and thyme. It was a delightful dish and one we shall make often as we still have lots of carrots left.  Also from The Observer was Nigel Slater's Slow Baked Sausages. Being a Nigel Slater recipe it was bound to work and be both simple and delicious.  We still have quite a lot of meat left from the best part of a pig we bought from some friends who have taken to the good life.  Neither of us are that keen on belly pork and we missed the barbeque season with three joints left.  Fortunately, we came across Matt Tebbutt's Three Hour Pork Belly.  It was a taste sensation.  Marinating the meat in crushed fennel seeds, garlic, black peppercorns and thyme gave it a wonderful flavour and the salt produced the best crackling we have ever had.  We also tried James Martin's Luxury Fish Pie and would really recommend it.

September 2010

In searching for a recipe for Hake wrapped in Parma Ham and served on butter beans with leeks and bacon in a cream sauce  I came across this site which should serve well if we ever need more fish recipes.  I also found this site which looks comprehensive. Food Blogs are something else that have caught my attention this month.  We watched the BBC TV programmes about baking and are now subscribed to Ruth Clemens' (We thought she should have won!) food blog

Two other sites associated with this television programme are:, and  There is also the BBC food site of course.

What have we been cooking? Three recipes I have included in our online recipe collection are: courgette chutney, monkfish, chorizo and puy lentils, and moussaka.  We prepared a family Sunday lunch of sausage and blue cheese rolls followed by roast Noisette of Lamb and roast pork, Romanesco, roast potatoes, ratatouille, runner beans, and to celebrate the new herb garden they were followed by Lavender Biscuits, Honey and Lavender Cupcakes, Honey and Almond Ice cream, and Valentine Warner's lavender meringues.


August 2010

Not the best of months for introducing new recipes - only a few.  One notable one was Sautéed Zucchini from 101 Cookbooks which has a delicious combination of courgettes, almonds and garlic.  Another courgette recipe new to me was courgette cake.  I used this recipe from the website. The best dish I produced was Chicken Korma where I based my recipe on Jamie Oliver's version, The BBC Food website version, and one from The Spices Of India website.  The garden is producing very well and we are often to be found wandering about with bags of courgettes or beans trying to find somebody else to give them to. One memorable dish from our holiday on The Isles of Scilly was Hake wrapped in Parma Ham and served on butter beans with leeks and bacon in a cream sauce.  It was divine.  I have not yet been able to find Hake but have tried to recreate the dish using Monkfish.

July 2010

During July our own salad crops were available and this year, because we now have an incipient herb garden, we have been able to make the salad flavours more complex.  The herbs have been thrown on the barbeque, made into salsas, tossed into salads, skewered into roasts, baked in breads, laced into roasted vegetables and used to garnish Pimm's.  How have we managed without a herb garden for two years? Our garden is now providing: carrots, beetroot, turnip, French Beans, ruby chard, leaf beet, broad beans and Aaron Pilot potatoes as well as the salad crops.  There is more to follow.  Our new recipes this month all come from BBC Good Food Magazine, they are: Smoked Haddock Spring Onion And Saffron Tart, Cold Meatloaf With Squashed Tomato And Pepper Salsa, and Honey Yogurt Cheesecake.

June 2010

Fennel And Anchovy Tart  by Dan Lepard from The Guardian was the only notable recipe this month.  We had a number of barbeques where we repeated recipes we had done before. Two other new recipes were Sun-Dried Tomato and Cannellini Bean Dip, and Spicy Peanut Dip.  We had a notable dish as a starter in a hotel which we have copied.  A simple leaf salad drizzled with dressing as an accompaniment to a hot croissant stuffed with really creamy garlic mushrooms.  Divine.

May 2010

We made a number of discoveries this month - some simple and straight forward and others not so.  The best recipes were Chicken with Mustard and Crème Fraîche by Nigel Slater and Fennel & Tomato Gratin by Barney Desmazery from BBC Good Food Magazine.  We served these as part of a Sunday lunch menu as follows: Prawns in red pepper mayonnaise with radish garnish, followed by chicken with mustard and crème fraiche, jersey royal potatoes, Fennel and Tomato Gratin, asparagus and hollandaise sauce, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, followed by strawberries with pepper meringue, strawberry tuile and whipped cream with white chocolate stars.

On the subject of Tuiles we made a raspberry one based on the recipe from this web site: Taste of Beruit.  Looking at Lebanese cuisine led us to this web site which we enjoyed: anissa helou.

When the grand children stayed during a week end they made shortbread and a new recipe for lemon shortbread which I have not yet typed as well as a banana pudding which I will also add later.

April 2010

We made a number of new savoury main courses along the lines of frittatas and baked omelettes but nothing worth mentioning. A substantial pudding appeared in the form of baked chocolate mousse cake with poached whisky pears and ginger marscapone served with whisky walnut crisp. (An adaptation of a recipe by Will Adams on Masterchef) May Good Food page 151.  The chutney book was opened again to provide and enjoyable afternoon whilst the grandchildren were staying.  Kashmir Chutney and Rhubarb and Tangerine Chutney made with Francesca and Antonia from the book Pickles, Relishes and Chutneys: Step-by-step Recipes for Home Preserving by Catherine Atkinson.

March 2010

Only four new recipes this month and it looks as though puddings are in vogue: Blood Orange and Poppy Seed loaf with orange sorbet and hot marmalade sauce. (The British Larder) and Victoria Sponge with hot raspberry and brandy sauce and Jersey cream with vanilla ice cream were the best. I made up a Chicken, lentil and cashew nut curry with basmati rice. 

One of the most enjoyable items during the month was Pear and Walnut Chutney from Pickles, Relishes and Chutneys: Step-by-step Recipes for Home Preserving by Catherine Atkinson. There will be more references to this excellent book.

Febuary 2010

The two best recipes for this month are both by Nigel Slater and appeared in The Observer on Sunday 14 February 2010. Fish Pie and Wholemeal Apple And Orange Cake.  They were both luxurious and left you with a feeling of well being.  We explored the BBC Easycook magazine Issue 21 and enjoyed Gourmet baked potatoes (page 65), Spicy root and lentil casserole ( page 50) and Fish Curry (page 46) but they were not notable enough to put them in our recipe book.

January 2010

Because we had the quietest Christmas in 25 years we did not cater in the way we used to and we did not have lots of food left over to turn into something else.  I did, however, manage to make two of my favourite dishes of this time of year, Pea and Ham Soup and Leek and Stilton Soup.  We also made an old favourite when Sue came to stay, Stifado.  We tried a number of new recipes but the only one worth including here is Cod with Tomato Sauce and Black Olives.

December 2009

Time to explore further what the local butcher had to offer!  Pheasant, Partridge, Guinea Fowl, Wild Boar and Hare were just some of the things we tasted during the month.  We enjoyed the Partridge so much it is the dish we chose for Christmas Day. As always Christmas lunch included "Beryl's Balls", a recipe Beryl keeps secret and varies slightly each year to avoid detection but always includes pork mince, onions and garlic.  Game casserole with horseradish mashed potato was a favourite as well.  Other recipes this month included: Pumpkin Pie, Date and Banana Chutney, Cranberry and Caramelised Red Onion Chutney.

November 2009

Because both freezers were full and we had run out of containers to put food in we decided it was time to ignore new recipes and live out of the freezers.  However, we did have pheasant a couple of times and make some soup from the leftovers and we did make a tasty chicken and leek soup but I did not write the recipes down.  We did try just one new recipe, Jam Roly Poly, from BBC Good Food but we altered the recipe a little because we cooked it in the steam oven which seemed to make sense.

October 2009

The temperature and the trees tell us it is autumn and so we move towards autumn recipes.  Notable ones this month were: Guinness Cake recipe by Mark Hix served with various cheeses and pickles including our own Beetroot Chutney.  A recipe we enjoyed from the Morrison's magazine (and therefore web site) was Slow-Cooked Beef In Ale with Horseradish Dumplings. We changed the recipe in that we used 7 tablespoons of horseradish and left out the water. Another recipe of our own was Pork, Borlotti Beans and Fennel. Like the tulips in the spring the Borlotti beans produced a six fold return upon what was planted.

Although our pumpkins are not quite ready others are abundant in the shops and so we have started on our pumpkin recipes - see the entries for last October.  A recipe new to us which we enjoyed was Pumpkin Curry with Chickpeas,  by Barney Desmazery  from BBC Good Food Magazine.  The British Larder is a web site we have discovered this month and we are really enjoying it.  We have made Sweet & Sour Pickled Green Beans this week end and it is super.  Thank you very much Madalene Bonvini-Hamel.

September 2009

We made the usual Courgette, Lemon and Rosemary Bread, and a new recipe for us was a Courgette And Basil Frittata followed by Blueberry Muscovado Shortcakes. We also had a family meal of various curries.  The Chicken Simla, and the Beef Rendang worked well but the vegetable curry was the most disgusting food Alan has produced in a long time. 

August 2009

This month we made the usual Lavender biscuits and also Valentine Warner's lavender meringues which were a delight.  The garden is now producing so many courgettes and runner beans we are giving them away every day.  To try something different we made Payaru Thoran (Curried Runner Beans) from Madhur Jaffrey’s Taste of India (page 224) but I am not sure we would use the recipe again.

July 2009

At the end of June we bought a portable barbeque, a gas ignition charcoal version so that we have real charcoal flavour but not the hassle of lighting it.  So, having bought a barbeque July became the wettest July for many years with three times as much rain as normal falling in the month.  However, we did manage four barbeques and some of the recipes we used are well worth a mention.  The first was a nut, herb and spice mixture to spread upon barbequed fish once it is cooked called Dukkah. The version we used was by Mark Hix and can be found in The Independent here.  Another version is here on a web site called 101 Cookbooks which is very well worth a look.  We used the dukkah to coat mackerel and trout cooked directly on the grill.  For sweet on that occasion we had slices of pineapple barbequed until well cooked and served with a dash of white rum and whipped cream.  This recipe was taken from one of Valentine Warner's TV programmes.  Other recipes by him are here.  Another one of his which is a favourite is Potato salad with quails' eggs, capers and anchovies.  The garden is now providing: Aaron Pilot potatoes, broad beans, French beans, beetroot, lettuce, radish, courgettes and Ruby Chard with lots of other crops on the way.

June 2009

We are now at the stage of the year where we are eating our own crops.  On the 5th of June we ate our first turnips from the garden.  Our new garden seems to be doing very well although we know we will not have the abundance produced by the two allotments we used to have.  At one point we consulted Beryl's little old recipe book where many of the recipes were carefully hand written by Beryl's mother (cursive style) and a family friend, Percy (copperplate).  We wanted a recipe for Gypsy Tart.  Whilst Beryl searched her hand written book I searched the internet.  I came across a site for Traditional English Puddings which is well worth a visit.  In the end we modified the recipes from both the book and the web site.  I also came across the history of the pudding in Wikipedia which makes quite interesting reading.  Our version is here.

May 2009

In the autumn we had a delivery of 99 bags of mushroom compost.  We often had such a delivery when we had the allotments.  Mushroom compost still produces mushrooms and as the raised beds became warm we had mushrooms in abundance.  We rediscovered a recipe from 1995 for Mushroom and Barley Casserole.  We have used just about every mushroom recipe we know.  Two simple ones we have not put in the recipe book are: raw mushrooms marinated in soy sauce with a dash of Lea and Perrin's Sauce served as a salad and another is a mushroom the size of a dinner plate covered with sautéed chicken and bacon, covered with stilton cheese and baked in the oven.  A heart attack on a plate!

April 2009

We had a number of visitors during April who were vegetarian and we used this Tomato and Curd Cheese Tart recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine twice.  It was praised by a number of people.  We also used this Fruit Crumble Cheesecake recipe by Nigel Slater.  As it was by Nigel it was easy to make and was really tasty.  Both of these recipes are now in our recipe book if you would prefer to have them in Word format.

March 2009

We joined the Ramblers' Association early in the year and have been on a number of walks with the group.  When on the organised walks it is the custom to stop for coffee at some point and we had started to buy muesli type bars to eat to keep energy levels up.  However, I felt that the packaging might offer as much nourishment as some of the biscuits and decided to make my own.  So the recipe for 'Walking' Biscuits is now in the baking section of the recipe book. 

We have not yet started the season of repeating our own recipes using our own crops although we do have a number of crops growing in the new raised beds.  So our recipes for March are ones new to us that we have tried and know work well. Everyone one of the following recipes is really easy to follow.  Bacon Wrapped Cod with Sun-dried Tomato and Spinach was the first addition this month. Followed by Paprika Pork with Chickpeas, Louisiana Crab Cakes, Lemon and Rosemary Crusted Fish Fillets and finally Trout with Almonds and Red Peppers, an old favourite with a twist.

February 2009

Not a lot new this month, more a time to use up what we had in the freezer and the store cupboard.  One recipe we did not write down was chicken breasts, wrapped in bacon basted with honey whilst cooking in the oven and served on a bed of puy lentils. A new biscuit recipe Francesca and Antonia made under Nana's guidance was Almond and Lemon Curd Buttons.

January 2009

Lots of home made soups this month usually served with home made rolls.  A book new to us that we would recommend is the New Covent Garden Food Co 'Book of Soups'. It has lots of excellent recipes. A favourite recipe new to us this month was Chicken and White Bean Stew from the BBC Good Food Magazine.

December 2008

This is the time of year when alcohol or spices seem to creep in to every recipe.  Two recipes to include here are Christmas Breakfast Fruit which has been enjoyed by a number of visitors and a recipe new to us for Coffee Cream Gateau with Three Liqueurs.

November 2008

As autumn turns to winter, stews and casseroles make their entrance.  Some recipes we like are: lamb with butterbeans, pot roast pheasant with roasted pumpkin, celeriac and bread fruit and pork casserole with our own Borlotti beans.

October 2008

Just when you begin to think that your own crops are over for the year you are made to realise that this is a very rich time of year for home made food. One of our favourite vegetables is beetroot and we grow a lot of them. Recipes we have used this season are: Cooked Beetroot Marinated in Balsamic Vinegar with Juniper Berries, Beetroot Jelly with Walnuts and Bramley Apples, Borscht, Beetroot Fishcakes, Beetroot and Bramley Apple Crumble, Beetroot Icecream and Beetroot and Chocolate Cake.

We also grow a lot of pumpkins which are another versatile crop.  Each year we make: Pumpkin, Prawn and Coconut Soup, Pumpkin and Parma Ham Risotto, we also use it in roast vegetables, a spiced pumpkin bread and the inevitable pumpkin pie.

September 2008

During September we enjoyed eating a large amount of the half a pig we had ordered from our friends Bill and Lisa.  They were fellow allotment holders but moved on when they had bought a small farm in Staffordshire.  We went to collect the meat and had an enjoyable afternoon looking over the farm.  The pig had certainly had a happy life.

We cropped a lot of courgettes during September and used them in various ways - the most notable being Courgette, Lemon and Rosemary Bread

August 2008

For us August was a month of salads and French and Runner beans although we had a whole range of other produce. A recipe new to us which we used quite a lot was Chicken and Bacon with Peas and Lettuce.

July 2008

The first recipe we noticed the pattern with was Lavender Biscuits which we took to Doreen whilst the Lavender was in flower during July.