A little knowledge

Cookery Tips & recipes

Day 14 of the Christmas Countdown. Do hope you are all enjoying the daily recipes & hopefully trying them out. All have been tried & tested in various households, during my 40 years as a cook.

Today I am going to give you a recipe & a few food tips, which you may find useful. Also a couple of excellent suppliers which I can highly recommend.

The little cheese biscuits in the photo are so easy to make, they really melt in the mouth & are great for those Christmas drinks parties. You can sandwich them with cream cheese, either on its own, or with the addition of chopped herbs, garlic or some chopped ham & mustard. They can also be used as the base for a canape. Pipe pate, creamed cheese etc  on top & decorate with smoked salmon, caviar, chopped sundried tomatoes. The choice is yours.

To make the biscuits, mix together, equal amounts of butter (real, not a spread) grated cheese, & plain flour together. Season & chill in the fridge for 30mins. When ready to use, roll out & bake at 200c 400f Gas 6 for 7-10mins. DO WATCH THEM AS THEY BURN QUITE EASILY.  Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes, before removing to a cooling rack.

The raw dough will keep in the fridge for 1 week. Store cooked biscuits in an air tight container for 1 week.

Whilst on the subject of cheese, you will be needing some Chutneys or pickles to go with it. You can do no better that POT OF WHAT 

Delicious home made tracklements from the Cotswolds

This lovely company, home makes the most delicious, Jams, Marmalades, Chutneys & Pickles, with many of their fruits & veg, being grown by themselves. Their Hot Chilli Jam is to die for. Add a couple of tablespoons to a casserole to give it some extra Omph! or spice up a salad by using it as a base for a chilli dressing. Its usefulness has no limits.

Gin, pink gin, botanic, tipples, party time,

To go with the Canapes (Alcohol) GIN 

Wicked Wolf Gin is a small batch, handcrafted Gin, made in Devon on Exmoor. It’s light pepper notes, layers of citrus with juniper & corriander, make it, to me, a Queen of Gins. Try it with a slice of orange & a sprig of fresh Rosemary.  The perfect libation, at any time of the year.

sharon fruit, recipes, persimmon, healthy eating

Persimmon a delicious, versitile fruit

Also know a Sharon Fruit, these fruits originate from Japan & are pentiful at this time of the year. The fruit is high in antioxidants & is brimful of fibre & nutrients. There is no need to peel, as like all fruit, most of the nutrients lurk, just under the skin, which also provides more fibre. If you like a baked apple, try baking this filled with dried cranberries & pistachio nuts, for a low calorie, winter dessert. Served with yoghurt, of course. It is also delicious gated into a salad with chopped celery & walnuts. Serve with a blue cheese dressing. YUM.

Have a browse of the websites I have given you the links for & give them a try.  

Thats all for today. Be with you all again tomorrow, for day 15 of Christmas Countdown.

Free Food Bonanza

Autumn is the time for fruitfulness. The hedgerows are a free food bonanza abounding with different fruits & nuts. So, a foraging I will go & who doesn’t like food for free?

apples, crab apples, foraging, jellies, syrups
Ripe for the picking

I remember – just – as a child, my maternal Grandmother, a country woman born & bred. had a large Japonica bush, growing under a front room window. How I loved the beautiful pink flowers it produced during the summer months. My Grandmother however, didn’t have time for growing things you couldn’t eat, to her, the Japonica bush earned it’s keep in the autumn, by producing its fruits, which she turned into a delicate translucent pink jelly, which was served at tea time, with huge floury scones. I can still taste them today.

Walking my faithful hound the other morning, we passed trees laden with cob nuts, sloes elderberries, cooking apples, tiny crab apples & mulberries.  Wild red currants & white currants dangled in tempting clusters, while brambles were covered in fat juicy blackberries, some white & pale pink, awaiting more sun to ripen them, others the deepest, darkest maroon, just begging to be picked.

Blackberries, foraging, jam, syrups, jellies
“Taking my straw basket I went foraging”

We all know the old favourites Blackberry & Apple Pie/Crumble, Elderberry Wine etc but what about some of the more unusual things you can make with your foraged food?

Below are a couple of recipes you might like to try. Hopefully they may encourage you to get out into the countryside & enjoy the fresh air, knowing that on your return you have that feel good factor from the exercise & the means to produce some delicious, home-made goodies.  They will also make, well received, Christmas presents.

home made,elderberry syrup,foraging, hedgerows, healthy eating
Foraging for juicy elderberries

ELDERBERRY SYRUP.    GF/DF/V/Vegan

INGREDIENTS:

2.25 kg Ripe Elderberries. Weight when stripped from stalks

600 ml  Water

1 small egg white, whipped to a froth. ( For Clarifying)

Preserving Sugar.

Brandy.

METHOD:

Wash the berries, crush lightly.  Place in a large oven proof casserole (Not metal) with the water. Cover & place in a low (160c/180f /Gas 3) oven until the fruit is pulpy.

Strain through a jelly bag. Measure the juice, allowing 325 g sugar per 600 ml.

Place the juice in a saucepan, with the frothy egg white & bring to the boil, whisking occasionally. When boiling, remove all the scum & froth& add sugar. Reboil, skimming frequently, allow to simmer 3-4 mins.

Remove a couple of tablespoons of the syrup, set aside to cool to test the thickness of the syrup. Continue to simmer if necessary.

Pour into sterilised bottles, adding a teaspoon of brandy to each bottle. Seal & store.

Use as a drink, diluted with water or soda ( full of Vit C), or best of all add a small measure to your favourite Gin & top up with tonic. Cheers.


Here is a recipe to use up those windfall apples, or those you have foraged from the hedgerows.

HERB JELLY  GF/DF/V/Vegan

INGREDIENTS:

Washed, unpeeled & uncored apples. Roughly chopped up.

450 g Preserving sugar (warmed) for each pint of juice.

83 ml Water.

124 ml wine vinegar.

Pared rind & juice of one lemon.

Large Bunch of herbs of your choice. Mint, Lemon Thyme, Basil, Lemon Balm, Marjoram etc  Leaves removed from stalks. Tie stalks together, finely chop leaves.

METHOD

Place the apples in a large casserole container (No metallic) & stand in a pan of water, on the hob.  Simmer, until the apples are reduced to a pulp.

Strain the juice through a jelly bag, add the water at the end. (Do not squeeze the bag as you will make the jelly cloudy).

 Boil the strained juice for 20 mins, add the warmed sugar, stirring all the time until dissolved.

Add the herb stalks, lemon rind & juice, and vinegar to the jelly & boil for a further 7 mins. Test for setting.  Add the finely chopped leaves to the jelly.  Pot into sterilised jars.

These jellies are delicious served with hot or cold, meats & pies.  They can also be served as a side to the cheese board & the basil jelly make a particular tasty side to tomato based dishes.

So guys, happy foraging & cooking. In addition to having food for free, you also know your products are preservative, colouring & additive free.

Bon appetite.

Countryside, foraging, walking, recipes, free food,
From Days gone by