Sloes, Sloe gin, hedgerows, foraging, free food

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoked Salmon, Cucumber, Fresh Herbs, Lemons, Greek Yoghurt

Summer Food

We tend to think of Christmas as a time of food & feasting, but for me, Summer will always be the time, when feasting on fresh healthy food comes to the fore.

I can think of nothing nicer than whiling away a hot summer’s day with friends, whilst enjoying a delicious light lunch. Maybe you grow your own herbs & veg to make your own salads & dressings. Serve them with this light summery dish, made the night before. Toss a salad on the day & serve with my Small batch, Artisan, Fennel & Sesame Bread.   Add some fresh strawberries & raspberries for dessert & Voila a tasty, healthy, summer meal.

SMOKED SALMON & CUCUMBER MOUSSE

Gluten Free. Vegetarian.        No Cooking time. Prep time: 20mins. Chill Overnight.

Equipment  1.2Ltr Ring Mould.

Serves 6 as a main Course, 12 as a starter.

INGREDIENTS.

Tspn Olive Oil for greasing

200g Smoked Salmon Slices.

1 Medium Cucumber, finely diced.

225g Cottage Cheese, Sieved,

7g Sachet of Gelatine

150ml Water

150ml Homemade Anchovy Mayonnaise

150ml Greek Yoghurt

METHOD.

Lightly grease the mould with olive oil.

Line the sides of the mould with the smoked salmon slices.

Finely dice the Cucumber.

Put the water into a small saucepan, sprinkle the Gelatine over & allow to soak for 5mins. Place over a very low heat, until dissolved. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.  Allow to cool.

Place the cottage cheese, mayonnaise into a bowl & mix well.

Working quickly, add the cooled gelatine mix to the cheese & mayo. Mix well.

Add the diced cucumber & fold in the Greek Yoghurt.

Season with white pepper. Pour into the mould, shake to level to top.

Cover with cling film & allow to set overnight.

Bread, Baking, Small batch, Artisan, Bakery
Bread. The Staff of Life

TO SERVE

Loosen the edges carefully with a palette knife & turn out onto a serving dish.

Decorate the edges with lemon slices & fresh herbs.

Serve with Crunchy Cos Lettuce & herb salad and a lemon Viniagarette dressing and slices of my fresh Fennel & sesame Bread.

Don’t forget the Chardonnay.

Chardonnay, wine, summer eating, summer drinking, food
Half empty. Half full ?

 

 

 

Food, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Dessert, Homemade

Chocolate & Peanut Butter

It’s been a busy few weeks in my Stable Kitchen. Dreaming about chocolate & peanut butter one night – there are worst dreams -, I have created this decadent dessert, just for you.

I have been developing new recipes for my home made breads, which are now available from my Kitchen. Half-term also means more visitors keen to try my home made Ice Cream.  If you have made any of my recipes over the past few months, it would be great to hear your comments www.truffleicious.org/visitors-book 

The recipe below is great for a summer party. No need to spend hours in the kitchen with this one. You could also utilise the best of our summer fruits, by replacing the bananas with fresh raspberries & for extra decadence serve with extra raspberries & dark chocolate sauce.

Food, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Raspberries, Recipe
A decadent dessert

CHOCOLATE & PEANUT BUTTER PIE

Serves 12.  V. Contains nuts. Oven 180c/359f/Gas Mk 4. Prep:  15 mins, plus cooling & chilling Cooking 10 mins.  Equipment: 1.23cm Flan Dish.

For the Base:

250g Chocolate Biscuits, finely crushed.

70g Melted Butter

Mix the above ingredients together & press into the base & sides of the flan dish. Cook for  10 mins, until set & leave to cool.

For the filling:

2 Bananas, sliced

170g Cream Cheese

140g. Smooth Peanut Butter

200ml Greek Yoghurt.

Lay the sliced bananas over the base of the cooled base. Beat together the remaining ingredients & spoon over the bananas. Level the surface & chill in the fridge for 30mins.

For the topping:

115g Plain Chocolate, broken into pieces

25g Unsalted Butter

150ml Double Cream.

Melt the butter & chocolate together over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat, stir in the cream & beat until the mixture is smooth. Level to cool for 15-20 mins until the mixture thickens. Gently spread over the top of the filling. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Sunday lunch, family food, chicken, seasonal veg, happy days, all in one

A Clucking good bake

You don’t always have to think of Sunday Lunch as a roast. In the recipe I am giving you this week I have used a whole chicken which I have jointed into six pieces. (you can always use chicken portions if you prefer, )

The vegetables & potatoes are all put in a roasting tin, with herbs & garlic tucked in between, you place the chicken pieces on top & pour over the magic cooking liquid. Pop it into the oven & you are ready to go. No messy carving & all you need to do is reduce the liquid left in the pan to concentrate the flavour & you have a tasty sauce, to pour over your finished dish.

You can use any veg you like, but cut them into the same sized chunks, so they are all cook at the same time.  You can also cook this dish, eat half, cool the other half quickly, store, covered in the fridge for up to two days or place in a freezer container & freeze for three months. (defrost thoroughly in the fridge before reheating) Always ensure that food is reheated in the middle, before serving.

CHICKEN & VEGETABLE BAKE       Serves 6. Gluten Free, Dairy Free.  Time taken 30mins + 1 to 11/2 hours Cooking. Oven Temp 200F 400c Gas 6

Ingredients.

I large chicken, jointed or 6 Chicken Portions.

1kg of Seasonal Winter Veg chopped into chunks. ( I used Celeriac, Carrots, Shallots, potatoes & Swede.)

4 Cloves of Garlic unpeeled.

Bay leaves, Fresh thyme, rosemary & sage.

In a jug mix together the magic mix:

200ml Red Wine.

3 tbspns Olive Oil

3tbspns Tomato Puree

1/2 tspn Sugar.

Seasoning

METHOD

Place the veg in the bottom of a large roasting tin. Put the chicken on top & tuck the herbs & garlic around the chicken.

Beat together the magic mixture in a jug & pour over the chicken & veg.

Bake in a preheated oven for 1 – 11/2 hours until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken & veg from the pan & keep warm.

Squeeze the garlic from the unpeeled cloves into the left over liquid, bring to the boil & reduce slightly.   Pour into a jug to serve with the chicken.

Serve with a green veg of choice.

If you had to open a new bottle of wine for this recipe, now’s the time to sit back, relax & enjoy a glass, or two.

chicken, red wine, seasonal veg, celeriac, carrots
Take it easy Sunday Lunch

 

 

Warm Butternut Squash & Black Kale Salad

Salad, probably doesn’t spring to mind when you are thinking of warming winter food!

salad, Mediterranean diet, healthy eating, kale
A bowl of goodness

We have an abundance of colourful, healthy vegetables available at this time of the year just crying out to be made into tasty dishes, which can be served either on their own as a side or turned into a main dish, with the addition of , meat, fish, cheese, pulses, grains or what ever takes your fancy. Add some warming spices and there you have it, an easy, healthy meal.

Serves 4,  Gluten free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian, Vegan,  Time Taken  40 mins

INGREDIENTS:

5 Tbspns Walnut Oil

1 Butternut Squash, Peeled, halved, seeds removed, cut into small chunks

1 Red Pepper, de-seeded & cut into small chunks

2 Large Red Onions, Peeled & thinly sliced

Bag of Black Kale, Washed & Sliced. I like to leave the stems in for a bit of crunch.

2 Cloves Garlic, peeled & chopped

2 Tbspns Walnuts

1 tspn Sumac

2 Tbspns Pomegranate Molasses or 2 taste

METHOD:

Heat the oil over a medium heat, add the onions a fry covered, for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, add the squash & fry covered for a further 10 mins.

Remove the cover, turn up the heat & add the red pepper & sumac, stir frying for a couple of mins.

Add the kale & garlic & walnuts & stir fry for a further 5 mins, Season to taste. Remove from heat & stir in the Pomegranate Molasses.

Serve at once.  I topped mine with some crumbled danish blue cheese, but you can add what ever takes your fancy.  As well as being a healthy meal, it also adds a liitle bit of colour to our dull winter days. Enjoy.

Veg, salad, healthy eating, winter warmer, spices
Healthy, colourful mix of winter veg

 

 

 

 

Apple, shortcake. tart, pie

Dying for Dessert

Good afternoon foodies. The weekend is here. As you might have a little more time on your hands, I thought you may like a recipe which is equally good served hot for a Sunday Lunch dessert, or cold as a tea time treat.

APPLE & CLOTTED CREAM SHORTCAKE.  Serves 4. Vegetarian. Time taken 20 mins +  30 mins cooking.  Oven temp 200c ,Gas 6 , 400F    18 cm shallow cake tin.

INGREDIENTS: SHORTCAKE

130g Plain Flour

2 tspns Baking Powder

1tbspn Caster Sugar

50g Butter

5 Tbpns Milk

Pinch of Salt

INGREDIENTS: TOPPING

3, Eating Apples. Cored, peeled & cut into thin wedges.

150ml Double or Clotted Cream

75g Soft Brown Sugar

2 Large Egg Yolks.  Use the whites for meringues, or add to scrambled eggs or an omelette

1/4tspn Freshly grated Nutmeg

METHOD.

Put all the ingredients, except the milk) in a food processor & pulse until the mix becomes fine breadcrumbs. Add the milk, pulse to mix to a smooth dough. Remove from processor & spread over the bottom & up the sides of the tin.

Beat together the topping ingredients.

Arrange the apple over the top of the shortcake & pour over the cream mixture.

Place in the centre of a preheated oven, bake for 30-40mins, lowering the temperature to 180c, Gas 4, 350F after 15mins.  Until golden brown.

You can alter the fruit in this recipe according to whats in season. In the summer, raspberries are absolutely delicious especially served with ice cream & raspberry liqueur.

If you have made this recipe, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Sunday Foodies

recipe, cookery, pork chops, cider

Boozy Pork Chops

dryjanuary, cider, apples, recipe, cooking
Cheers

A quick, tasty supper for mid week You could also use pork medallions if you wanted to make it more impressive for a dinner party dish.

For those of you who don’t want to incorporate alcohol, replace the cider with Apple Juice.  The recipe is Gluten Free. Omit the cheese if you are dairy free.

Serves 2   Time taken 20 mins, plus 20 min cooking time.

INGREDIENTS:

2. Pork Chops.

2. Large Apples, peeled & cored.

150 ml Dry Cider.

1. Large Red Onion, peeled & sliced

1, Organic, Low Salt, Vegetable Stock Cube or own stock if you have it.

75 g Danish Blue Cheese or Stilton

Fresh Sage, Rosemary & Thyme Leaves, Chopped.

Seasoning, to taste.

METHOD

Pre-heat a frying pan or Wok on a high heat, Add the chops & quickly brown on both sides.

Remove to a plate, turn the heat down to medium and fry the onions & apples for 5 mins,

Pour in the cider, add the herbs & stock cube. Stir and bring to the boil. Place the chops on top of the mixture. Cover & simmer for 10 mins.

Remove the cover, stir and simmer for a further 10 mins, to reduce the liquid.

Mean while pre-heat the grill, on high.

Place the Blue Cheese on the chops, & place under the grill until the cheese is golden brown & bubbling.

Serve with mashed potatoes & steamed broccoli for a good old winter warmer.

Feel free to add your comments below:

 

 

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spicy veg,curry,aubergine,recipe,gluten free,chickpeas

Recipe for the Spice of life

Happy New Year Foodies. Hope you all a fantastic Christmas and are facing the New Year with a fistful of positive thoughts and a desire to eat healthier & save money.

Hopefully, the recipe I am going to give you below will not only help you to get creative with some vegetables, but it may also help you save money.

To the basic recipe, which is gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan, you can add whatever leftovers you may have.  You could add cooked chicken, beef, lamb, pork if you are meat lovers. For the Pesco-vegetarians among us you could add, fish, canned or fresh, or sea food.  Change the veg if you like and stir in a couple of table spoons of crunchy peanut butter to give a Satay like flavour. Variations are endless. TRY IT.

BASIC RECIPE. Serves 4.  GF/DF/V/Vegan.   Time taken 20mins + Cooking. Varies on Veg used & size of chunks.  ALLERGENS IN BOLD.

The video clip above gives yo a view of the different cooking stages.

2. Tbspns Olive Oil

2. Large Garlic Cloves, peeled  chopped

1 Large Red Onion, Peeled & finely sliced

2 Fresh Chillies, Finely Sliced. ( Seeds removed if you like less heat)

2cm Fresh Ginger, Peeled & finely chopped

2 Tbspns Tandoori Spice Mix

1 Tbspn Ground Coriander

2. Large Parsnips, Peeled & Cut into chunks

2. Med Pots, Peeled & Cut into chunks

1 Large Aubergine, Halved & Salted for 20 mins ( Removes the bitter juices)

400 ml Can Chickpeas, drained & rinsed

4, Leftover chopped soft Fresh Tomatoes or a Tin of Tomatoes

Seasoning

Chopped Coriander.

Aubergines,vegetarian,vegan,vegetables,low calorie
Salting Aubergines

METHOD.

Heat the oil in a large pan on the hob over a medium heat.  Add the chilli, ginger & onion & fry for 5 mins. Add the potatoes & parsnips & sir fry for a further 5 mins.

Stir in the ground coriander & the Tandoori Spice & Stir Fry for a further 5mins. Add the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, partially cover & simmer until the veg are soft.

5 mins before the end of cooking, stir in the chopped garlic & the rinsed, salted aubergine, which has been cut into chunks & the Chickpeas.

Season to taste. Sprinkle on the chopped Coriander.

Serve with warm naan bread,  thick Greek yoghurt, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds & lime pickle. Alternatively served with boiled rice or pearled spelt.

This dish is even better, reheated the next day & is equally delicious served cold as a lunch box salad.

If you would like a cookery lesson on a 1 to 1 basis, or a group demonstration, find out more on our Cookery Tuition Website  >>  Cookery Lessons

Happy Eating.