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Cornish Food Market

12 Aug

Lately I’ve been ordering from Cornish Food Market and am absolutely delighted by them!

They source fresh, seasonal food from local Cornish producers and their prices are really competitive. Plus, they deliver free of charge. You can’t beat that!

They also sell amazing cheeses, cut to order and beautifully packaged:

You can also order ordinary things from them – they sell cereal, jam, tinned things, baking supplies, cleaning products, etc. There’s really no need to ever set foot in a supermarket again.

But I particularly like the ‘special’ things that I don’t see anywhere else. This week I ordered edible flowers (which were lovely scattered over a salad) and purple carrots:

I roasted the carrots with olive oil, garlic and rosemary and they were delicious.

Also on offer is sustainable fish from Newlyn, Padstow, Fowey and St. Ives; Spanish treats from Falmouth’s Courtyard Deli; fresh Indian curries made by Ruby June; and breads from the incredible Baker Tom (a personal favourite of mine).

*Special offer this week: English jamming plums, only £1 a punnet!

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Iced Decorated Biscuits

28 Apr

I’m no Cait and these are far from perfect, but I’m still fairly pleased with them – especially as a first effort:

I’m not sure if they’ll be served along with the Royal Wedding brunch on Friday morning, or after the Royal Wedding barbecue on Friday evening. Yes, we’re planning a full day of fun!

I used Miranda Gore Brown’s recipe for vanilla biscuits. You might remember her as one of the finalists of last year’s The Great British Bake Off on BBC2. If you’re interested in baking blogs, give hers a go. It’s really good.

Drop Scones

3 Nov

Today I came across this wonderful Stuart Gardiner bag (and matching tea towel):

The perfect gift for the peacenik/foodie on your Christmas list!

Of course, that picture immediately made me hungry for drop scones, which I haven’t had in years. My mother used to make them for me when I needed comforting (i.e., school trouble, boy trouble or work trouble). Most people say they’re best warm and freshly made, but I always liked them cold, slathered with butter and strawberry jam.

Drop Scones

Ingredients:
225g self-raising flour
50g caster sugar
1 egg
50g butter, melted
300ml milk

Method:
Mix all the ingredients together to make a smooth batter. You may not need all the milk, or you might need a bit more.

Heat up a griddle or heavy frying pan. Grease it if needed. Drop the batter in by small spoonfuls. When each drop scone bubbles, flip it over and cook until the other side is golden brown.

I make mine small and dainty, so I got about 30 out of the mixture.

Simple, delicious and peace-loving.

Apple Butter

29 Sep

The apple streusel muffins I baked last week were lovely, but I wanted to do something a bit more interesting with the rest of the apples my mother-in-law gave me from her garden. So I decided on apple butter. I mentioned this to a few people here in the UK, but nobody seemed to have heard of apple butter, so I came to the conclusion that it must be a strictly American thing (though I think it  might be European in origin). Anyway, I was delighted to find an apple butter recipe in my copy of The Country Kitchen by Jocasta Innes, that very British queen of everything. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the recipe until I’d already made my apple butter, so the recipe I’ve posted here is slightly different from Jocasta’s.

Apple Butter

Ingredients
4 lbs cooking apples
1 cup cider vinegar
2 cups water
Sugar, about 4 cups
Salt
2 tsps cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp allspice
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Method
Cut the apples  into quarters without peeling or coring. Put in a large saucepan and add the vinegar and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer until the fruit is soft, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and force the pulp through a sieve or, better yet, a chinois if you have one. Measure your resulting pulp and add ½ cup of sugar for each 1 cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, cloves, allspice and lemon.

Cook again on a low heat for 1-2 hours, sitting constantly to prevent burning. Cook until it’s good and thick – it should leave a trail when you spoon some across in your saucepan. When it’s done, spoon it into sterilsed jars.

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I don’t know how you like to eat your apple butter, but I have fond memories of late-night sandwiches at the Ivy Room when I was at university. My fellow Brunonians will know exactly what I mean. Cheese, apple butter and peanut butter, sometimes with alfalfa sprouts, in pita bread. It doesn’t sound so appetising now, but at 19 after a long night, it really hit the spot!

These days, I prefer mine on hearty granary bread, topped with a bit of grated mature Cheddar and put under the grill. That, with a good book, is the perfect lunch.

Apple Streusel Muffins

19 Sep

Now that last week’s blackberry glut has been dealt with, I can move onto apples. Yesterday, my mother-in-law brought over a great big bag of lovely cooking apples from her garden and I’ve been trying to come up with some interesting ideas about what to do with them. This morning I made a batch of delicious apple streusel muffins.

Apple Streusel Muffins
(makes 12 muffins or 24 mini-muffins)

Ingredients:
350g cooking apples (weight after peeling and coring), cut into ½” cubes
110g butter
275g plain flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
75g golden caster sugar
175ml milk

Streusel topping
50g chopped pecans
75g self-raising flour
75g demerara sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
25g butter, softened

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and milk. Add the melted butter and whisk again. Sift the flour mixture (yes, that’s two siftings) into the egg mixture and fold. Don’t worry if it’s gloopy and lumpy – it’s meant to be. Fold in the apple. Spoon into your muffin tin(s).

To make the streusel topping, mix together the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add the butter and rub together using your fingers until it’s crumbly. Stir in the pecans and add a spoonful of cold water until it’s good and clumpy. Put a bit on top of each muffin.

Bake at 190C (170C fan) for 25-30 minutes.

Bramble Jelly

15 Sep

Blackberry Mania continues here at our house. Yesterday I made some scrumptious bramble jelly which I spread liberally, with lashings of butter, on a toasted crumpet for breakfast this morning.

Bramble Jelly
(I halved this recipe)

3 lbs blackberries
2 cooking apples, washed, cored and diced
Juice of 1 large lemon
450 ml water
Sugar (amount varies)
2 Tbsp Cassis

Wash and drain the blackberries. Put in a preserving pan (or any heavy-based saucepan) along with the apple, lemon juice and water. Simmer for about an hour.

Strain the berry mixture in damp muslin in a sieve over a large bowl for 8 hours, or overnight. I find it easier to just leave it to drip all night. If you’re lucky enough to have one of those jelly bag contraptions, then use that. I just jerry-rig my own and it works fine.

Sterilise some jars – I do it by washing them in hot, soapy water, then putting them upside down on a rack in the oven to dry. Half an hour at 140C (120C fan) should do it.

Pour your berry liquid into a measuring cup and see how much you’ve got. For every 600ml, weigh out 450g of sugar. You can use special preserving sugar if you’d like, but I just use ordinary granulated. Add the sugar to the juice in a big saucepan and heat over low until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Add the Cassis and let the mixture simmer until it reaches setting point. I’ve always been told that you can tell it’s done if you dribble a little bit of the jelly onto a cold saucer, and it sort of wrinkles. However, that never seems to work for me. I just simmer it for about 15 minutes and it’s fine.

Pour into jars, cool and eat!

Blackberry Cordial

12 Sep

Yesterday was a gorgeous hot late summer day, so the husband and I set off on a brambling expedition. We came home with purple-stained fingers (and clothes) and with more blackberries than I knew what to do with. After all, there are only so many crumbles a couple can eat. So I decided to try making some blackberry cordial, and it’s delicious!

There are lots of boozy blackberry cordial recipes out there, but I wanted something non-alcoholic, icy and cold that I could gulp down from a tall glass on a hot afternoon.

Blackberry Cordial
(makes about 1 litre)

400g (13 oz) blackberries
1 litre ( 1 ¾ pints) water
300g (10 oz) caster sugar (next time I’ll use a bit less)

Wash the berries and place them, with the sugar and water, in a heavy pan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and press through a sieve until you get as much juice out as you can. Cool the juice, then bottle and refrigerate.

Serve with soda water over ice. Refreshing!

Homemade Runner Bean Chutney

25 Aug

One day we’ll get our own vegetable garden going but, until then, we’re very lucky to have lovely neighbours who keep us well-supplied with all manner of fruit and veg – including, this year, loads of runner beans. These are end-of-season beans, so not as tender as earlier ones; this makes them ideal for chutney.

Ingredients:
2 lbs runner beans, chopped or sliced
1 lb chopped onions
1½ pints malt vinegar
1½ lbs demerara sugar
½ tbsp salt
½ tbsp cornflour
½ tbsp turmeric
½ tbsp dried mustard

Method:
Cook the onions and beans in salted water until soft. Strain and chop more finely if desired. Return to the pan and add 1 pint of the malt vinegar. Bring to the boil and simmer. Add the sugar. Mix the salt, cornflour, turmeric and mustard with the remaining vinegar and stir into the pan. Bring back to the boil and simmer until thick, 20-30 minutes. Pour into sterilised jars, but do not cover until cool.

*I halved the recipe

Serve with cheese or cold meat.