I'm not one for Christmas pudding or Christmas cake. It's a bit too intense for me. I think if I made my own my opinion may change but until then I'll stick to alternatives. It doesn't help that I despise marzipan. To make an equally lovely centrepiece I thought I'd try my hand at a festive trifle: mulled wine jelly, panettone and orange juice and softly whipped cream reminiscent of a snow scene. All it needs is some edible glitter; but they'd run
I feel a little left out at the moment. Everyone is having a Christmas party of some sort or other and I have never been to one. I’m not sure how it’s different to any other kind of party other than people adorning some questionably festive earrings and the subtle background music involving an alarming amount of sleigh bells. In order to rectify my festive blues I decided to have my own Christmas party. I say party but really it was just an excuse
Pears are funny things. They make us wait for that moment of perfect ripeness and when it occurs we have to eat them immediately. I had two conference pears in my fruit bowl. Every time I went into the kitchen I could see their skinny, stalked tops just poking out over the bowl looking at me, testing my patience. These pears seemed to be staying forever firm; even after four days there wasn’t a whisper of softness.
Pears poached in red wine is
Comfort food is wonderful. It's always the things which are full of bread, cheese, pasta, pastry and the like. Sometimes I want the comfort without the guilt, and particularly for this, without the expense. Beef wellington is as magnificent a dinner as they come; it's one of my all time favourites. However, pork fillet is about a third of the price of beef fillet and therefore makes a brilliantly cheaper alternative.
I had to ask my butcher to
My sloe journey started on an early Autumn day when I was full of enthusiasm for making sloe gin. After rambling through the hedgerows, dodging a few rabbit holes and being careful of the thorns I had a basket rammed with sloes. I had romantic visions of sloe picking scenes but in reality it was pretty hard work. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
First of all the sloes were steeped in gin. This particular batch included some blackberries which have
For some reason I have a bit of a thing for French food. It's the food that never fails to put a smile on my face; partly because of the flavours but also because it's a great excuse to showcase local, British ingredients in different ways. It's a funny time of year, I feel it's almost time to crack out a salad but at the same time I still want comfort and warmth. What better than the absolute classic French onion soup?
There's nothing quite like
Beautiful, traditional and French; a perfect meal for Valentine's Day. This one's a winner because the bottle of wine you need for the boeuf bourguignon you can then drink with the meal or yourself during the preparation as a reward for all your hard work. Being a slow cooking dish means once it's on the go you don't need to worry about it and you can get on with other things. If that wasn't enough, it's also incredible and actually quite cheap.
Luscious sloe gin will inevitably result in spare berries when sloes and gin are separated. There is only so much sloe chocolate you can eat and extra sloe gin you can make before boredom sets in. I was informed by a kind friend that sloe port was worth a try but receptacles were thin on the ground. Fortunately my Granny had given me a Rumtopf a while back which was perfect for transforming my gin soaked berries into deep red port.
This is a perfect recipe for the long Easter weekend break. It's a celebration of Spring vegetables in the best wrapping of all...pastry. This chicken and vegetable pie is extremely versatile as you can change the vegetables depending on what is in season. It is also great for using up leftovers.
You will need (for one large pie to serve 4-6):
1 whole chicken
1 large onion, chopped
1 leek, sliced
Knob of butter
I needed something slow cooked and full of goodness. Fortunately I had a fridge full of treats from the farmers' market. I had some seriously good braising steak from Challow Hill and a congregation of fantastic veg from the greengrocer.
What you will need (for four to six portions):
Braising steak (at least 500-750g)
Vegetables of your choice - carrots, swede, onions, leeks, pasnips - a few good handfuls