I can go into Sainsbury’s and pick up four chicken breasts for £6. Not the extra special ones, not the organic ones, just the standard ones. My alternative is to go to the farmer’s market and pick up two whole chickens for £10. These are free range chickens and I would still get four chicken breasts but I would also get four drumsticks, four wings, four thighs and two carcasses for making beautiful stock with. It’s a no brainer really.
IngredientsYou will need (for 6-8 small potato cakes):
- 500g potatoes
- Small bunch spring onions
- Handful spring cabbage
- Small handful chives
- Salt and pepper
- Butter for frying
MethodStart by peeling and then boiling the potatoes until soft. Drain the potatoes and leave them to cool. While they cool, chop the spring onions, cabbage (as much or as little as you like) and chives. I like to put the chive flowers in too if not just for the colour. Mash the potato, mix in all the other ingredients and season. Take small handfuls of the mixture, form into balls and then squash to make them flatter.
Heat some butter in a pan until foaming. If you want the outside golden and with the slight saltiness you must use butter, it’s just not the same with oil. I do add a little oil to stop the butter burning but not much. These little cakes like to soak the butter up so have some spare to dot around the pan. Place the cakes in the pan, you may have to do more than one batch, and wait until they are golden until you turn them over. Turn them too early and you might end up with a right mess.They are done when they are golden brown enough for you. Keep the heat low/medium as you don’t want any burning before browning. A treat for a BBQ but great with anything else too.
All That I’m Eating
It was a picturesque morning when I hopped on the bicycle and cycled to the farmers’ market. On setting off I was very pleased with myself for saving the planet and burning calories at the same time. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and I was thoroughly convinced I was the modern day Snow White. It wasn’t particularly far or mountainous but to say I arrived less than glamorous and somewhat flustered would be an understatement. Let’s just say there was a bumble bee that seemed certain its hive was my nostril.
You will need (for five to six large portions):
- 1/2 a teaspoon each of cardamom, mustard seeds, cumin and turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
- salt and pepper
- 2 large aubergines, in roughly chopped
- 4 onions, sliced
- 4 large garlic cloves
- Oil for frying
- 4 tomatoes, seeds removed and quartered
- 1 tin tomatoes
- 2 chillies, sliced (add more or less depending on how hot you like it)
- 1 tin coconut milk
- 300ml vegetable stock
- Large handful coriander, roughly chopped
MethodAdd all the spices and salt and pepper to a pestle and mortar and grind them up. The smell is so fresh.
I have a real aversion to soggy, slimy, sloppy aubergines and so to prevent my distress I always cook them separately first. In this case I griddled them to give them a characteristic smoky flavour. Don’t add oil to the aubergine, I find the oil soaks in too much. I have found that for some recipes soaking the aubergines in salt is absolutely necessary but in this recipe, not so much.
Sweat the onion and garlic in a little oil until they look fairly sumptuous and then add the spices. Stir until your nostrils are dancing.
Pesto, hummus and bread are just a few examples of things that if you make yourself, couldn’t be further from the shop bought version. Chicken liver pâté is another. I have long had an affection for this most accepted of offal and I felt it was about time I got myself some to see how a homemade one compares. I couldn’t have asked for better livers. They were free range, organic and fresh as you could ask for. I never eat supermarket chicken and so the money I would have spent on that I spend on farmers’ market chicken and just eat it less often.
This recipe took me about 10 minutes to make so if you find yourself with the opportunity to buy livers, do so.
This is a classic stuffing and I got the recipe from my Granny. She copied it out for me a few years ago, so when I was down at the Farmers’ Market and I saw some sausage meat I knew it was that time again.
This is such a simple recipe with great results. I have recently become a little more friendly with my blender. Some might say too friendly. I just can’t believe how much easier it makes things. When you have poor circulation in the extremities, the thought of chopping an onion into a billion pieces is not enticing.
What you will need (for four to six portions):
- Braising steak (at least 500-750g)
- Seasoned flour
- Vegetables of your choice – carrots, swede, onions, leeks, pasnips – a few good handfuls of each
- Potatoes – 4-6 medium
- Red wine (1 small glass)
- Stock (750ml)
- Oil and seasoning
Cut up the steaks and roll them in seasoned flour. Fry them in a pan that you can also then put in the oven. Keep all the goodness in one place. I am not fortunate to own one of these modern day contraptions.
Get chopping! It’s not that bad once you get going and you get lots of goodies to go straight into the compost bin. It’s true when they say you don’t get something for nothing.
Into my cauldron of lusciousness I added a healthy (large) glass of red wine, a stock cube (I know, I’m sorry) and some water. I threw in a bay leaf for good measure and a load of seasoning. I find when I think I’ve seasoned enough, I season some more.
What you will need (for 2):
- Stir fry strips or other thinly sliced steak
- Vegetables of your choice, I used onion, garlic, ginger, sweetcorn, carrots, spring onion and spinach
- Soy sauce
- Lemon or lime
- Oil, preferably vegetable or groundnut
- Salt and pepper
I was lucky enough to strike up a conversation with the lady from Challow Hill Meats and she told me the story of her stir fry strips. She explained to me that when cutting the sirloin and the fillet off she was left with all these bits of meat. They used to go into the meat for stewing etc. Then she put them up for sale as I buy them now and I couldn’t be more pleased. The perfect amount of meat, of excellent quality and cut, ready sliced and for £1.84. Who can moan about that?
To make the most of these little bits of loveliness I let them marinate in salt, pepper and soya sauce while I cut up all my vegetables.
Apparently I have become a magnet for books and other similar reading materials. Old and new, modern and traditional, there is not a manuscript that passes me by without a glance or sometimes a purchase. Because of this new exponential accumulation I needed to reorganise and rearrange my boudoir in preparation for a charming new bookcase I had clapped my eyes upon. I wrestled with the idea of what to have for dinner and I knew this rearrangement would take many hours. Do I have a quick sandwich and feel an intense sense of disappointment or…Quick cheats risotto and roasted veg.
What to do with quite a significant sized marrow, no time and a fridge full of food but nothing to eat. It was then that I remembered the very wise man who sold me the marrow in the first place. He recommended a baked marrow but not to cut it down the middle and then stuff it as one might expect but to go about it as follows.Ingredients You will need (for four):