Recipes of the month

January

Root Vegetable and Sausage Roast

Roast 700g chunkily chopped root vegetables, such as parsnip, carrot, swede, potato & turnip, at 200˚C/Gas 6 with a slosh of olive oil.

After 15 minutes add 2 cored, sliced apples, 1 tbsp each grainy mustard and honey and a little chopped sage. Nestle in 8 sausages of your choice and continue roasting until all is cooked through.

Serve with crusty bread.


Aubergine Pie

Ingredients

1kg (2lb) aubergines
1 onion
1 clove garlic
500gm (1lb) tomatoes, skinned & chopped
150gm (5oz) natural yogurt
113gm (4oz) cottage cheese
25gm (1oz) grated parmesan cheese
200ml (1/3 pint) olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

  • Slice aubergines, sprinkle with salt & leave in colander for 1 hour. Rinse, drain & pat dry.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in pan, add onion & fry until softened.
  • Add garlic & tomatoes & simmer for 5 mins.
  • Mix yogurt & cottage cheese together. Season to taste.
  • Heat remaining oil in a frying pan & cook aubergine slices on both sides until golden. Drain.
  •  Arrange 1/3 aubergines in oven proof dish. Cover with ½ tomato mixture, then ½ yogurt mixture. Repeat the layers finishing with aubergines.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan & cook in preheated oven (180°C or 350°F) for 35 to 40 mins.
  • Serve immediately.

February

Celeriac Remoulade

Ingredients to serve 4

7 tbsp of good mayonnaise
3 tbsp dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
7oz/650g of grated celeriac

Method

Mix mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice together in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Peel and quarter the celeriac. Then grate coarsely into the bowl with the other ingredients. Stir to ensure even coverage.
Serve with toast as a starter or as part of a salad dish (very nice with fish).

Keeps for up to 2 days if stored in the fridge.


Lorne Sausage

This is a traditional Scottish dish, also known as Sliced or Square sausage, and has the advantage over traditional link sausages in that it does not require a special machine or a supply of suitable skins.

Ingredients

1 kg (2lb) of minced beef                                    3 tsp ground coriander
1 kg (2lb) of minced pork                                    3 tsp salt
2 tsp ground pepper                                           1 cup of water
2 tsp ground nutmeg  
3 cups of fine breadcrumbs or a mixture of breadcrumbs and fine oatmeal

Method
  • The beef and pork should not be too lean or the sausage will be too dry. Mix all dry ingredients together and then mix the meats thoroughly with your hands.
  • Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the mixture and mix again, add the water and remix  to give an even consistency.
  •  Place the mixture in a suitable rectangular metal or plastic container about 25cm x 10cm x 7.5cm (10" x 4" x 3") lined with cling film and press mixture down firmly. 
  • Place container in freezer until mixture begins to set then cut into slices about 1-2 cm thick. Put back in freezer separated with cling film to prevent slices sticking together.
  • When required, defrost and fry in a little fat or oil until brown and cooked through. 
  • Can be eaten hot with bacon and egg at breakfast, with potato and veg for lunch or dinner, or in a roll hot or cold as a snack.

And for a truly international meal why not try with

Irish Mashed Potato

Ingredients

1kg (2lb) potatoes ( Maris Piper is good)              150ml (2oz) milk
2 spring onions                                                  50gm (2oz) butter                     
1 leek                                                               Bay leaf
Small amount watercress                                    Salt & pepper to taste
Parsley (roughly chopped)
Small amount yellow celery leaves or lovage (roughly chopped)

Method

  • Cook potatoes till soft
  • Clean leek & spring onions & chop as finely as possible
  • Put in a pan with milk, bay leaf, salt & pepper & butter. Simmer for 7 or 8 minutes
  • Mash cooked potatoes adding infused milk gradually
  • Season to taste
  • Roughly chop watercress, discarding thick stalks, leaving a few leaves for decoration
  • Reheat if necessary. Stir in parsley & celery leaves
  • Scatter remaining watercress over & serve

 


March

Leek & Goat's Cheese Tart

Ingredients

Pastry
110g/4oz plain flour
25g/1oz softened lard
25g/1oz softened butter
a little cold water

Filling
350g/12oz trimmed & sliced leeks
175g/6oz firm goats chees (rindless)
10g/ 1/2 oz butter
3 large eggs
200ml/7fl oz crème fraiche or double cream
4 spring onions trimmed & finely sliced
salt & pepper

Method

Combine pastry ingredients together to form smooth dough and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

 Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the sliced leeks, sprinkled with salt, on a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes, uncovered.

 Then transfer the leeks to a sieve to allow the excess juice to drain (place a saucer on top to aid with this).

 Roll out pastry and place in a lightly buttered quiche tin (19cm/7.5 inch, with removable base if possible). Leave the pastry with 5mm/ 1/4 inch above the edge of the tin and prick base and side all over. Then paint some of the beaten egg over the pastry before placing on a baking sheet and cook at 190ºC/gas mark 5 for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden. Check halfway through cooking time and if pastry is rising in the centre prick again and press gently down.

Crumble the goat’s cheese and combine with the drained leeks. Separately combine the beaten eggs with the crème fraiche or double cream, seasoning with a little salt and pepper.

 As soon as the pastry is ready arrange the cheese and leeks evenly and sprinkle over the sliced spring onions. Then gently pour over half of the cream/egg mixture. Then place the tart back onto the baking sheet on the half pulled out oven shelf before gently pouring over the remainder of the cream/egg mixture..

Gently slide the oven shelf in and bake the tart for 30-35 minutes or until the centre is firm and the surface is golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving to aid slicing.


Creamy Crunchy Leeks

Ingredients


1 rasher smoked streaky bacon         1 clove garlic
350g small leeks                               Few leaves fresh thyme
5 tbs single cream                            350 ml chicken stock
3 thick slices stale white bread          2 tbs olive oil
1 fresh bay leaf                                 Salt & pepper
50g cheddar or any good flavoured cheese crumbled

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200°C
  • Fry bacon & bay leaf in oil until soft
  • Clean leeks & slice into 2cm pieces & add to pan
  • Season & add stock & cream
  • Bring to boil & simmer for about 10 mins
  • Turn off heat & add most of cheese (mixture will be quite runny but will thicken in oven )
  • Make bread crumbs & add chopped garlic & thyme
  • Put leek mixture into oven proof dish
  • Scatter bread crumb mixture & remaining cheese over the top
  •  Cook for 30 to 40 mins in oven until golden & crispy

Other vegetables can be used instead of leeks e.g. fennel, celeriac, baby turnips, shallots


April

Rhubarb Cheesecake Pie

Ingredients
375g ready rolled puff pastry
Rhubarb:
900g trimmed rhubarb
140g caster sugar
1 orange
Cheesecake:
1 egg
400g soft cheese
50g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

Method
Finely grate the zest of the orange and put to one side. Squeeze the juice of the orange and put this in a pan with the rhubarb and 90g of the sugar.
Cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Then cook for a further 5 – 8 minutes until the rhubarb is almost tender.
Drain the juice from the rhubarb and keep to one side. Let the rhubarb cool down.
Beat the egg in a bowl then add all the cheesecake ingredients plus the orange zest and mix together.
Roll the pastry out to approximately a 33cm / 13 inch circle.
Spread the cheesecake mix over the pastry leaving a 5cm space from the edge of the pastry.
Spread the cooled rhubarb over the cheesecake filling.
Fold the pastry edges in loose folds over the filling. Brush the pastry with egg or milk.
Bake for 30 minutes at 200 ˚C or Gas 6 until the pastry is golden brown.
Make a sauce from the juices – add the remaining 50g sugar to the rhubarb juices and boil for approximately 10 minutes until the juice has reduced by a quarter.

Winter Salad

Ingredients

¼ red cabbage finely sliced                     1 tbsp walnut oil
¼ green cabbage finely sliced                  1 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
2 carrots peeled & cut into matchsticks     ½ tsp Dijon mustard
Handful walnuts roughly chopped              salt & pepper to taste

Method

  • Put cabbage, carrot & walnut in a large bowl
  • In a small bowl whisk other ingredients & season to taste
  • Drizzle over salad & toss

Brussels Sprouts with Caramelised Onions & Toasted Almonds

(6-8 servings)

Ingredients


200gm (8oz) unsalted butter                            3 Spanish onions peeled &                                                                                     finely sliced
1kg (2lb) sprouts peeled & finely shredded     150ml (¼pt) vegetable oil
200gm (8oz) blanched almonds                      Pinch celery salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Melt 175gm (7oz) butter in large pan & gently sweat onions for 6-8 min. until softened & caramelised. Remove from pan
  • In pan of boiling water blanch sprouts for 1 min, drain & refresh in cold water
  • Heat oil, add almonds and fry gently until lightly toasted
  • Add remaining butter and sweat sprouts for 3-4 min, add onions & almonds and stir
  • Season with celery salt & pepper
  • Serve at once


May

Elderflower Cordial

Note: It is best to collect the flower heads when the sun has been shining and the flowers are not wet.

Ingredients

30 elderflower heads
2 Kg sugar
50g Citric acid
2 lemons – sliced
900ml boiling water

Method

Soak the flower heads with all the ingredients for 5 days.

Stir daily.

Strain the mixture through a cloth/muslin.

Pour into sterilised bottles. Campden tablets can be added to the finished cordial and it will then keep for up to a year. If not it will keep for 2 – 3 months.


Dilute to taste & enjoy!




Orange & Rhubarb Pudding


Ingredients

500gm (1lb) rhubarb (forced rhubarb is best)           
Grated rind & juice of 1 orange
50gm (2oz) soft brown sugar
Pudding Mixture
50gm (2oz) soft margarine                                     
50gm (2oz) soft brown sugar
1 large egg                                                          
75gm (3oz) self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder                                            
50gm (2oz) almonds (chopped)

Method

  • Cut rhubarb into 2.5cm (1in) pieces
  • Put into 900ml (1½ pint) ovenproof dish
  • Pour orange juice over rhubarb & sprinkle with orange peel & sugar
  • Put all pudding ingredients except almonds in a bowl & beat thoroughly
  • Spoon over rhubarb mixture & spread evenly
  • Sprinkle almonds over the top
  • Bake in preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 35 to 40 mins
  • Serve hot with orange cream


Orange Cream


Ingredients

250gm (8oz) unsalted butter                             300ml (½ pint) milk
1tsp gelatine                                                   Grated rind of 1 orange
1tbsp caster sugar

Method

  • Put all ingredients in a pan & heat gently until butter has melted
  • Cool until lukewarm
  • Pour into blender & blend at maximum speed
  • Chill & whisk lightly before use
  • Serve with rhubarb pudding

Courgette & Herb Frittata (a sort of baked Italian omelette)

Ingredients (serves 2)


15gm Unsalted butter                     4 Spring onions, finely sliced
1 medium Courgette, sliced          ½ tsp Allspice
100gm Feta                                     6 Eggs
Salt                                                  Black pepper, freshly ground
Mixed herbs- a handful of parsley, coriander, dill & mint, chopped

Method

  • In a small ovenproof saucepan melt the butter over a medium heat.
  • Add the spring onions until they soften slightly.
  • Add the courgette slices & cook gently for 5-10 mins allowing them to brown slightly & soften.
  • Put herbs in a bowl together with the onions, courgettes, allspice & feta.
  • Beat the eggs lightly in a bowl, add to the herbs/vegetables mixture.
  • Season to taste.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan & cook for about 4 mins over a medium heat
  • Put the pan under a medium grill for about 12 mins.
  • The frittata will puff up & turn golden brown but should still be a little runny inside when cut open

Spinach & ricotta or asparagus & herbs are alternative ingredients.


June


Pecan Grilled Fruit

A quick recipe that uses up fruit that is a little on the ripe side!

Ingredients

 4 nectarines/peaches or 8 - 10 apricots – halved
 50g softened butter
4 tbsp light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
50g chopped pecans

Method

Combine all ingredients together

Place the fruit on a foil lined baking tray and divide the butter mixture between the fruit

Grill for 3 - 5 minutes until the mixture has browned

Serve on their own or with ice cream


Nettle Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

225gm (8oz) young nettle shoots (tender, very nutritious & free) or young spinach leaves (Wear rubber gloves to pick nettles, the top of the young shoots, 1st 2 leaves & bud. They lose sting when cooked)

100gm (4oz) butter             450gm (1lb) onions sliced
6 cloves garlic chopped      1½ litres (2½ pints) vegetable or chicken                                              stock
Salt & pepper                    100gm (4oz) crème fraiche

Method

  • Wash nettle shoots (or spinach leaves).
  • Fry onions over a low heat until translucent.
  • Add garlic & cook for a further 2 mins.
  • Add nettles (or spinach leaves) & stock and bring to the boil.  Gently simmer for 5 mins.
  • Liquidize soup to a green purée & season.
  • Serve hot with a dollop of crème fraiche in each bowl.

Broad Bean, Mint & Ricotta Bruschetta

Ingredients (serves 2)


1 good handful of podded broad beans     2tbsp virgin olive oil - plus   more for the bread
Zest of 1 lemon & a little juice                    10 mint leaves- chopped
Sea salt & black pepper                             ½ garlic clove
Fresh ricotta                                               2 thick slices of sour dough or soda bread

Method

  • Put broad beans in boiling water for 5 mins, plunge into cold water, drain & skin them
  • Put beans in a small bowl & add olive oil, lemon zest & juice & most of the mint
  • Season
  • Toast the bread so it is crunchy on the outside but still has a bit of give
  • Rub 1 side of each slice with the cut side of garlic clove
  • Drizzle with olive oil
  • Season the ricotta then spread onto hot garlicky bread
  • Top with broad beans & garnish with remaining chopped mint


July


Strawberry Ice cream

This is a relatively easy recipe that uses up the excess strawberries we have all picked or grown, and can be made with ingredients that are readily available at Cold Ash Post Office!
 It can also be adapted to use other fruits.

Ingredients

·         425g strawberries

·         110g caster sugar

·         275ml double cream

Method

·         Puree the fruit and sugar together

·         Beat the cream until it is thick but not stiff

·         Fold the cream into the fruit mixture and freeze

·         When the ice cream starts to become solid around the edges beat with a spoon, then refreeze

·         Repeat this process at least twice

This ice cream is not soft scoop so remember to take it out for a few minutes before it is served,
 and enjoy!


Celeriac & Chilli Gratin

Ingredients

1kg celeriac or sweet potatoes                                        3tbs olive oil
½-1 red chilli (depending on strength & finely chopped)      3 garlic cloves                                                                                             (finely chopped)
250ml single cream                                                        Salt & ground                                                                                             pepper

Method

  • Peel celeriac & slice as thinly as possible
  • In large mixing bowl, toss celeriac slices with 2 tbs of oil & all other ingredients until evenly coated & garlic & chilli are well distributed
  • Transfer to lightly oiled gratin dish spreading the slices evenly
  • Pour any remaining cream over the top & trickle remaining oil over
  • Bake in a fairly hot oven (190C/gas 5) for 40-50 minutes until celeriac is tender & top is browned & crisp


August

Traditional Raspberry Jam

Thanks to the Ashmore Green W.I. for providing this recipe.

Makes about 2.2Kb (5lb)


Ingredients
  • 1.3Kg (3lb) raspberries, washed and drained well
  • 1.3Kg (3lb) granulated sugar

Method

  • Place the raspberries in a large pan and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the raspberries are tender and the juice is extracted
  • Remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring until it is completely dissolved.
  • Put the pan back on the heat and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for about 5 minutes and then remove any scum and test for a set.
  • Pour into cooled, sterilised jars. Seal and label.

Gooseberry and Elderflower Fool

Ingredients

450gm/1lb green gooseberries topped & tailed              4tbsp water

10 heads elderflowers (plus muslin to make infusion)     4tbsp sugar
Strip of lemon peel                                           290ml/½ pint crème fraiche
Sprigs of mint or elderflower

Method

Elderflower heads are easy to gather (avoid any near roadside and make sure to collect elderflower heads off a bush and not cow parsley which is poisonous and is a plant about 1-1½ ft tall.  If in doubt omit elderflowers)

  • Cook gooseberries gently in the water until soft & the juices run, add lemon peel & sugar
  • Wrap elderflowers in muslin & tie. Put into gooseberry mixture & simmer for 15 mins
  • Mash mixture roughly & leave to cool in a bowl
  • Remove elderflower muslin bag & squeeze juice into gooseberry mixture. Discard  muslin & contents
  • Set aside ¼ of gooseberry mixture in a bowl
  • Add crème fraiche to remaining  gooseberry mixture & gently fold in
  • Spoon reserved  gooseberry mixture into individual glasses or glass bowl
  • Layer gooseberry/crème fraiche mixture into glasses & chill in fridge
  • Decorate with sprigs of mint or elderflowers
  • Serve with sponge fingers



September

Green Tomato Chutney

Thanks to the Ashmore Green W.I. for providing this recipe.

Ingredients

500g green tomatoes

¾ tsp cayenne pepper

250g cooking apples

2 tsp salt

375g sultanas

6 cloves

250g brown sugar

4 chillies

250g shallots or onions

1 pint vinegar

 
Method

  •  Mince or chop finely the tomatoes, apples and shallots.
  • Put all the ingredients, except vinegar, into a large pan and cook gently for half an hour or until fruit is soft.
  • Add vinegar and simmer gently for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • When correct consistency is reached pour into warm, dry jars and cover whilst hot with vinegar-safe lids.
  • Best kept for 2 months to allow flavours to mature.


Courgette muffins

Makes 12
  
Ingredients
50g courgette, grated
1 apple, peeled, cored & grated
1 orange
1 egg
75g butter, melted
300g self raising flour
half teaspoon baking powder
half teaspoon cinnamon
100g caster sugar
handful of sultanas
 
Method
Brush a muffin tin with oil and switch the oven to 190c/170c fan/gas5.
Put the courgette, apple and orange juice in a bowl and stir in the egg and butter.
Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and cook for 20-25 minutes.
 
Best eaten on the day of cooking.

Baked Stuffed Onions with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients

4 large white onions             2 tbs salted capers
300 gm ricotta                     ½ tps dried oregano
1 egg                                 225 gm sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained                                                     &chopped)
2 tbs grated parmesan         4 anchovy fillets (chopped)
black pepper                        drizzle virgin olive oil
salad leaves to serve 

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F
  • Drop peeled onions into pan of boiling water & cook for 10 mins, drain & cool
  • Cut each onion in ½ lengthways from stalk to root
  • Scoop out & reserve heart of onions but leaving at least 2 outer layers to create a shell
  • Finely chop onion hearts & place in a bowl
  • Add rest of ingredients apart from parmesan, season & mix well
  • Stuff onion shells with mixture
  • Place on greased baking tray & sprinkle parmesan over the top
  • Drizzle a little oil over
  • Cook for 30 mins
  • Serve warm or hot with salad

 

October

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients
50g/2oz butter or margarine
1kg/2lb pumpkin (peeled,de-seeded & diced)
2 onions sliced finely
1 tin of peeled plum tomatoes chopped or 4 large fresh tomatoes peeled & quartered
1.5 litres/2.5 pints vegetable stock
125ml/4 fl oz double cream or creme fraiche
salt & pepper to taste

Method

Melt the butter in a large pan, then add the diced pumpkin and onions. Cook gently, stirring frequently until they are coated with the fat. Add the tomatoes and stir over a medium heat for a further 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Cover the pan and simmer over a low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are completely tender. Season to taste.

Puree the mixture and return it to the pan. Stir in the cream or creme fraiche and heat through.

I have used various different squashes for this recipe and all have worked fine.

Eve’s Pudding

Ingredients

500g (1lb) cooking apples

50g (2oz) soft brown sugar

125g (4oz) butter or marg

125g (4oz) caster sugar

2 eggs

125g (4oz) self-raising flour

1 tablespoon hot water

 

Method

  • Put peeled & thinly sliced apples in shallow oven proof dish & sprinkle with brown sugar
  •  Cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy
  • Add beaten eggs, one at a time & fold in flour & add hot water
  • Spread mixture over apples & bake in pre-heated oven 180°C (350°F) until golden brown
  • Serve with cream or custard

 


German Apple Pudding

Ingredients

Base

125g (4oz) SR flour

25g (1oz) ground almonds

75g (3oz) butter

50g (2oz) soft brown sugar

1tsp lemon juice

1 egg yolk

Filling

500g (1lb) cooking apples

75g (3oz) soft brown sugar

grated lemon rind

1tsp lemon juice

 

Topping

50g (2oz) plain flour

50g (2oz) butter

150g (5oz) soft brown sugar

1tsp ground cinnamon

 

Method

Rub in butter with SR flour & ground almonds
Stir in sugar & mix with lemon juice & egg yolk
Press into 8in loose bottomed cake tin
 Peel & slice apples thinly & mix with other ingredients from filling list
 Spread mixture over base in tin
Rub butter into plain flour
Stir in sugar & cinnamon
Sprinkle over apple mixture
Bake for 1 to 1½ hours until golden at 180°C (350°F)
Serve hot or cold

Chunky Vegetable Soup with Barley & Pesto (Minestrone)

Ingredients


225g (8oz) pearl barley, soaked in cold water for 3 hours & drained
1 onion finely cut                                 1 carrot finely cut
2 celery sticks cut in cubes                 100g green cabbage roughly sliced
1 large potato peeled & cubed              1 courgette cut in cubes
2 garlic cloves                                     1 litre vegetable stock
Salt & ground black pepper                  15 basil leaves
Drizzle olive oil

 

Method

  • Put barley in a saucepan, cover with cold water & bring to the boil. Cook for 25 minutes until tender. Drain.
  • Put prepared onion, carrot, celery, cabbage, courgettes & potato in a large saucepan. Pour in stock & bring to the boil. Lower heat & simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Season to taste.
  •  Put basil in a food processor (or chop finely) together with garlic (also chopped finely) & add 8 tbsp of hot stock. Spin to create a smooth runny paste (pesto).
  • Pour the pesto into the pan with the vegetables & add the barley. Stir until it is all combined.
  • Check seasoning.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with a drizzle of olive oil if desired.


November

Apple Charlotte

Line an ovenproof dish with buttered crust-less bread.
Peal and slice apples to fill dish.
Layer apples alternately with brown sugar. Depending how sweet your tooth is, put in more or less.
Cover with a layer of buttered bread.
Cook at 180 °C/Gas 4 for 20 minutes to half an hour, or until the apples are cooked.

 

 

Quick Bramble Jelly

450g Blackberries
175ml water
450g granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
 
Stew berries with water for 20 - 25 minutes.
Add sugar and lemon. Allow the sugar to dissolve completely keeping it on a low heat.
Turn the heat right up and boil rapidly. Stir to prevent sticking.
Test if jam set enough, once it is strain through a sieve and pour into sterilised jars.


Indian Style Vegetables

Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients

2 onions sliced

1tsp curry powder

2 cloves garlic crushed

2.5cm fresh root ginger chopped

4 carrots sliced

300ml stock

350g courgettes sliced

50g roasted cashew nuts

1 small cauliflower broken into florets

150g natural yoghurt

2tsp ground coriander & turmeric

4tbsp oil

Method

In a large pan fry onions until soft
Add spices & garlic & cook for 1 min.
Add carrots & courgettes & cook for 2-3 mins.
Add stock & seasoning. Cover & simmer for 10 mins.
Add cauliflower & cook for further 10 mins.
Stir in nuts & yoghurt & heat gently
Serve with brown rice



Aubergine, Thyme & Feta Tart

Ingredients

3 medium aubergines        320gm sheet puff pastry       Beaten egg & milk
2 large cloves garlic          Olive oil                               10 small sprigs thyme
20gm feta cheese

Method

  • Score 2 aubergines down their length in 4 places & bake for 25 mins at 180°C / gas 4. Set asid
  • Turn up oven to 200°C / gas 6
  • Roll out pastry to approximately  27cm x 37cm
  • Place on baking sheet & score a line about 3cm from edge
  • Brush the rim with milk/egg & bake for 15mins
  • Remove from oven & gently push the central rectangle of pastry down
  •  Crush one cooked aubergine with a fork
  •  Peel & finely slice garlic & fry in 2tbs of olive oil till golden
  • Add to creamed aubergine & season lightly
  • Slice the other aubergine into rounds
  • Heat  4-5 tbs  of oil & add slices of aubergine, seasoning with black pepper, salt & thyme
  • When golden turn slices over & cook other side. Drain on kitchen paper
  • Fill rectangle of pastry with aubergine cream, place fried  slices on top with some thyme leaves
  •  Crumble  feta over the top
  •  Return tart to oven for 15mins until cheese starts to soften
  • Trickle a little oil over top & serve warm

 

December

Game Casserole

Soften a sliced onion in olive oil in a cast iron casserole dish.

Roll chunks of breast of either partridge, pheasant, duck, pigeon or a mixture of each, with flour to which has been added salt and pepper.   Allow about 100-150 grams of game per person.

Add game to onion in casserole and brown flesh all over.   Loosen any browned flour stuck to base of casserole to thicken and colour gravy.

Just cover meat with orange juice (reconstituted juice in carton is ideal). Add half teaspoon of ground cloves and simmer for about an hour or until meat is tender.

If orange juice is not available, or if preferred, use apple juice and just before serving stir in a glass of wine.

Serve with mashed potato and mashed carrot and swede or other seasonal vegetables.


Minestrone with Pesto Toasts



Ingredients
30ml/2tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 onion sliced
225g/8oz lean bacon diced
2 small courgettes quartered & sliced
50g/2oz french beans chopped
2 small carrots diced                             For the Toasts
2 celery sticks finely chopped                8 slices French bread
1 bouquet garni                                    15ml/1tbs ready-made pesto sauce
50g/2oz short cut macaroni                   15ml/1tbs parmesan cheese
50g/2oz frozen peas
200g/7oz can kidney beans rinsed
50g/2oz shredded green cabbage
4 tomatoes skinned & seeded
Salt & ground black pepper to taste

Method

Heat oil in large pan & gently fry garlic & onions for 5 mins.

Add bacon, courgettes, french beans, carrots & celery & stir fry for 3 mins.

Add 1.2 litres/2 pints water & bouquet garni. Simmer for 25 mins.

Add macaroni, peas & kidney beans. Cook for 8 mins.

Add cabbage & tomatoes. Cook for 5 mins.

 Spread the bread slices with pesto sauce, sprinkle a little parmesan over each.

 Brown lightly under hot grill.

 Remove bouquet garni & serve with toasts.

            (To appeal to children, replace macaroni with coloured pasta shapes.)


Ricotta & Vanilla Tiramisu (serves 8)

Ingredients

500gm ricotta                     250gm fat-free Greek yogurt
80gm castor sugar              6 tbs crushed hazelnuts
2tps vanilla extract              200ml cold strong coffee
½ tps ground cinnamon       24 sponge finger biscuits
Cocoa powder for dusting

Method

  • Mix ricotta, yogurt, sugar, hazelnuts & vanilla extract in a large bowl until well mixed.
  • Pour coffee into a small bowl & mix in cinnamon.
  • Quickly dip half the sponge fingers in the coffee & place in the base of a rectangular dish (30cm x 22cm & at least 5cm deep)
  • Spread half of the ricotta mixture on top. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.
  • Cover the dish with cling film & leave to rest in the fridge for 15 mins.
  • Dust the top with cocoa powder just before serving.