one pot dinner: sausage casserole

April 24, 2008

Last Saturday, mrB and I went to Bury Lane Farm Shop, near Royston in Hertfordshire. This farm shop has an excellent meat counter stocked with delights such as venison, rabbit and a great selection of sausages. The sausages include local ones such as Musk’s of Newmarket and sausages from further afield such as  Toulouse.

When you cook them, Toulouse sausages retain their deep pink colour and meaty texture, and ooze a rich garlic flavour that mingles with the rest of the ingredients in the pot. Perfect for cassoulets and casseroles.
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clafoutis: come again?

April 21, 2008

Clafoutis, a batter-based dessert with cherries from the Limousin region in the heart of France. It’s a bit like an egg custard and happens to be the theme of Hay Hay it’s Donna Day #19, hosted by Bron Marshall.

This time round, I’ve stuck with the traditional cherry clafoutis but you can make this dessert with other fruits, fresh or preserved. I’m thinking of trying plums next time.

So, when you want a dessert that’s simple and quick to make, I recommend you try baking a clafoutis. mrB recommends it too!

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comfort food: bake in the oven crinkle-cut chips

April 18, 2008

I woke up with a stinking cold this morning. And it’s been making me feel miserable I can tell you. There’s only one thing that’s going to make me feel better. Crinkle-cut chips.

Preparing chips using a crinkle cutter increases surface area, which means the chips will absorb more oil when they cook. Not very healthy, but then you do end up with crunchier chips which is good because that’s how I like them. Crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle, served with a dash of cider vinegar and a sprinkle of sea salt.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can bake your chips with thin slices of garlic and fresh thyme leaves.

What do you eat when you’re feeling under the weather?

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Devon cream tea: clotted cream or jam on top?

April 15, 2008

mrB and I were in Devon last week, land of the cream tea. Except we didn’t lay our sticky fingers on a single scone. We had some fine asparagus tart and rhubarb crumble, all cooked by mrB’s mum, but no scone, strawberry jam or clotted cream. And I’d been hankering after a cream tea for weeks. You see, you just can’t get a quality cream tea over here in East Anglia. Either you end up with a pot of whipped cream, or the scones are way too big.

So this morning, I set about making my own clotted cream and baking some scones. All is well with the world again. 

Now the question is, do you spread the jam or the clotted cream first? mrB insists on spreading the cream like butter and then placing a dollop of jam on the top…

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yoghurt cake with lemon and poppy seeds

April 10, 2008

Now here’s a cake for those of you who don’t have weighing scales or a mixer in your kitchen. All the measuring is done with yoghurt pots and spoons; the mixing is done with a hand whisk.

I’d been thinking about making yoghurt cake for about a week now. Then, earlier this week, Deb of smitten kitchen posted a recipe for lemon yoghurt anything cake, a kind of lemon drizzle cake with blueberries that had my mouth watering. I particularly liked Deb’s suggestion of replacing the blueberries with poppy seeds, and so there you have it: yoghurt cake with lemon and poppy seeds.

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7 ideas for savoury tarts

April 9, 2008

Back in November, I went on a cookery course at a farmhouse on the other side of Bury St Edmunds, not all that far from where I live.  Part of the course was devoted to pastry making. I remember on that day we made small tarts for lunch followed by a quick demo of making dressings for salads; I think the tarts were almost ready to come out of the oven.

One of the great things about the cookery course was sitting down together, sampling all the things we’d created, and talking about how we’d got on with making the recipes. The conversation naturally steered towards fantasising about all the possible flavour combinations you can use in a tart.

We came up with delights such as:

  • slow-roasted tomato, pesto and parmesan tart
  • goat’s cheese and caramelised onion tart
  • ham, mushroom and gruyère tart
  • ham, cheddar and spring onion tart

Over the last week, I’ve dreamed up some vegetarian combinations and thought about what to serve with the tarts:

  • goat’s cheese, roasted red pepper and thyme tart, served with mesclun (as shown at the top of this post)
  • cheddar, onion, potato and rosemary tart, served with parsnip crisps


  • mushroom, stilton and sage tart, served with purple-sprouting broccoli


Making lots of small tarts is a good way of using up all those leftover bits of cheese or other bits and bobs that are kicking around the fridge because you need only a small amount of any particular component.

What combinations would you use in your tarts?

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how to make your own tortilla chips

April 7, 2008

mrB returned home from work and wanted a snack, fast. mrsB had some salsa kicking around from lunch. What to make? Homemade tortilla chips and salsa, that’s what.

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on clippings: chickpea patties

April 3, 2008

I have a large envelope stuffed full of recipes that I’ve cut out of magazines over the years. Every now and again, I sift through my collection looking for inspiration on what to cook. Some dishes regularly make appearances at our kitchen table while others get put away for another time.

This particular dish was inspired by a glossy recipe card, sent to me in the post. As it was developed by a company that makes dairy products, the original list of ingredients contained yoghurt. But as I’d already had yoghurt in yesterday’s roast pork wrap, I gave that a miss. However, if you find your patties don’t hold together so well when you’re shaping them, try adding a tablespoon of thick, plain yoghurt to help bind the ingredients.

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what to do with leftover roast scraps: roast pork wrap

April 2, 2008


Since we moved to East Anglia, we eat a lot more roast pork and sausages. The free-draining sandy soils of the region are ideal for rearing pigs outdoors. At the weekend, we regularly pass farms where you can see the pigs basking in the sunshine and rooting about in the earth. Come back at dusk, and most of them are tucked up in their pens for the night.

Pondering on what to do with some roast pork leftovers, I quickly settled on a wrap, all the while munching on a spare piece of crunchy crackling I found under the foil that was covering the meat. The instructions for making this wrap are more of a guide than a recipe as there are no precise measurements. You can use whatever you have to hand in your kitchen.

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waiter, there’s something in my … flageolet beans with lamb

March 31, 2008


Here goes my first food blogging event! Waiter there’s something in my … is a food event with broad themes, hence an easy one to get started with.  This month the theme is pulses and it’s hosted by Jeanne from Cook sister.

Now that the spring lamb season is about to begin and it’s still cool enough at night for casseroles, I’ve chosen braised lamb with flageolet beans. The beans absorb all the juices from the lamb and the flavours of the stock while they’re bubbling away, resulting in a soft, velvety texture.

Cooking with dried beans can be a chore. First of all, you have to remember in advance to soak the beans. Then, if you’re using kidney beans, they need a ten minute blast of rapid boiling to get rid of the toxins. And finally, there’s the lengthy cooking time. If your beans are past their best, throw them away because you’ll find that they never quite soften, no matter how long you cook them.

With this dish, it’s not cooking the beans that’s the hard part. It’s that look on Mr B’s face when you tell him that’s your lot, it’s all gone.

Update: Jeanne has now posted the roundup of WTSIM March 2008.

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