• Pear & ginger caramel puff pastry tart

    by  • 17/11/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    We’re well into pear season and this delicious tart is the perfect way to enjoy this sweet fruit. Plus it’s super easy to make! Enjoy for dessert with a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream or treat yourself to a slice with your afternoon cup of coffee.

    Serves 8
    Ready in 45 minutes

    Ready-rolled puff pastry sheet
    3 balls stem ginger and 2 tbsp syrup from the jar, plus extra to glaze
    50g dulce de leche caramel spread
    1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon
    2 tsp cornflour
    juice 1 lemon
    5-6 ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced (not too thickly)
    1 beaten egg, to glaze
    vanilla ice cream, to serve

    1 Heat the oven to fan 180°C, gas 6. Unroll the puff pastry then, pressing gently, run
    a knife around the edge of the rectangle to create a 1.5cm border.

    2 Finely chop the stem ginger and mix with the syrup, caramel spread (reserving a little), cinnamon, cornflour, lemon juice and pear slices.

    3 Arrange the pear slices on the pastry, inside the border, and pour over any reserved caramel sauce. Bake for 25-30 minutes, brushing the pastry with the beaten egg after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly, then serve with ice cream.


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    Comforting cauliflower soup

    by  • 10/11/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    We found this delicious soup in the wonderful new book Scandinavian Comfort Food: Embracing the Art of Hygge (Quadrille £25). It’s perfect as a starter, but also for dinner during the week, and is really nice served with home-baked bread. Any soup can be spiced up with croutons, herbs, spices, nuts or other delicious toppings – this one also works well with grilled prawns.

    SERVES 4

    2 large heads of cauliflower
    2 large potatoes, peeled
    1 onion
    3 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 tbsp butter
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1 litre water
    3 bay leaves
    200ml double cream

    To serve

    1 tsp butter
    2 tbsp capers
    100g almonds, chopped
    Rye breadcrumbs (or other breadcrumbs)
    1 bunch of watercress

    1. Roughly chop the cauliflowers, potatoes and onion, then put in a large saucepan with the garlic, butter and half the oil. Gently heat until the vegetables start to sizzle, then pour in the water and add the bay leaves and some salt and pepper. Cover, bring to the boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for 10–15 minutes.
    2. Remove the bay leaves, add the cream and blitz until smooth. Reheat in the pan, adding more water if necessary to get the right consistency. At the same time, melt the butter in a frying pan and add the capers, almonds and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the mixture over the soup and top with watercress to serve.


    Photography Columbus Leth


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    Bonfire night toffee apple dippers

    by  • 03/11/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    Try this great idea for serving up sweet treats to guests on Saturday night! Pour the sauce into cute mini metal buckets and serve on a rustic tray decorated with leaves for a seasonal touch. Don’t feel too guilty when you’re indulging – apples contain pectin, which helps to lower cholesterol levels.

    4 eating apples, such as Cox’s, cored and cut into wedges
    Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
    Few pinches of ground cinnamon
    25g (1oz) butter
    100g (4oz) light muscovado sugar
    2tbsp golden syrup
    150ml (1⁄4pt) light double cream

    You will need
    16 wooden skewers, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes

    1 Toss the apple wedges in the lemon juice then thread them on to the skewers. Place on a foil-lined grill pan and sprinkle over the ground cinnamon. Set aside while making the toffee sauce.

    2 Place the butter, sugar, syrup and cream in a small pan. Warm over a gentle heat, stirring, until the butter melts. Increase the heat slightly and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat, pour into bowls and allow to cool slightly.

    3 Grill the apple skewers for around 5 minutes, turning once, until just beginning to soften. Serve with the warm toffee sauce.


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    Rye grain & barley porridge with spiced apples & bee pollen

    by  • 27/10/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    This week is honey week and we have so much to thank our bees for – not least an incredible range of honeys infused with a host of floral fragrances. As a guide, the lighter varieties, such as acacia, clover or orange blossom, combine well with similarly delicate and aromatic flavours, such as vanilla, mild dairy and hints of citrus. This warming, wholesome porridge is dairy-free, but it can be made with cow’s milk and butter, if preferred.

    Serves 4
    125 g rye grains
    125 g barley flakes
    50 g jumbo rolled oats
    600 ml unsweetened almond milk Generous pinch sea salt
    15 g coconut butter
    2 firm eating apples, such as a Cox or Orange Pippin, cored and sliced
    1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
    2 tbsp honey, plus extra to serve
    2 tsp bee pollen

    1. Put the rye grains in a large mixing bowl and cover well with cool water. Leave to soak overnight, or for at least a couple of hours if time is short.
    2. Drain the rye grains and transfer to a large saucepan with the barley flakes, rolled oats, half the almond milk, the salt and 750ml fresh water. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 25 minutes, stirring often, until the rye grains are just tender.
    3. When the porridge is almost cooked, melt the coconut butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the apple slices and the cinnamon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until starting to brown. Stir in the honey and cook for a few minutes, until caramelised. Set aside.
    4. Add the remaining almond milk to the porridge and simmer gently for about 5 minutes, until thickened to the consistency you like.
    5. Divide the porridge between bowls and top each with a quarter of the spiced apple, half a teaspoon of bee pollen and extra honey, to taste.
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    Chicken Katsu curry

    by  • 20/10/2016 • Country food, Uncategorized • 0 Comments


    Originally a Japanese meal, chicken katsu curries have become very popular everywhere – and this recipe even has a gluten-free twist. We found it in the lovely Coconut Oil: Recipes for Real Life book by Lucy Bee (Quadrille £15).

    SERVES 2

    1 tsp plus 1 tbsp curry powder
    50g chickpea (gram) flour
    Pinch salt and ground black pepper
    1 egg, beaten
    60g gluten-free breadcrumbs
    2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    30g coconut oil

    30g coconut oil
    150g onions, chopped
    50g fresh ginger, peeled and grated or blitzed
    2 medium carrots, diced
    3 garlic cloves, crushed
    1 tbsp chickpea (gram) flour
    375ml chicken stock
    2 tsp honey
    1 bay leaf
    1 tbsp tamari sauce

    150g brown rice
    Chopped coriander (cilantro)

    1. For the chicken, mix 1 tsp curry powder and chickpea (gram) flour together in a bowl and add the salt and pepper. Put the beaten egg into a separate bowl and the breadcrumbs into a third bowl.Dust each chicken breast first in the seasoned flour, then the egg, followed by the breadcrumbs to coat. Set aside while you make the sauce.
    2. Melt the coconut oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat, add the onions, ginger and carrots and cook for a few minutes until the onions begin to soften, stirring to make sure they don’t burn. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, adding a little more coconut oil if necessary.
    3. Stir in 1 tbsp curry powder and chickpea flour and mix everything together thoroughly. Add the stock gradually, stirring continuously. Add the honey, bay leaf and tamari, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft (which may take a little longer). Use a hand-held blender or food processor to blend into a smooth sauce.
    4. While the sauce is simmering, cook the rice according to the packet instructions and preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
    5. To cook the chicken, heat the coconut oil in an ovenproof frying pan. When hot, place the chicken breasts in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, then transfer the pan to the oven for about 10 minutes until cooked through.
    6. Remove the chicken from the pan, cut the breasts into slices, place the slices on a plate with the rice and pour over the sauce. Sprinkle over the chopped coriander (cilantro) to serve.

    Photography Dan Jones


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    Orange and pumpkin curd sponge

    by  • 13/10/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    As well as making a fabulous cake filling with a difference, this orange and pumpkin curd, with its hint of orange blossom, is excellent spooned on to yoghurt for breakfast or even spread on toast!

    Serves 10-12

    For the curd
    Zest and 100ml juice from 1 large orange
    Zest and 30ml juice from 1 lemon
    100g pumpkin purée (tinned is fne)
    125g unsalted butter, cubed
    50g golden caster sugar
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    Few drops orange blossom water

    For the cakes
    225g soft salted butter
    225g golden caster sugar
    4 large eggs
    200g pumpkin purée (tinned is fine)
    200g self-raising flour
    30g ground almonds
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp finely grated orange zest

    For the cream
    150g fromage frais
    200ml double cream
    1 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra to dust
    Few drops orange blossom water
    Fresh raspberries and pomegranate seeds, to decorate

    1. To make the curd, put the orange and lemon zest and juice in a heatproof bowl with the pumpkin purée, butter and sugar. Set the bowl over a pan of boiling water, ensuring the base is not touching the water, and stir until the butter and sugar have melted.
    2. Lower the heat slightly, whisk in the eggs and continue to stir for 20-25 minutes until the curd has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the orange blossom water and strain through a sieve into a warm sterilised jar. This will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.
    3. To make the sponge, pre-heat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins with a little butter then line the base of each tin with non-stick baking parchment.
    4. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, pumpkin purée, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and orange zest in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins.
    5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes, until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
    6. Whip the fromage frais and cream together with the icing sugar and orange blossom water until just billowy and thick. Spread the top of one cake with the curd and the bottom of the other with the cream mix, then sandwich together so that the cream sits above the curd and the base is fat. Sift a little icing sugar over the top and decorate with fresh raspberries and pomegranate seeds.
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    Miniature baked squash with Gruyère fondue

    by  • 06/10/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    This indulgent yet laid-back supper is perfect for chilly nights. Use the finest quality Gruyère you can find for the best results.

    Serves 4

    4 small pumpkins or winter squash
    50g soft salted butter
    Handful sage leaves
    Salt and black pepper
    375ml dry white wine
    150ml milk
    400g Gruyère, grated
    2tbsp plain four
    Crusty bread, to serve

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Slice the top off each pumpkin, about a quarter of the way down. Scrape the seeds out of the pumpkins and the tops using a spoon (if the seeds are plump and shiny, rinseandreserve). Rub the insides of the pumpkins and the tops with most of the butter.
    2. Pop a sage leaf or two into each pumpkin and season, then stand on a baking tray, with the tops tucked in alongside. Roast for 40 minutes, until the flesh is tender and the skin is beginning to darken. Remove from the oven and set aside. Turn the oven down to 180°C, gas mark 4.
    3. Pour the wine into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil for a few seconds. Reduce the heat so that the wine is barely simmering. At the same time, pour the milk into a small saucepan and gently warm through. Toss 350g of the grated Gruyère with the flour to coat the strands.
    4. Add the flour-coated cheese to the wine, a small handful at a time, stirring between each addition and making sure the cheese has melted smoothly before adding more. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then season.
    5. Divide this mixture between the pumpkins, filling them almost to the top. Rub the remaining butter over the rest of the sage leaves and place on and around the pumpkins, along with a handful of pumpkin seeds, if they were reserved.
    6. Top the pumpkins with the remaining Gruyère and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Serve with warm crusty bread for dipping and spoons to eat the flesh of the pumpkin containers.
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    Wild Rabbit, Tarragon and Mustard Terrine

    by  • 29/09/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    Try this wonderful autumnal recipe from Recipes from the Woods by Jean-Francois Mallet, published by Phaidon.

    Serves 4

    Preparation time 20 minutes Cooking time 1 hour, plus 1 hour cooling Chilling time at least 12 hours

    1 wild rabbit, boned
    300 g/11 oz pork belly (side)
    4 tablespoons hot mustard
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    4 sprigs tarragon, reserve
    1 sprig and coarsely chop the rest
    20 g/¾ oz (about 1 tablespoon) salt
    1 tablespoon coarsely crushed pepper
    1 piece pork fat (fatback)

    To serve:

    slices of toasted rustic bread
    rocket (arugula) salad

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
    2. Mince (grind) the rabbit meat and pork belly (side) in a mincer(grinder) and put into a large bowl. Add the mustard, eggs, thyme, chopped tarragon, salt and pepper and mix together with your hands until combined.
    3. Place the pork fat (fatback) in the bottom of a terrine dish and spoon in the meat mixture, packing it down firmly. Lay the reserved tarragon sprig on top. Put the terrine into a large ovenproof dish, then carefully pour hot water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the terrine to create a bain-marie. Cook in the oven for 1 hour.
    4. When the terrine is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 1 hour at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before eating.
    5. Serve the wild rabbit terrine with slices of toasted rustic bread and a rocket (arugula) salad.
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    Clam and pork bake

    by  • 15/09/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    Combining pork and seafood might seem a little odd, but this is truly delicious!

    Serves 6

    3 tbsp olive oil
    1 kg (2lb 4oz) pork shoulder, cut into 2cm (¾in) pieces
    1 large onion, sliced
    2 sticks celery, thinly sliced
    3 garlic cloves, crushed
    2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
    2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
    grated zest and juice 1 lemon
    1kg (2lb 4oz) clams
    150ml (¼pt) dry white wine
    large handful fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra to serve

    1 Heat the oven to 170 C, 150 C fan, 325 f, gas 3. Heat half of the oil in a casserole and brown the pork in batches, on all sides, then remove to a plate. Add the remaining oil and the onion to the pan; cook for 5 minutes. Add the celery and garlic; cook for another 3 minutes.

    2 Add the tomatoes, sugar, lemon zest and juice. Return the pork to the pan and heat until bubbling. Cover and transfer to the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the pork is tender.

    3 Scrub the clams, discarding any damaged or open shells that don’t close when tapped on a hard surface. Heat the wine in a pan, add the clams, cover and cook for 5 minutes until they’ve opened. Drain in a colander over a bowl to reserve the juices. Remove half the clams from their shells; discard any that remain closed.

    4 Stir the shelled clams, cooking juices and coriander into the pork, and season. Scatter the remaining clams on top and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with extra coriander.


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    Rustic sourdough boule

    by  • 08/09/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    The recipe for this moreish loaf is by Vanessa Kimbell who runs the idyllic Sourdough School based in rural Northamptonshire. It has a chewy elastic crumb and crunchy, robust crust, that taste divine straight from the oven and smeared with cold, creamy butter. This sourdough also has longevity and makes the best toast and even better bruschetta!

    Allow yourself about 3 to 4 hours for the dough to be mixed, folded and shaped ready to place in the coldest part of the fridge to prove overnight. For more wonderful recipes by Vanessa Kimbell, check out her book Food for Thought, £19.99, published by Kyle Cathie.

    Makes 1 loaf

    300g water
    100g sourdough leaven (starter)*
    100g of stoneground organic wholemeal flour
    400g organic strong white flour
    10g fine sea salt mixed with 15g cold water
    25g rice flour mixed with 25g stone ground white flour (for dusting your banneton)
    Semolina to dust the bottom of the baking surface

     You will need:
    A large mixing bowl
    A round cane banneton
    2 clean tea towels
    A baking stone or a Dutch oven or La Cloche
    A large heatproof pan, a sharp knife or ‘lame’ to slash the dough with

    Late afternoon:
    In a large bowl, whisk your water and starter and mix well. Add all the flour and mix until all the ingredients come together into a large ball.

    Cover with a clean damp cloth and let the dough rest on the side in the kitchen for between 30 minutes and 2 hours – this is what bakers call Autolyse.

    Add the salt mixed with the water and dimple your fingers into the dough to allow the salty water and salt to distribute evenly throughout the dough. Leave for 10 minutes.

    Next lift and fold your dough over, do a quarter turn of your bowl and repeat three more times. Repeat 3 times at 30 minute intervals with a final 15 minute rest at the end.

    Shape the dough lightly into a ball then place into a round banneton dusted with flour (If you don’t have a banneton then use a clean tea towel dusted with flour inside a colander). Dust the top with flour, then cover with a damp tea-towel

    Leave your dough to one side until it is 50% bigger then transfer to the fridge and leave to prove there for 8–12 hours.

    Bake the following morning:
    The next morning preheat your oven to 220°C for at least 30 minutes before you are ready to bake. Place your cloche or baking stone in the oven and a large pan of boiling water underneath (or use a Dutch oven). The hydration helps form a beautiful crust.

    Once the oven is up to full heat, carefully remove the baking stone from the oven, taking care not to burn yourself. Dust with a fine layer of semolina, which stops the bread sticking, then put your dough onto the baking stone and slash the top with your blade. This decides where the bread will tear as it rises. Bake for an hour.

    Turn the heat down to 180°C (and remove the lid if you are using a Dutch oven) and bake for another 10-15  minutes. You need to choose just how dark you like your crust but I suggest that you bake until it is a dark brown – it tastes much better.

    Once your sourdough has cooled, store in a linen or cotton bread bag, or wrapped in a clean tea towel. If you don’t like a crunchy crust on your sourdough bread, simply wrap your bread in a clean tea towel while it is still warm.

    * To make 100g of leaven, use 2 tablespoons of sourdough starter, 50g of filtered water and 50g of strong white flour, mix well and leave, covered on the side in the kitchen in the morning. It will be lively and bubbly and ready to bake with in the evening.

    Photography Laura Edwards

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