Sunday, 25 September 2011

Preserving goodness for the store-cupboard

I've still got lots of cooking apples to use so today I made another batch of Spiced Apple Chutney - after trying some with a veggie burger and a bun at lunchtime to make sure I was happy with the spicing and the thickness. The conclusion was that it was just right.

While we were out for our morning walk I also picked some Haws - only about 250g as I didn't spend too much time on it, but enough to try a half quantity of Saucy Haw Ketchup from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook.

The most fiddly thing about it was taking some of the stalks off the berries - I must admit I didn't take all of them off. Then they are simple simmered with water and white wine vinegar for 30 minutes.

The resulting panful of soft fruit is pushed through a sieve and then put back in the pan with some sugar, heated gently to dissolve the suga,r and then cook for 5 minutes.

I put the resulting gloriously coloured sauce into a jam jar ready to squirrel away.

One of the reasons that I was so keen to try this was that Pam Corbin suggests that it is very good with Nut loafs....and I fancy trying it with our Christmas Parsnip and Cashew Nut Roast. I'm looking forward to that.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Back to Balcary Bay

We've just had a week's holiday in Balcary Bay in Scotland. The weather was a bit patchy, with a lot of blustery wind, but we still had a lovely week.

In the kitchen again

One of the lovely things about coming home is being able to work in my own kitchen. You don't realise how much you have tailored it to your own needs until you are away and don't have your own utensils and pots! Not to mention all my cookbooks, the store cupboard and the kitchen garden.

When I got home from work last night I set to work and made some bread and some Roasted Tomato Soup for our lunch today. The bread is coming good. At the moment I use -

1 lb of Tesco Strong White Flour
4 oz Shipton Mill Three malts & sunflower flour (described as being the colour of speckled hens - who could resist that?)
1 sachet dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
warm water

Mix all the ingredients. Kneed for 10 mins and form into ball. Cover and leave to rise until double in size. Heat oven to 200 c (my oven is a fan oven). Slash top of loaf, and put in oven on metal tray. Cook for 10 mins. Turn down heat to 180 c, and turn loaf round in oven to cook evenly. Cook for futher 20 mins, then turn over to cook base for 5 more mins.

Leave to cool for 1 hour.

As I've got lots of tomatoes in the polytunnel I decided to make some Roasted Tomato Soup at the same time.
Simply fill large roasting tray with halved tomatoes. Add 2 onions cut in half. Add 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. Splash of balsamic vinegar. Season with black pepper. Drizzle over olive oil. Cook in oven at same time as bread, on shelf below it.
When mixture is cool, take skins off tomatoes, onions and garlic and then blitz in blender with some water to reach consistency you like.
Serve with drizzle of basil oil and toasted pine nuts.