Friday, 26 February 2010

Berry nice...

Me and mum went to St Marys on the shopping boat....

Then we went for a impressive use of things you've found on the beach!

Then we had my second cousin known as "Baby Alfie" to lunch. He had his first taste of jelly...we had sorbet...

Blackcurrant and Elderflower Sorbet (serves 6).....

12oz/150g blackcurrants
1/2 pint/ 300ml water
4oz/115g brown sugar
1/4 pint elderflower cordial
1 egg white

Pop the water and sugar into a saucepan over a low heat. Leave to dissolve slowly then bring to a fierce boil. Add the fruit and the cordial and leave to boil for a couple of minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool for 15-20 minutes. Pour the liquid into a food processor and give a few short blasts.

Pour into a freezer proof tub and freeze for 3 hours or until it starts to go mushy and icy. Then mash it with a fork and place it back in the freezer for an hour.

Take it out of the freezer. Whisk up the egg white until stiff. Fold it carefully into the sorbet (don't stir it in vigorously as it will knock the air out). Pop it back in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
Twenty minutes before serving take it out of the freezer and pop it in the fridge to soften a little.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Spring lamb with herbs and garlic....

Everything is open
Nothing is set in stone
Rivers turn to oceans
Oceans tide you home
Home is where the heart is
But your heart had to roam
Drifting over bridges
Never to return
Watching bridges burn
You're driftwood floating underwater
Breaking into pieces, pieces, pieces
Just driftwood, hollow and of no use
Waterfalls will find you, bind you, grind you

There's something special about Bryher in winter. You can walk around the island and not see another soul. Trawl along the beaches...the first person that day, that week, maybe even that month...and not know what you will find.

When you look what washes up on our shores you wonder about the story behind it. A shoe buried in the seaweed. Did a sailor in Greece laugh as his shoes fell into the sea only to wash up hundreds of miles away?

In October a coastguard in Cornwall found a french love letter in a bottle. It was written to her married lover as he returned to his wife. It was one of the most beautiful and moving pieces of writing I had ever held in my hands....

It opened with: "I'm not, and nor are you. When I am dead and that I will have lost the spark of my 20s, and I know that happens, at this point I will come back to you and you in turn will give me back your extraordinary passion for living. I am not dead. Yet."

Yesterday I found something far less passionate...

Where did it come from? As I wandered across Green Bay I also found a cabbage leaf and half a leek....far less exciting and romantic than a love letter. What have you found?

Spring lamb with herbs and garlic....(Serves 6)

4lb rolled lamb joint
4 tbsp redcurrant jelly (and more to serve)
4 slices bread...(made into crumbs)
1 handful rosemary
1 handful thyme
1 handful parsley
3 cloves garlic

My mum cooks in an Aga so I'm not sure what temperature to put his at. I think 180'c would be fine. Interestingly when my mum and dad moved into our farmhouse the first thing she said to my dad was "That aga has got to go." My dad said they would keep it for a year and then get an electric's still here and is my mum's pride and joy.

Anyway back to the recipe. Take the lamb out of the fridge and let it rest (covered) for an hour or so to let it get to room temperature. In a bowl mix the bread, herbs and garlic.

Pop the jelly in a small pan and let it melt. Brush generously over the lab and stick the stuffing to the top.

At this point we put it in the oven...but it got a little....char grilled *
(* burnt) on top. So I recommend you cover it with foil for the first hour and then remove for the rest of the cooking.

Cook for two and a half to three hours depending on how pink you like it. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Serve with fresh vegetables....(note the broccoli is not the one from the beach...I draw a line there!)

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Sweet home Bryher...

I'm coming home
I've been gone so long
Time has marched on
Love changed her song
I'm coming home
I've travelled far and wide
to chase away demons that I had long denied
I'm coming home to the love that is there
To try to make peace
To rebuild and repair

*By Mary Ann Rudy (who lives in Cornwall, New York!)

I'm back at home on Bryher in Scilly.....

Enjoying the sunshine......and the long walks....(well as long as you can make a walk on an island 1 mile long).

And enjoying my mum's home cooking....

Mum's chicken and cardamom pilaf... (serves 4)

4 small handfuls basmati rice
3 handfuls leftover roast chicken stripped from the bird
Enough chicken stock to cover the rice twice over (and a cup more in case you run out)
10 cardamoms
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cinnamon sticks
1 small onion
2 handfuls frozen peas
2 handfuls sultanas.......

Pop the rice in a large pan with the chicken stock and cinnamons.

In a separate pan fry the onion in a little oil. Every now and again give the rice a little stir to make sure it isn't sticking....but make sure you don't beat it into a rice pudding...

Bash the cardamon pods with a wooden spoon so they break open and pop the pods in with the rice. Add all the other ingredients.

Serve hot in bowls with mango chutney and poppadoms.... (This is essential)
It's good to be home...

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Seedy mid week moment.....

I have lost count of the number of chocolate cake recipes I have. Gooey chocolate brownies, American chocolate cakes, white chocolate cakes, chocolate crispy cakes. I never tire of them. But then I am rarely happier than when making a cake. There's something therapeutic about breaking four ingredients into a bowl; sugar, eggs, flour and butter and creating something wonderful.

This cake has got a delicious nuttiness about it. Sharp lemon, sugary syrup coupled with a blueish tinge of poppy seeds......

Poppy seed and citrus sponge........(8 big slices)

4 free range eggs
10oz caster sugar
10oz butter
10oz plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
4oz poppy seeds
2 lemons
2 oranges
1 lime
2tbsp extra caster sugar

Mix the eggs, sugar, butter, flour and baking powder in a food processor.

Add the poppy seeds and the zest of the fruit. Give it short bursts until the seeds are mixed through.

Pour into a lined tin. Bake in an oven for 40 minutes or until a knife comes clear from the centre.
Squeeze the fruit juice into a pan. Add the extra sugar and over a low heat slowly stir until dissolved.

I make holes with my knife over the cake and pour the syrup over the top.

Leave in the tin to cool.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Flipping happy....

Considering pancakes are the symbol of all things bland we don't half get excited about them. Round, bland and flat. Flour, eggs and milk. Hardly food to lust over. But having just left a shop full of students who's trollies were filled with jugs of pancake mix and bags of lemons it seems pancakes are a welcome break from the indulgence of Valentines day.

Perhaps it's what they symbolise. A day of eating out of cupboards before the hopefulness of Easter.

Perhaps they conceal our childlike want for a something our parents will let us eat for tea despite it being a cake....

Well I have a secret to tell. Three weeks ago I found out I am dairy intolerant. (And beef intolerant!) The irony of having a blog called the Clotted Cream Diaries and then finding out you can't eat the stuff...

So today I made these....

Soya Milk and Bryher Jam Pancakes.....

8oz self raising flour
1 pint soya milk
2 eggs
1 pinch salt

Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the soya milk, eggs and salt. Mix to form a batter.

Put a tsp of sunflower oil in a pan and add a big spoonful of mix. Tip around the pan to spread about.

When bubbles start to form on the surface, flip it over.

Serve with a big blob of Bryher strawberry jam and some grated orange.
I have to say these were just as good as normal pancakes....fluffy and light....and not at all bland.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Sausage surprise...

I'm sitting in the living room at 1727 and it's still light outside. The light is just starting to turn but it's the first time in a long time the other half has made it home when it's still light. There's so much to look forward to in the next few weeks. We're off to Scotland on Friday for a wedding. The weekend after I am going a girls trip to London then having a week off on Scilly.

Then there's all the plans that are coming up...a phone call this morning about a holiday in Greece, secret planning for a big birthday and best of all glimpses of sun streaming through the blinds that tell me spring is on the way.

Spicy sausage pasta sauce....Serves two

4 spanish style sausages
1 tbsp plain flour
1 pinch dried chilli
1 small onion
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin tomatoes
1 pinch sea salt
olive oil
Carefully run a sharp knife down the side of the sausages splitting the skin. Carefully tease the meat out of the skin and pop it on a plate. Use a fork to mash up the meat and add a pinch of chilli. Roll the meat into little meatballs and rub them with flour. Grab a frying pan and add a splash of olive oil. When it's hot add the meatballs and fry until golden brown. Remove from the pan.
Pop the pan back on the heat...orangey juices and oil will probably have been released from the sausages so only add oil if you need to. Add the chopped onions and cook over a low heat until soften. Add all the other ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes until thickened.
Add the sausages and boil for 2 or three minutes. Then serve with hot pasta. A perfect midweek tea.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Valentine Loaf......

The thought of shopping locally in February is about as attractive as jumping in an ice cold water trough. I have to admit my cupboards are stuffed with supermarket plastic bags. Yesterday I drove down to Mylor Harbour to drop the other half off to a rowing practise. The plan was to sit by the side of the harbour in the sun reading two freshly delivered magazine subscriptions. But the boys had already decided to go to the pub after rowing and watch rugby and as the chilly sea breeze started to embrace my ungloved hands I changed my mind and decided to head home.

On the way back I spotted some handmade white signs with red painted writing for a farm shop I had never noticed before "Kale for Sale," "Fresh eggs and Cornish cheeses". I indicated impulsively and made my way in. The thought of a good farm shop just 5 minutes away from home was too much of an opportunity to miss.

I popped into the massive corrugated iron shed and was met by everything I could have hoped for. Tin buckets of spring yellow daffodils, boxes of bright green broccoli and fat turnips hoping to to be taken home for a pasty supper. The freezers were filled with fat cuts of belly pork, frozen berries from the farm, and homemade breads and scones. There were even bursting bags of peppery rocket and leaves for just a pound and I knew I had found my winter larder.

Now a complete juxtaposition. A valentines treat that isn't remotely local. But now I have my new super shop I can clear out my supermarket bursting shelves and start living locally again.

Valentines loaf.....(Makes 15 squares)

6oz butter
8oz galaxy chocolate
4 tbsp syrup
1 mars bar
1 caramel bar
1 small bag maltesers
1lb digestive biscuits

On a very low heat melt the galaxy, syrup and butter together. You might need to give it a good mix with a spatula to make sure the butter and chocolate melt together.

Crumble the biscuits into rough chunks. Take the chocolate mix off the heat and add the biscuits. Give it a good stir to make sure the biscuits are covered in the chocolate mix. When it's covered add the other chocolate bits. I left the caramel chunks whole and the mars bar in big chunks so it didn't melt away but actually I should have chopped the lumps in half because they didn't melt at all!

Press into a foiled of cling filmed tin. Press down and pop in the fridge. I couldn't wait so it ended up in the freezer!

PS. When I was sixteen I started making cakes for local cafes and this was always the most popular! PPS This isn't on my low fat plan!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

A lovely weekend morning...

Yesterday was the most beautiful sunny we drove over to Trebah Gardens. I haven't been there for six years since my journalism course. Every week we had to film a TV story and we would go and sit in the sun at Trebah and do the story "It's winter at Trebah Gardens...or it' Spring at Trebah Gardens." We were on first name terms with the gardener.....

We sat in the sun and drank tea and hot chocolate....

It was perfection....