Friday, 8 October 2010

A shred of hope....

When I put on weight, I can stand to go near the scales. I put it off and putt it off until I eventually climb on and it's usually not as bad as I think it will be. This week I braced myself and headed back to the allotment after turning my back on it for a few weeks.

The vegetables I planted back in July have survived well without my weeding and watering. And I came home with this....

I also bought how armfuls of bluey green cavolo nero leaves. They are fantastically delicious. This is great with partridge or duck.

Cavolo Nero with honey toasted hazelnuts (serves 4)

4 big handfuls of cavolo nero
a knob of butter
1 handful hazelnuts
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 pinch salt
Shred the cavolo nero into thin strips with a sharp knife. Melt the butter in a pan and add the cabbage.
This will take only a couple of minutes. It will transform the bluey green leaves, turning them a vibrant emerald. In a pan toast the hazelnuts. As they start to toast add a tbsp of honey and mix through.
Add to the cavolo nero and stir through. Add the vinegar and salt and serve.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Apple and spice and all things nice....

There will be a time when autumn has gone. The allotment will be empty, the trees will be bare.....

The flowers will have wilted and it will be harder and harder to make spur of the moment dinners.
Our glut of rosy pink apples means we're having a lot of apple based dinners. But I want to make sure the apples last through January and February.

Today is Callington Honey Fair so I'll have to honey recipes this week in its honour.

Honey roasted pork loin chops with spicy apple sauce......(serves 4)

4 pork loin chops
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp allspice paste
3 llbs/ 1.3kg apples
1 star anise
half a cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
half a tsp fennel seeds
1 heaped tbsp honey
1 heaped tbsp demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 180'c. Put the pork in the oven for ten minutes. Mix the honey and star anise together and brush over the pork.

Peel and core the apples and chop into large chunks. Put all of the other ingredients in a pan with a little water. Bring to the boil. Try not to stir it too much as it's nice to keep the apple chunks whole.
Let the pork cook for another 10-15 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Cheese please....

This weekend it's the Boscastle Food and Drink Festival- or Bostfest as it's known. Most of you probably know about Boscastle because of images of cars floating into the harbour when it flooded in August 2004. That summer I was making fudge on Scilly and turned on the radio to hear the unfolding chaos.

A year later I was working on the mainland and went up to Boscastle to see how the village had recovered. It's a beautiful village and the people there are lovely. It was hoping to head up there this weekend for the food festival but the rain came in and I retreated to my duvet.

Here are some photos from the festival's website...

I was hoping to see a Nathan Outlaw demonstration again. So instead I decided to make his yummy apple cheesecake recipe. It's not quite as he did it but was the best my memory could muster!

Apple and fairing cheesecake (serves 6)

1 box of Cornish fairings (or make your own- see here)
4 apples
caster sugar
25g/1oz butter
300g/9oz cream cheese
300ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
75g/3oz caster sugar

Mix the cheese, cream, vanilla and sugar and beat together. Pop in the fridge until you're ready.

If you're buying the fairings crumble them into crumbs. If you are making the biscuits follow the recipe above but make one giant fairing.

When cooled, crumble.
Peel and core the apples and cut into eighths. In a pan melt the butter. Add the apples and shake every now and again to stop them catching. When they soften a little add a tbsp or two of sugar and coat the apples. After a couple of minutes take off the heat and cool.

Start to assemble the cheesecake. In the bottom of a bowl sprinkle a layer of biscuit. Then layer some apple over the fairing crumbs. Then pipe some cream cheese mix over the top. (I have no bags left so had to spread it over.) Layer this again and finish with some crumbs.

I'm off to his grill for my birthday...maybe I'll get to try the real thing!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Pot luck.....

You might think that going for a surf in Cornwall is easy. It isn't. First comes several hours of looking at webcams and weather websites for conditions. By the time you've done that the tide has changed so you have to wait for it to turn. The comes a long drive to check out various different beaches....

At Praa Sands there was a lot of sucking the air through the teeth and head nodding as if he was having a conversation with the water.

Normally after 20 minutes of this he is in the water and I'm a surfing widow left to read a book or enjoy the lots of other surfing widows...

Boys as well!

But this day there was no surfing....there was an attempt at kitesurfing on the north coast then there was several hours of looking at webcams again for tomorrow's forecast...

So I made the other half and his fellow surfers a stew made from ingredients at the Cornwall Food and Drink Festival.

Surfers Stew (Sausages, honey, rosemary and apple stew) serves 4

10 chunky pork, honey and rosemary sausages
2 large apples
2 red onions
500ml Cornish cider
1 litre vegetable stock
Cornish rapeseed oil
2 bay leaves
1 heaped tbsp flour

Just to warn you there's going to be a lot of apple recipes in the next weeks....I have a few to get through...
Peel and chop the onions into rough chunks. In a large pan warm the rapeseed oil and add the onions. Fry until softened a little, stirring all the time.

Spoon into a bowl. Add a little more oil and put back on the heat. Chop the sausages into thirds and add to the oil. Fry until browned a little.

Add the onions and the bay. Peel and core the apples. Chop into chunks. Stir around. Add the sieved flour then the cider and stock.

Leave to boil for about 30 minutes or until thickened. Season if you want. Serve with jacket potatoes and salad.