Saturday, August 29, 2015

Welshman's Caviar Scallops With Green Grape and Mouli Pickles

If you want to bring even more flavour from sea to your dishes, try some Laver.  It is a Welsh favourite!  The main ingredient in Laverbread, or Bara Lawr.  

Here is the basic recipe for Laverbread.

A Welsh breakfast may consist of Laverbread with eggs, bacon and cockles.  Laver can also be folded into oatmeal.

Their are all sorts of seafood dishes that include Laver, such as Cawl Lafar.  Laver is also made into a sauce to go with lamb.  I have even had a cheese that had Laver throughout.

Laver contains many vitamins and is a good source of protein, iron and iodine.


Open up a jar of dried Laver and create your own dish.

For my creation, I started by lightly pickling green grapes and mouli (diakon radish) in a brine that contains mirin, honey, rice wine vinegar.  Heat this mixture until the honey is incorporated. Drop in mouli shavings and small diced green grapes.  Cool.


Sear the scallops, then place the pickles with the scallops on a plate.  Sprinkle with Welshman's Caviar.

Enjoy the mild sweet and sour of the pickles with the perfume like quality of the scallops and neighbour Laver.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Recipe From The Hedgerow - Whinberries


n.1.(Bot.) The English bilberry; - so called because it grows on moors among the whins, or furze.

These little guys look quite a bit like tiny blueberries, not surprising because they are closely related.  They are softer and juicier than blueberries, they are more perishable.  Some other names these berries go by are: blaeberry, whortleberry, or winberry.

Whinberries are great in pies and jams!  You can use them like blueberries are used, they have a more intense flavour.

Making them into a jam is a good way to preserve the goodness, before they are out of season.  

Whinberry Jam - A small batch

2 pummets whinberries, washed
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence

Pop all this in a pan and bring to a boil slowly.  Turn the heat down and slowly cook until thickened.


Slather over baked goods, enjoy!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chicken In The Heather - Pan Sauce Version

 This isn't the traditional recipe.  This is a pan sauce version, in an attempt to not heat up the house on a hot summer day.  The original recipe from Scotland is a roasted bird and is completely delicious.  Then again, so is the new version in it's own right.  This version also has baby chestnut mushroom halves.  This dish has an intense honey flavour with mustard and just a slight hint of curry.  It has a wee bit of whiskey, of course.

Heather honey comes from bees that collect from heather flowers commonly in Scotland, Wales and Northern England (....such as Yorkshire).  The beekeepers bring their hives to the heather in mid August and by September the bees will be mostly gathering nectar from the heather flowers that are in bloom.  At that time of the year, it may be the only source of nectar.

World Of Honey

6 chicken breasts, skin and silver skin removed, pound to tenderise, dredged in seasoned flour.
1 small pummet baby chestnut mushrooms, halved
1/2 onion, small diced
2 lrg. cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 c .dijon  mustard
1/2 c. heather honey
3 caps scotch
2 tsp. curry powder
2 c. chicken stock

Blend honey, mustard, scotch, curry powder and stock and set aside (....try to dissolved the honey completely).  Shallow fry the chicken in vegetable oil.  Drain and Set aside.  Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook until soft and lightly browned.  Add the mushroom halves.  Cook a further 5 minutes, or so.  Drain the excess oil.  Now add the chicken back, then the stock mixture, turning the chicken to coat it. Cook until thickened and reduced a bit.

Served with steamed carrots and neeps!


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rhubarb and Custard Magic Fairy Cakes

Magic custard cake falls into natural layers.  Custard and a light angel food-like cake fall in line without any help from me.  I just whipped up a thin batter and filled well greased and floured muffin tins. I've made this recipe into little, personal fairy cakes, with a rhubarb twist.  We all know rhubarb and custard go together!  

Small diced rhubarb chunks and I also added a muscovado rhubarb butter to the side.

Preheat your oven to 325 deg.

You will need:
 4 eggs, separated
1 vanilla pod, beans scraped
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter melted
3/4 c. flour
2 c. milk
2 stalks rhubarb, washed, peeled and diced

Start by whipping the egg whites stiff, set aside.  Mix the egg yolks and sugar until light, stream the butter slowly as the mixer runs. 

 Continue to mix until very light, add vanilla bean.  Slowly mix in the flour until it is evenly blended.  Add the milk one cup at a time.  Fold in the egg whites.  Now fold in the prepared rhubarb. Fill the prepared muffin tins with  the batter.  Fill the tins only 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool. Dust with icing sugar. Yield 18.

Serve with:

 Muscovado Rhubarb Butter

1/2 c. muscovado sugar
1 tsp. water

3 stalks rhubarb, washed and roughly chopped

Place it all in a pan and cook down to a bubbly mush, process with a hand blender, until smooth.

Serve with your custard cakes.  It is also good anywhere fruit butters go.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Two Currant Wholemeal Muffins

More currant madness!  With more currants, a bit of left over coconut milk from the previous icebox cake, and a trip to a working mill this recipe was born.

We had a nice day out at Brignorth, stopping at a working water powered mill.  It is supposed to be the biggest in Britain.  We had a guided tour with the son of the owner.    

After the guided tour, we were free to linger and take pictures.  There was a older disused mill on a short trek onsite.  The was also a viaduct with the Severn Valley Railway passing by now and then.  It was quite the evocative setting!

We finished our visit with a cream tea, the scones were made from the flour ground onsite with local wheat.

We also took some flour home!

Two Currant Wholemeal Muffins

Preheat oven to 200 c. 
Prepare 12 cup muffin tins with butter and flour.

125 g. plain flour
125 g. wholemeal
A pinch of salt
50 g. sugar
3 fl. oz. rapeseed oil
9 fl. oz. coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
120 g. mixed red currants and blackcurrants
1 tsp. mixed spice

Blend wet and dry ingredients separately, reserving currants.  Add the dry ingredients all at once into the wet. Mix without over mixing.   Fold in washed currants.  Fill prepared muffin cups evenly.  Bake for 20 minutes. 

Views of local wheat that is all over Shropshire.

Enjoy muffins for brekkie, or snack.


Redcurrant Beetroot Ketchup

After seeing a beetroot ketchup at the Food Centre in Ludlow, I thought, "I can make that!"

I have been a fan of Aussie style burgers with beetroot on them for awhile now.  Why wouldn't this ketchup be great on a burger?

Armed with the red currants I acquired at a fruit and veg market, the wheels began to spin.  Why not make the ketchup a bit fruity and more tangy?  As if beets weren't finger staining red enough!

A relative to blackcurrant, red currants lend themselves to desserts and jellies much the same way.  Red currants are a bit more tart.  In Britain the berries are used to make jams to serve with venison and roasts, or game meats.  They are nice fresh/dried into bakery items such as scones.  

To make the ketchup roughly chop 4 very large cooked beets.  Add 3/4 of a large pummet of red currants, 1/2 c. vinegar, 1/2 c. muscavado sugar, 1 tbsp. mixed spice, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. turmeric and 2 tsp. lemon juice.

Cook this down for 15 minutes,  Use a hand blender and blend into a fine paste.  It will still have some chunkiness at this point.  Return to the heat and cook for 30 minutes on low heat, stir so it won't scorch.  Pour this mixture into a blender and make smooth, then pass through a sieve.
Your ketchup needs to cool and it is done.

Try that on a burger!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Making Of Traditional Faggots

Faggots are a traditional dish in Britain, they are a sort of meatball made with pork, pork offal and 
bacon/pork belly.  The dish is also known as Ducks or, Savoury Ducks.  

This is considered a meal that is cheap to make and that uses odd bits of pork and use them effectively.  Popular on a farm, for instance.  Faggots are not as popular in the mainstream, as they once were.  There is a famous brand of frozen faggots, called Mc Brain's. 
 I found that these contain too much filler and less meat.  Many traditional butchers and pubs have quite nice versions!  Homemade is the fresher and the best choice, of course.  Here is a recipe:

4 oz. ground pork shoulder
4 oz. pork liver
8 oz. pork belly, chopped
Any off cuts of bacon
4 oz. breadcrumbs
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. mixed spice
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper

Mince all this finely in a food processor, but not to the point of mush. 

1 beaten egg, or caul fat

If you can't get a hold of caul fat, add an egg to hold the mixture together. Form into balls.  If you are lucky enough to have caul fat eliminate the egg and wrap in the caul fat after forming into balls.  

Brown the balls in an oven proof skillet with a small amount of oil.  Pop into a 325 degree oven and cook for at least an hour.

For onion gravy:

Soften 3 chopped onions in a generous knob of butter over low heat , until carmelised, about 30 minutes.   Coat with  2 tbsp. of flour.  Cook the rawness off the flour, then add 100 ml sherry and 400 ml of beef gravy.  Turn up the heat and thicken into a bubbly gravy.  Add a tsp. mustard, and a dash of worchestershire sauce.

To serve the British way, pour over the onion gravy and accompany with mushy peas and mash.  I sprinkled chopped parsley all over mine.

Faggots I had at a local to Ironbridge - the Black Swan....Or as Jack calls it:

The Dirty Duck


Monday, August 3, 2015

Blackcurrant Onion Chutney

Onions meet with blackcurrant to form this gorgeous chutney.  This chutney would be good on the side of   many a savoury dish!  

I found punnets of lovely currants in a Ludlow fruit and veg market

Blackcurrant is a favourite berry to use in Britain.  It is the ingredient in Ribena, with the botanical name Ribes nigrum it only seems natural.  Blackcurrant flavours sweets of all sorts, jams, jellies, cakes, bread puddings, fresh/dried put into baked items, etc.   Several drinks that are common using blackcurrant syrup, two examples being; Guiness Black, and Blackcurrant and Lemo.  Don't think for two minutes that it isn't made into liquors and wine!

I sliced 2 large onions and carmelised them with a  knob of butter, sprinkled with a 1/4 c. of muscavado sugar over low heat for about 20 minutes.  I then poured in half of a large punnet of blackcurrants, about a cup and a 1/2. Add a few dashes of  mixed spice.  Give the ingredients a good stir and reduce until it forms a good thick mixture, about 45 minutes.  Stir frequently.  Add 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 2 tsp. lemon juice. Cook another few minutes.  Cool.  

The chutney is really nice served with a strongly flavoured cheese.  Today, it was served with Tor, an ashed,  goat cheese from Somerset.

The fruity, savoury and acid aspects of the chutney balance with the cheese.

Served on an herby cheese biscuit, it is divine.