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Monday, 24 December 2012

Mulled

Merry Christmas everyone, best wishes for 2013!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Coconut-ice marshmallows

Shot for BBC Good Food Magazine, January '13 issue
Recipe and food styling: Sarah Cook
Prop styling: Tony Hutchinson

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Chestnuts in Cognac & vanilla syrup

Recipe & Food styling: Mary Cadogan
Prop styling: Stuart Ovenden

Find the recipe here

Monday, 12 November 2012

A Quick Sweet Chestnut Stuffing


I've spoken before about the giant Sweet Chestnut that arcs above my fellow Commuters and I as we wait for the train each morning. A light scattering of Chestnuts nestle among the briefcases and steaming coffees on platform one; I have just enough time to hunt around in the leaves and gather the best that have fallen the previous day before hopping on the train to Metropolis. By the time Friday arrives, I have a bulging pocketful, ready to fashion into something tasty at the weekend.

A coat pocketful of Sweet Chestnuts, roasted and shelled
1 Onion
2 Garlic cloves
About 8 Sage leaves
A pinch of dried Oregano
A thick slice of stale white bread (crust if you've got it)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blitz; the wetness of the chestnuts and onion helps bind the stuffing together without the need of egg. Roast in the cavity of your Sunday Chicken, or roll into Crab apple-sized balls, place on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 3o minutes (200C/fan 180C/gas 6) until golden.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Roast Mallard with sour cherry shallots


This feels about as Autumnal as things get. For the last few weeks I've been busy stocking the freezer with Pigeon, Pheasant and Wild duck; this recipe makes for a perfect Sunday lunch after a crisp, country walk. Serve with celeriac chips or mash.

1 Wild Duck (One Mallard will serve two, Teal and Widgeon are smaller so you’d need one each)
Salt and pepper
A large knob of soft butter
12 shallots, ends trimmed and peeled
Olive oil
A handful of dried sour cherries
A large wine glassful of sherry (not too dry)
1Tsp Honey
A few thyme sprigs

1 Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Rub the butter into the duck skin, season well then sit on a metal roasting dish. Toss the shallots in a little olive oil then arrange around the bird. Roast for 35 minutes, basting the duck and turning the shallots regularly.
2 Remove the duck from the dish, cover with foil and leave in a warm place to rest. Drain off any fatty juice into a bowl and put the metal dish onto the hob. Pour in the sherry, thyme, honey and cherries, then simmer with the shallots on a medium heat for 10 – 15 minutes, until the sherry has reduced and the cherries have swollen.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Walnut caramel tart

Recipe: Mary Cadogan (Check out Good Food Nov '12 issue for the recipe)

Friday, 5 October 2012

Ginger-spiced pears

Recipe: Mary Cadogan (Check out Good Food Nov '12 issue for the recipe)

Monday, 1 October 2012

Forager's cookcard #2: Dulse

There are so many edible species of seaweed to be foraged on our shores - dulse is probably my favourite. Eat this frittata piping hot just after cooking - or let it cool, pop it in the fridge, and eat the next day.

Dulse frittata
A large handful of dulse fronds, roughly chopped
1 Onion, sliced
1 Garlic clove, grated
A small sprig of Rosemary, finely chopped
400g Cooked new potatoes, sliced
4 Eggs
Salt & pepper

Olive oil

1 Fry the potatoes in an oiled non-stick pan until they start to crisp up. Add the Dulse, onion, rosemary and garlic, then keep stirring on a low heat for a further 10 minutes.
2 Beat the eggs in a bowl. Season, then put to ones side.
3 Try to space everything out evenly in the pan, then pour in the beaten eggs. Let the frittata cook for 7-10 mins on a low heat, then pop the pan under the grill for a few minutes to cook the top.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Moroccan tomato & chickpea soup with couscous

Recipe: Barney Desmazery
Food styling: Val Barratt
Recipe >>>HERE<<<

Monday, 10 September 2012

Bramble lollies



My 3 year old loves helping to make (and consume) these lollies; I've deliberately kept some of the Blackberry coulis back here to use in the week. It's great reduced down with beef stock and drizzled over a plump Venison steak.

500g Organic Natural Yoghurt
250g Blackberries
50g Sugar

1 Gently simmer the blackberries, sugar and a splash of water in a saucepan until the fruit has broken down and the liquid is bubbling. Allow to cool for a short while, blitz in a blender and then strain through a sieve. Let the coulis cool to room temperature.
2 Gently mix about two-thirds of the coulis into the yoghurt. Don't mix it in completely, it's nice if your lollies retain a bit of pattern and swirl.
3 Pour into lolly moulds, then freeze.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Sticky Pear and Perry sausages with Cobnuts

I love these early Autumn days. There's a familiar note in the air; crisp mornings warmed gently by a thin sun, scented with an earthy perfume of wood, wet leaves and smoke. It's a wonderful time to cook with fresh, seasonal produce - my Butcher took delivery of his first batch of local Wood Pigeons at the weekend, a brace of which are now residing in our freezer. It's a bit early for many wild nuts, but Kentish Cobnuts are available right now - their fresh crunch adds a lovely contrast to the soft, yielding pears and sticky sausages in this dish.

6 Good quality pork sausages
A knob of butter
3 Ripe Pears
2Tbsp Honey
1Tbsp Wholegrain mustard
A small wine glass of Perry (if you can't Perry, cider will be just as nice)
Fresh Cobnuts
Salt and pepper


In a large pan, fry the sausages on the hob until browned nicely. Add a good knob of butter, half the pears, then add them to the pan (you can griddle the cut side beforehand if you like – I always think that the charred lines add an extra visual dimension). Stir in the Perry, mustard and honey - season, then pop a lid on the pan and simmer on low for 20 minutes, turning the pears and sausages intermittently. Serve with a scattering of fresh whole Cobnuts and a hearty side of Celeriac mash.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Poached plums in spiced rum syrup

Recipe: The Hairy Bikers (check out Good Food Oct '12 issue for recipe)
Food styling: Sara Buenfeld
Prop styling: Sue Rowlands

Nightscrumping



I have a friend who just last week knocked on the front door of a house to enquire about the apple tree in its front garden. It seemed that the entire crop was going to waste; the grass beneath the branches carried the low drone of an army of wasps scratching away deep inside warm, fermenting fruit. In an "I might as well" moment, my friend took a deep breath, knocked on the door and politely asked if he might procure a handful of apples off the tree. "You’re not having any - goodbye" was the sharp and somewhat resolute response - the door was pretty much slammed in his face.







I've spoken before about the garden-bound Pear tree that I pass on my walk to and from the station each day. I enjoy its youthful flourish of blossom each Spring; a confetti-like festoon that scatters tiny petals across the pavement each time the wind blows. I marvel at tiny green fruit droplets that appear on its branches, swelling slowly in the Summer sun as the season drifts into Autumn. I despair as one by one they tumble to the ground, quickly rendered a vinegary sludge by insects, mould and the heavy wheels of a family 4x4.

I freely admit to a bit of light scrumping when the opportunity presents itself. Nothing OTT - just enough to make dessert for the family, or to make the fruit bowl look a little less sorry for itself. So it was by the cover of darkness on Thursday night that I quickly confiscated half a dozen pears from the tree after getting home late from work. The lights of the house were out and the street was still - they tasted all the better for their shifty Moonlit acquisition.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Roast Grouse with Blackcurrant and Beetroot sauce

'Twas The Glorious Twelfth yesterday - the start of the Grouse shooting season. I spent the day residing in my weather-beaten old hunting lodge, tucked away on a remote Scottish Moor. We dined in the evening by the light of candle flames. 

Sadly this isn't entirely true; this pic was taken in a studio in West London (sigh). You get the idea though...

Recipe: Gerard Baker
Prop styling: Tony Hutchinson
Food styling: Sara Buenfeld

Find the recipe >>>HERE<<<

Friday, 3 August 2012

Monday, 23 July 2012

Mojo pork skewers with Cuban coolers

Recipe & Food styling: Sara Buenfeld
Prop styling: Tony Hutchinson

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Forager's cookcard #1: Red clover

This is so simple to make and is a real thirst quencher. Red Clover flowers are abundant and easy to identify - if you're feeling flamboyant, a few strips of fresh Root Ginger work well in here too, as does a hearty slosh of Vodka when serving.

Red clover lemonade
A large bowl of fresh Red Clover blossoms
1 Litre of Water
5Tbsp Honey
The juice of 2 large Lemons

Heat the Clover flowers in one litre of water; bring to a near-simmer and stir intermittently for about fifteen minutes (keep a lid on the saucepan between stirs). Kill the heat, then stir in the honey until it has dissolved. Leave to cool, then strain the liquid through muslin into a fresh bowl. Squeeze in the Lemon juice, then chill the Lemonade in the fridge. Serve with slices of fresh Lemon, ice and a handful of fresh Clover flowers.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Black Forest Gateau

Recipe: Sarah Cook
Food styling: Val Barrett

Find the recipe >>>HERE<<<


Saturday, 16 June 2012

Elderflower Margarita

If you've been out picking Elderflowers to make cordial over the last few weeks, here's a quick idea that'll make good use of some of your batch. It's a variation on a classic Margarita - personally, I tend to steer clear of Triple Sec that's often used too (bad experience in my youth). It matters not though - Tequila and Elderflower get on fabulously well.

50ml Tequila
15ml Elderflower cordial
Juice of two Limes
Crushed Maldon Sea Salt

Rub the rim of a glass with half a cut lime, then dip in salt. Rattle the ingredients together in a cockail shaker with a few ice cubes, then serve immediately.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Mead baked apricots with pistachios

About a dozen Apricots, cut in half with stones removed
2Tbsp golden caster sugar
A wine glass of Mead (I used Lindisfarne)
2 Star anise
1 Cinnamon stick
Chopped pistachios and creme fraiche, to serve

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Arrange to Apricots cut side up on a baking tray, then scatter over the sugar, star anise and cinnamon stick. Pour the Mead into the tray and bake for 30-40 minutes - keep spooning the liquid over the fruit regularly. Serve with the chopped pistachios and creme fraiche.

Razor clams with bacon and Salmoriglio

Salmoriglio is a simple sauce-cum-marinade that originates from Southern Italy. It's great spooned over barbecued meat and fish; I've also been using leftover Salmoriglio in a similar way to pesto, stirred through pasta with a few prawns and a sprinkling of crumbled Feta. As for this tasty 'Spoots recipe, careful not to overcook the clams otherwise they become rubbery, with a texture not dissimilar (I imagine) to chewing on a old tube of bathroom sealant.

FOR THE CLAMS
About a dozen razor clams
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
3 Rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
1 Red chilli, chopped
A large glass of White wine
Parsley leaves, to serve

FOR THE SALMORIGLIO
3 Garlic cloves
A pinch of sea salt
A bunch of fresh Oregano (leaves only)
A pinch of Pepper
The juice of 1/2 a Lemon
200ml Olive oil

1 Using a pestle and mortar, pound the Garlic and salt to a paste, then add the Oregano. Once the leaves have begun to break down, start adding the olive oil slowly and keep crushing everything together. Finaly, add the lemon juice and pepper, then give it all a final mix through.
2 Give the clams a soak in lightly salted cold water for 5-10 minutes. Fry the bacon in a large pan until crispy, then stir in the garlic and chilli to soften for a few minutes. Nestle the clams on top of everything, pour in the wine and pop a lid on the pan. It'll only take about two minutes for them to cook. Serve in shallow bowls with Salmoriglio drizzled over the clams and plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juice.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

2012 Observer Food Monthly Awards

If you have a spare moment, there's still time to vote for Appledrane in the 'Best Food Blog' category at the 2012 Observer Food Monthly Awards. It's been a glorious year and I've welcomed many new friends to the site; thanks to everyone for your continued support, advice and lovely comments. Just click on the link below to vote. Thanks guys!

http://www.easyanswer.net/observer/

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Pan-fried Venison with parsley polenta and red wine sauce



Although most game is a concern of the Autumn and Winter months, there are certain wild meats that can be enjoyed all year round. Wood Pigeon is great at this time of year, as is my old buddy-pal Thumper. A freshly killed Rabbit flashed above the hot coals of a barbecue is a rare treat. The venison season for certain species of deer can start as early as July (Red deer stags) and finish at the beginning of May (Fallow bucks), so the season isn't quite as brief as one might expect. Truly wild Venison can be trickier to find in the summer months, although farmed is readily available all year round. This recipe works equally well with beef. Serves 4.

4 Venison steaks
150g Quick cook polenta
1 Litre Chicken stock, plus an extra 150ml for the red wine sauce
100g Mature Cheddar cheese, grated
2 Garlic cloves, finely grated
A handful of flatleaf parsley leaves
A splash of red wine
3 Juniper berries
Olive oil

1 Cook the polenta according to the pack instructions, then stir in the Cheddar, garlic, parsley and season to taste.
2 Heat a splash of olive oil in a non-stick pan (you can cook the meat on the BBQ if the sun's out). Season the venison steaks, then sear for 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the meat onto a plate to rest. 
3 De-glaze the pan with a generous slosh of red wine, then add the remaining 150ml of stock and the juniper berries. Keep the sauce on a quick bubble, until it has reduced and has thickened nicely.
4 To plate up, slice the venison steaks and arrange on top of a plate of polenta. Spoon over the red wine sauce and serve with a few sprigs of fresh parsley.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Nectarine & blueberry cake with vanilla cream

Recipe and food styling: Jan-Marie Harford-Brown


This recipe can be made with other seasonal fruit combinations such as apricot and blackberry, cherry and orange zest or my all time favourite banana and passion fruit syrup.

2 large Nectarines
100g fresh Blueberries
230g Butter, softened
337g Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 Eggs
2 tblsp Lemon Zest
345g Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
pinch of Salt
4 tblsp Icing Sugar
200ml Creme Fraiche
1 Vanilla Bean



1
Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of an 8 inch round cake tin with baking parchment.
2 Halve each of the nectarines and slice into wedges. Set aside along with the blueberries.
3 Beat together the butter, vanilla and sugar until pale and creamy. Then add eggs, beating in one at a time.
4 Fold in the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and salt (This will make a super thick batter). Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and level the top with a spoon.
5 Place the Nectarine wedges randomly over the top of the cake batter, then scatter over berries and gently press the fruit into the batter. Dust with 2 tblsp of icing sugar.
6 Bake in the preheated oven for 1 ¼ hours, or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
7 To make Vanilla Cream. Mix creme fraiche, 1 tblsp of icing sugar and vanilla bean seeds until combined.
8 Once the cake is cooled, remove from the tin and dust lightly with more icing sugar. Serve a slice of the cake with a dollop of the vanilla cream.

Asparagus and wild sorrel tart


The Wild Sorrel season is a thing to cherish. It has such a unique flavour; the leaves contain Oxalic acid, giving them a lemony sourness that makes the mouth water with a burst of juicy tang. As with all Sorrels, one has to be careful not to eat too much, but these little Sheep Sorrel leaves are great in light, summery tarts and salads.

500g pack of shortcrust pastry
About 15 Asparagus spears, depending on size
A handful of wild Sheep sorrel leaves
The zest of half a lemon
75g Goat's cheese
3 Eggs
200ml Single cream
50g Finely grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper
Garlic mustard flowers, to serve (optional)

1 Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Line a 22cm tart tin with pastry (don't trim off any excess), then blind bake for 20 minutes (remove the parchment and baking beans after 15 mins). Allow to cool, then carefully trim off the overhanging pastry with a knife.
2 Reduce the oven to 180C/fan 160C/ gas 4. Arrange the Asparagus on the pastry base, making sure that the spears aren't sitting too close together. Crumble the Goat's cheese between the gaps, then scatter over the sorrel leaves and lemon zest.
3 Whisk the eggs and cream with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in the Parmesan, then carefully pour into the tart case. Any Asparagus or sorrel tips that are poking above the surface should be pushed back under (otherwise they might catch and  burn). Bake for 30 minutes, then serve warm or cold with a flourish of Garlic mustard flowers.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Roast tomato and broccoli fusilli



We're really struggling to keep up with the broccoli frenzy in the garden. It just keeps on coming; I pick and pick, but never seem to make a dent in the purple expanse that spills across the vegetable patch. Not that it's a bad thing; it's sweet, crunchy and everyone in our house loves it. I keep finding Amelie nibbling on raw florets as she hunts for snails among the leaves; I've tried them raw too - she's definitely onto something...


6 large tomatoes, cut in half
2 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
A couple of fresh Rosemary sprigs
Olive oil
400g Cooked Fusilli pasta

1 Red chilli, chopped
2 large Shallots, thinly sliced
A large handful of Purple sprouting broccoli florets
2Tbsp Raisins
1Tsp Capers
Salt and pepper
Brocolli flowers, to serve (optional)

1 Place the tomatoes in an oven proof dish with the rosemary. Season, drizzle with oil and then roast in a low oven for 30-40 minutes.
2 Soften the chilli, garlic and shallots in a pan. Add the broccoli, then stir in the roasted tomatoes, capers and raisins (along with a small splash of water). Stir in the Fusilli, season and serve. A scattering of broccoli flowers adds a nice bit of colour if you can get your hands on them.


 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Garden herb trout


My son Rafferty was born a week ago today. He's a beautiful but somewhat nocturnal soul; in these sleep-deprived times the cooking is being kept quick and simple at Appledrane HQ. Heat an oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Wedge two large bay leaves, a few sprigs of thyme, parsley and some wild fennel fronds into the inner cavity of a rainbow trout, season well, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 2o minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, buttery Jersey royals and steamed asparagus spears. Time for an early night...

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Lentil and bacon soup

Recipe: Caroline Hire
Food styling: Val Barrett
Recipe >>> Here <<<

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Morel risotto with buttery hop shoots

The Hop shoots are going wild in my neck of the woods. Thin green tendrils snake through the hedgerows, twisting upwards towards the sky in a flourish of Spring exuberance. It took me minutes to pinch off a large bowful this morning. I quite like crunching on them raw, but they're equally tasty quickly cooked through with a little butter.

FOR THE RISOTTO
2 Large garlic gloves, finely chopped
8 Shallots, finely chopped
1 Bay leaf
A good splash of white wine
8 Large Fresh or dried Morels, chopped (if dried, keep the water that you've soaked the mushrooms in, to add to your stock)
300g Arborio risotto rice
1 - 1.5 Litres hot Chicken or vegetable stock (kept hot of the hob)
75g Hard goat's cheese, grated
25g Unsalted butter
FOR THE BUTTERY HOP SHOOTS
A large handful of Hop shoots
25g Unsalted butter
Salt and pepper


1 Melt a knob of butter in a pan and soften the garlic and shallots in a splash of olive on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly. Stir in the rice, bay and mushrooms, then continue stirring until the rice grains start to look transparent. Pour in the wine, leave for a few minutes, then begin to gradually add the stock. Add it slowly, a ladle at a time and only add more when the liquid has been absorbed. After about 25 minutes the risotto should look rich and creamy, and the rice should be cooked (while still retaining a bit of bite). Season to taste. Just before serving stir in 25g of the goat's cheese and a good-sized knob of butter, to add an additional sheen of glossy richness.
2 For the buttery hop shoots, simply melt 25g of butter in a pan, then flash the shoots in the heat for 3-5 minutes. Season, then spoon on top of the risotto, with an extra grating of cheese for good measure.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Lamb tagliata with watercress and tomatoes

Recipe & food styling: Jane Hornby
Prop styling: Jo Harris

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Lime leaves


Now's the time to gather young leaves from the Common lime. But be quick; as with many wild greens, their light succulence is replaced by toughness and astringency later in the season. Lime leaves have a pleasant, cooling flavour and subtle melon notes; they're great in spring salads or sandwiches. I like to use them to make little canapes; flake a thin line of smoked mackerel along the centre spine of a leaf, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice onto the fish, finish with a few Ramson flowers and then roll into cigarellos (secure with a cocktail stick if necessary). 

Friday, 27 April 2012

Good Food 101 Easy baking recipes cover

Food styling: Lizzie Harris
Prop stying: Jo Harris

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Soured cream bundt cake with butter glaze

Recipe & Food styling: Val Barrett
Recipe >>>HERE<<<

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Key Lime Pie





Recipe: Janine Ratcliffe

Food styling: Val Barrett
Recipe >>> HERE <<<

Monday, 16 April 2012

Quick Jack-by-the-hedge rostis

 If there was any doubt that Spring hadn't quite flickered into life, the tangerines-and-cream scatter of an Orange tip butterfly hurrying along a quiet country path is a firm chime of the seasonal clock. It'll be one of the first spring butterflies that you'll see; it's certainly one of the most striking. At this time of year one should also keep an eye out for its citrus-lemon spring cousin, the Brimstone.
  Orange tips and I share a similar culinary pursuit: Garlic mustard. It's also known as Jack-by-the-hedge, and the leaves are the common food source of the butterfly's caterpillar. In the spirit of polite consideration, I always inspect each leaf carefully before picking, and only ever take a few leaves from a single plant.

2 large potatoes (there's no need to peel them)
2 red onions
A good handful of finely chopped Jack-by-the-hedge (Garlic mustard) leaves
Lemon zest (optional)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil


1 Grate the potatoes and onion. Over a bowl, squeeze the mixture in batches between both hands to remove as much water as you can (the drier the grated mix, the more likely your rostis will hold together). Stir in the chopped Jack-by-the-Hedge leaves, lemon zest and season well.
2 heat a large, well oiled frying pan. Use your hands to shape four saucer sized patties, then carefully place in the pan. Use a spatula to tidy up any crumbly edges. Leave for 5-7 minutes, without moving the rostis.
3 Place a large plate over the frying pan, then turn the rostis onto the plate. Use a fish slice to slide them back into the pan, then cook for a further 5-7 minutes on the other side until golden. Great served with a poached egg on top.



Here's another Garlic mustard recipe...



>>> Baba ganoush with garlic mustard flowers <<<


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Ramson buds/Pickled dandelion buds

Ramson buds
As Spring foragables go, one would be hard pushed to beat the fresh, garlicky crunch of a freshly picked Ramson bud. They're wonderful mixed raw into simple mixed leaf salads, or quickly flashed in a pan with a slosh of soy, squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Pickled dandelion buds
These pickled buds can be used instead of capers in many recipes; brining the buds before pickling gives them a moorish, mildly salty flavour. In a few weeks time, the same pickling process can be applied to Elderflower buds.

3/4 Mug boiling water
2tsp Maldon sea salt
A handful of tightly closed dandelion buds
3/4 Mug cider vinegar
1tsp Mustard seeds
A few chunky strips of lemon zest
1 Bay leaf


1 First brine your dandelion buds. Fill a mug two-thirds full with boiling water, then add the salt and stir until it dissolves. Bring the water level to just below the brim by adding buds, then leave in a cool spot for 2-3 days (stirring intermittently).
2 Strain the dandelion buds. Bring the vinegar to the boil, kill the heat and add the mustard seeds. Spoon the buds into the bottom of a small, sterilized jar and top up with the hot vinegar. Wedge in the lemon zest and bay leaf -leave in a cool dark place for at least two weeks before eating.



Saturday, 7 April 2012

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Thai carrot and radish salad

Shot for BBC Good Food Magazine, May '12 Issue
Recipe and food styling: Sara Buenfeld
Prop styling: Jo Harris

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Watercress

Prop styling: Jo Harris

Monday, 2 April 2012

Griddled chicory with lemon bittercress dressing

I keep finding lunch between the cracks of the cobblestones in the back garden. Slender, peppery rocket leaves have appeared not far from where the salad box sat last year, while a lone strawberry pokes up cautiously next to Amelie's tricycle by the back door (I fear that its days are numbered). Hairy bittercress has sprung up too, which is a joy.
Many wild herbs and greens suffer from unfortunate titling; odd names that might unfairly cast them into the realm of pejorative subjectivity. There's Hogweed and Dead nettles to name but two, not to mention Bastard balm. It's the "Hairy" element of Hairy bittercress that seems to raise an eyebrow, although to me it seems to be one of the least follicaly-blessed plants in the garden. Hairy bittercress tastes not entirely dissimilar to cultivated cress, but has stronger, peppery notes. This simple side dish is great with roast pork.

3 to 4 Chicory heads, chopped in half lengthways
The juice of one lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
One large garlic clove, finely grated
2Tsp Chopped Hairy bittercress leaves
Salt and pepper
Hairy bittercress leaves, to garnish


1 Heat the griddle pan/BBQ until scorching hot, brush the chicory with a little olive oil, then place flat side down on the heat. Don't move them for about five minutes, then flip onto the rounded side for a further three. Leave to cool.
2 Squeeze the lemon juice into a glass or jam jar. Eye-up the level of juice; add the olive oil, at a ratio of two parts lemon to 3 parts oil. Stir in the the garlic, chopped bittercress and a good grind of salt and pepper.
3 To serve, toss the chicory in the dressing and serve with young bittercress shoots.