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


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.