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For Shrove Tuesday, beautiful vibrant green pea pancakes made with British grown and milled marrowfat peas from Hodmedod's. Hodmedod's are the Suffolk pulse pioneers and produce a wide range of pulse flours. I bought the gluten free bundle which included Buckwheat, Yellow Pea, Green Pea, Quinoa and Fava Bean. I found that the flavour of the green pea pancakes mellowed beautifully and was even sweeter after baking in the oven. The pancakes also make excellent layers in place of pasta for lasagne and cannelloni.

Published in Recipes
Sunday, 05 April 2020 19:58

Herbs for Spring Salads

As the weather is getting warmer and the nights are drawing out I start to get excited about summer, having fresh garden produce and forgetting about cooking warming winter soups and stews. Discover the difference that a few fresh herbs can make to your spring salads by either adding them into the salad, providing a nice contrast to the crunchy leaves of lettuce, or blitzing them into a simple vinaigrette dressing. As herbs begin to shoot in spring, or I’m lucky enough to find some that have over-wintered well, I spruce up even the plainest of salads with a few sprigs of fresh herbs. Be brave and experiment with different herbs adding vitality, texture and flavour to your meals. Make the bulk of the salad with mild flavour leaves such as Cos, Romaine, Little Gem or Lollo Rosso. Lovage – use the leaves sparingly as they add a very strong savoury flavour when raw. The first stems of spring provide the most delicate flavour. Try rubbing the salad bowl with bruised leaves to impart a milder flavour. Chives – the snipped stalks add a delicate onion (or garlicky if using Chinese chives) flavour. Hard boiled eggs, crumbled crisp bacon, watercress, steamed Jersey Royals, raw or steamed freshly podded peas all contrast well with chives and will liven up a leaf salad. Chickweed – or hip weed as I call it, now grown commercially for the restaurant trade and used in both salads and garnishes. Full of vitamin C and tastes slightly grassy, throw this in in abundance as it’s delicate, mild flavoured and if from your garden, free! Winter purslane – sometimes called Miners lettuce and grows rapidly in the spring. Add the narrow early leaves or the curious stem-wrapping leaves for a cool, mild flavour also providing a succulent and juicy texture into a leaf salad. It’s also very nice wilted as in the spinach recipe. Chervil – use the stem and leaf chopped into salads to add a subtle aniseed flavour. It complements eggs, fish and cucumber particularly well. Crab, goats curd and chervil is a favourite combination of mine.


Published in Recipes
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Saturday, 01 June 2019 15:22

Herbs on fire!

I never need an excuse to light a fire outside and cook ‘al fresco’ and now it’s officially barbecue season that’s where I’ll be. The golden rule of cooking on a barbecue, or wood fire, is to cook over embers, not flames and to distinguish whether you are cooking something that requires searing rather than slow cooking. So, it’s always best to cook meats that require a fierce heat as soon as the flames have died down, and the embers are still glowing. Then grill ingredients such as fish, which require slower cooking, as the temperature of the fire drops. By mid-summer the herbs in my garden are at their best and plentiful so can be used liberally on barbecued food. Gutsy herbs indigenous/native of the Mediterranean and Middle East work very well in barbecues and include rosemary which adds an aromatic and resinous flavour working very well with fatty and rich meats such as lamb. I like to use the straight, small woody branches for my lamb, onion and rosemary skewers. Oregano and marjoram are both closely related and I still struggle to identify between the two growing in my garden. Oregano has a more pungent and domineering flavour whereas marjoram is slightly more delicate, also faintly savoury and lightly sweet scented. If using oregano then use a little more sparingly. It has a special affinity with tomato based dishes and sauces and works very well when put with lemon and garlic in a marinade. Coriander can be chopped and mixed into natural yoghurt with Indian spices to create a delicious marinade for both chicken and fish. The pungent, slightly citrus flavour marries well with lime zest and juice to make a herb butter which is delicious served on seafood cooked on a barbecue. Dill is often associated with Nordic or Russian cuisine and is used extensively in Persian cuisine. I love it with fish, particularly salmon which barbecues very well. Combined with sumac a Middle Eastern spice which adds tartness and astringency to food it makes a perfect marinade for salmon. Mint adds another dimension to whole grilled courgettes that have been allowed to cool a little and then drizzled with oil, salt and pepper and chopped mint. The same combination is also delicious on grilled halloumi cheese.

Published in Recipes
Tuesday, 05 May 2020 11:42

Cooking up a storm

The effects of lockdown have torn through the food industry like a tornado. Food businesses forced to close, with many restaurants staying open for takeaway and every day another business re-opening to dip it's toe into the online-delivery-takeaway market. Suppliers normally serving the trade have had to diversify and react swiftly, some offering online orders and deliveries to the public. Pubs have become community shops. Corner shops have kept us supplied with the store cupboard basics. Store cupboards have determined the dishes we can cook to nourish ourselves and our families. While chefs live stream cookery demo's from their kitchens, the niche social media experts have had to guard their territory as the stay at home population bombard us with their own sourdough, banana bread and brownie recipes. Farm shops providing deliveries, micro breweries and wineries setting up drive thru's there never has been a more challenging time to source food. The crisis has provided an opportunity to drive innovation and now is the time for us to support the independent producers who are working so hard to stay afloat. However, it's also the time for the service industries to keep in touch with their clientele, monitor consumer behaviour and continue to innovate, so that when the race back to reality begins, they're revved up and in pole position. Here's a photo gallery of some of East Anglia's innovative businesses and suppliers that I have used and that are providing top quality service and produce . You'll find plenty more if you check the many social media streams regularly. For Bury St Edmunds folk David Stapleton has created a simple and free web app directory of businesses open.

Published in Trends

It will soon be time to think about jam making with summer fruit. My tips are from my 'Food for Keeps' course and will help you make perfect jam every time. Try making this delicious Fresh Apricot Jam.

  • Never make more than 10lb (10 standard jars) at any time. The less time spent in cooking the jam, the better the final colour and flavour.
  • Choose firmly ripe, fresh fruit, picked dry. Wet fruit will affect the set and flavour of the jam.
  • Prepare the fruit removing any stalks and bruised flesh, only wash if necessary.
  • Use a large, heavy based saucepan. The pan should never be more than half full.
  • Add water only of the recipe says so.
  • Bring fruit to the boil, then simmer gently to break down any skin and to extract the pectin.
  • Pectin is a substance in fruit that reacts with acid when heated, creating the setting agent. Fruits vary in their pectin and acid content.
  • Jam sugar has added pectin and is ideal for fruits that are low in pectin helping jam to set.
  • Do not cover the pan as water evaporation is essential.
  • Underboiling causes jam to be too runny and overboiling makes it sticky.
  • Test the set by dropping a spoonful of jam onto a refrigerated saucer and seeing if the top crinkles when you run your finger or a spoon across it.
  • Warming the sugar in a low oven (110C) will shorten the cooking time. Preserving sugar consists of large crystals of sugar which dissolve evenly producing less froth when boiling.
  • Remove any scum with a slotted spoon once the jam is ready to pot. A nut sized piece of butter at the end of the cooking will help reduce the scum.
  • Cool the jam for 5 to 10 mins before potting, then stir again to help evenly distribute the fruit and stop it from rising to the top of the jars.
  • Always warm jars in a low oven to sterilise and prevent cracking from the hot jam.
Published in Jam and chutney
Tuesday, 02 February 2016 10:53

The Suffolk Cook Book

Landing on my door mat this week was a copy of the recently published Suffolk Cook Book.  Featuring over forty five recipes, all submitted by some of the many Suffolk businesses and personalities working within the local food scene. Recipes are diverse, with varying levels of cooking competence required.  From a very simple, very do-able and delicious Suffolk Gold rarebit with caramelised red onions (Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses) to a ... drum roll ...Confit pork belly and pan fried mackerel fillet with carrot buttercream, candied bacon almonds, gin spiked blue berries, marzipan and pork jus, which is more challenging. (Executive Head Chef Alan Paton at Stoke by Nayland Hotel). Tempting my own taste buds and with an inspirational story and a recipe as far away from Suffolk as you could imagine is a Prawn, Pork and Cucumber Salad (Red Chilli Kitchen). The book showcases the fine Suffolk produce and ingredients that are available on our doorstep. I set my 19 yr old niece the challenge to cook anything that she would fancy from the book  and she chose the Elveden Gluten-free sticky toffee pudding (Elveden Courtyard Restaurant) which was absolutely delicious. The Suffolk Cook Book is £14.95 and is available from the businesses featured in the book, from Waterstones and online at www.amazon.co.uk.


Published in Home Made
Thursday, 23 January 2014 23:51

Half a pot of cream

half a pot of cream

A fellow Suffolk food blogger - lots of good recipes, especially baking .. that means cakes.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 15:13

Feta and red pepper muffins

These savoury muffins are an all year round favourite. We like to experiment with different fillings and toppings, these are topped with pesto. Here is the link for our Feta and Peppadew Muffins. Have fun adapting the recipe!

Published in Recipes
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Wednesday, 13 November 2013 15:13

Membrillo (Quince Paste)

A sliceable quince treat to serve with cheese.

Published in Recipes
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Wednesday, 13 November 2013 15:12

Green Tomato Chutney

I made this vat of chutney from the very last of my greenhouse green tomatoes and some delicious Bramley apples from my Dad's garden. I had no small jars so I'll leave it in this enormous jar to mature. This is my mother's recipe.

Published in Recipes
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