Sunday, 29 January 2012


Six lovely little hens with fuffy bwown feaverz!

And a great hen house to protect them from Mr Foxy, hopefully....

First day, first lady on her way down to explore her new home

Looking forward to our first egg!


Warming and comforting, you just can't beat a meaty stew on a cold winters day and oxtail is a tasty alternative to the regular beef steak.

The great thing about stews and casseroles is that you can make them the night before to warm through the next day or even pop in the slow cooker before work for a welcome return in the evening. 

 Oxtail Stew                                 (Serves 8)

2kg Oxtail
20 small onions or 4 large cut into quarters
3/4 bay leaves
1tbsp flour
1/4 dried red chilli, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bottle of red wine
Season to taste

Brown off the oxtail in a large frying pan.  Transfer into a large casserole dish with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven.  Brown off the onions with the bay leaves, garlic and chilli, take off heat and stir in the flour before putting in the pot with the oxtail.

Deglaze the frying pan with the wine (scrape off all the crispy meaty bits with a spoon whilst warming the wine through) and then pour into the pot with the oxtail and onions. Cook for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is still attached but coming away from the bone.  If your having dumplings, place on the top of the stew 35 minutes before the end, ducking under the surface a little. 

Stilton Dumplings

Use the basic dumpling mix of fat to flour but substitute fat for stilton. We used 200g self raising four, 100g stilton, pinch of salt

Crumble the stilton and add to a bowl with the flour in.  Mix together with enough cold water to bind together. Refrigerate until required.  Split into six individual dumplings, rolling into a rough ball and place on top of the stew 35 minutes before it's ready. 

Serve with vegetables of your choice - bon appetit

Saturday, 28 January 2012


Saturday nights are a firm favourite in our house for homemade pizza.  Thin and crispy with whatever topping takes our fancy (or what the contents of the fridge allows!) In this case, tomato, ham and mozzarella.

Pizza, sofa,TV, perfect!


I've been rough shooting since I was 13 and every now and again I beat for a local pheasant shoot.  It's just a small affair on a farm nearby with a great bunch of guys and their dogs!  There's a bag limit of 50 birds, so just enough for a brace each and most of the guns do their share of working.  This week was the last in the season and fortunately the the rain held off for the day.

No specially laid on lunch supplied with this one, just our own pack up (extra large!) plus a taster of the homemade wine and cakes Mr G our Italian gun brings from his bakery.


I've got my brace hanging and will be cooking them up this weekend.
Hmmm, what to do with them this time? 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


Chuffed with the new hen house, on loan from our kindly neighbour. Just needs the chickens now. Watch this space!

Sunday, 22 January 2012


We're lucky to have such a great mobile fishmonger in the town. Every Friday morning from 7.30am, Turners fish van arrives with an amazing selection of freshly caught fish.

Two plaice fillets and some smoked cods roe for us this week. Homemade Taramasalata it is then.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


So we're trying to eat more fish in our house and there's no excuse really with a superb fish van that rolls up every Friday morning in the village with a fresh catch. 

Thick chunky chowder, quick and easy to make and pretty healthy too!  

                                                                                        Serves 2

    500g of smoked haddock or Pollock
    2 medium potatoes cut into 2cm cubes
    2 carrots chopped
     ¼ to ½ butter nut squash depending on size
    1 medium parsnip
    1 leak
    500 ml milk
    1 teaspoon of curry powder
    2 table spoons of olive oil
    Bay leaf
    Hand full of rocket leaves
    Poached egg (optional)

Cut the potatoes, parsnip, carrot and butter nut squash up into 2cm cubes and put them all, except the squash, into a pan of water and bring to the boil
Simmer for 1 min then add the squash and simmer for a further 2 mins
When they are almost cooked drain and cover.
Poach the haddock in the milk for about 10 mins.  When cooked drain, reserving the milk for later.
Allow the haddock to cool a little before removing the skin and any bones and then roughly flake.
Chop and fry the leek in a little oil for 2 to 3 mins.
Add the curry powder and cook on a low heat for 2 mins 
Add the par boiled potato, carrot, parsnip and squash and heat through for about 5 mins making sure all are cooked through.
Pour in the reserved milk, add the haddock and warm through.
Serve in two deep bowls with a scattering of rocket leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning. 
Place a poached egg on top (optional)

Sunday, 15 January 2012


A lip smacking meal with plenty of crackling to go round!

Throw a generous glug of masala into a large roasting tray with a few crushed garlics and a sliced applie
Salt and score the pork belly's with a sharp knife and place over the top of the apple.

Roast in the oven for four hours at 160° - we cooked our in in the Aga

Served ours with pureed pumpkin, roast potatoes and some green beans but make your choice - anything goes!


My son, Will, is a keen baker, in more ways than one and today made this Rustic Plum Tart from Isidora Popovic, Popina book of baking.  It was delightful, was being the operative word as it didn't last long!

Really quick and easy to make and great as a sweet snack with coffee or a warm dessert with a dollop of double cream.

90g golden caster sugar                                  Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4
1 Egg                                                                   Put the sugar and egg in a mixing bowl and mix with an
40ml groundnut oil (or any other veg oil)        electric whisk. Add the oil, milk, flour, baking powder and
55ml whole milk (we only had semi skim)      vanilla and mix again until combined.  Transfer to the
140g plain flour                                                 prepared baking tin and spread evenly. Sit the plums, cut
1 teaspoon baking powder                             side up, over the mixture.
A few drops of vanilla oil                                  Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until
6 large plums, stoned and halved                   deep golden.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool for
2 tablespoons apricot jam                               for a few minutes.
to glaze (optional)                                             In the meantime put the apricot jam, if using, in a small
A 20cm springform tin, lined                           saucepan and heat gently until melted and runny.  Brush the
with greaseproof paper                                    jam all over the tart with a pastry brush and leave for a few
                                                                            more minutes before serving.
Makes about six (generous) slices                               

This book is brilliant and I would recommend it to anyone - I got this for my birthday and have already made lots of  tasty treats from it. With this plum tart I used basic caster sugar as an alternative to golden, the only difference is that the cake will be slightly paler in colour after being baked but hardly notices and is easily covered by the apricot jam glaze anyway. No greaseproof paper so buttered around the tin sides instead.

The apricot Jam is optional but I think essential to the presentation and taste of the tart. The plums become slightly wrinkled by the bake and the jam will make the top layer of both the sponge and the apricots moist; also it gives the cake a nice sweet taste - Will  

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


I'm lucky enough to work near an Aga range and this was my lunch 
Makes a change from the usual cheese and ham sandwich don't you think?

The potatoes had a good hour in the oven, the haddock about 10 minutes.
Empty out the jackets into a bowl and add the flaked fish (not too fine), butter and seasoning. 
Give it a mix up and pop back in the skins. 
Grated cheese, a generous dollop of creme fraiche and more pepper on the top.
Back under the grill for 5 mins, if you can wait!

A mighty fine luncheon!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


A delicious alternative to bangers and mash and a great way of getting the alloted veg and pulses into the kids!

There's an excellent selection of quality sausages out there from wild boar to venison and everything in between - any of them would work with this recipe.

Serves 4

     8 to 12 sausages depending on your appetite!
250 grams of dried lentil or 2 tins
4 medium tomatoes
4 sun dried tomatoes   
2 to 3 sticks of celery
1 large red pepper
1 large onion
3 to 4 mushrooms
50 grams of Parmesan
2 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
1 red chilli
Basil leaves
Table spoon of tomato puree
300 ml of water or veg stock

If your using dried lentils then pre-cook them for 15-20 mins or until tender. 
Heat a little olive oil and fry the chopped garlic and chilli for a few seconds. 
Add the bay leaves, chopped celery, pepper, mushrooms and onions and cook for 15 mins.
Meanwhile cook the sausages under the grill, turning occasionally.

Drain the lentils and add to the pan with the chopped tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes, tomato puree and stock and cook for another 5 minutes.

Grate half the Parmesan into the pot and season to taste before serving onto four plates. 

Remove the sausages from the grill, thickly slice and place on top of the lentils and vegetables.  
Throw over a few leaves of basil and the rest of the Parmesan.

And there you go, a quick an easy meal for all to enjoy

Monday, 9 January 2012


New years' day with the family and Heston Blumenthals slow roast beef was on the menu. I read somewhere that he recommends beef be cooked for twenty hours at 55°C.  I've cooked beef for six hours before now but never for almost a day!  Still, my brother was as keen as I and so with a rather large rib from the local butcher, we all drove down to Worcester with it in the boot. 

Whilst the oven was hotting up (or gently warming should I say), we flamed the whole of the outside of the meat with a gas torch to seal and colour. 

Unsure of how accurate the oven was we checked inside the oven with a thermometer.  Good job too as it was out by 10°C.  Anyway once we adjusted the controls and were happy with the core temperature, the beef went in and we waited......

Twenty LONG hours later, out it came.  We all admired it for a good 5 minutes before wrapping it up in tin foil and leaving it to rest for a further 45.

Because it's cooked at such a low heat, the meat doesn't shrink and barely loses any of it's juices.  It was absolutely beautiful, I can't tell you how tender and succulent it'll just have to try it for yourselves! 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...