Sunday, 26 February 2012

Saturday, 18 February 2012


A good friend of mine has recently set up a new brewery at Wakes Colne.
We were privileged to have been invited to the site for a tour and a taste!

Will pulls a pint of Diesel
(for dad of course)

Me on the left with Tom Knox in the centre, brewer and partner at the
Colchester Brewery, Wakes Colne, Essex

Want to try? The Thatchers Arms, Mount Bures in Essex are serving No1

Thursday, 16 February 2012


Fast food - this literally took 20 minutes to make.
Quick and easy but with masses of flavour!

Grilled salmon fillet with black pudding and smoked streaky bacon
One of our very own free range eggs, of course!
Crushed new potato's with butter & cream, asparagus and baby sweetcorns

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Nutty tart with just a subtle taste of Bourbon coming through.  We served ours with double cream but creme fraiche, clotted cream or ice cream would taste just as good.

Recipe taken from the Popina Book of Baking

Date Sponge                                                              Pecan Bourbon Filling
60g dates, stoned                                                       1 tbsp Bourbon whiskey
30ml double cream                                                     40gm light brown soft sugar
1 tbsp water                                                                 55ml golden syrup
30g unsalted butter, melted                                       1 egg, beaten
30g light brown soft sugar                                          20g unsalted butter, melted
1 egg                                                                            60g shelled pecan nuts, rough chopped
a few drops of vanilla extract                                      
55g plain flour                                                              Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
1 tsp baking powder                                                   250g plain flour
                                                                                      125g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
18 pecan halves to decorate                                      85g golden caster sugar
Serves 8                                                                      1 egg

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

Make the sweet shortcrust pastry and line the tart tin.  Trim the excess dough from around the edges and refrigerate while you make the filling.

To make date sponge, blitz the dates to a paste in a food processor or simply chop them very finely.  Mix with the cream and water and set aside.  Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix well, then add the egg, vanilla, flour and baking powder.  Finally, add date mixture and fold in well.

Remove the pastry tin from the fridge and spoon in the date sponge mixture.  Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. 

In the meantime, make the pecan Bourbon filling.  Put the Bourbon, sugar and syrup in a mixing bowl and mix well.  Add the egg, mix well, then stir in the melted butter and chopped pecan nuts. Spoon the pecan Bourbon filling on top of the tart and spread evenly.  Decorate with the pecan halves and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before serving. 


The chickens have been with us for three weeks now and on Sunday we got our first egg, a momentous day!

Dippy egg and soldiers
Guess with one is from our chickadees?!

Only eggs from your own free range chickens taste this good. 

Today we let them have free reign of the garden.
Very happy chickens indeed.

Monday, 13 February 2012


2 peppers, 1 bread roll, 6 cherry tomatoes, 100g goats cheese, 6 basil leaves, 1/4 fresh red chilli,
6 black olives, olive oil

Finely chop up the bread, tomatos, goats cheese, basil, chilli and olives and mix together in a bowl with about 50ml of olive oil. 

Cut the tops off of both peppers and scoop out the seeds. Stuff in the mixture to the top and pop the pepper lids back on.  Bake in the oven at 190 degrees for about 20mins or until you can see the skin is no longer tight and the whole thing is starting to sag.

Serve on their own or with a crisp salad.


1kg of mussels will serve two courses or four starters

Soften an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic in a little oil in a saucepan big enough to take all the mussels.
Add a glass of white wine, a bayleaf and a few grinds of pepper and bring to the boil.
Chuck in the cleaned mussels, pop on a lid and cook for 10 mins or until they have all opened.
Take off the heat and stir in 100ml of double cream.

Serve in two large bowls with crusty bread or with chunky homecut oven chips as we did. Yum.

Friday, 10 February 2012


Using pizza dough rather than pastry.


2 red and 2 yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
2 gloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp freshly chopped thyme
1/2 tsp freshly chopped parsley
100g mature Cheddar, grated
50g Parmesan, grated
150g Greek yoghurt

Mix together the peppers and onion in a roasting tray. Drizzle with oil, season with the salt and pepper and cover the tray with aluminium foil. Roast in a preheated oven at 190°C for about 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and drain any excess juice from the vegetables.  Leave to cool while you line the tartlet tins with pizza dough but do not trim edges. 

Stir in the garlic, thyme, parsley, 60g of Cheddar and the 50g grated Parmesan into the roasted peppers and onion and set aside. 

Mix together the yoghurt and the remaining Cheddar in a mixing bowl, then spoon into the tartlet shells.  Scatter the roasted pepper mixture over the yoghurt, spreading it evenly and finish with some shaved Parmesan.  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 170°C.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Pulled lamb breast, homemade salsa, creme fraiche & cucumber dip, salad leaves, parsley in a tortilla wrap 

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Another cracking recipe from Isidora Popovic's Popina Book of Baking, again made by Will (Baker junior).


60g unsalted butter
60g golden granulated sugar
60g runny honey
60g plain flour
35g mixed peel
35g dried cranberries
65g sultanas
45g flaked almonds, plus extra to sprinkle
35g shelled walnuts, chopped
35g shelled pecan nuts, chopped
80g dark chocolate
baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) Gas 2
Put the butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan over medium heat and gently bring to the boil. Do not let the ingredients burn. 
When it reaches boiling point, stir until the sugar has dissolved completely, then remove from the heat. 
Stir in the flour, mixed peel, cranberries, sultanas, almonds,walnuts and pecan nuts. 
Mix until well combined. Leave to cool for a while before handling. 
Take a generous teaspoon of the mixture, roughly roll into a ball and place on one of the prepared baking trays. 
Flatten  it gently, then repeat this process with the remaining mixture spacing the discs apart as they may spread when they are baking.
Sprinkle a few flaked almonds over each florentine.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. 
Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

In the meantime, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. 
Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water.  Stir until melted.
Dip one side of each florentine in the bowl of chocolate and leave to set, chocolate side up, on a cooling rack.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
No need in our house, they didn't last the weekend!

Nutty chocolate delight!
Makes around 20 florentines


.....and Yorkshire puddings since its British Yorkshire Pudding Day!

Dauphinoise Potatoes


Will's variation on a theme.  A mix of two recipes, one of which is from the Good Food website. 
 Ours however has blueberries - absolutely delicious and highly recommend!!

Lightly soften 300g Rhubarb and 100g Blueberries in a frying pan with 100g sugar over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Line a pie dish with sweet shortcrust pastry and blind bake for 20 mins at 160 degrees. Fill with the stewed fruit.  Pour on the egg custard and bake for 20 mins at 180 degrees until the custard has set and there is a light skin.  Spoon on the crumble topping and cook for a further 15 mins at 180 degrees until golden brown and the custard has set.

Short Crust Pastry

250g plain flour
125g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
85g golden caster sugar
1 egg

Mix the flour, sugar and butter together in a bowl until crumbs formed.  Mix in the egg to bind together for dough.  Roll out. 

Egg Custard

1 egg
1 egg yoke
50g sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
284ml cream

Mix together eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla extract and then gradually whisk in the cream.


100g plain flour
50g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
40g golden caster sugar

Rub the butter, flour and sugar together in a bowl until all ingredients are mixed together.

Serve with cream or Creme Fraiche 


And the chickens survived the night!
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