Showing posts from November, 2009

Cornbread Muffins

I’ve tried various different ways of cooking cornbread but I tend to come back repeatedly to this recipe which is a bit of a hybrid from a number of the other recipes I’ve tried. These muffins are quick to make and go well with a chilli or any spicy casserole. They also freeze well. This recipe makes 6 biggish muffins. 125 g self-raising flour 125 g fine cornmeal 1 tbsp baking powder ½ tsp salt A few twists of black pepper 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (or more if you feel inclined) ½ tsp dried thyme 1 egg, lightly beaten 2 tbsp olive oil 225 ml buttermilk Preheat the oven to 210°C (for a fan oven, a little hotter otherwise). Unless you’re using a silicone mould, you’ll need to grease the muffin tins. Sift the flour, cornmeal and baking powder into a bowl and mix in the salt, pepper, chilli flakes and thyme. Make sure all the dry ingredients are nicely mixed up and make a well in the centre. Mix together the egg, oil and buttermilk, pour the mixture into the well in th

Fruity Pork Cottage Pie

Autumn’s definitely here and the darker evenings call for comfort food. Cottage pie is definitely comforting. Since I didn’t have any leftover meat to make it with, I decided to try some pork mince rather than the usual beef or lamb. (Despite using pork I can’t quite bring myself to call it a Swineherd’s pie.) Fruity, sour flavours often go well with pork so I decided to throw in some sour stuff and balance it with some sweet bits. This is a bit over the top, maybe, but if the balance of sweet and sour is right, then it makes a refreshing alternative to the usual taste of a cottage. For the “filling”: 2 small or 1 large carrot, finely chopped 1 onion, finely chopped 500 g pork mince 5 or 6 mushrooms – common button ones will do – chopped coarsely 1 apple, cut into big chunks Skin of ½ preserved lemon, finely chopped ½ tsp dried chilli flakes 2 tsp cumin 2 tsp sumac 1 tsp ground dried lime 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses 2 tbsp honey 1 tbsp lemon juice 2 tbsp tomato purée

Thyme Sorbet

Thyme sorbet has become a bit of a cheffy cliché in the recent past but I still wanted to see what it was like to make. Most recipes that I've seen follow a pretty straightforward sorbet formula, often with lemon, which is additionally infused with thyme. There's nothing at all wrong with that but I'd seen a sorbet with a milky quality in France and I thought I'd try adding milk to this sorbet before the thyme in the garden becomes too ravaged by the winter. This recipe only makes a small amount, but I think this works best in small amounts as an accent to other flavours – it worked well alongside a dessert made with blackberries, for instance. I used a mix of lemon and ordinary thyme in this recipe but I think it works with either 5 sprigs of thyme Zest of 1 lemon 300 ml full cream milk 300 ml water 200 g caster sugar Bring the milk, water and sugar to the boil, stirring now and then to make sure that the sugar has completely dissolved. As soon as it reaches b

The Unaccustomed Parsnip Soup

The supermarket had cheap parsnips yesterday, which seemed like a good opportunity for more soup making. More often than not I’ll make the old standby of a curried or spicy parsnip soup, but today I thought I’d make use of the sweet potatoes I had lying around and the stray Bramley apple in the fruit bowl. I use marsala in this recipe because I think it complements the taste of root veg and squashes really well – I use it quite a lot during the winter, but you could use sherry or leave it out altogether, though that would be a shame, I think. The recipe will make around 5 portions of reasonably thick soup that will be just right on cold and dreary day – like today, funnily enough. Like a lot of the soups I make this is virtuously low in fat. Parsnip Sweet Potato & Apple Soup 1 onion, finely chopped 1 teaspoon fresh ginger 3 cloves garlic, crushed Small glass of marsala A generous pinch of crushed, dried chilli 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar 375 g parsnips (prepared weight

Dear Old Red Cabbage

Braised red cabbage is a pretty standard recipe and I don’t do much that’s really different. There are one or two small tweaks that mean it’s just the way I like it, though. The idea of using the two different apples is that the Bramley will add the tartness but will break down, while the eating apple adds a sweeter, more obviously appley taste and may retain some texture. The blackberry vinegar will heighten the colour and give extra depth to the flavour but is generally sweeter than most vinegars, which is partly why I add the lemon at the end. This dish has the major advantage that it can be made well in advance (even the day before), chilled and reheated. It also freezes pretty well. If you do happen to have any cold red cabbage left over then try thinning it with a little more lemon juice, vinegar or just some water and then purée until at least reasonably smooth. It makes a very good relish for cold meats. This recipe will serve 4. Braised Red Cabbage with Lemon 1 medi

The Accustomed Carrot Soup

My regular carrot soup started out as a pretty standard potage de Crécy, or at least what I thought was a potage de Crécy. I quickly found myself changing it to add other bits and pieces and to make it as low fat as I could. I don’t really like being too fussy over this soup and I’ll change proportions and some of the flavourings now and then, but this is as close to a standard as I get for a satisfying lunch on a cold day. This recipe makes 4 to 5 portions depending on how thick you like it and how much wastage you get with your carrots. I sometimes make a fair bit extra and load the freezer. 600 g carrots, unprepared weight 2 small onions, finely chopped 2 litres vegetable stock – you could make your own, of course, but a stock from Marigold vegetable bouillon will do fine. You could also use chicken stock. 1 rounded teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme 3 tablespoons basmati or long grain rice 2 tablespoons orange juice 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (it