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Showing posts from January, 2010

Parsnip Soup with Lime

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I seem to use parsnips a lot for soups during the winter – their sweetness seems very comforting. This is a really easy soup, the only trick is to use the right amount of lime to get the balance of sweet and sour just the way you like it.

Makes around 3 portions
2 rashers bacon, chopped 1 small onion, very finely chopped 1 tsp fresh ginger, very finely chopped or grated 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tbsp dark brown soft sugar Generous pinch of dried chilli flakes ½ glass marsala 200 g parsnips, prepared weight, i.e. peeled, any woody bits from the core removed and cut into chunks 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into small chunks 900 ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 tsp maple syrup
3 or 4 tsp lime juice

Fry the bacon briefly with a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan until some of the bacon fat is released and it starts to take on a little colour. Remove the bacon and set aside but leave the fat in the pan.

Add the onion to the pan, with an extra splash of oil if necessary, and fry gently…

Lamb Tagine - Sort Of

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The January In The Bag challenge on A Slice of Cherry Pie reminded me of this dish since it just happens to contain all the ingredients in the bag – lemons, garlic and sesame seeds. I haven’t made this for quite a while - I think I might have bored everyone by making it too often a few years ago. Anyway, I dug out my scruffy notes from back then and I’ve decided that I still like the dish.

The theme of the challenge was actually “Detox January” and I’m not so sure that this recipe is detoxing, but it is comforting on these cold January nights.

I normally serve this with couscous (possibly flavoured with lemon or with some roast veg added) but it’s also good wrapped up in flat breads and served with a side salad.

Serves 2

350 g boneless shoulder of lamb, cubed
2 tbsp sunflower or other neutral-flavoured oil
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
6 (or 8 if small) dried apricots, …

Squash, Sweet Potato & Apple Soup

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This makes around 7 or 8 portions, depending on the size of the veg you use.

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (or crushed if you can’t be bothered)
2 litres chicken or vegetable stock (or a combination of both)
3 small or 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium-sized Bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
A few small leaves of sage, chopped
¼ tsp 5 spice powder
Generous pinch or two chilli flakes
Generous squeeze or two of lemon

In an oven tray coat the butternut squash pieces lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the squash until it’s fairly soft but not too charred at the edges – around 30 minutes at 180°C should be about right.

In a large frying pan soften the onion with a small amount of oil, adding water to keep it from burning (and to keep the fat down). Add the garlic and soften briefly.

Pour in 1½ litres of the stock, add the sweet potatoes and…

Comforting Bobotie

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There are plenty of different bobotie recipes around but here’s another one anyway. I prefer it lightly spiced with a fruity taste and a very eggy topping. Definitely comfort food for these cold, dark days.



1 onion, finely chopped
1 medium-sized carrot, very finely chopped
1 apple, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500 g lean beef mince
90 g breadcrumbs – around 2 slices processed
100 g dried apricots, chopped
30 g sultanas
30 g toasted flaked almonds
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp demerara sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp mango chutney
2 tbsp lemon juice
For the topping:
         3 eggs
         150 ml milk

Preheat the oven to 190°C (for a fan oven- a little hotter otherwise). In a large frying pan, fry the onion and carrot in a little oil until it has started to soften (add water rather than too much oil if you’re trying to be healthy).

Add the apple and garlic and continue frying for a couple of minutes. Add the mince and continue frying for a …

Pain d’Épices

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I really like pain d’épices, especially for breakfast, but there are huge variations in the texture and taste depending on where you buy it or whose recipe you follow. I like it soft inside, very full of honey and not heavily spiced. I've tried different techniques, flour combinations and flavourings and I've now arrived at this hybrid recipe that finally produces the kind of result that I've been looking for. With all that  honey in the cake it should keep well but so far it's been eaten too quickly to confirm that.

Incidentally, my favourite commercially produced pain d’épices was sold by the apiculteur Marc Fourneaux in Dieppe market on Saturday mornings, and hopefully still is – though I haven’t been back there for a while.

200 g ‘00’ flour
50 g wholegrain rye flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
100 ml milk
350 ml runny honey (this is actually a little more than one of most of the standard jars in the supermarket)
40 g dark brown soft sugar
80 g butte…

Slow Cooker Venison

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I really like slow cookers - in fact I've got two of them (it's a long story). But I’ve found that you can’t simply take a standard casserole recipe, shove it in a slow cooker and expect perfect results. They do need a little tweaking at the very least. But they do work really well for some types of casserole and I think game is one of the best meats for a slow cooker.

500 g cubed venison
1 red onion, quite finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into fairly small chunks
150 ml chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
1½ tbsp redcurrant or rowan jelly or cranberry sauce
A squeeze or two of lemon juice

For the marinade:
A few pieces of orange peel (from about ⅓ of an orange at most)
½ tsp dried thyme
4 tbsp genièvre (or gin, but I just happen to have some genièvre)
2 tbsp blackberry vinegar
Dash of Worcester sauce
200 ml red wine

 Put all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the carrots, onion and venison. Mix well, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

The next day, p…