Showing posts from October, 2012

Curried Apple Soup and the Disappearing Tam

The other day, I happened to find a bag of apples being sold cheaply at the local supermarket and, for some reason, this soup was the first thing that came into my head. Strange, since I've not really thought about it for around 35 years. Spiced apple soups have been around in English cooking for centuries but this particular version is a very 1970s dish. At that time curried soups seemed to be everywhere, at least in England. It was the 1970s when Jane Grigson launched the great classic that is curried parsnip soup on the unsuspecting world. Some of these soups were even served chilled, which was sort of cutting edge at the time. This is a recreation of one of those soups, although admittedly not a truly faithful reproduction. I'm sure that in the 1970s there would have been a lot more butter and there would certainly have been cream and not yogurt. I thought about specifying the exact mixture of spices to use, but this was the 1970s and using anything other than curry po


I frequently overlook anniversaries and significant dates but for some reason I have noticed that this blog’s been wandering along with a puzzled expression on its face for three years now. I recently looked back at the first ever post, which was inspired by a visit to Collioure, and it made me nostalgic for anchovies, blue seas, sweet wines and biscuits. There’s a fine selection of biscuits available in Collioure. Le Croquant à l'Ancienne , a delicious, crisp almond biscuit, is the true local speciality, but the rousquille was my personal favourite. It’s a Catalan treat that can take a number of forms. The biscuits can vary in size, some don’t have the hole in the middle and some are traditionally made using hard-boiled eggs in the mixture. My version is closer to the one that I enjoyed on the sea front at Collioure but I admit to tweaking the flavours for my personal taste. Many versions have stronger flavours in the biscuit and less lemon in the icing.  This little biscuit can

Lincolnshire Plum Bread – A Random Recipe

For this month’s Random Recipe Challenge Dom of Belleau Kitchen has asked us to delve into the store cupboard and find an ingredient that we've so thoughtlessly neglected and then select a recipe that finally gets round to using it. Well, I chose my worst kept shelf. It’s the shelf where I pile up general cake-related stuff – dried fruits, sugar strands, stem ginger and that sort of thing. So without looking, I reached to the back of the shelf and pulled out a large pack of Agen prunes. Now, I like prunes and I use them in a number of recipes but this was clearly an accidental over purchase and now was the perfect time to put them to good use. Locating recipes containing prunes proved surprisingly difficult. I decided to try the pile of books that I've bought in the last year from charity shops. Roughly 23 books later I came to ‘The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour Of Britain’ and in it was ‘Lincolnshire Plum Bread’. Since Dom is the master and commander of this challenge I felt a b

Damson and Sloe Vinegar

This is another quick autumnal idea. I've wittered on about flavoured and fruit vinegars before but they’re such useful things to have around, especially in the dark, dull days of winter, that I wanted to mention this particularly pleasing one made with damsons and sloes. The method is much the same as for any fruit vinegar and can be scaled up or down for the amount of fruit you happen to have. This vinegar can be made with all damsons but the sloes add an extra sharpness that works very well. I reckon that two-thirds damsons to one-third sloes is ideal. This is a traditional British style of sweetened fruit vinegar and it's probably better to treat it like a flavouring syrup rather than a conventional vinegar. It can be used in dressings, is particularly good in marinades and is excellent when added to slow cooked dishes such as braised red cabbage and winter casseroles, especially those made with game. I tend to make fruit vinegars in small batches and use them up fairly