Thursday, October 31, 2013


The classic English fried rice dish. This works well with pretty much any kind of smoked fish - kippers, yellow fish (smoked haddock), smoked mackerel, or even smoked salmon.

It is as good cold the next day as it is served warm from the pan, so I usually make a big batch and pack half as the main part of a bento style lunch

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spicy Red Tomato, Pepper and Squash Chutney

The last of the tomato and pepper plants in the greenhouse are fading now that the days are getting shorter. So we've picked what was left, ripe or no.

Time for another batch of chutney.

I've been looking at recipes for indian tomato pickles, and so whilst this recipe is based on the Red Tomato Chutney from Home Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables, I have completely changed the spices used, and substituted peppers and squash for some of the tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tomato, Garlic and Herb Bread

To go with the soup made from yesterday's stock, some savoury herbed bread.

Several years ago I bought my parents a bread machine for Xmas, and it was my Dad who took up the making of bread. The idea of adding fresh garlic to the dough is his.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Chicken Stock in the Pressure Cooker

After the Sunday roast chicken has been eaten, and the last of the meat has been pulled from the bones and lies boxed in the fridge, there is still one last meal to be squeezed from the carcass. It is time to make stock for soup.

Into the pressure cooker goes all that remains: skin, bones and cartilage. Add a quartered onion and a sliced carrot. A couple of stalks and seedy parts from green peppers. Four peppercorns, a good pinch of celery seed, a bay leaf or two.

Now pour in a couple of litres of water - enough to cover it all. Bring to the boil. Close the lid and bring up to high pressure. Let it hiss to itself over a low flame for an hour or so to leach the gelatinous proteins and minerals from the bones, to melt away the cartilaginous joint capsules into the water, to extract all the flavour possible from the last of the chicken.

When the hour is up, turn off the heat and let it stand and cool. When the pressure has released, strain through a sieve into a large bowl. Discard the solid remains, and put your stock into the fridge to chill. By the morning it will have jelled, ready to be made into soup.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Roast Potatoes

By special request of my daughter, so she can look up how to cook roast potatoes when she's older.
Here is my method for super-crunchy roast potatoes.


It's a Sunday evening, and so there is a chicken roasting in the oven.

Now, to many people, roast chicken demands sage and onion stuffing. But not me. My Aberdonian ancestry means that roast chicken demands skirlie.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Plum and Almond Tart

This gorgeous tart of lightly-cooked fruit embedded in a gooey almond sponge looks and tastes impressive, but is actually pretty quick and easy.

It's good when served warm from the oven as a dessert with cream or icecream, or when served cold to accompany a mug of coffee or tea.

Instead of plums, try apricots or ripe dessert pears instead.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Empty Jar Generating Lemon Loaf Cake

If you have been making much in the way of homemade jam or pickles, you may well have hit the point where you have things you could jam or pickle, but a shortage of jars.

Once you have already hit on all your neighbours, co-workers, friends and family for their empty jars, then there are places that will happily sell you empty jamjars and lids - prices vary from over a quid each (!) down to about 37p if you are prepared to buy by the hundred.

Alternatively, you can wander into any branch of Tesco/Sainsburys/Asda and pick up jam jars with lids for a mere 22p or so each. The catch is that they come filled with a free helping of cheap lemon curd, which you will need to empty out first.

Just scooping it out and throwing it away just seems like ... an unnecessary waste. So some way of using up lots of lemon curd is needed.

Lemon Curd wine would seem a little ill-advised due to the egg content (though at least one person seems to have tried to do that).

And then I found this recipe for a Lemon Loaf Cake on a forum post.

Using up lemon curd at the rate of 1 jarful per loaf, this quick to mix loaf cake is perfect for when you need a few more empty jars in a hurry. The cake freezes well, perfect for later use as trifle sponge, or just to have a cake in the freezer for emergencies.

  • 100g softened butter
  • 75g sugar
  • 175g Plain Flour
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 jar of cheap lemon curd
Grease a 2lb loaf tin and line with a strip of greaseproof paper.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Measure all ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together with an electric whisk until it forms a light and fluffy cake batter.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin, smooth out the top, and bake for 40-45 minutes until the loaf is golden on top and a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for a minute before turning out onto a wire rack and peeling off the paper. Let cool completely before slicing.


I have also tried making this as a lemon and ginger cake, adding 2 tsp ginger and 1tsp cinnamon to the mixture.

Update 2:

Replacing the jar of lemon curd with a jar of value marmalade, and replacing a couple of tbsp of flour with cocoa powder makes a decent chocolate orange loaf.

Update 3:

Though not quite in the original spirit of emptying a jar of cheap jam... I found Korean Honey Ginger Tea in the local Chinese Supermarket - it consists of finely grated candied root ginger in a sugar/honey syrup flavoured with cinnamon and yet more ginger. Substituting 450g for the jar of lemon curd yields a deliciously moist and fierily gingery cake!