Friday, 28 December 2012

Prosciutto, rocket and chestnut mushroom salad

I love Italian food so here's a salad inspired by Italy, we make this mainly when the rocket from the garden is growing like mad, but it can be made anytime of year if you can get hold of some nice fresh peppery rocket.

  • Fresh Rocket, a good handful per portion
  • Chestnut mushrooms - finely sliced
  • Parma Ham or air dried prosciutto
  • Parmesan or Grando Padano - grated finely
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Good quality matured balsamic vinegar
  • Serve on a plate with the rocket in the centre
  • Parma ham around the plate, ripped in to large pieces
  • Scatter the mushrooms randomly across the salad
  • Grate the cheese across the whole dish
  • Sprinkle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Delicious, served with goats cheese bruschetta or plain bruschetta, you'll have amazing depths of flavours.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas Sticky Buns

Now first things first, I can't claim credit for this bake, in the last few months Mr Lancashire Food has been developing his bread baking skills and these yummy festive buns are his first forage into the world of enriched  dough. Based on a chelsea bun recipe with the fruity hit being provided in this case by mincemeat and extra stickiness by spiced sugar butter ( granulated sugar mixed with ground cinnamon and ground allspice). They are delicious.

  • 300g strong white bread flour 
  • 50g light soft brown sugar 
  • 1 egg - free range please
  • 40g melted salted butter (cooled)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 7g dried yeast 
  • Mincemeat - approx 1 large jar 
  • Butter (soft) mixed with spiced sugar
  • Warm water (blood heat) - approx 100-150ml ( all depends on the flour)
  • First mix the flour, sugar, salt, melted butter, and egg in a large bowl, with your hands until it is well mixed.
  • Now mix the dried yeast and approx 100ml of the warm water into your mixture
  • Mix this with your hands until you have a soft sticky dough ( add more water if needed), now knead for about 10 minutes on a floured surface until your dough is soft and elastic.
  • Now leave in a covered bowl to prove and double in size, this may take several hours depending on the temperature of your room
  • One doubled in size , gently stretch out into an approximate square approx 12" by 12"
  • Spread your dough with the mincemeat , make sure you go all the way to the edges
  • Roll up your dough in to a large sausage shape, cut into slices approx 1 1/2" thick
  • Place in a baking tray, choose a container which will fit the slices snuggly. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for another 30 mins
  • Pre heat your oven to 170c 
  • When you are ready to bake your buns dot the top of each buns with the spicy  sugar butter 
  • Bake until well risen and browned , checking your buns are baked through
  • Leave to cool initially in the tin
  • Then cool on a wire tray
Delicious and very very moreish, if you want snow on your buns sprinkle with icing sugar or alternatively drizzle with water icing. You could also play around with the spices you use in the spicy butter too.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Chocolate chestnut brownies

After baking with chestnut in my last clandestine cake club cake post, I had both some puree and whole chestnut leftover. I love chocolate brownies so I thought I would mix the two, the resultant bake is a lovely festive treat and is great with a coffee, not at all nutty more of an aromatically moist crumbly treat enhanced by adding the chestnut.


  • 140g dark chocolate (approx 50% cocoa solids or more)
  • 200g approx chestnut puree ( I blitzed my leftovers)
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 170g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs - free range
  • 100g butter
  • Drop of milk to loosen mix if necessary
  • Preheat your oven to 170c fan / 180c nornal oven, line a deep square or oblong baking tin, approx 20cm square ish
  • Melt chocolate and butter in bowl in the warming oven
  • Mix your eggs and sugar and whisk until ribbony and volume increased
  • Cool slightly your chocolate and butter mix , then mix with your egg mixture and all your other ingredients, adding a little milk if necessary.
  • Pour into the prepared tin
  • Bake for approx 15- 20 minutes until cooked but still slightly moist in the middle
  • Remove from oven and fully cool in the tin
  • Cut in to chunks and dust with icing sugar, if you are feeling very festive you could use gold spray or edible glitter too.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Quick and easy mincemeat christmas cake

Want to have a home baked Christmas cake for your festive celebrations, but you've left it too late !
Over the years I have made various versions of mincemeat cakes when this predicament has occurred in our household, the mincemeat is a quick way to provide the moist fruitiness needed for celebration cakes, this recipe is by far the easiest I have tried. The other thing that is good about this recipe is that it doesn't actually require as long a bake unlike a traditional fruit cake.

I 'll cover decorating later in the post but first lets bake the cake.

  • 1 jar of mincemeat ( ideally homemade or if buying a luxury type) - approx 400g
  • 150g butter - softened
  • 150g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 eggs - free range
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 50g glace cherries (rinsed, dried and chopped)
  • 100g currants or raisins
You will need an approx 8" round deep cake tin, ideally loose bottomed or springform, butter and line with double thickness greaseproof paper.
Preheat the oven to 160c

  • Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl or your food mixer
  • Now add all other ingredients
  • Mix throughly
  • Turn into your prepared tin, level the top
  • Bake for approx 1 1/2 hours , until tested cooked with a skewer, watch the top if browning too quickly cover with foil
  • Allow to cool slightly in tin before removing to wire rack
  • Once cool wrap with greaseproof and store in a cool dry place, until ready to decorate
Quick decoration with marzipan, regal ice and silver balls and star cutters of various sizes, I found some silver ribbon and wrapped it in some cellophane. Very festive if I do say so myself. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

CCC No 11 - 12 Days of Christmas - Mulled wine, pear, chestnut and cinnamon cake with a chocolate chestnut ganache

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me - A Partridge in a Pear Tree !

The Theme for our festive Christmas meeting of South Lancashire Clandestine Cake is the 12 days of Christmas and we are lucky enough to be able to hold our joint festive gathering with Ribble Valley CCC at the lovely Shaw Hill Golf and Country Club.

Our sumptuous venue is probably our most opulent venue so far and we were warmly welcomed for our Christmas themed meeting, cake bakers from across the county ventured out on a cold winters night and brought a delicious range of cakes baked to our theme.

I really struggled with the theme this month but eventually settled on a mulled wine, pear, cinnamon cake with a chocolate chestnut ganache topping, wanting to try something a little different. The recipe is from the Good Food website and can be found here, I just adapted the decoration.

We had cakes for most of the 12 days, quite a few bundt ring cakes, some featuring pear, swans a swimming, geese a laying and milk cakes, as usual our membership rose to the occasion. We were also lucky enough to be entertained by choristers from Blackburn Cathedral who treated us to festive carols, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Massive thanks go to Shaw Hill for such an atmospheric location for our festive event.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Fruity Marzipan loaf cake

I'm not a great fan of the traditional Christmas fruit cake but I do like marzipan , especially when its cooked and when become a lovely morsel of moist intense almond in a bake. This bake makes a lovely light alternative for a traditional cake and its very aromatic whilst baking, you can use any combination of dried fruits the choice is yours. Its also an excellent way to use up the marzipan trimmings from icing your Christmas cake.


  • 250g dried fruits ( sultanas, raisins, cranberries, chopped apricots, currants, glace cherries, even mango pieces)
  • 2 eggs - free range please
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 150g soft butter or quality margarine
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 150ml skimmed milk
  • 100g marzipan - chopped into small pieces
Pre heat your oven to 180C , you will also need a 2lb loaf tin, oiled / buttered and base lined

  • Mix the butter, sugar and flour together in a food processor or stand mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs
  • Now add the eggs, vanilla, milk and mix until you have a loose dough
  • Now pulse in the dried fruit until just mixed
  • Spoon approx 1/2 the mixture in to your prepared tin
  • Add the marzipan in a layer before using the rest of the fruited mixture to top off the loaf
  • Smooth the top 
  • Bake for approx 60- 75 minutes, carefully testing with a skewer to see if baked through, bear in mind the marzipan
  • Allow to initially cool in the tin, then remove and let cool fully on a wire rack.

#BoothsCheers - Beef in port wine

This weeks treats from Booths for their #BoothsCheers campaign include a delightful bottle of port. Also in the box was a letter with a "secret mission" (should I choose to accept it !), to come up with a great comfort food recipe to match one of the wines being provided.

Most people associate port with stilton cheese ( but its not from Lancashire and MR LF doesn't do Blue cheese so that's out) or rich dark fruit cake, yet its quite a versatile ingredient particularly in stews and casseroles producing a deliciously rich sweet edged sauce , its also excellent with or  in a chicken liver pate, with a rich chocolate dessert or even with a good chocolate brownie. As for cheese it works well with most, I particularly like goats cheese.

In this recipe its a great subsitute for a red wine, ale or beef stock, if you think its a bit decadent to use half a bottle of port in a stew, then mix and match depending on how frugal you feel.

  • Beef skirt or beef shin- trimmed and cut into cubes (ask your butcher or Booths stock it if you ask)
  • 1 large onion - chopped fairly finely
  • 2 or 3 carrots - organic if possible as you can taste the different
  • 1/2 bottle port ( or your frugal mixture - see above)
  • Squirt of tomato ketchup
  • 6 mushrooms - sliced
  • Seasoned flour (flour , seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • Oil
  • Preheat oven to 150c
  • Tosh the cubed beef in the seasoned flour
  • Heat a little oil in frying pan or if your lucky like me your cast iron casserole dish
  • Fry off your beef in small quantities until well coloured, remove as cooked to a plate
  • Now fry off your vegetables, soften without colouring
  • Place the beef and vegetables in your casserole dish, add a squirt of tomato ketchup.
  • Pour on your port / stock and put the lid on your dish
  • Place in the oven and bake for about 1 1/2 hours , now add the mushrooms
  • Continue to bake until the vegetables are soft and the beef falls apart and the sauce reduced
  • Serve with mashed potatoes, chunky bread, rice and green vegetables
The port really makes a difference and the gravy was amazing, a delicious comfort food for #BoothsCheers

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

#BoothsCheers !


So very very proud to be asked to take part in the first online and in-store simultaneous beer and wine tasting event for Booths, the wonderful regional supermarket that really knows what it means to keep it local. Its a family firm founded in 1847 with a reputation for quality produce. They have 29 stores throughout the North West, the latest being Milnthorpe in Cumbria.

#BoothsCheers is running for the next 6 weeks up to Christmas and their are some great deals every week on beers and wines to get you in the festive mood, if you are lucky enough to live near a store you can visit and taste that weeks special offers, their will also be recipes and food matching advice being shared both in store and online. Lots of other bloggers are taking part too on instagram and twitter. So its a great excuse to have friends round for a sociable evening.

Well what a great time we had for the first #BoothsCheers event, the two wines that were sent for tasting were delicious, the Isla Negra Sauvignon blanc was crisp fresh and light with a slight hint of grapefruit, ideally for serving with fish. the Isla Negra Merlot was juicy and fruity and very easy drinking and would be ideal with steak and other red meats.The Marstons double drop beer was popular with the chaps and they thought would be great served with traditional party snacks such as sausage rolls. We had a great time swapping menu suggestions on twitter and posting pictures via instagram, we are all looking forward to next week. 

Week 2 we received a red  Emiliana camerenea chilean wine and a Emiliana  White chardonnay , along with a bottle of budvar budweiser. One of guests this week is a wine connisseur and particularly enjoyed the red , whilst his wife liked the chardonnay. The wines were food matched to a spicy chilli for the red and creamy chicken dishes for the white. It was felt the budvar would be a good match to hot dogs or similar . Mr Lancashire Food was also lucky enough to win one of the photographic challenges on the night too, not sure what his prize is though !

Looking forward to week 3 , we were pleased to discover that our wines are a Rose and Sauvingnon Blanc from Brightwater Bay from New Zealand and our selected beer is Cocker Hoop from Jennings. 

Week 3 , we received our lovely wine and beer and were joined by no less than two sets of couple friends, our first tasting was the Sauvingnon Blanc , this was more citrussy than our first bottle of this variety in week 1 with a tropically nose , very drinkable all the same. We then moved onto the Rose at 13% a pretty feisty bottle which we all thought tasted like fruit pastilles and was very quaffable  Our beer from Jennings a Cumbrian Brewery , was a nicely balanced hoppy ale, which we thought would be lovely in onion gravy with toad in the hole.
On the night @synergymono (Mr Lancashire Food's twitter handle) was delighted to  receive a personal message from Booths for his photographs.

Week 4  and we are tasting Saint-Emillion Grand Cru and a Croft 'Indulgence' Port. We have presented with a "secret mission" in our parcel this week and my mission challenger is fellow blogger Northwestnosh , we have to come up with a great comfort food that either features or match to our bottles tonight, check out the associated blog post here for a recipe of what we came up with. This week due to time pressures we are #BoothsCheers on our own, writing christmas cards and have a more relaxing evening than of late.

Week 5 - the penultimate #BoothsCheers party will see a Cote du Rhone and a Pouilly Fume. Lancashire Food was really lucky to have one of our recipes featured as the perfect match to the Cote du Rhone

Our recipe to match our  red this week is by the talented cook. Here's Slow Cooked Brisket 

and all received a lovely christmas message and thank you from the store on instagram.

Next week is the last week :-(, we have a chateau neuf de pap and a chardonnay to look forward to. ever inventive the PR company choose to mix things up by sending out different parcels to the online bloggers, our was a bottle of manzanilla sherry and a jar of ground cloves. That taxed us some what ! but after a bit of a think I cam up with a rabbit basque based on Delia Smiths classic chicken basque, which would use the sherry as part of the stock and a pinch of cloves to spice up the dish. A dry sherry can also be used in a cheese fondue which would be a great party dish. 

BoothsCheers has been a great online and instore event and has really brought peoples attention to Booths , we are so lucky in the north to have a great local supermarket chain, who knows the real meaning of local.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Lancashire Day

To the people of the city and
county palatine of Lancaster


Know ye that this day, November 27th in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve, the 61st year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Duke of Lancaster, is

Lancashire Day

Know ye also, and rejoice, that by virtue of Her Majesty's County Palatine of Lancaster, the citizens of the Hundreds of Lonsdale, North and South of the Sands, Amounderness, Leyland, Blackburn,
Salford and West Derby are forever
entitled to style themselves Lancastrians.

Throughout the County Palatine, from the Furness Fells to the River Mersey, from the Irish Sea to the Pennines, this day shall ever mark the peoples' pleasure in that excellent distinction - true Lancastrians, proud of the Red Rose and loyal to our Sovereign Duke.


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Lamb and Butter bean casserole

The season of stews and casseroles is now well established and more and more I am craving comfort food , you can't beat that smug satisfied feeling of walking through the door after a busy day at work to be greeted by the aroma of a wholesome stew or casserole ready in the slow cooker. Lamb is one of my favourite meats as it reared so well locally , the butter beans are  to provide a lovely nutritious plumper to the casserole.
If you don't have a slow cooker don't despair this casserole also cooks beautifully in the oven too in about 2 1/2 hours, so its just a case of planning ahead a bit.

  • Diced casserole lamb - ask your butcher for whats best value
  • Butter beans - either a drained tin, or  dried and soak your own overnight until plump
  • 1/2 a can or bottle of beer - I used Murphy's stout but  a mild is nice too, or even a local brown ale, just watch the sweetness of the resulting sauce
  • Stock - lamb or vegetable, I used E cuisines - vegetable - 150mls approx
  • 2 sticks of celery - chopped
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Onion - peeled , sliced and roughly chopped
  • Garlic - couple of cloves- crushed
  • Parsley - fresh or dried
  • Thyme - fresh or dried
  • Bay leaf
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sunflower oil
  • Heat a little oil in a large frying pan
  • Fry off the diced lamb until it is well coloured, drain and remove from pan to your waiting slow cooker. If you are using a slow cooker your  ovenproof casserole dish.
  • In the same pan, now add the celery, onion and garlic and cook until softened, again add to your slow cooker or dish.
  • Now de-glaze the pan with your beer, tomatoes and stock , bring this to a gentle simmer and add all the other ingredients to the pan, except for the butter beans.
  • Pour this into your slow cooker or oven proof dish, add the butter beans and stir to mix together.
  • Cook on high in to your slow cooker for approx 6 hours ( could be longer) or if using a conventional oven for approximately 2 1/2 hours on 150C fan
  • Your casserole is ready when the lamb is melting tender and the beans soft and yielding.
  • If using a regular oven you may need to add more stock if the casserole becomes a little dry
  • Serve accompanied by some great bread and green vegetables.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Season of Soups and Stews

The Season of Soups, stews and casseroles is well and truly with us, warming delicious recipes which provide comfort against the weather outside. Lancashire Food is proud to be hosting a great blog link up with Essential Cuisine, the fabulous stock company, to share some of the best soup, stews and casseroles recipes in the world, the only rule being they need to include stock of some type, so if you have a favourite recipe why not share. We have a fabulous prize very kindly donated by Essential cuisine of a mixed selection of their lovely stocks so you can go on creating great comfort food long after you have entered the competition.

Essential cuisine have some great recipes on the website and the definition of whats a stew and whats a casserole just in case you want to know, in fact its packed with loads of great tips and suggested uses. All the stocks are gluten free and are free from nasties and the vegetable stock is even suitable for vegans.
  • Your recipe must contain some form of stock to qualify for entry
  • Ensure that you include in your blog post the lovely badge
  • You must link back to this blog post
  • If you are on twitter please tweet about your entry using the #Soups_&_Stews
  • Please be respectful of copyright and give credit to the original source if you have been inspired by another recipe, you can link up old posts but you must embed the link and use the badge
  • The blog link up will run until the 10th December 2012
  • The winner will be chosen by a representative from Essential Cuisine
To get your creative juices flowing why not have a look at  some of my recipes for soups, stews and casseroles.

Vintage Tea Party Year

The Vintage Tea Party Year

Don't you just love a book that along side recipes has craft and hair styling tips, what ! you never had one that has both ? well you never read one of Angel Adoree's seminal works. I just love this book , as soon as you seen the front cover you know you are handling something special, reminiscent of a fairy story book of your childhood, its enchanting.

This is Angel Adoree's second work and is just wonderful, vintage style and with great ideas on how to make seasonal and family celebrations special. The Vintage Tea Party year covers
  • New Years Eve Tea Party
  • Children Tea Party
  • Coming of Age Tea Party
  • Tea for Two
  • Hen Tea Party
  • Wedding Tea Party
  • Mum To be Tea party
  • Gentleman's Tea party
  • Street Tea Party
  • Picnic Tea Party
  • Guy Fawkes Tea Party
  • Christmas Tea Party
Each section has recipes, invites, thank you notes, decoration tips and funky craft ideas to get the party started. As well as penning cookery book , Angel runs a successful vintage event hosting company, this book is so much more than cook book and would make a great gift for a girl friend who loves all things vintage.

I received my copy of this book from Octopus Publishing free of charge, you can purchase a copy direct from them or alternatively Amazon or any independent bookseller.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Chai Tea bread

I don't know about any body else but when its cold and blustery outside , I like nothing better than hankering down with a cup of tea and a great piece of cake (always homemade), baking that contains warming spices always seems so comforting to me. Chai tea is also very comforting so I decided to merge the two in this cake , I was very pleased with the resultant warmingly spiced tea loaf, deliciously moist and very moreish.

  • 2 cups plain flour - sieved
  • 2 tsp baking powder (level)
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower margarine
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs free range
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/2 cup of chai tea, cooled (I used vanilla chai tea bags by Pukka)
  • 1/3 cup of skimmed milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pre heat your oven to 180c
  • Oil spray your 2lb loaf tin and line lengthwise with a piece of grease proof paper or baking parchment
  • In your mixer, mix all you ingredients until smooth and well incorporated, be careful not to over mix
  • Pour into your prepared tin
  • Bake for approximately 45 -50 minutes, until well risen, golden and tests cooked with a skewer
  • Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from tin and leaving to cool fully on a wire rack .
  • Stores well when wrapped in foil.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Cinnamon apple tray bake

Saturday is often the day is our household when I get round to baking, I always like if it all possible to have some form of cake to hand in case of unexpected visitors but also just to provide the comfortable feeling that if you want something sweet with your cup of tea, you have some lovely homemade cake to hand.

This is such a recipe, not the most glamorous of cakes but that's not what we are talking about here, its about home comforts and this cake fits the bill. An easy tray bake and stores well for a few days in an airtight tin.

  • 1 cup soft butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sugar - caster
  • 2 eggs - free range please
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 apples, chopped and peeled
  • cinnamon sugar for sprinkling ( 1tbsp demarara sugar mixed with 1tsp cinnamon)
  1. Preheat your oven to 180c and oil a large oblong roasting pan.
  2. Combine butter and sugar and mix until creamy, light and fluffy.
  3. Now add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined.
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon (You might want to sieve this in).
  5. Stir in the chopped apples.
  6. Put your batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden and cooked through when tested with a skewer.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Memories of Gascony - Pierre Koffmann

Memories of Gascony  is the life recollections of  Pierre Koffmann, uber chef  who  holds  three michelin stars. Originally published over 10 years ago this new addition by Octopus Books has a lovely vintage feel with parchment style paper, page ribbon and sumptuous food photography.

The book is so much more than your average cookery book, Pierre recalls his childhood experiences in Gascony in South West France where he gained his passion for simple French food,  the book is divided in to the seasons and details the recipes being cooked according to the season and the ever changing landscapes from which the food is produced. 

The Bear (as he is know in the chef world) seems a very humble quiet man and his childhood memories with her Grand parents in rural France evoke simpler times.

Whilst this not being my particular style of cooking I enjoyed the book immensely  given it style and the gentle amble through Pierre's early life and the intense connection he feels with this area of France and its cuisine. I have never eaten in any of his restaurants but understand that after a brief retirement his is back cooking as Head Chef at Koffmanns at the Berkeley Hotel in London, where his pared down simple provincial cooking can be experienced.

Makes a very nice addition to the cookery book collection, I was lucky enough to receive my copy from Octopus Books for review, the book is available direct from them, via Amazon and other normal channels, RRP is £30.

If you would like to win a copy of this book why not take part in my rafflecopter giveaway, unfortunately due to postage costs the book can only be mailed to mainland UK addresses.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

CCC No 10 - Haunted graveyard cake at POND

Finally cake club has managed to make it to POND, we've literally had to compete with hell and high water, but  we finally made it. POND is a fabulous bar/deli/tapas/restaurant/cafe situated just of Winckley Square on Cross St in Preston, run by the very talented Andrea Mellon who has been inspired by her world travels to create a fabulous local food venue, where you can experience their freshly prepared menu in a comfortable setting.

Our theme for this meeting was Dulce oi Truco, (Trick or Treat in Spanish) for Halloween and we warmly welcomed including having complimentary teas, chocolate chilli, jasmine and very berry. Our cakes included a Pumpkin patch cake, Coffin cake, bleeding chocolate raspberry cake, soggy moggy, Pumpkin Cake, Batty Cake, Graveyard cake, Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Beetroot Cake and Spooky spider cake, our membership (old and new) are certainly very talented bakers and decorators.

My cake for this gathering was a Haunted Graveyard cake, based on easy all in one chocolate cake base (Fiona Cairns recipe from The Birthday Cake book) and then decorated to the theme. I just coated the cake with chocolate buttercream, surrounded with unevenly cut chocolate sticks, I then embedded so square tombstone biscuits piped with black and red icing in the cake and pile crumbled chocolate biscuit crumbs as soil and mixed with skull and bone sweeties and little jelly ghosts strategically placed , this was then surrounded by some little glowing pumpkin lights I picked up from the pound shop. Hope you like it.

POND is a great location and a few of the members stayed on after the meeting to enjoy a fabulous selection of tapas from the menu, we can also recommend the teas , coffees and other refreshments too. Please pay this great local venue a visit if you are in Preston city centre, a warm friendly welcome awaits you.

DUK and Pond

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Apple Butter - windfalls for the store cupboard

In the garden the apple season is in full swing, our trees are old and knarled and are the remnants of a much larger orchard for a nearby ancient farmhouse. All the gardens in the local areas have fruit trees, mainly apple or perry pear, but the fields just down the lane also have crab apples and damsons as well.
Given that this year has been the wettest on record (interesting term that as records have only been kept for a few hundred years, I digress) the fruit harvest is very variable and many trees haven't fruited well , that combined with the trees being old, codling moth and fungal diseases means that the fruit is mostly ignored locally.

I like to embrace this harvest and every year when we have fruit in the garden, we make cider (variable quality), chutney, sauce, apple butter and freeze large quantities for pies and crumbles in the winter. We are also lucky that the fallen fruit particularly in cold winters attracts flocks of redwings and fieldfares into the garden to feast on the slowly rotting piles of apples and pears.

This apple butter recipe is based on a Women's Institute recipe and one from River Cottage preserves, its a easy preserve to make and is delicious on toasted crumpets or as a filling for cakes. The proportion of sugar is lower than a jam so its keeping qualities aren't quite as good as jam and it must be stored in a cool place and eaten promptly once opened. Its smells heavenly when cooking as the spices give it a deliciously aromatic scent, which when combined the cider notes is wonderful.

  • About 1.5kg apples, cut up into chunks , only discard really manky bits !
  • Sugar - Granulated about 800g
  • 600ml Cider ( local if you can get it )
  • 600ml Water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves ( you can use other spices it up to you)
  • Lots of recycled jars - sterilised (small one's are better so you can eat it all quickly once open)
  • Place your cut up apples, cider and water in a very large pan
  • Bring to boil and simmer until all the fruit is soft and pulpy
  • Pass through a mouli or rub through a sieve to remove the cores, pips and skins
  • Add the strained pulp back to your cleaned pan, adding approx 350g sugar for each 600ml of pulp
  • Add the spices (whichever you are using)
  • Stir and heat slowly to dissolve the sugar
  • Once the sugar has dissolved bring to a good rolling boil until the mixture is reduced and spluttering and creamy in texture
  • Pot immediately into your warmed sterilised jars
  • Cool and then store in cool location until use
National Apple Day was started by Common Ground

Apple Day

 This is also an entry for A little bit of Heaven on a plates Homemade and Well Preserved challenge 

STOP PRESS - I won best in show, amazed and such a lovely lovely prize a signed preserves book from Vivien Lloyd expert chutney and preserves maker and also a WI Judge

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...