Saturday, 29 August 2015

Blackberry and apple geranium swirl

My lovely blogging friends, Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Janice who blogs at Farmers Girl Kitchen are currently running a campaign to encourage us all to enjoy seasonal blackberries and have created #GBBR or Great British Blackberry Recipe Round Up. So I'll be linking up this post to there linky.

                                                    The Great British Blackberry Recipe Round-Up

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you will have no doubt noticed that along with courgette, blackberry recipes are quite common. I regularly post blackberry recipes as we have a large plant of the thornless variety "Loch Ness" in the garden, its a fabulous reliable variety and routinely spurs new plants, the plant I am currently picking from is a spur of a spur of a spur we moved from our previous home. The plant crops very well most years and produces large juicy berries so beloved for inclusion in jam, preserve and crumble recipes.

This recipe came about as I wanted to utilise the beautiful subtle flavour of a new scented leaved pelagonium for this year, "apple scented" and what better combination than apples and blackberries. I was aiming for a fool but decided to substitute the cream for yogurt instead to lighten the dish.

I have also been experimenting with my new camera too, not that I am trying to surpass Mr LF but just handy for when I am in the kitchen or he's not available. So far I am pretty pleased with the results. Anyway on to the easy recipe.

What you need

  • 1 cup of blackberries (retain a few whole ones for decoration)
  • A few Apple pelagonium (geranium) leaves (optional, still tastes great without them)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (0% fat works well)
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • Qty of dinky glass pots or dishes to serve 

What you do
  • Whiz up the blackberries, sugar and pelagonium leaves in the food processor until you have a puree
  • Sieve the puree to remove the seeds,leaves and stalks.
  • In another bowl mix the vanilla, yogurt and creme fraiche to combine
  • Simply place alternate layers of the yogurt and puree into your glass pots and swirl using a cocktail stick
  • Chill a little before serving

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Chicken, potato and chorizo bake

Are you in need of a quick and easy supper dish, that's healthy and tasty and with hardly any washing up too !  Well this is the dish for you, a one pot dish that uses one of my favourite cuts of chicken, thighs juicy and extra tasty they are also a great economy cut too, providing plenty of flavour and flesh for your buck.

To enhance the dish I used fresh oregano from the herb garden including the flowers so beloved of the bees at the moment. Did I tell we now host a hive in the garden so I am much more aware of what flowers they enjoy and oregano is a firm favourite, along with cat mint and thyme.

What you need
  • Chicken thigh - skin on and bone still in
  • Chorizo - approx 1/2 a loop, chopped into chunks
  • 1 red pepper - seeds removed and chunkly chopped
  • 1 red onion - peeled and chunky chopped
  • Couple of large handful - washed baby potatoes, chopped in half or quatered if large
  • Small bunch of fresh oregano
  • Extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil - about 1 tbsp
  • Large metal baking tray
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
What you do

  • Pre heat the oven to 220c / 180c fan
  • Place all the ingredients in a large metal baking tray
  • Toss so all ingredients have a very light coating of oil

Bake for approx 30 minutes baste with some of the delicious juices, bake for another 30  minutes or so until golden.

  • Remove and serve with a freshly dressed green salad and a glass of something chilled.

We are linking up to recipe of the week over on A Mummy Too

                                            Link up your recipe of the week

And to Cooking with Herbs over on Lavender and lovage - who's theme this month is Summer Herb


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Chocolate and Pear Torte - Gluten free and so very tasty

The other weekend as per usual I was clearing out the fruit bowl as I was drawing up my shopping list of what I wanted to purchase for the week ahead. Just a couple of of pears remained still juicy but on the overripe side, my mind flashed back to a wonderful chocolate and pear tart I had eaten several years ago in an amazing trattoria in Tuscany, Italy. It was the sort of place were there was no menu and the choices were what was fresh from the market or the oven.

This torte is inspired by that tart, this one gluten free and a torte not a tart but equally beautiful and also doing a great job using up pears.

Its a simple recipe and is actually diary free if you use vegetable margarine as the chocolate flavour is coming from cocoa not chocolate.

Ideally you need a 23cm loose bottomed cake tin so you can remove the cake easily from its tin.

What you need
  • 150g plain flour gluten free 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150g soft butter or vegetable margarine (I like the Pure range)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 2 eggs - free range
  • 50g Cocoa - I like Green and Blacks Organic
  • 2 tsp Choco inglese essence (optional)
  • 2 Conference pears - peeled, cored and quartered
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Oil spray
What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 180c
  • Prepare your pears and toss them in the juice of the lemon to prevent them from going brown
  •  Prepare your tin, base line and oil spray so you are ready for the cake mix
  • In a large mixing bowl or ideally a stand mixer, combine all the other ingredients until you have a smooth mixture
  • Turn the mixture into the tin, smooth the top and then artistically place the pear quarters on the top, just slightly pressing them into the mixture
  • Place in the oven and bake for approx 45 - 60 minutes until the torte tests cooked with a cocktail stick.
  • Allow to fully cool in the tin and then remove. Serve as it is or with creme fraiche, cream or Greek yogurt.

The cake will store for a couple of days in a cool place covered with clingfilm or in a cake dome. A very satisfying bake and one that disappeared very quickly.

We are linking this post to Bake of the Week created by Casa Costello and hosted this month over at Jen's Food.

Casa Costello

Credit crunch munch as it uses some past their best pears, created by Camilla from Fab Food 4 All and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours   and hosted this month by Food Glorious Food

No waste food challenge over on Elizabeth's Kitchen


We Should Cocoa - who's theme this month is anything goes created and hosted this month on Tin and Thyme

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Chickpea and lentil and spinach cheats curry

Chickpeas are a great standby staple and the other day I had a craving for a warming curry, weird I know considering its August in the UK, but the summer weather this year has been really disappointing and even quite cool on a couple of occasions. So I turned to my trusty store cupboard to provide a healthy vegan curry for our supper.

Raiding the cupboards and freezer, I came up with this wholesome tasty recipe which used tinned chickpeas, dried red lentils and some leftover frozen homegrown tomatoes from last year and a couple of chunks of frozen spinach leaves I had forgotten were in the freezer.

The recipe made plenty so had ample to freeze or to take to work in a container for lunch the next day and as you in control of the spice level you can make this curry as hot and steamy as you wish.

The other bonus is as you are using canned chickpeas you can also make this fabulous chocolate mousse for dessert using the retained canning juice.

What you need
  • 1 tin of chickpeas - drained but remember to retain the canning liquid for other recipes.
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes or the equivalent in canned or frozen tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup (organic or homemade is best)
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney (optional)
  • 2 - 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp garam marsala
  • 3 blocks frozen spinach
  • 1 large white onion chopped finely
  • Coconut oil or vegetable oil 
  • 3 - 4 tbsp red lentils
  • Vegetable stock
  • Freshly ground pepper - to taste

What you do

  • Heat the coconut or vegetable oil in your pan
  • Add the onion and fry gently until starting to soften but not colour
  • Reduce the heat slightly and add the spices and cook for a few minutes moving about so they don't burn.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, using enough vegetable stock to cover the legumes and frozen vegetables.
  • Now bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the frozen vegetable are cooked and the lentils are almost undetectable. Stirring occasionally, this took about 20 minutes for me.
  • Season with freshly ground pepper increasing the spices if so required.
  • Serve with roti or boiled basmati rice
  • If you have any fresh coriander then this would be a good garnish
The dish froze beautifully and also benefits from cooling and reheating another day so that the flavours are more well rounded.

This post is being linked up to MLLA (My Legume Love Affair) created by The Well Seasoned Cook and Food and Spice and hosted this month on Allotment 2 Kitchen.

And also to Recipe of the Week over on at A Mummy Too

Link up your recipe of the week

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Greek Orzo salad

The first time I ate Orzo (or the Greek equivalent (krithar├íki)) was over 20 years ago on a very hot day in Delphi in Greece, home of the legendary of oracle in a stunningly situated taverna overlooking the gorge.  So that's how an orzo based Greek salad came about plus we have a couple of cucumber plants which are producing legendary quantities of fruit, so a Greek influenced pasta salad it had to be.

Delphi was the one place in Greece I would like to return to as it situated in the mountains, so its a little cooler than the plains and there was history at every turn, plus the views were amazing. Our hotel simply furnished overlooking that impressive gorge,I can't for the life of me what it was called but its probably still there as its that sort of place.

On to our delightfully simple recipe, which makes an ideal accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish or as part of a mezze or salad selection for a barbecue or party

What you need
  • Roughly 1 dessert bowl - Orzo pasta - cooked and cooled by rinsing in cold water 
  • 1 Red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 whole Cucumber -peeled and chopped in to small chunks
  • Tomatoes - chopped into small chunks or cherry halved
  • Feta cheese - crumbled
  • Bunch of fresh basil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Mustard - I used Dijon
What you do
  • Cook the orzo pasta according to the instructions on the packet, once cooked rinse under the cold tap to cool rapidly.
  • Place in a large bowl with the chopped onion, cucumber and tomato
  • Crumble the feta cheese over the top and tear the basil leaves also on the top
  • Quickly mix the olive oil, lemon juice,  honey and mustard in a separate bowl to form a dressing, my tool of preference is a small whisk, season with some freshly ground pepper
  • Pour on to the contents of the large bowl and toss to ensure everything gets coated with dressing
  • Ta dah ! your salad is ready. Chill if you like and it keeps for a couple of days in the fridge.

We are linking up this post to Recipe of the Week over on A Mummy Too

                                                               Link up your recipe of the week

And Simple and In Season over on RenBehan, a linky for seasonal food

And we will also be linking up to a few other challenges later in the month once the linky's are live

No Croutons Required hosted by Tinned Tomatoes


Meat Free Mondays over on Tinned Tomatoes


And also to Pasta Please created by Tinned Tomatoes and hosted this month by A Mummy too


Saturday, 1 August 2015

Russell Lambert of M and O Fish, Darwen and Chorley Markets

This month's foodie is Russell from M and O Fish who have a stall on Darwen market and also on Chorley Market on Tuesday, they have also set up a website and trade with the public and supply fresh fish to many pubs and restaurants in the area. 

M & O Fish is a family run business.Russell has worked as a fishmonger for over 20 years over a variety of markets over the North West.

A question which we are asked by many is why are we called M & O Fish?
The business is named after our two daughters Megan and Olivia.

We sell a large selection of fresh fish and seafood.We also stock Game when in season and offer a local delivery service and also offer UK courier delivery service.

What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication?
I don't use cookbook's. I use my own inspiration or my wife's with fresh food and
fresh ingredients.

What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you?
Showcasing great local traders as businesses.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be?
I left school two weeks early to work on Blackburn fish market and I can't see myself changing my job from a fishmonger. I wake up everyday and I am glad to go to work,Not a job for many but I enjoy it. I get a real kick that our customers are happy with our quality.

Which piece of kit could you not do without?
Knifes and Pin-boners.

Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
Have to say local chefs as they don't get enough recognition.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Run a business as its your own, as it maybe one day.

Describe your style in three words
Hard-working, determined and imaginative.

What was your latest foodie gadget purchase?
Have to say our vac - packer at work and home.

What is the worst mistake you have made?
Not setting up for myself sooner and being self-employed.

Tell us a secret about yourself? May be something we wouldn’t expect!
I have never been fishing in my life.

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