Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Beetroot Butter Pie

In one of my very early blog posts, I have a recipe for a traditional Lancashire Delicacy, this site is called Lancashire Food after all. I am talking about "Butter Pie" my most popular post by far, so in honour of the #thinkyouknowbeetroot challenge I have decided to "pimp" this most traditional of dishes. Beetroot is a traditional accompaniment to most meals which contain potato in Lancashire and is often served along side meat and potato pies and most famously with Lancashire Hotpot. The pie is a hearty meal which needs nothing with it other than maybe a cup of tea. I used Simon Hopkinson's "The Good Cook" pastry recipe from his Mum's Lancashire Cheese and onion pie as my base and went from there.

For the Pastry
  • 60g Lard
  • 60g Butter
  • 200g Self raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water
  • Egg Wash
For the Pie filling
  • 4 large potatoes peeled, cut into round approx thickness of a pound coin
  • 1 large onion
  • salt & pepper
  • Butter ( it does contain butter!)
  • 2-3 lightly pickled beetroot, cut to the same thickness as the potatoes
You will need an enamel pie dish, its not a proper pie unless cooked an enamel tin !

Rub in your flour & salt with your fats until breadcrumb like or use a food processor like me. Slowly add the water, mixing until a soft dough is formed, pull the pastry all together to form a ball and allow to rest in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, before rolling out to line your tin and to make a lid large enough to cover your pie.

Whilst the pastry is resting, parboil your potatoes and onion until soft, drain the onion and potato and place in the pastry case ensuring that you do this in two layers, inserting the beetroot in the middle, dot each layer with flakes of butter and season with salt and pepper. Once you have filled your pie then top with your pastry lid and crimp the sides, make a 2 small slits in the top ( 2 slits is traditional in my family) to allow steam to escape. Wash the top with egg and then bake in a preheated oven at 180c for approx 30 minutes, until golden and smelling delicious. Serve immediately.

This recipe is dedicated to all Lancashire expats where ever they may be in the world, a taste of home !

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Apple and sloe vodka mincemeat

I have never made mincemeat before but inspired by Holly's Blog  , one of the finalist's in the year's Great British Bake Off, I thought I would have a go. Especially as I am still trying to use up the glut of apples from the Garden. The recipe is surprisingly easy and the results look and smell like the luxury mincemeat you can buy commercially ( haven't tasted it yet as you need to leave it for at least a couple of weeks to mature), I also took the opportunity of using some of my store of sloe vodka as the preserving alcohol. This is my second contribution to the  #homemadeandwellpreserved campaign. Check out Sue's blog for further yummy recipes Not just any old food blog or via twitter @TwitTottee using the hash tag.

  • Apple - grated equivalent quantity of 1 large cooking apple (peeled and cored)
  • 600g mixed dried fruit ( use whatever you like sultanas,raisins, currants, glace cherries)
  • 300g suet 
  • 250g dark muscovado sugar
  • 85g mixed chopped peel
  • Good pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Good pinch of mixed spice
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon ( unwaxed)
  • 100ml of alcohol ( whisky, vodka, gin, brandy, port, etc) whatever you like
  • Fresh bay leaves

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, leave for flavours to mingle for approximately an hour. Pack the mincemeat into sterilised jars ( the jars must be cooled otherwise the suet will melt) and seal. Leave for at least two weeks before use, ideally keep until Christmas and use to fill homemade mince pies. Could also make a great gift.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Sweetfire beetroot, goat cheese and rocket salad

As one of the lucky bloggers taking part in the #thinkyouknowbeetroot campaign from lovebeetroot  here is the first recipe using one of the samples I have been sent to play with. Any regular readers of my blog will know that I enjoy finding novel ways of using ingredients. I was lucky to already to have a supply of fabulous local goats cheese from Capra Products, the last of homegrown wild rocket and a few tomatoes from the garden. Sweetfire beetroot is baby beetroots marinated in a chilli olive oil dressing, so the beetroot has a slight chilli piquancy, I mixed up a quick olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing ( I use Gift of Oil black label) to pull the dish together.

  • Salad Rocket
  • Sweetfire Beetroot
  • Goats cheese
  • Tomatoes (optional)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil

Place the beetroot on your serving plate, sprinkle with rocket, crumble the goats cheese and drizzle with your dressing. Delicious, simple lunch ideal served with crusty bread to mop up the lovely dressing.

Spiced Apple Chutney

My cake baking, hen keeping friend Susan, who I met as one of the organisers of the South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club, has launched her own cyber initiative #homemadeandwellpreserved. She has a lovely foodie blog called "A little bit of heaven on a plate".This initiative is for making preserves, either as additions to your store own cupboard or as a gift.

In recent weeks I have fighting a losing battle with fruit off the tree's in the garden. Apples and courgettes are mainly this years glut. As I really hate waste, I am in full blown jamming and preserving mode. This spicy apple chutney is a favourite way to use up some apples. Its an easy recipe and is lovely on a cheese sandwich or with a cold pork pie. 

  • 225g Onions - chopped
  • 900g Apples - cored and chopped
  • 110g sultanas, raisins or chopped dates
  • 15g ground coriander
  • 15g paprika
  • 15g mixed spice
  • 15g salt
  • 340g sugar
  • 750ml vinegar - malt but you can use fruit vinegars as well

Place all the ingredients into a large pan, slowly bring to the boil ensuring all the sugar has melted. Simmer for a couple of hours ( I can't be exact as it depends on the moisture level in your fruit), stirring from time to time to ensure the chutney doesn't stick and burn. Its ready when you can draw a spoon across and the channel does not fill with liquid. Pot into sterilised jars, seal and cool. Store in a dark cool cupboard for a couple of months for the full flavour to develop. Its not easy to be precise with how many jars either this recipe makes between 3 - 6 jam jars. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Chocolate Beetroot Brownies

Flicking through this month's Country Living magazine I came across another recipe for Chocolate Beetroot Brownies, I normally use HFW recipe but thought I would try this one. The result is a very moist chocolatey brownie that also seems light in texture, this is hubby's favourite brownie so far and uses beetroot one of my favourite ingredients due to its vivid colour. Beetroot are very easy to grow in the garden too !

  • 250g cooked beetroot ( or you could use a packet) pureed until smooth
  • 200g plain dark colour
  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs ( free range please)
  • 150g self raising flour, sifted

Preheat your oven to 180c, whilst the oven is warming for eco reasons, I put the butter and chocolate in a bowl to melt in the warming oven. Meanwhile whisk together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, whisk in the butter and chocolate  mix when melted and then add the flour, mix well and pour into your lined 30cm by 22cm baking tin.

Bake until well risen and until just slightly moist in the centre. This will be approximately 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then cut in to chunky pieces.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Another courgette cake recipe - Spicy this time !

The courgette plants in the garden are still producing in abundance and as we also have builders in at the moment any home baking isn't lasting very long, so I am baking again. This recipe has a lot of similarities to a carrot cake in its spicing and is a from a newspaper cutting I have had for many years, I think this was originally from the "Saturday Telegraph".

  • 225g Caster sugar
  • 170g soft brown sugar
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarb
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200ml sunflower oil, extra for tin oiling
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g courgettes - grated finely
  • 200g raisins


Preheat your oven to 180c, oil and flour your deep cake tin - approx 33cm by 23 cm. Grate your courgettes and then add all other ingredients, beat to mix well and pour into your prepared tin. Bake for approx 40 -60 minutes until cooked and well risen. You could decorate with a cream cheese topping flavoured with orange or vanilla if you are serving straight away. This keeps well in an airtight tin and freezes successfully as well if wrapped in foil.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Freemasons at Wiswell

For a quite a while we have been promising ourselves a visit to the Freemasons@Wiswell, especially after we had attended the chef demonstration at Clitheroe Food Festival by Steven Smith. I booked our table a few weeks ago for my birthday lunch, the inn itself is cosily situated in a little nook off the main village green. Parking, I think could be an issue as this is a Lancashire hill village, so leave plenty of time to park but there is plenty of on road parking in the village. The inn's decor is rustic country pub style, warm and inviting, I especially liked the glass cloth style napkins and tartan curtains. We were warmly welcomed and seated at our table by the fireplace, Despite it only being just after 12 noon the pub was busy, we were brought menu's and our drinks order taken. The inn is well staffed and we were looked after well, all staff had a smile and were knowledgeable about the food and drink on offer.

The menu's changes frequently to reflect the seasons and the best local produce.  As this was our first visit and the fact that I like to try a seasonal menu we chose from the excellent value "seasonal menu", the a la carte also looked very tempting.

Various local beers were on offer including one from 3B's from Blackburn and also a local cider, after selecting our choice of the home-baked bread our starters arrived. I have opted for the Chicken and sweetcorn veloute, which was served in a china tea cup, this was a delicious well flavoured soup topped with a thick creamy swirl, crispy chicken skin crumbs and chives. Hubby ordered the the Pughs Piglet, a terrine of "porkyness" including being studded with black pudding, the terrine was garnished with apples and blackberries. If hubby could have licked the plate he would have. 

On to the mains, we had been recommended to order some of the wicked chunky chips cooked in duck fat, as neither of our mains came with potatoes, these were presented in a cute frying basket. Hubby's main was Hake with butter sauce, mushy peas and tartare sauce, this was pronouced "amazing"and quickly demolished, I did get to sample it however and it was beautifully balanced. My main was the Tandoori roast pork belly, pork nuggets and scratchings, pumpkin, apple and cumin. Yummy !

On to the desserts, spiced plum souffle with a hot plum sauce for Mr B, Lemon Tart for me served with a salted walnut crumble, poached blueberries, clove ice cream. The clove ice cream was awesome, I am sure without a delicate touch this so easily could become medicinal, but this was perfectly balanced and absolutely delicious when eaten with the plum souffle.

This was our first visit but I am sure it won't be our last.

Spout House Farm

Today saw our first visit to Spout House Farm in Higher Wheelton, Chorley. We have been meaning to visit for  quite a while as this is a supplier to our favourite restaurant " The Red Cat", which is just down to the road from the farm. The farm shop also comes recommended by Phil from Slow Food Lancashire and Throughly Food

We were warmly welcomed and glad to see that this is a family affair with the emphasis on local produce and  Lancashire, the lamb and beef is produced on the premises and at a great price, also they have local free range chicken and pork, cheese vegetables and baked goods. 

Pay them a visit. I have some lamb shanks I am planning to slow cook, so I'll let you know the results.

UPDATE - The lamb shanks were awesome, slow cooked .

Fantasy Cupcakes

This week I finally got the opportunity to use the voucher from Fantasy Cupcakes which was in the NW Fine Foods hamper we won. 

I arranged delivery to my place of work, this immediately created some excitement when the delightful looking box  arrived. When you order you have the choice of various different flavours of cupcakes and the style of decoration, I choose a vanilla sponge but left the decoration up to Melinda  from Fantasy Cupcakes. She didn't disappoint, the cakes had either a pink or blue butter-cream  swirls delicately decorated with rosebuds, butterflies, bows and edible glitter. All my work colleagues were very impressed, one so much so that she is seriously considering ordering cupcakes for her wedding, the cakes were delicious and enjoyed by all. 

Monday, 12 September 2011

Cupcakes and Muffins - Ann Nicol Flame Tree Publishing

I have recently been approached by Flame Tree Publishing to review my first cookery book. I was excited to receive a copy of " Cupcakes and Muffins" by Ann Nicol to review, this is a lovely chunky wipe clean softback filled to the brim with delicious looking recipes.

The author Ann Nicol is an expert on cake baking and cake decorating, having written for many leading magazines such as BBC Good Food, Women's Weekly and Home and Freezer Digest. Her passion is all things baking and she has published many books in this topic area.

The book is divided into 8 sections which cover all you need to know to bake and decorate great looking and more importantly great tasting cupcakes and muffins.Sections such as basic techniques, once they're done and decorating lead you through baking and decorating the cakes and muffins.

The book has lots of recipes for you to try, some that are more unusual as well as the basics and has many ideas for novel ways to decorate your creations. Each recipe is illustrated and all are easy to follow and include storage details as well. Whilst loving the looks of cupcakes and muffins, some tend to be all topping and have little or no flavour when it comes to the cake part, so I was keen to try recipes from the book which were more about the cake and its flavour than the topping. I wasn't disappointed.

I tried the recipe for Banoffee cupcakes which used up some over ripe bananas I had in the kitchen, with the following results.

I also baked the Gingerbread Cupcakes as well

Both recipes gave great results and tasted as good as they looked. The book has a lot to offer both the beginner and the more experienced baker and has in particular a strong section on decoration and one on  basic cake recipes which can be used in a variety of different ways.

I would thoroughly recommend this book and this is seconded by the 5 star ratings it has on Amazon, where you can purchase a copy. It would make a great gift for a girlfriend or the bride to be.

The publisher also has a facebook page and is currently running a competition as well if you would like to enter.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Tomato and Tarragon Soup

As things are turning distinctly autumnal and having picked lots of vegetables from the garden recently, I am inspired to make soup. I am very fussy when it comes to soup, I am not  a fan of anything in a can and only really like homemade or may be New Convent Garden cartons.  I think this is  mainly because I like to know what is in the soup. A quick turn round the garden produced the ingredients for this soup. Credit for the lovely Foccacia has to go to Moreartisan bread.

  • Tomatoes, chopped, but still with skins, pips, etc. You could use tinned if you haven't got fresh.
  • 1 large onion chopped.
  • 2 cloves of garlic - crushed.
  • Butter - large knob of.
  • Chicken stock.
  • Tarragon- fresh or dried.
  • Lovage - fresh.
  • Salt & pepper to taste.


Melt the butter in a large pan and start by sweating off the onion and garlic, until slighty softened. Now add the tomatoes and herbs, cook these gently for a few minutes, don't allow to colour. Now add the stock, you will need enough to cover the vegetables, simmer gently until all the vegetables are soft and the tomatoes broken down. Now seive into a clean pan, removing all the vegetables, pips and skins, taste for seasoning and add to taste. If the soup is too thin for your liking, then thicken with slaked cornflour. Serve with bread for a delicious treat.

Friday, 9 September 2011

More courgette cake - Courgette & Cinnamon Loaf

Another cake recipe to use up that glut of courgettes from the garden, this one freezes beautifully wrapped in foil, so its a good one to make to store for another day. The recipe originally came from the BBC Vegetarian magazine (no longer published) many years ago. 

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2tsp bicarb
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 225g finely grated courgettes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180C. Sieve the flour and cinnamon, bicarb, salt and baking powder into a large bowl, then add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into a oiled and lined 2lb loaf tin. Its a fairly liquid mixture, but don't worry it rises wonderfully. Bake until cooked through when tested with a skewer, this normally takes 45-60 minutes, but depends on your oven. Cool initially in the tin and then remove to cool fully on a wire rack.
The loaf should be served in thick slices , buttered if you like. Delicious and different too. We have had builders in at home recently and this proved very popular.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Little Poppet Cupcakes

Little poppet Cupcakes - lovingly prepared for your special occasion or an everyday treat.

I was recently given the opportunity to review these beautiful handcrafted cupcakes from "Little Poppet Cupcakes" who are based in Bolton, the selection I was given to review were thoughtfully titled "Blooming Lovely ", and they were. 

A delightful selection of dreamy looking cakes are lovingly presented in a special presentation carrier which holds the cupcakes.The decoration was superb and tastefully presented, I particularly liked the Daisy flowers, all were stunning and any recipient of these cakes would feel very special. The buttercream topping was a dream not too sweet, the icing soft and yielding and the cake soft and vanilla flecked. What more do you need in a cupcake? Treat yourself today.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Jamming !

After picking up a bargain of 2 kilos of fresh English strawberries at the market, jam making was in order. I always feel that homemade jam is far superior to shop bought, the flavour sparkles and is delicious on scones or in Victoria sponge.

I experimented with two different recipes, the first one was a "Pam the Jam" from River Cottage, the second off the back of the jam sugar packet. We will have to see which one comes out better, Strawberry jam is particularly problematic and can easily up as strawberry soup, so its all in the set.

Jam is a great addition to the store cupboard and preserves the fruit for those dark winter days.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Pear, cardamon and sultana cake

My lovely friend Jo, delivered a huge carrier bag of pears from her garden this week so I have been scouting about for recipes to use my bounty. Pear chutney is planned but in the meantime I came across a recipe for this cake. Well you know me and cakes, so hear goes.

  • 125g butter, soft
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs free range, lightly beaten
  • 250g Self raising flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 500g pears, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 125g sultanas
Beat the butter and sugar together in a food mixer until pale and fluffy, Continue beating in slowly the eggs, add a little of the flour if it looks like it will curdle. Stop the mixer and add the rest of the flour, cardamon and milk, quickly blend and then add the pears and sultanas to give a chunky cake mix. 

Spoon the mixture in a greased and lined 2lb loaf tin, bake in a preheated oven @ 160c for approximately 1 1/2 hours until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool initially in the tin and then turn out to cool fully on wire rack.

Store in an airtight tin if it lasts that long. The result is a deliciously moist softly fruity cake. 

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