a busy domestic blog of knitting, sewing and all kinds of needlecrafts, cooking my garden produce and preserving it

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Recipe testing - Abel&Cole Cookbook - Husk-wrapped and roasted Garlic Corn

We suddenly have a lot of sweetcorn ripening at the allotment - so it's recipe hunting time. 
This is a really simple way to cook sweetcorn form the Abel and Cole Cookbook - basically, remove the silk but not the husk, spread garlic butter (the recipe includes ingredients in case you're not sure) over the corn, pull back the husks and bake. 
 Did we like it?
I think this picture speaks for itself.
 A recipe I'll definitely use again, and may follow the method but with differently flavoured butters.

Monday, 23 September 2013

A Quick Finish before Autumn

I started this upcycling skirt project at the end of last month but abandoned it as the temperatures dropped. I thought Autumn had come to stay and there was going to be no more need for thin cotton skirts, but yesterday Summer retained so I'm going to finish this quickly in the hope of having chance to wear it.

It's another re-make of an old skirt - turning one that was gathered at the waist into a smoother fitting bias cut. I liked the material, but not the shape! Of course it wasn't wide enough to just cut out the new skirt shape so it had to have lots of triangular add-ons to gibe width and length. From the right-side these joins are barely visible but the inside shows them all! The side seams are done, the waist is to be loosely elasticated which shouldn't take long but the tricky bit may be getting the bottom level - the added in sections have left it with a zigzag line for now!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Two very different preserves with green tomatoes

I'm starting to pick green tomatoes from our plants at the allotment because the fruit is so heavy that the plants are breaking! This just ends up though with green tomatoes balanced precariously in a variety of bowls on the kitchen work-surfaces, so I thought I'd get busy and turn them into something.
First up, was a hot Green Tomato Chutney from Sensational Preserves by Hilaire Walden. This is recipe I've made up many times though it's a little hot due to the chillies in it.
Then, following the success of last week's Green Tomato and Lemon Marmalade, I thought I'd have a go at something similar but with a slight variation - Green Tomato and Orange Marmalade. The main difference was that, not having the same amount of orange peel to hand in the freezer, I started by boiling the tomatoes and peel in 1/4 pint of orange juice. Other than that the recipe was the same. It has a much sweeter taste than the lemon variety, being a little like apricot jam, though with bits of peel giving it a 'proper' marmalade texture.
So, two very useful additions to my store cupboard - the only snag is, without labels, can you spot which is marmalade and which chutney in the photo above?

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Recipe Testing. Abel&Cole Cookbook - Swedeaphobia Cure

Faced with a glut of turnips I've been searching the recipe books for interesting ways to serve them - rather than just as extras in a stew. There may be a slight difference between swedes and turnips, but not one that I feel matters, so when I saw this intriguingly named recipe I thought I'd try it out. The strange name for this comes from the idea that it will cure the eater of any fear they may have of swedes - the edible kind, not people from Sweden. Basically the swedes (turnips) are cooked and mashed, with cream (though I used milk), then breadcrumbs, spices and golden syrup stirred in. A dish is lined with sliced potato and filled with the swede purée, then more breadcrumbs sprinkled on top and the whole thing baked.
I hit a problem quite early on with converting the 'big swede' in the recipe to the middling sort of turnip I'd got. The Abel&Cole cookbook prides itself on the fact that you barely need scales to make up the recipes - but in this case they might have been handy. Anyway, I decided my turnip was about half-size so altered everything accordingly then panicked over a lack of potatoes and added more - maybe too many as I ended up the base of the dish filled with them and some didn't cook through properly. I was also a little confused over quantities; the recipe "says serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a side dish". Well, I was cooking this as a side dish to go with vegetarian meat pies and half quantity was about right.
Anyway, we loved it. The ginger, nutmeg and syrup added a curious sweet and spicy flavour to a rather dull vegetable - and next time I'll go easy on the potatoes, and the amount of pepper I ground on top!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Lunch from lottie #13

 I haven't been regularly posting my 'lunch from the lottie' status as it's still mainly a case of trying to provide a twist on salad - a few extra-hot 'blue' radishes or some yellow tomatoes

 but we have had a few different things for evening dinners -
a goulash using our tomatoes, pepper, chillies and potatoes

 a dish from the Abel&Cole cookbook called Swedeaphobia which helped use up some of my turnip glut

and a home-grown (apart from the fish) fie pie with lots of beans, peas, potatoes and, yes, turnip!
I meant to take a photo of this cooked with the final layer of potato all golden brown
but hubby served it up too quickly!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Something totally different....

 I've tried making jams and marmalades with unusual vegetables before - pumpkins, courgettes and cucumber - but this year's surplus crop is green tomatoes. I can't leave them on the plants to ripen as they are too heavy and the stems are breaking.
I could make chutney.
But we eat more marmalade than chutney....
 I found this recipe in Farmhouse Fare - a collection of recipes sent in to Farmers Weekly, so there are all sorts of useful ways of using up odd gluts of fruit and veg.
The only adaptation I've made is to add more lemon - about 4 in total from my hoard of leftover frozen lemons, instead of  'some lemon peel'.

 It's all boiled up and set much as any other jam and although it isn't the most appealing colour, it does taste of lemons rather than tomatoes and
the chopped up lemon rind gives it the appearance and texture of marmalade.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Jam making - a twist on an old favourite

There are two things I really dislike about jam - the seeds from berries and currants, and having to sieve fruit pulp for ever to get rid of them.
So seeing this variation in a recipe book I thought I'd try it out.
About three quarters of the fruit is apple - peeled, cored and sliced, then cooked to a pulp.

Then the blackberries are added whole - seeds and all - but I'm hoping the small percentage of them will mean not too many bits to stick in my teeth while still getting that lovely blackberry flavour.

Sampling the leftovers suggests that my theory has worked but I'll have to wait and try it properly. If any is left for me, that is - the jar centre left was full!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

More rhubarb...

 We've more rhubarb plants this year, so more rhubarb to eat. I haven't made this recipe in quite a while but it's a lovely shortbread variation. I'm not sure where the recipe came from as it's one of many that I've cut out of magazines - possibly from Sainsbury's magazine or Country Living.

Basically it's a shortbread base with gooey caramel topping. The base is cooked briefly, then the rhubarb and sugar mix poured over, and it all cooked some more.

It doesn't look spectacular - and it does have a tendency to fall apart - but tastes wonderful!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Lunch from the Lottie #12

I'm rather desperately trying to ring the changes with a limited variety of salad ingredients - cabbage, spinach, radish, cucumber, tomatoes and beetroot with occasional raw peas or picked cabbage or even a yellow tomato!

 It's very easy to get bored with 'grow your own lunch'.

This last one's a bit of a cheat as I didn't grow the wheat for the pasta or raise the lamb for the meat - but all the veg were our own - tomatoes, onions, garlic, pepper and courgette.

And the sugar all turns to....?

Well, not alcohol in this case but syrup.
This is the rhubarb and sugar left standing overnight before boiling up for jam/conserve. Presumably a chemical reaction takes place between the sugar and  the rhubarb - I've no idea but the same thing happens with sugar and courgettes or pumpkins.