Saturday, 30 November 2013


Just a quick, brief post to show you what we had for dinner one night last week – Champ…god, it was lovely. We had it with Cauldron Lincolnshire sausages and mushroom gravy – although, to be perfectly honest, I’d have been quite happy to have had it on its own accompanied only by a very large spoon!

It was fabulous; one of those things that cheers you up no end when a bit of cold weather comfort food is required.

500g floury potatoes
75ml hot milk
40g butter, melted
1/2 bunch spring onions
black pepper

Peel and chop the potatoes into large chunks and steam or simmer until tender; mash well with hot milk and stir in the finely chopped spring onions and a good grinding of pepper.

Pile the potato into a warmed serving dish and make a shallow well in the middle; pour in the warm melted butter. Serve immediately and try to avoid licking the dish clean!

Serves 2.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Apple Compote

I thought I’d better quickly type up the apple compote I made with the last of our apples from the garden before I forgot what I did.

We eat loads of various compotes with porridge, yogurt or ice-cream and sometimes on pancakes for breakfast so we get through masses of it. I generally cook up a couple of kilos of fruit at a time. This particular one is fragrant with warm spices and is especially good with porridge although, to be fair, I like almost anything with porridge…

Hells bells - I’ve just realised it’s exactly a month today until Christmas!! Now if that doesn’t get you up and cooking, nothing will…!

2kg apples
150ml water
juice of a lemon
150g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
¼ of a nutmeg, grated

Peel, core and chop the apples into dice; put into a deep wide pan with the lemon juice and water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the apples start to soften (I won’t give you an exact timing because it really depends which apples you use).

Add the sugar, the vanilla bean paste and the spices; stir well, bring back to a simmer and cook gently for about 10 minutes.

Pot up into sterilised jars while still hot. Store in the fridge once opened.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Pre-Christmas Musings

I haven’t been blogging much recently, but I can assure you we’ve most definitely been eating! I don’t seem to have been cooking anything new or terribly exciting, just making old favourites and stuff we like. Oh, I did make some spiced apple compote with the last of the fruit from the garden which is rather nice – I’ll have to type it up.

Now that we’re well into November, though, I thought I’d better stir myself and do a bit of pre-Christmas cooking. So… the Christmas Cake has been made, as has a huge batch of Red Cabbage and a couple of pots of Mushroom and Sherry Gravy for the big day. Nut Roast Wellington seems to have become a bit of a Christmas fixture for us so I’ve made and frozen the mushroom duxelles layer which will save me time later.

The whole point of Christmas food for me is the traditional aspect of it all; I don’t expect to have to cook something different each year – it’s Christmas, therefore we know what we’ll be eating! It wouldn’t be the same if some of the favourites were missing. However, I always like to throw in a few surprises so I’ve also been spending some time scouting around for any new Christmas recipes that might be useful; I’ve found a couple which are worth a closer look.

These spiced plum trifles look really nice and incredibly easy (I’m useless at desserts so anything that’s easy looks good to me!) and I have a sneaking suspicion that these palmiers may make an appearance at some point, although I think I’ll substitute basil or maybe a few dabs of pesto for the rosemary.

We popped into town yesterday for lunch with DS and a bit of shopping at Selfridges; the store was dressed up like a Christmas tree, inside and out, it looked fabulous! The pics aren't great but you get the idea.

Outside, just getting dark.

Looking up into the Atrium from the basement