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Archive for the ‘British’ Category

Apple and mincemeat galette

Mince pies have been filling up the supermarket shelves for the last few months and jars of ready-made mincemeat have sneakily taken their place amongst the baking ingredients ready to jump out and berate you for being completely unprepared for Christmas months in advance. If you’re one of those wonderfully organised souls you’ll have made your own batch of mincemeat several weeks ago. I, on the other hand, found myself baking with the tail-end of last year’s jars until my lovely mum kindly handed me a jar she’d made the other weekend. (more…)

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Somerset, the county next door (or up North as we say down here in South Devon) is well known for producing excellent cider which is so good it has spawned its own genre of music, Scrumpy and Western, wherein bands sing odes to their favourite drink. Although there are not as many as there once were, apple orchards are a common sight and in a fair few of those you’ll spot pigs merrily roaming under the trees munching up the long grass. Those happy orchard pigs make for super-tasty pork as they fatten up on sweet apples. So it’s no wonder that Somerset is home to many a good recipe combining pork and apples. (more…)

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Summer pudding has long been a favourite of mine and it was a staple in the dessert rotation when I was growing up. My parents were keen gardeners and Mum still grows lots of her own fruit and vegetables despite not having much time to devote to the garden. On a Sunday afternoon I would often be dispatched up the garden to pick raspberries, strawberries, tayberries and blackcurrants for one of Mum’s spectacular puddings. I always find it a sad farewell to summer when the berries come to an end. This year, inspired by a Valentine Warner recipe, I decided to extend the Summer pudding into Autumn and make the most of the wild blackberries and the remaining little bit of last year’s sloe gin. I toyed around with calling these Autumn puddings but I like it when the name of the recipes tells you a little about what’s inside, especially when there’s gin involved. (more…)

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Happy Easter!

Come Easter I suspect that many of us have a little bit of chocolate and other various goodies stashed away for the occasional treat (or all-out indulgence). In our house it usually gets scoffed pretty quickly but if you have any leftovers tiffin (or rocky road) is a fun way to use it up. Admittedly I went out and deliberately stocked up on tiffin ingredients but we are rather partial to a sweet treat round here and there’s been some very labour-intensive DIY (I have my very own mini-wrecking bar and hard hat!) going on over recent weekends that’s necessitated a few extra calories. (more…)

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Bread making has always been something I’ve enjoyed but not been particularly good at; I think it all stems from the dismal cookery lessons I had at school where our teacher instructed us to knead rock-solid little balls of dough that baked up so dense not even the park ducks would touch it. Salvation came in March when I finally got to go on an eagerly anticipated bread making course at the Real Food Store in Exeter.

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Aye up! Last week we escaped to a little cottage on the edge of Yorkshire and the Peak district. We replaced the rolling green hills and thatch of Devon with rugged, heathery peaks and pretty villages built from yellow-cream stone. Yorkshire has a flourishing food scene and we happened upon several excellent farmers’ markets and food festivals. The pubs within walking distance of our cottage all served the most delicious, local grub and ales; I feel like I’ve put on about a stone in weight! So no surprise that I wanted to stave off the post-holiday blues and recreate a little bit of  ‘up North’ at home.

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On a chilly autumn day what more could you want than a rich, warming dinner. To me shepherd’s pie is the ultimate comfort food – thick, creamy mash and deeply savoury sauce packed full of healthy veg. It’s always something I crave when the nights start to draw in and the leaves start turning crunchy and falling to the ground, perfect after a long walk on a blustery Sunday afternoon. This is the sort of meal that makes me yearn for a wood burning stove and a glass of red. (more…)

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