All posts filed under: Autumn Recipes

Lamb & fig tagine with yoghurt

For a good lamb tagine ask the butcher to cut some lower rib of lamb into small pieces. This is a typical Moroccan cut for lamb tagine as it allows the lamb to cook relatively easily on a medium heat. There is plenty of meat on the lower rib to satisfy everyone. Of course we all associate tagine with the unique chimney shaped pot seen in every good Moroccan shop but if you don’t have one they can be made equally well in a good casserole pot. Serve with either couscous, bulgur wheat salad, rice or tagine bread. Drizzling yoghurt over the tagine before serving is a great way to cut through the grease and give the dish an added zing. If you like fresh coriander sprinkle some fresh, chopped coriander leaves over the tagine before serving. Ingredients Lower rib of lamb – 200 gr. per adult portion 200 gr. dried figs 1 onion 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. cumin seeds 1 tsp. coriander seeds 1 tsp. turmeric 1 tsp. ginger ½ lt. water …

Bitter Chocolate & Whiskey Cake

Do you, like me, have greedy children who can sniff out a biscuit, cake or chocolate bar from 5 miles away? Do you, like me, sometimes think they were born with an in-built radar alerting them to where all the confectionary is hidden? Competition for the sweet stuff is fierce in this household. Both G. and I have tried – and failed – to find fiendishly tricky hiding places for our stock of goodies. We’re always rumbled with the kids finding our best hiding places within days. It has, however, not gone completely unnoticed by me that they are not very keen on more adult flavours – such a marzipan, liquorice or dark, bitter chocolate. All of which I love. Whenever we have some dark chocolate, marzipan or liquorice in the house  I can normally enjoy these things at my own pace and over a period of days without them vanishing before they’ve even been unpacked and put on the shelf. It was my intention in combining dark, bitter chocolate with whiskey that the children would hate these flavours thus allowing G. and …

Chicken & Mushroom Pie

This is a firm family favourite. A simple supper. There is nothing fancy about a chicken pie yet it leaves most people I know very satisfied indeed. Of course you can make it in any season but it is wonderful comfort food as the days draw in and the evenings turn cooler. I mostly use left over chicken from a roast but you can of course by fresh chicken and fry it up before adding to the pie. Alternatively you can ditch the chicken and just turn it into a mushroom and parsley pie – but whatever your choice try and use a good home-made chicken broth. This recipe is for a  deep 25 cm pie dish. Ingredients For the pastry 350 gr. plain flour 150 gr. butter or lard (I love lard but both are good) 1 egg Some cold water Pinch of salt For the filling Left over chicken meat – what ever you have. If you don’t have any chicken meat then bulk it out with mushrooms but use a good chicken stock to …

Pumpkin Cake

This recipe is suitable for a 26 cm spring-form tin. I used pumpkin which had been roasted in the oven for an hour. The pumpkin flesh should be soft, pliable and easy to mash into the other ingredients. Ingredients For the cake 500 gr. plain flour 400 gr. dark sugar 250 gr. butter 4 eggs 300 gr. roasted pumpkin 100 gr. decimated coconut OR 100 gr. crushed walnuts 1 tsp. cinemon 2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda * 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar Pinch of salt For the topping Approx. 300 gr. home-made cream cheese  * 2 tbs. honey Walnuts for decoration Directions Blend all the ingredients together until well mixed. It helps if you have a food processor. If not try with a hand-hold mixer. If not the only alternative, I’m afraid, is elbow power. Line the bottom of the tin with greased baking paper before adding the mixture. Place the tin in a pre-heated oven on 180 degrees centigrade for half an hour. Then take out of the oven and cover the top with tin-foil to prevent the …

Butternut squash and Ricotta Lasagne

Italians – wow they know how to transform fresh produce into a dish fit for a King. It was on a trip to Italy a couple of years ago that I discovered an Italian dish that had hit the nail on the head when it comes to serving pumpkins. Pumpkins have somehow always eluded me. I love their colour. Their quirk, folksy shapes appeal. They look like they’re brimming with the good stuff. I really want to get to know pumpkins and feel as though we could have a beautiful relationship – but somehow their flavour overpowers the whole meal and I just haven’t learned to love them in a way I feel I should. Sweet pumpkin pie…roasted pumpkins…pumpkins soup….regardless of method the overbearing taste of pumpkin always slams through and puts me off this wholesome looking vegetable. Until that is I had the good fortune of attending a friend’s wedding in Italy. On the buffet-table was a plate of pumpkins wrapped in a fine filo pastry. They tasted divine. What had the chef done …

Traditional Red Cabbage

One whole cabbage may seem like a lot but I freeze any extra portions. Alternatively if you’re just making this for a small number of people see if you can buy half or a quarter from the green-grocer. Ingredients 1 red cabbage. 1 red onion. (Or any onion if you don’t have a red one). 4 apples. Beef drippings, lard, goose-fat or clarified butter. Apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Brown sugar. Cloves. Star Anise. Salt & pepper. Directions Cut the cabbage into quarters. With a mandolin grate the cabbage into thin stripes – it goes surprisingly quickly. If you have a food processor use that – it will go even quicker but you may have more washing-up. In a large pot heat up either the drippings, lard, goose far or clarified butter and fry the red onions. You can use butter – but it will burn quicker so keep the temperature lower if using butter. Start adding the shredded red cabbage. Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces. Stir into the mixture. Add …

A traditional meat pie

This is not a traditional mince pie, which entails soaking dried fruit with shredded suet in a jar for up to four weeks before encasing it as a filling in pastry. It is, however, inspired by the spices and flavours many associate with the Christmas period. Dried fruit was often the only source of sweetness traditional societies would have known which is why it was such a special treat for Christmas. I made the pastry with lard and it was a real hit! Even the children, normally by biggest critics, gave this dish the thumbs up and asked for more. I used the left-over meat and marrow from the veal shanks I cooked on the previous Sunday to make a delicious gravy combining it with cinnamon, cloves, sultanas, raisins, dried apricots, barberries and a good shot of cognac. Six quality beef shanks costing EUR 40 delivered three nourishing meals: veal-shank stew, a hearty cauliflower and curry soup and this meat pie. When government officials and industry talk about the need for a GMO mono-culture and …

Cauliflower & Curry Soup

This is a hearty, tasty and comforting soup for late autumn days. Earlier in the week I posted my beef shank stew dish, which we ate on Sunday. On Monday we ate cauliflower and curry soup. If Sunday’s meal was on the pricey end then today’s is dead cheap using left over stock from the stew. The total cost for a complete meal was the price of one onion, one cauliflower and some spuds. The cauliflower-curry combination gave the soup a real punch and it was brimming with natural nutrients and energy. My family love cauliflower and they love curry – a serendipitous combination that led to no grumpy complaints. The addition of potatoes, grated cheese and home-made bread made this a complete, satisfying meal in it’s own right. If you want you could cut some frankfurter sausages and stir them through the soup though the beef stock gave this soup enough flavour not to necessitate any further meat ingredients. If you don’t have any stock to hand consider other ways to give the soup a savoury punch …

Veal Shank Stew

Master in the Kitchen promises to offer you the best tips on how to add oodles of savoury flavour to your dishes and believe you me there is nothing more savoury than a dish which is cooked using meat and bone. Veal shanks are often referred to by their Italian name: ossobuco, which literally translated means “bone with a hole”. Although many think of this as an Italian dish in reality all traditional societies that reared and ate cows would have used this piece of meat and spiced it up with locally available vegetables, herbs and spices. Don’t make the same mistake I once did and buy beef shanks which are tougher than veal shanks. Beef shanks make a great beef broth and the left over meat can be turned into a spinach, ricotta & meat pie. For a stew, however, you are better working with veal. There are plenty of recipes setting out how to prepare beef shanks – one of the best, as always, coming from Marcella Hazan in Classic Italian Cooking. She advises coating the …

Speculaas Digestives

A true fusion of traditional British-Belgian baking. The speculaas spices, originating in the low countries are a hit time and time again. Speculaas is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves, ginger, coriander and cardamom. No wonder everyone loves it – a happy marriage of flavours and aromas. A local shop was selling packets of the speculaas spice, alongside some cut-out wooden shapes typical of the Flemish-Dutch speculaas biscuits and a free recipe. I gave it a bash and spent a lot of time dusting the wooden shapes, pressing the dough into the shape, scraping the excess dough of the wood and placing the final wind-mill shaped biscuit onto the baking tray. The recipe called for some baking powder (I used soda and buttermilk instead) which resulted in the wings of the wind-mill disappearing as the leavening agents allowed the dough to rise in the oven – a bit disappointing but the taste was still excellent. The children didn’t complain and demanded I make them again. Then I lost the recipe – but not the …