Homemade Goats curd

goats curd

Homemade Goats Curd

Take advantage of the Autumn sunshine to make homemade goats curd cheese. Simple to do and if it isn’t sunny you can make it indoors.

Ingredients

  • 1l goats milk
  • juice of a lemon
  • tbsp of rennet
goats curd

goats curd

To make homemade goats curd first warm the milk to 37 degrees (barely warm). Pour all the ingredients into a bowl. Cover and leave in the sun till it curdles, (an hour or three) strain through muslin over a bowl in the fridge overnight. When you pull back the muslin you will have a soft jelly like curd, add salt. I like to use it in a salad with figs, almonds and watercress or simply spread on toast mmmm

Winter Minestrone Soup

Yellow wellies

Winter Minestrone Soup

Minestrone is an Italian vegetable soup. We are more accustomed to the summer variety but this winter minestrone soup  suits cold Autumn days.  Divine buttery cannellini beans give this winter minestrone soup a velvety texture which is then lifted with the freshness of the cabbage and the woody aromatic taste of rosemary, a favourite soup every time.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot
  • Onion
  • Celery stick
  • 2 rosemary stalks
  • 400g dried cannellini beans soaked overnight or two tins
  • 1/2 chopped cabbage
  • Tin of plum tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1.2l vegetable stock

Directions

Heat the oil and add the rosemary to flavour the oil, add celery, onion, carrot and garlic and sweat for ten minutes. Add the soaked beans, vegetable stock, tomatoes and cabbage. Boil for ten minutes then simmer for an hour or until the cannellini beans are soft, (if using tinned reduce cooking time to ten minutes) remove one ladle and blend to a puree return the puree to the pot and season . To serve drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan

Health benefits

Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration.

Did You know…

In ancient Greece, students would place rosemary sprigs in their hair when studying for exams as they believed it enhanced your memory

winter minestrone soup

winter minestrone soup

Yurt Glamping – Top tips for staying in a Yurt in the UK

yurt interior woodburning stove

Yurt Glamping  –  Top tips to having a good time

We have just come back from glamping (glamorous, comfortable camping) in a Yurt. It was the most fantastic experience. We wanted the outdoors of camping but the comfort of a bed. Where we stayed was still quite rustic, you had to pull your wellies on to go to the toilet block, no hook ups for electricity and so rural that there was no phone coverage let alone 3g coverage. We took the dog and had a glorious time.

We stayed at www.wildnorthumbrian.co.uk in Esk yurt. It came complete with a kingsize bed, a wood burning stove and a gas burner. We were surrounded by sheep and the most amazing views.

esk yurt IMG_2687

So what did we learn whilst staying in our Yurt?

  • take midge spray with you (we used avon skin so soft – it contains citronella and is very pleasant to use)
  • pack a moka pot so you can have fresh coffee in less time than it takes to boil a kettle
  • we had to go out and buy foldable chairs so we could have a sit either inside or out
  • make sure you go to the local market and buy provisions – particularly a cake for the 4pm pot of tea
  • if it is raining get in the car it usually isn’t raining a few miles away
  • lose the watch, go to bed when it is dark and get up when it is light (9pm and 6am for us!)
  • pack lots of layers
  • take blankets (great for putting on the ground, on your knees, round your shoulders and on the bed)
  • take a board game – our yurt had an ancient edition of trivial pursuit (who is the president of the USSR?)
  • wellies and pyjamas are your new best friend – the enemy of camping is being wet it is very difficult to get things dry
  • make sure you fill up on petrol and cash – rural services can be hard to find and often not open on a weekend – it was 35 miles to our nearest petrol station on a weekend so plan ahead.

We enjoyed it so much we have booked up again in two months time

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Bean Goulash Soup

Bean Goulash Soup

Bean Goulash Soup

Bean Goulash soup is delicious and this soup is chunky!! Goulash is a soup or stew made with meat and paprika. The smoked paprika is the magic ingredient it transforms this bean goulash soup.  I am not to keen on meaty soups instead I like to keep them simple and vegetarian but feel free to add some shredded ham hock at the end. Here you have lots of smoked paprika both sweet and hot, peppers and kidney beans. Everyone who came into the kitchen yesterday commented on how lovely it smelt.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 250g dried (soaked overnight) or two tins Kidney beans
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 3 Peppers any colour diced
  • 3 Carrots diced
  • 1 Sweet potato diced
  • 1 tsp Harissa
  • 1 tsp Paprika smoked sweet
  • 1 tsp Paprika smoked hot
  • 1.2l vegetable stock

Directions

Heat the oil and add the onion, peppers, carrots, sweet potato and garlic and sweat until soft. Add the paprika and fry for a minute before adding the kidney beans and the stock if using dried kidney beans then boil for ten minutes before simmering for 40, if using tinned reduce cooking time to ten minutes. Add a tsp harissa to taste and season. If you want add some flaked ham hock to give a more meaty flavour.

Health benefits

Kidney beans provide soluble fibre and protein

Paprika may help you lose weight as the process of heating your body temperature makes your body work harder to cool you down.

Did You know…

Beans spread throughout South and Central America as a result of migrating Indian traders who brought kidney beans with them from Peru. Beans were introduced into Europe in the 15th century by Spanish explorers returning from their voyages to the New World.

onion soup

 

 

Blackberry Gin Crumble Recipe

Blackberry Gin Crumble

Blackberry Gin

Frozen blackberries left over from making homemade blackberry gin led me to create this delicious dessert.

Once you have tried making fruit liqueurs you will be hooked. Last year I made blackberry Gin with wild brambles growing in the hedgerow. Steep the fruit in gin for a week, giving it a shake every day, add about 200g sugar to every 500ml gin and 250g of fruit. Leave to develop for 3 months in a dark place. After 3 months strain off the fruit and re-bottle the gin. Don’t throw the fruit away just freeze it until you are ready to make the Blackberry Gin Crumble recipe.  The Blackberry gin will get smoother and develop if left for a year (hard to do) and makes a lovely blackberry gin and tonic.

Blackberry Gin Crumble Recipe

This drunken crumble is delicious and a great way to use up the soaked blackberries. If you don’t have drunken blackberries in your freezer then you can use normal blackberries and a tablespoon of blackberry gin.I decided to enhance this Blackberry Gin crumble recipe further with the taste of almonds and some oatmeal which adds a nutty taste.

Ingredients for blackberry gin crumble recipe

  • 50g flour
  • 125g butter
  • 75g sugar (soft brown)
  • 50g oatmeal (pin head oatmeal)
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 25g flaked almonds
  • 300g blackberries

Make the crumble mixture by combining the oats, flour, ground almonds, sugar and butter. Once you have rubbed all this together to make breadcrumbs add the flaked almonds.

Tip the crumble mixture onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes 180/160 fan gas mark 4 until light golden

Put the blackberries in a saucepan and simmer them gently until soft, spoon out the blackberries into your crumble dish and reduce the juice by at least half. Taste the sauce it may need a sprinkle of sugar if the blackberries were very tart. 

At this point I do one of three things.

  • If i am making this crumble for another day then i sprinkle the topping on cover with cling film and freeze.
  • If i am making it in the morning, and not baking the crumble till later, then I keep the crumble topping in a plastic bag in the freezer and cover the fruit with cling film and put in the fridge
  • If we are having it straight away then sprinkle on the topping

Be generous when you put the topping on but you won’t need it all (save the rest for another crumble by freezing it) . Bake in the oven for 10 minutes 200/180 gas mark 6 (if the crumble is frozen take out the freezer an hour before cooking and then bake for 20 minutes, if only the topping was frozen then bake for an extra 5 minutes).

sometimes we have it with custard, sometimes with ice cream and sometimes with  cream with a bit of heather honey mixed in and very occasionally we have it with all three!.

Hope you enjoy making this blackberry gin crumble recipe. 

 

blackberry gin crumble recipe

blackberry gin crumble and Blackberry Gin

Giveaway Mornflake Hamper

porridge competition hamper

Giveaway Mornflake hamper

The lovely people at Mornflake have given me a gorgeous hamper to giveaway. To win, all you need to do is email me , with the message title  “Porridge hamper competition”.

For another chance to win just like my facebook page too.

All entries will be put entered into a draw where one winner will be selected at random to receive a Mornflake Hamper. The competition is open until the Friday 7th March 2014 (11.59pm UK time). The winner will be notified by the 14th March 2014. Hamper can only be sent to an address in the UK (sorry my International friends)

The Hamper contains

  • Mornflake Organic Porridge Oats
  • Mornflake Jumbo Oats
  • Mornflake Superfast Oats
  • Mornflake Extra Crispy Muesli
  • Mornflake Oatbran Granola and Muesli range
  • Mornflake china breakfast set
  • hessian bag

 

Giveaway mornflake hamper

Giveaway mornflake hamper

 

 

Porridge Competition

porridge competition

Porridge Competition

Oh my, I have been challenged! Mornflake are running a Porridge competition. Now I am doubtful that my simple back to basics porridge recipe would win. I think they are looking for something more exciting, like the glorious recipe I read at the weekend for a Rose Cardamom and pistachio porridge (will write it up and publish soon, can’t find a link to it as yet). I have got a little secret recipe up my sleeve that I might enter…Anyway to help inspire you I have a giveaway!!

Giveaway Mornflake hamper

All you need to do is email me , with the message title  “Porridge hamper competition”. The competition is open until the Friday 7th March 2014. The winner will be notified by the 14th March. Hamper can only be sent to an address in the UK (sorry my International friends)

porridge competition hamper

porridge competition hamper

 

Porridge stir off competition details – need to enter before midnight (UK time) Thursday 6th March 2014

TV chef Simon Rimmer (still love him best for running Green’s vegetarian restaurant back when I was a student in Manchester) and Mornflake Cereals (how I love your oatmeal!), are urging porridge fans to share their oaty masterpieces, for a chance to take part in the first ever ‘Porridge Stir-Off’, at the home of Mornflake Oats, in Cheshire, on Saturday 5th April.

The winner will enjoy a fabulous Gourmet Evening-for-two, hosted by Simon, at his award-winning Cheshire restaurant, Earle, a year’s worth of Mornflake Porridge Oats and an all-expenses-paid trip to enter their recipe into the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Championships, in Scotland. The recipe will also feature in Mornflake’s annual Oat Recipe Book.

 

To enter, simply upload a video clip or picture of your oaty masterpiece, with full recipe details, to their dedicated web page at http://www.mornflake.com/whats-on/competitions/great-british-porridge-challenge.aspx or their Facebook page, where you can also find full competition Terms and Conditions.

http://www.facebook.com/mornflake?v=wall