Monday 2 October 2023

Roast Boned and Rolled Mutton Shoulder (marinated)

 This recipe came about as we got half a sheep for the freezer and decided that we had better eat some of it!! The shoulder was around 2Kg before being boned and some of the fat removed. The recipe is based on that weight. The fat pieces can be rendered down and used for roast vegetables.


  • 2kg Lamb/Mutton Shoulder - bones and rolled and some fat removed
Marinade items:
  • 6 cloves of garlic - peeled and crushed
  • zest of one lemon and it's juice
  • 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • Sprigs of rosemary (wedged under the string used to roll the meat)
Put the lamb in a zip seal type bag together with the pre mixed marinade and if possible, leave in the fridge overnight or longer - turning and mixing every now and then. Once out of the fridge, roll the joint and tie with string. I retain the crushed cloves of garlic and put inside the meat before being tied up.

Set the oven to 200 degC (180 degC fan) and cook under well sealed foil. I tend to rest the joint on onion slices - this then enhances any gravy that I make from the juices.
Roast for approx 2 to 2.25 hours and then remove the foil and brown up for a further 1/2 hour.
Remove from the pan and rest, covered with the foil and a cloth on top of the foil. You can then pour off any further fat (keep) and leave the juices in the pan to be used for the gravy. I tend to add stock and cook it down and maybe add a little redcurrant jelly.
Serve with your favourite roast veg etc.

Friday 18 August 2023

Mirabelle Plum Jam

 We are very lucky to have a Mirabelle plum tree in our garden and the jam from the fruit is by far the best plum jam I know. 

Ingredients (makes about 10 jars of jam)

  • 200ml water
  • 2kgs of whole Mirabelle plums - then de-stoned
  • 1.6kgs sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of lemon juice

Simmer the water and fruit until soft (ish) - this should only take a few minutes. Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir until completely dissolved. As the jam starts to bubble, a foam appears on the surface (as per the photo). I remove this with a spoon during the process. Get the jam on a rolling boil for around 20 mins, stirring occasionally,  until the temp is around 103-104 degC or until a bit of jam wrinkles on a cold plate.

Put the cooked jam into sterilised jars, seal and allow to cool down.

My favourite partner for this jam is a croissant - enjoy!

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Raspberry and Redcurrant Jam

 We look like there will be quite a bumper crop of raspberries this year from the garden and so we need to make space in the freezer. Thus some of last years raspberries are being used for this jam and of course, the last of this years redcurrants! The result is a slightly sharper jam that is not too sweet and is one of the best I have ever tasted.


  • 200g of Redcurrants
  • 1.15 litres of water
  • 1.8kgs of Raspberries
  • 2.25kg of sugar
  • (makes about 3.25kg of jam)

In a suitable pan, add the redcurrants and set over a low heat. Once the juice starts to flow, add the water and bring to the boil. stir and simmer for about 15mins. Strain the contents of the pan and squeeze the redcurrants through a muslin bag. Discard the pulp left behind. The total volume of the juice should be 900ml - top up with water if less or boil for longer to reduce.

Add the juice back into the pan together with the raspberries and simmer for 10mins. Add the sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved.

Boil the mixture for about 15 mins until the temperature is 104-105 degC. (a thermometer or cold plate test will do!)

Remove from the heat and skim the surface for any 'scum'. Transfer to sterilised jars, seal and label!

You will not be dissappointed!

Redcurrant & Mint Jelly

The redcurrants are now over but I did manage to save mine from hungry birds using netting. Out new bush seems to be growing well. I used a garden mint from our garden but unsure of the variety.

This recipe combines mint and redcurrant and is delicious.


  • 500g of redcurrants
  • sprig of mint
  • 500g of sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 10 mint leaves finely chopped
  • 500ml of water

After you have washed the redcurrants and mint, put the currants, sprig of mint and water into a suitable pan and boil. 

Simmer and press the fruit in the pan to help the fruit to break up.

Cool and then strain the mix through a muslin bag over a bowl overnight but do not squeeze the bag.

Put the strained liquid, sugar and lemon juice into a pan and gentle cook until all the sugar has been dissolved.

Rapid boil the mixture for approx. 15 mins until the mixture reaches the setting point (104-105 degC). I use a thermometer but a cold plate test can also be used.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped mint.

Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

This jelly is, obviously, great with lamb! Enjoy.


Wednesday 21 June 2023

Gin - What more can I say?!

 My cousin Anna, gave me this bottle of gin - It amused me no end! The bottle will definitely be kept...

Now, where is the tonic....

Monday 2 January 2023

Leek & Potato Pie

Of course, I always think of a pie that is encased in pastry but this is like a Cottage or Shepherds pie.....

  • Ingredients (can be varied as required):
  • 3-4 Small leeks
  • 4-5 white potatoes quartered.
  • milk
  • grated nutmeg
  • butter
  • cheddar cheese - grated (Somerset crunch is an excellent choice!)
  • salted water
  • 1 tsp of plain flour 

Simmer the leeks in a little water with a pinch of salt until soft. Do the same for the potatoes - they need to be soft enough so you can make the mash. Drain the leeks reserving some of the liquid for the white sauce. Reserve 3 or 4 of the cooked potato quarters.

To make the sauce, add the flour to the half a cup of cold milk and mix in a saucepan. Then add some of the leek water and more milk and heat to make the white sauce. Season with salt and pepper and some nutmeg and simmer until the sauce thickens.

Take the reserved potatoes and slice and put into a suitable casserole or pie dish together with the leeks. Add the white sauce and mix together in the dish.

Make mash with the rest of the potatoes, butter and a little milk. Mix well and add the grated cheese. Spread this mixture on top of the leeks.

Cook at about 160degC for 30/40 mins until the mash has browned a little.


Thursday 8 September 2022

Chicken Pasta Bake

This is a relatively simple dish to cook but is very good!


  • 110g of Smoked Pancetta Lardons
  • 300g of Macaroni
  • 2 large chicken breasts (chopped into pieces)
  • 500ml of chicken stock
  • 1 x tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 320g of frozen peas
  • 2 little gem lettuce
  • 50g of grated parmesan cheese (more for serving)
  • 4 x tbsp of creme fraiche
  • 15g of chopped chives

In an oven proof deep pan (that has a tight fitting lid) fry the lardons until cooked and almost crispy.

Then stir in the pasta, the chicken stock and some extra hot water (say 200ml) and bring to the boil. The pasta must be covered by the stock/water.

Fit the lid (use foil is necessary) and place in a hot oven (200 deg C) for 30 mins. Reduce to 180 degC for fan ovens)

Remove from the oven and add the vinegar, peas and quartered lettuce (wedges) and cooked uncovered for 5 to 8 mins but don't burn the lettuce.

Remove from the oven and add the cheese, creme fraiche and most of the chives amd season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve by adding more cheese and some pepper.

Monday 31 May 2021

Crab Linguini

A simple and tasty meal for 2. You can make this as spicy as you want but don't add too much chilli as you will lose the flavour of the crab.


  • 1 off shallot (banana type) - finely sliced
  • 2 Cloves of garlic - finely sliced
  • 3 red chillies (mild - de-seeded) and finely sliced
  • 6 cherry tomatoes (quartered) 
  • 8 pieces of sun blushed tomato -chopped 
  • large knob of butter
  • 1 pack of white crab meat
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • linguini or spaghetti for 2 people 
  • splash of olive oil

This is an easy and quick recipe. Just fry on a low heat the shallot, garlic and chillies until soft, using the butter. Put the pasta on to boil in salted water and remove when tender, drain and then add a splash of olive oil and stir (stops the pasta sticking together). Add the tomatoes to the shallot mixture and fry for a little while longer. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix together well. At this point add salt, pepper and sugar if required and then toss with the spaghetti. Serve with some sourdough bread and enjoy.

Sunday 7 March 2021

Shallot Onions in Butter & Balsamic Vinegar

 So simple and yet a great accompaniment to cold meats and salad.

(Serves 2)

  • 4 or 5 banana type shallots
  • 30g butter
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 pr 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
slice the shallots in half (unpeeled) and then trim and skin the onion so that it remains intact and does not separate when cooking. Gently fry in the butter until browned and soft. Then add the honey and balsamic vinegar and cook until you have a thick rich sauce. Season if required.

I like to serve with cold ham, really fresh salad and brown bread - to mop up all of the lovely sauce! The balsamic mixture also works to 'dress' the salad.


Monday 28 September 2020

Tomato Soup - 1 (Thermomix recipe)

At this time of year (Sept/Aug) we find we have a massive amount of tomatoes in the greenhouse. Apart from tomato sauces for pasta etc, I find a soup a perfect solution for excess tomatoes.


  • 500 gms of peeled and deseeded ripe tomatoes (fresh) (cores removed)
  • 1/2 red/brown onion - peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small carrot - peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 stick of celery- cut into large pieces
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of double concentrated tomato puree
  • 1 tsp of sugar (or 2 if tomatoes are not that sweet)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh gound black pepper
  • 1 tsp of vegetable bouillon stock (powdered)

Into the Thermomix, running speed 8, drop carrot, onion and celery - 10 secs. Add olive oil and cook speed 1 for 3 mins, 100 deg C. Add tomato puree, tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper and cook speed 3, 100 deg C for 10 mins.

I find the fresh tomatoes have plenty of water in them and so I suggest adding the powdered bouillon direct to the mixture.

Check the level of salt and sugar and add as required and then blitz the whole lot, speed 10 for 30 seconds.

Of course, there is no need to use a Thermomix - its just easier and quicker. You can do all of this in a pan and use a blender when cooked.

Serve with warm, buttered crusty bread......

Monday 14 September 2020

Tomato Chutney

 Quite often I have chutneys that are far too rich and dark and really take too much flavour away from cheese - my favourite 'goto' snack. This recipe hits the spot exactly!

  • Large onion (or red onion) - chopped
  • 800gms of tomatoes - chopped
  • 2 off eating apples - peeled, cored and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • 125g of light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cloves
  • 250ml of cider vinegar

In a pan put all of the ingredients in and stir well. Heat gently and bring to the boil and and simmer well for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When the mixture reaches a thick stage (moist but not wet), spoon into sterlised jars and seal. Allow to cool. 
The chutney is best left for a week or so but if you can't wait......

Serve with crunchy cheddar and a crusty loaf.

Friday 28 August 2020


 Simplicity is the order of the day.....


  • 8 ripe tomatoes - deseeded and diced
  • 10 basil leaves finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • 1/2 small onion - finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of basamic vinegar (you can add more!)
  • salt and pepper to taste (and a little sugar if the tomatoes are not sweet)
  • 4 tbsp of good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Crusty loaf cust into thick slices

Mix the ingredients together and leave in the fridge for an hour or so to marinate but remove 30 mins before serving.

Toast the bread on both sides until golden then spead the mixture generously onto the toast and serve.

This together with a glass of wine in front of the TV - simplicity at its best.

Wednesday 26 August 2020


 A firm favourite in our house! I tend to serve with Mango Chutney as a condiment....

Ingredients (serves 2/3 ish):

  • 220g of smoked haddock
  • 1 cup of long grain rice (I use basmati as I have a sack of it!!)
  • 15ml of lemon juice
  • 75ml of single cream
  • pinch of grated nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 hard bolied eggs cut into wedges
  • 25g of diced butter
  • fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper

Place the haddock in a frying pan and cover with water and then poach for about 10 mins. Remove from the pan and remove the skin and any bones. Reserve the liquid for the rice as below.

The volume of rice needs to have double the quantity of cooking liquid. If there is not enough, then top up with water. Bring this all to the boil and simmer for about 15mins. Preheat the oven to 180degC.

Remove the rice when tender and stir in the lemon juice, cream, flaked fish, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Stir in the eggs with care and then transfer the whole mixture into a buttered baking dish and dot the top with the butter as well. Bake for about 25mins.

Serve with a little chopped parsley, check the seasoning and add Mango Chutney to the side if you fancy it! As the fish is salty, check first before adding any salt. For a richer dish, the rice quantities can be reduced and the haddock and cream can be increased.



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