Justin doesn’t normally get involved with the Thursday recipes – well, apart from taking the photos! However, this week, he’s actually done the cooking too. Don’t worry though, you’re in safe hands – as he was a chef for about 15 years before re-inventing himself as Mr H is for Home – and he does most of the savoury dishes in our household anyway.
We mentioned this lovely all-purpose tomato sauce in last week’s pizza post. Most people list tinned tomatoes in their store cupboard essentials, but we always have batches of this home-made tomato sauce in the fridge or freezer.
It’s quick – only taking about an hour – and very straightforward too.
It’s so flexible. The addition of ground black pepper and Parmesan makes for a simple yet delicious pasta sauce. It also provides the base for a myriad of other recipes. You can add all sorts of ingredients to it for some wonderful dishes – meatballs, chicken, fish, olives, roasted aubergines & peppers to name but a few. If you reduce it down and concentrate it a little further it makes the perfect tomato sauce for pizza topping. The recipe can be scaled up to suit requirements. You can also tweek quantities to suit your own taste – more garlicky, more olive oily etc… and add other herbs if you like too.
We make up a batch of home-made tomato sauce every few weeks and put a couple of two-portion containers into the freezer – ready to grab as required.
Click here to pin the recipe for later!
Our foodie posts are some of the most popular here on our blog – we’ve discovered that lots of our visitors especially love cooking & eating cheesecake, malt bread and chocolate desserts. We also know that hundreds (if not thousands!) of our regular readers love trying their luck with our monthly giveaways.
Well, we have a win-win bit of news for all you lovely people! Our friends over at Voucherbox wanted us to share with you a competition that they’ve got going on at the moment.
They have a brand new Samsung built in electric single oven worth £469 up for grabs. It’s something of a miracle oven, it cleans as it cooks – I wish ours could do that!
It’s easy to enter – just answer a very simple question (you’re even given a hint!). The deadline for entering is midnight on the 31st of January. Get on over there… and best of luck!
July sees the start of our food harvesting and preserving season. Last week we made a delicious elderflower ice cream with our home-made elderflower cordial.
This week, we’ve made some redcurrant jelly using a recipe from Cordon Bleu Preserving.
We inherited half a dozen or so redcurrant bushes when we took on our allotment last year. On our last trip down there this week, the bushes were heaving with little red jewels.
It took the pair of us about two hours to pick about half of them. When we got home, we gave them a rinse – they barely filled our small colander!
Despite this, we kept back a couple of cupfuls (to go into a pie) before making rest into jelly… it actually made 8 jars.
We know that redcurrant jelly is usually matched with lamb or game and a dollop or two can go into a gravy for extra flavour. We’ll have to look for some other good flavour matches…any ideas?
This new recipe organiser was a long time coming!
My poor old ring binder that previously held all my recipes had been damaged when our house flooded. It got covered in silt and became more than a little unhygienic.
Luckily, the majority of the recipes I’d torn out and kept from newspapers & magazines had been carefully cut and stored in those clear plastic punched pockets. Most remained dry and were salvageable.
There were a lot of recipes to transfer over and file but the new organiser came with pre-printed tabs with sections for things (that I do a lot of) like baking, preserves, pies & tarts, cakes, desserts etc.
It also came with 8 section dividers with lovely photographs of aspirational cooking & baking scenes!
There were over a hundred sheets for writing down recipes (using a fancy pen in my best handwriting of course!) and a really useful weights & measures conversion chart – I’m always having to look online to convert cups to grams and ºF to ºC.
If, like me, you have lots & lots of loose-leaf sheets of paper with recipes on, this folder is perfect. Most recipe organisers I’ve seen out there are too small and are ring bound which means you can’t add pages to them. This one’s big – it can hold A4-size sheets or even folded A3.
It was a big job that took longer than expected, but it’s now a real pleasure to pull my big, new recipe organiser out from the work bench drawer in the kitchen.
If you like it, there are still a few of this exact organiser available on Amazon or from the publisher’s website, Ryland Peters & Small.
Justin’s parents’ neighbours have a few different fruit trees in their garden. In the past couple of years, we’ve had some of the harvest. Last year we made spiced apple chutney, the year before apple cheese. This year, we picked almost 5 kilos of plums – the sweetest, ripest plums we’d ever tasted!
We both ate half a dozen each in a couple of days but we would never be able to work our way through many before before they began to get over-ripe. I’d already made jars upon jars of fruit jam & jelly this year, so I turned half into spiced plum chutney and half into plum jam.
I used recipes from the good old Cordon Bleu Preserving recipe book for both.
The job of stoning was a monotonous, boring job but the resulting preserves were well worth the toil!
When the chutney was cooking the house was filled with the most delicious smell – I wish I could bottle that alone!
Here’s the spiced plum chutney recipe:
1tbs ground ginger
1tbs ground allspice
2tbs ground mustard seeds
2tbs dried chilli flakes
425ml/¾pt white malt or white wine vinegar
450g/1lb soft brown sugar
- Wash & stone the plums and put them in a pan with the ginger, allspice, mustard seeds and chilli flakes
- Tie the cloves in a muslin bag and add to the pan
- Add the salt and 300ml/½pt of the vinegar
- Simmer gently until the plums are soft (about 3 hours)
- Put the sugar into a large measuring jug/basin with the remaining vinegar and leave to dissolve. Add to the plums when cooked
- Bring to the boil and allow to boil gently until thick (about another 2 hours)
- Pour into warm, sterilised jars and screw down immediately
- Leave for 4-5 weeks before using
And here’s the jam recipe…
3kg/6½lb granulated or preserving sugar
- Wash the plums, cut them in half and remove the stones
- Tie half the stones in muslin
- Place the fruit in a preserving pan with the water and cook gently until tender
- Add the sugar and heat gently until dissolved
- Add the bag of stones
- Boil rapidly for about 25 minutes or until the jam sets when tested
- Remove the bag of stones and pour the jam into warm, dry sterilised jars. Cover and tie down
It’s a deliciously sweet accompaniment to morning croissants.
A few weeks ago on Instagram, I was singing the praises of a delicious porcini mushroom pâté that I’d discovered in Lidl. We had a punnet of mushrooms that needed to be used up so I thought I might try my hand at making my own pâté.
I flipped through a few of our cookbooks for a recipe and soon found one in a little booklet supplement that came with the Guardian weekend newspaper, many moons ago. It was a taster from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Mushrooms: River Cottage Handbook No.1.
I altered the recipe slightly, substituting the butter and garlic for 50 grams of wild garlic butter that I whipped up the previous week. A very simple and easy to make recipe. You can use foraged wild mushrooms (so long as you’re absolutely sure they’re not a poisonous variety); dried mushrooms such as porcini, chanterelle, morel or a mixture; chestnut or just plain ol’ closed cup white mushrooms.