Home-made tomato sauce

Home-made tomato sauce | H is for Home

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.

Finely sliced garlic and olive oil in a saucepan | H is for Home Finely sliced garlic, tomato pureé and olive oil in a saucepan | H is for Home

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.

Home-made tomato sauce with basil | H is for Home

It’s quick – only taking about an hour – and very straightforward too.

Home-made tomato sauce being sieved through a colander | H is dfor Home Sieved home-made tomato sauce | H is for Home

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.

Storing home-made tomato sauce for freezing | H is for Home

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!

What’s cooking? Good looking!

Samsung built in electric single oven

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.

Samsung built in electric single oven

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!

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Redcurrant jelly

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Jars of home-made redcurrant jelly | H is for Home

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.

colander full of redcurrants picked on our allotment

This week, we’ve made some redcurrant jelly using a recipe from Cordon Bleu Preserving.

Washed redcurrants put into glass jars

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.

Redcurrants cooked in lidded jars in the oven

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!

Weighing sugar to make redcurrant jelly

Despite this, we kept back a couple of cupfuls (to go into a pie) before making rest into jelly… it actually made 8 jars.

Straining cooked redcurrants through a jelly bag

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?

Marzipan chocolate brownies
Serves 8
For the brownie layer
  1. 175g/6oz butter
  2. 175g/6oz caster sugar
  3. 75g/2½oz dark chocolate
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 85g/3oz plain flour, sieved
  6. 40g/1½oz cocoa powder
For the ganache
  1. 75g/2½oz dark chocolate
  2. 75g/2½oz double cream
For the marzipan
  1. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  2. 200g/7oz icing sugar
  3. 2tsp almond extract
  4. 1 egg white
For the chocolate topping
  1. 100g/32½oz dark chocolate
  2. Home-made marzipan chocolate brownies ingredients
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For the brownie layer
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease & line a 20cm/8-inch square cake tin with parchment paper
  3. Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water)
  4. Stir to incorporate
  5. Whisk the eggs and sugar together well
  6. Mix in the chocolate mixture
  7. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder
  8. Pour the batter into the baking tin
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just baked
For the ganache layer
  1. Melt the dark chocolate and double cream together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water)
  2. Stir to incorporate
  3. Once the brownie layer has cooled, pour the ganache over and spread evenly. Allow to firm up before embarking on the next layer
For the marzipan layer
  1. Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and egg white into a food processor and combine until a thick ball of dough is formed
  2. Turn the paste out onto a work surface and knead it a few times. Roll it into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate whilst waiting for the ganache layer has firmed up
  3. Liberally sprinkle some icing sugar on a work surface and roll out half of the marzipan to about ½cm thickness
  4. Cut to size to cover the 20cm/8-inch square brownie layer
  5. Any unused marzipan will keep - covered in cling film - for a month in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer
For the chocolate layer
  1. Melt the dark chocolate and pour evenly over the marzipan. Allow to set completely before 'cutting off the crusts' and slicing into portions
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Recipe organiser

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recipe organiser | H is for Home

This new recipe organiser was a long time coming!

Old recipe ring binder damaged by flooding

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.

Old recipe ring binder damaged by flooding

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.

Recipe organiser showing recipe tabs

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.

Recipe organiser showing a section divider with a photograph of a Kitchen Aid

It also came with 8 section dividers with lovely photographs of aspirational cooking & baking scenes!

Recipe organiser showing weights and measures page

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.

Recipe organiser showing fish section

 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.

Recipe organiser showing a section divider with a photograph of a basket of plums

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.

Recipe organiser showing a recipe for mincemeat and ricotta tart

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.

Recipe organiser showing a recipe for rhubarb tart

Preserved plums

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washed plums in an aluminium colander

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!

spiced plum chutney ingredients

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.

bottled spiced plum chutney

I used recipes from the good old Cordon Bleu Preserving recipe book for both.

stoning plums

The job of stoning was a monotonous, boring job but the resulting preserves were well worth the toil!

plums with spice mixture

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:

1⅓kg/3lb plums
1tbs ground ginger
1tbs ground allspice
2tbs ground mustard seeds
2tbs dried chilli flakes
10 cloves
30g/1oz salt
425ml/¾pt white malt or white wine vinegar
450g/1lb soft brown sugar

  1. Wash & stone the plums and put them in a pan with the ginger, allspice, mustard seeds and chilli flakes
  2. Tie the cloves in a muslin bag and add to the pan
  3. Add the salt and 300ml/½pt of the vinegar
  4. Simmer gently until the plums are soft (about 3 hours)
  5. Put the sugar into a large measuring jug/basin with the remaining vinegar and leave to dissolve. Add to the plums when cooked
  6. Bring to the boil and allow to boil gently until thick (about another 2 hours)
  7. Pour into warm, sterilised jars and screw down immediately
  8. Leave for 4-5 weeks before using

softened plums in a saucepan

And here’s the jam recipe

2.75kg/6lb plums
300ml/½pt water
3kg/6½lb granulated or preserving sugar

  1. Wash the plums, cut them in half and remove the stones
  2. Tie half the stones in muslin
  3. Place the fruit in a preserving pan with the water and cook gently until tender
  4. Add the sugar and heat gently until dissolved
  5. Add the bag of stones
  6. Boil rapidly for about 25 minutes or until the jam sets when tested
  7. Remove the bag of stones and pour the jam into warm, dry sterilised jars. Cover and tie down

plum jam boiling in a saucepan

It’s a deliciously sweet accompaniment to morning croissants.

croissant with plum jam

Mushroom pâté

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Mushroom pate with toast

 

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.

Mushroom pâté

Yield: makes 350g/12oz

Mushroom pâté

Ingredients

  • 250g/9oz mushrooms
  • 30g/1oz butter
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
  • 250g/9oz cream cheese
  • sea salt & cracked black pepper to season
  •  
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Instructions

  1. Clean and trim the mushrooms before slicing thinly
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat
  3. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until softened stirring to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan
  4. Cook until the liquid released by the mushrooms all but evaporates (10-15 minutes)
  5. Allow to cool before spooning into a mini-food processor and blitzing for 20-30 seconds
  6. Add the cream cheese to the food processor and blitz again until well combined
  7. Season with sea salt & cracked black pepper to taste
  8. Decant into sterilised jars and refrigerate. Once opened, consume within 7 days

Notes

Delicious slathered over freshly-baked ciabatta!

http://hisforhomeblog.com/cookery/mushroom-pate/