Robert Carrier cook box

Vintage metal Robert Carrier cook box with apples | H is for Home

We mentioned these Robert Carrier recipe cards in a blog post just the other day – then lo & behold, we come across a set. Isn’t the Op Art tin box great? There’s something very Mary Quant about it.

Vintage metal Robert Carrier cook box with apples | H is for Home

We’d guess that this particular set dates from the early 1970s. Inside the tin are held a large number of cards divided into the various categories. Robert Carrier was a big name in cooking at this time with TV shows and accompanying merchandise. His style was quite theatrical and camp. American by birth, his wealthy parents went bankrupt in the 1930s Depression. They had to dispense with their servants, but maintained their social life by preparing their own elaborate dinner parties. This was no doubt an influence on young Robert – as was his French grandmother who also taught him to cook.

Initially, he trained and toured as an actor, but also began submitting cookery articles to magazines. He got a big break when given a weekly column for the Sunday Times colour supplement. This brought him fame and celebrity which then led to the books, TV shows and restaurants.

Recipe cards from a vintage metal Robert Carrier cook box | H is for Home

These particular recipe cards are very much of their time – the actual dishes, presentation, serving suggestions and so on. They pack a punch on the colour front, that’s for sure. There’s certainly something of the ‘fancy’ 70s dinner party about them. Abigail’s Party springs to mind – sardine stuffed lemons to accompany the Demis Roussos perhaps!

'Sardine stuffed lemons' recipe card from a vintage metal Robert Carrier cook box | H is for Home

We’ll be putting them into our webshop soon, but drop us a line if you want first dibs – £22 for the tin and recipe cards.

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?

Redcurrant jelly
Ingredients
  1. Redcurrants
  2. 800g granulated or preserving sugar to each litre of juice made
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Instructions
  1. Gently rinse the redcurrants in a colander before carefully removing the stems and putting the fruit into Kilner jars
  2. Firmly cover the jars with lids before putting them in to an oven at 300ºF/Gas mark 2 until the juice has run well
  3. Remove from the oven carefully remove the lids and turn out the fruit into a jelly bag or muslin overnight
  4. Measure the juice and take the correct proportion of sugar
  5. Add the sugar to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or jam pan and warm on a low heat
  6. In a separate pan, heat the juice to boiling point (but don't allow to boil)
  7. Add the juice carefully to the warm sugar stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved
  8. Pour jelly at once into sterilised jars
  9. Allow to cool before screwing the lids on firmly
Print
Adapted from Cordon Bleu Preserving
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

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