Caprissimo Coffee is full of beans!

1 kilo bags of Caprissimo coffee beans | H is for Home

What’s the first thing that you do when you wake up in the morning? Check your phone? Turn on the TV? Ours is make two cups of coffee. No, I tell a lie – the dog wouldn’t leave us in peace if we didn’t feed him first!

1 kilo bags of Caprissimo coffee beans: Fragrante and Belgique | H is for Home

So, it was a no-brainer saying yes to The Coffee Mate when they offered us the opportunity to review their Caprissimo Fragrante and Caprissimo Belgique coffee beans.

1 kilo bags of Caprissimo coffee beans: Fragrante and Belgique | H is for Home

Caprissimo ‘Fragrante’ is a medium-dark roasted blend of two kinds of Brazilian beans. “warm aroma with nutty, buttery and chocolate sweetness”. The Coffee Mate website suggests it has an “aftertaste of slightly bitter walnuts” – we’d agree. When we tried it, it was reminiscent of the hint of oak you can get at the end of a sip of red wine. That will simply be a matter of preference for fellow coffee drinkers out there.

Our agreed favourite of the two Caprissimo Coffee types, ‘Belgique’ is a combination of 80% Arabica & 20% Robusta coffee beans. Also medium-dark roasted, it’s described as  having a “syrupy consistency… if made correctly, a hard body & strong aroma – with dark chocolate and sweet caramel finish”. Again, we picked up on these characteristics. In fact we’ve just had a lovely cup served alongside our pancakes with maple syrup!

Cup of freshly brewed coffee, coffee beans and coffee grinder | H is for Home

We prefer to grind our own beans because it makes for a better cup. We use an electric grinder that Justin bought me a few years ago. However, if you like the look of the manual one pictured here, we have vintage examples available in our shop.

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A Grand Hamper from Clearwater Hampers

The Grand Hamper from Clearwater Hampers | H is for Home

We’re well into thinking about Christmas now. Festive decorations have started to go up, we’re pencilling in dates to meet up with friends & family, cards and presents have been bought (well, some of them at least)…and we’ve just started picking up all those special food & drink treats. We buy them gradually in various markets and shops – whatever catches our eye – and display them in baskets on a table next to the tree. It’s a lovely sight – and a tempting one too! We’ve just been given an early boost to our haul with this Grand Hamper sent by the lovely folks at Hampers.com. The attractive wicker basket contains a very nice selection of classic Christmas goodies.

Champagne and chocolates in the Grand Hamper from Clearwater Hampers | H is for Home

For starters, many people’s idea of the ultimate treat – champagne & chocolates. Specifically, Autreau Roualet Brut NV Champagne and Hamlet Gold Box assorted chocolates. Will we have the bubbles at breakfast or for a pre-dinner aperitif… decisions, decisions!

Smoked salmon and Serrano ham in the Grand Hamper from Clearwater Hampers | H is for Home

Or perhaps the champagne will be sipped alongside smoked salmon or cured meat canapés – another delicious option. The hamper contains both traditional Scottish smoked salmon and Spanish Serrano ham.

Cheeses in the Grand Hamper from Clearwater Hampers | H is for Home

Next we have some fabulous extra mature cheddar – Black Bomber from Snowdonia in Wales – great name and a great cheese. And what better to accompany it with than the Tracklements damson cheese? This tangy chutney works well with all manner of cheeses. Perfect with pies or the Christmas ham too.

Crackers and shortbread biscuits in the Grand Hamper from Clearwater Hampers | H is for Home

And of course, your cheeseboard will be needing cheese biscuits too. This luxury selection has a variety of textures, flavours and bakes contained within – they’ll work well with those party dips. And sweet biscuits get a look in also with these luxury chocolate and toffee shortbreads. A cup of tea and a shortbread for those little quiet moments in amongst all the Christmas madness perhaps.

It’s a fabulous selection of items – a perfect present to yourself or a loved one. We’re certainly looking forward to ours!

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Home-made piccalilli

Home-made piccalilli with pork pie and watercress | H is for Home

This month, I’ve been making a lot of my usual preserves – raspberry jelly, elderflower cordial and the like. One I’ve not made before is piccalilli.

Chopped vegetables, sea salt and water | H is for Home

Growing up, a jar of piccalilli was always prominent on the Christmas dinner table. It used to be a staple accompaniment to the roast ham  – and the cold meat sandwiches, cheese and pies in the following days.

Piccalilli pickling spices | H is for Home

I found numerous recipes in my collection of cook books; all much the same, with slight variations on the ratios of spices. I’ve made the recipe my own by adding mustard seeds and a couple of chillies for bite and colour.

Piccalilli veg and liquid | H is for Home

The preparation takes place over two days – the veg needs to be soaked in salted water (the brine) for 24 hours.

Ladling piccalilli into jars | H is for Home Filling jars with piccalilli | H is for Home

Once that’s done, cooking is a quick 20-minute affair before decanting into jars.

Jars of home-made piccalilli | H is for Home

The piccalilli is best left for at least 3 months before using to allow the flavours to develop. That leaves plenty of time before Christmas!

Save my recipe to Pinterest here.

Home-made piccalilli
Ingredients
  1. 1.4kg/3lbs vegetables (I used 800g cauliflower, 300g courgettes, 160g onions, 125g fine beans, 15g red chillies)
  2. 2l/3½pts water
  3. 200g/7oz salt
  4. 1l/1¾pt distilled white vinegar or malt vinegar for pickling
  5. 140g/5oz Demerara sugar
  6. 1tbsp mustard seeds
  7. 1tbsp mustard powder
  8. 2tsp turmeric
  9. 1tsp ground ginger
  10. 1tsp mixed spice
  11. 1tbsp plain flourHome-made piccalilli ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Dissolve the salt into the water
  2. Into a large mixing bowl, cut all the vegetables into even sized pieces
  3. Pour the salted water (brine) over the vegetables making sure they're all submerged. Weigh them down with a plate and cover the bowl over with a tea towel. Leave to stand for 24 hours
  4. Drain and put the vegetables into a large pan with the vinegar, sugar and spices. Simmer for 10-20 minutes depending on how soft or crunchy you like your veg
  5. Using a slotted spoon or ladle, decant the vegetables into hot, sterilised jars (I needed 5 mayonnaise-sized jars)
  6. Mix the flour into the spiced vinegar and boil for 1 minute before pouring into the jars of vegetables
  7. Seal the lids tightly on to the jars
  8. Store in a cool, dry cupboard for at least 3 months before using
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Vanilla cream with red berries

Home-made vanilla cream with red berries | H is for Home

Have you been watching Wimbledon? Haven’t the Brits been doing well this year? Scrap that – I’ve just watched Murray get knocked out!

Making vanilla cream | H is for Home

Nothing says Wimbledon fortnight more than strawberries & cream. I’ve adapted a Nigel Slater recipe to create a little twist on the classic – vanilla cream with red berries.

Strawberries and grenadine | H is for Home

I planned on using our home and allotment-grown strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants but we didn’t have a large enough quantity that was ripe all at the same time. I made a quick trip to the supermarket for a punnet of strawberries to bulk up our rations.

Home-made vanilla cream with red berries | H is for Home

Slater used orange juice and passion fruits in the original recipe. However, I used a few glugs from a bottle of grenadine syrup I’ve had in the store cupboard for ages. What a fantastic, last-minute idea – it worked brilliantly, with the strawberries especially. From this day forward, I’ll always team my fresh strawberries with it!

Save this recipe on Pinterest for later…

Vanilla cream with red berries
Ingredients
  1. 250g/9oz crème fraîche
  2. 250g/9oz mascarpone
  3. 1 vanilla pod
  4. 800g/28oz mixture of red berries (I used strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants)
  5. 50ml/1 ¾ fl oz grenadine syrup
  6. sprig of mint to garnishHome-made vanilla cream with red berries ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Place a sieve or small colander over a mixing bowl and line it with a piece of muslin (I used a jelly bag)
  2. Spoon the crème fraîche and fromage frais into a mixing bowl
  3. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways with a sharp knife, open it flat and scrape out the dark, sticky seeds. Fold the seeds through the crème fraîche/fromage frais mixture and spoon it into the muslin-lined sieve
  4. Cover the sieve/colander and its under-bowl with cling film (Saran wrap) and leave in the fridge overnight, during which time the vanilla cream will thicken to cheesecake-like texture
  5. Hull & slice the berries (not redcurrants if using), put them into a mixing bowl, pour over the grenadine syrup. Mix gently to cover all the fruit with the liquid, cover with cling film and refrigerate for about an hour
  6. Upturn the sieve/colander on to a plate and allow the muslin and cream to slide out
  7. Carefully peel away the muslin
  8. Spoon the marinated red berries and liquid around the vanilla cream
  9. Drizzle an extra capful or two of grenadine syrup over the top of the vanilla cream
  10. Serve!
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Strawberry ice cream

Home-made no churn strawberry ice cream in a glass coupe | H is for Home

I was planning to bake a loaf for this week’s Cakes & Bakes post but it’s been sooooooo hot that I couldn’t bear the thought of having a hot oven on for hours! I’ve returned to one of my hot summer favourites – no churn ice cream – this time one I’ve not made before, strawberry ice cream.

Puréed tinned strawberries | H is for Home

It may be mid-June and a fortnight before Wimbledon begins, but none of the strawberries in our garden have even begun to ripen yet. That meant that I had to use shop bought ones… but I may make another batch when ours are ready!

Whipped home-made, no churn strawberry ice cream | H is for Home

I’ve used both fresh and tinned strawberries in my recipe – and the result knocks spots off many shop bought brands. I think the secret is in reducing by half the liquid the tinned strawberries are in and adding it to the mix. It really intensifies the strawberry flavour and the sweetness.

Two 1-litre tubs of home-made, no churn strawberry ice cream | H is for Home

Click here to pin my recipe for later!

Strawberry ice cream
Yields 2
Ingredients
  1. 1 tin strawberries in syrup
  2. 600ml/21fl oz double cream
  3. 1 (397g/14oz) tin condensed milk
  4. 300g/10½oz fresh strawberries, finely choppedStrawberry ice cream ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Strain the tinned strawberries putting the liquid into a small saucepan
  2. Simmer the syrup until it's reduced by half. Set aside and allow to cool
  3. Purée the tinned strawberries
  4. In an electric mixer using the whisk attachment whip the double cream, condensed milk and strawberry purée on high for 5-7 minutes until the mixture thickens
  5. Gently fold in all but a couple of tablespoons of the chopped strawberries until evenly mixed through
  6. Decant into a 2-litre lidded container (or two 1-litre containers) and sprinkle the reserved, chopped strawberries evenly over the top
  7. Freeze for at least 4 hours - better still, overnight
Notes
  1. Once fully frozen, remove from the freezer 20 minutes before scooping & serving
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Who’s heard of dock pudding?

Breakfast plate of egg, bacon and dock pudding | H is for Home

Have you ever heard of dock pudding? I hadn’t until this year. It’s a pudding – if you can call it that – that’s very particular to our neck of the woods and this time of year.

Colanders of dock and nettle leaves | H is for Home

It’s a local, Calder Valley dish made of dock leaves, nettles, spring onions and oats – and is traditionally fried in bacon fat. The name ‘dock pudding’ is pretty misleading, not only is it not what you’d consider a pudding, it’s made using Persicaria bistorta. More commonly known as bistort, common bistort, European bistort, meadow bistort, gentle dock or passion dock.

Dock identification | H is for Home

It does however, grow alongside what we commonly know as dock – Rumex obtusifolius – or bitter dock, broad-leaved dock, bluntleaf dock, dock leaf or butter dock. Bistort is quite a bit smaller than dock. I’ve included a photo I took to help you identify the difference. If you’re still not sure about it, wait until June or July when bistort is in bloom. You can’t miss its pretty pink flowers shaped like cotton buds.

Adding oatmeal to dock pudding mixture | H is for Home

There’s a World Dock Pudding Championship founded in 1971 and held annually in Mytholmroyd. It took place just last weekend. During the Second World War, William Brooke Joyce, the last man to be hanged in Britain for treason, mistakenly believed that the people of Yorkshire were starving due to food rationing and were resorting to eating grass. In fact, they were simply enjoying their dock pudding!

Frying dock pudding rounds | H is for Home

I used the recipe from A Yorkshire Cookbook by Mary Hanson Moore and used a metal ring to mould them into perfect rounds. I had mine as a vegetarian option; served on a hash brown with runny egg sitting atop that. Justin had his served with the crispy bacon and egg – his dock pudding fried in bacon fat. We can honestly say that it was really delicious in both dishes. Justin had it again with a full English breakfast and says that in addition to the bacon and egg, it combines well with all other options like sausage, mushroom, tomato, potatoes, fried bread and toast. Dock pudding is a real winner – not only is it naturally foraged, very healthy and virtually cost free – the flavour really enhances dishes. As said, it’s great with breakfast ingredients, but could be used for all manner of other starter dishes and light lunches – or as a main course accompaniment.

Dock pudding
Ingredients
  1. 1 quart snakeweed leaves
  2. 1pint young nettle tops
  3. 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  4. 1 handful oatmeal
  5. small knob of butter
  6. bacon fatDock pudding ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Clean and remove the thick stalks from the docks and nettles and boil with the onions in a little water until tender
  2. Add some seasoning and sprinkle in the oatmeal
  3. Boil again for 10 minutes, stirring all the time
  4. Add the butter
  5. Leave overnight
  6. Next day, fry large spoonfuls of the mixture in hot bacon fat and serve with bacon
Notes
  1. Don't forget to wear protective gloves when picking the stinging nettles and make sure you forage in a place where dogs aren't able to cock their leg!
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Adapted from A Yorkshire Cookbook
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