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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Perfectly English oven-baked recipes for St. George’s Day

Perfectly English oven-baked recipes for St. George's Day

In England, we seem to love sticking things in the oven. The Americans grill, the French sauté and the Germans brew, while here in England we won’t touch it if it hasn’t got that oven-gilded glow. As St. George’s Day is on a Sunday this year, we figured there was no better time to do a little baking in the true English spirit, but we think well try to change things up a bit. The oven will still play a central role – don’t worry, but let’s see if we can’t come up with a few creative ideas to make St. George proud. Here’s our run down of some favourite recipes for St. George’s Day.

Oxtail stew

Jamie Oliver's oxtail stew

This recipe comes straight from Jamie Oliver and is sure to please any crowd. From the look of it, it seems like a typical English stew, but delve a little deeper and you’ll see that it’s anything but. The fantastically chic ingredient oxtail is tender and delicious, and the addition of dark fruits and spices makes this one a true adventure.

Ploughman’s scones

Ploughman's scones

Ploughman’s + scones = English overload. It’s also delicious! You might have trouble deciding whether these sweet and salty morsels are best for breakfast, lunch, dinner or tea, but we say why not munch on them all day long? Fresh fruit and fluffy, cheesy scones will remind you why it’s so great to be English.

English muffin pizzas

English muffin pizzas

We owe it to the English muffin to top it with everything humanly possible, and just when we thought that that had already been done, in walked the English muffin pizza. All you need is to toast a few English muffins, top them with tomato sauce, cheese and your favourite ingredients, and stick them in the oven. They’re a perfect idea for a movie night or a St. George’s Day party with friends. If you’re worried about your oven being occupied by pizza-making fiends all day, you can always order the sides on one of the UK’s many food delivery apps such as the Hungry House app. Don’t worry, we won’t tell!

Caramel and whiskey bread pudding

Caramel and whiskey bread pudding

This traditional dish is known for having origins in the poorest of houses in the country, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t do a bit to turn it into something fit for a king. This bread and butter pudding uses thickly cut bread, Irish whiskey, raisins and salted caramel to make every bit moist and exploding with flavour.

Manchester tart

Home-made Manchester tart

An incredible, decadent dessert or accompaniment for tea, the Manchester tart makes the top of the list for English tarts. This reimagined recipe was crafted by the renowned English chef Marcus Wareing and includes caramelised bananas, jam and thick cream. Making it isn’t so hard; it’s the waiting an hour while it cools in the fridge that’s the difficult bit!

Bonus: Dragonfire gin & tonic

Dragonfire gin & tonic

One last bonus to pay homage to St. George’s famous nemesis, the Dragonfire gin tonic is a colourful and creative take on the classic cocktail. It’s easy enough to make, just make a classic gin and tonic, add a spritz of mango juice and garnish with a thick wedge of dragon fruit.

What’s your favourite English dish?

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The cost of eating in versus eating out

Vintage industrial decorated restaurant

Staying in instead of going out has always been the desirable option for those looking to save money. But when it comes to eating in versus eating out, how much do you really save? How does cooking up a meal for yourself match up to eating in a restaurant?

Here, we look at how much it costs to eat the nation’s favourite dishes – both at home and out – in the UK’s 3 largest cities.

What are the UK’s favourite dishes?

In 2014, to celebrate their 25th anniversary, BBC Good Food surveyed 100,000 people on YouGov about their eating habits. Respondents cited the following as being ‘food heaven’ for them:

  1. Roast dinner (43%)
  2. Steak and chips (35%)
  3. Scones, jam and clotted cream (30%)
  4. Apple crumble (29%)
  5. Chocolate brownie (23%)
  6. Lasagne (22%)
  7. Pizza (22%)
  8. Spaghetti bolognese (21%)
  9. Strawberry cheesecake (21%)
  10. Steak and ale pie (20%)

How much does it cost to make the nation’s favourite dishes?

We’ve calculated how much it costs to make the dishes at home, to see what the cost of eating in may be.

We’ve chosen to calculate the costs of ingredients from Tesco, the UK’s leading supermarket with 28.1% of the market share, and the top-rated recipe on BBC Good Food. The total cost is based on the cost to buy all of the ingredients needed.

Roast chicken dinnercredit

Roast dinner (43%)

Recipe: One-pan roast dinner

  • 1½ kg chicken
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 50g softened butter
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 750g potatoes, chopped into roastie size
  • 500g carrots, chopped into chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Marmite

Total cost: £15.54

Grilled steak and chipscredit

Steak and chips (35%)

Recipe: Steak, chips & quick pepper sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large potato, cut into chunky chips, skin left on
  • 1 fillet steak
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 125ml beef stock
  • 2 heaped tbsp extra thick double cream

Total cost: £8.57

Scones with jam and clotted creamcredit

Scones, jam and clotted cream (30%)

Recipe: Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

  • 350g self-raising flour, plus more for dusting
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 85g butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 175ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Squeeze lemon juice
  • Beaten egg, to glaze
  • Jam and clotted cream, to serve

Total cost: £9.23

Apple crumblecredit

Apple crumble (29%)

Recipe: Apple & blackberry crumble

  • 120g plain flour
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 300g Braeburn apple
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30g demerara sugar
  • 115g blackberries
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Ice cream, to serve

Total cost: £10.53

Chocolated browniescredit

Chocolate brownie (23%)

Recipe: Best-ever brownies

  • 185g unsalted butter
  • 185g best dark chocolate
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 50g white chocolate
  • 50g milk chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275g golden caster sugar

Total cost: £10.34

Plate of lasagnecredit

Lasagne (22%)

Recipe: Lasagne

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot (about 100g/4oz) finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 140g pack Cubetti di Pancetta
  • 500g pack beef mince
  • 500g pack of pork mince or British veal mince
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 500ml red wine
  • 400g dried pasta sheets
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1½ litre of milk
  • 1 onion, thickly sliced
  • 3 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves
  • 100g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • Grating of nutmeg

Total cost: £25.38

Stone baked pizza

Pizza (22%)

Recipe: Pizza margherita in 4 easy steps

  • 300g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast (from a sachet or a tub)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 100ml passata
  • Handful of fresh basil, or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 125g ball mozzarella, sliced
  • Handful of grated or shaved Parmesan
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Handful of basil leaves (optional)

Total cost: £8.97

Spaghetti bolognaise

Spaghetti bolognaise (21%)

Recipe: The best spaghetti bolognese

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2-3 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
  • Small pack of basil, leaves picked, ¾ finely chopped and the rest left whole for garnish
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 125ml red wine
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 75g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
  • 400g spaghetti
  • Crusty bread, to serve (optional)

Total cost: £19.29

Strawberry cheesecakecredit

Strawberry cheesecake (21%)

Recipe: Strawberry cheesecake in 4 easy steps

  • 250g digestive biscuit
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 600g soft cheese
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 284ml pot of double cream
  • 400g punnet strawberry, halved
  • 25g icing sugar

Total cost: £9.93

Steak pie and chipscredit

Steak and ale pie (20%)

Recipe: Proper beef, ale & mushroom pie

  • Small handful of dried porcini mushrooms (about 10g)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg braising steak
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 300ml dark ale
  • 2 beef stock cubes mixed with 400ml boiling water
  • Small bunch each of thyme, bay leaves and parsley, tied together
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons, or chopped rashers
  • 200g chestnut mushroom, halved
  • 650g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 250g lard or cold butter (or half of each), diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten, to glaze

Total cost: £27.35

Eating out

The nation’s largest cities

In order to determine the cities to examine in this research, we’ve chosen the 3 largest cities by population size, according to Centre for Cities:

  1. London
  2. Birmingham
  3. Manchester

Calculating the cost of eating out

To determine the cost of eating out, we’ll examine the top restaurants and take-aways on TripAdvisor in that city, that sell the dishes.

Included in the list of restaurants is the average price range as specified by TripAdvisor. This will dictate how much it costs to eat out at the top five places in the 3 cities.

Big Ben at sunset

LONDON

Restaurants

  1. Liman Restaurant

Price range: £10-23

  1. The Five Fields

Price range: £55-80

  1. Mr Piadina

Price range: £3-6

  1. Andy’s Greek Taverna

Price range: £15

  1. Typing Room

Price range: £29-£75

Post Box in Birmingham at sunsetcredit

BIRMINGHAM

Restaurants

  1. Adam’s

Price range: £35-£110

  1. The Wilderness

Price range: £50-£100

  1. Original Patty Men

Price range: £7-£12

  1. Wrapchic

Price range: £2-£4

  1. Purnell’s

Price range: £35-£150

Arial view of Manchester at nightcredit

MANCHESTER

Restaurants

  1. Bar San Juan

Price range: £10-£20

  1. Alexandros Greek Restaurant

Price range: £15-£22

  1. Pasha Restaurant

Price range: £3-£12

  1. Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill

Price range: £20-£40

  1. Federal Café and Bar

Price range: £4-£10

This research was created by Oldrids & Downton, who specialise in the sale of dinner sets and other homewares.

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