Spiced Pear Chutney

Spiced Pear Chutney

Spiced Pear Chutney

It’s that time of year once more, and our lovely neighbour has been leaving us bags of pears.

Woke up to that bag of pears that we were given and decided that they had to be turned into something that would last so to the Internets we go.

There were a few different recipes but I came across a recipe on the BBC website that seemed ok, though there were some changes that I wanted to make for personal taste.

The other thing after actually cooking this recipe is that it took a good twenty minutes longer than described, and it filled two jam jars and a small Kilner jar, I would have four decent sized jars sterilised to be on the safe side.

    ingredients

  • 200g demerara sugar
  • 200ml cider vinegar
  • 100ml perry (pear cider)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 10 firm pears, peeled
    and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • ¾ tsp urfa chilli flakes
  • 50g sultanas

putting it together

Into your big pan add the sugar, turmeric, cider vinegar, perry, star anise, cumin, red onions, and ginger. Give this a good stir and then bring to the boil.

Then add the pears and urfa and simmer for 60 mins until the liquid is syrupy and the pears are just cooked. Stir in the sultanas 10 minutes before the end, remove from the heat, then spoon into sterilised jars just out the oven and put lids on.


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It’s Pizza Jim…

Finished Pizza

Finished Pizza

… but not as we know it.

The first recipe up here is one that I think we may have found in an old Guardian weekend article in the 90s, but we just aren’t sure anymore but it was an easy recipe to remember.

A lot of the recipes are going to be veggie with a few fish recipes thrown in for good measure, I’m also not going to judge you on portion sizes as sometimes we can eat the whole pizza and sometimes we save some, and this is the same for the other recipes.

If we’ve taken the recipe from a cook book and have adapted it, I’ll credit the cook book and discuss the changes we’ve made to it, but both of us have been cooking for so long and really enjoy food quite a few of these are from our own heads or from recipes from the mists of time (the 80s!).

Most of the recipes are quite simple and use a lot of the vegetables that are grown on the allotment and we do try to be as seasonal as possible.

    for the pizza base:

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 7g dried activated yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 150ml hand-warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    for the topping:

  • 2 large cooking apples
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 200g goat’s cheese, cut into small bits
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper

Making the pizza base

Put all the dry ingredients into a big mixing bowl and thoroughly combine and make a well in the centre. Add the oil and water to the well and using your hands or a large butter knife combine all the ingredients into a soft slightly moist ball.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for several minutes until the ball of dough is smooth and bouncy. Put in lightly floured bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1½ hours.

In the last 20 minutes of the rising time put the oven on to 230°C and oil a swiss roll tin or appropriate sized baking sheet. After the rise put onto lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so then using a rolling pin roll out to fit the sheet ready to put the topping on.

Making the topping

Once you’ve put the bread onto rise start the topping. Peel, top, and tail the onions then cut into wedges. In a large pan add a couple of knobs of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil and heat to a medium heat. Add the onion edges and start gently frying for about 8 minutes.

As the onions are gently cooking; core and peel the apples, cut them into small wedges then add them to the onions and cook for about another 5 minutes until a little bit of colour comes to the apples.

Putting it all together

Once the base is on the baking sheet, add the onions and apples and spread all over. Dot the top of the pizza with the goat’s cheese and the thyme.

Cook in the pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes until the base and topping are browned and look cooked.


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Spanish(ish) Fish Soup

Spanish(ish) Fish Soup

Spanish(ish) Fish Soup

You know those recipes that have been in your repertoire for so long that you forget the source* and you can make it without thinking?

This is one of those, it is a hearty staple that goes so well with fresh home-made bread with butter, very tasty and very filling, but also light enough to be made all year round.

It’s also very forgiving for substitutes and extras, add carrots if you want, peas instead of broad beans, fresh bulb fennel if you have it, but always leeks not celery.

 


ingredients

teaspoon of coriander seed, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
ground black pepper
2 leeks, finely chopped
teaspoon of sumac
teaspoon paprika
3 medium potatoes, diced
good stock, about a pint
a couple of handfuls of baby broad beans
a couple of large slivers of orange peel
two or three bay leaves
tin of chopped tomatoes
four fillets of good white fish
a couple of handfuls of prawns

putting it all together

Add some oil to the pan and heat the onions on a medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes then add the garlic, black pepper, and coriander seeds, fry for another 7 or so minutes until soft and translucent.

Then add the leeks and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes before adding the sumac and paprika, continue to cook for another couple of minutes then add the potatoes, and the stock and bring to a boil.

Add the broad beans, orange peel, bay leaves, and tin of tomatoes and turn down the heat to a rolling simmer, let this cook until the potatoes are almost cooked, then add the fish and prawns. Let cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until the fish breaks up and is cooked.

We serve with home-made bread and butter, but can be served over wilted greens for more veg if that’s your fancy.

*I’ve just been forcefully reminded (several times and with great emphasis) that my partner invented this and taught it to me.


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Roast Red Onion, Carrot, and Hazelnut Tatin

This was a recipe from the Guardian and sounded really good, not needing much beyond store cupboard ingredients (the puff pastry) it seemed like an easy start to the goal of making at least one new recipe each month.

I’ve already changed the ingredient amounts a little bit as I thought there wasn’t quite enough of the roast vegetables, we also thought that the hazelnuts would be better roughly chopped rather than whole.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium to large red onion
  • 6 medium to large carrots, peeled and cut into smallish chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • half a tsp of salt
  • 30g blanched whole hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 15g butter
  • 15g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150g shop-bought puff pastry
  • a little bit of thyme or savory to garnish

Putting it together

Heat the oven to 230C (210C fan)/450F/gas 8. Peel then cut the onions into eight wedges lengthwise.

The carrot chunks and onion wedges go into a large roasting tray with the oil and salt, toss to cover all the veg and spread out over the base of the tray. Roast for about 25 minutes or until the vegetables start to colour (or a little longer if you like the caramelised edges), add the hazelnuts and roast for five more minutes

About 10 minute before the veg would come out of the over, in an ovenproof frying pan, gently warm the butter, sugar and balsamic vinegar until the sugar dissolves, you can tell when the liquid goes smooth, then up the temperature cook until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the roast vegetables and nuts to the syrup and coat, then let cool for 10 minutes.

Roll out the pastry into a 1cm-thick circle large enough to cover the frying pan. Pile the filling in to the centre of the pan, so there is a bit of a gap all around the edge, cover with the pastry, there will be a bit of a lip but that’s fine, try to tuck this under a bit. Make sure to prick the pastry all over with a fork.

Put back into the oven for 20 minutes, until the pastry is puffed up and golden. Using a tea towel or oven gloves, remove the pan from the oven, place a large plate on top and flip over. Sprinkle over thyme or savory to taste.

For our first meal with this we served it with broccoli, but it would be great with a big leafy salad especially one with a bitter leaf in it.

We also thought it would be really tasty with some feta cheese crumbled over the top.


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