Recipe of the week……………….spelt.

Mushroom spelt risotto with melted camembert

Spelt is one of the world’s oldest wheat grain varieties. It is great as an alternative to rice in a risotto as it retains a wonderfully crunchy texture and unlike rice, you can add the stock all at once and let the risotto simmer away on the stove – making it low maintenance as well as delicious.

Spelt and Mushroom risotto 2

Serves: 4

300 g spelt grains

15 g dried porcini

150 ml boiling water

100 g butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbs chopped fresh thyme

500 g mixed mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped

150 ml red wine

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

50 g Parmesan, grated

150 g Camembert, sliced

salt and pepper

freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Soak the spelt grains in boiling water for 20 minutes. Soak the porcini in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain spelt and shake dry. Drain and chop the mushrooms, reserve the liquid.

Melt half the butter in a saucepan and gently fry the onion, garlic and half the thyme over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the mushrooms and porcini and stir-fry until starting to soften. Add the spelt and stir for 1 minute then pour in the wine and boil until it is all but absorbed.

Meanwhile bring the stock and reserved porcini liquid to the boil in a separate pan. Add 750 ml to the risotto and cook gently over a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stock is almost absorbed and the spelt, tender. Add a little more stock if needed (any left over stock can be reserved, chilled in the fridge for up to 3 days).

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan and half the Camembert, cover and leave to melt for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small frying pan and add the remaining thyme leaves. Cook gently over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until the butter turns a golden brown. Serve the risotto topped with the remaining camembert and drizzled with the thyme butter.

Tip: Spelt is available from larger supermarkets as well as health food stores.

Recipe of the week…………..pearl barley

Warm salad of roasted vegetables and barley

A great time of year to serve this warm salad – still cold enough outside, but it will soon be time to start looking forward to warmer days.

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Serves: 6

6 large shallots, halved

6 large garlic cloves, left whole

750g carrots, roughly chopped

750g beetroot beetroot, cut into wedges

2 sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 litre chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh coriander

finely grated zest and juice 1lemon

2 tsp cumin seeds

100g Greek yogurt

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan forced 180c and line a roasting tin with baking paper. Place the shallots, garlic, carrots, beetroot, herbs and some salt and pepper in the prepared tray. Add half the oil, 3 tablespoons of the stock and stir well. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for a further 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, rinse the barley in a fine sieve and place in a saucepan. Add the remaining chicken stock and a pinch salt. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the barley is al dente. Strain off and discard any remaining stock. Place barley in a large bowl.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir into the barley with the coriander and lemon juice, season to taste.

Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the cumin seeds and lemon zest for 1 minute until fragrant. Spoon yogurt over the salad and drizzle over the cumin scented oil. Serve at once.

 

 

Copyright Food & Travel magazine, published 2017

Recipe and styling Louise Pickfordf

Photography Ian Wallace

Recipe of the week……….cheesecake

Baked cheesecake with Pedro Ximemez and dried fruit compote

Pedro Ximenez is a Spanish white grape variety. It is used to make the most intensely flavoured, thick, sweet sherry. It pairs beautifully with chocolate and coffee as well as dried fruits and vanilla. Here it adds a festive flavour to a baked cheesecake. Enjoy with an extra glass of this delicious sherry on the side.

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Serves: 8

150 g digestive biscuits, crushed

50 g ameretti bsicuits, crushed

75 g unsalted butter, melted

500 g ricotta cheese

300 ml sour cream

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

150 g caster sugar

grated zest and juice 1 lemon

fruit compote

125 ml Pedro Ximenez, plus extra to serve

2 tbs clear honey

75 g large golden raisins

50 g dried figs, thinly sliced

50 g dried cranberries

1 vanilla pod, split

spray oil, for greasing

Preheat the oven to 150c/fan forced 130c and grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm spring form cake tin with baking paper.

Mix together the crushed digestives, ameretti biscuits and melted butter until evenly combined. Spoon into the base of the prepared tin. Using the back of the spoon smooth the biscuit mixture until flat and well compressed. Chill whilst preparing the filling.

Place ricotta, sour cream, eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a food processor and blend until really smooth. Pour over the biscuit base and bake for 1 hour until just set in the middle (it will puff up around the edges this is fine). Turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake inside with the door ajar until cool. Transfer to the fridge and chill for several hours.

Make the compote. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir gently until just boiling, simmer gently for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Leave to cool. Carefully unmould the cheesecake from the tin, cut into wedges and serve topped with the compote and a glass of Pedro Ximenez.

Tip: If making a day ahead, return the cheesecake to room temperature for 1 hour before serving, this will allow the filling to soften to the perfect texture.

Recipe of the week…………lamb

Roasted lamb shoulder with pumpkin salad

Roast Lamb and Pumpkin Salad

Bored with the same old Sunday roast, well why not get inspired by this delicious alternative? Succulent lamb shoulder rubbed with earthy spices and served with a lovely autumnal pumpkin and toasted almond salad. I far prefer lamb shoulder as it often has more flavour than leg. It’s great for roasting as the fat running through it leaves the meat succulent and tender. Ask your butcher to bone the shoulder for you. This recipe nods it’s head to the flavours of Spain with smoke paprika and sherry vinegar – it is really lovely. I like to serve it with chunky potato wedges and aioli.

Serves: 6

1.5 kg boned lamb shoulder

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

grated zest and juice 1 lemon

4 garlic cloves, grated

2 tbs each chopped fresh rosemary and thyme

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

salad

1 kg wedge pumpkin

1 red onion, thickly sliced

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

75 g un-blanched almonds, toasted

50 g raisins

2 tbs sherry vinegar

1 radicchio, separated into leaves and torn

a few fresh parsley leaves, torn

Preheat oven 200 c. Make a paste with the oil, spices, lemon zest and juice, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and rub all over lamb, cover and leave to marinate for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the salad. Cut the pumpkin into 1 cm wedges leaving the skin on. Combine with the onion, 1 tablespoon of oil and some salt and pepper and place in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning half way through until the pumpkin is charred and tender. Set aside until required. Reduce oven temperature to 180 c.

Place the lamb in a roasting tin and roast on the middle shelf for 1 1/4 to 1/12 hours depending on how you like your meat cooked. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 20 minutes. Drain off as much of the fat from the pan as possible and reserve any lamb juices, keep warm.

Return the pumpkin and onion to the oven for 10 minutes to warm through. Transfer to a platter and top with the almonds, raisins, parsley and radicchio. Whisk together the remaining oil and the sherry vinegar, drizzle over the salad. Slice the lamb and serve with the salad and reserved lamb pan juices.

 

© Recipes Louise Pickford. © Photo Ian Wallace. Image first published in Grazia UK

From jewels to jellies…….

Finally I have gotten around to making crab apple jelly! One of my earliest culinary memories is of my mum stirring a bubbling volcano of sweet juiciness, which miraculously ended up on my toast. I thought jelly went with ice cream (well of course this one could I guess?) but I was just as happy with my teatime treat. I am not totally convinced that at that young age, I truly appreciated the wonderful flavour of crab apples, but I certainly do now. So I wanted to share my weekends work in the kitchen and take you through the process from tree to table.

In spring our tree is covered in the most stunning, vibrant pink and white blossoms and then as we come to harvesting, the fruit has transformed into red and yellow, cherry-sized crab apples, hanging in jewel-like clusters on the laden branches. Here we can see the different shades of the apples from red and orange through to a soft yellow colour.

Literally pick as many as you want, discard any that have started to rot and don’t be tempted to pick from the ground, as it is likely that these will have begun to deteriorate. So far I have picked over 8 kilos. I think it will be jelly and crab apple cheese this year. Once picked, discard leaves, stalks and any spoiled fruit. Rinse really well and transfer to a large saucepan.

Add enough cold water to just cover the fruit. Bring to a fast simmer and cook for about 50 minutes, or until the fruit is pulpy. Pour the fruit and all the liquid through a sieve, lined with a double layer of muslin (or large jelly bag) into a large bowl or bowls. Very carefully tie up the muslin to make a bag and find a good place to hang them overnight, over the bowls, to catch all the juices.

Remove the muslin bags and discard the fruit (the muslin can be washed out and re-used). Be very careful as you do this and do not press on the pulp as the liquid will be too cloudy. It should be a delicate, slightly milky pink, which will clear as it is boiled up with the sugar. Because the crab apples do not contain quite enough pectin (the agent that helps set the jelly) I am adding lemon juice, to help the process along. Pour the liquid into a large, clean saucepan, adding the sugar and lemon juice. * At this stage it is really important to sterilise the jars you are going to use. Wash them in hot, soapy water and place in a preheated oven 100c. and leave them there to dry until you are ready to use them – the jars should be hot when filled.

Stir the liquid over a high heat until it reaches a rolling boil. At this point pop a tablespoon into the freezer to get really cold. Continue to boil the liquid, skimming off the scum that rises to the top, for at least 30 minutes. Remove your chilled spoon and pour a tiny amount of the jelly onto the frozen spoon. Leave for a few seconds and then test with your finger – the jelly is ready if it starts to wrinkle and set. Cook for longer if it is not yet ready.

Very carefully pour or ladle the jelly into the hot, sterilised jam jars, taking them straight from the oven. Wear oven gloves as they will be hot, as will the jelly. As soon as you have used up your jelly and filled your jars, top each one with a clear plastic disc making sure it covers the surface of the jelly and then seal the jars.

Leave the jelly to cool before adding a label – if you try to do this now, the label will not stick to the hot jar. Store the jam in a cool, dark cupboard until required. It will last for several years, but if you do get any mould appear on the top of the jelly, discard it.

And now for the recipe.

Crab Apple Jelly

Makes: 6-7 x 500ml jars

4kg crab apples

1.5-2kg granulated sugar

juice 11/2 lemons

Wash the crab apples, discarding stalks, any leaves and any rotten or damaged fruit. Place in a large saucepan (or 2 smaller ones) and add just enough water to cover the fruit. Bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat for 45-50 minutes, or until the fruit is pulpy.

Cool slightly and then carefully transfer to 2 large sieves lined with a double layer of muslin, or jelly bags, over 2 large bowls. Tie up securely to enclose the fruit. Hang the bags up over the bowls and leave to drain overnight.

The next day very carefully remove the bags, making sure you don’t squeeze at all, or the resulting jelly will be cloudy. Measure the apple liquid and transfer to a large saucepan, adding 7 parts sugar to 10 parts liquid (1 had 2.75 litres of liquid and added 1.75kg sugar) Add the lemon juice, and heat gently, stirring over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Bring the liquid to a rolling bowl and cook for about 30 minutes, carefully removing the scum on the surface as it appears. Meanwhile, place a tablespoon into the freezer to chill. After 30 minutes test the jelly to see if it ha reached the setting stage. Pour a drizzle of the syrup onto the chilled tablespoon and leave for a few seconds. Using a finger push the jelly, which will wrinkle and separate if set.

Using a ladle, spoon the hot jelly into the sterilised jars, top with a clear plastic jelly disc and sell with the lids. Allow to cool before adding the labels.

 

 

 

Recipe of the week…………pearl barley

Barley, roasted vegetable and caramelized garlic risotto

Risotto

Serves: 4
Pearl barley makes a great alternative to arborio rice in risottos as it doesn’t require constant stirring and gives a lovely nutty texture to the dish. Here it is combined with oven roasted vegetables and caramelised garlic.

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 large onions

8 large garlic cloves

250 g carrots, roughly chopped

250 g baby beetroot, cut into wedges

250 g peeled pumpkin, diced

2 sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary

350 g pearl barley

100 ml dry white wine

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

25 g freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus a few leaves

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan forced 180c and line a roasting tin with baking paper. Cut 1 onion into thin wedges and place in the prepared tin with the garlic, carrots, beetroot, pumpkin, herbs and salt and pepper. Add half the oil, stir well and roast for 45-50 minutes, stirring half way through until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, after the vegetables have been cooking for 15 minutes, finely chop the remaining onion. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion with a little salt and pepper for 5 minutes until softened. Add the barely and stir for 1 minute until all the grains are glossy. Add the wine and boil until evaporated, then add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently, uncovered for 30 minutes until the barley is al dente and the liquid absorbed.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir into the barley with the cheese and herbs. Season to taste and serve with extra cheese and basil leaves.

 

 

Recipe of the week…………..Beetroot

The best of the summer is over and I am now starting to look to the more hardy of vegetables in the garden. Beetroot has long been one of my favourite veggies, not only for it’s deep earthy flavour, but also it’s rich maroon colour. You can use pre-cooked beetroot in natural juices for a quick supper or better still, roast baby beetroot in the oven at 200c/180c fan-forced for up 45-50 minutes until charred and tender, adding an extra depth of flavour to this colourful dish.

Autumn pasta with beetroot, goat cheese and toasted pecans

Serves: 4

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

500 g pre-cooked beetroot

400 g fusilli or other dried pasta

200 g goat feta or goat cheese, crumbled

60 g pecan nuts, toasted and roughly chopped

2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

a handful rocket leaves, to serve

grated Pecorino, to serve

Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions and garlic for 10 minutes until golden but not browned. Add the beetroot and cook gently for 3 minutes until heated through. Season to taste.

Meanwhile, plunge the pasta into a large bowl of lightly salted boiling water, return to the boil and cook for 10-12 minutes until al dente. Drain pasta and add 4 tablespoons of the cooking liquid to the beetroot.

Spoon the pasta into bowls and serve topped with the beetroot, goat cheese, pecans and parsley. Drizzle over a little more oil and serve with grated Pecornio.

Tip: You should be able to find ready cooked beetroot in natural juices in your local green grocer or supermarket. Alternatively buy raw beetroot and roast in the oven for about 45 mins. Peel and dice.