Do you get to feeling nibbly late afternoon? Does your mouth start watering as you fantasise about stuffing large handfuls of salt and vinegar chips into your mouth alongside stacks of delicious lovely cheese? Well, friends, have I got a deal for you. Because while […]
I am busy looking after my garden, or is it looking after me? It’s working hard, growing many of my favourite treats, including raspberries, zucchinis and cucumbers. My rangy, imperfect little beginner’s garden is very restorative. I can nurture my plants and enjoy some success, […]
Cheese is pretty much my number one indulgence when it comes to Christmas. I don’t say indulgence with the purpose of getting all judgmental about food (far from it – one of my main approaches in my blog is to enjoy all food without fads or fashion). I say it because at Christmas I indulge my culinary curiosity by selecting a cheese or two to share with my family and loved ones, something special or unusual that I wouldn’t have just any old day. I’ve found some true favourites over the years, including Kingsmeade Blue and Over the Moon Goat Cheese.
Not that this post is about cheese, but rather one of my favourite condiments, the mighty chutney. I don’t know about you but I find it hard to think about chutney without thoughts of a lovely great slab of cheese, preferably something strong or sharp.
I used to be terrified of making chutney. The dire warnings of my childhood about boiling sugar, coupled with the fact that you had to sterilise jars, made me think it was way out of my league. Slowly but surely however I have grown my chutney confidence.
This recipe is a good one for Christmas because it is just that little bit special to go with little-bit-special cheese. It’s quite sweet and the brandy gives it a touch of something festive. Red currants, combined with peaches, makes it appropriately festive for our Antipodean Summer Christmas, and I am very lucky to have a batch of currants to hand from my sister’s beautiful garden.
Believe me, making chutney is out of nobody’s league. Need a gift at the last minute? Chutney. Have to contribute something for a holiday season dinner? Chutney. If you can make sauce you can make chutney – just put all of the ingredients in a pan and boil.
Happy Christmas everyone, I hope it’s restful and fun.
1kg peaches, stones removed and cut into chunks
1/2 C red currants (dried are perfectly fine if you can’t get hold of fresh ones)
1 C brown sugar
1 C malt vinegar
100 mls brandy
2 t chilli powder
2 t five spice powder
1 t yellow mustard seeds
1 cinnamon stick
5 cardamom pods, squashed so the seeds can escape during cooking
Place all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for approximately one hour, stirring from time to time, until the mixture thickens.
Remove from the heat, spoon into sterilised jars and seal.
I’m in excellent company – Wallace, Gromit and I all love Wensleydale cheese. Crumbly, dense and savoury, Wensleydale originates from Wensleydale, Yorkshire, where it began life as a ewes milk cheese made by French Cistercian monks. It’s now made across the UK from cow’s milk, although only that made in Wensleydale is permitted to call itself Yorkshire Wensleydale.
If you like cheddar I suspect you’ll like Wensleydale. It has a very similar texture and crumbles as pleasingly. It’s a little sweeter, with a hint of the sweet nuttiness of Gouda or Jarlsberg, and lighter in colour.
It goes delightfully with fruit to the extent that some brands even come studded with cranberries. In this recipe I have paired it with some raspberry wine vinegar for that fruity tartness, and some roast pepper to bring out a little sweetness. Give it a try – it’s just that little bit different from the salads many of us are filling ourselves with in this post-Christmas time of year!
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
2 C salad greens
1 C lightly cooked asparagus spears (if in season)
1 T raspberry wine vinegar
3 T olive oil
75g Wensleydale cheese
Preheat the oven on to 200 degrees Celsius. Place the red pepper in an oven roasting tray, lightly drizzle with oil and cook until softened and slightly browned. Cool.
Place salad leaves and cooled pepper in salad bowl. Arrange asparagus spears around the top.
Using a cheese slice (or vegetable peeler if you don’t have a cheese slice handy!) shave the Wensleydale across the top of the salad.
Place the raspberry wine vinegar, olive oil and cracked pepper into a screw top jar and shake well until combined.
To serve, pour over the vinaigrette and toss the salad. Eat immediately.
Apples apples apples everywhere I look right now. So it’s a good thing I like them so much and an even better thing that I am still resolutely in the apple recipe section of the Edmonds Cook Book. Today I bring to you Edmond’s Apple Shortcake Squares.
What’s special about shortcake as opposed to just regular cake then? I didn’t know either but fortunately trusty Wikipedia was onto it again. Shortcake goes back to at least 1602! And we know this because the great bard himself wrote the character Alice Shortcake in the Merry Wives of Windsor. The short part of things is because the cake ingredients form a shortened crumbly dough, like a shortbread, and it’s baked to set into a cake at a reasonably high temperature.
Strawberry shortcake is the most famous example, first appearing in England where it was served hot with butter and cream. Yes, the idea of all that melty sweet goodness makes my mouth water too. But for true appreciation of strawberry shortcake we need to head to the States, where 14th June is National Strawberry Shortcake Day, the official day of celebration for this delicious treat. It stems from the tradition of celebrating the Summer fruit harvest with strawberry shortcakes. A great tradition indeed as far as I’m concerned.
Back here in Aotearoa I’m supposing apples were more plentiful than strawberries, and hence the good writers of Edmonds made sure the New Zealand home cook could still have a trusty fruit-based shortcake in their repertoire. It’s a good thing they did too, I found this very tasty and also very easy to make. If the shortcake sounds suspiciously like making pastry to you, don’t be put off. It is truly a minimal faff recipe, which is my main criteria for baking, frankly. And with our lovely apples being all seasonal and delicious right now, I promise this will prove popular if you need to bring a plate.
Edmond’s apple shortcake squares
- 3 apples, peeled and sliced
- 2 T sugar
- 2 T water
- 1 t lemon zest
- Pinch cinnnamon
For the shortcake:
- 1 & 3/4 c plain flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 125 g butter
- 3/4 c caster sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 T milk
- 1 T caster sugar
- Icing sugar for sprinkling on the top
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcsius and grease and line a 22cm baking tin so that the baking paper comes over the top of the sides of the tin (you’ll need it later to hoist out the shortcake).
Simmer the apples with the water, lemon and cinnamon in a saucepan over a low heat until cooked and set aside. While the apples are cooking, make the shortcake.
Sift the flour and baking soda. Cut in the butter and rub it around with your fingers until it looks like clumpy breadcrumbs. Add the water, milk and egg and mix quickly until it comes together into a ball.
Divide this in half. Roll out one half of the dough with a rolling pin until and into the baking tin so it lines the base and sides. Place the apples on top.
Roll the other half of the dough out on a floured board with a rolling pin, until it as long and wide as the baking tin. Place it over the apples and pinch it together with the first piece of dough, so it encases the apples. Brush the top with water and sprinkle on the caster sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then removing the shortcake from the tin, lifting it out by the extra baking paper peeking over the sides of the tin. Dust with icing sugar and cut into squares.
One of the delightful things about days off, along with gleefully sitting around in your pants for as long as you fancy and not removing your slippers EVER, is ample amounts of time to whip up special treats for favourite people. My lovely Mum’s […]