Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Pickled Figs

I get lots of unripe figs from my tree and look for different ways to use them. The first recipe I found to use them was for candied figs. Rachel tried the recipe then came up with another idea. She comes from Sri Lanka and preserves vegetables in a hot spicy pickling paste so had the idea of trying it with some figs and it works well.

Pickled Figs in a Sri Lankan pickling paste
200g unripe figs cut the figs into quarters and boil for 15 min, leave to cool, replace the water, repeat this process and drain the figs.
200g shallots and 10-15 green chillies,  blanch for 5 min then dry on a paper towel

Pickling paste
100ml vinegar
3 cloves garlic crushed
1tsn grated ginger
1  125g jar mustard paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1tsn sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Mix  all the pickling ingredients in with the other ingredients and bottle in sterile jars.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Lemon Polenta Cakes

4 oz butter at room temperature
4oz sugar
2 large eggs
4 1/2 oz SR flour
1 1/2 oz polenta
2 tsp baking powder
1-2 tbs milk
Juice and finely grated rind from 1 lemon
More sugar to taste.

Tip Microwave the lemon on medium for 10-20 secs to get more juice out

Wizz up the sugar butter and eggs in a food processor
Fold in the flour, polenta, lemon zest and baking powder
Mix in the milk to soften the consistency and spoon out into cup cake cases.
Bake at gas 5 till risen and golden.
Pour the lemon juice evenly over the cakes and sprinkle with sugar to taste.
If you prefer it sweeter mix the lemon juice with sugar first.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Compost Matters

 1. The Wormery
Kitchen waste, grass clippings and paper go into the top layer and the worms start to munch. The bottom of the top 3 layers is a fine mesh so the worms can travel between levels and the munchings go through to the layer below.
Once in the second layer below the worms continue to munch. The munchings from that layer end up in layer three as very fine compost. Layer four fills with a dark brown liquid. There is a tap to access it. It is a liquid plant feed that is diluted 1 part to 10 parts water. It's like Guinness for tomatoes, probably even puts hairs on their chests.

Hurry up and ripen!

2. The Compost Bins

Most of the compost-able materials goes into the compost bins. A mix of kitchen vegetable waste, grass cuttings, prunings and hedge cuttings that have been gone over with the lawn mower. To this is added paper and cardboard from those nice boxes that Amazon sends. this keeps the balance of nitrogen and carbon about right, hopefully. The worms help out here too but it much slower than in the wormery. It needs regular turning to speed things up. It's lucky if it gets turned over once in the space of a year but it gets there eventually. Even if if's a bit coarse it's usable as a mulch or mixed with John Innes 3 for growing tomatoes. The last photo shows a much finer grain compost that has had even longer.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Lunch at Galvin at Windows

view from the bar  click for a larger image

I had a lovely meal with my friend Ann on Wednesday. We went to Galvin at Windows on the 28th floor of the Park Lane Hilton. It has a lot of big windows and panoramic views over London. Our table faced towards Hyde Park, the Serpentine and the Royal Albert Hall.

We both chose the same starter and main course but went for different desserts, all very good. The sea bream was good and served with black rice rich with flavours. 
Desserts were followed by some 'real chocolates'  and a jar of soft and fluffy marshmallows. The green ones were flavoured with apple and the orange ones with passion fruit, in my enthusiasm to try them I forgot about photos. We and the sweets moved to a comfy sofa in the bar, overlooking Buckingham Palace and gardens.
We were well looked after by the friendly staff.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Mackerel with Barley Risotto

Maybe it should be called barleyotto as there is no rice in it.
I didn't follow a recipe.

I mug whole grain barley
4 mugs water
1 onion chopped
2 large cloves of garlic
tomato puree 1 dessert spoon
passata or a tin of tomatoes puréed
soy sauce, a good glug
chilli as much or as little as you like.
Smoked paprika as above
2 mugs of chopped veg I used pepper, carrot, French beans peas and sweetcorn

Fry the onion and garlic in some olive oil.
Add the barley and chilli and continue to fry for a minute or two.
Add the water, cover and simmer for one hour.
Add the other ingredients and simmer for another half hour stirring every so often and adding more liquid if needed.

 Serve with fried mackerel.