Enjoying Christmas

I was going to call this Surviving Christmas but that felt too miserable and Scrooge-like. I’ve just read Jay Rayner’s account in Observer Food Monthly of his family Christmases, past and present (the story of his mother un-stuffing the turkey is priceless). He says people expect something magnificent of him, being a food writer, but in fact he has simplified the festive meal. My family goes one further. Continue reading

Mrs Portly’s Kitchen Classes Are Here!

It’s official! Mrs Portly’s Kitchen Classes are up and running! Well, they’re up, in that the website has gone live. They start running in January, just in time to put a gift voucher on your Christmas list. 🙂  Continue reading

Ox Cheeks with Quince and Pomegranate

Beef, or ox, cheeks are perfect for slow cooking, cheap and full of flavour. They’re well worth seeking out. A good butcher should be able to help and you can also ask him/her to trim them up for you, although that’s easy enough to do at home.

I’ve cooked them here with quince and pomegranate in a Persian/Iranian-inspired stew. Meltingly soft meat and a gently spiced, sour/sweet fruity sauce – delicious.This is one of the best things I’ve made this year. Continue reading

Candied Orange Peel, Chocolate Optional

Hands up, who eats oranges and throws away the peel? That’d be me, most of the time, and what a waste it is. I was prepping fruit for a salad the other day and my natural thriftiness, I’m happy to say, got the better of me so I made these. Continue reading

Mince Pies with Hazelnut Frangipane

I’m not going to mention the C-word. I’d quite like the leisure to enjoy autumn before getting into all that winter malarkey, but scarily there are only 12 weeks to go. As I keep seeing pictures on social media of shop-bought mince pies I thought it might be a good time to share this recipe.

Continue reading

Emergency Chicken

Pic: Catherine Grassin Hart

If you follow me on social media you’ll know that I’m finally getting my long-promised cookery school off the ground, hurrah! Planning the courses is enormously satisfying. So is testing them on my long-suffering friends and guinea pigs (see left: I’m not telling you what we were laughing about).

Writing legal requirements like terms and conditions and privacy and cookies policies is less exhilarating. They’re now in the hands of a solicitor for what he rather hilariously and all too aptly calls a sanity check.

Continue reading