Tudor Quince Pie

This pie is my interpretation of one in Thomas Dawson’s The Good Housewife’s Jewel, first published at the end of the 16th century, and the latest in my new series of historical recipes. I’ve followed his suggestions for both pastry and filling as faithfully as I can, because although Dawson gave more detail than many of his contemporaries, there’s still plenty of room for guesswork and because I’ve adapted it to modern tastes. Continue reading

Green Tomato Tarte Tatin

If you grow your own tomatoes you’re probably eyeing them and wondering if they’re all going to ripen now the days are shortening (and let’s not even mention the dreaded blight). If you do find yourself with a lot of green tomatoes on your hands this is a good recipe to have handy. Continue reading

Plum and Ginger Chutney

It’s been a phenomenal year for plums here in our part of Suffolk and we’ve been in a race with the wasps to see who can get there first. Luckily, we have so much fruit, there’s plenty left for wildlife of all sorts.

The last to ripen have been the black bullace and damsons. The bullace tree in particular is so laden, the plums are hanging like bunches of grapes. As the jam cupboard is already full, we opted for a chutney and I honestly think it’s one of the best we’ve ever made. Continue reading

Glazed Beetroot Salad and Beet Leaf Frittata

Him Outdoors has been growing a mixture of red, yellow and stripey beetroot and for once I managed to dig them up while they were still tiny. They had heroic quantities of fresh, unblemished leaves and I hate waste, so I doubled up on the beetroot to use both tops and roots. Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Rhubarb

Image of rhubarb growingThe spring equinox has whizzed by already and we’re officially in the Everything’s Burgeoning In The Garden phase of growing – and yet we’re still in the period known as the hunger gap, when there are few fresh fruits or veg ready to harvest locally.

One exception is rhubarb, either bright pink and forced in the growing sheds of the famous Rhubarb Triangle of west Yorkshire or like ours, already poking up in the veg patch. Continue reading

Medlar Tart

“Take medlars that are rotten, strain them, and set them on a chaffing dish of coals, season them with sugar, cinamon, and ginger, put some yolks of eggs to them, let it boil a little, and lay it in a cut tart. Being baked, scrape on sugar.” The Accomplisht Cook, Robert May, 1660/1665.  Continue reading

Damson and Apple Cheese

Image of damson treeWe have masses of damsons this year, one of my favourite stoned fruits. Rather than endless pots of jam, I decided to make a damson cheese, which we love to eat with actual cheese.

A fruit cheese is denser than a jam, softer than a fruit leather. If you’re familiar with membrillo, or quince cheese, you’ll get the idea. Damsons are easier than quince to source and I reckon the result is just as good. Continue reading

Beetroot and Balsamic Pickle

It’s approaching that time of year when if you have a garden, everything comes at once and you have a glut of something or another (usually courgettes) and if you don’t, reasonably priced fruit and veg are available in bushel loads at farmers’ markets and you find yourself perhaps buying more than you can eat straight away.

Continue reading

Baby Beet Salad

I’m a recent convert to beetroot. I’d always hated them after being force-fed pickled beets at infants’ school, but a recipe in Olia Hercules lovely book Kaukasis taught me that they are a root to be savoured, not spat out (sorry, I was only four and a half). Continue reading