Quince Conserve

Image of basket of quinces

I was watching food historian Ivan Day make an apple and quince tart on a television cookery programme the other day. Instead of fresh quinces, he used a preserve, the idea being that our ancestors would use it to add the fruit’s flavour long after its harvest season had passed.

It’s a notion that still holds good today. Continue reading

Pear Galettes

Image of pear treeIt’s Murphy’s Law but the gnarled old pear tree on the corner of the house, with its scabby leaves, generally produces better fruit than the ones we planted in the orchard.

We were told it was a hard cooking variety but picked and left in a basket, the pears ripen into honeyed perfection, ideal for this recipe.

These individual tarts are a nifty make-ahead dessert. Continue reading

Pear Chutney

Image of a basket of pearsA well-made mango chutney is a thing of beauty. It must have chunks of mango to qualify and not be a sickly orange slurry (I could rant on about this for ages). It’s easy enough to make your own, but mangoes are expensive, unless you are lucky enough to stumble across a corner shop selling boxes of them dirt cheap. This never happens to me.

What we do have, though, are large numbers of pears. Continue reading

Autumn Fruit Compote

I shall probably be drummed out of the food bloggers’ club for saying this, but I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I mostly make cakes and desserts as presents and when we have guests. Unless it’s tarte au citron, I could eat my own body weight in that.

But I do enjoy fresh fruit and compotes like this: Continue reading

Crab Apple and Sloe Gin Jelly

Image of a basket of crab applesI’ve been drowning in fruit this month, with baskets of pears and crab apples all over the kitchen. It’s a lovely position to be in in many ways but the sheer volume can be a bit daunting, especially when you haven’t actually eaten all of last year’s bounty. I still have bottled pears and jars and jam and jelly in the store cupboard, in spite of giving quantities away to friends and family.

Luckily a friend came and did a bit of scrumping in the orchard but that still left me with more than four kilos of crab apples. As we have already made herb jellies of every description, as well as industrial amounts of chilli jelly, I wanted to do something slightly different. Continue reading

Grama’s Rosemary and Garlic Crab Apple Jelly

Image of apple treeWe have a small tree on the edge of our driveway, half buried in an overgrown laurel hedge. We barely noticed it until one year it started raining little green apples.

It turned out to be a sort of crab apple, or perhaps more correctly, a domesticated variety that had reverted to its wild state. Maybe someone dropped an apple core there many years ago.

The fruits are small and quite sour so I used them to make this jelly, which arrived in Suffolk from the United States via Northern Ireland.

I should explain. Continue reading

Courgette Tarte Tatin

The salad drawer is stuffed, the neighbours are avoiding me and Him Outdoors is mumbling about trip hazards on the garden path. Even the hens have developed an aversion. Yes, the courgettes are running amok again.

H.O. points out that if we grew fewer plants we wouldn’t have a problem. But I always worry that if we only plant a couple, the slugs will eat them and – shock! horror! – I would have to buy my courgettes. So I’m always on the look-out for recipes to use the surplus.

This courgette tarte tatin makes a tasty vegetarian meal for at least four people, Continue reading

Slow-Cooked Borlotti Beans

Image of a basket of borlotti beans

I love these pink-speckled climbing beans. They’re a big favourite in Italy and with good reason. Cooked, they have a creamy centre while holding their shape, although sadly their freckles disappear and they turn a rather uninteresting brown. The ones we planted in the garden aren’t cropping yet but they are available in the shops.

I first tasted a version of this recipe in the kitchen of the excellent Pea Porridge in Bury St Edmund’s Continue reading

Barbecued Sweetcorn with Chilli and Lime Butter

Image of sweetcorn growing in the gardenIt’s hard to beat fresh sweetcorn, just picked and thrown straight into a pot of already simmering water, so the sugars don’t have time to turn into starches.

But I’ve been having a freezer clear-out in anticipation of this year’s fruit and veg harvest and the imminent arrival of a whole lamb. Well, not whole, obviously it will have been neatly butchered but anyway I need the space. Lurking in the depths were a couple of bags of last year’s corn crop.

There’s nothing wrong with frozen sweetcorn if it was fresh when it was frozen, if you see what I mean.  The only time sweetcorn is nasty is if it has been sitting on the shelf for too long and has turned shrivelled and tasteless. Ours was plump and juicy but I wanted to spike it up to eat alongside some steaks with Argentinian chimichurri sauce, so this is what I did. Any leftover butter can be frozen, well-wrapped, for a month or two.

Barbecued Sweetcorn with Chilli and Lime Butter

Image of barbecued sweetcorn with chilli and lime butter


8 corncobs, husks and threads removed

100g salted butter, softened at room temperature

1 medium-hot red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped

A small handful of fresh coriander, chopped

The zest of 1 lime

A squeeze of lime juice


Preheat your barbecue. To make the chilli and lime butter put all the ingredients except the sweetcorn (obvs) in a bowl and mash together with a fork.

Scrape onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll as tightly as possible into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of the clingfilm together. Place in the fridge to firm up.

Image of corncobs with a roll of chilli and lime butter

Bring a large pan of water to the boil on the stove and cook the sweetcorn at a brisk simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Frozen sweetcorn will probably need less time. Drain and allow to cool for five minutes or so.

Brush the sweetcorn with a little oil and cook on the barbecue for about 10 minutes, turning from time to time, until bits of it are tinged with brown. Mmmm, you can see those sugars caramelising.

Image of sweetcorn on the barbecue

Put the corn on a big platter, cut the butter into thin circles and use it to top the corncobs, although it’s very good with grilled meat or fish too.