Beef, Beets and Barley

This is a chunky, nourishing, main course soup, a sort of East Anglian borscht with oxtail and pearl barley. Beef, beets and barley – it’s a real winter rib-sticker and packed with fabulous flavour. Continue reading

Scallops with Black Pudding and a Tomato and Pernod Sauce

I know, Scallops with Black Pudding and a Tomato and Pernod Sauce is a long-winded title for a simple dish but my word, it tastes good. The flavours really complement one another. And it is at least descriptive. Continue reading

Griddled Courgette Rolls

I really felt for Kathy Slack when I read about her tomato disaster, her lovingly nurtured seedlings run over and crushed by a Range Rover in a Cotswold lane. It wasn’t entirely the driver’s fault but anyone who grows their own will feel Kathy’s pain.

It’s one of the anecdotes in her new book, From The Veg Patch, published by Ebury Press. Full disclosure: Kathy is a friend and Guild of Food Writers colleague, but I wouldn’t be writing about the book if I didn’t rate it highly. She takes ten vegetables or fruits and gives ten recipes for each, along with bonus cooking ideas and growing tips. (Getting your seedlings run over is more of a cautionary tale.) Continue reading

Asparagus with Goat’s Cheese Cream

Anyone who has a passing acquaintance with me knows how fond I am of asparagus. My Instagram pal @stephencooksfrench (he makes good food and bad puns) even put it into verse: Linda loved asparagus/She thought it was so yummy/She slathered it with Hollandaise/And put it in her tummy.

And I cannot lie to you, I do love it served that way, but sometimes you want to ring the changes. Continue reading

Salmon Terrines

I hardly dare wish you a Happy New Year but I do sincerely hope the next 12 months will be an improvement on what has gone before. If you’d like to celebrate leaving 2020 behind (and who wouldn’t?) then this is a good start to a meal and to 2021. Continue reading

Confit Duck Potato Cakes

Now that summer has slipped through our fingers it’s time to line up a few comforting autumnal recipes. These confit duck potato cakes can be made small enough to serve as a starter or big enough to enjoy as a main course.

I wanted to eat them with my plum and ginger chutney so the spicing is Chinese-influenced, but frankly you could make them plainer and slap a fried egg on top and they’d still be good. Continue reading

Bigod, That’s Tasty!

Well, Mrs Portly’s only had one week off, but I wanted to share these frankly fabulous little filo pies while redcurrants are still in season.

Crisp, buttery pastry oozing with melty Baron Bigod cheese and redcurrant jelly, offset by the sharp tang of fresh redcurrants. They’re rich but they’re tiny, just a few bites, so they’re perfect as a starter with a few salad leaves or as a warm canape. Continue reading

Broad Bean, Feta and Strawberry Salad

I enjoy a complex curry or fiddly French pastry as much as the next person, but good ingredients don’t always need a lot of faff and hours spent hovering over a hot stove.

Some of the best meals I’ve had have been the simplest – fragrant amber honey poured over thick yoghurt with a handful of chopped nuts for breakfast in Corfu, freshly caught mackerel barbecued on the beach in Ireland, home-grown asparagus drenched in salted butter. And this. Continue reading