King Henry I is said to have died from a surfeit of lampreys. I can’t eel out of the fact that I’m suffering from an overdose of Christmas. Delicious though the mince pies, clotted cream and chocolates were, I’m beginning to look like a galleon in full sail. Continue reading
Crammed with mushrooms, chestnuts and festive cranberries and wrapped in shatteringly crisp filo, this works as the centrepiece for a vegan or vegetarian Christmas dinner. It’s also a useful addition to a bigger spread if you’re trying to cater both for omnivores and those who prefer a plant-based diet. Continue reading
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
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
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
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
I’m talking tempura. And fritto misto. And (can’t resist them) fish and chips. Flour, water and/or beer, a pinch of salt and a lot of oil. What? It’s my party and I’ll fry if I want to. Continue reading
If you’re at all interested in food, you’d have to have buried your head in a bucket of sand to have missed the news that there’s a high profile campaign going on to save the UK’s artisan cheese makers. Continue reading
I don’t know about you but in spite of my good intentions (mastering the art of watercolour painting, getting to grips with my abysmal French and Spanish language skills, reading improving books), the Coronavirus lock-down has led to me gorging on trashy novels, trashier TV programmes and an awful lot of snack food. Continue reading
Shop-bought crumpets can, as Elizabeth David said with characteristic disdain in English Bread and Yeast Cookery, be “terrible travesties…perhaps…delivered direct from a plastics factory”. Though I’ve eaten my fair share of those, toasted and slathered in butter, home-made are in a class of their own. However, they are tricky to get right. Continue reading