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

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

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

Cheese Plea(se)

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

Savoury Granola

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

Home-made Crumpets

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

Goat’s Cheese, Cranberry and Orange Salad

In January it is traditional to beat yourself up over all the carbs and chocolates you’ve consumed over Christmas and vow to go on a diet. I am not advocating this. Instead, I’m offering you a bright, refreshing salad  – don’t panic, it has warm things in it – which should give even the most jaded taste buds a kick up the whatsit. Continue reading