In My Kitchen


Sunday, 31 August 2014

In my kitchen this week were greengages.

And a dish of eggs poached in the remains of a pork, chorizo and chickpea stew. I think this is one of the best ways to use up the saucy leftovers from a stew. Grated cheese is a good addition thrown over the eggs and allowed to melt.

There was also baked breaded chicken. Easily made by bashing chicken breasts until thin between pieces of cling-film before flouring, egging and breadcrumbing. I use a rolling pin for the bashing. You can leave the chicken whole as big schnitzel-like pieces or cut them smaller as I did here. My breadcrumb mixture has some parmesan and herbs added to it and the bread I used was leftover crusts which I had in the freezer. I poured a thin layer of oil on a baking tray before arranging the breaded chicken on it. Then I turned the pieces over so that each side was nicely oiled. I baked them in a hot oven for about 25 minutes. You can of course fry them instead which is what I would have done if I had only been cooking for two.

There was a leek, sage and cheddar tart.

And a carrot and coconut cake which was very good. It's a variation on the Spiced Carrot Traybake from Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake book. I left out the walnuts and added 6oz coconut.

A fish pie made an appearance on Thursday made with smoked haddock and cod. Tasty but bit heavy on the mash.

Saturday lunch was these baguettes smothered with caramelised onions, mushroom and cheese.

And last night I tried a new pudding recipe from The Pudding Club Book sultana and butterscotch pudding. It's one of those puddings where you pour lots of liquid over the top before baking and it makes its own delicious sauce underneath. It was lovely but we did feel very full afterwards.


August you were lovely but September you are full of promise. Katie and Tom renew their studies (I use that word loosely) and by the end of the month George will finally be off to university and I will have to get used to cooking for four instead of five.

Damsons Again


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

What can I say? I love damson chutney and I love damson gin. I love the annual ritual of making both. Sometimes I make damson jam and damson jelly as well, sometimes I stew them and purée them for the freezer, but chutney and gin are non-negotiable. Come back this time next year and I'm pretty sure I'll be posting the same picture of my chutney and the same picture of my big jar of damsons, sugar and gin.

For even more of the same click on the 'damsons' label at the bottom of this post.

Cornwall 2014


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Cornwall 2014 was the same but different from the previous four years. The same cottage in the same fishing village, the same faces, the same boats, the same smells, the same views and the same photographs. Different because we were one less this year. Tom decided at the last minute not to come with us. Not unexpected nor upsetting but an indication that a new phase in our family life has begun. George had his own adventures to pursue as well and joined us a day after we arrived having been on a coast to coast cycling trip Up North with a couple of friends.

We arrived home yesterday to find Tom alive and well having mastered the art of the omelette but not the art of laundry*. I am now working my way through all our holiday laundry, Tom's laundry and George's cycle trip laundry. I have run out of pegs and washing line.

Cornish cream tea

A salty sea dog

Agapanthus -ubiquitous in Cornwall

She loves the sea

Catching up with friends


Summer was good, but now bring on autumn, I am ready and waiting.

*Unfair, he did do some.

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Just Now I Am......


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Making lists. Holiday lists -things to read, things to do, things to wear, things to eat, things to drink and things for George to remember to do before he leaves the house on Saturday to join us in Cornwall (visions of taps left running, windows left open, laptops left switched on and bursting into flames......).

Reading The Cure of Souls -number 4 in the Merrily Watkins series by Phil Rickman. May need to take the remaining 8 on holiday.

Needing a haircut. Desperately. Another attempt to grow my hair fails and I am hairdresser-bound tomorrow...sigh.

Watching the rain fall.

Hoping I won't be watching it fall in Cornwall.

Looking through my blog notebook at all my post ideas and wondering why I don't feel like converting any of them into actual posts.

Thinking that maybe blogging works best if you don't plan but just go where inspiration takes you, and also that trying to write 15 posts a month is wildly optimistic.

Eating leftover bean soup for lunch with toast and sausage and onion baguettes for supper.

Wishing I hadn't bought so much flipping lettuce again. Just before we go away as well. What was I thinking?

Feeling a breath of autumn in the air.

The Quince Tree will be on holiday for a couple of weeks but may still pop up on Instagram.

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In My Kitchen


Sunday, 10 August 2014

When I could tear myself away from  Merrily Watkins I managed to take a few pictures of what has been happening in my kitchen this week.

~ Saturday breakfast. Scotch pancakes with butter and golden syrup (8 oz self-raising flour, 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar, 2 eggs and half a pint of milk).

~ Baked pork chops with rosemary, lemon and garlic.

~ I picked the whitecurrants which have done a lot better than my red and black currants. I used them all to make this cheesecake. It's very similar to this one For this version I whipped a 170ml carton of double cream and added a 250g tub of cream cheese, 75g sugar and the juice of half a lemon. I spread this creamy mixture over a base made out of 300g crushed digestives and 100g melted butter.

~ Baked salmon with a relish made of chopped sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, capers, lemon juice, basil and olive oil. Served with a salad made of equal quantities of cooked puy lentils and peas, dressed with chopped chives, lemon juice and olive oil (from Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater).

~ Plum and nectarine muffins. A single nectarine and a handful of plums were getting rather squashy. I chopped them up and added them to a basic muffin mixture with some cinnamon.

Tiny snail (not in my kitchen).

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Cake of the Month ~ Plum Traybake


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Let's revive the Cake of the Month post shall we? 

What better way is there to celebrate beautiful seasonal fruit than to eat it naked* and unadorned?

The answer is, of course, to take a picture of it and then add sugar, butter, flour and eggs and bake it. Cake is always the answer.

For this easy traybake I consulted Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book and took her basic all-in-one traybake recipe as a model and added ground almonds and juicy locally grown purple plums. I'm afraid I forgot to check what variety they are but they look like Marjorie's Seedling. If you are wondering what a traybake is I think it's what would be called a sheet cake in North America.

Plum Traybake

Grease and baseline a rectangular cake tin about 9" by 12"

In a large bowl beat thoroughly
8 oz (225g) soft butter
8 oz (225g) caster sugar
7 oz (200g) self-raising flour
3 oz (85g) ground almonds (or 3 oz of self-raising flour)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
4 eggs
4 tablespoons of milk
half a teaspoon of almond extract (optional)

Scrape the batter into the tin and level the surface.

Halve and remove the stones of 9 -12 plums
Slice them or chop them into small chunks or leave halved -as you wish. I sliced mine.
Scatter them over the cake batter.

Bake at 180°c (160°fan oven) for 35-40 minutes

The cake will rise to cover the plums and they will end up on the bottom of the cake resulting in a delicious squidgy pudding cake to eat warm with cream or custard.

A note about almond flavours
I  seem to come across a lot of  people who say they don't like almonds and therefore don't want to eat cakes with ground almonds (almond meal) in them. Far be it from me to tell people what they do or don't like, I do wonder if they are confusing the flavour of sweet almonds with that of bitter almonds. 

Bitter almond is extracted from the kernel of the nut and is the predominant flavour of marzipan and is what you get in those little bottles of almond extract. It is often added to pastries and cakes which also have ground almonds in. I love it. Sweet almond is simply the nut, mild and milky and unlikely to upset anyone.

*In this instance the fruit is naked, not me -that's just when I clean the bathroom.

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