Cheese and Rosemary Scones


I’m not usually one for cheese scones, but Andrea has converted me with this lovely recipe.  This recipe makes eight small scones.

Preheat oven to 210 degrees.

200g SR flour

a quarter teaspoon each of salt, mustard powder and cayenne pepper

40g butter

60g mature cheddar cheese (plus extra for sprinkling)

one tablespoon fresh finely chopped rosemary (plus extra for sprinkling)

100ml milk

Sift the flour, salt, mustard powder and cayenne pepper into a large bowl.  Add the butter (in small, cool cubes) and rub in gently until it looks like breadcrumbs.  Stir in the cheese and the rosemary.  Add the milk and stir gently, using your hand to bring it together into a dough.  Press down lightly until it is 2cm thick, then use a small cutter to shape your scones.  Cover a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and pop the scones onto it.  Dab over a little milk, sprinkle on the rosemary and cheese and then bake in a hot oven for about ten minutes, until well risen and golden.



Beans with Beans

Fry a couple of tablespoons of onion (red, spring, white – any sort, even leek) in a mixture of butter and olive oil until soft.  Add some garlic, one or two cloves, and some mushrooms if you like.  Fry for a further 2-3 minutes.  Now throw in a few handfuls of green beans.  Stir, then add a glass of white wine and some salt and pepper.  Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for up to twenty minutes.  If the pan is going dry, add a little water.  When the green beans are tender, add a tin of flageolet beans.  Warm through, then serve garnished with spring onion or parsley.


Vegetable Pakoras

Four or five large potatoes, diced

One onion (or three shallots), sliced or diced

Four or five handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped

Mix the vegetables in a large bowl.  Add half a teaspoon each of turmeric, ground coriander and chilli powder.  Add a rounded teaspoon each of ground cumin and sea salt.  Grind in some black pepper.  Mix well with your hands.  Add 300g of gram flour, mix, then add a few drops of water, mixing all the time, until you can form clumps with the mixture.

Heat up a large, deep-sided frying pan with oil.  When the oil is really hot, drop in four or five balls of the sticky vegetable mix (about a heaped tablespoon per pakora).  Cook for 4-5 minutes until nicely browned, then keep warm in the oven while you do the rest.

Baked Onions

Sophie Dahl’s ‘Voluptuous Delights’ has seen me through my whole shopping list and menu this week.  I can’t understand why this book is selling for £3.99 in bargain bookshops already – it’s wonderful!  Paris Mash on Monday, Aubergine Parmigiana on Tuesday, Grilled Salmon and Baked Onions on Wednesday…a meatless delight of a week.

I’ll certainly be making these again, as they were deliciously sweet and cheap to make.  Here is the recipe, slightly adapted.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

Peel four smallish onions and boil them whole for twenty minutes, or until the centres are trying to burst out.

Cut them in half and place them inside-up into an ovenproof dish.  Individual enamel dishes are perfect.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Pour over about 150g single cream and sprinkle with up to 50g parmesan or grana padano.

Bake for 25-30 minutes and serve with grilled salmon, Sunday dinner, sausages, a pork chop, anything!

Sautéed Ginger Carrots

DSC_0009[1]It might still be 22 degrees in County Durham, but my taste buds are craving something autumnal, and carrots with ginger are it.  Let’s see if it’s so simple to make that I can write the recipe in just two sentences.

Place a tablespoonful of grated ginger, plenty of peeled carrots (cut chunkily on the diagonal), a sliced onion and – if you want – a few slices of potato into a large, lidded frying pan with a decent knob of butter, a peeled clove of garlic, salt, black pepper and a teaspoonful of dried thyme.

No water necessary:  Just clamp the lid on and cook low-low-low for 30 – 45 minutes, shaking from time to time and removing the lid for the last five minutes if you’d like your vegetables to colour.

Sprinkle with fresh thyme.

Three sentences…oh, well.


Oven-baked Ratatouille


Spurred on by the arrival of Claire-Louise’s copious courgettes, here’s an adaptation of the earlier aubergine parmigiana recipe to make delicious use of them.

1 aubergine-4 courgettes-2 red peppers-sea salt-olive oil-a large onion-3 cloves garlic-3 tins tomatoes-sugar-black pepper-balsamic vinegar-lots of fresh basil-dried oregano-200g mozzarella-100g grated parmesan- 100g gruyère

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan).

Cut your aubergine and courgettes lengthwise into thin slices.  Slice your red peppers.  Line a couple of baking trays and spread out your aubergine, courgette and pepper slices, brushing them with olive oil and sprinkling with salt.

Put the vegetables in the oven for 20 minutes until just browning.

Use a large, lidded frying pan to soften an onion and three cloves of garlic before adding three tins of tomatoes, a teaspoon of oregano and a dessertspoon of sugar.  Season with salt and pepper, then simmer (lid on) for 20 minutes.  At the end of twenty minutes, add a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.

Grease your baking dishes with olive oil.  I like to use lots of little dishes as it makes any leftovers easier to deal with.

Put a single layer of courgette into the bottom of each dish.  Sprinkle with some red pepper, fresh basil and some mozzarella slices.  Put a ladleful of tomato sauce into each dish, enough to cover the courgette.  Sprinkle with some parmesan and gruyère, mixed. Next, repeat the layering, but with the aubergine, fresh basil, mozzarella, tomato sauce and cheeses. Finish each dish with courgette and the mixed grated cheeses.

Put the dishes into the oven (180 degrees, fan oven) for about 20 minutes, until the mozzarella and parmesan/gruyère have melted.

Leave for five minutes before serving with more basil.

A Teeny Tiny Tasty Terrine


I am really missing our usual summer holidays in France, hence the wistfully French taste of a garlicky terrine, perfect with crusty bread and a few guerkins.

You’ll need a 0.5 litre terrine with a lid or a smallish loaf tin.  Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.


A chopped onion and two crushed cloves of garlic, softened in a biggish dod of butter.

200g fatty pork mince and 150g finely chopped pig’s liver (I’d do this in the processor to minimise contact with the offending article)

A handful of breadcrumbs (just take the crusts off and skoosh up a slice of any sort of bread in the processor), 2 teaspoons of soft green peppercorns, a pinch of mace, a sprinkle of nutmeg, a scant teaspoon of sea salt, a good grinding of black pepper, a tablespoon of white wine or marsala and a tablespoon of brandy.

Mix all of the above together really, really well.  Line your terrine with a couple of rashers of unsmoked bacon, then pour in your terrine mixture.  Cover with a few more pieces of bacon and tuck in a couple of bay and sage leaves.

Put the lid on or cover with tinfoil and cook in a tray of boiling water (which comes half way up your terrine) for 45 – 50 minutes.  It’s done when a skewer comes up hot from the middle of the terrine.

By all means, compress your terrine with weights overnight, or just leave it to cool before refrigerating.  Either way, leave it until the next day before eating.