Saturday, 31 December 2011

Venison Casserole, again

Repeat of previous Venison Casserole


750g venison (two packs( from Alder's (I'm guessing Roe)
625g chopped onions and shallots
Half a swede
Packet of rhydrated portobello mushrooms and water used to rehydrate
8 fresh closed cup mushrooms
4 large carrots
4 sticks of celery
1 large red pepper
10 steamed sweet chestnuts
Tablespoon of red currant jelly
Sage, bay, thyme
2 cloves Garlic
Half pint red wine
Hazelnut oil

Fry mushrooms and shallots in hazelnut oil in a large wok, decant to casserole.

Fry venison in hazel nut oil in wok, adding a little pepper.

Add mushrooms to soak up juices.

Pour all out into a casserole.

Fry the carrots.

Add the meat pieces back to the frying carrots, cutting the pieces up finely.

Add a large tablespoon of red currant jelly, bring to boil.

Put everything back in the casserole.

Slice celery and red pepper and add to casserole.

Place in oven for half an hour at 200°

Served with new potatoes and cabbage.

Fed us; very sweet.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

German Friendship Cake

Ellie and I followed the recipe we had been given by Rosie, who had been given it by Nancy.

Hello. My name is Herman. I am a sour dough cake. I'm supposed to sit on your worktop for 10 days without a lid. You cannot put me in the fridge or I will die. If I stop bubbling I am dead!

Day 1, You get Herman and put him in a LARGE mixing bowl and cover loosely with a tea towel.
Day 2, stir well.
Day 3, stir well.
Day 4, Herman is hungry. Add 1 cup milk, sugar and plain flour. Stir well.
Day 5, stir well.
Day 6, stir well.
Day 7, stir well.
Day 8, stir well.
Day 9, Herman is hungry. Do as for day 4 and stir well. Divide into 4 portions and give 3 away.

Day 10, Herman is very hungry! Add the following:

1 cup sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 cup raisins
2/3 cup cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 heaped teaspoons cinnamon
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
2 cooking apples cut into chunks

Mix all together, put in a lined traybake tin.
Melt 1/3 of 250g block of butter, pour over.
Sprinkle with 1/3 cup brown sugar.
Bake for 45 mins at 180 C.
When cold cut into fingers.
Freezes well and good with cream or ice-cream when warm.

We passed Herman on to the Ruddocks and the Greens and kept a quarter to have another go.

One of the nicest cakes ever!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Fish pie

6 tiger prawns
328g Pollack pieces
54g undyed smoked haddock fillet
two sticks of white celery
One onion
Three leaks
6 capers
Two sprigs of flat leaved parsley
25 fresh nasturtium seeds
black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons cornflour

Fry onion, finely sliced celery and leaks until soft.

Place fried onions, celery and leaks in bottom of a large pyrex dish.

Boil fish in milk, remove any skin.

Place fish in dish.
Add 6 capers.
Add nasturtium seeds

Add large knob of butter to milk, then two teaspoons of cornflour, 1 teaspoon of mustard and quite a bit of black pepper.
Add white sauce to fish, add flat leaved parsley.

Peel and slice potatoes. Par boil, drain and let cool. Arrange on fish.

Using a cheese slice cover first layer of potatoes in cheese.
Cover that in a second layer of potato.

Add a layer of cooked brown rice and grated cheddar cheese.

Cook in oven at 150° for 30 minutes.

Reheat to serve.

Beef Casserole

4 shallots
655g steak from Fellers
6 carrots
5 stick celery
1 mug red wine
juice of half a lemon
2 parsnips
Bay, thyme and sage
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon full of cornflour

Fry ingredients in a wok, leave over night, casserole for one and a half hours.

Serve with celeriac mash and brussels sprouts.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Venison casserole


1 kg venison from Fellers (I'm guessing Roe)
300g punnet of closed cup mushrooms
1 kg carrots
1 large red pepper
Three medium onions
Tablespoon of red currant jelly
Sage, bay, thyme
Hazelnut oil
Beef dripping

Fry venison in hazel nut oil in a large wok, adding a little salt, pepper, bay, sage, thyme.

Add juice of half a lemon and leave to stand.

Add mushrooms to soak up juices.

Add a tablespoon of beef dripping: venison is fat free.

Pour all out into a casserole.

Fry the carrots in dripping in the wok, add lemon rinds (waste not).

Add the meat pieces back to the frying carrots, cutting the pieces up finely.

Add a large tablespoon of red currant jelly, bring to boil.

Put everything back in the casserole.

Fry three onions in wok and add to casserole.

Add two cups of water and a stock cube.

Place in oven for half an hour at 200°

Leave over night.

Served with celeriac and potato mash, pumpkin cubes roasted in hazel nut oil, cabbage and home made scrumpy.

Fed us and Chris G, Mim and Mia.

Sunday, 30 October 2011


We were given thirteen dozen pears! The Conference were nearly all eaten or went off. The Comise were harder and lasted longer. I peeled and cored 28 Comise. Keeping the skin and cores I added two bad conference and two old apples. Pulped with an ash pole in a bucket. Then blended. A strong smell of cyanide made me sieve the mush. This gave a base of three litres of mash. I added four litres of sugar water/cider lees that had been fermenting for a day, then topped up with another couple of litres of sugar water. The pumpkins from John and Sarah were another episode!

Update 1

A small piece of rubber blocked the bubbler, resulting in pear mash on the ceiling!

Update 2

The racked perry is refreshing if rather watery, a small beer effect which would certainly be preferable to drinking bad water.

Pot Roast Shoulder of Lamb

First proper use of my new 31cm oval Le Creuset casserole. After starting I re-read Pot Roast Shoulder of Lamb on Couscous, Leg of Lamb and Autumn Diced Pork for the butter beans.


A shoulder of lamb (1.092kg) from East Oxford Market.
Two 250g nets of Tesco organic shallots.
Three carrots (five more added later).
Sprig of rosemary, bay, thyme and sage.
Paprika and pepper.
Three cloves garlic.
One third of lemon.
Three leaks.
200g Tesco Chestnut mushrooms.
175g dry butter beans.

Place meat on a low heat in a little olive oil.

Peel shallots and add to pot.

Add herbs.

Add a teaspoon of paprika.

Ensure meat has browned on all sides.

After an hour put lid on and reduce heat.

Soak a cup of butter beans (175g)

Chop leaks and add to pot with mushrooms.

Leave over night, bought more carrots, micro waved and added.

Added beans and a few roasted pumpkin pieces.

Served with roast pumpkin, onion, garlic and parsnip with couscous.

Served seven (TimJ, Esme and Nina joined us). Added remains of roast vegetables to leftovers: a large pyrex full.

Also tried homemade cider: very dry.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Guinea fowl with smoked bacon


Guinea fowl
6 large rashers smoked streaky bacon
12 small onions (ours)
6 carrots
1 large leek
2 large field mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
4 leaves bay
two sprigs thyme
Meg full of red wine.

Fried vegetables as I prepared them, in order given in Ingredients, in a very large casserole.

Left overnight.

Added wine and brought to boil.
Took lid off and cooked in hot oven (adding 2/3 pint of plain water) for 30 minutes.

Served with mashed potatoes (non-mashed would have been better) and runner beans.

Taste was excellent, smokiness had melded very nicely.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Autumn diced pork

Taking inspiration from apricot and ginger diced pork I am thinking of apricots, butter beans and butternut squash in apple juice.
Soak quite a lot of butter beans, say one mug full, overnight.
This results in 485g of soaked bean, boil hard for ten minutes, strain.
Fry pork (1240g), then three and a half onions.
Prepare butternut squash by skinning, dicing to one inch cubes and roasting in hazelnut oil.
Put all into casserole with a packet of dried apricots (250g) and the butter beans.

Cover in freshly squeezed apple juice (Blenheim Orange is quite sweet). We pressed about five gallons.

Place in oven for two hours at 150°, serve with rice and cabbage. Fed nine. Was very sweet, but pork was still distinct.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Scallops with crayfish spagetti

My starting point was Baked scallops with herb butter by Gordon Ramsay.

Seven small crayfish.
Three carrots cut fine into sticks.
Two sticks of celery, also cut into fine sticks.
Two large spring onions (from garden).
A bowl of raw, shelled garden peas.
A raw beetroot, grated.
Tricoloure Spagetti.
A cup full of lemon and honey: made previously this was half a lemon and a table spoon of honey to make a litre of remedy.

Boil crayfish for seven minutes in salted water.
Drain and throw away water.
Remove tails and claws, wash tails in a pan with a small amount of salted water, crayfish are now done.

Separate legs from shell, place all into salted water
Boil crayfish heads with some sage, dill, thyme to form a fish sauce.

Put carrots in a frying pan with a little olive oil, boil most of the lemon and honey away, until honey starts to caramelise.
Add celery and finish the lemon and honey, again until caramelisation.
Add onion and fry.

Oil the shells of the scallops with olive oil.
In a separate bowl of salted water clean the scallops.
Poor scallop water into crayfish water, leaving any sand in the bowl.

Taste fish sauce, intended for the spagetti, and throw away!

Take 25 grams of butter (a good knob) and add sage, thyme flowers and dill flowers.
Roll into a sausage and put in freezer.

Put spagetti to boil.

Arrange scallop shells in a baking dish. Put the celery, carrot and onion into each shell, place scallop on the bed and top with a slice of the herb butter sausage.

Fill shell with white wine.
Place whole in oven for ten minutes.

Drain spagetti and add a knob of beter.

Grate beetroot.

Serve with raw peas.

Crayfish to finish.

Followed by apricot tart with cream.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Leg of Lamb

We have invited Jay and Julia over. They have fed us a couple of times, the first was a superb, enormous, rib eye of beef, so there is every excuse to push the boat out.

After Dancing I went to the Cowley Road, with my new bike baskets, to East Oxford Market and Alder's for a large leg of lamb.

The Market was great, got runner beans, broad beans and extra large eggs, as planned. What is so nice though is the unplanned purchases: a sour dough loaf, sheep's cheese, a beautiful kohl rabi and other goodies for the picnic tomorrow.

The lamb leg is five and a half pounds (2.45kg).

Following Delia Smith's Baked Lamb with Rosemary.

First make a mix to baste in: Rosemary, olive oil, garlic, sea salt. I added parsley flowers, thyme and quite a bit of ground black pepper. Stab leg twelve times with a thin knife. Smear in aromatic oil mix. I always put a bit of garlic in any stabs I can.

Now it is 5.17pm, aiming to serve at 9.00pm. Need three hours cook/rest time, so only a little while for the aromatic marinade.

We have onions in the garden, so whilst they are not mentioned by Delia, in they go. When prepared the onions are like oversized spring onions, nine of them about six inches long. I am going to add them in the last forty five minutes, that is at minute ninety.

Next: prepare beans.

6.10pm Lamb in - in a roasting dish, with another roasting dish on top upside down to keep it moist. Temperature 125°

Found a Chateau Neuf du Pape (Tescos) 2008 under the stairs; open now. Also put a bottle of Prosecco in the fridge.

Turned out a flower pot of potatoes: nine decent new potatoes and some tinies, padded out with four Jersey Royals and four from the veg box.

7.00pm Turn heat up to 170°

Re-read the recipe, lose faith in Delia. Reluctantly follow.

Ruth has bought a big bunch of Mint, a good scent with elongated leaves, though slightly less shiny green than traditional mint.

Delia wants me to make a redcurrant and white wine vinegar potion and pour over finely chopped mint.

In case this is a rubbish idea I am also going to make normal chopped mint and vinegar.

To start with wash the bunch of mint, then pick through it: remove the young leaves into a pile, put older leaves and stalk into a separate container, either for mint tea at the end of the meal or a pick-me-up tomorrow morning.

We do not have a herb chopper, but we do have 'the biggest Sabatier in the world', bought in my youth when I thought size was important. It rarely gets used these days but is just right for chopping mint.

Found two old jars of red currant jelly, add a little white wine vinegar an dmicrowave for 20 seconds, empty both jars into saucepan.
Same trick with some crystalised mint jelly: just a drop or two of water and microwave, turn out into little pot and put into fridge to cool down.

We are going to have mint jelly, redcurrant jelly and mint and redcurrant jelly

Picked a bowl of red currants.

Heat redcurrant jelly, about 4 table spoons full, with same amount of white wine vinegar (sorry Delia, no red wine vinegar available).

Potatoes on at 8.30pm.

Really chop the mint finely. Pour redcurrant jus over chopped mint.
Pour wine vinegar over other portion of chopped mint.

Take lid off lamb at 8.37pm.
Put temperature up to 200°

Remove from oven and rest for fifteen minutes.

Guests arrive and we have prosecco with red currents in!
Starters Cretan Olives

Ruth has made a pavlova.

Greek delight and halva to pick at.

Coffee and mint tea to finish.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Baked Dabs with White Stuff

White Stuff

Fry two finely chopped onions until soft.

Put potatoes on to cook.

Add chopped fennel, finely chopped celery, chopped white turnip and finally add white shitake mushrooms and white wine. Put lid on pan and simmer while dabs bake.

Baked Dabs

Melt large knob of butter in baking pan.
Place some thyme and bay in pan.
Place dabs on herbs.
Squeeze lemon juice over and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake at 200° for twenty minutes.

Serve with garden peas and new potatoes.

Next time

Bake the dabs in olive oil only, not butter.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Duck Breast with parsnip chips and garden salad

Braise two Greshingham Duck breasts hard in griddle until skin is crisp, then turn and cook hard.

Remove from heat and slice breasts, place in pyrex dish.

Finely dice fresh (garden) onion, add to dish.
Add grated orange peel and cubed orange.
Add two cloves of garlic, crushed.
Add two tablespoons of grapefruit juice.

Cover and heat in hot oven for twenty minutes.

Serve with Garden salad (lettuce, onion leaves, parsley from garden,
fennel, celery and carrot from shop), parsnip chips and new potatoes.


Not a success.
The orange was too strong and should all have been grated.

The parsnip chips were burnt and not great.

More effort than justified by the result!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Steak au Poivre

Two rump steaks from Fellers
One tablespoon of black pepper
A cup full of double cream
A large splash of brandy

Grind peppers with a mortar and pestle.
Put ground peppers on a plate and lay steaks in it.
Mop up all pepper with the meat.

Bring 50g of butter to browning in a frying pan.
Add peppered steaks.
Fry for 5 minutes.
Remove steaks from pan.
Add cream.
Add a teaspoon full of flour.
Stir continuously (next time get help with vegetables at this point).
Add brandy (recipe said add before cream, but this made no difference).
Keep stirring.
At this point we diverged:
  1. Add steaks back
  2. Place sauce as dollup on plate
Both options worked for respective diners :)

Serve with boiled potatoes, broccoli, deep fried parsnip chips.

Turkey and Ham Pie and Brawn

Turkey leftovers from Christmas, mixed brown and white, 825g.

Two ham hocks from David John in the Covered Market
Eight fresh Bay Leaves
Peel of one Orange
Two teaspoon fulls South Indian whole Black Pepper corns (from Green Winter Fair)
Three Onions
Five Shallots

Separate the hocks into meat and other.
Add pepper corns, orange peel and bay leaves to ham in a pan, add one litre water.
Bring to the boil and simmer for fifteen minutes, this is intended to remove the excess salt.

Drain liquor, allow meat to cool.
I then added more, cold, water to meat and left to stand for an hour, in the hope of removing more salt. Drained salty water. Meat now weighed 755g.

Fry onions, lightly, with shallots.
Allow to cool and place in sealed container.
This large amount of turkey and ham will form the basis for a number of meals.

Turkey, Ham and Mushroom Potatoe pie

Slice eight medium, open cup, dark mushrooms.
Fry in wok and add two tablespoons of milk.
Add four spoon fulls of Turkey and Ham base.
Bring milk to boil.

Slice eight new potatoes and cook in a microwave, with a little butter.
Place pie mix into pie dish.
Flatten and then arrange potatoe slices on top, ensure that any melted butter is added to dish.
Cook in oven at 150°C for 30 minutes.


The other from the hocks consists of fat, jelly, bone and skin, with a little meat. It now has broth from meat desalination. We will see if this ruins it. I am thinking, at this point, of adding a raw potato next time, or giving the hock a quick boil when whole to remove some of the salt.

The boil for two hours.
Next time remove the orange peel after half an hour.
Remove bay leaves, as many peppers as you can be bothered with, as much of the orange peel as you can find.
Poor into bowl with a plate on top, place outside to cool.
Next time Do not remove orange peel it is a welcome addition. Boil whole hocks in two changes of fresh water before anything else.

Verdict Whilst a bit too salt this worked very well, will try again.