Wild Garlic 'Pesto'

It's coming up to one of my favourite times in the 'foodie' year. The local asparagus season is just around the corner: it's already started in some parts of the country. That'll be closely followed by soft fruit, and one of my favourite vegetables, marsh samphire. Mmm...

At the moment it's wild garlic season. Also known as ramps, ramsons or buckrams, these leaves grow in woodland and seem to be 'the in thing' with TV chefs. I've featured them before and there are some recipes for them in my previous post.

I was give some this week and made a wild garlic pesto with them. I've just had 'a big dollop' of it in some mushroom soup and it's superb.

Wild garlic pesto

Wild Garlic Pesto

75gm Wild garlic leaves
25gm Nuts - I used walnuts that I had in the freezer.
25gm Parmesan 'type' cheese - finely grated
50ml (approx) Olive oil

Puree the nuts and garlic leaves, then add the grated cheese. Mix to a paste with the olive oil.

I'm sure that a totally local version would be just as good made with Welland Valley Rapeseed Oil and Berkswell Cheese. It would also be vegetarian.

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Beetroot Relish

The Christmas preparations march on. Blast, I've gone and said the C-word when I'm meant to be a miserable old Scrooge. This could ruin my reputation!

Anyway, enough of all that; my mate left a bag full of green tomatoes and beetroot in the front porch the other day so, to use some of the beetroot, I decided to make a beetroot relish recipe that I had seen on the Expat Gourmet blog.

Beetroot relish

Mine only differed in that I omitted the port as can't have alcohol. It makes a nice change from 'chutney type' accompaniments and the 'orangey' taste that initially dominated has now mellowed and is very pleasant. All-in-all it's a great one to add to my 'make-it-myself' Christmas presents.

I think I must be on the same wavelength as The Expat Gourmet as I notice that he/she has made raspberry vodka; I have also made some and our recipes are very similar. I've made damson vodka, sloe gin, blackcurrant brandy, and blackberry whisky as well!

Oh, I nearly forgot, the cheese in the picture is from Sainsbury's and is their "Blue Cheese, Basics"; at £6.45/kg it's nearly £3 a kilo cheaper than their Blue Stilton. However, other than the inclusion of annatto, the nutritional breakdown's identical. Not similar, identical: I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions!

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Candied Oranges and Lemons

Candied Oranges

Candied, crystallized, cristallised or glacé fruits, those things of Christmases with elderly aunts. A mystery of the sugar worker's art, they are seldom seen nowadays. No wonder when online they're as much as £1 per ounce!

For some reason, I fancied making some. I guess it's down to my penchant to make anything that any sensible person would buy...
..."Not at £1 and ounce they wouldn't", I hear you cry!

I looked online for recipes, but this produced a lot of recipes for quick candying by boiling the fruit in syrup; I knew that this wasn't what I wanted and was just about to resort to Mrs Beeton when I found The Brownie Points Blog. The picture of chocolate coated candied orange slices looked just what I wanted. Not only that, but there was a link to a book by an expert confectioner giving even fuller details.

Click here, there's more to read...

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Ginger Confit & Candied Ginger

Candied Ginger

There's some things that really "get my goat". Not least is the ridiculous notion that we can't say 'Christmas' anymore for fear of causing offence. We should call it 'The Festive Season' or something equally as banal. Well sorry folks, until the PC brigade rename Diwali, Eid, Hanukkah and all the other religious festivals, this blog will be calling Christmas just that!

"Phew, help me down of this soap-box someone; I don't know how my wheelchair got up here...!"

This year, I thought I'd try a put together some presents that I'd made myself. Most of my family can afford to buy the things they want. It's time to make their own things that they lack, so I hope they'll appreciate the effort that'll go into my hand-made goods.

Click here, there's more to read...

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Spanish Omelette 'Tortilla'

Spanish Omelette

Given that the Spanish were in S. America for such a long time, and that in Mexico they speak Spanish, I've always found it odd that 'tortilla' has a different meaning in each country. In Mexico, it's a flat-bread often made of corn, whereas in Spain, it's an 'open omelette' of potato and onion.

I was first introduced to 'proper' Spanish Omelette when I worked at a large Government Hostel for homeless men. I had never seen an omelette made with just onion, potato and egg, plus a little garlic. Others I'd seen looked as if they'd had the veg box emptied into them. Not that I recall ever having one of those either! David, the senior cook, made it for a buffet. He was married to a girl with Spanish heritage and had learned to make it the authentic way from her.

For that kind of omelette, I'd fry the onion and potato with garlic in olive oil until cooked through but not coloured. Add it to the egg and then fry the lot in more oil until it is nearly cooked. Then turn it over onto a plate and sliding it back into more oil to finish cooking on the other side.

I don't know why I'm telling you this, I'm on a diet so this isn't one of those omelettes; it's a reduced calorie version with approximately 800 calories in the whole omelette. That's only 200 calories for a large portion.

Click here, there's more to read...

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