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                                                                   FROM OUR COUNTRY KITCHEN
     For some time now, Pauline Austerfield has been publishing recipes in the Village Voices magazine, under the heading 'From Our Country Kitchen'.
     This is a chance to see them all.   They are shown below in date order - the most recent first. 

     Click on the month of the recipe that you require.   Drawings by Pauline as well.

                                                                                       2010 Recipes

                                                                         December     Roasted Pumpkin Soup
                                                                         November      Hotpot of Sausages and Apples 
                                                                         October         Poached Pears 
                                                                         September    (i) Half Tomatoes and (ii) Courgette Cake 
                                                                         August         Greek Salad and Feta, Potato & Rosemary Bread
                                                                         June             Elderflower Cordial
                                                                         May              Rhubarb and 'Heaven and Earth'
                                                                         April              Lemon Curd
                                                                         March           Rabbit and Apple Casserole
                                                                         January         Vegetable Soup

December 2010.     Roasted Pumpkin Soup.
I was given a copy of Best Kept Secrets of the Womens' Institute which includes some very good seasonal recipes, like this one. 
This method has the great advantage of using the pumpkin unpeeled, which saves a lot of time and effort.  I also suggest grating whole nutmeg, 
rather than using ground nutmeg as the flavour is much better and whole nutmegs will keep for ever.
There are other pumpkin recipes on our Village Voices website from November 2008.
 Serves 4 to 6. 
     4 lb pumpkin, unpeeled, sliced and de-seeded
     4 tbls sunflower oil
     1 tsp ground nutmeg
     2 medium onions, sliced 
     1 1/2 pints stock
     1/2 to 1 pint of milk
     salt and pepper 
     cream to serve
   1.  Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mk 5, 180 degrees C.  Place the prepared pumpkin slices in a 
        roasting tin and brush with half the oil. 
        Grate over the nutmeg and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.
   2.  Remove the pumpkin from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then slice the skin from the flesh 
        and dice it.
   3.  In a large pan gently cook the onions in the remaining oil until they are soft but not coloured.  
        Stir in the pumpkin and the stock and cook for 15 minutes.
   4.  Allow to cool for a few minutes then liquidise until smooth.  [I found that the mixture was so 
        thick I had to add the milk at this stage and liquidised it in small batches].
  Otherwise pour the pumpkin mixture back into the pan and add the milk until the desired 
  consistency is reached.  
  Reheat gently, season to taste and add extra nutmeg if necessary.
   I served the soup with a dash of cream. 

November 2010.   Hotpot of Sausage and Apples.               
I always save the French beans that have gone over. Let them dry on the plant, and then in the utility room.  Remove them from the casing and store them 
to use in recipes like this. I also grow Borlotti beans, which can be used when soft or dried for storage.  
Beans add substance to a dish and turn soup into a meal. This is another recipe from Nigel Slater and quite delicious. 
I liked the fact that I was able to provide all the fruit and vegetables from the garden and buy some good Suffolk sausages.
For 4 persons.

               8 oz dried haricot [or other] beans
               3 onions
               2 tblsp olive oil
               3 cloves garlic
               2 pinches fennel seeds
               2 bay leaves
               8 thick pork sausages
               4 small desert apples
               2 tblsp plain flour
               1 glass med. dry sherry
               2 pints stock
               2 tblsp grain mustard
    Soak the beans overnight in cold water.
    Drain and bring to the boil in fresh unsalted water. Simmer for approx. 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.
    Peel the onions and slice into 8 segments.
    Warm the oil in a thick bottomed casserole dish, add the onions and cook for approx. 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from burning.
    Peel and slice the garlic, then add to the onions with the fennel seeds and the bay leaves.
    Push the mixture to one side, add a little more oil and then the sausages which have been cut in two. Cook until they are brown on all sides.
    Peel, core and quarter the apples and add them to the pan.
    Sprinkle on the flour and stir everything together.
    Cook for a couple of minutes then stir in the sherry and the stock.
    Add half the mustard, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
    Add the beans, check the seasoning and continue to cook with thelid off for another 15 minutes, reducing the liquid until the mixture has thickened.
    Stir in the remaining mustard and spoon into large soup bowls.
If you forget to put the beans to soak overnight, I find that pouring on boiling water in the morning works OK.  
If the beans are old they can take longer to cook.
Recipe reproduced with kind permission from Nigel Slater.

October 2010.    Pears.   This is one fruit that is much better when home-grown, as shop-bought ones have usually been picked too soon. 
                                                            However, firm pears are required for the following recipes.               
Poached Pears (for 2).
Choose a pan in which the pears will fit snugly. In the pan heat 1 pint water adding 1 tablespoonful of sugar, the juice of half a lemon and a few drops of 
vanilla extract. 
When the mixture is simmering carefully add the peeled pears, cover the pan and cook until tender - hopefully 10 to 15 minutes but it could take longer. 
Test with a thin sharp knife.
Allow to cool in the pan then remove with a slotted spoon.  Serve with a good vanilla ice cream (see Village Voices May 2008) and either:
1.   Hot Chocolate Sauce. 
      Place a small heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Break off a few pieces of dark chocolate and put in the bowl with some milk. 
      When the chocolate has melted stir together, add more milk if necessary.
      Pour over the pears. Top with toasted almonds.
2.   Blackcurrant Sauce. 
      Gently cook blackcurrants until the juices begin to run.  Add caster sugar to taste and stir until dissolved.  Pour over the pears.
      Pears can also be cooked in red wine.  Put the wine in a pan - add sugar, strips of lemon rind and a stick of cinnamon. 
      Heat until the sugar dissolves then add the pears and cook until tender.  Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. 
      Reheat the liquid and reduce until syrupy. 
      Pour through a sieve over the pears and  leave for a couple of hours, turning the pears in the syrup to give an even colour.
Any surplus syrup can be stored in a jar in the fridge and used to flavour braised red cabbage (Village Voices Dec. 2007).

September 2010.     Half Tomatoes and Courgette Cake.
Here are two recipes for the usual summer glut of courgettes and tomatoes.  Check out below for past recipes: Courgettes (August 2007 and 
September 2008), Tomatoes (September 2007 and August 2008).
          Large tomatoes, hard and ripe
          bread crumbs
          salt and pepper
Cut the tomatoes in two, breadth-wise. With the point of the knife make 
small crosses in the cut side of the halved tomatoes, not too deep.  

Sprinkle on the chopped garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper, olive oil and 
breadcrumbs. Put in a frying pan with a little olive oil and water.
Cover, then cook at a high temperature for 1 minute then low temperature 
for 10 minutes (until tender).  Uncover and at high temperature cook until 
the water has evaporated.
Serve with crusty bread.  The recipe for foccacia from December 2009 
is perfect for this.
COURGETTE CAKE by Nigel Slater
       7 oz butter
       7 oz caster sugar
       2 eggs
       5 oz courgettes (about 2 small ones)
       1 small apple
        7 oz plain flour
        a large pinch of salt
        ½ tsp baking powder
        pinch of cinnamon
        2 oz pecans or walnuts
        3 oz sultanas
Preheat oven at 180ºC / gas mark 4.  

Butter and line the base of a loaf tin measuring 20cm × 9 cm deep. 
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat the eggs and mix them in, one at a time, making sure each is fully 
incorporated before adding the next. 
Coarsely grate the courgettes and the apples.
Squeeze them in muslin to remove any excess moisture, then add to 
the mixture.  Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon, and 
gently fold into the mixture.
Stir in the nuts and fruit.  Transfer to the lined loaf tin and bake for about 
an hour, or until golden and firm to touch. 
Allow to cool in the tin before turning out.

            August 2010.     Greek Salad and Feta, Potato & Rosemary Bread.

     Greek Feta cheese is a lovely tangy cheese, which works well in salads.  It comes in 200g packs and keeps a long time in the 
     fridge, but needs to be used quickly once opened.  The following recipes use half a pack each.

      Greek Salad (for 2 persons).

          1 crispy lettuce, washed, dried and sliced
          1/4 cucumber, cubed
          8 oz. tomatoes, sliced
          100g Feta cheese, cubed
          10 Kalamata olives
          Extra Virgin olive oil

     Divide the ingredients between two plates, lettuce first, then cucumber, tomatoes, feta and olives.  Sprinkle with oregano and plenty
     of olive oil.  Serve with crusty bread.

     Feta, Potato and Rosemary Bread.

        100g feta cheese, cubed
        1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
        1 medium potato, peeled and coarsely grated
        1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
        6oz self-raising flour
        1 tsp. salt
        1 dessertspoon grain mustard
        A pinch of cayenne pepper
        1 large egg
        2 tbls. of milk.

    Pre-heat the oven to 375F (190C) gas mark 5.
    Sift the flour, salt and cayenne pepper into a large mixing bowl.  
    Add the potato, rosemary, onion and cheese, stirring everything together.
    Beat the egg into the milk and mustard.  Then pour the mixture into the bowl, just bringing it all together to a loose, rough
    dough using a palette knife.  I usually divide the dough into two and with floured hands shape them into round loaves.
    Transfer to a baking sheet and bake in the middle shelf of the oven for approx. 40 minutes or until golden brown.  
    Serve warm.  

    The loaves freeze well.  To serve, defrost thoroughly and reheat.

    This bread is particularly good with cream vegetable soups.

         June 2010.      Elderflower Cordial.   (The recipe is from Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook.)

     Pick the flower heads when it is dry and sunny, as soon as they are fully open.
Do not use brown flowers. Pick up the heads carefully to retain the pollen - any insects will be filtered out later.
     The following quantities will fill 2 wine bottles.
         3lb granulated sugar 
         Flowers from 24 elderflower heads 
         2 oranges, thinly sliced 
       . 2 lemons, thinly sliced
         2 limes, thinly sliced
         1 pack of citric acid.
      Put 3½ pints of water and the sugar in a saucepan, and dissolve the sugar completely before bringing to the boil. 
      Add the flowers and return the water to the boil. 
      Remove from the heat immediately. 
      Thinly slice the fruit into a large bowl or jug.  Add the citric acid and pour over the hot syrup and flowers. 
      Stir well and cover loosely.  Leave for 24 hours. 
      Strain through muslin into warm sterilised bottles and seal.
      This keeps for a couple of months in the fridge. If you make plenty, pour some into plastic bottles and freeze.
      It will last for years.   
      Elderflower cordial is delicious when diluted by sparkling water or added to vodka, tonic and ice as a cocktail. 
      It is also good as a sweetener for gooseberries or strawberries.
    Sample some at Hollesley Fete at the bar !

         May 2010.        Rhubarb and 'Heaven and Earth'.
    This is the first harvest of the year as far as pudding ingredients go.  I force rhubarb by placing a small dustbin over the plant. 
    This produces pale pink, tender stems which taste and look much better than the later type.
            Wash well and cut off the leaves.
            Cut the stalks into 2 inch pieces then stew gently in orange juice, grated zest and sugar.
            To make a fool chill the cooked rhubarb, drain off the juice and then fold the fruit nto whipped double cream or a mixture 
            of cream and Greek yoghurt.                
            Spoon into serving dishes and chill for a couple of hours before serving. 
            The excess juice can be reduced down to a syrup and used as a topping for the fool or ice cream.
            Rhubarb also freezes well.  Just cut into pieces, place on a tray in the freezer.                
            Bag when frozen and return to the freezer.
    Heaven and Earth
    This is basically mashed potato (earth) and apple (heaven) and is quite delicious.  I have been experimenting with recipes 
    and I think this works well.                
          For 2 persons. 

          Mix 12 oz mashed potato (butter only) with 3 oz stewed cooking apple.  
          Try it with sausages, pork or black pudding.
A Rhubarb Forcer
[Picture: Helen McLeod]

    April 2010.       Lemon Curd.

     Our chickens are now laying well, so it's a good chance to make lemon curd.  The colour is much better with free range eggs. 
     Buy the lemons ahead of time and allow them to ripen and provide the maximum juice.  If you can't find unwaxed lemons, just 
     drop them into a bowl of boiling water for a couple of minutes to melt the wax off. 
     Everyone has a different recipe but I've just made this and it thickened easily and tastes great.  I use lemon curd as a filling for 
     sponge cake and scones or add it to whipped cream or yoghurt as a dessert. 
For 2 small jars. 
   2 lemons (3 oz each) 
   2 medium eggs 
   4 oz sugar 
   2 oz butter 
Put the zest and juice of the lemons, butter and sugar into a heat proof bowl over a pan 
of simmering water.  The bottom of the bowl must not touch the water.  
Heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, stirring occasionally.
Break the eggs into another bowl and beat lightly. 
Take the lemon mixture off the heat, allow to cool for a couple of minutes then stir in the 
Return the bowl to the heat and, stirring continuously, cook until the curd thickens. 
You might need to take it off the heat at this stage and stir vigorously to stop the curd 
going lumpy. 
When it is nice and thick pour into sterilized jars, seal and label.

It will keep in the fridge for two to three weeks.

       March 2010.      Rabbit and Apple Casserole   (by Nigel Slater).
       One thing we do have lots of round here, is rabbits.  If you don't shoot them yourself, they are 
       very cheap to buy.  I have found that rabbit can taste rather strong so I soak the pieces in 
       vinegar water overnight.   [1 dessertspoon of vinegar to 1 pint of water].
       For 4 persons.
           8oz. dried haricot beans 
           3 sprigs rosemary
           3 tbls olive oil 
           2 tbls flour
           1 large rabbit, jointed 
           2 bay leaves
           4 butcher's sausages, cut into four 
           1 pint cider
           2 medium onions, sliced 
           1 pint stock
           1lb dessert apples, peeled, cored and chopped

Soak the beans overnight, drain then bring to the boil in fresh, unsalted water. 
Cook until tender, drain and set aside. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4.
Warm the olive oil in a thick-bottomed, lidded casserole. 
Add the rabbit and sausage pieces, in batches, to brown on both sides. 
Transfer the meat to a plate and add the onions to the casserole. 
Cook until tender.
Add the apples, allowing them to brown. You might have to use more olive oil. 
Stir in the rosemary, bay leaves and the flour. 
Slowly stir in the stock and cider, bringing the mixture to the oil. 
Add the beans and then the meat and any juices from the plate. 
Place the casserole in the oven and cook for 1 to 1½ hours until 
the rabbit meat is tender.   Add more liquid if required. 
Check seasoning, remove bay leaves and serve with baked potatoes, 
which can be cooked in the oven at the same time.

      January 2010.   Vegetable Soup.
     This is a meal in itself, just right for a cold winters day.  The parmesan rind and the long slow cooking are essential.
     If you have any frozen vegetables this is a good time to use them.

     For 2 persons.
             2 tbls olive oil
             1 large onion, finely sliced
             1 large carrot, sliced
             1 stick of celery, sliced
             1 medium potato, scrubbed and diced
             1 courgette, sliced
             4 oz green beans, in 1 inch pieces
             ¼ white or green cabbage, sliced
             2 oz beans, haricot, cannellini or borlotti
             1 pint vegetable or chicken stock
             1 piece parmesan rind
             Freshly grated parmesan.
      If using dried beans, soak them overnight and then cook in unsalted fresh water until tender.  Drain.
      Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed, lidded pot and add the onions.   
      Gently cook until soft, ensuring they don't burn.
      Add the rest of the vegetables one at a time, cooking each for a couple of minutes and stirring them 
      to avoid sticking. 
   Pour on the stock and put in the parmesan rind.
      Bring up to the boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for 1½ to 2 hours. 
      Check periodically and stir.
      Add the cooked haricot beans.  You may have to add some water although the soup is meant to be thick. 
      Remove the parmesan rind, add some grated parmesan and reheat.
      Check the seasoning and serve with more grated parmesan on top.
      This soup goes very well with the Foccacia bread from last month's recipe.