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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, or for an alphabetical index, click here.

     We thought it useful to give more information on the recipes with regard to dietary requirements.  Many of the recipes can become vegetarian or vegan 
     if items are substituted or omitted. Please note that all salads, apart from Potato & Broad Bean, are vegetarian and all soups, apart from Cabbage & Bacon 
     and a 'Comforting Soup' can be vegetarian if vegetable stock is used. Cauliflower Cheese and Vegetable Shepherds Pie can be vegetarian if bacon is omitted.

        GF - Gluten Free.  V - Vegetarian, Vegan as shown. 
       2021    December   Cranberry Tart with Hot Toffee Sauce
                  November   Slow Roast Belly of Pork
                  October      Spicy Arancini
                  September  Spiced Plum Fool with Brandy Snaps
                  August       Pan-fried Sea Bass with Samphire and Broad Beans
                  July            Courgette and Crab Tart
                  June           Chicken and Asparagus Green Thai Curry
                  May           Lemon and Ginger Cheesecake  
                  April           Simnel Cake
                  March         Roasted Cauliflower
                  February     Butter Chicken
                 January       Braised Oxtail
       2020   December   Christmas Pudding Ice Cream
                 November    Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (from Hannah Curry)
                 October      Apple Strudel
                 September  Ratatouille
                 August       Smoked Salmon Roulé
         July            Ice Cream Cake
                 June           Strawberry and Lemon Millefeuille
                 May            White Beans with Garlic and Thyme
                 April           Smoked Mackerel Pate
                 February     Vegetable Curry  -  V, Vegan
                 January      Turkey Pie (from James Mallinder) 

       2019   December  Orange and Marmalade Upside Down Cake
                                  (from Bridget Farrar) 
                November   Stuffed Butternut Squash  - V
                October      Red Pepper Frittata with Prosciutto
                September  Broccoli Stalk Soup with Croutons -  GF, Vegan
                August       Lemon Posset
                July           Pizza  - V
                June          Vegetable Rolls  - Vegan
                May           Pork Chops with Mustard 
                April          Salmon Fishcakes
                March        Smashed Potatoes
                                 Fried Peppers and Onion  - V, Vegan
                February    Lamb Cutlets with Flageolet Beans
                January     Almond Cookies (from James Mallinder)  -  GF 

      2018   December  Mincemeat and Almond Tart
                November  Partridge and Quince
                October     Fig Chutney
                September Cucumber & Celery Salad and Cucumber Raita
                August      Summer Fruit and Almond Cake
                July           Chard and Cheese Tarts  - V
                June          Pea and Pancetta Farfalle
                May          Fried Red or Yellow Peppers (Capsicum)     
                April          Red Onion Marmalade
                March       Colcannon  - V
                February    Celeriac, Apple and Walnut Salad
                January     Lemon Polenta Cake (from James Mallinder)  - GF

      2017   December  Chestnut, Apple and Onion Pie  - V
                November  Parkin and Toffee Apples - GF, Vegan
                October     Courgette Soup with Boursin
                September Fig and Goats Cheese Focaccia
                August      Raspberry and Amaretti Cake
                July          Watercress Soup
                                Watercress and Orange Salad
                June          Gooseberry & Elderflower Pastries
                                Gooseberry Sauce
                May          Asparagus, Potato and Feta Salad         
                April          Rhubarb Syllabub
                March        Linseed and Treacle Bread  - GF, Vegan
                February    Chicken Marengo
                January      Gratin of Pumpkin and Barlotti Beans  - GF, Vegan

      2016  December  Chocolate Crunch Torte with Stem Ginger and Figs    
               November   Cinnamon Apple Cake
               October      Piccalilli
               September  Plum and Almond Pasties
               August       Spinach Tart  - V
               July           Strawberry Cream Dessert 
               June          Cromer Crab Cakes
               April           Double Ginger Cake
               March        Blackberry and Apple Tarts
               February    Moules Marinière
       January      Tarte Tatin
      2015  December  Beetroot Fritters with Gravlax
               November  Stuffed Peppers  - V
               October     Aubergines  -  Baba Ghanoush  - GF, Vegan
                                                  -  Aubergine Chips  - GF, Vegan
               September  Peperonata  - V, Vegan
               August       Peach Melba
               July           Onion Tart  - V
               June          Strawberry and Cucumber Salad 
               May           Cauliflower Cheese with Leek  - V
                                Cauliflower with Creme Fraiche. 
               April          Hot Cross Bun, Toffee and Banana Pudding
               March        Macaroons  - GF
               February     Lamb Hotpot
               January      Marmalade

      2014  December   Pumpkin and Chicken
               November   Broccoli Soup with Cheese
               October      Harissa paste (chillies)  - V, Vegan
               September  Courgette Frittata
               August       Gooseberry Fool  - GF
               July            Blackcurrant Cup Cakes and Jam.
               June           Lebanese Beetroot Salad  - GF, Vegan
               May           Almond Biscuits
               April           Spring Vegetable Risotto  - V
               February     Vanilla Cheesecake
               January       A Comforting Soup (poultry & veg.)

      2013  December   (Windfall) Apple and Quince Cake 
               November   Rice Pudding
               October      Pumpkin with Coconut  - V, Vegan
                                 Peppers and Prawns  
               September  Courgette, Tomato and Ricotta Bake  - V
               July            Russian Redcurrant and Raspberry Pudding.
               June           Meringues.  
                              + Lemon Curd & Orange Parfait
               May            Banana and Carrot Cake 
               April            Rhubarb Muscovado Sponge
               March         Coq au Vin
               February     Celeriac and Walnut Remoulade    
                              + Caramelised Celeriac with Pancetta
               January       Candied Citrus Peel

      2012  December    Pumpkins and Squashes 2
               November     Bramley Apple Gingerbread
               October       Chicken Thighs with Sweet Chestnut Stuffing     
               September   Tomato with Goat's Cheese and Rosemary - V
               August         Plum Tart
               July             Elderflower and Gooseberry Jam
               June            Broad Bean Hummus and Broad Bean Soup..
               May             Asparagus with Almonds
                               + Asparagus Pasta with Lemon
               April            Chocolate Orange Cake
                               + Marmalade Ice Cream
               February      Gratin of Beans and Bacon
                               + Baked Onions with Parmesan and Cream

      2011  December     Squash Stew and Pumpkin Ragout  - both V, Vegan
               November      Bolotti Beans with Sage and Borlotti Hummus
               October        Chaffcombe Apple Pudding - GF  and 
                                   Peperoni alla Piemontese  -  V, Vegan
               September    Greek Courgette Pie and a Courgette Side Dish - V
               August          Pastry with Quark and Vegetable & Blue Cheese Tart - V
               July              Clafoutis 
               June             Wimbledon Cake  - GF
               May              Pork with Rhubarb
               April              Nettle Rarebit  - V
               March           Rocket and Potato Soup
               January         Pheasant with Apples

      2010  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'  - GF, Vegan
               April              Lemon Curd
               March           Rabbit and Apple Casserole
               January         Vegetable Soup

     2009  December     Focaccia Bread  - Vegan    
               November     French Onion Soup and Shallot Tart  - V
               October        Baked Potatoes - V
               September    Damson Compote, Baked Figs, Blackberries & Apple
               August         Summer Fruit Trifle        
               July              Lettuce Soup 
               June             Samphire
               May              A Garden Salad (with Asparagus)
               April              Vegetable Shepherd's Pie  - V
               March           Nettle Soup and Winter Carrots     

      2008  November     Pumpkin Recipes (Pie, Soup and Parcels)  - V
               October        Baked Apples  - GF, Vegan

               September    Courgette and Mint Soup
               August         Tomato Soup and Parsley Butter
               July              Mint Sauce and Pesto Sauce
               June             Asparagus Spears
               May              Ice Cream
               April             Leek and Potato Pies  - V
               February       Cabbage and Bacon Soup 

      2007  December      Red Cabbage  - Vegan
               October         Pickled Pears or Quinces
               August          Courgettes
               July               Potato and Broad Bean Salad
               June              Strawberries
               May               Potatoes Lyonnaise

   January 2021.   Braised Oxtail  (for 4)  from Nigel Slater's "The Kitchen Diaries".             /
   This is the perfect meal for a cold winter's evening.  It is usually made the day before so any excess fat can be removed, 
   but if the oxtail is lean I make it the day I'm going to eat it.  Serve with baked potatoes or mash. 
               800g - 1 kg oxtail pieces 
               1 tbsp plain flour
               1 heaped tsp dry mustard 
               A thick slice of butter 
               Oil or dripping 
               2 large onions 
               2 large carrots 
               2 stalks of celery 
               4 garlic cloves 
               5 large mushrooms 
               2 tsp tomato purée 
               4 bay leaves 
               A few sprigs of thyme 
               A bottle of red wine (or beef stock and wine) 
               1 tbsp grain mustard 
               1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
     Put the flour and mustard powder in a shallow bowl and roll the oxtail pieces until they are coated. 
     Warm the butter and oil / dripping in a heavy based, lidded casserole. 
     Add the oxtail pieces and let them brown on each side.  Peel the onions, trim the carrots and celery and roughly chop. 
     When the meat has browned, remove from the casserole and set aside. 
     Add a little more oil, then the vegetables and let them colour lightly. 
     Set the oven at 150C / Gas 2.  Slice the garlic and the mushrooms and add to the pot along with the tomato purée. 
     Stir and cook for 5 minutes.  Return the meat to the casserole, add the herbs.  
     Pour in the red wine. (I usually add 500 ml beef stock and just half a bottle of wine) . 
     Bring to the boil, take off the heat, cover with the lid and put in the oven. 
     Allow to cook for a good 3 hours, check half way through and give the mixture a stir. 
     If you are making it the day before, allow to cool and refrigerate. Add the mustards on reheating. 
     Remove the thyme stems and bay leaves.   Check seasoning. Serve. 

    February 2021.   Butter Chicken    (for 4)               
    One of the things I've really been missing is going out to eat, particularly for Indian food. My favourite dish is Butter Chicken so I decided to start with that. 
    I've always been wary of cooking Indian food as it requires ingredients I don't normally use, but looking at my spice rack I realised I only had to buy a couple 
    of extra items. 
    Do try to use all the spices, as they give the dish its depth of flavour. The other useful aspect of this dish is that you can make it in stages and ahead of time. 
    I served it with brown basmati rice, flat breads and cucumber raita.
            500g Chicken cut into bite size pieces 
       For the marinade:                
           100 g Greek yoghurt 
           1 clove garlic, chopped 
           1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
           1 teaspoon each of : Garam masala, turmeric, ground cumin, red chilli powder and salt. 
    Mix the ingredients together and fold in the chicken pieces ensuring they are evenly covered by the marinade.  
    Cover and put in the fridge for a minimum of an hour or overnight. 
       For the sauce:                
           50g butter
           1 medium onion, finely chopped
           1 clove garlic, finely chopped
           400 g tin chopped tomatoes 
           5 cardamon seeds
           1 teaspoon each of chilli powder, ground coriander, garam masala, turmeric, fenugreek leaves and salt. 
           2 tbsp cream 
     Use a heavy bottom pan that is large enough to contain the chicken at a later stage. 
     Melt 30g of the butter, add the onions and garlic and cook gently until soft. 
     Add the spices, apart from the fenugreek, and stir in for a couple of minutes. 
     Add the tomatoes, turn up the heat a little and cook for approx. 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. 
     Blitz in a liquidiser or use a stick blender.  Return to the pan and stir in the cream and the rest of the butter. 
     Meanwhile you can make the cucumber raita.  Peel, deseed and finely chop half a cucumber portion and mix with 200 g Greek yoghurt. 
     Add chopped mint in season.  Refrigerate until needed. 
     Prepare the flat bread.  Put 150g self-raising four in a bowl with half a teaspoon of salt. 
     Mix in approx. 140g Greek yoghurt until you have a dough. It shouldn't be sticky so add the yogurt carefully.  Cover the bowl. 
     Half an hour before you are ready to eat, add 50g per person of basmati rice to a pan of boiling water and cook for 25 minutes. Re-heat the sauce.                
     Put plates to warm.
     Take the chicken out of the fridge. Heat olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the chicken pieces covered in the yogurt mixture, individually, 
     until they have browned on both sides. 
     Cook in batches and then add to the sauce, with the fenugreek. Continue to cook on a low heat. 
     When the rice is cooked drain into a sieve then return to the pan and cover. 
     Melt approx 40g butter and add a sliced garlic clove. Take the flat bread dough and divide into four. 
     Dust the work top with flour and roll out the flat breads as thin as possible. 
     Heat a frying pan on the hob. Brush one side with melted butter and put the flat bread, butter side down in the pan. 
     Cook for a couple of minutes, pushing down with a spatula to ensure even cooking. 
     Brush the top surface with butter and flip the bread over and cook the other side. Keep warm while making the rest of the flat breads. 
     Check the sauce,  I found I needed a little more salt.  
     I also remember restaurant butter chicken to be sweeter, so I assume they add sugar as well, which I didn't.
     You are now ready to serve. 

   March 2021.   Roasted Cauliflower. 
    I've noticed a lot of recipes for roasted cauliflower recently, so  I thought I'd give them a try. I was worried that the cauliflower would dry out 
    while roasting, but the secret is to coat it with plenty of oil and roast at a fairly high temperature.              
    Break the cauliflower into large florets and then cut into 1/2 inch slices. Line a baking tray with foil and preheat the oven to 200C /Gas 6. 
    Put the florets in a bowl and sprinkle generously with olive oil and a little salt. Ensure all the pieces are coated with oil. You can then add some flavouring. 
    Squeeze in some lemon juice, finely chopped garlic and lots of grated Parmesan. 
    Mix well. Or cumin seeds, ground coriander, turmeric and chilli. Or just some curry powder. 
    Make sure the cauliflower is evenly flavoured, then tip the florets onto the baking tray in a single layer. 
    Use another tray if you have to.  Pour over any excess oil.  Bake for 15 minutes, take out of the oven and turn the slices over. 
    Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.  It should have caramelised nicely have lots of flavour and make an excellent side dish. 

   April 2021.   Simnel Cake   (8 portions)               
   I made my first Christmas cake last year and had marzipan left over, which I put in the freezer, and various packets of dried fruit.  So I thought it would be 
   a good idea to use it all up and make a Simnel cake, the traditional cake for Easter. This is a much lighter cake than Christmas cake and is alcohol free. 
       112 g butter, softened.
       112 g light muscovado sugar
       2 eggs
       112 self-raising flour.
       240 g mixed dried fruit (I used sultanas, currants, raisins and chopped dates)
       50 g glacé cherries, quartered.
       20 g candied peel
       Grated zest and juice of an orange
       Grated zest of lemon
       1 tsp ground mixed spice
       Apricot jam
       400 g marzipan 
       Egg white 
     Put the mixed, dried fruit in a small bowl and pour in the orange juice and zest. Leave for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. 
     Line a 7 inch cake tin with a cake liner. Pre heat the oven to 150C / Gas 2. 
     Divide the marzipan in two. Roll out one half and using the cake tin as a template, cut a circle. 
     Put the unused marzipan to one side. 
     In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light, then beat in the eggs one at a time. 
     Mix in the flour and spice then the dried fruit, cherries, candied peel and lemon zest. 
     Spoon half the mixture into the tin, smooth it then place the disc of marzipan on top.  Spoon the rest of the cake mixture on top and level the surface.                
     Place towards the bottom of the oven and bake for two hours. (If the top is getting too dark, cover with grease proof paper). 
     Remove from the oven and put on a wire tray. 
     After 15 minutes remove from the tin and allow to cool completely. Take the cake out of the liner.                
     Roll out the other half of the marzipan and cut into a 7 inch circle as before. 
     Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam, place the marzipan on top, push it gently down and crimp the edges. 
     Roll the remaining marzipan into 11, even sized balls. 
     Brush the top of the cake with egg white, place the marzipan balls around the edges and brush them with egg white. 
     Place under a hot grill for a couple of minutes until the top has turned golden. Do watch it carefully as this happens quickly. 

May 2021.   Lemon and Ginger Cheesecake. (6 portions)               
     This is a "no bake" version of cheesecake and is very easy to make.  It will go well with strawberries when they come into season. 
      I'm specifying "Philadelphia" cream cheese as I've found that the supermarket versions are not firm enough to make the recipe work. 
      It freezes very well, just remove from the freezer an hour before required.                
               50 g butter
               120 g ginger biscuits 
               100 ml double cream 
               140 ml Philadelphia light cream cheese
               1 tbsp icing sugar 
               Juice of 1 medium lemon 
               Zest of 2 lemons 
        Put the ginger biscuits in a bowl and crush them to the size of breadcrumbs.  Melt the butter in a pan and add the crushed biscuits, mixing well. 
        Grease a 7 inch, loose bottomed cake tin and line the base with baking paper. 
        Pour in the biscuit/butter mixture and, using the back of a spoon, press them evenly over the base of the tin. 
        Allow to cool, then chill in the fridge for half an hour. 
        Put the cream cheese in a bowl and mix in the zest of 1 lemon and the icing sugar.  Whip the double cream, adding the lemon juice, until it is firm. 
        Fold the cream into the cheese and then spoon it onto the biscuit base. Level it off, ensuring that there are no air pockets. Return to the fridge for 2 hours. 
        To serve, run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and carefully remove from the tin. Scatter the rest of the lemon zest over the top. 

   June 2021.  Chicken and Asparagus Green Thai Curry  (for 2)               
     Thai curries are quite different from Indian. They are made quickly and are more of a soup.  I have used enough of the curry paste to add flavour but not heat. 
     If you like spicy food then add more. I usually serve it with Long Grain and Wild Rice on the side. 

               150 g chicken breast in bite size pieces 
               1 garlic clove, minced
               1/2 chicken stock cube
               2 tsp Thai green curry paste
               3 kaffir lime leaves
               400 ml light coconut milk
               1 tsp Thai fish sauce
               1 tbsp vegetable oil 
               6 spears of thin asparagus, cut into 3 inch pieces
               A handful of frozen peas.
               1 tsp sugar 
               100 g rice
               Fresh basil leaves 
      Put the rice on to cook.                
      Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic. Cook gently for 3 minutes, then add the curry paste and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.                
      Dissolve the stock cube in half a cup of boiling water, then add it to the pan with the coconut milk. 
      Bring to a simmer, add the fish sauce, sugar and crumbled lime leaves. 
      Add the chicken and asparagus. Cook for 8 minutes, then add the peas. 
      Bring back to a simmer, then divide between two bowls.  Drain the rice. 
      Garnish the soup with the basil and serve with a bowl of rice. 

     July 2021.  Courgette and Crab Tart    (for 4)  (from Nigel Slater)              
     Delicious with new potatoes and salad. I found it was also very good cold, the next day.
         For the pastry:
               50 g plain flour
               25 g cold butter, diced
               30 g cream cheese
               25 ml double cream 
               5 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
         For the filling : 
               150 g courgette
               180 g dressed crab , which gave 80 g crab meat
               1 egg
               100 g ricotta 
               50 ml double cream 
               1 dspn flour 
               Chopped chives
               Salt and pepper 
               5 g grated Parmesan 
          Coarsely grate the courgettes into a bowl, sprinkle with salt and leave for 45 minutes. 
          Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. 
          Using a round bladed knife, mix in the cream cheese and then the cream and Parmesan. 
          Fashion the dough into a disc, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
          Grease a loose bottom, 6 inch flan tin. Dust the work surface and pastry with flour and carefully roll out to a circle slightly larger than the tin. 
          The pastry should be quite thin. Line the flan tin with the pastry, prick the base and return to the fridge for 15 minutes. 
          Pre heat the oven to 200 C / Gas 6. Line the flan with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or rice. 
          Bake for about 15 minutes, remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for another 5 minutes until the base is lightly browned. 
          Take out of the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Turn down the oven to 180C / Gas 4. 
          Take the crab meat from the shell. In a bowl, beat the egg, then mix in the cream and ricotta, flour, crabmeat, half the Parmesan and chives. 
          Season with salt and pepper. 
          Put the grated courgette onto a piece of muslin or kitchen paper and squeeze out the moisture. Fold into the crab mixture. 
          Pour the mixture into the pastry case, smooth the top and scatter with the remaining Parmesan. 
          Put in the oven on the top shelf for approx. 30 minutes until it has risen and browned. Allow to cool a little before serving. 

    August 2021.   Pan fried Sea Bass with Samphire and Broad Beans   (for 2)               
    A quick and easy supper.
         2 Fillets of sea bass
         1 tbsp olive oil 
         A handful of samphire 
         A dozen broad bean pods
         Salt and pepper 
      I served this with new potatoes and parsley butter (recipe on Village Voices website). Put the potatoes on to boil with a sprig of mint. 
      Put plates to warm. After approx.. 15 minutes pod the broad beans and cook for a few minutes. 
      Drain and cool slightly. Remove the skins. 
      Heat the oil in a frying pan, season the sea bass fillets and when the oil is hot add them to the pan, skin side up. 
      Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the samphire, bring back to the boil and cook for a minute. 
      Drain into a sieve, melt a knob of butter in the pan and return the samphire and broad beans. 
      Toss in the butter and keep warm. 
      Flip the sea bass fillets over and cook until done. 
      Check that the potatoes are tender, drain and toss in the parsley butter. 
      Serve with a slice of lemon. 

   September 2021.   Spiced Plum Fool with Brandy Snaps   (for 2)               
     The brandy snaps can be made in advance and will keep in an airtight container for weeks. This amount should produce approx. 16 biscuits.
               40 g butter
               40 g Demerara sugar 
               40 g golden syrup 
               40 g plain flour 
               1/2 tsp ground ginger
               1/2 tsp lemon juice 
     Put the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan and heat gently until they have dissolved and melted. 
     Cool slightly, then stir in the flour and ginger, followed by the lemon juice. 
     Mix well, pour into a dish, allow to cool then put in the fridge for several hours. 
     Line two baking trays with baking parchment.  Preheat the oven to 160C / Gas 3. 
     Scrape the mixture out of the bowl onto a work surface. 
     Roll into a rectangle approx 4 inches long and an inch deep.  Use a knife to cut slices the thickness of a pound coin. 
     Place these onto the baking trays allowing plenty of room as the mixture will spread (I put 4 slices on each tray). 
     Bake for approx 8 minutes, until the biscuits are a dark golden brown. 
     Remove from the oven and leave for 2 minutes until they are firmer then, using a fish slice transfer to a wire rack and cool. 
     Repeat until all the mixture is used. 
     For the Spiced Plum Fool
             100 g red dessert plums                
             1 dspn caster sugar 
             A dash of red wine
             1/2 Star anise 
             A pinch of ground cinnamon 
             100 ml double cream 
             A heaped tbsp Greek yogurt
     Stone the plums and cut into small pieces.  Put into a pan with the sugar, wine and spices and cook gently until the plums are soft. 
     Remove the pieces of star anise. 
     Cool then refrigerate. Whip the cream into soft peaks and fold in the yoghurt. Stir in the plums, retaining a couple of spoonfuls.                
     Divide the mixture between two sundae dishes and put in the fridge for at least two hours. 
     To serve, top with the remaining plum mixture and add a brandy snap biscuit. 

    October 2021.   Spicy Arancini  (from Gill Whiffin)

      These tasty rice balls are a favourite with my family and friends and they are something I often offer when asked to contribute to a cold buffet. 
      They are different every time as I tend to use up bits and pieces from the fridge and are a great way to use up leftover risotto. 
      I always observe the usual food safety rules for handling rice whereby I wouldn't recommend freezing at any stage.

             " 2 tbsp olive oil
             " 1 chorizo sausage, chopped
             " 1 onion, finely chopped
             " 1 medium red chilli, finely chopped
             " 1 dessertspoonful of fresh rosemary needles, finely chopped
             " 1 large garlic clove, crushed
             " 350g risotto rice
             " 150ml dry white wine
             " 1.2l hot chicken or veg stock
             " 1 cupful of frozen peas, beans or sweetcorn or a tin of taco beans
             " 150g parmesan, finely grated
             " 150g plain flour
             " 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
             " 150g fresh breadcrumbs
             " vegetable oil, for deep-frying

        Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the onion and chorizo and fry gently over a low heat for 10 mins. 
        Add the chilli, rosemary, garlic and cook for another 5 mins. Stir in the rice and cook for a further min, then pour in the wine. 
        Bring to the boil and cook until the liquid is almost absorbed. 
        Pour in half the stock and simmer, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed. 
        Add the vegetables and the remaining stock a ladleful at a time as the rice absorbs the liquid, stirring, until the rice is cooked through 
        (this should take about 20-25 mins). 
        Stir in the parmesan and season to taste. Spread the risotto out into a lipped tray and leave to cool to room temperature.
        Scoop (I use an ice-cream scoop) and roll the cooled risotto into golf-ball-sized pieces.
        Put the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs into three separate shallow bowls. roll each prepared risotto ball in flour, then egg 
        and finally, the breadcrumbs (if you have enough egg and breadcrumbs repeat the egg and breadcrumb coating). 
        Heat oil for deep-frying to 170C. Lower the risotto balls into the oil in batches and cook for 8-10 mins, or until golden brown. 
        Drain on kitchen paper. 
        If eating warm (they make an excellent starter or tapas dish) keep warm until all are cooked and serve immediately. 
        To serve as a buffet element or hand-around snack cool then chill thoroughly and cut into quarters.

    November 2021.   Slow Roasted Belly of Pork               
     This is a very easy way of roasting pork and you are guaranteed to end up with lots of crackling.                
     Ask the butcher to score the skin lengthwise, which will make it easier to carve. 
     For four portions, I bought 1 kg piece of pork belly (it doesn't matter if there are bones in as you're not rolling the meat).
     Pre heat the oven to 150C / gas 2.
     Dry the pork skin.  Line a roasting tin with foil. 
     Thinly slice an onion, scatter it over the bottom of the tin, add fresh sage and rosemary leaves. 
     Season the meat side of the pork with salt and pepper then lay it flat on top of the onion and herbs. 
     Rub fine sea salt into the pork skin and then some olive oil. Bring the foil up around the joint to cover the meat but not the skin. 
     Put the tin in the bottom of the oven and leave for 3 hours. 
     After 2 hours I start the roast potatoes and the apple sauce. As I had the oven on I cooked the apples in a covered Pyrex dish, 
     adding caster sugar and lemon juice to stop them discolouring. They took approx.. 30 minutes. 
     After 3 hours, turn the oven up to 220 C / gas 7. Swop the pork with the potatoes and move to the top of the oven. 
     Once the oven has heated up, cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crackling is crisp. 
     Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving. 
     You don't end up with any meat juices with this method of cooking so gravy will have to be made separately. 
     I served it with braised red cabbage (recipe on Village Voices website).

     December 2021.  Cranberry Tart with Hot Toffee Sauce (for 6).   From Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook.

         500 g cranberries, fresh or frozen
         Juice and grated zest of 1 orange
         200 g caster sugar 
         150 g shelled pecan nuts, chopped
          1 large egg, beaten
         60 g plain flour, sifted  
         75 g butter, melted 
         Creme fraiche to serve
     For the toffee sauce                
         90 g dark brown sugar
         60 g butter 
         60 ml double cream 
     Preheat the oven to 180 C /Gas mark 4.  Grease a 20 cm diameter springform cake tin. 
     Put the cranberries in a non-stick pan with the orange juice and zest and mix well. 
     Cook them for about 3 - 4 minutes, until the cranberries pop. 
     Put the cranberries into the prepared cake tin. Sprinkle with half the sugar and the pecans and mix well. 
     In a bowl, beat the remaining sugar with the egg until well mixed. 
     Add the flour and melted butter to make a smooth batter. 
     Pour this over the cranberries in the tin and bake for 40 - 45 minutes. 
     To make the toffee sauce, heat the sugar, butter and cream together until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is bubbling.
     Serve the tart warm with the hot toffee sauce and creme fraiche. 

   January 2022.   Carrot and Ginger Soup with toasted pumpkin seeds ( for 4)

       I decided to dig up all my carrots and turn them into soup before the mice got them. This is a lovely tasty soup and very warming on a cold January day.
          500 g home grown or organic carrots 
          1 medium onion.
          2 inches of fresh ginger , peeled and finely chopped 
          1 tbsp olive oil
          500 ml vegetable stock
          200 ml milk
          A dash of double cream
          A handful of pumpkin seeds
      Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the finely chopped onion.  
      Cook gently until translucent.  Add the sliced carrots and the ginger, give a good stir and cook for five minutes. 
      Pour in the stock and simmer until the carrots are tender. Allow to cool slightly then liquidise until smooth. 
      Return to the pan , add the milk and reheat.  Check seasoning.              
      Turn on the grill, put the pumpkin seeds in a flan tin in a single layer and when the grill is hot toast them until they begin to pop.
      If you don’t have a grill then you can heat them in a frying pan.  Divide the soup between four warmed bowls. 
      Top with a dash of cream and the hot pumpkin seeds . If you are going to freeze the soup then do so before you add the milk. 
      Serve with Potato and Rosemary Bread or Focaccia, recipes for which are on the Village Voices website.