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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.  

     Either click on the month of the recipe or scroll down to the one you require.   (Drawings by Pauline as well).

                                                                                                          2008 Recipes

                                                                                                 November     Pumpkin Stuff 
                                                                                                 October        Cooking Apples
                                                                                                 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
                                                                                                 February       Cabbage Stuff 

November 2008.     Pumpkin Stuff.

       I have just grown a 2 stone pumpkin which is going to take some eating!  Pumpkins are not the tastiest of vegetables and are inclined to be watery.
       I made a batch of the following, some of which I used for a pie and the remainder for a soup.
       Ingredients (for 2 people).

        1 large onion - chopped 
1lb potatoes - diced 2 tabs olive oil
3 sticks celery - finely sliced 1 dessertspoon curry powder
2lb prepared pumpkin - skin,
remove seeds and cut into 2 inch pieces 3/4 pt stock.


   In a thick-bottomed pan pour in the olive oil, heat gently and add onions. 
Cook until softened, add celery, cook for 5 mins, add potato, cook for 10 mins, stirring to prevent sticking.
Add pumpkin, cook for 5 mins and mix in curry powder. Pour in stock, cover and cook until vegetables are tender, approx. 10 - 15 mins. Add seasoning.
       Pumpkin Pie

With a slotted spoon remove enough mixture to fill a pie dish for 2 people. Allow to cool.
Take 3 leaves of filo pastry, brush them on one side with olive oil and place on top of filling. Don't worry if the pastry falls apart, just layer it.
Brush top with more olive oil and put in pre-heated oven at 190C for approx. 15 - 20 mins until pastry is brown and crispy.
       Pumpkin soup
       Liquidise the remaining mixture until smooth.  
       Freeze it at this stage, otherwise return to pan, add cup milk and reheat.
       Serve with a teaspoon cream and chopped chives.
       Pumpkin Parcels

         4 leaves filo pastry, each cut in 4 pieces 
         8 fresh sage leaves - finely sliced
         8oz prepared pumpkin cut into 2in pieces 
         Olive oil
         4 dessertspoons freshly grated parmesan
       Either steam or bake the pumpkin until tender for approx 20 - 30mins. 
       Allow to cool.  Put into a sieve and press out excess water with a spoon. 
       Mash the pumpkin and mix with cheese and sage. 
       Brush the filo pastry leaves with olive oil and place one on top of the other in a greased bun tin so you make 
       4 tart cases. 
       Divide the pumpkin mixture into 4 and spoon into cases.  
       Bring the pastry up and pinch together to make a parcel. 
       Brush with more olive oil and cook in pre-heated oven at 190 C for 20 mins. or until pastry is brown and crisp. 
       Two of these with potatoes and salad make a light supper

October 2008.     Cooking Apples.
      These are a very useful fruit, making delicious puddings as well as sauce for meat.  I have never been very successful with storing them so I freeze 
      as many as possible. 

      Peel, quarter and core the apples and then slice onto a foil covered baking tray.  Freeze and then put into plastic bags.  Apple sauce also freezes 
      well.  One of the best combinations is with blackberries, in crumbles, pies or as a stuffing for baked apples. They also go well with lemon, which 
      stops the fruit going brown.
      The following recipe makes one of the few low calorie desserts I know.
     Baked Apples (serves two).
      2 baking apples,washed and cored.
      2 oz mixed dried fuit
      2 small or 1 large orange
      2 tsp marmalade


Remove the zest of the orange with a grater and squeeze the juice.                
Put the dried fruit into a bowl and add the juice and zest. Leave for an hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Stand the apples in a baking dish, fill the centre with the
marinated fruit and pour the rest of the juice over. 
Put a teaspoonful of marmalade on top. 
Cover with foil and bake in the oven for ½ hour.  
Take out and remove foil.                
Return to the oven and cook until soft (this will depend on the size of the apple). 
Serve with custard or cream.

September 2008.      Courgette and Mint Soup

      I have been at a loss with regard to preserving courgettes.  If you grow them there are always too many to use.  The following recipe solves the problem
      by turning them into a tasty soup, which can then be frozen if required.

      Ingredients (serves 4).

       2 tablespoons olive oil 
       1 lb courgettes, sliced
2 medium onions, chopped 1 lb vegetable or chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, chopped 6 large sprigs mint
1lb potatoes, diced


  1. In a large thick-bottomed pan gently heat the oil, add onions and cook until softened.
2. Add garlic and potatoes. Cook further 5 mins, stirring to stop them sticking.
3. Add courgettes. Cook further 5 mins.
4. Pour in stock, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until potato is cooked (approx 10 - 15mins).
5. Strip mint leaves from stalks and add to soup. Cook for further minute.
6. Take off heat. Cool slightly. Liquidise in blender and if using straight away, return to pan to reheat.
7. Ladle into bowls. A spoonful of double cream poured on top adds a nice touch. Can also be served chilled.

August 2008.      Roasted Tomato Soup and Parsley Butter.

      Roasted Tomato Soup.
      This soup is made from any small tomatoes (e.g. Gardener's Delight) as you don't have to skin and de-seed them.
    Ingredients (serves two).

         1 lb tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 vegetable stock cube
Balsamic vinegar


  Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6.  Halve the tomatoes, slice the onion, chop the garlic 
  and put them all into the roasting tin.  Drizzle with olive oil, season and roast for 20 minutes.
Add 1 pint of hot water to the stock cube in a pan and add the tomato/onion mixture. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes.
Cool slightly, pour into a blender and liquidise.
Pour the soup back into the pan through a sieve.
Reheat, check seasoning and serve with a dash of balsamic vinegar.
     Parsley Butter.
     An easy way to keep parsley is to make it into parsley butter.
     Work chopped parsley and lemon juice into softened butter.  Form it into a flat oblong slab ¼ inch thick and cut into portions.                
     Arrange them on kitchen foil so they are not touching and freeze.                
     When frozen, put in a container in the freezer and use as required.

July 2008.      Mint Sauce and Pesto Sauce.

     Mint sauce. 
      1.  Finely chop the mint leaves discarding the stems.
      2.  Put into small sterilised jars with a small amount of sugar.
      3.  Pour over pickling vinegar to cover the mint.  Ensure that all 
           the air is removed by running a knife around the inside of the jar.  
           You will probably have to add some more vinegar.
      4.  Screw on top tightly.  

      Mint sauce will keep for months, although it will lose its bright green

Pesto sauce.
     Marvellous with pasta but also useful when you want to add a flavour of basil
     to any other dish.
     1.  Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic and then squash with the sides of a knife.
     2.  Finely chop 4oz basil leaves.
     3.  Grate 2oz parmesan cheese.
     4.  Combine all together in a bowl and gradually add 3 fluid oz. olive oil.
     5.  Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon to form a smooth paste.
     6.  Season with salt.
     7.  Transfer into sterilised jars.
     8.  Smooth the top of the pesto and pour on a layer of olive oil.
     9.  Screw on top tightly.
    This can be made in a food processor if you have one.  The pesto sauce will keep
    for months in the fridge.  Any parmesan rind can be used in vegetable soup.

June 2008.      Asparagus.
      Even if you don't grow your own asparagus it's very easy to buy it fresh and locally grown.  The season only lasts for May and June, so get some while
      you can. 
     To prepare : 
     Rinse off any soil and snap off the woody end.  Cook in boiling, salted water for between 3 and 6 minutes, depending upon thickness.  
     Don't overcook as it's much nicer with some bite in it.
     Suggestions to serve : 
       1.  Put on a warm plate and pour over melted butter.

       2.  Wrap a few spears in a slice of Parma ham.

       3.  Use a topping for risotto with shaved parmesan cheese.

       4.  With pasta.  Cook the pasta as instructed on the packet.  Drain in a colander.  Put the pan back on a low heat.  
            Add crème fraiche or sour cream and heat up.  Return the pasta to the pan and stir into the cream. 
            Add the cooked asparagus cut into 2 inch pieces.   Top with diced, cooked bacon and parmesan cheese.

       5.  Use as a filling for a quiche or omelette.
     If you are lucky enough to have a surplus, then make soup.

May 2008.      Ice Cream.

      The news that Grove Farm Dairy may produce Jersey Cream and that my chickens are laying lots of eggs has inspired me to make ice cream.
      I've been using this recipe for over 20 years and it's foolproof.

        4 eggs separated.
        4 oz caster sugar.
        ½ pint double cream.
        A few drops of vanilla extract.

   Put the egg whites into a large bowl, the cream into a medium bowl and the egg yolks into a small bowl.
   Place a 2½ pint container in the freezer.
Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff, whisk in the sugar a teaspoonful at a time until you have a meringue mixture. Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks, adding the vanilla extract.
Whisk the egg yolks for a minute.
Gently fold the cream into the egg whites and then add the egg yolks. Mix thoroughly. Turn the mixture into the cold container, cover, label and freeze immediately.
To use, take out of the freezer approximately 10 minutes before it's required.
If you want other varieties, use anything strongly flavoured, lemon or stem ginger are good, and add to the double cream as it's whisked.

April 2008.      Leek and Potato Pies.
     Ingredients (for 2 persons).
      6oz small potatoes, scrubbed.
2 medium leeks, washed and sliced.
1 tub of crème fraiche or sour cream.
2oz of cheddar cheese or goats cheese.
Pinch of nutmeg.
Chopped parsley.
1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC gas mark 6.  Halve the potatoes and boil until tender.
Drain and cool. Slice.
Boil leeks for 5 minutes, drain and cool.
Place a baking tray in the oven.
When the potatoes and leeks have cooled, put in a bowl, add the crème fraiche, parsley and grated cheddar or chopped goats cheese. Mix together, then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Cut 2 pieces of puff pastry approx 5" square and roll out slightly thinner to make a 7" square.
Divide the leek and potato mixture between the two. Draw up the puff pastry, pinch it together to enclose the mixture, leaving it open at the top.
Put on a piece of greased kitchen foil and place on the heated baking tray.
Cook for approx 20 minutes or until the pastry is brown and the cheese melting.

February 2008.      Cabbage Stuff.
        Cabbage gets a bad press, usually because it's overcooked, but it can be delicious.  The following recipes do it justice (for two people).

        Take a medium cabbage, wash and slice it discarding the core. 
        Gently heat ½ oz of butter in a heavy bottomed pan and then add the cabbage with a dash of water. 
        Put on the lid and cook for 5 minutes - check it's not sticking and stir. 
        Cook for another 5-10 minutes without the lid, stirring. 
        When cooked to your taste add a ½ carton of sour cream or crème fraiche and heat up.
        Season to taste and serve.
        Cabbage and bacon soup          
          Ingredients (serves two persons).

           ½ medium cabbage sliced
           4 slices of streaky bacon cut into ½in. pieces
           1 onion, sliced
           1 medium potato, cubed
           Olive oil
           1 pint vegetable or chicken stock


In a heavy bottomed pan gently heat a small amount of olive oil. 
Add the bacon and cook until the fat runs, and the bacon has browned.
Add the onion and cook until softened. Stir to stop it burning.
Add the potato and then the cabbage - continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes.
Pour on the stock and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes until the potato is tender.
Check seasoning.
      Although frozen cabbage is unsuitable as a side dish, it is useful as an addition to vegetable soups or stews. 
      Slice the cabbage, blanch briefly in boiling water, cool as quickly as possible (use ice cubes), dry and freeze on trays. 
      Bag and store in a freezer.