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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 here for an alphabetical index.  
     Artwork by Pauline as well. 
      2016  December  Chocolate Crunch Torte with Stem Ginger and Figs    
               November   Cinnamon Apple Cake
               October      Piccalilli
               September  Plum and Almond Pasties
               August       Spinach Tart
               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
               October     Aubergines  -  Baba Ghanoush
                                                  -  Aubergine Chips
               September  Peperonata
               August       Peach Melba
               July           Onion Tart
               June          Strawberry and Cucumber Salad 
               May           Cauliflower Cheese with Leek
                                Cauliflower with Creme Fraiche. 
               April          Hot Cross Bun, Toffee and Banana Pudding
               March        Macaroons
               February     Lamb Hotpot
               January      Marmalade

      2014  December   Pumpkin and Chicken
               November   Broccoli Soup with Cheese
               October      Harissa paste (chillies)
               September  Courgette Frittata
               August       Gooseberry Fool
               July            Blackcurrant Cup Cakes and Jam.
               June           Lebanese Beetroot Salad
               May           Almond Biscuits
               April           Spring Vegetable Risotto
               February     Vanilla Cheesecake
               January       A Comforting Soup (poultry & veg.)
      2013  December   (Windfall) Apple and Quince Cake 
               November   Rice Pudding
               October      Pumpkin with Coconut
                                 Peppers and Prawns  
               September  Courgette, Tomato and Ricotta Bake
               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 
               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     Pumpkins and Squashes  
               November      Bolotti Beans with Sage and Borlotti Hummus
               October        Chaffcombe Apple Pudding and Peperoni alla Piemontese
               September    Greek Courgette Pie and a Courgette Side Dish 
               August          Pastry with Quark and Vegetable & Blue Cheese Tart
               July              Clafoutis 
               June             Wimbledon Cake 
               May              Pork with Rhubarb
               April              Nettle Rarebit
               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'
               April              Lemon Curd
               March           Rabbit and Apple Casserole
               January         Vegetable Soup

     2009  December     Focaccia Bread    
               November     French Onion Soup and Shallot Tart
               October        Baking Potatoes
               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
               March           Nettle Soup and Winter Carrots     

      2008  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 

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

   January 2016.  Tarte Tatin (for 4).              
     We have had a really good year for apples and our Epicure variety, which is small and sweet, has produced a large harvest.  Eating apples should 
     keep well if protected from the frost and will just get tastier. They are perfect for the following recipe. If you can't find small apples then quarter larger 

     There are many versions of this dish, you can use short crust pastry if preferred, but I've tried to make it as easy as possible. It also helps 
     if you use an all steel, non-stick frying pan, which will survive in the oven, but it is not essential.  A heavy duty deep sided, baking tray will suffice.
     I used an 8 inch pan.

               9 oz (approx 7) small eating apples, like Cox's Orange Pippins                
               2 oz soft light brown sugar
               2 oz butter
               Ready rolled puff pastry (approx 1/3 of a pack)
     Unroll the pastry and put over the pan. Cut around just larger than the size of the pan. 
     Return to the fridge.  Peel the apples halve them and cut out the core.  In the pan, melt the butter and add the sugar.  Stir and dissolve. 
     Place the apples in the pan, cut side down and cook gently for five minutes. Turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes. 
     Remove from the heat.  Set the oven at 190 C ,Gas 5.  Arrange the apples neatly in the centre of the pan and when cooled ,place the pastry over the top, 
     tucking it in around the edges.  Put in the pre-heated oven and cook for approx. 20 to 25 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and golden. 
     To serve, wait until cooled slightly, place a dish larger than the pan on top and invert the tarte onto the plate.  Scrape any remaining liquid onto the tarte. 
     If made ahead of time just reheat it gently before turning out. 
     Serve with vanilla ice cream or double cream .

   February 2016.   Moules Marinière.  For 2.
     We can buy lovely fresh mussels here from the Deben or Brancaster.  I think this is the best way to serve them, it's easy to make and brings out 
     the flavour of the mussels. The amount given is enough for lunch.  It would probably do four as a starter. 
               1 kg fresh mussels
               1 small onion
               1 tbls olive oil
               1 small glass of white wine
               50 ml double cream
               Fresh parsley, chopped
     Empty the mussels into the sink and check each one.  Under running cold water, pull away the beard and scrape off any barnacles. 
     Put them into a colander.  The mussels should be closed.  If they open and do not close again after a sharp tap, then discard them. 
     Put two soup plates in to warm.
     Finely chop the onion.  Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan with a lid.  Add the onion and cook gently until soft. 
     Turn up the heat a bit and add the mussels, giving the whole pan a stir.  Put the lid on and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the white wine. 
     Cook for another few minutes then check if the mussels have opened.  If so add the parsley and some ground black pepper. Stir again. 
     Then, using a slotted spoon, divide the mussels between the soup plates.  Put the pan back on the heat and add the cream to the liquid. 
     Check for seasoning, when the mixture has heated up pour over the mussels.  
     Serve with French bread or brown bread and butter.

   March 2016.   Blackberry and Apple Tarts.
    I'm still using up my stored Bramleys and the blackberries were in the freezer with the puff pastry. This is a quick and easy dessert which 
    I served with homemade vanilla ice cream. If your cooking apples are newly harvested you may want to add more sugar.
               4 oz puff pastry, defrosted, if frozen
               1 lb prepared cooking apples (peeled, cores and sliced)
               2 dessert spoons caster sugar
               2 dozen blackberries
       Pre-heat the oven to 200 C Gas 6.
       Put the apples in a non-stick pan with a dash of water. Gently heat until the apple collapses and add half the sugar. 
       Put aside to cool.  Divide the pastry into 4 and roll out to form 4 inch squares . 
       Place the pastry on a baking tray lined with non stick baking paper.  Using a knife, score around the edge of the pastry approx. half inch in to 
       form a crust. With a fork prick the area inside the crust (which will prevent it rising when cooking). 
       If there is any liquid in the apple, drain it off, and divide the cooled apple between the pastry cases. 
       Top with the blackberries and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. 
       Put into the oven and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the pastry is risen, crisp and golden. Cool slightly before serving.

    April 2016.   Double Ginger Cake   (from Nigel Slater's "The Kitchen Diaries")
   I've made this cake several times and it's delicious. I usually make half the quantity and use a 7 inch round tin containing a liner.  
   The mixture is very liquid so don't use a loose bottomed cake tin.  It keeps well, wrapped in paper and foil.
               250 g self raising flour
               2 tsp ground ginger
               Half tsp ground cinnamon 
               1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
               A pinch of salt
               200 g golden syrup
               2 tblsp syrup from the ginger jar
               125 g butter
               3 lumps stem ginger
               2 heaped tblsp sultanas
               125 g dark muscavado sugar
               2 large eggs
               240 ml milk
     Line an 8 inch square cake tin with baking parchment.  Set the oven at 180 C/ Gas 4.
     Sift the flour with the ginger, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl.     
     Put the golden and ginger syrups and the butter into a small pan and warm over a low heat. 
     Dice the ginger finely, then add it to the pan with the sultanas and sugar. Let the mixture bubble for a minute and stir. 
     Break the eggs into a smaller bowl, pour in the milk and beat until well mixed.  Remove the butter and sugar mix from the heat and stir into 
     the flour using a large metal spoon.  Add the eggs and milk and stir until there is no trace of flour. 
     Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Leave in the tin to cool before turning out. 

   June 2016.    Cromer Crab Cakes (for 2)

   Cromer crabs are the best and we are fortunate that we can buy them so fresh. They are great in a salad or sandwich but I love these crab cakes 
   which make a delicious lunch or starter.
               7 oz dressed crab in the shell
               5 oz new or salad potatoes 
               1 dessert spoon fresh parsley
               Grated nutmeg
               1/2 tsp English mustard powder
               Salt and pepper
               Olive oil 
               Rye or whole meal flour
               Lemon wedge/ mayonnaise to serve
     Clean the potatoes, cut into walnut sized pieces and boil in salted water until tender.  Drain, allow to cool then crush with a potato masher into smaller pieces. 
     Scoop out both the brown and white crab meat from the shell, discarding any of the shell lining and add to the potatoes. 
     Grate in some nutmeg, add the parsley, mustard powder, salt and pepper. 
     Mix together, then divide the mixture into four.  Put a table spoon of flour on a cutting board and smooth out. 
     Heat a non-stick frying pan and add a dash of olive oil.  
     Using a large spoon,  scoop out a portion of the crab mix into the palm of your hand and form it into a ball. 
     Put down on to the floured board and flatten, then carefully turn over, using a fish slice, so the crab cake is coated in flour. 
     It should be approx. 1/2 inch deep and 2 1/2 inch wide.  Repeat with the rest of the mixture so you have four cakes (you may need more flour). 
     Using the fish slice, place them in the hot frying pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until golden and crispy. 
     Add another dash of oil, turn the cakes over and cook until done. 
     Serve with a crisp green salad.

   July 2016.   Strawberry Cream Dessert (for 4)
    An easy way of using up your strawberries.
       1 small (170 g.) carton of 0% fat Greek yoghurt
       170 g double cream 
       250 g ripe strawberries
       Juice of 1 small lemon 
        2 tsp caster sugar
       A dash of balsamic vinegar
    Hull, wash and dry the strawberries. Slice 100 g of them and, in a small bowl , toss them with half the lemon juice and 1 teaspoonof caster sugar. 
    Put in the fridge. In a freezer safe bowl whisk  the double cream until firm. Fold in the yoghurt, balsamic vinegar and the rest of the sugar and lemon juice. 
    Blitz the strawberries in a blender and add to the cream mixture, giving a ripple effect. 
    Put in the fridge until an hour before serving then put in the freezer.                
    To serve, divide the sliced strawberries between 4 sundae dishes.                
    Take the strawberry cream from the freezer and scoop it out so each portion has some of the frozen and unfrozen mixture. 
    Arrange on top of the sliced strawberries. Serve with almond biscuits (see recipe on VV website).

   August 2016.   Spinach Tart  (for 4)              
   Spinach is a very versatile vegetable and easy to grow.  Allow 4 oz per portion as a side dish. 
   To prepare, give the leaves a good rinse and tear out any tough stems.  Either put in a large pan and cook gently in the water from the leaves, or steam. 
   Do not cook for more than 3 or 4 minutes or you will end up with an unappetising mush. 
   Turn over a couple of times with a fork to ensure it's cooked through and then drain into a sieve .
   Using the back of a spoon, press out any excess water.  Toss the spinach in butter you have melted in the pan and season with salt and pepper. 
   To make creamed spinach, soften chopped garlic and finely chopped spring onions in the butter.                
   Slice the cooked spinach and add to the pan with double cream, seasoning and freshly grated nutmeg. 
       For the pastry:
          3 oz flour
          1 1/2 oz cold butter cubed
          150 ml (approx.) double cream
      For the filling:
          10 oz spinach
          A handful of chopped chives
          1 egg
          50 ml double cream or creme fraiche
          1 oz Stilton or any blue cheese
          1 oz grated cheddar cheese
          Salt, pepper and nutmeg
          A 7 inch, loose bottomed flan case
   To make the pastry, sift the flour with the salt and using your fingertips, quickly and lightly rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. 
   Slowly add the cream, stirring it in with a table knife until it starts to bind together . Finish off the process with your fingers. 
   Use as little cream as you can.  Form the pastry into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.                
   Cook the spinach as above and cool, placing the sieve on kitchen paper. 
   On a floured board, roll out the pastry into a round approx 3 inches larger than the flan case.  
   Carefully place the pastry in the greased flan case, pressing it into the edges.  Prick the bottom of the pastry shell all over with a fork.
   Trim around just above the flan case (I find it easier to do this with scissors) and return to the fridge for 15 minutes. 
   Heat the oven to 200 C Gas 6 . Line the flan case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. 
   Bake for 10 minutes, remove the beans and parchment and cook for another 5 minutes until the case is starting to colour. 
   Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 180 C Gas 4. 
   In a bowl, whisk the egg and cream.  Check that the spinach is as dry as possible, chop and stir into the egg mixture. 
   Add the crumbled blue cheese,chives and seasoning.  Pour into the flan case and distribute evenly. 
   Scatter with the cheddar cheese.  Bake in the centre of the oven for approx 30 minutes or until the top has browned.

   September 2016.   Plum and Almond Pastries.
    The original recipe for this made one large "galette" but I prefer to make 6 individual portions as it's easier to serve. You can make them any shape you like, 
    I usually just cut the pastry into 6.  The number of plums you will need depends on their size.  My plums, a variety called Opal, are small and I used 3 per pastry.  
    I think with Victoria's you will only want 2 but allow for extras just in case. 
        3 oz softened butter
        3 oz caster sugar plus 3 desert spoonfuls
        1 large egg, beaten
        3 oz ground almonds
        1 (375 g) pack of ready rolled puff pastry 
        12 to 18 ripe eating plums 
        1 oz flaked almonds
   Pre heat the oven to 200 C/ gas 6 
   Beat the butter and 3 oz sugar together until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the egg and ground almonds to the mixture, beating them in alternately to avoid curdling. 
   Cover and place in the fridge.  Unroll the pastry, cut into 6 and place on baking tins lined with baking parchment. 
   With a table knife score around the edge of each piece making a 1/2 inch border. Prick the rest of the pastry all over with a fork. Return to the fridge. 
   Cut the plums in half and remove the stones.  Roughly divide the almond mixture into 6 and spread a layer onto the pastry, inside the border. 
   Arrange the plums, cut side up on top, and dredge with the remaining sugar.  Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 150 C/ gas 2 . 
   Remove, scatter on the flaked almonds and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and the almond paste is golden.

   October 2016.   Piccalilli.
   This is a marvellous way of using up surplus vegetables and is very popular with pickle lovers.
   Makes approx. 2 litres or 3 1/2 pints.

          2 lb prepared and diced vegetables (cucumber, courgettes, pickling onions, marrow, cauliflower, green beans, green tomatoes) .
          5 oz salt
          3 oz caster sugar
          1 tsp dry mustard
          1 tsp ground ginger
          1 pint pickling distilled malt vinegar
          1 oz cornflour
          1 tbsp turmeric
    Layer the vegetables and salt in a large colander, cover and leave for 24 hours.  Rinse then dry on kitchen paper. 
    Mix sugar, mustard and ginger with 3/4 pint of vinegar in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.  
    Add the vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes. 
    Blend the cornflour and turmeric with the remaining vinegar, stir into the vegetables and boil for 2 minutes. 
    Pack into warm, sterilised jars.  Seal, label and store for a month before use.

November 2016.   Cinnamon Apple Cake  (serves 6-8)               
   This is a very useful recipe as you don't need eggs.  It makes a delicious dessert and if there is any left over you can use it for afternoon tea.

       9 oz plain flour
       1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
       1 tsp cinnamon
       1/2 tsp salt
       7 oz caster sugar
       4 oz butter 
       12 oz cooked cpple (from 1.5 lb of cooking apples)
       2 tbsp treacle
       5 oz sultanas

     Pre-heat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4
     Grease a 8 inch (20 cm) cake tin and line with baking parchment. 
     Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Mix in the apple sauce and treacle. 
     Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spice and salt into the mixture and beat well. 
     Fold in the sultanas. 
     Pour the mix into cake tin and bake for approx 45 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch .

December 2016.   Chocolate Crunch Torte with Stem Ginger and Figs (makes 24 pieces).               
      This is a recipe from Delia's 'Complete Christmas' publication. Its simplicity is that no cooking is required.  Published by Sue Bethell.
         Ingredients :
               225g dark chocolate,broken into pieces
               4 pieces stem ginger in syrup, drained and each cut into 8 pieces
               50g dried figs roughly chopped
               3 tbs rum
               100g skinned hazelnuts
               50g butter
               150 ml double cream, lightly whipped
               225g sweet oat biscuits, roughly chopped
               Cocoa powder to dust
     You will also need a 20cm, loose-based cake tin, lightly greased.
               Soak the dried figs in the rum overnight.
               Cook or toast the hazelnuts until golden.
               Place the broken up chocolate and the butter in a large bowl, which should be sitting over a saucepan filled 
               with a couple of inches of barely simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesn't touch the water.
               Let the chocolate melt slowly over a low heat - about 6 minutes until smooth and glossy.
               Remove from heat and stir, then let the chocolate cool for about 2-3 minutes.
               Fold in the whipped cream, followed by the soaked figs, ginger, hazelnut and biscuits and mix well.
               Spoon into the cake tin as evenly as possible, cover with clingfilm and chill for a minimum of four hours.
               Lightly dust with cocoa powder. 
               Store in the fridge until ready to serve.