Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Garden Forager - Edible Delights in your own back yard by Adele Nozedar

"Many of the plants that we now cultivate purely because they are ornamental were once highly regarded not for their looks but for their flavour" Adele Nozedar

One of the benefits of Food Blogging is that from time to time we are sent items to review. A few weeks ago I noticed that the lovely Adele Nozedar was publishing a new book "The Garden Forager" which is to be published on 26th March 2015

Well, we have been lucky enough to be sent a pre-release copy, the book follows a similar format to her previous book " The Hedgerow Handbook" reviewed here.

This beautifully illustrated book features 40 commonly grown garden plants which can be used in cooking, baking, remedies or for cosmetic use. The watercolour illustrations are by Lizzie Harper a very talented artist and Adele's words combine to create a stunning addition to anyone's bookshelf who has an interest in gardening, cooking or foraging.

The recipes include Marigold Butterfly buns, Oregon grape preserve, Salmon sumac rub, Lilac wine (of Elkie Brooks or if you are younger Miley Cyrus fame) and the particularly fascinating Begonia, strawberry and peach crumble, which I am definitely going to try once all the ingredients are in season.

The book encourages you to explore your own exotic kitchen garden and try the new ingredients you have to hand, unlike wild foraging you barely have to leave the house to discover this new fresh larder of flavours.

The publisher has kindly given permission to allow me to publish one of the recipes and two illustrations from the book, aren't they absolutely beautiful.

Sunflower Seed and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 50 cookies

125g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
300g light brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
350g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g dehusked sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
100g chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180C / gas4.
Lightly grease for 30 x 20cm baking trays.
Cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon (or use an electric mixer) until pale and fluffy.
Stir in the egg and the vanilla and beat until smooth.
Sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda over the mixture, then add the toasted sunflower seeds and the chocolate chips and stir to form a dough. Do not overwork the dough.
Form the dough into balls - 50 balls will make biscuits about 4cm in diameter. You can make larger cookies if you prefer.
Press each ball on to the prepared baking trays to approximately 1cm thick and leave a 5cm gap around each one to allow for spreading.
Bake for 12 -15 minutes, in batches if necessary. Keep any uncooked dough in the fridge before baking.

Published by Square Peg , The Random House Group, the hardback will retail at £12.99 and is available from all good book shops. Support your local independent bookshop who will be more than happy to order for you when published.

Recipe reproduced by kind permission of Square Peg from The Garden Forager - Adele Nozedar and illustrations by Lizzie Harper.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Apple Gingerbread pudding - gluten free

I think it must be the cusp season for apples as recently I have noticed that many of the eating apples in the fruit bowl aren't lasting for very long before starting to go soft. So here's another recipe that uses up apples that are slightly past their best, I hate waste.

This pudding is ideal served with custard, cream, creme fraiche or ice cream and the slight spicing of the sponge is great when there is still a slight nip in the air.This is a twist on the classic Eve's Pudding and made gluten free by switching out the flour for gluten free flour.

What you need
  • Oven proof dish (I used a Pyrex pie dish)
  • Oil spray
  • 6 eating apples- peeled, cored and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 50g quality vegetable margarine or softened butter
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 7 tbsp skimmed milk
  • 2 free range eggs - beaten
  • 225g plain gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp mixed sweet spice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
What you do
  • Pre heat oven to 180C
  • Oil spray the baking dish
  • Place the chopped apples in the prepared dish and sprinkle with the soft brown sugar
  • Melt the syrups and margarine / butter and allow to cool, then add the milk and the beaten eggs
  • Pour this into a large bowl and sieve on the flour, spices and baking powder , mix together until well incorporated and pour over the apples and level.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or so until golden and well risen.
  • Serve hot or cold.

I am linking up this post to Credit Crunch Munch created by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food for All and hosted this month by Jo's Kitchen. A monthly challenge for frugal food, this post using rapidly ageing apples.


Saturday, 7 March 2015

## STOP PRESS - Image shortlisted in Pink Lady Food Photographer awards 2015 ##

Mr LF received a email last night notifying him of having an image shortlisted in the prestigious Pink Lady Food Photographer awards 2015

We were really excited to receive this news, especially as some of the judges are our foodie hero's.

You just never know...........

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Spring Lemon and lime drizzle cake - gluten free

Despite it still being fairly cool, there is definitely signs of spring in our Lancashire garden, the snowdrops are blooming well and there are even a few early daffodils poking through the soil. We have even heard the deep throaty calls of a few early frogs coming from our garden pond. So last weekend in celebration of spring and also for our last cake club I made a beautiful lemon and lime drizzle cake with zingy citrus flavours.

This gluten free cake has a beautiful crumb structure and is complemented with fresh sharp tasting icing drizzled on top.

To get the best results you need to firstly pay a visit to your local market or greengrocer (if you still have one - lucky you) to stock up on fresh juicy lemons and limes. Ideally unwaxed if you can get them, not to worry if you can't as a quick scrub under a running tap removes most of the wax used to help preserve the fruit.

To achieve the beautiful texture and crumb structure I used a mixture of very finely ground cornmeal (polenta), cornflour and white rice flour with a little xanthum gum.

What you need
  • 175g White rice flour
  • 105g Finely ground cornmeal (its golden yellow, I got mine from Holland and Barrett)
  • 70g Cornflour
  • 1 tsp xanthum gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs - free range
  • 200ml sunflower oil or vegetable oil
  • 400ml skimmed milk
  • 3 lemons - zested and juiced
  • 4 limes - zested and juiced
  • Oil spray for oiling tins
  • 2 tbsp of granulated sugar
  • About 100g of icing sugar
You will also need an approximately 20cm round loose bottom or springform cake tin, base lined and oils sprayed on the sides.

What you do
  • Preheat the oven to 180c
  • Whisk the eggs and caster sugar until light and fluffy and tripled in volume 
  • Sift in the flours, baking powder and xanthum gum, whisk this in along with the milk, oil and the zest of one of the lemons
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and place in the oven
  • Bake for approx 60 minutes until firm and tests cooked with a skewer.
  • Once ready, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack in the tin.
  • To make your drizzle, melt the granulated sugar and the juice of 2 lemons in a small pan until all dissolved.
  • Prick the cake all over and gentle pour on the warm syrup whilst the cake remains in the tin
  • Once fully cool remove the cake from the tin
To make the icing take the juice from the limes and mix with the icing sugar until you have a smooth drizzleable paste, pour over the icing and once starting to set decorate with lime and lemon zest.

Serve once the icing has set, the cake stores well in an airtight tin.

We are linking up to a new linky with this post, Belleau Kitchen's - Simply Eggcellent challenge where you link up recipes containing lovely free range eggs.


Also to Family Foodies - whose theme this month is  Lets Get Baking . Hosted by Eat your Veg and Bangers and Mash.

Bake of the Week over at Casa Costello - a weekly baking linky

                                                           Casa Costello

Sunday, 1 March 2015

John Winnard - Santus

This months featured foodie is John Winnard of Santus the home of the iconic Uncle Joes' mint ball that have been keeping the world all a glow since 1898, still made to the original recipe in Wigan.

Uncle Joes are a traditional mint which has legendary status in these parts, so if you have never tried them then you must. 

  • What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication ? 
John Whaite Bakes.

  • What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ? 
Honest, hearty and wholesome.

  • If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be ? 
Downhill skier.

  • Which piece of kit could you not do without ?
Slow cooker.
  • Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why? 

Stephen Fry, Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Peter Kay and Freddie Mercury. 
I think that this selection of people should be able to cover most aspects of conversation and entertainment. 

  • What advice would you give to your younger self ? 
Seize every opportunity in life.

  • Describe your style in three words 
Fair, traditional, and passionate. 

  • What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ? 

  • What is your greatest achievement to date ? 
MBE for contribution to the food industry.

  • What is the worst mistake you have made ?
I once forgot to put peppermint in Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls. 

  • Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldn’t expect ! 
Sailed from Majorca to Gibraltar in a 42 foot sailing boat. 

The Kitchen Theatre Chorley

We are proud support local food venues in Lancashire and on a recent trip to Chorley we decided to pop into the recently opened Kitchen Theatre on Peter Street, its situated right next to Chorley Little Theatre in the former premises of Parmesan and Peppers (or Parmesan and Petulanceas so named by Richard Herring).

                                                           The Kitchen Theatre

We arrived chilled to the bone after dodging hail showers to be warmly welcomed by the front of house staff to the friendly space. Despite it being a Friday lunchtime the restaurant was pretty quiet, yet on chatting to the staff they are fully booked for evening services on Fridays and Saturdays weeks ahead. We decided to plump for starters and mains and then judge as to whether we could squeeze in a pudding.

We ordered the pate and arancini balls, the pate was pronouced delicious and was served with some very nice bread and red onion chutney.

The Arancini balls were amazing, served on a tangy tomato couli and a dressed rocket salad.

Mains of Beef cheeks, sage mash and seasonal vegetables, delicious and very comforting in the cold weather. Meltingly tender and perfectly matched with roasted vegetables.

Our other main was traditional fish and chips with mushy peas, beautiful fresh fish served with tasty chips.

After our mains I decided that I wouldn't order a dessert as I was full, Mr LF however plumped for jam roly poly which was accompanied by a beautiful creamy custard.


The Kitchen Theatre is situated on Peter Street Chorley, right next to Chorley Little Theatre, parking is avaliable on street and on the near by car park. The restuarant is definately worth a visit, the food is of great quality, well prepared and a warm welcome awaits you. Reservations are advised.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Family Favourites at The Old Stables Vintage Tea Rooms Chorley for South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club

Last weekend South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club were warmly welcomed to one of Chorley's hidden gem's , The Old Stables Vintage Tea Rooms, just off the main street smack bang in the centre of Chorley. This quirky venue is in an old converted stable block and is stuffed fully of lovely vintage objet d'art and gift ware and the tea room serves a lovely range of meals, snacks and cakes. There afternoon teas are the stuff of legend, all served on vintage china.

We just loved our venue for our family favourites meeting and enjoyed chatting cake with Wendy and her hubby the owners of The Old Stables. Members enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and enjoyed a wide range of cakes brought along by other members.

Tea, cake and a warm friendly venue what more could we want. Nothing !

We loved these bears too who came to our tea.

Custard Sponge cake

Chocolate Fudge cake

Allbran Loaf Cake

Crushed Pineapple Cake

Orange and Almond Cake (Gluten Free)

Quick Chocolate cake

Lemon and Lime Drizzle cake (Gluten Free)

Lemon Layer Cake
The Old Stables is the perfect venue for a quick brew whilst in town shopping but also for their beautiful afternoon teas (ideal for Baby Showers, Hen Parties and special occasions) or just a bite to eat in a quirky friendly vintage environment.

You can find The Old Stables Vintage Tea Room on West St, Chorley very handy for parking and only a few steps from the shops.

You can also find them on Facebook

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Prune and raisin loaf cake - gluten free

Winter baking needs to be comforting and this loaf definitely hits the spot, ideal served with a good cup of tea. I have mentioned before that Mr LF is a member of a walking group and this has been tasted and approved by his fellow walkers, its also robust enough to survive being buffeted about in a rucksack or lunch box.

I love the sticky soft prunes which create large pockets of moist juicy fruitiness, this cake is naturally gluten free and improves with keeping, I have baked the recipe several times and would recommend that you use a quality cider or fruit juice as your soaking liquor as it really makes a difference to the overall flavour of the cake.

This version is taken from River Cottage Light and Easy and is also very similar to a tea loaf recipe I make a lot but instead of the raisins and prunes, I used the same quantity of dried fruit.

What you need
  • 150g raisins or sultanas
  • 150g soft pitted prunes
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 150ml cider, strong tea or fruit juice (apple or orange is good)
  • Oil spray
  • 1 egg - free range
  • 100g rice flour or gluten free flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp mixed sweet spices
What you do
  • Soak the fruit in the cider,tea or juice for a couple of hours, stir in the sugar until dissolved in a large baking bowl. I leave it covered with a tea towel in the kitchen
  • Oil spray and base line a 2lb loaf tin
  • Pare heat the oven to 170c
  • Sieve the flour, almonds, baking powder and spices on to a plate ready for adding to the bowl
  • Add the sieved flour and egg to the bowl containing the soaked fruits, mix thoroughly and then turn into the prepared loaf tin
  • Bake for 50 to 55 mins until golden and well risen
  • Cool initially in the tin and then cool fully on a wire rack
  • Stores well in an airtight tin.

I am linking this post up to "Bake of the Week" over at Casa Costello, a general celebration of baking in all its forms.

                                                               Casa Costello

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Almond sponge topped apple pots

In winter nothing hits the spot like a warm pudding to round off a satisfying meal, this recipe is one I have been making for many years, originally based on Gino D'ACampo's miel e mandorle pots that I discovered was gluten free when I was entertaining a friend who is a celiac.

These are delicious served hot or cold and are easy to make, the recipe is a great way to use up apples left in the fruit bowl that are passed their best. I used a mixture of granny smiths and braeburn apples but other fruits would work as well. The pots are the perfect combination of fruit and moist golden sponge with a faint almond flavour, ideally topped off with a few flaked almonds. Serve with your choice of custard, creme fraiche, yogurt or cream.

What you need
  • 6 dessert apples (I used Granny Smiths), peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs - free range
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g ground almonds
  • Few sliced almonds for sprinkling on top
  • Lemon juice
  • Apple pie spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg)

What you do
  • Preheat oven to 160c
  • To make the filling cook the chopped apples, the soft brown sugar, lemon juice and spices in a pan until slightly softened, add a splash of water if you like.
  • Place the cooked apple filling in four ramekins, divided equally
  • Whisk the caster sugar and butter until light and fluffy ( I used my mixer)
  • Add the eggs and ground almonds and whisk until you have smooth fluffy mixture
  • Top the ramekins with the almond topping and sprinkle with a few flaked almonds
  • Bake in the pre heated oven for 45 mins or so until golden and well risen
  • Serve hot or cold.

I am linking this post to "Recipe Clippings" created and hosted by Farmersgirl Kitchen, as I have said this a recipe I have used time and time again and proudly features in my recipe scrapbook.

And also to Credit Crunch Munch created by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 all, hosted this month by Elizabeth's Kitchen, as I used some rather sad apples form the fruit bowl to create a great dessert dish.


Friday, 6 February 2015

Gluten Free Beef brisket, carrot and celery pie - with a delicious pastry top

I recently cooked a small brisket of beef in the slow cooker and this pie is using some of the left over meat from the joint, I actually managed to stretch the meat to 3 separate meals, along with this pie I also served the meat simply with gravy like a roast dinner and in a pan haggerty (that's a post for another day).

Brisket isn't the cheap cut it used to be but its reliable easy to cook especially if you use a slow cooker like I do and it produces delicious gravy too. I just cooked the brisket for 6 hours on high after smothering the join in a mix of Dijon mustard, BBQ spice rub, tomato ketchup and maple syrup. I didn't add an extra liquid.

This is frugal dish as it used a fairly small quantity of meat, the leftover gravy and carrots and celery to bulk up the pie filling. I then created a gluten free pastry top and if I do say so myself it tasted pretty amazing.

Fresh out of the oven 
If you don't have left over brisket or roast beef then this pie could be made with minced beef or lamb and any suitable vegetables you have to hand. The gluten free pastry was very well behaved, the secret being allowing it to rest in the fridge for about half an hour before rolling out and a liberally brushing with an egg glaze before baking so you achieve a beautiful golden top.

What you need 

For the pie filling
  • Quantity of left over beef -chopped into bite sized pieces
  • Carrots and celery - parboiled until just tender
  • Gravy - I used thickened cooking juices
For the pastry
  • 225g Gluten free flour (I mix my own)
  • 110g Butter
  • 20g Parmesan cheese - finely grated
  • 1 free range egg - beaten (reserve a little for glazing the pie)
  • A little cold water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum gum
What you do

  • Preheat the oven to 180c
  • Mix your pie filling and place in your pie dish
  • Sieve the flour, xanthum gum, salt into a bowl, add the Parmesan cheese
  • Rub the fat into the flour mixture until its resembles fine breadcrumbs
  • Add the egg and enough water to to form a soft dough
  • Once you have formed your dough, Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • Once rested roll out on a well floured surface and top your selected pie dish, crimp and trim and then glaze with a little beaten egg. 
  • Make a couple of cuts in the pastry top to allow steam to escape. With some of your spare pastry why not form some creative pastry shapes.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes or so until golden and cooked through
  • Serve immediately

The pastry is deliciously savoury,short yet flaky and undetectable as gluten free. The pastry does require slightly more gentle rolling out for its well worth the effort.

With an eye to Valentine's day I decorated my pie with hearts, as its made with love. 
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