The things we find during a lockdown cupboard clean…in this case a big bag of walnuts gifted by our neighbours last autumn. Determined to put them to good use here are some of the recipes I found on walnuts.org (California walnuts promo site)
Walnut pesto (replace pine nuts in the classic recipe)
Walnut and Parmesan ‘cream’ a veggie pâté alternative
Walnut ‘meatballs’ where mushrooms are used
Walnut honey butter, a sweet chunky ‘peanut butter’
How to use the hazelnuts that the French squirrels didn’t beat us to… a small harvest so I want to use them carefully. These biscotti will stretch and keep well so seem to fit the bill.
It is a recipe from the great British bake-off apparently but so easy that I would recommend it to anyone with a reliable kitchen timer. Half one batch shown here. Not as dry as the ones I have bought.
Flavoured salts lift simple recipes, they avoid waste by preserving herbs and fruit, they look great and are easy to make. Why not? Here are two ‘no weigh, use what you have’ versions.
For the rosemary and orange version the rosemary leaves were stripped from 5 long stalks ( I am keeping the stalks as kebab sticks). I peeled an ancient mandarin/satsuma that was lurking in the bottom of the fruit bowl, squeezed the juice over the rosemary, scraped the pith from the peel then chopped the peel into slices. The rosemary and orange peel was blitzed with about three tablespoons of coarse salt using the chopping attachment on my stick blender (I usually use it for making breadcrumbs).
Just a few seconds of blitzing produced a kaleidoscope of coloured salt. The mix was spread on a silicone baking sheet and dried in a low oven for about 30 minutes before storing in recycled herb jars.
The basil version was even easier. Once the basil leaves were blitzed into 3 tablespoons of salt I spread the lovely green mix on a silicone sheet and dried it in a low temp oven for about 30 minutes. I sprinkled dried chili flakes in before storing in glass jars. So pretty.
Try rubbing into chicken before you roast it, over boiled new potatoes or other plain veg, over sliced tomatoes …
6 egg yolks, 1 can condensed milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 350 ml vodka (or brandy), lemonade
whisk the milk, then the essence then the vodka into the egg yolks – decant into small bottles and chill until ready to tipple
(this quantity made some little gifts but bear in mind that without preservatives this has a limited life)
then pour a measure into a champagne glass and dilute with lemonade
snowballs from my childhood (we drank them made with Warninks which is 17.2% alcohol, really!? well it was only once a year…) were topped with a glace cherry on stick but a little grated nutmeg looks good
for a wicked version replace the lemonade with sparkling wine (don’t waste good stuff on this)
Rather than go and buy some sweeties in case we get callers – we are a bit off the beaten track for most trick or treaters – I whipped up some peppermint bites that we can unwrap and enjoy ourselves if not collected this weekend.
these are easy – about 5 mins once you have got the ingredients together, plus a couple of hours chilling time
3oz of Philadelphia type cream cheese, a tablespoon of softened butter, 3 cups of icing sugar (yes it is a lot), a drop or two of green colouring and a drop or two of peppermint oil
mix everything together and put teaspoons of the mix on a silicone or wax paper sheet – chill till firm
We are in our holiday home for three weeks (hurrah!) with a bonanza of veggies and salad given by friends and neighbours, so I have decided to be creative with these lovely gifts;
broad bean and bacon salad with warm bacon vinaigrette (pop the lightly boiled beans from their jackets, fry the bacon in its own fat til crispy and chop then add vinaigrette to the pan, swirl and combine)
courgette cakes (grated courgette squeezed in a tea towel then combined with grated cheese and a little flour plus garlic or herbs or spices as you choose and fried in pan til golden)
nearly nicoise (runner and/or french beans lightly boiled combined with hard boiled eggs, tom puree, bacon bits or tuna and capers or cornichons only if your vinaigrette isn’t punchy enough)
rhubarb fool-ish (rhubarb stewed with orange juice or elderflower cordial – home made of course – when cool stirred into greek yoghurt or whipped cream or cold custard)
roast beetroot (whole clean roots loosely wrapped in foil and sprinkled with garlic and oil, baked for 30 mins and left to cool before slipping off the skins) gret hot as a veggie and cold when diced with cheese
phew! fridge nearly ready for the next instalment …
I had to stand in and do a slot at our food event so I was given this ‘bombproof’ recipe to make good mayonnaise using an electric stick blender. It works (even on a hot day, in front of an audience) and is tasty too. Apparently it originated with Masterchef Australia’s Gary Mehigan
1 tbsp of mustard – I used dijon but recipes suggest wholegrain
2 tbsp of white vinegar – again some people say white balsamic
pinch of salt
500 ml sunflower oil (approximately)
Add mustard to eggs in bowl – no need to separate – add salt and vinegar plus a dash of oil then blend for about 10 seconds. (The beauty of this is that you don’t spend time trickling oil in gradually, it won’t split if you are generous with even the first dash of oil). Add further slugs of oil until the mayonnaise is the consistency you want. If it gets too thick you can thin it with lemon juice, vinegar or even water.
Option: add in chopped herbs or spices even sweet chili sauce etc.