Left over to luscious…pineapple

After the pineapple upside down cake…
  • Half a fresh pineapple chopped into 1cm pieces
  • Half an onion finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 crushed cloves
  • 3 allspice berries crushed
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Throw all the above in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour before storing in the fridge. Goes well with ice cream, roast gammon or jacket potatoes. Sweet and tangy, I love it!

Apple leather

A first attempt that worked out really well. 6 apples peeled, cored and chopped then simmered in as little water as I could get away with. I added a squirt of lemon juice and a spoon of sugar then puréed it all before simmering off as much liquid as possible. The paste then went into the dehydrator in a thin layer for 10 hours before being snipped into snack bites. Lasts well in a tin.

Soft amaretti biscuits, oh yum

Simple recipe, as good as any I’ve tried before. Hint, make only this size batch, unless you have the willpower not to devour them all straight from the oven!

2 egg whites whipped to soft peak, 100grams sugar, 100 grams ground almonds, pinch of salt, tablespoon amaretto or almond essence

Pre heat oven to 150 degrees and line two baking trays. Mix the dry ingredients together, then gradually mix in spoonfuls of the egg white gently so you don’t lose the air. Finally add the amaretto or essence. Teaspoons of the mix should be well spaced across the baking sheets before cooking for 15 minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire tray, if you can. Can be stored for a short while in a tin, if you must. The batch pictured here are slightly over cooked but still soft inside and delicious. Some recipes suggest making smooth little balls so they look more like the commercial biscuits.

Easy Peasy Mint sauce

Copious amounts of mint have been dried, frozen and made into tea already but still there is an abundance to be used. So mint sauce is today’s kitchen craft.

Chop leaves finely (don’t blend or it will be a purée) and steep in boiling water for a couple of minutes to tenderise them. Meanwhile, mix 1 tablespoon of malt vinegar with 1 teaspoon of caster sugar and a pinch of salt, scale up this mix so you have enough to cover the leaves.

Drain the leaves and rinse in cold water to stop them ‘cooking’ then put them in the jar/ saucer before pouring over the vinegar mix. Ready to use in half an hour, will keep in clean jar for weeks.

Liven up peas, potatoes, carrots, chicken and of course goes well with lamb.

Herb harvest

I went into the sea

Up to my knees

Started to freeze

So came home and made mint syrup…

Two handfuls of mint stick-blended with half a cup of sugar. Three cups of water with another cup of sugar brought to the boil. Mint mix added to water and simmered for 10 minutes. Left to stand then double filtered before bottling.

Great in cocktails, with sparkling water, in herb tea, over ice cream or yoghurt.

Leftover baking

I needed to make some space in the fridge so wanted to empty some jars. Leftover cookies were created using the remains of a jar of mincemeat and some liqueur chocolates that had been lurking since Christmas. Recipe varied from one on BBC good food site

150g dark brown soft or caster sugar,125g butter, ½ heaped tsp salt, 1 medium egg, 4 tbsp mincemeat and a handful of liqueur chocolates, 220g plain flour,½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Mix ingredients, spoon into balls and make for 12 minutes in oven at 160C. I put half in silicone Yorkshire mould to make giant cookies. All were squidgy when first out of the oven but firmed up as they cooled. Yum.

Valentine bakes

So who are these cookies for?

Doggy cookies made for a little Valentine treat to brighten up a lockdown Sunday.

Recipe found as a Christmas offering but easily translates with the right cutter.

Mix: 100g plain flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons olive oil. form a dough then roll out and stamp shapes – about 12. Bake on silicone sheet in 180C oven for about 20 minutes.

Box made pizza box style with decorations from standard shapes on the scan and cut.

Port wine sauce

What to do with Christmas port?
  • 1 oz. butter
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • ¾ cup Port
  • teaspoon onion powder
  • Teaspoon cornflour
  • Zest of a small orange
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme

After meat is cooked and while it is resting deglaze the pan with the butter and soften the onions then add other ingredients and reduce. Whole process should take about 4 minutes

We had ours over pigeon. But would work with venison, sausages or pork. The orange gives it a lovely lift.

Bloney good blinis

Another ‘why haven’t I made these before’ moment. Easy, cheap and delicious.

My recipe came from bbc good food. Batter made with egg whites added at last minute. I added some baking powder to increase the bubbles and it was lovely. Rather than chives I added some tarragon leaves but, frankly, any herb or none would do.

Fry dessert spoonfuls of the batter in an oiled pan, flipping when bubbles appear. Makes about 20 – 24. Just don’t snack on too many while cooking. Can be reheated or frozen.

Fruit harvest creations

Fabulous donated fruit needed to be used so, using searches with different combinations of my supplies generated a few kitchen experiments …

I started with fig, date and marrow chutney then plum frangipane tarts. Then a look through ‘save room for dessert’ prompted plum and blackberry bars.

I roasted some plums with fig and rosemary to have cold, made some plumbrillo (pictured) to have with cheese and then put the rest of the plums into the favourite spicy Chinese style plum sauce. This batch turned out super spicy!!

Finally a trawl through the ever reliable bbc food site brought up slow slow cooked marrow and butter bean ideas. I switched out the suggested fennel for chili. Really brilliant discovery.