Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Cooking with Herbs - September 2015

Its with great excitment that this month we are hosting this month's Cooking with Herbs, whilst the lovely Karen is away travelling in Canada (lucky lady), hopefully she has left it in safe hands whilst she is away

As the new series of Great British Bake Off for this year is well underway and as always the bakers are being ccreative with their flavour choices. I thought it would be fun to theme this months linky to baking, cooking with herbs in Breads, biscuits and cakes. Please join in the fun as I am looking forward to seeing all your lovely baking creations, as I know we have lots of talented bakers out there.

You find the roundup if last months linky here - the theme being Herbal Flowers

So if you fancy joining the baking fun just follow the instructions below

September Cooking with Herbs
Bread, Biscuits & Cakes
Guidelines how to enter:
1. Post your recipe url to the Linky at the bottom of the appropriate month’s challenge, including your email and the title of your recipe or post.
2. Display the Cooking with Herbs badge (as shown above and below) to the relevant recipe post, with a link back to the monthly challenge post.
3. Add as many recipe links as you like, there is NO limit!
4. If you tweet your post, please mention #cookingwithherbs and @KarenBurnsBooth in your tweet – I will retweet all that I see. If a guest blogger is hosting, please add them into the tweet too! So for this month please tweet @LancashireFood 
5. The recipe can be one of your own or one you’ve seen elsewhere. You are welcome to republish old recipes/posts but please add the information about this challenge as listed above with the Cooking with Herbs badge.
6. If using a recipe from another person, book, website, chef or blog, you must link back to the original recipe and not reproduce the recipe in full in your post. You must also use your OWN images for the recipe and not the original images, unless you have permission to do so, with appropriate links and any other information requested by the photo’s owner added to the image.


Herb Flowers

September 2015 - Tim Proctor - Proctors Cheeses

Hi everyone, this month's choosen foodie is non other than Tim Procter of Procters Cheeses, also the man behind that amazing cheese brand Kick Ass Cheddar,  the cheese with a tasty cheddar twang yet a still creamy cheese.

The Kick Ass range includes several different varieties the newest been a Rioja with red onion chutney which I must say is absolutely delicious toasted, which I got to taste at the most recent Clitheroe Food Festival.

You can get in touch with Kick Ass on facebook, Twitter and even order via Amazon, plus its stocked by quality local cheesemongers as well. Procters Cheeses are based in Chipping right at the heart of Lancashire Cheese Country.

Myself and Tim Procter at Clitheroe Food Festival

What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication ?
Anything from Padstow chef Rick Stein.  I like his no-nonsense approach to cooking and the sourcing of ingredients

What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you ?
Just like our world famous Lancashire cheese that is unique, in that it has 3 distinctly different varieties in one type of cheese – I think that sums up the county as a whole…hugely diverse and yet offering the best of everything.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be ?
If I hadn’t become a cheese factor, I am sure I would have joined the British Military.  My secondary school days were spent as a boarder at Bentham Grammar School in North Yorkshire.  A lot of my friends were children whose parents were in the military and always took a keen interest in where they were stationed and the roles they had.

Which piece of kit could you not do without ?
The TV remote…I live in a house with 4 females, and I need to feel that I’M IN CHARGE

Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
MALE: Robert De Niro as he’d definitely give the evening a bit of an edge.  
FEMALE: Cameron Diaz…nuff said really.

What advice would you give to your younger self ?
Make the very most of every opportunity that comes your way.  You WILL get the chances….TAKE THEM

Describe your style in three words

What was your latest foodie gadget purchase ?
A new kitchen for wife Sue

What is your greatest achievement to date ?
Being married to the lovely Sue for the last 22 years and raising two beautiful daughters (Georgina 17 / Emma 15)

What is the worst mistake you have made ?
Sometimes being too soft with people that I actually don’t know that well, allowing them to mistake my generosity and good nature for weakness

Tell us a secret about yourself ? may be something we wouldn’t expect !
I have been known to sulk if I don’t get my own way ;-)


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Blackberry and apple geranium swirl

My lovely blogging friends, Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Janice who blogs at Farmers Girl Kitchen are currently running a campaign to encourage us all to enjoy seasonal blackberries and have created #GBBR or Great British Blackberry Recipe Round Up. So I'll be linking up this post to there linky.

                                                    The Great British Blackberry Recipe Round-Up

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you will have no doubt noticed that along with courgette, blackberry recipes are quite common. I regularly post blackberry recipes as we have a large plant of the thornless variety "Loch Ness" in the garden, its a fabulous reliable variety and routinely spurs new plants, the plant I am currently picking from is a spur of a spur of a spur we moved from our previous home. The plant crops very well most years and produces large juicy berries so beloved for inclusion in jam, preserve and crumble recipes.

This recipe came about as I wanted to utilise the beautiful subtle flavour of a new scented leaved pelagonium for this year, "apple scented" and what better combination than apples and blackberries. I was aiming for a fool but decided to substitute the cream for yogurt instead to lighten the dish.

I have also been experimenting with my new camera too, not that I am trying to surpass Mr LF but just handy for when I am in the kitchen or he's not available. So far I am pretty pleased with the results. Anyway on to the easy recipe.

What you need

  • 1 cup of blackberries (retain a few whole ones for decoration)
  • A few Apple pelagonium (geranium) leaves (optional, still tastes great without them)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (0% fat works well)
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • Qty of dinky glass pots or dishes to serve 

What you do
  • Whiz up the blackberries, sugar and pelagonium leaves in the food processor until you have a puree
  • Sieve the puree to remove the seeds,leaves and stalks.
  • In another bowl mix the vanilla, yogurt and creme fraiche to combine
  • Simply place alternate layers of the yogurt and puree into your glass pots and swirl using a cocktail stick
  • Chill a little before serving

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Chicken, potato and chorizo bake

Are you in need of a quick and easy supper dish, that's healthy and tasty and with hardly any washing up too !  Well this is the dish for you, a one pot dish that uses one of my favourite cuts of chicken, thighs juicy and extra tasty they are also a great economy cut too, providing plenty of flavour and flesh for your buck.

To enhance the dish I used fresh oregano from the herb garden including the flowers so beloved of the bees at the moment. Did I tell we now host a hive in the garden so I am much more aware of what flowers they enjoy and oregano is a firm favourite, along with cat mint and thyme.

What you need
  • Chicken thigh - skin on and bone still in
  • Chorizo - approx 1/2 a loop, chopped into chunks
  • 1 red pepper - seeds removed and chunkly chopped
  • 1 red onion - peeled and chunky chopped
  • Couple of large handful - washed baby potatoes, chopped in half or quatered if large
  • Small bunch of fresh oregano
  • Extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil - about 1 tbsp
  • Large metal baking tray
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
What you do

  • Pre heat the oven to 220c / 180c fan
  • Place all the ingredients in a large metal baking tray
  • Toss so all ingredients have a very light coating of oil

Bake for approx 30 minutes baste with some of the delicious juices, bake for another 30  minutes or so until golden.

  • Remove and serve with a freshly dressed green salad and a glass of something chilled.

We are linking up to recipe of the week over on A Mummy Too

                                            Link up your recipe of the week

And to Cooking with Herbs over on Lavender and lovage - who's theme this month is Summer Herb

                                           August Cooking with Herbs

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Chocolate and Pear Torte - Gluten free and so very tasty

The other weekend as per usual I was clearing out the fruit bowl as I was drawing up my shopping list of what I wanted to purchase for the week ahead. Just a couple of of pears remained still juicy but on the overripe side, my mind flashed back to a wonderful chocolate and pear tart I had eaten several years ago in an amazing trattoria in Tuscany, Italy. It was the sort of place were there was no menu and the choices were what was fresh from the market or the oven.

This torte is inspired by that tart, this one gluten free and a torte not a tart but equally beautiful and also doing a great job using up pears.

Its a simple recipe and is actually diary free if you use vegetable margarine as the chocolate flavour is coming from cocoa not chocolate.

Ideally you need a 23cm loose bottomed cake tin so you can remove the cake easily from its tin.

What you need
  • 150g plain flour gluten free 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150g soft butter or vegetable margarine (I like the Pure range)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 2 eggs - free range
  • 50g Cocoa - I like Green and Blacks Organic
  • 2 tsp Choco inglese essence (optional)
  • 2 Conference pears - peeled, cored and quartered
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Oil spray
What you do
  • Pre heat the oven to 180c
  • Prepare your pears and toss them in the juice of the lemon to prevent them from going brown
  •  Prepare your tin, base line and oil spray so you are ready for the cake mix
  • In a large mixing bowl or ideally a stand mixer, combine all the other ingredients until you have a smooth mixture
  • Turn the mixture into the tin, smooth the top and then artistically place the pear quarters on the top, just slightly pressing them into the mixture
  • Place in the oven and bake for approx 45 - 60 minutes until the torte tests cooked with a cocktail stick.
  • Allow to fully cool in the tin and then remove. Serve as it is or with creme fraiche, cream or Greek yogurt.

The cake will store for a couple of days in a cool place covered with clingfilm or in a cake dome. A very satisfying bake and one that disappeared very quickly.

We are linking this post to Bake of the Week created by Casa Costello and hosted this month over at Jen's Food.

Casa Costello

Credit crunch munch as it uses some past their best pears, created by Camilla from Fab Food 4 All and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours   and hosted this month by Food Glorious Food

No waste food challenge over on Elizabeth's Kitchen


We Should Cocoa - who's theme this month is anything goes created and hosted this month on Tin and Thyme

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Chickpea and lentil and spinach cheats curry

Chickpeas are a great standby staple and the other day I had a craving for a warming curry, weird I know considering its August in the UK, but the summer weather this year has been really disappointing and even quite cool on a couple of occasions. So I turned to my trusty store cupboard to provide a healthy vegan curry for our supper.

Raiding the cupboards and freezer, I came up with this wholesome tasty recipe which used tinned chickpeas, dried red lentils and some leftover frozen homegrown tomatoes from last year and a couple of chunks of frozen spinach leaves I had forgotten were in the freezer.

The recipe made plenty so had ample to freeze or to take to work in a container for lunch the next day and as you in control of the spice level you can make this curry as hot and steamy as you wish.

The other bonus is as you are using canned chickpeas you can also make this fabulous chocolate mousse for dessert using the retained canning juice.

What you need
  • 1 tin of chickpeas - drained but remember to retain the canning liquid for other recipes.
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes or the equivalent in canned or frozen tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup (organic or homemade is best)
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney (optional)
  • 2 - 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp garam marsala
  • 3 blocks frozen spinach
  • 1 large white onion chopped finely
  • Coconut oil or vegetable oil 
  • 3 - 4 tbsp red lentils
  • Vegetable stock
  • Freshly ground pepper - to taste

What you do

  • Heat the coconut or vegetable oil in your pan
  • Add the onion and fry gently until starting to soften but not colour
  • Reduce the heat slightly and add the spices and cook for a few minutes moving about so they don't burn.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, using enough vegetable stock to cover the legumes and frozen vegetables.
  • Now bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the frozen vegetable are cooked and the lentils are almost undetectable. Stirring occasionally, this took about 20 minutes for me.
  • Season with freshly ground pepper increasing the spices if so required.
  • Serve with roti or boiled basmati rice
  • If you have any fresh coriander then this would be a good garnish
The dish froze beautifully and also benefits from cooling and reheating another day so that the flavours are more well rounded.

This post is being linked up to MLLA (My Legume Love Affair) created by The Well Seasoned Cook and Food and Spice and hosted this month on Allotment 2 Kitchen.

And also to Recipe of the Week over on at A Mummy Too

Link up your recipe of the week

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Greek Orzo salad

The first time I ate Orzo (or the Greek equivalent (krithar├íki)) was over 20 years ago on a very hot day in Delphi in Greece, home of the legendary of oracle in a stunningly situated taverna overlooking the gorge.  So that's how an orzo based Greek salad came about plus we have a couple of cucumber plants which are producing legendary quantities of fruit, so a Greek influenced pasta salad it had to be.

Delphi was the one place in Greece I would like to return to as it situated in the mountains, so its a little cooler than the plains and there was history at every turn, plus the views were amazing. Our hotel simply furnished overlooking that impressive gorge,I can't for the life of me what it was called but its probably still there as its that sort of place.

On to our delightfully simple recipe, which makes an ideal accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish or as part of a mezze or salad selection for a barbecue or party

What you need
  • Roughly 1 dessert bowl - Orzo pasta - cooked and cooled by rinsing in cold water 
  • 1 Red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 whole Cucumber -peeled and chopped in to small chunks
  • Tomatoes - chopped into small chunks or cherry halved
  • Feta cheese - crumbled
  • Bunch of fresh basil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Mustard - I used Dijon
What you do
  • Cook the orzo pasta according to the instructions on the packet, once cooked rinse under the cold tap to cool rapidly.
  • Place in a large bowl with the chopped onion, cucumber and tomato
  • Crumble the feta cheese over the top and tear the basil leaves also on the top
  • Quickly mix the olive oil, lemon juice,  honey and mustard in a separate bowl to form a dressing, my tool of preference is a small whisk, season with some freshly ground pepper
  • Pour on to the contents of the large bowl and toss to ensure everything gets coated with dressing
  • Ta dah ! your salad is ready. Chill if you like and it keeps for a couple of days in the fridge.

We are linking up this post to Recipe of the Week over on A Mummy Too

                                                               Link up your recipe of the week

And Simple and In Season over on RenBehan, a linky for seasonal food

And we will also be linking up to a few other challenges later in the month once the linky's are live

No Croutons Required hosted by Tinned Tomatoes


Meat Free Mondays over on Tinned Tomatoes


And also to Pasta Please created by Tinned Tomatoes and hosted this month by A Mummy too


Saturday, 1 August 2015

Russell Lambert of M and O Fish, Darwen and Chorley Markets

This month's foodie is Russell from M and O Fish who have a stall on Darwen market and also on Chorley Market on Tuesday, they have also set up a website and trade with the public and supply fresh fish to many pubs and restaurants in the area. 

M & O Fish is a family run business.Russell has worked as a fishmonger for over 20 years over a variety of markets over the North West.

A question which we are asked by many is why are we called M & O Fish?
The business is named after our two daughters Megan and Olivia.

We sell a large selection of fresh fish and seafood.We also stock Game when in season and offer a local delivery service and also offer UK courier delivery service.

What is your favourite cookery or food book or publication?
I don't use cookbook's. I use my own inspiration or my wife's with fresh food and
fresh ingredients.

What sentence sums up Lancashire Food to you?
Showcasing great local traders as businesses.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be?
I left school two weeks early to work on Blackburn fish market and I can't see myself changing my job from a fishmonger. I wake up everyday and I am glad to go to work,Not a job for many but I enjoy it. I get a real kick that our customers are happy with our quality.

Which piece of kit could you not do without?
Knifes and Pin-boners.

Who would join you at your ultimate dinner party and why?
Have to say local chefs as they don't get enough recognition.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Run a business as its your own, as it maybe one day.

Describe your style in three words
Hard-working, determined and imaginative.

What was your latest foodie gadget purchase?
Have to say our vac - packer at work and home.

What is the worst mistake you have made?
Not setting up for myself sooner and being self-employed.

Tell us a secret about yourself? May be something we wouldn’t expect!
I have never been fishing in my life.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Hot smoked salmon, fennel and pea pasta

I often buy ready cooked hot smoked salmon when I am out shopping as its a good fridge standby for a healthy quick meal with salad, its also popular with MR LF too. Most supermarkets and even some fishmongers normally stock a packed version alongside the smoked mackerel.

This dish hardly needs a recipe as its so easy and can be whipped up in minutes, from store cupboard and freezer basics, the dish is enhanced by using fresh from the garden fennel fronds, but if you don't have them dried dill or fennel will work almost as well.

What you need
  • Pasta - macaroni or farfelle work well, gluten free if you like
  • 1 pack of hot smoked salmon - skin removed and flaked
  • Frozen petit pois or peas
  • Dill or fennel - fronds, freshly chopped or use dried herbs
  • Creme fraiche
What you do
  • Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack, for the last 3 minutes add the frozen peas and bring back to the boil to finish cooking the pasta and the peas
  • Drain the pasta  and peas using a colander, return back to pan which now contains very little water and toss with 3 tbsp of creme fraiche and the flaked salmon.
  • Strewn with the fresh dill or fennel fronds, and lightly toss
  • Serve with a little freshly ground black pepper.
Delicious and so simple supper can be on the table in 15 minutes or less

This post is being linked up to "Pasta Please" created by Tinned Tomatoes and hosted this month by Slice of Me.

                                            pasta please

And Recipe of The Week over at A Mummy Too

                                                                  Link up your recipe of the week

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Tomato, courgette and sweet potato soup

Fresh, healthy homemade soup. What's not to like.....

I have probably said before that I am not a great fan of ready made soups and particularly those that come in packets and cans both for health and economy reasons, I tend to make most of the soup we eat from fresh vegetables and this recipe is no exception. Finding myself in the situation were I had a couple of courgettes and some tomatoes that were ageing fast, I thought I would combine them with butternut squash or sweet potato to make a wholesome soup, yet still summery.

A tasty easy recipe which would be a great way later in the season to use up glut tomatoes and courgettes if you have them, it looks like the recipe would freeze well but I haven't tried it.

What you need 
  • A little vegetable oil
  • Fresh or tinned tomatoes (don't worry about skins and pips as we are blending later)
  • Onion
  • Courgettes - topped tailed and sliced into half moons
  • Butternut squash or sweet potato - peeled, de-seeded(if squash) and chopped into small chunks
  • Vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper
What you do 
  • Firstly prepare your vegetables
  • Gently fry in the oil the onion until softened but not coloured
  • Then add the courgette and butter nut / sweet potato to the pan
  • Again cook until starting to softened
  • Now add the tomatoes and stock to the pan
  • Simmer until all the vegetables are soft
  • Allow to cool slightly then blitz with a stick blender or in a liquidiser to desired consistency
  • Bring back to a simmer and then taste and season
  • Serve piping hot with crusty bread

We are linking up to Recipe of the Week over on A Mummy Too

                                                              Link up your recipe of the week

Meat Free Mondays over on Tinned Tomatoes


Extra Veg hosted in turn by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy

No croutons required hosted this month at Lisa's Kitchen


Friday, 10 July 2015

Aquafaba chocolate mousse aka chickpea juice chocolate mousse

Recently I made some chickpea brownies (please see earlier post) and I had recently spotted a group on facebook for something called Aquafaba (!!!), intrigued I joined the group and discovered aquafaba is actually the liquid from tins of  beans / legumes (pretty much any bean and chickpeas). Wow I thought a way of using something that you chuck down the sink, I hate waste so I thought I would give this vegan egg substitute a try, little realising that I would actively start searching out recipes which used tinned beans / chickpeas just so I could experiment with the canning liquid.

My first success is with a delightfully tasty chocolate mousse, which has no earthy after taste what so ever and has pronounced delicious by all who try it, vegan or not. This recipe would also be great for people who have egg allergies too. The mousse is light and fluffy and keeps for a few days in the fridge.

What you need
  • Juice from a tin of chickpeas
  • 100g dark chocolate - melted ( good quality at least 70% )
  • 1 tsp vanilla or coffee extract
  • Cocoa nibs for decoration
What you do 
  • Whisk up the chickpea juice in a stand mixer bowl until the soft peak stage
  • Add the melted chocolate and vanilla extract
  • Whisk again, don't panic as you will loose volume
  • Pour into ramekins
  • Place in fridge for 3 -4 hours
  • Sprinkle with cocoa nibs
  • Serve to admiring friends and family.

A perfect recipe for inclusion in Credit Crunch munch , created and co -hosted by Fab food 4 all and Fuss Free Flavours

                            Credit Crunch Munch

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