Bramble (blackberry) and banana spelt crumble

Fruit crumble is way easier than pie.

There, I said it. This may be sacrilege, especially to American connoisseurs of pie, but the British idea of a pie involves a lot of pastry—always—and sometimes … sometimes pastry is a place you just can’t go.

Crumble, however, is the easy bit of pastry without the iced water, the no-touch rule, the rolling and the cursing. Takes 5 minutes to make, 40 minutes to bake, and 10 minutes to eat, so as an emergency, no-fuss pudding, it’s close to perfect and hard to muck up.

Continue reading “Bramble (blackberry) and banana spelt crumble”

Roasted potato gnocchi: using leftover mash

This idea I blatantly picked up from Nigella’s book Kitchen, but unlike hers, it uses fresh homemade gnocchi. This is because using the bought variety and cooking it in this way results in hard, slightly powdery bullets—not my idea of food!

I think I got the original recipe for gnocchi from James Tanner’s Take 5, or possibly from the Cranks’ Light Cookbook, but needless to say, it’s probably all my own by now, given I don’t mess on with quantities. I’ve been making these for years because I like leftovers to be more than just ‘what we had yesterday’.

Continue reading “Roasted potato gnocchi: using leftover mash”

Summertime pepper soup

Summertime isn’t the most soupy time of year, I know, but if you get lucky with a large bag of veg and don’t have either time nor inclination to do something fancy with it, soup is a quick and easy tastebud treat.

I wouldn’t normally suggest a pepper soup, given that you’d probably need at least 3 packs of supermarket peppers at around £1.50-£2.00 each, but as hinted at above, I got lucky with a big bag of about 8 yellow and red peppers for £1. They were on their last legs, so you wouldn’t want to do anything more exciting with them, but this soup …. hell yeah!

Continue reading “Summertime pepper soup”

Nuts about gingernuts

Gingernuts are the ubiquitous British biscuits that you dunk in a glass of cold milk or a cuppa hot tea. They should—in my opinion—be hot and fiery, spicy but not bitter, and as dry and crunchy as possible.

If you check the internet for a recipe, things can get a bit confusing as there are all kinds of strange ideas, including using stem ginger bits (posh!), treacle (erm…) and mixed peel (NOPE!) so today I gave Delia’s recipe a go, with a couple of changes. Her one-teaspoon of ground ginger seemed a bit ‘tea-and-biscuits’ or ‘ladies-wot-lunch’, and I personally want my mouth to catch fire as I eat. Also I abhor soft biscuits (those are cookies), so in my paranoia I did these on a lower temperature. Next time, I’m doing it with plain flour to see if they are flatter and crunchier still, but the results were good enough today.

And yes, I had to call the fire service for my mouth. You might want to tone down the ginger. Or not.

Continue reading “Nuts about gingernuts”

Slow cooker rice pudding: simple, as rich as you like it and tasty a f

The rice pudding of your dreams

Rice pudding: the stuff of childhood. But there are a couple of different ‘usual’ ways to make it. The easiest way to date has been to throw it in the oven. Thing is, I don’t care for it as much that way, especially since the last one I made boiled over and made an unholy mess. The other way is to make it on the hob. If you’ve got the patience, that makes a creamy, delicious pudding similar to the stuff you get in a tin, but with a better (less tinny) flavour.

I don’t have that patience. But I do have a slow cooker.

Continue reading “Slow cooker rice pudding: simple, as rich as you like it and tasty a f”

Cheese, leek and potato pies and pasties

Even the fussiest veggies will resign themselves to a shitty cheese and onion pasty from anywhere. Well, for years I’ve searched for the perfect cheese and onion pasty filling, and today, having paid almost £2 for a fairly substandard effort from a chain bakery, I finally cracked.

Here’s my version of an almost entirely homemade cheese, leek and potato pie and pasty …

Continue reading “Cheese, leek and potato pies and pasties”

David’s Carleton Farm Food Shop, Penrith: a farm shop with its feet on the ground

David’s Carleton Farm Food Shop, Penrith is everything you’d expect from a farm shop—actually, scrub that! You won’t find something quite as singular anywhere else in the area. And yes, we’re inundated with some quite good farm shops in the area, but when they’re ‘good’ they’re usually also costly, and mainly out of my economic range—with the great quality, lovely customer service and food I can actually afford, for me, David Dickinson wins hands down … Read on for unadulterated enthusiasm!

Continue reading “David’s Carleton Farm Food Shop, Penrith: a farm shop with its feet on the ground”