My last post was a tale of woe about the lack of damsons on the trees this year, compared to last. This summer has been a wash out here in the UK. We had a few days which were beautifully sunny but they were few and far between. Nevertheless, the garden has performed quite well this year, despite the lack of summer or perhaps because of it. The runner beans have flourished and we tried a purple bean this year, which has been lovely, although it loses its colour when cooked and looks like a green bean. Sweetcorn has been a great success, last year it was hopeless, and it is hard to describe how sweet and delicious corn is when cooked within minutes of picking. We have pumpkins in abundance. So many, I am not sure what we will do with them all. I have so many cucumbers, from just the one plant, that I could supply the local supermarket.
Our tomatoes though have not been as successful as previous years. We tried several varieties and a yellow and a cherry variety have been the most successful. However, the woodlice really like the yellow variety and have been enjoying themselves no end once they were finished with the strawberries. As a result, no woodlice were spared when I was splitting a load of logs the other week. No longer do I have any sympathy with the wood louse! Despite all of this, we have still had enough tomatoes to make a few batches of this roasted tomato sauce. I have used it as a pizza sauce; mixed into a risotto to stuff a roasted pumpkin; as a base for soup; and as a pasta sauce.
Roasting the tomatoes makes them sweeter and even more tomatoey. I add garlic cloves (unpeeled) and thyme or oregano, salt and pepper and plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Cook them in a moderate oven (180°c, gas mark 4, the baking oven of the Aga) for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool a little, pop the garlic out of its skin, and then blitz the whole lot in the processor (or you could use a food mill). I don’t bother to strain through a sieve, but if you want a smooth, seed-free sauce then you should.
Life has been busy and so dinners have mostly been quick and easy. This sauce is my store cupboard sauce that I turn to when I need something that requires little thought or effort. The new potatoes are so delicious at the moment that I decided to serve the sauce with them instead of cooking pasta, which is a more usual accompaniment to this sauce.
It was really good – the melt in the mouth buttered potatoes were a delicious foil to this slightly acidic sauce.
100g chorizo sausage, sliced into 1 cm thick rings
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
400g tin of plum tomatoes, whizzed in a blender until smooth
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp capers
large knob of butter
chopped mint leaves
Scrape the new potatoes and place in a saucepan. Cover with cold water. Add ½ tsp salt to the water and 3 sprigs of mint. Bring to the boil and then simmer until tender when you test with the point of a knife. Drain and return to the saucepan with the knob of butter.
Whilst the potatoes are cooking, place the chorizo, chilli and garlic in a pan with a little olive oil and cook for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes, the tomato puree and the caper berries. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked.
Serve the chorizo sauce with the buttered potatoes and sprinkle with chopped mint.
Bread sauce is probably one of my favourite things, the combination of bread sauce and good sage and onion stuffing is very hard to beat. It always reminds me of Boxing Day when we go for a walk in the morning and then return to cold turkey and stuffing and reheated bread sauce – my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I was inspired to make some after reading a Rachel Eats post on Sunday lunch where she had cooked some to go with her slow roast pork. So I made some to take to my mum’s for sunday lunch this week to go with the duck that she was roasting. I will be following a tradition and making it for Christmas Day, and making sure there is plenty so that I can enjoy some on Boxing Day. This recipe is adapted from the classic by Delia Smith.
1 onion, peeled and chopped in half
1 bay leaf
10 black peppercorns
425ml (15 fl oz) whole milk
25g (1 oz) butter
4 tbsp double cream
75g (3 oz) breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
Stick the cloves into the cut onion and place in a pan with the bay leaf and the peppercorns. Pour the milk over. Bring the milk to boiling point and then take off the heat and cover and leave to infuse for at least two hours.
Strain the milk into a jug and then pour back into the pan. Add the butter and the breadcrumbs and place onto a gentle heat and stir occasionally until the breadcrumbs have swollen and thickened the sauce. This will take about 15 minutes. You can now leave it to stand until you are ready to serve.
Just before serving add the cream and reheat gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a warmed bowl.
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Posted in bread, sauce
Tagged bread, milk, sauce
I roasted a rib of beef for sunday lunch this week and made this horseradish sauce to go with it. I was impressed with its fresh and zingy taste, much nicer than anything that you can buy in a jar. We only grew one root of horseradish in the garden this year and this is it, but we will definitely be making space in the garden for some more next year as it really is lovely to have a freshly made sauce. The grating of the horseradish root does make your eyes stream though so be prepared. Making it with yoghurt rather than the usual cream means it is a lot healthier. This means you can have more with none of the guilt.
2 tbsp horseradish root, grated finely
1 tsp white wine vinegar
150g greek yoghurt
salt and pepper to taste
Place the grated horseradish into a bowl with the white wine vinegar and mix well, stir in the yoghurt and add salt and pepper to taste. Chill and serve with roast beef.
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