Friday, 18 May 2018

Stir-Fried Lamb with Asparagus

Asparagus! Asparagus! It's spring, it's spring!

Asparagus and lamb are a delicious combination; I don't know why I haven't done it more often. I couldn't quite decide if this was Chinese inspired or Mediterranean inspired so I guess it's a bit of both. It works well anyway. I served it with rice, but cous-cous would be a good choice too. 

4 servings
30 minutes prep time, plus time to marinate

Stir-Fried Lamb with Asparagus

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
4 cloves of garlic
3 pods green cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
12 black peppercorns
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
500 grams (1 pound) boneless stewing lamb
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
4 to 6 green onions or shallot greens
700 grams (1 1/2 pounds) asparagus

Peel and finely grate the ginger. Peel and finely mince the garlic. Put them in a bowl large enough to hold the meat.

Crush the green cardamom pods and remove the papery husks. Grind the remaining seeds with the cumin and pepper. Add the spices to the ginger and garlic. Mix in the soy sauce and vinegar.

Trim the meat of excess fat - if there is much, you should be a bit generous with the quantity of meat - and use a large sharp knife or cleaver to chop it fairly finely. Mix it into the marinade, cover, and refrigerate until about 15 minutes before you are ready to cook. The meat can marinate from 30 minutes to overnight.

Wash, trim, and finely chop the green onions. Set them aside by themselves. Wash, trim, and cut the asparagus into inch-long pieces. Put a pot of water on to boil to blanch them.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat, with the marinade, and cook, stirring regularly, until the marinade is absorbed and the meat is dry and showing some signs of browning. This should be about 7 to 10 minutes.

Just as the meat becomes dry, add the prepared asparagus to the pot of boiling water. Boil them for 2 minutes, then lift them out, draining well, and add them to the meat. Add the chopped green onions. Continue cooking, stirring and turning nearly constantly, until the asparagus is tender and showing some browned spots; about another 3 minutes or so.

Last year at this time I made Oatty Apple or Jam Turnovers.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Fiddlehead & Potato Salad

I think I have missed the wild leek season. I went into our back forest to check on our transplants, and they are doing well but not expanding. Give them another couple of decades, I guess.

We don't have any fiddleheads growing in our woods but I did find some in a local shop. They make a good addition to a potato salad.

4 to 6 servings
30 minutes prep time

Fiddlehead & Potato Salad

Make the Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
1/3 cup thick yogurt OR sour cream
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar OR dill pickle brine
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Start the potatoes just before you start the dressing.

Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar or brine in a mixing bowl. Wash and pick over the chives, and chop them finely. Add them, with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to add the salad. 

Make the Salad:
750 grams (1 1/2 pounds) potatoes
1 large carrot
1 1/2 cups fiddleheads
1/2 cup diced peeled celeriac OR 1 stalk celery

Wash and trim or peel the potatoes. Cut them into small bite-sized chunks. Wash and peel the carrots, and cut them just slightly smaller. Put both in a pot with water to cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are just tender. Drain, and rinse under cold water until cooled. Drain again well.

Wash the fiddlehead by rubbing them gently between your hands in cold water then rinsing them well. Trim off any browned spot. Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop them in. Boil for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a small kettle of water to a boil. Drain the fiddleheads then return them to the heat and immediately pour over enough boiling water from the kettle to cover them. Boil another 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Rinse in cold water to cool and drain well.

Wash, trim, and chop the celery fairly finely.

Mix the potatoes and carrots, most of the fiddleheads - reserve a few for garnish - and the celery into the bowl of dressing and toss well. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the extra fiddleheads.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Sorrel & Goat Cheese Soufflé

Not too much happening in the garden yet, but I was able to scrounge a little sorrel and a big bunch of green shallots. I've been getting excellent local eggs from a farm down the highway a bit, and I got some goat cheese on sale. So, here we are.

We do have a certain amount of asparagus coming up, but so far it's all in the "new" bed, which we will not pick until next spring. No signs of life yet in the "old" bed even though it is much more established. We knew the new site was better, but it's amazing to see it in action.

4 servings
1 hour - 20 minutes prep time

Sorrel & Goat Cheese Soufflé

4 cups finely shredded raw sorrel leaves
1 cup finely chopped green onions or shallot greens
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons soft unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2/3 cup light cream or whole milk
150 grams soft goat cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 extra large eggs

Wash and pick over the sorrel, and shred it finely. Wash and trim the green onions, and chop them finely. Drain them both well.

Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the sorrel and green onions, and cook, stirring regularly, for 3 or 4 minutes, until well wilted. Add the flour, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking and stirring until the flour is cooked, another couple of minutes. Slowly stir in the cream or milk to form a smooth sauce. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Mix in the goat cheese and Parmesan.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter an 8" x 8" baking pan, or similar.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a mixing bowl and the yolks into the sorrel sauce. Mix in well. Beat the eggs until stiff then fold them into the sorrel sauce gently. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until firm, puffed, and lightly browned on top. Serve at once.

Last year at this time I made Potato, Onion, & Cheese Casserole

Friday, 11 May 2018

Turnips with Bacon & Onion

I've done a fancier version of this before; Rutabaga with Bacon, Mushrooms & Onions, but it bears repeating, and turnips are bit different from their cousins the rutabagas. For one thing they cook much more quickly.

I was delighted to find some Ontario turnips at the grocery store last week, but then I got them home and realized neither of us are really crazy about turnips. However with bacon and onion they are very enjoyable and they were quickly dispatched.

Still waiting anxiously for some more greener things to appear! 

2 to 4 servings
40 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Turnips with Bacon & Onion

350 to 400 grams (3/4 pound; 2 medium-large) white turnips
1 medium yellow onion
OR 1 bunch green onions
4 to 6 slices of bacon
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Peel the turnips and cut them into largish dice. Put them in a pot with water to cover and bring them to a boil; boil for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion. Cut the bacon into squares.

When the turnips have cooked for 10 minutes, set the timer to cook them for another 10 minutes. Put the bacon into a large skillet and cook until half crisp. If it is particularly fatty, drain off any excess fat, but you should have enough to coat the bottom of the pan nicely. Add the onions and cook until softened and translucent to lightly browned. Stir regularly. If you are lucky enough to have green onions, add them later, with the turnips.

When the turnips are cooked, drain them and mash them coarsely. Add them to the bacon and onions and mix them in well. Season with salt and pepper, as always taking into consideration the nature of your bacon. Continue cooking for another 5 or 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until everything is well amalgamated and lightly browned. Serve at once.

Last year at this time I made Asparagus in the Style of Peas.  No asparagus yet this year!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Spinach & Mushroom Soup

I can't believe I haven't made Spinach & Mushroom Soup before! So delicious!

Still, while this is easy enough, it can't be said to be quick. Picky vegetable prep is picky, and slow.  Any time you use fresh spinach that is inevitable. I have to say this is worth the effort though. If you wanted to use good frozen spinach it should work quite well although I always find commercially frozen spinach hasn't been picked over carefully enough.

I poured the leftovers onto noodles, with a little grated cheese. Also really good, if not the neatest dish to eat.

6 servings
45 minutes prep time, not including the spinach
which will likely require 30 minutes all by itself

Spinach & Mushroom Soup

Prepare the Spinach:
2 litres (quarts) fresh spinach leaves, loosely packed

Wash and pick over the spinach, removing and discarding any large, tough stems and yellowing leaves.

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Drop in the spinach, one-quarter at a time, and blanch for 1 minute. Remove it to a basin of cold water and let cool. When it is all done, take it by handfuls and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

You should end up with about 300 grams (10 ounces) of cooked spinach.

Make the Soup:
6 medium shallots OR 1 bunch green onions
500 grams (1 pound) mixed mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon rubbed mint
1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
6 tablespoons soft unbleached flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups whole or 2% milk
sour cream to serve, OPTIONAL

Peel and mince the shallots, or wash, trim, and chop the green onions.

Clean and slice the mushrooms. Ideally, use a mixture of types - button, shiitake, and oyster will be easiest to get. Don't forget shiitake stems are too tough to eat, so leave them out. I used some dried puffball, which makes giving quantities a bit hard, but I would say you should have about 3 cups of prepared mushrooms over all.

Mix the salt, pepper, mint, rosemary, and flour in a small bowl.

Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, and cook for a few minutes, until starting to soften and reduce in volume. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly browned. If using green onions, start with the mushrooms and add the green onions when they have cooked for a few minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle the seasoned flour over the mushrooms, etc, and mix it in well. Cook for another minute or two, then begin mixing in the stock a little at a time until it is all in and the mixture is smooth.

Shred the spinach very finely and mix it in. Let the soup simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until it thickens slightly. Stir in the milk and bring it back up to steaming hot. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Last year at this time I made Poached Chicken Breast in Fines Herbes Sauce.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Cucumbers with Chervil

Oh, here's a difficult recipe. Actually, given that you probably have to grow chervil yourself in order to have it, it's more difficult than it looks at first glance. But if you can get that part down, the rest of it is a doddle.

Cucumbers and chervil go together most amazingly well. This is an extremely refreshing little spring salad - it's worth growing chervil just for this (although there are lots of other things to do with it too!)

And hurray - I think this is the first really spring-like dish of the year. The cucumbers will come out of a greenhouse, but the chervil is from the garden.

4 servings
10 minutes prep time

2 cups sliced small cucumbers (4 to 8)
1/4 cup finely minced fresh chervil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

The little middle-eastern greenhouse cucumbers are ideal for this. Wash and slice them thinly - you could peel them, but they're such delicate little things it hardly seems necessary - and put them in a bowl. Wash, dry, and chop the chervil and add it.

Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the cucumbers and chervil. Drizzle over the vinegar, and mix gently.

Last year at this time I made Spinach with Chervil.

Friday, 4 May 2018

The Garden Season Has Begun

This has been a very late spring (18" of ice pellets in the middle of April; what the hell), but at long last winter is gone and things are moving. Our haskap shrubs are putting out leaf and flower buds, and fruit should be on schedule at the end of May.

The garden generally is still looking pretty sparse. Mr. Ferdzy is taking down the wood that sheltered the spinach over the winter. All the beds look very clean but in fact as I look around I can see the weeds starting to sprout between the warmer weather and the rain we have been having.

You can also just see the cauliflower planted in the bed in front of the spinach. We grew them very early, in their own pots rather than in cells and we have the best looking cauliflower starts we have ever had. We are hoping to coax them to bolt and produce seeds, but this is very much an experiment and more than a bit of a gamble. There are about 9 different types of cauliflower in there so we shall see.

I tried planting Purple Sprouting broccoli and Purple Peacock broccoli-kale in mid August at one end of the spinach bed, hoping for very early spring broccoli. I got exactly one plant performing as hoped. There are a bunch of others but they still look like mere seedlings. I hope they will suddenly spring up and produce but it seems unlikely. I blame the very cool weather of last August and September for this, but who knows.

The spinach and broccoli were not the only things being sheltered under the plastic over winter. The weeds are flourishing and as soon as the wood is taken down I will have to weed.

In spite of the lingering cold, we have three beds of peas planted. A couple of hot days got the ground thawed down deep enough to work it. They still went in 2 weeks later than we had been hoping, but at least they are in. We are planning to follow them with spinach (and maybe broccoli again; I keep trying) and not with dry beans as we did for a good few years (and will no doubt do again, as soon as we eat some more beans) so I am fairly philosophical about it.

Garlic is UP, including the Tibetan at the end of the bed. It is always the latest to come up by a significant period. The other 3 types are pretty much in sync.

There is nothing much in this bed besides some shallots. Hard to see, but there are 4 clumps in there. These are all grown from seed as part of my shallot breeding projects, and were rejects as they did not die down into neat bulbs to store over the winter. However, the one in particular has been so very, very good at splitting into multiple bulbs, AND it turns out that having shallot greens by early May is highly desirable, so now I have 2 shallot projects in mind - one for the ones that die down nicely in the late summer and can be stored, and a strain left to overwinter for spring greens. You always have to keep an open mind when breeding plants. Shallot greens are really delicious too; they taste more like wild leeks (ramps) than like green onions.

Inside is still where most of the action is. Tomatoes and peppers are doing well. Half the eggplants are doing well, but half are missing as the seed did not germinate. Too old, I guess. Leeks, onions, and shallots germinated very poorly; we don't know why although we used some seed starting mix from last year which it turns out the mice had gotten into. It was far from sterile, and turned out to be full of peas and squash seeds, both of which germinated beautifully; much better than the things we planted. However we have enough to totter on.

We needed some more plant lights. Our newest batch are LED and they give the plants a strange magenta glow. That's the celery tray shown in the photo, and the celery is flourishing - much better than it is most years. Who knows the ins and outs; we do the same things every year and yet things vary noticeably in how they do.

In spite of the strange colour, the LED lights seem to work very well. We still drag things outside every nice day as nothing works like real sunlight, and we are looking forward to getting everything into the ground so we can stop mucking about with the trays of plants. They are very time consuming, between the going in and out and the amount of water they get to require as the plants get larger. One way or another, the upcoming month is the busiest of the garden year and we will be working steadily.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Parsnip Hash Browns

Not sure this quite constitutes a recipe, but it is what is happening around here at the moment. A few days ago we dug up a bushel of parsnips to make way for peas.

Parsnips are available all winter for purchase and well into the spring, but it turns out that now we are growing them we mostly eat them in the spring. It is very nice to be able to go out and dig something new to eat as soon as the ground is sufficiently thawed. 

I was hoping these would form into nice little patties like proper potato hash browns and it isn't impossible, but they aren't really into it and so I just left them in a loose pile. Just as good!

I served these with eggs, and that was okay, but eggs are a little delicate in flavour next to the parsnips. I have to admit that what I really see these going with is pork; bacon, peameal, sausage, chops; whatever. Maybe next time. There is still three-quarters of a bushel to go.

2 servings
30 minutes prep time

Parsnip Hash Browns

500 grams (1 pound) parsnips
2 tablespoons bacon fat OR vegetable oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Peel and grate the parsnips coarsely.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat until melted and sizzling in a medium-sized skillet. Add the grated parsnips, stir well to toss the parsnips in the fat, and reduce the heat at once to medium-low. Dot the remaining bacon fat over the parsnips, and mix in. Season with the salt and pepper. Do be mindful of how salty your bacon fat may be.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The parsnips should brown fairly evenly, and not too quickly. If they are browning too quickly, reduce the heat. If they are scorching, you may need to add a little more bacon fat.

When the parsnips are done to your liking, serve them up. Don't be dismayed by what a big pile of parsnips first go into the pan - they reduce considerably in cooking.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Oladi - Russian Yeast-Raised Pancakes

Russian, I'm saying, but versions of these are found all over eastern Europe. Until the advent of baking soda and baking powder, all baked goods were raised with yeast. Native North Americans raised their cornbreads with alkaline wood ashes, as yeast would do nothing with their gluten-free corn. European settlers created more refined versions and since then it seems most pancakes are raised with baking powder or soda.

Yeast-raised pancakes are fairly different. They are light and fluffy, but with the solid substance of bread. Mom thought these were a bit like French toast, and I can see that. The three of us ate all of them, but we didn't have anything else with them, other than butter, syrup and jam. I think they would do better alongside other breakfast items, so I am suggesting smaller portions. This would be an easy recipe to cut in half if you didn't want so many.

I found they needed to be cooked at a slightly lower temperature than I usually cook pancakes, crepes and eggs, because they were so thick. Keep the pan well oiled, and don't crowd them. Strangely, we thought these were much better with jam than with maple syrup; perhaps because of being more like bread than the pancakes we are used to. Apart from the time needed to allow them to rise, these are no more difficult to make than any other pancake, and if you like a really thick fluffy pancake these are well worth trying.

4 to 6 servings; 18 to 24 pancakes
20 minutes prep time plus 1 hour to overnight rise
10 minutes prep time plus 1 hour rise
20 minutes cooking time

Russian Yeast-Raised Pancakes

2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
2 1/2 cups unbleached hard or all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
mild vegetable oil to  cook

Warm the milk with the sugar and salt; it is easiest to do this in the microwave but do it in a series of short times, as the milk will curdle if it gets too warm. It should just feel comfortably warm to your finger. Stir it each time, before you determine its temperature.

When it is warm, sprinkle the yeast over it, and let it sit and work for 10 to 15 minutes.

Have the flour sitting in a mixing bowl, and stir in the milk and yeast mixture until it is a smooth batter.

If you are leaving it to rise overnight, cover it at this point and leave it in a spot at cool room temperature. Beat in the melted - but not hot - butter, and the eggs in the morning.

If you are starting them in the morning, beat in the melted - but not hot - butter, and the eggs. Cover and let rise until double in size; about 1 hour in a slightly warm spot.

You want to get the butter and eggs mixed in thoroughly, but do not over-do it, as you do not want to undo all the work of the yeast. Once the butter and eggs are mixed into the batter, cover the bowl again and let it rise until doubled once more, in a slightly warm spot.

Pour enough oil into a large, heavy skillet to cover the bottom thoroughly to a couple of millimetres  deep. Heat the oven to 200°F and put an oven-proof dish in it to receive the finished pancakes. Heat the skillet over medium heat until it is hot, then drop in the batter by spoonfuls to make fairly small pancakes. Dip the spoon into a glass of warm water between each pancake, to keep the batter from sticking to the spoon.

Friday, 27 April 2018

A Visit to Trend Aquafresh Organics

Last Friday we found ourselves down near St. Catharines, so we took the opportunity to visit one of the many greenhouses in the Niagara area - Trend Aquafresh Organics. This was a medium-sized unmarked greenhouse on a gravel side road. Trend Aquafresh does sell directly to customers, but almost all of their sales are through wholesalers or to restaurants. They also specialize in something quite unusual: edible flowers! There are also lots of herbs and some kale and lettuce to fill out those salads.

We were given a tour of the greenhouse by Ton Boekestyn, who owns it along with his wife, Jackie. Their website notes they have been in business since 1991, but this greenhouse dates from 2014, so it is really quite new. Ton discussed a number of projects with which they are experimenting, but it seems they are still finding their complete niche.

In the meantime, though, they are selling those edible flower and herbs, as well as a few greens. Most of these are grown hydroponically,  and it's really interesting to see how they do it. Large, relatively shallow tanks float sheets of styrofoam, with holes punched into them in a grid in which the plants reside. Their roots trail in the water and take up nutrients.The tanks are low enough not to be huge, but high enough to be at a reasonable level to work with.

I forgot to ask the size of the greenhouse, but I would guess at least 4 acres. About one third to one half of that seemed to be taken up with various tanks. From this angle we are looking mostly at kale and lettuce. It looks very picked over, because it is. Small leaves are harvested regularly and sent to the packaging line (seen in the second photo).

A gap in the trays shows the water. An overhead systems allows the sheets of styrofoam to be moved about and accessed.

Ton lifts a tray to show the roots underneath. They are certified organic, and add organic fertilizers to the water to keep the plants growing well.

After this long (looooong) gloomy winter, it was so nice to see the trays of flowers in bloom. Here are marigolds. I didn't really take pictures of the herbs, because they were a bit of a blur of clipped green pots, but there are 14 or 15 kinds of mint, lavender, sage, basil, oregano, and some unusual things - Vietnamese coriander, Jamaican sour cherry, and peppery herb that I forgot to write down the proper name of - my tongue was in shock - but which like the Vietnamese coriander is actually a member of the persicaria family. There are a number of ornamental leaves as well, various clover-like plants, geraniums, and hibiscus.

Meanwhile they are also growing tomato, pepper, and cucumber starts including cucamelon and African horned melon, which will be grown inside through the summer to keep producing into November. (I had said they went outside originally but Ton corrected me here.) There were quite a few things that had been brought by workers in the greenhouse for Ton to try out. Ton said they were growing over 75 different things altogether. I felt like I had met a fellow sufferer from the urge to grow everything. Although I'm not so sure sufferer is the right word for us... for our families, maybe.

Here are pansies in a striped range of colours. You are most likely to find these as garnishes on your plate when you eat at a fancy restaurant in Toronto.

More pansies, in a cheerful blend. Imagine your salad looking like this!

Ton intends to also raise fish. The tanks are in, and he has already experimented with trout. The greenhouse gets too hot for them though. He has licenses for pickerel, sturgeon, and sauger. I am particularly intrigued by the idea of sturgeon, which I have only ever eaten once, but which I thought was absolutely delicious.

Sausage, Rutabaga, & Apple Pie

Here's another one inspired by an old cook book. As usual I forgot to note which one, but it was something English and mid to late 19th century as far as I can recall. It is pretty rare for me to pull out anything interesting from cook books of that era at this point, but this one caught my eye.

The filling ingredients are more or less as in the original, but they wanted you to put everything in in layers, which did not strike me as the best plan. This is actually my third attempt at this pie. I started off with leaving the rutabaga in chunks and pre-cooking the sausage, but that made them just things enclosed in a pie crust, rather than an actual pie. This final version is simpler and works better; always a pleasing combination.

Admittedly this is still a bit time consuming, but it is not difficult. Mostly you have to wait for the rutabaga and then the pie to cook. It would certainly make sense to use left-over mashed rutabaga for this. It was impressive that 4 cups of diced rutabaga cooked down to 2 cups mashed, but so it was; take note.

I am also quite taken with this pie crust. It is easy to work with, and ideal for savoury pies, being nicely sturdy without being heavy.

6 to 8 servings
2 hours 30 minutes - 1 hour prep time

Make the Pastry:
2 1/4 cups soft whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg

Mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

In another, smaller, bowl put the softened butter and mix in the oil, buttermilk, and egg. It need not be well mixed; just be sure the yolk is well broken up and the butter isn't in a single massive lump.

Mix the wet ingredients into the flour. Using your hands if required, form it into a ball of dough. You can press and turn it to get everything incorporated, but try not to overwork it. Cover with a cloth and set aside until needed. Do this once the rutabaga is on to boil.

Make the Filling & Finish the Pie:
4 cups diced rutabaga
3 or 4 shallots
500 grams (1 pound) raw breakfast sausage meat
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
plenty of freshly ground black pepper
2 large apples

Peel and dice the rutabaga, and put it in a pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil gently for 40 minutes until tender. Drain it, mash it, and set it aside in a mixing bowl. Once mashed, there should about 2 cups of it. Let cool enough to handle

Peel and mince the shallots, and add them to the rutabaga. Peel the casings off the sausage meat, and crumble it in. Grind the coriander seed and add it, along with the pepper. Salt will depend on how salty the sausage is - in general sausage is quite salty. I added a little shake just to make sure everything was seasoned, and otherwise relied on the sausage to provide salt. Peel the apples or not, as you like. Core them and chop them, and add them to the bowl. Mix it all well - it is easiest to use your hands.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Divide the pastry into 2 uneven portions; 60% and 40%. Roll out the large piece on parchment paper with a little flour sprinkled over to avoid it sticking. When it is large, thin, and round enough, flip it into a 10" pie dish and peel off the parchment paper. Press it neatly into place. Clean and re-flour the parchment paper, and roll out the remaining pastry to fit the top.

Tip the filling into the prepared pie crust, and press it snug and slightly mounded in the middle. Cover it with the prepared pastry top, and seal it well around the edges. Poke holes in the top to let the steam escape.

Bake the pie for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes at 350°F, until nicely browned and bubbling. Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving it.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Oatmeal Scones

I've made scones with leftover cooked oatmeal before, but these do not require such a level of advance planning, or lack of advance planning, whichever it is that produces quantities of leftover cooked oatmeal. These don't need the overnight soak that Oatmeal Farls require, either, although I will admit I like the Oatmeal Farls just a little better. These will certainly do in a pinch, though!

Twenty four scones will be quite small; just the thing to serve with afternoon tea. Eight or 12 will be more suited for breakfast. In either case you can expect these to disappear quickly. 

8 to 24
30 minutes - 15 minutes prep time

Oatmeal Scones

2 cups soft unbleached flour
1 cup quick cook oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and dust it with flour.

Mix the flour, oats, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until it is about the size of small peas, then stir in the buttermilk. Work just enough to form a smooth dough. You may need to add a spoonful or so more buttermilk.

Transfer the dough the prepared parchment paper. Pat it out into a neat rectangle about 1" thick, and cut it into however many scones you would like to have. Space them out a bit.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until firm and just showing a little colour.

Last year at this time I made Crispy Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes