Category Archives: Recipes

Elderflower Sorbet


Everything seems to be early this year, and the Elder bushes coming in to bloom are no exception! Elderflowers have a glorious aromatic quality and make great cordials, sorbets and champagne (more of that in a later post…)

I picked up a large bag of lemons at Bicester street market yesterday in preparation for making one of my favourite sorbets – elderflower (although you could leave the elderflowers out and call it lemon sorbet if you wished!)

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Strawberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Strawberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Now that English strawberries are starting to appear in the supermarkets and grocers, it is time to make my favourite Muffins! Along with all muffin recipes, there are a couple of tricks to make them foolproof ~ It is important to measure the baking powder accurately, and even more importantly: once you mix the dry and wet ingredients together, the quicker you are at getting them muffins in the oven, the better they will turn out!

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Deli Style Beef

Deli style beef

This is the first post from a guest author: Jason Ayres.

I have known Jason since I moved to Bicester, he has a local Karaoke & Disco Business and loves his food nearly as much as I do!

Earlier this year he asked me a question: “I like cold roast beef – such as you would buy sliced off a deli. However, no matter what I do I cannot achieve this effect with my left over roast. Whether I slice it after cooking, or keep as a joint, wrap up and slice the next day (as I would a ham), the effect is always the same. My gorgeous Sunday joint becomes dry and chewy, any sinewy bits not in evidence at Sunday lumch suddenly appear too. It’s absolutely useless for sandwiches. It’s impossible to slice to the thinness I require which may be part of the problem.

My response was that I thought Deli Beef was cooked in a Sous Vide which would give the required properties but would be useless as a roast…

As a result of my response Jason came up with this wonderful method (which I have yet to try, but he seems to produce on a regular basis judging by his FaceBook statuses…)

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Fish Pie

fish pie: done!

If you have a little bit of time on your hands and fancy a great, creamy, fish dish then you can’t beat this fish pie recipe. It has smoked and unsmoked fish along with prawns and anything else that you would like to add. If you have some fresh parsley in the garden you can add that too! This recipe will easily serve four people with fresh minted garden peas.

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Seville Orange Marmalade

Marmalade, mmm...

Apologies for the lack of posts, but with the snow, holidays and work I haven’t had time to upload anything recently. I have a large back log of articles so hopefully I will manage to get one up every week from now on.

My Grandmother always made the best marmalade – I don’t think that I ever helped her make it, and the recipe I use is not her’s but at this time of year when the Seville Oranges are in season there is nothing better to do with them than make marmalade.

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BBQ butterflied lamb

One of my favourite BBQ party pieces is to butterfly a leg of lamb and marinade it for BBQing, as the leg has been reduced to a thickness of less than 5cm, it only requires 10-15 minutes on each side to cook. It is great finger food too, as you can serve it in pitta bread with a salad just like a kebab. This recipe is my version of a Rick Stein classic…

This weekend we are having a little party at the plot so I will be preparing this to BBQ in the afternoon.

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Spiced Pickled Pears

Spiced pickled pears

Last year my Uncle and Aunt offered me the pears left on their tree at the end of the summer. I made them in to spiced pickled pears which went down very well at christmas.

This year I was keen not to miss a trick, so I called my Aunt to make sure that I could get some of the pears to do the same with. Sadly due to the hot weather this summer (yes believe it or not it has been a hot summer…) the pears have ripened a month earlier than last year and I didn’t get as many. I have managed to fill two half litre preserving jars and they are now maturing ready for Boxing Day.

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Sloe Gin

Sloe Berries on a Blackthorn Bush

This year looks as if it will be just as good for sloes as last year, and when there is a bumper crop of sloes the best thing to do with them is make sloe gin!
There are a few tricks to the perfect sloe gin, and one of the key ones is not to add too much sugar – you can always sweeten it later on but it is pretty hard to reduce the sweetness.
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Tomato Ketchup

Tomato Ketchup

A week or so ago I made a large batch of passata. One of the things that I make with passata is tomato ketchup, and as my tomato vines are still producing tomatoes at a rate faster than I can consume them I decided to make a batch of ketchup.

This recipe is loosely based on a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, which in turn is from The Big Red Book of Toatoes by Lindsey Bareham. As on Hugh’s site I am not going to give you my exact spice mix as it is a trade secret, but it is fun to try and make your own ‘flavour!’

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