Summer is definitely with us and I confess that I am not a huge fan. I can hear the groans already. Trying to cook in this heat is not too much fun. Particularly if it happens to be a day of baking with pastry! But I persevere, being the complete martyr and of course, reminding everybody regularly of my suffering. Good job I love it so much.
Of course not everybody wants to turn on their oven in this heat so here is one of my favourite salad recipes. Apologies, it does involve using a hob, but the pain is only brief!
Lemon Summer Salad
This salad is light, crispy and perfect addition to a picnic or BBQ. If anything is left over, a fantastic lunch box filler!
150g fine green beans
150g sugar snap peas
50g frozen petit pois
1 x crispy red skinned apple
100g feta cheese
5 x spring onions.
1 x lemon
A large pinch of Lemon Myrtle, Droitwich salt and dill seasoning
Bring a pan of water to the boil.
Top and tail the fine beans and half.
Add the beans and sugar snap peas to the water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes. Then add the frozen peas. Bring the water to the boil and remove from the heat. Drain and run under really cold water. This will help to retain the lovely bright green colour.
Meanwhile, juice the lemon and add an equal amount of good quality olive oil, a good grinding of black pepper and your large pinch of Myrtle’s seasoning. Core and thinly slice the apple and add to the lemon mix and stir, making sure that the apple is coated to stop it discolouring.
Chop or crumble the feta.
Thinly slice the spring onions.
Put all of your ingredients together and toss so that they everything is coated in the lovely lemon dressing.
Extra notes from Jane
This salad makes a great foundation salad, and you can make lots of changes….
Adding feta or a soft curd cheese like ricotta is a lovely addition.
Or adding some torn chicken, works well in this salad.
I love adding broad beans to the mix, when fresh and in season.
If you prefer things with a little more heat, try adding a little chopped fresh red chilli to the mix.
If you are looking for fresh salad ideas, hop back through our blog posts for more ideas and a particular favourite of mine is the Mocktail v Cocktail blog.
You will also find a video about this in the “Foodies Across the Pond” YouTube channel that I do with my lovely friend Lisa, where we chat all things food. It would be amazing if you would head over there and subscribe to our videos as we do it for the love and it would be great to know that someone is watching!
This week on YouTube channel, “Foodies Across The Pond” Lisa and I go down the rabbit hole that is our collection of cookbooks. It is no surprise that we are both cookbooks obsessed! We each chat through 5 of our favourite – “couldn’t do without” books. Hop onto the video for more details but I want to share one of my favourite recipes.
It is no secret that Si & Dave are my guilty pleasure. I love watching them on TV and this series was just fabulous and their lockdown verbal rambles, live on Instagram saved my sanity! Their recipes are always sound and work, and this recipe is one of my favourites and was passed to them by a total stranger in a supermarket! That is my sort of supermarket. The mark of a well used recipe book? The splatters on the page and this page has a lot! Spot them on the photo above.
(Serves at least 12)
275g butter plus extra for greasing tin
1 x 400g tin condensed milk
150g wholemeal flour
Pinch of salt
Scant tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 heaped tablespoon of chunky marmalade (obviously Myrtles if you have it)
Blanched almonds and glace cherries for the top (optional)
Grease ta 20cm square cake tin with a little butter and line with parchment.
Put the raisins, dates, sultanas and currant in a saucepan with the butter, then pour in the condensed milk and 275ml of water Bring to the boil, stirring regularly so the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan, and continue to simmer for three minutes. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 170c /Gas 3. In another bowl, mix the wholemeal and the plain flour with the salt and bicarb. Once the fruit mixture is cool, fold it into the flour and stir in the marmalade. Spoon the mixture into the greased and lined cake tin and decorate with some whole blanched almonds and glace cherries if you want. Put a double layer of baking parchment over the top of the cake to prevent it from burning and bake in the oven for 1 ¾ hours.
At the end of the cooking time, take the cake out of the oven and leave it to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack. Make yourself a nice cup of tea and cut yourself a big slice.
Wrap in foil and store in a tin.
One of Lisa’s choices was a book by Diana Henry and she is a firm favourite of mine as well.
I have a particular favourite recipe of hers, which is so versatile and tasty and thought I would share it with you, just in case you are sharing my current craving for vegetables!
From one of my favourite recipe books; “FROM THE OVEN TO THE TABLE” BY DIANA HENRY
1 x red chilli. Halved, deseeded and finely chopped. (more if you like it hotter)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 x lime.
Preheat the oven to 210 c (425 f) Gas mark 7. Take a huge roasting tray or two smaller ones . Put into the oven to heat up.
Put all of the prepared vegetables into a large bowl and add the garlic, oil and seasoning.
Toast the cumin & coriander seeds in a dry frying pan for about a minute until toasting and you can smell the spices.
Pop the toasted spices into a mortar with the turmeric and grind them together.
Add the spices to the bowl of vegetables and turn everything over in the oil.
Take the hot tins and add the vegetables. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, tossing the vegetables half way through the cooking time.
In the meantime, mash the butter together with the chilli, coriander, lime zest and juice.
When the vegetables are ready, transfer them to a warmed large, shallow serving dish. Add nobs of the butter all over the top and allow it to melt.
Serve with the natural yogurt (I top mine with fresh coriander) and Myrtle’s Mango Chutney.
I served mine with some roasted chicken which I also added the chilli butter to.
I always have loads left over – this is a really cost effective recipe, which I just love!
For the leftovers:
Make up some couscous, add lime and lemon juice, a bunch of chopped herbs and seasoning to give it flavour. Chop some of your left over vegetables into small cubes and add to the couscous. VERY YUM and great for a quick lunch.
Grab one of your standby curry sauces from the freezer. I recommend trying:
Warm up the curry sauce and add the chopped left over veg. Heat through and serve. Simple suppers, I can’t get enough of them.. Again, great served with natural yogurt and mango chutney. I would serve with rice or naan – or both!
The sun has been to visit and isn’t it amazing how it changes your mood?
Lisa and I have been discussing BBQ food and she has some great recipes coming up over the next few weeks that will be featured on our YouTube channel, Foodies Across the Pond. We are both considering buying a new BBQ – but I had not realised how many choices are out there! Good Grief – where to start?
Last week I created a Mocktail and I am quite converted! Never fear, the chat also includes cocktail recipes.
This week, Lisa is chatting about Manuka Honey and I have integrated the honey into a Cranachan recipe. A fantastic dessert to finish a BBQ. You could take all components to the table and allow your guests to assemble their own! Great fun, but keep an eye on the whisky bottle!
A couple of top tips are:
Don’t use a whisky which is too peat ish as the flavour can dominate.
I used Manuka Honey, traditionally a Scottish heather honey would be used.
Raspberry & Honey Cranachan
15g rolled oats
2 teaspoons Scottish whisky
70ml double cream
2 teaspoons of honey
Toast the oats either in a dry frying pan or in the oven. My oven has a mind of its own, so I prefer to toast them on the hob, where I can keep an eye on them.
Set to one side and allow to cool.
Whisk the cream to soft peak stage then add the whisky and most of the honey. Reserve a little for decoration. Whisk in.
Set aside 3 raspberries for decoration. Lightly squish the raspberries with the back of a spoon, to release juices and set to one side.
When ready to serve, combine cream mix with oats and then gently fold through raspberries. Pile into your serving dish. Top with the remaining toasted oats, raspberries and a drizzle of honey.
Useless information: Originally a breakfast dish and represented a celebration of harvest.
Cranachan is Gaelic for “Churn” and the dish is also known Cream Crowdie.
In Myrtle land….
I have been giving a guided tour of all of our products on Instagram and you can still find the videos on our page. On Wednesday we discussed our Mango Chutney and I have promised our Coronation Chicken recipe which is highly recommended. A must for a picnic hamper.
Myrtle’s Coronation Chicken
Cooked chicken or turkey, shredded to bite size pieces. (Smaller if for sandwiches).
200g jar Myrtle’s Mango Chutney
200g good quality mayonnaise
200g full fat Greek yogurt
1 heaped teaspoon of your favourite curry powder
Juice of one juice lime
Salt and Pepper
Chopped coriander to garnish optional.
Put the mango chutney, mayo’ and yogurt into a blender with the curry powder. Give a quick whiz until almost smooth. Add the lime juice and the seasoning to taste. Add more curry powder if needed.
Add the chicken pieces and mix. Garnish with the coriander and enjoy.
I hope that these recipes inspire you.
On the road again: Delivery dates & events for 2021
Sunday 13th June – Teme Valley Market at the Talbot Hotel, Knightwick
Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th June – Hellens Garden Festival at Hellens Manor, Much Marcle
Saturday 19th June – Malvern Farmer’s Market
Thursday 24th June – Home deliveries (order by midnight Monday 21st June)
Saturday 10th & 11th July – Great Malvern Food Festival
As I type this, the sky outside my window has turned as strange “graphite” colour and I long for summer teas in the garden. Scones, jam, cream and a pot of freshly brewed tea. Patience is a virtue, and I am sure that the day will come soon, but for the time being, I will not move my wellies from the door.
I have been having great fun with my friend Lisa from Seattle, chatting with foodie heroes and learning so much. Last week I joined Claire from Trumper’s Tea for a lesson in how to make the perfect cup of tea.
But the conversation was about so much more! It was so interesting learning about grass infusions, fruit infusions, how to slurp….. (failed miserably). If you have not watched it, please pop to YouTube and search for Foodies across the Pond. If you could subscribe whilst there, not only would we be grateful, but you will also be notified of any new video’s being added. We are both learning as we go along, please be patient with our techy skills.
At the end of each video, you will find recipe ideas and Lisa has a couple of options, using the chai and Earl Grey teas, both of which would be amazing added to a cream tea.
I was so impressed with the Rooibos tea, one that I had never tasted before and I am a complete convert! Below is the recipe that I created, and I really hope that you will enjoy making it. Send me photographs!
Rooibos Panna Cotta
100ml whole milk
250ml double cream
40g caster sugar
2 gelatine leaves
4 teaspoons rooibos tea
150ml natural yogurt.
Put the rooibos tea, cream and milk into a saucepan, heat carefully to boiling point, but do not allow to bubble boil.
Take off the heat and allow to infuse for half an hour.
Drain through a fine sieve to remove tea leaves and return the cream mix to the saucepan.
Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 – 10 mins.
Reheat the cream mix. Drain the gelatine, squeezing to remove excess water. Add to the cream and stir until it dissolves.
Allow the mix to cool and then stir in the yogurt.
Pour the mix into your chosen moulds or serving dish.
Chill until set.
If you are using moulds and need to turn out the panna cotta, dip the mould into hot water for a matter of seconds and then turn out onto serving plate.
Serve with a fruit coulis. I particularly like stewing rhubarb until tender and I add the juice of an orange and some vanilla paste. A little sugar to taste.
Gosh, I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning with change at the moment. Not only are we having to keep up with all of the regulations as we come out of, and hopefully stay well out of, lockdown, but we have lots going on in Myrtle land as well.
Finally, we launched our new products; Our range of Lemon Myrtle Seasonings which have been in the planning for so long and I am beyond delighted with them. Every day I have a new favourite. Check them out in our online shop.
They all have Lemon Myrtle running through them, Droitwich Brine Salt and then a herb that I am sure you will know. Just a case of choosing which one. (Dill, Oregano, Tarragon, Rosemary, Thyme and Mint).
Farmers markets are back, and I have been catching up with quite a few of you at these. Thank you for your support. We had two new pastries to offer you this weekend. A brunch roll and a new vegetarian option (Butternut squash, Chickpea & Green bean Sambol. Of course, it has a secret weapon, Myrtle’s Mango Chutney (not so secret any more!)
Last Friday was our first chat in “Foodies across the Pond”. If you have not caught up with this bit of news, let me fill you in. Lisa, my lovely pal who lives in Seattle (USA) and I have teamed up and created “Foodies across the Pond” where we share our passion for all things foodie. We chat with enthusiasts and post the conversations on a YouTube channel along with banter and recipes. We are having so much fun with it!
Last week Lisa spoke to Melina from “Peace & Plenty Farm” in California, where they grow saffron. It was so informative and for our first video, for two not so sprightly things like us, I don’t think we did too badly. This week it is my turn to chat with a local food producer from Herefordshire and I really hope that you can hop on to YouTube to catch it. We would love you to hit the subscribe button, that way we will know that we are not talking to ourselves and you will be notified of any new episodes. It is our intention to add one a week on Foodie Fridays.
Here is my oh so simple saffron recipe, which I hope you will make
Saffron & Garlic Colcannon with Spinach.
I love this recipe, it is so easy, effective and delicious!
I often cook a double batch and use it the next day for a pie topping or Bubble & Squeak.
I have not been specific quantities as I am sure you can wing this according to how many you are feeding.
Approx ½ kilo / 1lb potatoes
2 cloves garlic – peeled
Pinch of saffron strands
A large handful of spinach leaves (washed)
Milk or cream
Cut you potatoes into chunks and add them to a pan of salted cold water. Add to this the saffron and garlic cloves.
Cover the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer and when the potatoes are fork soft, they are done.
Add the spinach to the potatoes and use your fork to push them below the water. After a minute, the spinach will have wilted, and you can remove from the heat and drain the potato mix.
Return to your saucepan and to the potatoes add butter and your milk/cream. Add as much as you prefer. Add some salt and pepper and mash with a potato masher.
It is as simple as that.
Emily and I will be out on the road again next week (Thursday 27th) delivering, pastries, picnic boxes, preserves and the new seasonings. We also have a limited amount of the award winning Ruby’s fudge as a one off.
A busy week at Myrtle HQ – we have finally, after 5 years of planning, launched our range of seasonings. Six in all, and all include the amazing super herb, Lemon Myrtle. These pots are a Summer Table essential, perfect for BBQ & picnic baskets. Finally balanced seasonings, fragrant and delicious.
A customer first sent us in the direction of Lemon Myrtle and ever since we have been trying to incorporate it into one of our preserves. The flavour and aroma got lost, so we soon realised that this deserved a special place of its own underneath the Myrtle banner.
You have been warned, prepare yourself to fall in love with Lemon Myrtle. Prized by Australian Aboriginals for not just its cooking uses, but its healing properties. It has a reputation as a “Superfood”. A native bush food, it is now regarded as Queen of the lemon scented plants in Australia.
Often used as a leaf for tea, or with its oil extracted, we have used the leaf ground and added it to award winning DROITWICH BRINE SALT.
To this blend we have added a herb, (either dill, rosemary, tarragon, oregano, mint & thyme) balancing the flavours to create a unique seasoning for your food. All are available from our website:
Here is one of our favourite recipes that includes the Oregano seasoning. These tomatoes pop with flavour. We use them in a orzo pasta dish with fresh pesto and shredded basil.
A real taste of summer.
Oven dried tomatoes in oil with oregano seasoning
This is an ideal recipe if you have an Aga or Rayburn as they need a lovely slow roast at a low temperature. I have cooked them in a conventional cooker, but to make it really cost effective, I would suggest filling the oven with the fruit.
You can often find real bargain boxes of tomatoes at the end of a day at a market or this is a dream recipe for a keen gardener with a glut of tomatoes.
1.8 kilo tomatoes (any variety) but a cherry variety will dry quicker.
1 tbsp sugar
Myrtle’s oregano seasoning and ground black pepper
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
200ml Extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 70 c (gas ¼ – ½ )
Slice cherry tomatoes in half or quarter larger tomatoes. The juicier the tomato, the longer they will take to dry out.
Spread the tomatoes out on a roasting tray. Spread them out so that they dry more quickly. Leave in the oven for 7+ hours or overnight. They need to have shrunk almost by half and be dry.
Allow them to cool completely.
Sterilise a jar & lid. On a low heat in a small saucepan, gradually heat your oil and vinegar together until it comes to boiling point. Add as many chilli flakes as you like (I put about a teaspoon in) and the seasoning and allow to cool.
Pack the tomatoes in your sterilised jars and finally slowly pour in your olive oil mixture. Tap your jar gently on the counter surface to release any air pockets and finally seal. Store somewhere cool or in the fridge.
Cooks notes, I love oregano so confess that I added more to the oil. I also don’t let the oil to go to waste, I use it for dressings and frying!
Thank you for all the great feedback for our sharing boxes. As part of our Mothering Sunday bundle of goodies, we included one of my favourite biscuit recipes. I cannot take the credit for this one, it is a Nigella gem. I found it in her “Nigella Christmas” book. (2008)
I confess to not being a fan of her TV shows. I find them a bit cringe worthy, though a disturbing fact has come to my mind whilst typing this. I was given the nickname of “Janella” some years ago! I am not sure why, as I have none of Nigella’s looks, vocabulary or wealth. I must put this on my list to explore further.
I have attracted a few nicknames over the year’s and one was “Margot”. That is a story for another day.
I am however, a fan of her recipes, having the majority of her books.
To business. A loyal mango chutney addicted customer, who has become a firm friend actually shared her biscuits with her daughter Jemima, who is now a fan too. So this recipe is especially for Jemima.
I have included at the beginning Nigella’s description. I take no credit
“I love these dark, fat patties of chocolate shortbread exuberantly topped with festive sprinkles. There’s something so cheering about the sight of them, but they have more in their flavour than looks: they are a doddle to make, and meltingly gorgeous to eat”
“Well I mean, really?” Jane Raven
Makes approx. 24
250g soft butter
150g caster sugar
40g cocoa powder
300g plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the topping:
2 x 15ml tablespoons of cocoa powder
175g icing sugar
60ml boiling water from a kettle
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Preheat over 170g gas mark 3 ad line a baking sheet with Bae o Glide or parchment
Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl and, when you have a light, soft, whipped mixture, beat in the 40g cocoa powder (sieve it is lumpy) and, when that is mixed in, beat in the flour with the bicarb and baking powder. Or, just put everything into a food processor and blitz if you prefer.
The mixture is very soft and sticky and I find it easiest to form the biscuits wearing my CSI (disposable vinyl) gloves, so pinch off pieces the size of a large walnut, roll them into balls, then slightly flatten them into fat discs as you place them, well spaced, on your baking sheet. You should get about 12 on at a time.
Bake each batch for 15 minutes; even though the biscuits won’t feel as if they have had enough time, they will continue to cook as they cool. They will look slightly cracked on the top and it’s the cosy homespun look I love.
Remove the baking sheet to a cold surface and let it sit for 15 mins before transferring the biscuits to a wire rack, with a sheet of newspaper under it (to catch the drips while topping them)
To make the topping, put the cocoa powder, icing sugar, water and vanilla into a small saucepan and whisk over a low heat until everything is combined. Take off the heat for 10 minutes.
When the biscuits are cool, drizzle each one with a tablespoon of chocolate glaze – to glue the sprinkles on in a minute – using the back of the spoon, to help spread the mixture, though an uneven dribbly look is part of the charm. After you have iced 6 biscuits, scatter with some of the Sprinkles and continue thus until all of the biscuits are topped, If you ice them all before sprinkling, you will find that the cocoa “glue” will dry and the sprinkles won’t stick on.
Have fun with this one, I have other biscuit recipes if you would like me to share, though none quite as wordy as this one. Though I could try to flower them up a bit?
If you try the recipe tag us with your photo’s – we would love to see them and it is not mandatory to be doing a Nigella look a like, but it may be fun.