Monthly Archives: August 2014

Lavender macaroons

Lavender Macaroons © Sue Todd 2014

Lavender Macaroons © Sue Todd 2014

When we moved this summer I was overjoyed to find we had two flower beds just outside the front of the house stuffed with lavender.  This of course meant I felt obliged to put said lavender to good use and so I began to comb the internet looking for ideas.  Among the things I found was this gem from Hemsley Hemsley (they have some other fantastic recipes that are worth trying out too) for Lavender and maple coconut macaroons.

I really love coconut macaroons and the thought of adding lavender to them was intriguing.  I have to say it really works, but a word of warning, they are terribly moreish!  If you avoiding wheat/gluten then they make an ideal sweet treat.

Because this just wants the whites from the eggs I timed my baking for when I was also making ice-cream and the yolks went into the ice-cream.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ tsp lavender flowers, or more to taste
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ tbsp vanilla extract
  • 150g (5½oz) desiccated coconut
  • 3 medium egg whites

Method:

If you are using a conventional oven then you’ll need to preheat it before you begin to 170°C/330°F/gas mark 3½.  If like me you are using an AGA, they want to go in the baking oven.

Prep a baking sheet at the outset by lining it with greaseproof paper.

Chop the lavender finely – I used a herb chopper, then add your lavender to a large mixing bowl with the maple syrup, vanilla extract and the coconut and mix it well. Put it to one side while you prepare the egg whites.

Put the egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks.  You can do this by hand but I prefer to use an electric hand mixer for ease.

Gently fold your egg whites into the lavender and coconut mixture using a metal spoon to pull it altogether gently.

Now, scoop little heaps of the mixture out onto the baking tray you prepared earlier.  You might have to stir the mixture a little as you go to prevent it from separating out.  If you want to be precise you could use a tablespoon measure for the scoops and you should then get about 18 macaroons.  I just went for dollops of mixture and so got rather less.

Pop into the oven for somewhere between 12 and 15 minutes until they are lightly browned.  With the AGA because there are no smells from the oven into the kitchen I find it very easy to forget there’s anything in there, so I always try to remember to set a time.  A little kitchen timer has saved me from having to take the charred remains straight outside on more than one occasion.

I think these are rather lovely as they are, but I fancy trying them with one half dipped in chocolate or a chocolate coating on the base too.

Chicken Stock – make the most of that Roast Chicken!

Making Chicken Stock © Sue Todd

Making Chicken Stock © Sue Todd

Good quality meat doesn’t come cheaply so its nice to make the most of it.  Whenever we have Roast Chicken (and that’s my favourite roast for Sundays) then we like to ensure that we make the most from the leftovers, which means any spare meat goes into a risotto, pasta dish or casserole and the carcass we use for stock.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken carcass,
  • 1 onion,
  • 1 carrot,
  • 1 stick of celery,
  • 2 bay leaves,
  • 6 peppercorns
  • small amount of olive oil

Heat the oil in a casserole dish or large pan, add the vegetables and soften slightly before adding the chicken carcass, bay leaves and peppercorns.  Cover the carcass with water and bring the pan to the boil and cook for an hour.  On an AGA, transfer the pan at this point to the top oven to cook.

Breakfast to go – Sausage sandwich with home-made ketchup and coffee

Breakfast to go - Sausage Sandwich, home-made ketchup and coffee © Sue Todd 2014

Breakfast to go – Sausage Sandwich, home-made ketchup and coffee © Sue Todd 2014

Well that’s the last bank holiday of the year over and done with and that autumn feel is still decidedly present.  We started the working week with sandwiches for breakfast.

I love sausages but they have to come from the butcher’s shop these days, I’ve been totally spoilt and the nicely wrapped ones at the supermarket just don’t cut it with me any longer.  Even the expensive ones.  Ideally they’d be home-made sausages too, but there haven’t been enough hours in the day just lately for that one.  Hopefully sometime soon though.  After all we always make burgers, so why not sausages too??

Sadly there wasn’t enough of my bread left from the weekend so our sausage sandwiches used some left over french bread together with some of the Tomato and Pepper Ketchup I made the other day.  Quick and easy, warm and filling, perfect start to the week.

Pancakes, blackberry compote and crispy bacon.

Blackberry Compote, pancakes and crispy bacon.

Blackberry Compote, pancakes and crispy bacon. © Sue Todd 2014

Well Autumn is advancing fast, the latter end of August is feeling rather chilly and the leaves are turning rather faster than is comfortable.  The blackberries are ripening and given how little we are getting in the way of harvest directly from the garden I’m keen to make the most of any harvest from the hedgerow.  With this in mind we’ve also been keen to try out some new dishes and not just have more of the same old crumble and pies that we’ve eaten over the years.   Continue reading

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Carrot and Coriander Soup © Sue Todd 2014

Carrot and Coriander Soup © Sue Todd 2014

We had the remains of a bunch of coriander, a boatload of carrots and some fresh chicken stock made from the remains of the Sunday roast yesterday, so the obvious way to use the stock was to make some carrot and coriander soup.  We like to use every bit of the sunday roast chicken up and we thought this week this would make a nice change.   Continue reading

Bunny Burgers

Bunny Burger with Tomato and Pepper Ketchup © 2014 Sue Todd

Bunny Burger with Tomato and Pepper Ketchup © 2014 Sue Todd

Having moved recently we once again have an abundance of rabbits on the doorstep, so it was only a matter of time before we looked at rabbit recipes, this was aided and abetted by a good friend dropping a few rabbits in to us for consumption too. My dear OH was set upon creating the ultimate ‘Bunny Burger’ and so spent some considerable time researching recipes before yesterdays venture began. What follows is our adaptation of the recipes we found, initially we omitted the chilli, but it actually really needs the chilli, so our second set of burgers were the finished product so to speak.   Continue reading

Tomato and Red Pepper Ketchup

Tomato and Pepper Ketchup © Sue Todd 2014

Tomato and Pepper Ketchup © Sue Todd 2014

Tomato ketchup, love it or hate it, it’s everywhere. In some places it’s a standard always available add-on, while other places try hard to avoid serving it all. We’ve generally had a bottle of that famous variety in the fridge along with a few others our boys enjoyed while they were at home. Right now though the house is devoid of ketchup of any sort. I looked at it in the supermarket the other day and decided not to buy anymore. I’m happy to have ketchup, but it needs to be home made, I’m getting more and more fussy over what we eat and what goes into our food. I can almost hear the children groan at that last remark, more fussy? How can that be? But the minute I see a list of E numbers, colours or preservatives or other items I don’t recognise as food, I just don’t see the point in buying it. What I want is food, real food, with JUST food in it, nothing reconstituted, nothing chemical.  Continue reading