April 2010

The Impossible Pie / Cake

Impossible Cake

4oz Butter/Marg
8oz Caster Sugar
8oz Desiccated Coconut
4 eggs
4oz Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
1/2 pint Fat Milk

Oven on 350F [ 180 C ] Gas Mk 4
Lightly grease 10” Pie or Flan Dish
Cream butter/marg with sugar
Add Coconut and eggs
Sieve flour with nutmeg
Add vanilla essence
Fold into coconut mixture , gradually whick in milk.
Pour into prepared dish and bake for 1 hour, when cooked , a knife inserted into the centre should come out clean.


The mixture will have formed a pastry like shell , and egg custard like super moist filling and a coconut topping.


I used creamed coconut and added hot water to it to make the milk , mainly due to the fact I don’t have milk in my house , never use enough of the stuff before it goes off.

And the pie still turned out awesome.

Cannellini Beans With Sage


Tuscan Dish known as ‘ fagioli all’uccelleti ‘ which means beans made with the little birds way . Because they used to cook wee birds in the pot with them this way.

Try using dried rather than tinned the flavour is far superior.

Soak them overnight and cook them for about 1 hour for greater depth of flavour.

The recipe below uses precooked beans.

Serves 4

Prep & Cook Time 4 minutes

2 x 400g ( 14 oz tins of cannellini beans drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
bay leaf
2 fresh sprigs of thyme or winter savory
10 fresh sage leaves
1 medium sized onion , roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves , finely chopped
75 ml ( 3 fl oz ] dry white wine
salt & pepper

1 table spoon fresh flat leaf parsley , chopped

Put beans in pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil , the bay leaf , thyme and 2 of the sage leaves , cover and warm gently until you need them.

Heat remaining oil and cook onion , gently for 5 minutes , without colouring , add remaining sage leaves and garlic and cook further for 1 minutes. add wine and cook gently for another minute or so .

Add the bean mixture taste for seasoning , cover and cook gently for further 2 minutes..

If necessary add some water to keep the mixture moist.

Serve sprinkled with flat leaf parsley.

Thats’ the posh way to do it , I just chuck my dried beans in overnight , boil up the soaking water and then chuck all the other bits and bobs in and boil for about 1 hour and the cooking liquor is ace , and if it’s not going to be served as a side , I serve it as a soup , using the cooking liquor , seems a shame to waste it after all.

Hope this helps Huge [ Our Man In Mumbai ]

Bangers braised in cider

Serves: 2 to 3


454g Free Range Bangers
a little oil for frying
200g Dry Cure Smoked Lardons
225g small shallots
1 heaped teaspoon plain flour
375ml strong dry cider
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 rounded teaspoon freshly chopped thyme (plus a few sprigs)
1 medium Cox’s apple, cored and sliced thickly into rings (no need to peel)
a little butter
freshly milled black pepper
You’ll also need a medium flameproof casserole with a tight-fitting lid.


Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.
First place the casserole over a medium heat, add a little oil and when it’s hot, brown the sausages all round – it’s important to get them well browned. Then, using a draining spoon, remove them to a plate whilst you brown the lardons and shallots lightly.
When that’s done, sprinkle in the flour to soak up the juices, then gradually stir in the cider. Now pop the sausages back in along with the garlic, bay leaf, fresh thyme and sprigs. Add some freshly milled black pepper (no salt needed). Now put a lid on as soon as it begins to simmer, then transfer it to the oven for 30 minutes. After that remove the lid and let it continue to cook for a further 20–30 minutes.
Towards the end of the time, fry the apple rings in butter till golden and soft, and garnish the casserole with them. This is obviously going to need some very creamy, fluffy mashed potatoes, and at this time of the year, I would serve some tender, squeaky, lightly cooked spring greens.

Carrot Mead

Carrot Mead

If you’re pulling the last of your carrots out of the ground in March before they go to seed, this is a great way to use up any excess you have.

Just shy of 1 gallon of water
5lb Carrots
Juice and Zest of 3 oranges
Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
3lb honey
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tsp amylase
Yeast (champagne is good)

Quite an effort this one, but its worth it. Put the water on to simmer, adding in the honey, carrots (cleaned and chopped, not peeled), yeast nutrient, citrus juice and zest. Keep it close to a boil for 40 minutes or so, skimming off any scum that floats up.

Strain out the solids (the carrots are well overcooked, but sweet from the honey, eat if you like ’em mushy), get the liquid into a sterile bucket and cover tightly; when its cool add the amylase and activated yeast. Ferment out as normal.

This is a surprisingly rich brew, the honey adding some extra depth of flavour. If you prefer to make as a wine rather than a mead, use 2 1/2lb of sugar in place of the honey.

Oak before Ash it is then.

If the oak before the ash
Then we’ll only have a splash
If the ash before the oak
Then we’ll surely have a soak.

According to that little bit of folk lore , it’s going to be a dry summer.

So what to plant this year ?

Matron !!!