January Recipes


Serves 4

2 tbsps. veg. oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1/2 butternut squash, peeled & cut into cubes
4 carrots, peeled & cut into batons
2 parsnips, peeled & cut into batons
3 tbsps. curry paste
8 large ripe tomatoes, 2 cut into wedges
6 garlic cloves, peeled
thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled an chopped
small packet coriander, chopped
200g. brown basmati rice
6 tbsps. natural yogurt
tin of mango, drained and chopped
1 tbsp. mango chutney
small pack toasted, flaked almonds

Heat the oil in a large lidded pan.  Tip in the onions and cook for 10 minutes until soft.  Stir in the squash, carrots and parsnips and cook for 5 minutes until they begin to soften.  Add the curry paste and cook for another 3 minutes.

In a bowl whizz together the whole tomatoes, garlic and ginger until smooth (using a hand blender or small food processor) then pour over the vegetables adding 200mls. water.  Save a handful of coriander to serve and stir in the rest.  Pop on the lid and simmer for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Add more water if necessary.  Uncover and stir through the tomato wedges.

Meanwhile cook the rice following the pack instructions.  Mix the yogurt, mango and chutney in a small bowl.  Fork the rice into a serving dish and scatter the curry with the remaining coriander and the almonds.  Season then serve alongside the rice and fruity yogurt. 


You could always make the fruity raita by using dried, chopped apricots instead of tinned mango.  You can, obviously, miss this out as a side dish and use white rice instead of brown if preferred.  I recently had a curry served with lentils instead of rice and it was lovely.  Not red lentils, but the puy variety. 



Serves 4-6

1/2 tbsps. olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 small bunch thyme, leaves picked
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 litre veg. stock
100mls. double cream
1/4 bunch parsley, finely chopped (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and celery for 10 minutes until softened.  Add the garlic, thyme and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the carrots, parsnips and stock and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Blend using a stick blender until smooth.  Add the cream and blitz until combined, then taste for seasoning.  To serve, ladle into bowls and scatter over a little chopped parsley if you like. 

No tips really on this one but use dried herbs if you cannot get fresh thyme.  Double cream doesn’t split when reheated whereas single can.

And now… Six of the best soup recipes

Following from last month’s Ledbury Big Soup event, here are some soup recipes from our recipe wizard for you to try…


Serves 4

50g. (2ozs.) Green lentils
100g. (4ozs.) Chorizo sausage or peppered salami
150g. (6ozs.) Each of carrots and parsnips
275g. (10ozs.) Onions
30ml. (2 tbsps.) Oil
5ml. (1 level tsp.) Ground cumin
1 litre (2 pints) vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
A few thyme sprigs
Salt and ground black pepper

Croutons to garnish if desired

  1. Cut the chorizo into cubes. Roughly chop the onions, carrots and parsnips.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan, then add the chorizo or salami and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add the onions to the pan and cook for 10 minutes or until soft.  Add the carrots, cumin, parsnips and drained lentils and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.  Stir in the stock, bay leaves and thyme.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Cool slightly, remove the herbs and puree the soup in batches in a food processor or liquidiser.
  4. Return to the pan, bring back to the boil and correct the seasoning. Serve with the fried chorizo or salami, garnished with croutons.


Serves 4

60g. (2 oz.) Butter
750g. (1½ lbs) carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
10cm. (4 inches) piece of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
Salt, black pepper
1 litre (1¾ pts.) Hot vegetable stock
1 tablespoon honey
1 bay leaf
125ml. (4 fl. Ozs.) Double cream
Chopped fresh parsley or coriander, to garnish

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the carrots, onion, garlic and ginger, sprinkle with ½ tsp. of salt, cover the pan and leave to sweat over a low heat for about 20 minutes, when the carrots should be thoroughly buttery, gingery and very soft.
  2. Pour over the hot stock, stir in the honey, the bay leaf and a pinch of pepper, and simmer until done, about 10 minutes.
  3. Fish out the bay leaf and discard. Put the soup in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth – you may have to do this in batches.  Push the soup through a sieve into the rinsed out saucepan.
  4. Thin the soup with more stock if necessary. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the cream and reheat gently until piping hot but not boiling.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into warmed soup bowls, then drop a spoonful of the remaining cream into the middle of each serving and swirl with the point of a knife.  A sprinkling of chopped green herbs completes this soup.


Serves 6

1 litre (1¾ pts.) Water
250mls. (8fl.ozs) dry white wine
1 leek, thickly sliced
500g. (1¼ lbs) celeriac, diced
200g. (7ozs) fresh spinach
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
25g. (1oz) pine nuts, to garnish

  1. Mix the water and wine in a jug. Place the leek, celeriac and spinach in a deep saucepan and pour the liquid over.  Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  2. Pour the celeriac mixture into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, in batches if necessary. Return to the clean pan and season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Reheat gently.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan (do not add any oil) and add the pine nuts. Roast until golden brown, stirring occasionally so that they do not stick.  Sprinkle them over the soup and serve.


Serves 6

700g (1½ lb) trimmed leeks
225g (8oz) onions
225 (8oz) cheese
50g (2oz) butter
15ml (1 level tbsp) plain flour
1.4 litres (2½ pts.) Turkey or chicken stock
142ml (5fl.oz.) Carton double cream
10ml (2 level tsp.) Grainy mustard
Salt & ground black pepper
Oven baked pesto croutons to accompany

  1. Roughly chop the leeks and finely chop the onions. Cut the cheese into small dice.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook for 15min. or until soft. Add the leeks and cook for 15min. stirring from time to time.
  3. Add the flour and mix until smooth, stirring continuously, then add the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 min.
  4. Reduce the heat until the soup is bubbling gently, then stir in the cream and mustard. Add the cheese in batches, allowing it to melt between each addition.    Season well with salt and black pepper and serve in warmed soup bowls.   Accompany with Oven-baked Pesto Croutons and garnish with stilton.

Oven baked Pesto Croutons – Cut four slices of day-old bread into 2.5cm (1in) cubes.   Toss the cubes in 45-60ml (3-4 level tbsp) ready-made pesto mixed with 15ml (1tbsp) olive oil.   Cook on a baking sheet at 200C/400F/Mark 6 for 10-15 min. until golden and crisp.   Store in an airtight container for up to two days


Serves 4

15ml (1 tbsp.) Oil
30g. (1oz.) Butter
1kg. (2lbs) onions thinly sliced
25g (1 ½ tbsps.) Soft brown sugar
60ml (4 tbsps) plain flour
1.5 litres (3pts) beef stock
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 french bread stick
100g. (3 ½ oz) grated cheese

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the onion and stir over a low heat for 1 minute.  Cover and cook for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the sugar and ½ tsp. of salt and increase the heat.  Cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onion is golden brown.
  2. Gradually add the flour. Cook for 3 minutes over a medium heat, stirring.  Remove from the heat and gradually add the stock.
  3. Over a medium heat bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Partially cover the saucepan, lower the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste.
  4. Mix some oil with your garlic. Cut the bread into thick slices and toast both sides until lightly browned.  Brush on the oil and garlic and sprinkle with cheese.  Grill until melted and serve on the soup. 


Serves 4

800 mls. Vegetable stock
3 large parsnips (about 500g.) Peeled & chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 pear, peeled & diced
3 tbsps. Olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1cm. Piece ginger, chopped
1 tsp. Garam marsala
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Ground Coriander

To serve:

100mls. Whipping or double cream (buy when serving)

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, then add the onion and garlic and cook until softened.
  2. Add the garam marsala, cumin, coriander and ginger, then stir well and fry for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the parsnips and stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the pear and blend until smooth.
  4. To serve, add the cream and stir well. Serve with parsnip or beetroot crisps if desired.  Simply peel and slice very thinly into rounds, then pat dry.  Heat some vegetable oil in a saucepan (approximately 2cm. deep) until smoking, then fry the vegetable slices in small batches for 2 – 3 minutes each until golden.  Drain on kitchen paper, allow to cool, then serve in piles in the middle of the soup.


Happy Souping!


Recipes for August 2022

Chicken With Curried Fennel Sauce


15g. / 1oz. butter
4 chicken breasts
2 large fennel bulbs
3 cardamom pods
2 large garlic cloves
2.5cm. / 1 inch piece of root ginger
1 fresh red chilli
1 tsp. gd. coriander
½ tsp. gd. cinnamon
½ tsp. gd. cloves
1 tbsp. plain flour
150mls. / ¼ pt. natural yoghurt
8 tbsps. lemon juice
1 ½ tbsps. tomato puree mixed into 300mls.
 ½ pt. water

To serve:

Handful of fresh coriander leaves

  1. Set the oven to gas mark 4 / 180.  Heat the oil and half the butter and add the chicken pieces and brown them all over.  Put the chicken into a large casserole.
  2. Cut off the base and stalks of the fennel and remove any marked outer parts and cut the bulbs into 6 – 8 pieces each.  Blanch the pieces in boiling salted water for a few minutes to soften slightly.
  3. Put the fennel in the dish around the chicken.  Roughly crush the cardamom pods and scatter them in with the fennel.  Peel the garlic and ginger and chop finely.  Cut the chilli open lengthways and discard any seeds and slice very thinly.
  4. Put the frying pan back on the heat, adding the remaining butter.  Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and the ground spices and stir for 30 seconds.  Stir in the flour and continue to stir for 1 minute.  Stir in the yoghurt in one direction only, add the lemon juice to the tomato puree mixture and stir into the fried spices.
  5. Bring to the boil and stir until the sauce thickens, season to taste with a little salt.  Pour the sauce over the fennel in the casserole dish.  Cover and cook for one hour.  Serve with basmati rice and a green vegetable.

You will require an apron and tea towel, a large frying pan and a large casserole dish plus foil to cover and clingfilm.


The reason for telling you to stir the yogurt in one direction is that it can split.  Adding a teaspoon of cornflour to your yogurt prevents this.  You could, of course, use creme fraiche instead of yogurt if you are worried.  I have never known that to split ever.

Plum & Hazelnut Cake Or Pear & Walnut Cake


8 – 10 large red plums, halved & stoned or 3 pears
125g. / 4 ½ ozs. soft butter, plus extra for greasing
100g. / 3 ½ ozs. caster sugar, plus 1 extra tbsp.
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
100g. / 3 ½ ozs. self-raising flour, sifted
100g. / 3 ½ ozs. toasted hazelnuts ground or walnuts
2 tbsps. whole milk

  1. Cut each plum half into 3 slices or the cored pears into about 1 cm. / ½ inch thick slices.  Butter a 20cm. 8 inch springform tin and line the base with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
  2.  Put the butter, sugar (minus the extra tablespoon), eggs, lemon zest, flour, nuts and milk into a food processor and whiz until smooth.  Spoon the batter into the tin and arrange the plum or pear slices, cut-side up, in circles on top.  Make sure you pack them well together.  Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. caster sugar (or more if the plums are very tart) and bake in an oven preheated to 180C / gas mark 4 for 40 minutes.  A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
  3. Let the cake cool in its tin for 15 minutes, then remove it, peeling off the greaseproof paper on the bottom, and put it on a wire rack to cool completely.

You will need a 20cm. / 8 inch springform tin, apron, teatowel and baking parchment or greaseproof paper.


Bentleys Fruit Farm near Newent have lovely plums which they say will be available until well into September.

Recipes for July 2022


250g. / 9ozs, ready made puff pastry (all butter is best)
3 tbsps. sun dried tomato puree, or ordinary tomato puree
250g. / 9 ozs. ripe vine tomatoes, sliced
150g. / 5 1/2 ozs. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 egg yolk
125g. / 4 1/2 ozs. Italian sliced salami, chopped
salt and pepper
handful thyme sprigs

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F / Gas Mark 5.  Roll out the pastry to form a rectangle 36cm. / 14 inches long and 25cm. / 10 inches wide and lift on to a heavy duty baking tray.
  2. Spread the tomato puree over the pastry, leaving a 3cm. / 1 1/4 inch margin around the edge.  Arrange the vine tomato slices over the tomato puree, scatter over the cherry tomato halves, top with the rosemary and drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.  Brush the edges of the pastry with egg yolk and bake for 10 minutes.  Scatter over the salami and bake for a further 10 – 15 minutes.   
  3. Remove the tart from the oven and season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with the remaining oil and scatter over the thyme.


You could make this into a vegetarian version by leaving out the salami and instead using feta or goat’s cheese.  Another alternative is roasted peppers and pine kernels instead of the salami.

Some sun dried tomatoes, cut into strips,  could be added at the same time as the salami.


115g. hazelnuts
260g. unsalted butter, really soft
225g. white spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
130g. honey (or golden caster sugar)
130g. maple syrup
finely grated zest of 1 large unwaxed lemon

For the filling:

350mls. double cream
2 – 3 tbsps. honey
2 – 3 tbsps. blueberry jam
200g. fresh blueberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.  Grease and line 2 x 20cm. loose-bottomed sandwich tins.
  2. Toast the hazelnuts in the oven for 5 – 7 minutes but check after 5.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool then whizz in a food processor into fine meal.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and beat in all the other ingredients using an electric handmixer.  Be careful not to overmix.  Scrape the mixture into the tins and level the tops with the back of a spoon.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the cakes are risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tins and placing on a wire rack.
  4. When cool, lightly whip the cream until soft peaks form, drizzle in the honey and whisk again.  Take one spoonful of jam at a time and carefully marble it through the cream.  Carefully place one cake on a cake plate, spoon over two thirds of the marbled honey cream and place the second cake on top.  Spread the remaining third of the honey cream on top of the 2nd cake, then sprinkle the fresh blueberries over the cream.


You could use ground almonds instead of toasting hazelnuts and whizzing them in your food processor.

If you want to cut down on the cream content, I would use half the amount and just put it in the centre.  I would then lightly poach the blueberries and put those on the top.  You could use 1 tbsp. of jam for the centre filling and spread 1 tbsp. of jam on top which would help to anchor the blueberries.

Recipes for June 2022


200g. green lentils
120g. watercress, thick stalks removed
40g. parsley
150mls. light olive oil
400g. asparagus spears
100g. pecorino cheese
4 lemon wedges,
salt and black pepper

Wash the lentils in cold water, then place in a saucepan with plenty of fresh water and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are just cooked.

While the lentils are cooking, put half of the watercress, the parsley, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and some salt into a food processor.  Blitz until smooth and pour into a bowl.

As soon as the lentils are cooked drain them well and mix them while still hot with the watercress dressing.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Break off the end of the asparagus spears and discard.  Cook the asparagus in simmering salted water for 2 – 3 minutes, drain and cut the spears into roughly 6cm. long segments.

You can serve the salad warm or at room temperature.  Toss together the lentils, asparagus and most of the remaining watercress.  Add pieces of cheese as you plate up and garnish with the reserved watercress.  Serve with wedges of lemon.


I think this salad would be lovely served with a piece of roast chicken or salmon with a salsa verde sauce for the chicken or salmon.  To make a salsa verde sauce you need 1 large bunch of mixed herbs (parsley, basil and mint say), 1 clove of garlic, 2 tbsps. of capers, 3 gherkins, 2 – 3 anchovy fillets, 1 heaped tbsp. of french mustard, 4 tbsps. olive oil, 1 – 2 tbsps. red wine vinegar and salt and pepper.  Chop all the herbs, capers, gherkins and mix with the rest of the ingredients.

Alternatively, you could add a cooked breast of chicken or salmon to the salad, omit the cheese, and make it a more substantial dish.


500g. thick (not low fat) Greek yogurt
400g. strawberries
1 ½  tsp. caster sugar
2 tsps.rosewater
3 tbsps. good honey

Mix yogurt and 50g. of icing sugar and set over a basin lined with muslin or a clean J-cloth.  Put in the fridge and leave to drain overnight (12 hours is best).

Hull and quarter the strawberries and mix with the sugar and rosewater and leave to macerate for a few hours.

Gently fold the honey into the labneh which, by now, will resemble cream cheese.  Puree a quarter of the strawberries, pile the rest on top of the labneh and drizzle with the pureed strawberries.


This can be served with poached fruits such as plums or rhubarb, or raspberries rather than strawberries.

To make savoury labneh mix 500g. of thick Greek yogurt with 1/2 tsp. of salt and leave to drain overnight as before.

Make the labneh into balls by rolling between your hands to shape them and then leaving on a clean cloth lined tray.  They can be marinated in olive oil (4 tbsps. for this quantity), some dried oregano or fresh thyme leaves (about 1 tbsp.), the zest of a lemon and a few chilli flakes.  Store in the fridge and serve with flatbreads as a starter or nibble. 

Recipes for May 2022

Quick Rhubarb Chutney with Cardamom

Makes 2 x 500g. jars

200mls. cider vinegar
400g. soft light brown sugar
100g. raisins
2 red onions, chopped
2cm. piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
seeds from 20 cardamom pods
4 – 5 star anise
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. salt
1kg. rhubarb, cut into 3cm. lengths

Put all the ingredients except the rhubarb into a large, heavy based pan, bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes.  Add the rhubarb and bring back to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cool slightly and spoon into dry, warm, sterilised jars, (you can sterilise them in a very hot dishwasher, or boil them in a pan of water for 10 minutes.  Cover with a wax disc, then seal and label with the date.  This chutney can be eaten straight away.  Once opened it is best stored in the fridge, and will keep for up to a month.


You can use this chutney in the usual way with bread and cheese, or alongside cottage pie, but it is also good heated through and served with roast pork, duck or grilled mackerel. 

I sterilise my jars in the oven, at a low temperature, for about 15 minutes.

Fillet of Salmon with Sweet-Sour Beetroot and Dill Crème Fraiche – Serves 6

For the dill crème fraiche:

200g. / 7ozs. crème fraiche
2 tbsps. grain mustard
1 ½ tbsps. chopped dill

For the beetroot:

500g. / 1lb. cooked beetroot
50g. / 2ozs. unsalted butter
½ tbsp. oil
2 red onions, finely sliced
2 tbsps. caster sugar
1 ½ tbsps. red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

For the salmon:

30g. / 1¼ozs. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. oil
6 x 175g. (6oz.) salmon fillets
good squeeze of lemon juice


To make the dill crème fraiche simply mix the crème fraiche, mustard and dill together and refrigerate until you need it.

Cut the beetroot into small pieces.  Season and taste for sweet/sour balance, you may want more sugar or vinegar.  Set aside and reheat before serving.  Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and cook the onions until soft.  Add the beetroot and increase the heat.  Cook for 2 minutes, then add the sugar and stir until beginning to caramelize.  Add the vinegar and let it bubble.

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan.  Season the salmon on both sides and cook over a medium heat, flesh side down, for 1½ – 2 minutes or until golden.  Turn over and cook for 1½ – 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat and cook until done but still moist.  Squeeze on some lemon juice.  Serve with the beetroot and dill crème fraiche.


We had this dish for lunch and I used vacuum packed beetroot which worked well.  Just pat it dry before cooking.  I also used dried dill, about 1 tsp., as fresh dill is often hard to come by.

I served it with new potatoes.

April 2022 Recipes



125g. plain flour
100g. melted butter
3 tbsps. icing sugar, sieved

Lemon Filling:

150mls. whipping or double cream, not single
50g. caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 large lemons, juiced and the rind of 1

  1. Mix the flour and sieved icing sugar in a bowl.  Melt the butter and press the dough into the base and sides of a 7 inch / 18cm. diameter pie tin (I used a sponge tin with a loose base).  Bake blind for 20 minutes at 190 degrees.  Cool.  Reduce oven temperature to 150.
  2. Whisk all the filling ingredients together and pour into the pastry lined tin.  Bake for another 35 – 40 minutes until set.  Allow to cool before slicing.  This would be lovely served with some raspberries / blueberries and some coulis.  It does not require more cream in my opinion.


Baking blind stops you getting a soggy bottom.  I have special baking (ceramic beans) but you can use rice or any dried beans.  Just line the tin with baking parchment so that the base is weighed down.

I didn’t refrigerate my tart and it lasted for 3 days.  Keeping it out of the fridge stopped the pastry going soggy.  It was beautifully crisp the first day, not quite so crisp the following day but still very good.

Pour the filling into the tin whilst it is in the oven and on a baking tray then you won’t have to carry it across the kitchen – use a jug for the purpose.



6 garlic cloves
5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
10 bay leaves
2 – 2.2kg. shoulder of lamb
salt & pepper
250mls. red wine

For the rosemary and onion sauce

50g. butter
1 onion (about 200g. finely sliced)
2 tbsps. plain flour
500mls. milk
2 tbsps. cream or creme fraiche
1 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary

Preheat the oven to 160/ gas mark 2-3.  Place the unpeeled garlic in the bottom of a large roasting tin with the rosemary and bay leaves.  Sit the lamb on top and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 2 hours, then pour in the wine and roast for a further hour.

To make the sauce, melt the butter over a low heat, add the onion and saute until soft.  Stir in the flour and then add the milk gradually, stirring all the time.  Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes, add the cream and rosemary and cook for another 5 minutes, again stirring all the time.  The sauce should not be too thick so add the little more milk if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper.

Take the lamb out of the oven and transfer to a warm plate.  Cover in foil whilst you make the gravy.  Discard the rosemary, bay leaves and garlic and spoon off all the fat.  Put the tin over a medium heat and add a little water (or vegetable water) and bring to the boil, stirring to make a gravy.  Arrange the lamb meat in chunks on a serving plate, pour over the gravy and serve with the rosemary and onion sauce.