Pea, kale, fennel & smoky bacon soup

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, V, WF

If kale really isn’t your thing but you want some of its (biblically proportioned) health benefits, stick it in soup. While the freshness of the pea in this old classic is retained, the antioxidant, fibre and nutrient dense kale adds a meaty, heartiness which is perfect for fresh spring days and, should you so wish, summer slimming prep. Soup’s also surprisingly quick: this takes 15 mins.

Pea, kale, fennel & smokey bacon soup

Feeds 4-6

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
4 rashers smoked bacon – optional, the fennel seed gives this lots of flavour
1 onion, chopped
3 tsp ground fennel seeds
500g frozen peas
1 ltr Boullion or chicken stock
200g chopped curly kale, stalks retained
Sea salt and black pepper

METHOD

Set 1 dsp of the oil to heat, then fry bacon until it starts to brown. Remove and set aside. Add remaining oil, followed by onions once hot. After a couple of mins stir through ground fennel seeds.

Once onions have started to turn translucent, add in kale, then stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. Add peas and chopped bacon and simmer for a further 5 mins.

Remove from the heat and blend. I use a hand blender for ease and minimal washing up.

Return to the heat, adding salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

 

Pitt Cue Co chipotle ketchup

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

I’m not a really a ketchup eater, so the fact I went to the lengths of making this recipe, and am now blogging it, I think testifies to the flavour. With smokey chilli and tangy apple and tamarind, this straddles between a sophisticated Tommy K and HP. There are various incarnations on the web, chipotle peppers generally causing some sourcing issues; this is mine.

Pitt Cue Co chipotle ketchup

INGREDIENTS

1kg ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 cooking apple, cored and chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
2 small red onions or 1 large, sliced
3 tsp smoked paprika
4 tsp chipotle – if you can’t get this, treble the paprika.
1 tsp turmeric (because I add it to everything for gut health)
1 tsp sea salt
3 tsp tamarind (I’m following HP’s lead on this)
250ml cider vinegar
1 tbsp agave or 200g muscovado sugar

METHOD

Put all ingredients except the agave into a pan, bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 hours.

Remove from the heat, chill and whizz with a stick blender till smooth.

Return to the heat, add agave and simmer for a further 30 mins or until thickened slightly. If, like me, you’ve swapped sugar for agave, the sauce will remain runnier. There’s no compromise to flavour.

Decant into sterilised jars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks, according to Pitt Cue Co. I confess I’ve kept mine a lot longer and it tastes just as good… Sorry, I’m lazy and refuse to do smaller batches.

I love this with Mum Garcia’s Netherton Farm Wild Boar sausages and sourdough or Courgette fritters, bacon and avocado. But with summer picnics and BBQ’s on their way *frantically touches wood*, I reckon this is a fridge staple worth having to hand.

 

The Anti-diet: Breakfast like a king

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

… and supper like a pauper. This is not an old wives tale. In actual fact, for many of us Brits consumed with work, breakfast is a coffee, and lunch a sandwich that can be eaten On the Go. The evening meal is our chance to blow all those daily-banked calories. You have the entire day to burn off breakfast; supper sleeps with you.

I‘ve counselled several baffled friends over their growing girths in spite of having abstained all day in anticipation of their man-sized pasta dinner with The New Boy. See last week’s Moderation tip (Side plate eating).

It’s like this: When you starve yourself, your body thinks it needs to conserve energy, goes into hibernation mode and so burns less calories. When you finally eat, your clever body stores (yup, stores) any fat as a back-up in the eventuality you’ll deprive it again.

Eating breakfast tells you you’re awake and kick starts your metabolism. Eating smaller meals (stopping when you’re comfortable as opposed to undoing a button), 3 – 4 times a day makes sense to your digestion. Let it do its job and it will reward you.

Veg-juice-health

Breakfast like a king with Roast banana, bacon & maple syrup sweet-corn fritters and this week’s super healthy and energising juice recipe: Beetroot, carrot, kiwi & ginger.

For more Anti-diet tips click on the Tag on the right or type Anti-diet into the Search box at the top of the page.

 

Gather sustainably

Posted in: Uncategorized

Unpacking the spoils from a recent trip to the parental homestead I was struck by just how much produce comes out of Mum Garcia-Macintyre’s Highland garden and kitchen: Everything from Wild Boar bacon and sausages to Jerusalem artichokes and marmalade. In fact, the farm to table philosophy is commonplace in Scotland and quite frankly, when frosty November delivers so much, why would you want a summer strawberry?

Netherton-Farm,-Clare-Garcia

Netherton-Farm-November-View

Piglet-trough. Netherton Farm

Netherton Farm 3 day old piglets

Not for bacon, Whitney pig and not yet for bacon, weaners. AKA Suckling Pig. In spite of some of my favourite London restaurants serving the latter, anything this small is surely too young. As the name suggests, said piglets are still feeding from their mum’s. And quite frankly, the difference in size between mother and and off-spring says it all. Spot the 3 day old bambino. #FarTooCute.

Black Isle Brewery, Scotland + Netherton Community Garden produce

Apple & Bramble Crumble. Wholesome Seduction.

Curry night. Black Isle beef, beetroot and beer. Apple, (frozen) bramble & almond crumble. Recipe coming soon.

Golden Ball Turnip, Netherton Farm produce. Scotland.

Netherton Farm Wild boar bacon & sausages + free range eggs.

Coriander seed & chillis, Netherton Community Garden.

Netherton Farm (Mum’s) is also host to the local Community Garden, churning out Golden Ball turnips (as tasty as David Beckham), coriander seed, chillis and all the veg for Sunday’s roast. Breakfast courtesy of the hens, Whitney’s Wild Boar cross Tamworth off-spring (when grown!) and mum’s Spiced tomato relish.

Elderberry juice, Netherton Farm & Wholesome Seduction

Foraged elderberries for juice. Mum boils (poisonous otherwise apparently) and strains this “wonder berry” to have on hand for smoothies, veg juices, crumbles and just about anything she can get away with. Any wonder I’m now blogging wholesomely seductive tips?

Netherton-sunset

Golspie smoked salmon on Oliver's Bakery rye.

Catch of the day. I even managed to bag some Golspie smoked salmon, netted in the traditional manner (definitely qualifies as Slow Food) from the Cromarty Firth in front of the house. Not part of mum’s ‘garden estate’ I hasten to add. This dense, smoky delicacy bares no relation to the slippery, insipid stuff from the supermarket. Served simply on Oliver’s Bakery rye with lemon and black pepper.

For more recipes and posts like this, type Netherton Farm into the Search box. See also Foraging for Scottish brambles & other things.

 

Roast banana, bacon, maple syrup & sweet corn fritters

Posted in: S, WF

Not exactly a recipe, more of a sharing of love, and another way to use my September sweet corn fritter recipe. Sunday brunch comfort, borderline excess, and food Jenga. I’m relying on you having a modicum of kitchen nouse, it really is very easy.

roast banana & fritters Wholesome Seduction

Set bacon to grill – you can also omit the meat, there’s plenty going on without it. Meanwhile roast bananas as per the instructions in the Recipes page and set aside in warm oven. While the fritters are frying, mix creme fraiche or yoghurt with a drop of vanilla extract and maybe some maple syrup, depending on the sweetness of your tooth.

Then layer: fritter, bacon, maple syrup, creme fraiche, banana. I used 3 fritters. Because I’m a glutton. And it looked impressive. 2 is plenty.

Foraging for Scottish brambles and other things

Posted in: Uncategorized

What did our grandmothers do before UK supermarkets became an abundance of year round global crops? And what does seasonal really mean when we can freeze food? OK a summer fruit salad is probably best avoided in December, but frozen berries and purees mixed in recipes are surely just as good? In fact, compared with tasteless bananas picked while green for import, the freezer wins every time, in nutrients too.

Netherton-sunset-view

Black-Isle-Rainbow,-Netherton-Farm

Although our Netherton Farm bramble hunt proved disappointing, Mother Nature turned up other surprises that our grannies, and a 1929 MAFF guide, would never have allowed go to waste.

The Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries & Food, HMSO Bulletin 21: Home Preservation of Fruit & Vegetables.

MAFF-Guide

Mother Garcia’s cherished (and sous chef crayoned) 1970’s copy talked her through jamming, canning and bottling in preparation for the winter months; and a Wholesome Seduction child is born.

Netherton Farm Foraging Finds:

Elderberries, lots of.

Elderberry-Juice-recipe

The post elderflower berry is a nutritional powerhouse. Note: they’re poisonous unless cooked. They won’t kill you, but chances are you’ll vomit them back up before any of their goodness has been absorbed.

Good for: A syrup for coughs or on ice cream; in smoothies, juices or Elderberry & Apple Jelly (jam), or just on top of yoghurt.

Too late for elderflowers, the homemade champagne will sadly have to wait till next year.

Sloes & Rosehips

Sloes-&-rosehips,-foraging

Good for: Hogmanay Sloe Gin. And Rose-hip syrup – the UK’s pre Ribena answer to Vitamin C.

Brambles & Acorns

Foraging

Good for: Bramble bircher. And feeding pigs. Look no further than Spain’s famous Pata Negra Jamón.

A (rarely seen) Fairy Ring

Fairy-Ring

Good for: Fairies. They live inside the mushroom circles.

Wild Boar cross Tamworth piglets

Netherton-Farm-piglets

Not entirely wild but in fact, largely dependent on Mum Garcia for food, and affection it would seem. Surprisingly needy mammals, pigs.

Good for: Pork belly, smoked bacon, sausages, Pork Pies, Pigs Cheeks with Apple & Cider… It really is my favourite meat.

3 weeks old

3-day-old-piglets

For the love of God! Do I really love pork belly that much? Yep, afraid so.

 

Herb mayo

Posted in: DF, V, WF

A summer picnic staple. Try tarragon mayo in a bacon, poached egg and salad sandwich – you’ll never look back.

Ingredients

2 egg yolks
handful tarragon, basil or coriander leaves
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
175ml sunflower oil
100ml olive oil
dash white wine or cider vinegar

Method

  1. In a blender or with a stick blender, mix the egg yolks, herbs, mustard, salt & pepper.
  2. Drop by drop add the sunflower oil until the mixture starts to emulsify.
  3. At this point, you can add the remaining oil in a slow, steady trickle, whisking constantly.
  4. Add a dash of vinegar or squeeze of lemon juice to loosen the mixture.

Tip: If you prefer a lighter mayo, add some hot water or use whole eggs, whites included. The latter is also an easier, less ‘curdlesome’ option.