Food and Cooking Archive

Richard Fishenden

Having had a rather large glut of raspberry’s this year I was looking for ways to store that wonderful flavor so that we could keep on enjoying them long after the end of the season.

I read a lovely recipe in Hugh FW’s Preserving book about Raspberry Vinegar. Needless to say that it is absolutely delicious and I can’t see it lasting as long as I had hoped! The whole family enjoy it as an addition to their meal.

Here is the recipe from The River Cottage Handbook No2- Preserves:

Makes 1.5L

1Kg Raspberries

600 ml Cider Vinegar

Granulated Sugar

Put the raspberry’s in a bowl and crush them lightly with a wooden spoon. Add the vinegar. Cover the bowl and leave for 4-5 days stirring occasionally.

Pour the fruit vinegar in to a scalded jelly bag or muslin and leave to drain over night. You can squeeze a little if you like.

Measure the liquid and pour in to a saucepan. For every 600 ml of fruit vinegar, add 450g sugar. Place over a low heat and bring to the boil. Boil for 8-10 mins removing and scum as it rises.

Remove from the heat and bottle when cool. Use within 12 months.

Use it on salads-either neat or mixed with olive oil. Also nice trickled over goats cheese , pancakes and even ice-cream. You will also find that a spoonful adds a lovely piquancy to savoury sauces.

For a revitalising summer drink, mix a couple of tablespoons of raspberry vinegar with soda or tonic water then add ice.

Richard Fishenden

It seems that spring is well and truly here does it not? I love this time of the year. The trees I have planted as part of our eco pledge are showing signs of life which is great. One of my favorite trees that we plant each year is Hawthorn or sometimes known as Quickthorn.

Did you know that the Hawthorn leaf is edible? Yes really. It has got a lovely nutty flavor and can be added to salads, enjoyed on its own or made in to tea. Now is the best time of year to eat them. They a young and tender in the Spring but still good all year round. The berry’s on the Hawthorn are also edible and are very good for your heart. They have a slightly apple like taste.

The 2 together were known years ago as ‘Bread and Cheese’. This is because the leaf (the bread) was very widely available all year round and formed a staple diet for children. The Haws (the cheese) were named so because of their round red shape like a waxed coated cheese.

So if you have a Hawthorn in your garden and fancy something different in your salad or sandwich then why not try some of this free food?

Richard Fishenden

Amazingly I found these crab apples today when out walking with my family. They are all really firm and just perfect to make in to jelly! What is amazing is that they have withstood weather as cold as minus 15 and have remained unscathed. I picked these up and will have enough for one or two pots of crab apple jelly. I had run out so am thrilled with my find.

Richard Fishenden

My brother in law came for a brief visit to Suffolk last weekend. He has been living abroad for 8 years and I felt like treating him to some country fare. I cooked a turkey and dug up some parsnips which have successfully thrived the complete winter without any tending from me! The experts say that parsnips are at their best in January and February so I scrubbed them and roasted them with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkles of rosemary. They stole the show. Every last one was consumed and they tasted so sweet. Now is the time to eat, local to you, parsnips.

Richard Fishenden

It was partly due to Feng shui that we decided to clear up and really organise our very small kitchen. When space is at a minimum one needs to get creative. Finding the right pot or pan when they are all stacked on top of one another inside a dark cupboard is annoying and time consuming.

We were continually breaking glasses and chipping china bowls so we made a plan. The plan was to use every space of wall so that our utensils and other cooking essentials were at hand but not necessarily on the work surfaces.

The rails and ceiling racks that I made have meant that we have a place that is handy and immediate for all our utensils and pans. Making the most of the space we have has felt really good and if one believes in the power of Feng Shui then the energy in our kitchen has been moved around, improved and that can only be a good thing.

Richard Fishenden

How green are you? My wife began incorporating green smoothies into her daily life a month before Christmas. The look of them just puts me off but she has convinced me that they have such health boosting properties and regeneration results that I felt I wanted to have a taste finally!

I was absolutely amazed at how good it tasted. She has been researching and experimenting with various fruits and vegetables and superfoods then wizzing them all up in a blender. Today I drank a good half litre and felt energised and ready for action, that is until about 11am when I felt very hungry. But it is a good thing to eat when one feels hungry rather than when one feels like it.

It is exciting to know that I can use up all the glut of lettuce and parsley in our morning smoothies this summer. In the meantime Sainsburys organic will have to do!

Going green tastes better than I thought

Richard Fishenden

 We have a friendly farmer who also has an overgrown orchard with various apple and pear trees in it. He welcomes us picking the apples every year.

 

Apples for cider making

Use a selection of apples

 

 

 

We as a family have a lovely time. It is such a great pastime picking apples, washing and then juicing them. The apple juice only lasts a few days in the fridge and is delicious drunk chilled. The rest of the juice I put in fermenting bin for approximately 8 weeks or until fermentation is complete.

 

 

I make cider every year and my tips are to use a mixture of varieties, it improves the flavor. Also I tend to make it in as large a quantity as possible. This year I have got 2 6 galleon drums. 1 is being fermented with natural yeast and the other has had a commercial yeast introduced. When bottling the cider add a small amount of sugar and the cider will go fizzy!

 

Fresh apple juice!

Nothing quite like fresh apple juice

 

 

 

One of the best parts, of course, is the drinking of the cider! On a summers evening cracking a cold bottle of sparkling cider that you know exactly where it has come from and have made yourself is such a treat.

Richard Fishenden

It has been that time of year when tomatoes are abundant. I love fresh tomatoes and I do like them at the right time of the year because they are sweeter and meant to be eaten when ripe. I decided to see if I could preserve them somehow so that I would be able to eat our home grown tomatoes for a little longer.

Sun dried tomatoes.

 

Firstly I washed all the tomatoes and left them to dry naturally. I then cut them in half and placed them on a grill, cut side up, to allow the air to circulate. I covered them with a generous amount of rock salt and herbs de provence and then placed them in the oven at its lowest setting so that the tomatoes dried out rather than cooked. I left them in the oven for 6 hours then took them out and checked that they were all done equally. I removed and allowed to cool naturally. They can then be kept by placing them in an air tight container but I decided to put them in oil. I could not help but tuck into them and they are absolutely mouth watering.Home made Sun-dried tomatoes

 

Richard Fishenden
Field Mushrooms in a trug

As I am a farrier I am pretty much always in the countryside mostly surrounded by mud and horses. As I was leaving a yard I got out to close the gate and saw to my amazement a huge crop of mushrooms just inside a paddock gateway. I figured they were field mushrooms because of their position in the field, shape and smell and (most important) a good field guide told me so when I got home. I picked all the best ones. 

It was the weekend and I got up enthusiastically to cook the mushrooms. I firstly checked the mushrooms very carefully for any maggots as they can crawl up the stems into the head of the mushroom. I then washed  them thoroughly and rough chopped them or you can leave them whole. To cook I heat up a wok, which lives on my pan rack, and then I choose to fry butter and a whole clove of garlic with the mushrooms in it. Pan fried like this and then piled onto hot buttered toast is the best weekend breakfast or brunch at this time of year.

Field Mushrooms in a trug

Nothing beats the taste of fresh Field Mushrooms..