Tag Archives: stilton

Christmas leftovers (but no turkey)

2 Jan

It’s that time of year when you’re probably still living out of the fridge and store cupboard, still eating up bits of food you bought thinking you’d need it over the festive period. Or perhaps you haven’t over-shopped this year and you are now eating delicious meals started from scratch, made with fresh vegetables and real meat (ie not leftover roast turkey, or cold ham). If so, well done.

But have you still got things lurking in the fridge which you’ve had enough of? Maybe you’ve had enough of Stilton? Or brussels sprouts? If so, I have a couple of recipes for you which might help: Stilton Nibbly Biscuits (gluten free!) and creamy sprouts.

Let me explain first of all about the sprouts. I never thought I would grow to enjoy a sprout, but they are the Captain’s second favourite vegetable! Yes, seriously, they are. His favourite is parsnips, and I think this afternoon I’m going to find a recipe for a parsnip cake just to use up the last of the bag of parsnips I have in the fridge. But, back to the sprouts. I’ve done all manner of things with sprouts to try to enjoy them: added juniper berries, lardons, chestnuts, lots of butter… but all to no avail. Until now. I used what I had in the fridge (as you do at this time of year) and found my perfect Brussels Sprouts recipe. It’s not for the faint hearted, and should be eaten BEFORE you start your diet. But it is delicious with roast pork, or a pork chop, or I can imagine it working really well with sausages and black pudding and some creamy mash.

And then I mentioned Stilton didn’t I? One of my favourite cookbooks over the last year or so is by Thane Prince: Ham, Pickles and Jam. It consistently gives me interesting and useful recipes. One that I keep returning to is for cheesy nibbly biscuits. All you need is about 30 minutes, and food processor and some leftover cheese. OK, and some butter and flour too (preferably gluten free).  I originally wrote about this recipe here, back in 2011.

Over the months I’ve modified the recipe – these days I generally make it with stilton and pretty much always omit the parmesan. Also, when the dough is made I roll it into a great big sausage, and then just slice off pieces to bake them, instead of all that faff with making cherry size pieces and then squishing them flat before rolling them in sesame seeds. The sesame seeds are important though – they add an extra nutty flavour to the biscuit. And I’ve only ever made them with gluten free flour – I love the light crispness you get with this mix.

So, that’s your stilton sorted. Now for the brussels sprouts.

Creamy Brussels Sprouts

Prepare your brussels sprouts by cutting off the wee end, and removing the outer leaf or two if necessary. Then slice the sprouts – you’ll get about 4 or 5 slices out of each sprout, depending on their size. You don’t need to be a perfectionist with this, all you’re doing is cutting down the size of each sprout so they cook through more quickly and evenly.

Put the sliced sprouts into a wide flat pan and throw in some stock (or if you’re me, some water and a stock cube). You don’t need much stock – the idea is that the sprouts will cook in it, but it will boil away. I use about 200ml when cooking enough sprouts for two people.

Now, put a lid on the pan and boil up the sprouts. Remove the lid and stir them around a bit, to make sure all the sprouts are in the water. Put the lid on again if you think you should, but if it’s a tight fitting lid, you might want to leave a slight gap to let some steam out.

Ideally, the sprouts should be just about cooked at the point when the water is just about boiled away.

Throw in about 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg and a good turn or two of black pepper. Stir. Add a seriously big glug or two of double cream and stir again.

Leave quietly bubbling away while you serve the rest of your food up, and by the time you’ve plated everything else up the sprouts will be ready.

Delicious with roast pork and all the other trimmings, or as I’ve just discovered with Lucas Hollweg’s Beef Casserole with Cinnamon and Prunes. Exquisite!

 

Broccoli and stilton soup

1 Oct

So, when Tesco builds a new store, they do all manner of strange discounts.  We have a new Tesco in the valley and today there were bags and bags of broccoli for only 10p each, all marked ‘TEST’, but all looking like fresh and scrummy broccoli.

They also had enormous whole salmon reduced from £35 to £10. I think they were about 8lb weight. But since G’s sister had already bought a whole salmon earlier in the week and stuffed our freezer full of salmon steaks I resisted that particular temptation.

And grabbed the bags of broccoli.  And a wedge of stilton.  You see where I’m heading don’t you?

Broccoli and stilton soup

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 medium large potato, chopped into small chunks

about 1.5l veg stock

1 large head of broccoli, cut into small-ish chunks

about 100g stilton in chunks

  1. Sweat the onion in a heavy based saucepan with a wee bit of oil or butter.
  2. Add the potato and sweat for a few minutes.
  3. Add the hot stock (or boiling water from the kettle and a stock cube). Cook for about 10 minutes, till the potato is cooked.
  4. Add the broccoli and cook for a further 4 minutes or until the broccoli is cooked.
  5. Add the stilton and smoosh it all up with the electric zizzer.
Perfect for a quick light lunch.  And I’ve heard a rumour that it is good to freeze.
Oh hey… if you have a lovely soup recipe and want some recognition… go here: http://www.newcoventgardensoup.com/competition

Winter salad

5 Jan

After Christmas, I’d been craving vegetables, and particularly fresh salad-type vegetables.

I was also determined not to do more shopping so did a search in the fridge and the cupboards to see what could be rustled up.  I had a couple of little gem lettuces, but no other real salad veg. But I also had some vac packed beetroot and some pears.  I could see something tasty coming together…

Winter salad

This serves two, and is plenty as a starter, or a light snack with some crusty bread or oatcakes, or part of a legendary Wolffe Lunch.

Enough lettuce for 2 people – I used a whole little gem, but you could just as easily use part of a bag of mixed leaves. Watercress or spinach would be nice

1 beetroot, cut into small cubes – use fresh if you have one, if not those vac packed beetroot are fine. I HATE pickled beetroot though – why smother that deep earthy flavour with all that sharp vinegariness?

1 pear, peeled, cored and cut into equally small cubes

Some crumbled blue cheese – I used stilton, predictably, it being Christmas and there being leftovers in the fridge.  I’ve got some Bleu D’Auvergne which will be tried next

A small handful of walnuts, toasted to bring out the real walnuttiness of the flavour, and extra crunch

Put all of the above in a decent-sized bowl, big enough that you’ll be able to mix them all up once you’ve dressed it.

Now make the dressing.  You can, of course use your own favourite dressing, but these are the flavours that are doing it for me right now:

A good glug of olive oil

A sploosh of vinegar – I’ve been using a combination of a wee bit of balsamic, with a healthy slug of homemade elderflower vinegar (made with elderflowers and white wine vinegar).

A big teaspoon of dijon mustard

An equally big teaspoon or more of runny Scottishflower honey

Put all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl with a twist of freshly ground black pepper and give it a good beating with a teaspoon, or perhaps more conventionally a fork.

Pour the dressing over the salad and lightly mix everything together.

I’m tempted to swap the cheese out for some smoked trout which was pressed into GMC’s hands on the street in Gatehouse on Boxing Day. Another story.

 

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