In My Kitchen and the Garden, too.

My cousin is a very talented craftsman. Woodturning, in particular. Last year I saw a website the most beautiful wooden biscuit cutter I’d ever seen. A few weeks ago while I visiting him, he handed me one that he made. By hand. Just for me. It is completely gorgeous. Made from mesquite wood. I made biscuits with it the other day, and they were as gorgeous has his handmade cutter. I can’t thank him enough. But I shall try. Thank you, Rick!

The garden is turning green. Chives are in ample supply, and I’m cutting them as fast as they grow back. Asparagus is in season again, so we’re eating it fresh. It’s very good for diabetics. Controls blood sugar levels. The tulips are almost (although darned slowly) ready to bloom, and Peder is threatening them with the bin if they don’t turn inside out and jump circles with glorious colour soon. The daffodils from last year are nearly all blind. The bin for those. Space is too precious to grow daffodils that don’t set blossoms. The rockery is beautiful as this time of the year. Blues and pinks in blankets of alpine coverage.

What’s happening in your garden this week? I’d love to hear from you.

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Heston’s Perfect Roasted Potatoes

Misky:

These are still the best roast potatoes ever!

Originally posted on The Chalk Hills Kitchen:

How-To-Make Perfect Roasted Potatoes

My mum loved to burn potatoes. Well, that’s what I assumed. Turns out that she just burned potatoes. No love involved.

It’s like this, you see. My dad loved crispy fried potatoes, and true to form, my mum never quite knew when to stop. That makes sense when you have a few facts, like she didn’t learn to drive until she was 45, and until then she only stopped when she wanted to. Now she had to stop for red lights, stop signs, pedestrians crossing the street, squirrels, cats, dogs … stopping for potatoes was a brake too far.

Mum was cooking potatoes without benefit of Heston’s secret. I now know how to make roast potatoes that my dad would’ve loved. Fluffy inside, crispy, golden and crunchy outside. Heston uses 50:50 beef drippings and olive oil. The beef dripping’s not necessary; I used all olive oil…

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Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Sausage, Apple and Prunes, and Wrapped in Bacon

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Sausage, Apple and Prunes, and Wrapped in Bacon

And that is why this recipe, which isn’t a recipe, works so well. Crispy bacon up hugging the softness of sausage and sautéed apples – there’s a balance of textures. Salty bacon, sweet apple – opposites attract. This is Mary Berry’s recipe — from her reliable cookery books.

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Take one large whole pork tenderloin, trim the sinew from it, tidy the ends, then cut it in half lengthwise down the middle so you have two long strips. Put the two pieces between cling film, and roll to flatten slightly. Now peel and cut half an apple into small pieces,  and do the same with half an onion. Sauté until soft, and then set aside to cool completely. Lightly toss the meat from two uncooked sausages with 1 tsp dried sage and three prunes cut roughly into small pieces with the cooled apple and onion. Place the stuffing on one of the tenderloin halves, level, and then top with the other half of the tenderloin.

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On a cutting board, place strips of bacon slightly overlapping, and then place the tenderloin at the end of the bacon. Place one strip of bacon end-to-end so the ends and covered. Now roll the tenderloin like a swiss roll until it is completely encased in the bacon. Place in a shallow roasting pan or oven-safe frying pan with the bacon ends underneath so it doesn’t flick up and burn during roasting. Heat the oven to 220C/425F, and then roast for 50-60 minutes until the bacon is golden brown. Let rest for 10-minutes before slicing.

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And don’t forget to make some gravy! The concentrated flavours are delicious.

In My Kitchen, January 2015

Happy new year to you! Santa delivered my wish list to my sons this year. I was delighted.

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I received the cast iron skillet that I’ve wanted for more years than I can count. A Lodge pan made in Tennessee that’s pre-seasoned. Even so I seasoned it again, and I’ve used it often. The first thing I made in it was sausages with shallot and red wine gravy from Nigel Slater’s Eat cookery book.

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Then Santa saw to it that I received some Falcon enamelware roasting and pie pans. The white sort with the dark blue rim. I love them. And they wash-up so nicely, too.

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And then had some Christmas money, so when Sainsbury’s had a sale on their copper pots and pans, I couldn’t resist. Owning a few copper pans has always been a dream of mine, and now I have two small gorgeous pans that are a perfect size for two portions. I had to use some of my loyalty points for them, too. But a half-price sale is hard to resist!

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And we had the traditional Christmas goodies. Peder brought me a huge bouquet of white flowers. Disappointingly, they didn’t last very long – just 10-days. Does anyone know of any tricks to extend the life of cut flowers?

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We also had lots of sugar-free candy, plus some lovely Swiss and Italian chocolates. And oranges, which is always a tradition in our house … something about their colour also reminds me of Christmas gold.

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So that’s what’s happening my kitchen. What’s happening in yours? To join the fun pop over to Celia’s blog where In My Kitchen is hosted.

Food Photography Challenge 3: Bread

The third food photography challenge assignment is all about bread. I know bread. I’ve photographed it many times. But now the assignment is to approach bread as a story, not just a loaf. So here are my three photographs of bread (and one of scones). Each of these three photographs are clickable for a close-up view.

This is an online course, by the way, and if you wish to join in pop over to the “Learn Food Photography and Styling” course webpage.

Roasted Leftovers

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This was totally delicious. Emptied the refrigerator into a baking sheet and tossed the following with olive oil, salt and lots of pepper, and fresh chopped thyme:

Cumberland sausage cut into bitesize lumps, quartered onion, brussel sprouts, chopped carrots, cubed new potatoes, leftover parsnips, and fresh beet root from the garden. Roast in a hot oven until the edges begin to crisp and brown, and everything is sizzling hot. About 20-30 minutes at 200C.