STORING NUTS FOR WINTER
While the produce itself isn't necessarily bountiful, during winter I often find myself doing a bit of preserving, primarily as a good way to make the most of a rainy day stuck indoors. Quinces are still looking good so I poached up a big batch, some of which went into this year's Christmas fruit mince. Mine is an almost week-long process involving suet, slow baking and a very generous splash of Armagnac, and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing how it's matured come December. A shortage of preserves saw me whip up a quick batch of Valencia orange marmalade to tide me over until the Seville's start to come through, and having spent half a day helping the neighbours pick some of their olives, I was sent home with a big bucketful to try my hand at preserving. After a week of washing they're now happily settled in brine, with my first taste-test due late-August early-September.
Poached quince; preserving olives; Christmas fruit mince; orange marmalade.
KITCHEN DIARIES II
A successful pumpkin crop and busy work schedule had a big pot of soup on the cards, but after a quick flick through Nigel Slater's second diary tome I opted for a delicious and simple pumpkin and lentil stew instead. This was followed by the most ridiculously indulgent sausage roll imaginable - black pudding in pastry with mustard sauce - and last but not least was a pleasantly autumnal pear and hazelnut cake for a long-overdue catch up with friends.
Pumpkin & lentil stew
Black pudding in pastry with mustard sauce
A pear & hazelnut cake
It's taken me a long time to get to Zoe Nathan Loeb's first book, Huckleberry, but it's already shaping up to be one of the more frequently-thumbed tomes on the shelf. Her highly-recommended ricotta hotcakes did not disappoint, and the carrot apple teacake was an immediate (afternoon tea) crowd pleaser. With poached quinces the flavour of the month I also had a go at her quince and goat cheese galette with its earthy sweetness and beautiful flaky crust - a definite keeper. And, after all that sweetness, a breakfast of polenta with sautéed kale, crispy pancetta, and eggs provided some much-needed savoury relief.
Ricotta griddlecakes (with poached quince, toasted almonds & crème fraîche)
Carrot apple teacake
Quince & goat cheese galette
Polenta with sautéed kale, crispy pancetta, and egg
This month's Hamelman loaf was the Vermont sourdough. Beautifully flavoured, thanks to the addition of a little rye, and with a deep, golden crust this would make for a lovely table loaf. I'm still searching for a more open crumb, and learning that I don't much like working with liquid starters, but that's the fun of bread club - being able to compare notes and get advice from some brilliant bakers while still being able to put your own spin on things. Definitely looking forward to whatever challenge 'Hamelman' throws up next.