Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Stuffing and gravy

I am getting a head start on preparations for the Christmas meal, time to make stock, to be used in the gravy. Looking at the photo, the submerged contents look like a miniature scene more suited to CSI. Sitting on the sidelines I've got some pork shoulder and chicken livers, which I haven't photographed, together with a bottle of brandy. Additional ingredients.

Pictured in the pot is a whole chicken with herbs and the usual, garlic, celery, carrots, onions, peppercorns and cloves. The poached chicken will be mixed with pork shoulder, liver, herbs and brandy, bound together with egg and topped off with bacon. Leftovers gets eaten as pâté after Christmas.

Recipe follows.

Saturday, 12 November 2016


Carrots are one of my favourite veg, although you might not think so having seen me throw out  a peeled uncooked carrot that the dogs have been carrying around.

This donated to dog vegetable wasn't eaten, because it was past it's crunch point, and the dog has too much discrimination to bother with it when it's soggy. It looked just like a bone.

This carrot was rejected three times, once at the point of peeling, once at the point of donation to dog and then finally at the pseudo bone point. But mostly I treasure a carrot. Snacked raw, grated, julienned and cooked.

I'll come clean (although it's hardly the right expression, due to my habits) I do ignore the trail of destruction the dogs leave a lot of the time, let's call it doggy decor, well, during the day anyway. I have a scurry around most evenings.

Soon to come: a series of recipes with carrots. Later today: carrot salad.

Get excited.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Want to write about food - and show how good it looks? A week in Wales in great company could be for you.

Five days in lovely Wales with experts, cooking, reading, talking, living, eating, drawing, photographing and writing about food sounds like a dream. 

Do you thing so too? Join Francine Lawrence and Elisabeth Luard to get hands on experience and take your interest in food to another level.

Here is once of my favourite pictures of food I've made. 

Monday, 25 January 2016

Burns night light

Burns night doesn't have to mean indigestion or having all diners ending up feeling like they are only useful as door stops, with the cultural weight of Scotland's favourite son pinning them to the spot.

Want something lighter? Try this haggis pie recipe. It has the advantage of being prepared in advance, it's easier to serve than a whole haggis, and layers the swede, haggis and mash, giving the right quantity of each. The flavour and texture of the haggis is wonderful when put together with the soft and sweet swede and the creamy mash. A little carrot adds colour to the paler swede. It looks great on the plate, slightly reminiscent of 70s browns and oranges, but better. So good, in fact, Scottish pals have pronounced it genius.

The colours on the plate are fantastic. Go poncy and prepare it in little rings.

Serving it with some sweet, lightly cooked cabbage means you don't need any gravy. If you want something saucier try making some whisky gravy, don’t fret, just add a slug of whisky to your usual gravy.

If you like having the cooked haggis roll around the plate until you pierce it and allow the contents to spill, for the drama as much as anything, don't make this pie.

I credit my sister for this, but note that Delia has a version (the same info in different layout), nothing’s original is it.


·        2 haggis (I use Macsween's)
·        8 medium potatoes
·        1 large swede
·        2 carrots
·        salt
·        pepper
·        butter or margarine
·        milk

  • Take the printed plastic cover off the haggis and wrap them in foil, bake for 1 hour at 360/180/gas mark4 
  • Peel the potatoes, cook well in salted water, drain and mash well with a hearty pinch of salt, good grindings of pepper, a knob of butter and a few glugs of milk. Don't make it too wet. 
  • Peel the swede and carrots, cut into 2cm cubes and cook in plenty of salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, saving some of the liquid, about a cup. Mash thoroughly with some butter, a little salt and pepper, and add a little of the cooking liquid at a time.
  • Lightly butter a heatproof dish, about 25cm/10" in diameter - I used an oval dish. 
  • Slash open the cooked haggis and scoop out the filling into the buttered dish. Spread out a layer, about 2cm/1" thick. 
  • Spread a layer of swede and carrot mash over the haggis layer, about 2cm/1" thick.
  • Top with a similar layer of mash, and smoothing the top, then run a fork around it, to give lots of ridges to go crispy.
  • Cook for 30 minutes at 360/180/gas mark4, until the crust is golden.

Serve with lightly cooked buttered cabbage.