Two things I always make as soon as I get my hands on quinces are Membrillo and Quincemeat. Membrillo is the perfect give away treat, is delicious with cheese and costs a fortune if you have to buy it in the shops. Quincemeat provides a good build up for the festive season, and is a great excuse to eat mince pies in October. A note on preparing quinces - they are a bugger to peel, especially the small, wild knobbly ones so I cook mine whole for my membrillo recipe, then pull off the flesh. However if you have those show-offy perfect, plump quinces then it's easier to peel and core them first, which saves sieving them. The horrible little runt quinces I make into quince jelly to spread on my toast and to glaze fruit tarts.
Appearing on menus at a fast pace, pineapples are set to outsell avocados as the latest fruit trend sets in. Dehydrate it, ferment it, crush it, or colada cake it like me.
I couldn't resist these Nar Valley grown tomatoes from Swaffham High Street greengrocers. All shapes and colours with a kilo for £4.
Terry Rayner came home from work one day in 2003 and announced to his wife Win that he was quitting work. Win asked Terry what he was planning to do, "Start up a seed business." "Where?" asked Win. "In the garden shed" replied Terry, and so Terwin Seeds was formed. (Yes. Terry and Win, Terwin!) Win told me she was a little nervous when several tons of seed potatoes arrived on their doorstep, but the business has grown and now they have an online shop and a small unit in Cockfield, Suffolk. I met them at last weeks Edible Garden Show. As I have predicted Buckwheat to trend I picked up a pack of the sprouting seeds to try.
This is one small branch of the £3.99 pear tree bought from Lidl four years ago.The tree has been espaliered and grown against a sunny wall by my father. I wish I had taken a picture of the whole tree. The crop was impressive!
Near suffolkfoodie hq we have an old airbase where lots of trees planted in the war are still producing fruit, including these lovely plums that we are about to turn into jam. You don't need an airbase to forage to get wild fruit - just look at the side of the road where people have chucked out their apple cores. The cores are now fully grown trees. But professional foraging can cause problems as people strip the contents of everywhere wild. Leave some behind for the future!
...at a secret location near suffolkfoodie hq, but you can only pick the ones that hang over the road or you will get into trouble!
This hot weather has proved to be the perfect moment to crack open the new bottle of Rhubarbe Liqueur. We were offered this at the recent Thos Peatling summer wine tasting, along with a Barbados Rum Sixty Six and Taylor's Velvet Falernum... more of that later! The liqueur is quite simply like drinking sweet, liquid rhubarb. It's made by macerating (in alcohol) both green and pink rhubarb for two months. Delicate, light pink colour and with the smell of freshly cut rhubarb, it's sweet and sherberty and reminiscent of those childhood rhubarb and custard boiled sweets. Delicious over cracked ice, or try one of these cocktails below - all measures used are 1 oz, or use your own friendly measures, but remember, drink responsibly!
Gin and Rhubarbe
1 measure Rhubarbe Liqueur
1/2 measure lime juice
1 1/2 measures gin
1 measure soda water
lime slices, for garnish
Combine rhubarb syrup, lime juice, and gin in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for 10 seconds and strain into a glass. Top with the soda water. Serve with lime slice.
Rhubarb n’ Rye
1 1/2 measures Rye Whiskey
1/4 measure Rhubarb Liqueur
1/4 measure Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 measure Sweet Vermouth
Stir, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a curl of orange rind.
2 measures Cachaca Cane Spirit
1 measure Rhubarb Liqueur
½ measure Gomme syrup
1 full lime ( quartered, squeezed and muddled into the liquid)
Shake vigorously with ice and strain into glass.
4 measures Rhubarb Liqueur
3 measures Tequila
1 measure Lemon Juice
half measure of Gomme syrup
Muddle the strawberries in a cocktail shaker, add ice followed by all the other ingredients. Shake, filter and pour and serve.
Guess what? More free yogurt! From New Zealand via Little Melton in Norfolk and delivered to my door - as you know I never turn down free samples.
These are just how I like my yogurt, flavoured with a satisfying drizzle of mango or passion fruit coulis (or pear, blueberry and honey) They taste as good as the ones I make myself for breakfast with plain yogurt and home-made coulis. My son said 'they look nice' when he opened the fridge after school, so I can only tell you that the one I had was lovely!
Vanilla, Orange and Mascarpone Cheesecake
Makes a 7in/18cm cheesecake to serve 8
For the base
- 50g/2oz butter
- 175g/7oz digestive biscuits
- Half a tablespoon honey
Melt the butter and honey over a very low heat.
Crush the digestive biscuits and stir into the melted butter until well mixed.
Press the rubble-like mixture in a loose bottomed 7in/18cm tin and place in the fridge to chill.
For the cheesecake topping
- 200g/8oz cream cheese
- 200g/8oz mascarpone
- 75g/3oz caster sugar
- Rind and juice of 1 orange
- 200ml/8floz double cream ( whipped into soft peaks)
- 1 vanilla pod or a drop of vanilla essence
Beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, orange rind and juice together in a bowl.
Fold in the whipped cream and the seeds scraped from the vanilla pod. Mix well.
Spread the cheesecake mixture onto the biscuit base and chill.
Serve with the Roasted Rhubarb and Orange compote.
This recipe can be easily adapted - if you add lime or lemon to the mixture instead of orange, and it can be served in summer with a raspberry coulis.
Roasted rhubarb and orange compote
- 700g/1.5lb rhubarb
- 150g/5oz caster sugar
- Juice and zest of one orange
Wash and chop the rhubarb into 2in/5cm lengths and place in an ovenproof dish with the sugar, orange zest and juice.
Bake in a preheated oven 375F/190C Gas 5 for about 25 minutes or until soft. Stir gently to release the juices, trying not to lose the shape of the rhubarb. Cool and serve.