Butternut squash and spicy chorizo soup

Butternut squash is in season right now and I love to make some heart-warming soup, especially now the weather has turned a tad cooler.

I realise that some of my recipes aren’t so ‘no fuss’ anymore so I’m looking at either putting a time / effort rating on the recipes as this one certainly isn’t a throw in the pan and hope for the best type meal. Or maybe add some cheats and time saving hacks to be had to make it no-fuss.

So bear with me while I found some middle ground!

Ingredients:

1 Butternut squash (time saving hack – you can get ready chopped frozen butternut squash in some supermarkets)

Pinch of sea salt

Sprinkle of chilli flakes

Rapeseed oil

Chicken stock 100ml

Chorizo (time saving hack – I often use frozen mini pieces of chorizo found in the frozen section of the supermarket)

Chopped garlic

Double cream 100ml

Pumpkin seeds

Method

Chop and peel 1 butternut squash into small pieces

Spread onto a baking tray and sprinkle some sea salt, rapeseed oil and chilli flakes

Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until crispy

Place roasted squash and all the crispy burnt bits into a pan.

Add some chopped garlic and chorizo

Pour in chicken stock and allow mixture to bubble.

Add in the cream and stir.

Allow all ingredients to combine and then allow to cool slightly

Get a stick blender and use to make the mixture into a soup like consistency.

Garnish with some pumpkin seeds and enjoy with bread or crackers

Alternatively place in a sealed container to enjoy in the coming days or freeze

Meet the producer – Duncan Worth, AH Worth, Lincolnshire

Today (20th September 2022) mark’s the start of Love British Food Fortnight. A celebration of all those who make up the food and farming industry. To champion work-class food production, low food miles, supporting local food businesses within your own community and the importance of buying British. And so I had to write a piece for the meet the producer section showcasing an impressive potato and fresh produce business.

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Duncan Worth and some of his 700 strong team at AH Worth in Lincolnshire. Duncan’s family business stretches across two operating sites at Holbeach and Fosdyke, where they process and pack potatoes, as well as fresh produce including sweetcorn, spinach, kale, leeks.

Duncan is the 4th generation of the Worth family farming and running the business. Today he oversees the management of 7500 acres of grade 1 silt in Lincolnshire, where 20,000 tons of potatoes are grown, with a further 80,000 tons brought in from neighbouring farms. Crops including wheat, sugar beet, vining peas, leeks and kale are also grown in between the 1 in 8 year potato crop rotation.

On the potato production line at AH Worth

AH Worth has a wide variety of customers ranging from retailers such as Tesco and Aldi, to convenience brands like HelloFresh, who work closely with the business to ensure the produce grown is of the correct quality, value, consistency, and taste.

The packhouses also process freshly prepared potato dishes, sliced, diced with oils and butters for variety and ease of preparation for the consumer.

The core values of the business are recognised to everyone as The Spirit of AH Worth, broken down into six key areas; Sustainability, Participation, Integrity, Relationships, Innovation and Teamwork.

One of the biggest challenge for AH Worth is staff retention, with 70% of the workforce speaking English as their secondary language. Due to the location, Brexit and Covid-19, this has put incredible strain on the business. Investing in automation has helped with some processes and involving all staff in awareness campaigns, fun events and providing wage packets above minimum wage / cost of living has maintained operations.

AH Worth has been involved with the local community by joining in with the national campaign Open Farm Sunday and Tractors into Schools, helping to immerse young people in how food is grown, prepared and reaches the supermarket shelf or plate.

Sustainability, innovation and working in cohesion with the environment are vital components considered as part of the farming and processing business. An onsite AD plant generates 90% of the electric used for example and rainwater is harvested to be used for washing the crops.

One of the things that Duncan and I both agreed on was the enjoyment of eating potatoes without peeling their skin. It’s so time consuming and in effect you are removing the part of the crop that hold the most nutrients within. So if you have a couple of take home messages from this blog, is don’t bother peeling your spuds!! And where possible buy British!

Selfie time! Milly Fyfe with Duncan Worth of AH Worth

Now tell me, what is your favourite thing to do with a potato? Personally, I love to make my own chips by literally chopping up into small wedges, sprinkling with some sea salt and adding a glug of rapeseed oil.

Place on a baking tray and cook for 35-40 minutes at 200c. Take out half way through and give a turn to ensure both sides become crispy and they don’t stick to the tray.

For more information on AH Worth, visit: https://ahworth.co.uk/ or follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AH_Worth

I came home with a box full of tasty fresh produce

Lamb Kofta Curry for Love Lamb Week 1 – 7th Sept

Music by BenSound

As it’s Love Lamb Week I thought I’d share a tasty lamb kofta curry recipe with you. It’s inspired by the BBC Good Food Magazine cover story this month but I’ve put my own twist on it, making it gluten free and using up a glut of tomatoes I have in my greenhouse.

So you’ll need:

500g British Lamb mince

Spice blend of: 2tsp garam masala, 1 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp of ground coriander, 1 tsp of chilli powder

1 small onion

2 cloves of garlic

200ml coconut milk or cream ( I used thick cream)

1 tbsp of tomato puree

1 tbsp of chilli sauce

400g chopped tomatoes or a can of ready prepared

300ml of beef stock

Serve with Basmati rice and poppadoms

Method

Mix the mince with half of the spice mix and some fried chopped onion.

Form into firm small balls

Fry the balls on a hob until they have cooked through and gone brown

Remove balls from the pan and make the sauce

Add chopped up garlic, chopped tomatoes, spice blend, chilli sauce, stock and coconut milk.

Allow to reduce down into a thick sauce

Return the mince balls back to the pot and cook for 15 minutes

Serve with Basmati rice and poppadoms

Enjoy!

For more mealtime suggestions, follow on Instagram or Facebook.

Let me know how you get on with this one!

Tomatoes from my garden

My presentation isn’t amazing but I assure you this tastes fabulous!!

Gluten free squishy chocolate cake

Having recently discovered that I’m gluten intolerant has made me analyse everything I cook, prepare, order and eat.

Whilst I now feel a whole load better for removing gluten in my diet and waving goodbye to bloat, fatigue and stomach cramps, I’m now navigating my way through gluten free recipes, free from food products and baking ingredients that have no wheat, barley, rye or oats in.

If you are reading this because you have been through this voyage of discovery already, then please do reach out to me as I’d love to hear your top tips, hacks and good places to visit/dine/ shop to pick up your gluten free goodies.

A friend recently shared this recipe for gluten free squishy chocolate cake recipe which included a whole load of courgettes and I’m not going to lie; I was a bit dubious! However, I was pleasantly surprised…

Instead of courgette, I used a length of a tromboncino that was growing in my kitchen garden. So it’s basically the same thing and of course courgettes are much easier to get hold of.

A tromboncino I grew in my garden – used in this cake!!

Now, I’m not saying this recipe is completely no-fuss as it requires a bit of elbow grease to grate the courgettes and of course the gluten free products. But you could totally do this with normal wheat based ingredients too and you’d probably get an amazing result.

What impressed me the most was the rise on the cake. Some gluten free recipes I find give the most disappointing rise and this was pretty good. But the best thing about the cake was how squishy and moist it is – my word what a tasty cake and NO you do not taste the courgette.

What a bonus to have one of your 5-a-day in a cake. That could almost be guilt free right??!!

You will need:

240g gluten free plain flour

½ tsp Xanthan gum

60g cocoa powder

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2tsp gluten free baking powder

240ml vegetable oil

150g caster sugar

150g light brown sugar

3 large eggs

80g yoghurt

1tsp vanilla extract

350g- 400g courgette or tromboncino grated – weight before grating.

150g chocolate chips

For the icing

250g butter

185g icing sugar

50g cocoa powder

Method:

Preheat oven to 200c

Prepare 2 x round, loose bottomed tins  – I use liners from Poundland

Mix the sugars, eggs, yoghurt, vanilla and oil together until combined

Add in grated courgette or tromboncino and mix

In a separate bowl, mix gluten free flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, bicarb and baking powder until combined.

Then combine the two mixtures to form a thick mixture. Add in the choc chips.

Split the mixture between the 2 loose bottom tins and cook for 40-45 minutes. It should be slightly squishy but ensure it is cooked by using a skewer to test.

Allow to cool before preparing the icing which can be used to sandwich the cakes together.

Serve hot or cold with icecream or just how it is.

Let me know how you get on – share your pictures with me and comment if you’ve had a go yourself

Milly x

Three ways with raspberries

We are starting to enjoy the fruits of our labour in the kitchen garden. Over the weekend we dug up some of the new potatoes, a variety called ‘Charlotte’ and had with a salad. And we’ve got an abundance of raspberries, so I thought I’d share 3 recipes using raspberries that you can try at home too.

These are: Raspberry and Lemon Cheesecake, Raspberry Yoghurt Ice Lollies and Raspberry Gin…

For the Raspberry and Lemon Cheesecake, you’ll need:

150g Raspberries

1 lemon, zested and juice

Packet of Nice biscuits

1 can of condensed milk

1 tub of cream cheese

100g butter

Method

  • Place the Nice biscuits into a bowl. Use the end of a rolling pin to crush into a fine crumb
  • Melt 100g of butter and mix into the crushed biscuits
  • Mix until the crumbs form together and press into a 8’ loose bottom tin
  • Place in the fridge to cool whilst you make the filling
  • Mix a can of condensed milk with a tub of cream cheese
  • Zest and juice a lemon and add to the mixture
  • Blitz the raspberries up with a hand mixer until they are broken down
  • Mix the raspberries into the cheesecake mixture and spoon on top of the biscuit crumb
  • Allow the cheesecake to set in the fridge which should take 6-8 hours
  • Serve with cream or ice-cream and add some fruit on top if you like with a sprig of mint

For the Raspberry Ice Lollies, you’ll need:

150g of raspberries

100g sugar

A small pot of plain yoghurt

Method

  • Blitz the raspberries with a hand mixer
  • Combine the sugar, blitzed raspberries, and yoghurt together
  • Set into ice lolly mould and freeze for minimum of 6 hours

A great way of using fruit that is slightly passed its best and getting the kids to eat a healthy snack!

To make Raspberry Gin (Adults only!) you will need:

70cl bottle of supermarket own gin.

300g of raspberries

100g sugar

Method:

  • Place raspberries into a sealable litre container bottle or jar.
  • Add the sugar and pour the gin on top
  • Put the lid onto the container and give a good shake to dissolve the sugar.
  • Each day for a week, give the container a good shake to help the sugar dissolve and allow the fruit to ferment.
  • After 4-6 weeks, strain the fruit out of the gin through some muslin cloth or fine sieve and enjoy your flavoured gin with ice and tonic

Elderflower Cordial recipe

My very best recipe for making elderflower cordial

At this time of year, the hedgerows are full of sweet smelling elderflowers.

You can make the most delicious tasting cordial with a few ingredients, ready to use within 24hrs and will keep for a few weeks.

You will need:

  • 20 Elderflower heads.

Be sure to pick when the flowers are in full bloom and you can visibly see the yellow pollen. If the flowers have started to go over or are full of bugs, then don’t pick them!

  • 2 lemons. grated zest and sliced
  • 85g citric acid. I purchased mine on Amazon (food grade)
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 1kg sugar

Some recipes advise a lot more sugar, up to 2.5kg, but that seems excessive and this cordial is sweet enough.

Method

  • Place a pan on the boil with 1.5 litres of water.
  • Add the sugar and dissolve.
  • Before the mixture boils, take off the heat and add the lemon zest, lemon slices and mix in the citric acid.
  • Allow to cool slightly and rest the elderflower heads in the mixtures
  • Cover with a lid and allow to infuse for 24hrs
  • After 24hrs, strain the mixture through a fine size or muslin to discard any petals and lemon.
  • Crumble 1 campden tablet (bought from Amazon) to help preserve.
  • Decant mixture into a plastic bottle or container
  • Use a small amount of cordial 1/6 to a glass of lemonade, tonic or sparkling water
  • Enjoy with ice

Meet the Producer – Jilly Greed

Ahead of Great British Beef week, which runs from 23rd – 30th April, I caught up with Ladies in Beef co-founder Jilly Greed to find out more about her own beef enterprise and what this year’s #GBBW22 focus is.

Jilly:

I’m a 4th generation suckler beef and arable farmer farming in partnership with son George and husband Edwin in Devon near Exeter.

I always wanted to farm but my father was a staunch traditionalist and did not believe women could be natural successors.  So it was a challenge from the onset!  Only after he became very ill in 1996 and my mother encouraged our involvement, did we get the chance to take over the family farm business in 2OOO.

So we inherited a lovely continental suckler beef herd of pedigree British Blondes on a grain based finishing system. Today we have 25O head of breeding cows, calves and yearlings, of predominately native breed genetics including the South Devon, Angus and Red Polls.   We are entirely grass based now in a regenerative organic system, mob grazing lush river meadows and herbal leys.

We supply both ABP and Dunbia in Dorset and Devon.   Some of our prime beef goes to M & S.   This summer we hope to set up a box scheme to develop a local organic market selling direct to the consumer, as well as pop up restaurant events here at the farm in a beautiful authentic cob barn overlooking the suckler herd and river pastures.

Co-founder Minette Batters, NFU President and I set up Ladies in Beef and at the same time launched Great British Beef Week.  This was largely due to a shared frustration that positive nutritional messages about Red Tractor Assured British beef were not getting through to the consumers.   We felt female beef producers were a trusted source of information with the public.

This year’s campaign for GBBW 22 is all about environmental sustainability, a theme we championed last year, which resonated so well with consumers and the media.  The campaign is focused on climate friendly, grass based beef production, which has less than half the average global emissions.  UK farmers maximise the natural resources of plentiful sunshine and rain to grow lush grass pastures which is turned into nutritious protein by grazing animals as well as iron and vitamins including vitamin B12 naturally found in red meat and a boost to the immune system.

My favourite recipe is a rich warming casserole made with beef skirt, olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery and herbs not forgetting the Worcester Sauce!  Sometimes I add a couple of tumblers of red wine with the beef stock cubes or Sunday roast left over gravy.    It’s my own recipe and a winner every time, slow cooked in a 7O year old Aga!   Skirt is such an easy cut to work with and inexpensive – it just melts in the mouth.  

Here’s where you can find the method:

https://cookpad.com/uk/recipes/12702534-slow-cooker-beef-vegetable-casserole

There are lots of supermarkets, butchers and farm shops as well as pubs and restaurants taking part in GBBW 22.   You can find more information on the Ladies in Beef website: http://www.ladiesinbeef.org.uk/

Or follow on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Hoisin Pork Wraps

This was yesterday’s quick tea – hoisin pork wraps

Here’s how I made it…

You’ll need:

  • Left-over pork from Sunday roast
  • Sweetcorn (minicorn chopped up)
  • 1 sweet pepper (sliced)
  • Pack of tortilla wraps
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Grated Cheese

Chop up the pork into small strips. Fry in a sauce pan with the sweetcorn and sweet pepper for 5 mins.

Throw in some hoisin sauce and serve with grated cheese filled wraps

Simples…

Recipe idea – Cow pat pudding

Whilst recording a podcast recently I interviewed Josie Brown of Browns British Cut Flowers. She shared with me the most delightfully yummy recipe for Cow Pat Pudding, inherited from her University house mate!

Here’s what you need:

Mix 3oz Self raising flour, 4oz softened butter, 4oz caster sugar, half teaspoon of milk, 2tbsp cocoa and 2 eggs in a bowl. Place in large Pyrex bowl.

Gently warm 4oz soft brown sugar, 2tbsp cocoa and half pint of water in pan until sugar dissolved. Pour this over the top of the sponge mixture. (This can be made in advance and put to one side until you are ready to cook)

Cook at 190oC for 40 mins.

Turn out onto a plate – hey presto – Cow Pat Pudding. Serve with cream and seasonal fruit.

As a Mum of 4 young children and running her own cut flower business, Josie raves about this recipe and it certainly sounds like a super-quick no-fuss recipe to feed a hungry tribe! I’ll be giving it a whirl and I hope you do too!

You’ll be able to hear more from Josie on the May episode of my podcast ‘The Countryside Kitchen Meets’.

In the meantime you can tune into previous episodes here: https://feeds.captivate.fm/the-countryside-kitchen/

Meet the Producer – Richard Calver of Westcombe Dairy

I recently caught up with Richard Calver who runs a fantastic UK Dairy business that has diversified to offer several different products to the market, whilst having it’s roots firmly placed in milk production.

Milton-Westcombe Farms comprises of two dairy herds in Somerset. Cheese has been made on the farm for over one hundred years. In around 1900 Edith Cannon who lived at Milton Farm won the prize for the best cheddar in the British Empire. She went on to found a cheese school at Palace Farm in Wells with the Bath and West Society.

The business started making cheese again at Westcombe in 1999 using elements of Ediths make, with raw milk from the farm’s cows. Westcombe also make a Caerphilly cheese in their dairy.

Diversification came about because the business wanted to have more control of the marketing of our milk and the family were passionate about producing really good products which reflect the care they have for their animals and the land.

Richard farms in a very sustainable way using minimum fertilizers and chemicals, with the cows grazing outside for much of the year.

Westcombe use special strains of starter cultures and the cheddar is stored underground in a recently constructed cave. The way Westcombe dairy farm and produce their cheese is reflected in its flavour.

Their website Westcombe dairy gives more information and there is also a useful video on it called Craft the Art of Making Cheddar on https://westcombedairy.com.

Westcombe cheese is available in many specialists cheese shop and also in some branches of Waitrose and Marks and Spencer.

Richard’s son Tom was trained as a chef and uses the following recipe for events. They both think it’s a fitting recipe for busy parents and it’s certainly got my taste buds tingling.

I think it’s a clever take on cheese on toast, whilst baking in your 5-a-day!

Eight slices of sourdough bread

One nob of butter

One half red onion finely chopped

One half leek finely chopped

150 grams grated Westcombe Cheddar

Favourite pickled vegetables to serve

Mix onions and leeks and cheese together add salt and pepper. Butter one side of the slices of bread and put a generous amounts of mixture on the side of the bread which is not buttered. place another slice of bread on top with the buttered side upwards. Place onto a hot frying pan put tin foil on top and weigh down with a heavy pan. Cook for two minutes or until slightly brown then turn over to cook again with the tin foil on top until the cheese oozes out or the sides. Transfer onto a board, cut in half and serve with pickled vegetables.

Find out more about Westcombe Dairy by following on Instagram or Facebook

Richard Calver of Westcombe Dairy, Somerset. Photo: Kathy Horniblow