Artichoke Soup

Serves 2


1 small garlic clove - finely chopped
1 small onion - chopped
12 ozs Jerusalem artichokes - sliced
1 medium cooking apple cored and chopped
half pint veg stock
quarter pint skimmed milk
salt & pepper
fresh chopped parley on herbs to garnish

1. Put garlic, artichokes, onion, apple and stock in saucepan and bring to the boil.

2. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 25 mins or so until artichokes etc are tender.

3. Process in blender until smooth.

4. Return puree to saucepan, add the milk and seasoning and reheat.

5. Serve and garnish to taste.

This is a good recipe by itself and is easy to add things to if you fancy eg curry sauce or chilli to taste.

Warm salad of winter leaves, bacon and Jerusalem artichokes
(Jamie Oliver, The Return of the Naked Chef)


2 artichokes per person
2 dry-cured streaky bacon strips per person
Salad leaves - any combination you wish eg radicchio, cos, curly endive, rocket, spinach
Glug of olive oil
Knob of butter
Salt & pepper

Salad dressing:
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp red or white herb vinegar (you can use red wine vinegar instead)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1. Rip the leaves up and place in a salad bowl or on a plate.

2. Scrub the artichokes and cook in salted boiling water until just soft.

3. Cool the artichokes under cold running water, drain, and slice as you would sauteed potatoes.

4. In a large frying pan fry the bacon. When golden crisp, remove from the pan and put to one side.

5. Add the artichokes to the pan with a small glug of olive oil and the butter, salt and pepper.

6. Shake the pan occasionally, adding the bacon back into the pan when the artichokes are also golden and crisp.

7. Sprinkle the bacon and artichokes over the salad leaves and drizzle over the dressing. To make the dressing put all the ingredients in a jar and give them a good shake.

Green Beans, Thyme & Parmesan Cheese


1 lb beans
2 oz butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp thyme leaves stripped from stems.
2 cloves garlic, crushed.
2 heaped tbsp grated parmesan cheese.
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt

1. Cut prepared beans into 2 inch pieces. Boil gently for 5 mins in salted water. Drain and keep warm.

2. Mix together the butter, olive oil, thyme leaves and crushed garlic in a pan and heat gently for 5 minutes.

3. Sir in the beans and keep heating gently for another minute or two. Stir in the cheese just before serving. Yummy.

Beetroot, Walnut and Feta Salad

Serves: 4-6


4 Beetroot (in season use a variety of colours) handful flat parsley leaves 60g toasted Walnuts 60g Feta cheese, crumbled into large pieces

For the dressing

1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
5tbs Olive Oil
1 Shallot

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Wrap each beetroot in foil then place in a baking tray and roast for 1 hour or until tender. Remove from the oven and leave until cool enough to handle. Or you could always simply boil the beetroot

2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Combine the vinegar, mustard and some salt and pepper in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust seasonings, then stir in the shallot and set aside until needed.

3. When the beetroot is cool enough to handle, remove the foil then peel and slice, chop or cut into wedges as desired. Toss the beetroot with just enough of the dressing to coat nicely then leave to cool completely.

4. Just before serving, add the parsley leaves and more dressing if you think it could do with it and then arrange on a shallow serving dish. Scatter over walnuts and feta and serve.

Beetroot Soup
Serves 4
4 tablespoons of olive oil
½ a large (Spanish) onion
2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1 rounded teaspoon of black cumin or normal cumin
750g of beetroot peeled and finely diced
I large potato finely diced
1.25 litres of cold water
3 tablespoons of good quality red wine vinegar
1 small bunch of flat leaved parsley
100g of yogurt (ideally Greek) thinned with a little milk and seasoned with 1 garlic clove crushed with a little salt

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and pinch of salt. Cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally until the onions begin to colour. Now add the garlic and cumin and cook for 2 more minutes to release their flavour followed by the beetroot and potato. Pour in the water and bring to a gentle simmer and cook until soft about 15 minutes. Place the vegetables and cooking liquid in a blender or food processor and blend until just smooth. Return to the pan and add the vinegar and half the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. You may need salt to balance out the acidity.

Serve with a little yoghurt on top and the some of the parsley and an extra dribble of olive oil.

Curried Parsnip Soup

1 medium onion
1 large parsnip peeled and cut up
1 garlic clove crushed
2 tbs butter (or oil)
1 tbs flour
1tbs garam masala
1 litre of beef stock or vegetable stock
150 ml cream (optional)
Chopped chives or parsley (optional)

Cook the onion, garlic and parsnip gently in butter or oil with the lid on the pan for ten minutes.
Stir in the flour and garam masala, cook for a couple of minutes stirring around. Add stock. Leave to cook until the parsnips are tender about 15-20 minutes.
If needed, dilute with a little water
Check seasoning and add the optional cream and herbs to serve

Kale Thai Curry (Sarah Raven)

1 chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic
a green chilli (I used variety cayenne)
2 lemon grass sticks
grated fresh ginger
15-20 kale leaves - Cavolo Nero
small pack of button mushrooms
large bunch of coriander
vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of medium curry powder
1 tin of chickpeas
1 lime juiced
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of thai fish sauce
1 tin of coconut milk

Fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the curry powder, ginger, & chilli, and stir.

Next add the cooked /tinned chickpeas, coconut milk, mushrooms, lime juice and lemon grass sticks.

Simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove any thick stems from the Kale, and chop the leaves, steam them for 5 minutes and add them to the chickpea mixture, add the Soy and fish sauce.

Scatter with chopped coriander. Serve warm with Naan bread,Chilli Jam and Coriander Chutney.

Cavolo nero con peperoncino e aglio / Black Kale with Chilli and Garlic

1 head of cavolo nero
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
½ to 1 red chilli, roughly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Good fresh bread such as ciabata sliced
1 extra clove of garlic

Pull the green parts away from the hard stalks of the cavolo nero and wash them under cold water. Finely shred the leaves and put them in a steamer or salted boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes until just cooked. Drain but reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, when hot add the garlic, chilli, salt and pepper. Fry for a couple of minutes until they soften but watch they don't burn. Add the cooked cavolo nero and fry for around five minutes stirring constantly. If necessary add a little cooking water to stop it sticking. The cavolo nero should have wilted and become coated in chilli and garlic oil.
Meanwhile slice and lightly toast the bread. Slice the clove of garlic in half and scrape over the bread.
Serve the cavolo nero on the bread and drizzle with extra olive oil.

G&F Pumpkin Soup

For 4 - 6 people

3 tbs oil (rapeseed, olive or sunflower)
1 or 2 onions, diced
Salt and black pepper
1 medium parsnip, diced
1 potato, diced
500g pumpkin, diced
1 small swede, diced
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp or more of chopped or dried coriander leaves

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and cook gently until softened. Add the curry powder, stir for one minute and then add the rest of the vegetables and coriander. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When the vegetables are fully cooked use a liquidizer and whizz until smooth. Serve with a spoonful of crème fraiche or soured cream if desired.

As a tasty alternative add some cooked beans such as Borlotto beans and serve as a vegetable stew without liquidizing. The vegetables can be varied according to what is available from the community garden.

Spinach and Cheese Pancakes

This is a vegetarian recipe that even my meat eating husband likes. It's also great for using a lot of store cupboard ingredients, It's also wonderful for this time of year, as picking overwintered spinach will make sure that it give new lovely fresh new leaves over the next few weeks

Ingredients for 2 dinner portions
1 large colander of spinach, well washed
Cottage cheese
1 onion
2 eggs
100g plain flour
pinch of salt
1/2 pint of milk and water
Grated Cheddar to garnish
Oil to cook pancakes

Make the pancakes with flour and salt seived into a bowl, - 1 egg broken into a dip in the middle of the flour, and then the milk and water whisked in to make a batter. Use a medium size frying pan, and add oil and cook the pancakes one at a time. Add oil between each pancake, draining off any excess.

Wash the spinach and put in a saucepan without shaking off the water to wilt. Meanwhile, in a separate pan chop the onion and fry in a little butter, add cottage cheese nutmeg, pepper and mix in the other egg. Stir as this cooks. When the spinach is wilted, push all the water out of it with the back of a spoon over a seive or colander, and chop, then add to the cheese mixture.

Now layer the pancakes with the spinach and cheese mixture, top with some grated cheese and put under the grill until the cheese has melted.

I sometimes use up other cheese that's in the fridge, - Feta and soft cheese's go well. Yum.

Squash and Sage Risotto Serves 3/4


1kg squash , peeled and cut into bite-size chunks (Crown Prince is great)
3 tbsp olive oil
bunch sage , leaves picked, half roughly chopped, half left whole (plenty in the garden)
1.5 l vegetable stock (Marigold will do)
50g butter (omit if on low cholesterol diet)
1 onion , finely chopped
300g risotto rice
1 small glass white wine
50g parmesan , finely grated

1. Before you make the risotto, heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Toss the squash in 1 tbsp oil together with the chopped sage. Scatter into a shallow roasting tin and roast for 30 mins until it is brown and soft.
2. While the squash is roasting, prepare the risotto. Bring the stock to the boil and keep on a low simmer. In a separate pan, melt half the butter over a medium heat. Stir in the onions and sweat gently for 8-10 mins until soft but not coloured, stirring occasionally. Stir the rice into the onions until completely coated in the butter, then stir continuously until the rice is shiny and the edges of the grain start to look transparent.
3. Pour in the wine and simmer until totally evaporated. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time and stirring the rice over a low heat for 25-30 mins, until the rice is cooked al dente (with a slightly firm, starchy bite in the middle). The risotto should be creamy and slightly soupy. When you draw a wooden spoon through it, there should be a wake that holds for a few moments but not longer.
4. At the same time, gently fry the whole sage leaves in a little olive oil until crisp, then set aside on kitchen paper. When the squash is cooked, mash half of it to a rough purée and leave half whole. When the risotto is just done, stir though the purée, then add the cheese and butter and leave to rest for a few mins. Serve the risotto scattered with the whole chunks of squash and the crisp sage leaves

Butternut Squash Curry

Serves four
4 tbsp sunflower oil
3 onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 small green chilli, halved, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garam masala
1 butternut squash or equivalent Crown Prince squash about 1kg peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm chunks
100g red lentils, rinsed
About 700ml vegetable stock
400g tinned plum tomatoes
1 big handful fresh coriander, tough stalks removed, leaves chopped

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté with a pinch of salt until softened and turning golden, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and green chilli, and cook, stirring, for about five minutes. Add the ground coriander, cumin and garam masala, stir for a minute, then toss in the cubes of squash and lentils, and stir until well coated. Pour in the stock and tomatoes, crushing the tomatoes against the sides of the pan with a fork to break them up a bit.

Simmer, part-covered, until the squash and lentils are very tender, about 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. Stir in about two-thirds of the coriander, taste and check the seasoning - add salt and pepper if desired. Serve with basmati rice or the pilaf recipe below, some thick yoghurt and the rest of the coriander scattered over the top.

Roast Squash, Chilli and Walnut Salad

You could add some shredded, roasted pheasant or chicken if you like.

Serves four to six.

1 medium or 2 small squash such as butternut or crown prince
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled and bashed a bit
3-4 sprigs fresh marjoram
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1-2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
60ml olive oil, plus a little extra olive or rapeseed oil for dressing the finished dish
Salt and pepper
1 good handful walnuts, toasted
2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, tough stalks removed, then roughly chopped
Juice of ½ lemon

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Peel and deseed the squash, then cut it into chunks.

Pack the squash quite tightly into a roasting tin along with the garlic, marjoram, rosemary, chillies and oil. Season well, then pour over a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and roast for a further 30 minutes, turning over a couple of times.

Take the tin out of the oven, remove the herbs, then tip the pumpkin into a bowl. Toss with the walnuts and parsley, season and squeeze over the lemon.

Dress with a little olive or rapeseed oil before serving.

Victoria Sponge

The cakes should be made the day before and wrapped in cling film.

2 x 8"2 x 9"2 x 12"
Stork margarine10oz12oz1lb 4oz
Caster sugar10oz12oz1lb 4oz
Self raising flour10oz12oz1lb 4oz
Hot water1½ tbsp2 tbsp4 tbsp
Vanilla extract1 tbsp1 tbsp1½ tbsp

  1. Heat oven to 180oC. Base line the cake tins.
  2. Cream together the margarine and the sugar until very pale.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time together with a tablespoon of sifted flour. Beat in the rest of the sifted flour.
  4. Beat in the water and vanilla
  5. Put into the cake tins and smooth the top.
  6. Cook for about 30 minutes.
  7. When done place the cake tins on cooling rack and cover with a damp tea towel.
  8. When completely cooled wrap in cling film.

Butternut & Pear Soup

Serves 6 - 8

Approx 1KG (raw weight) Butternut½ tsp Salt
1 Medium Onion2 Large or 3 Small Pears
3 Cloves of Garlic1 Pint Chicken or Vegetable Stock
25g Fresh Ginger125ml Double Cream
1 tbsp Olive OilSnipped Chives

  1. To cook the Butternut, preheat the oven to 180°C. Wipe a little oil around a roasting tin. Cut the butternut in half and scoop out the seeds. Lay the squash cut side up in the roasting tin and cover with foil. Roast for about 1 ½ hours or until the flesh is very tender; you should be able to mash it easily with a fork. Allow it to cool.

  2. Peel and chop the onion and garlic as finely as possible. Peel and grate the ginger. Heat the oil in a large lidded pan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger & salt. Stir a couple of times, lower the heat, cover and allow the mix to sweat for 10 to 15 minutes. Don't let it brown.

  3. Peel, core and roughly dice the pears. Add them to the onion mix with the stock. Bring everything to a simmer then cover and cook for 20 minutes or so, until the pear is very tender. Mash the squash and add to the pot.

  4. Whizz the mixture in a blender. Return to the saucepan, add the cream and check the seasoning. Just before serving add the snipped chives. You could also add croutons or crispy bacon bits.

  5. Rhubarb Cake

    ** Courtesy of The allotment Garden

    3oz butter1tbsp demerara sugar for the topping
    3oz caster sugar2 1/2 oz butter
    2 eggs3oz plain flour
    3oz self raising flour1oz caster sugar
    1lb rhubarb

    1. Preheat oven to 190 c.

    2. Grease a 8in round cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs, fold inthe flour and a pinch of salt.

    3. Slice the rhubarb into 1in pieces and toss in the demerara sugar.

    4. To make the topping, rub the butter into the flour and stir in the sugar.

    5. Pour the cake mix into the tin and arrange the rhubarb on top.

    6. Sprinkle the topping over and bake for 40-45 mins.
    ** Serve with a dollop of double cream!!

    Spinach Quiche

    11oz plain flour
    half tsp salt
    2 and half oz butter
    3oz self raising flour
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil

    (or make your own pastry - I made a cheese pastry for the pumpkin lunch)

    2lbs fresh spinach cooked
    4 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon chopped parsley
    2oz smoked bacon (or ham)
    1 garlic clove peeled and crushed
    1 egg beaten
    2oz parmesan
    1oz melted butter

    1. Make pastry

    2. Drain spinach and puree in blender

    3. Heat oil, fry bacon

    4. stir in spinach and cook for 2 minutes

    5. add garlic and parsley

    6. remove from heat and stir in egg

    7. Line dish with pastry, add filling, top with more pastry, brush with melted butter

    8. Bake in moderately hot oven for 46 minutes

    North African Squash & Chickpea Stew

    from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Veg Everyday but also available here


    2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
    2 large onions
    2 garlic cloves
    1 celery stalk
    1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
    ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
    ½ teaspoon of ginger
    100g of red lentils
    400g tin of chickpeas – drained
    8 saffron strands – toasted and crushed
    500mls roasted tomato sauce
    A handful of parsley
    A large bunch of coriander
    300g of squash
    1.2 ltrs of vegetable stock
    50g vermicelli or small pasta

    In 8 easy steps:
    1. Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium heat.

    2. Add the diced onions and sauté until golden brown, then turn the heat down to medium-low.

    3. Add the chopped garlic, celery, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, and continue to sauté for a few minutes.

    4. Add the lentils, chickpeas, saffron, tomato sauce, parsley and half the coriander, then cook on a low heat for 15 minutes.

    5. Peel the squash, get rid of any seeds and cut into chunky cubes. Add it to the pan with the vegetable stock and cover with a lid. Leave to simmer for around 30 minutes.

    6. Add the pasta and simmer until cooked.

    7. Season with salt and pepper.

    8. Serve, adding the rest of the coriander leaves to each portion as a garnish.

    This is such a seriously yummy dish that you’ll actually be glad we’re heading into winter once more!

    Quince Cheese

    From The River Cottage Website.

    A fruit cheese is simply a solid, sliceable preserve - and the princely quince, with its exquisite scent and delicately grainy texture, makes the most majestic one of all. It can be potted in small moulds to turn out, slice and eat with cheese. Alternatively, you can pour it into shallow trays to set, then cut it into cubes, coat with sugar and serve as a sweetmeat.


    1Kg Quince
    500-759g granulated sugar
    Food-grade paraffin wax, for sealing

    Makes about 1Kg.


    Wash the quince. Roughly chop the fruit but don't peel or core them. Place in a large pan and barely cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until soft and pulpy, adding a little more water if necessary. Leave to stand for several hours. Rub the contents of the pan through a sieve or pass through a mouli. Weigh the pulp and return it to the cleaned-out pan, adding an equal weight of sugar. Bring gently to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer gently, stirring frequently, for an hour and a bit until really thick and glossy. It may bubble and spit like a volcano, so do take care. The mixture is ready when it is so thick that you can scrape a spoon through it and see the base of the pan for a couple of seconds before the mixture oozes together again. If you're using small dishes or straight-sided jars, brush them with a little glycerine. This will make it easy to turn out the cheese. If you're using a shallow baking tray or similar, line it with greaseproof paper, allowing plenty of overhang to wrap the finished cheese. When the cheese is cooked, pour it into the prepared moulds or jars. To seal open moulds, pour melted food-grade paraffin wax over the hot fruit cheese. Jars can be sealed with lids. Cheese set in a shallow tray should be covered with greaseproof paper and kept in the fridge. For optimum flavour, allow the quince cheese to mature for 4–6 weeks before using. Eat within 12 months.

    Serving Suggestions

    A little roughly chopped quince cheese adds a delicious fruity note to lamb stews or tagines or try combining it with chopped apple for a pie or crumble.

    Mushroom, Kale and Walnut Pesto Pasta

    Cooking time 15 minutes. Serves 4


    75g (3oz) Kale (or maybe spinach) stalks removed
    25g (1oz) walnut pieces
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    25g (1oz) grated hard cheese
    half tablespoon lemon juice
    half a tablespoon of honey
    300g (11oz) dried linguine (or any pasta as long as not too small)
    250g (9oz) mushrooms sliced
    1 garlic clove
    Herbs (optional)


    Put kale, walnuts, tablespoons of olive oil, cheese, lemon juice and honey into food processor.

    Pulse until smooth and season to taste; you could also add a handful of any fresh herbs.

    Bring a large pan of salted water to boil and cook pasta.

    Heat remaining oil and fry the mushrooms and garlic together until they are cooked through.

    Drain pasta, stir through the pesto and mushrooms.

    Fruit Cake - EVERYTHING-LESS

    Makes 1 2lb loaf size cake tin (I made mine in a round tin)


    225g (8oz) cooking dates (not sugar rolled)
    275g (10fluid oz) water
    450g (1lb) mixed dried fruit
    175g (6oz) plain flour
    25g (1oz) ground almonds
    1 tablespoons carob powder - I used cacao powder but this item is optional
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon mixed spice
    grated rind or orange or lemon
    4 tablespoons orange juice (or any fruit juice without sugar)
    few flaked almonds for top


    Set oven to 160C (325F), gas mark 3

    Grease cake tin and line

    Put dates and water into a pan and heat gently until dates are soft, remove from heat and mash dates

    Add dried fruit, flour, carob powder baking powder, mixed spice, grated orange rind, ground almonds and orange juice

    Sprinkle with almonds

    Bake for 1 and a half hours until skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.

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