Make-Ahead Jelly for Turkey (with video setting test)

I always thought you needed gelatine to make a jelly but it seems a tonne of sugar and a tremendous amount of heat does the job just as well. I picked the crab apples in the nick of time this year, great because they were such a cherry red colour, but not great because I did…

Autumn Leaf Foot Scrub

The amount of leaves in the garden really is ridiculous and despite my husband’s enthusiasm for the new leaf hoover, no sooner than they’ve been sucked up they’re instantly replaced by a new Autumnal shower. There are only so many bonfires we can do without irking the neighbours so we needed to create a new…

Bonfire Night Peas (with optional ‘fireworks’)

This is an adaptation of my local green grocer, Village Greens’, recipe for Bonfire Night peas. The black peas are seasonal and typically abundant in October and November. A Lancashire tradition, this is like hot mushy peas served with lashings of malt vinegar.  It’s a great make-at-home street food-style fodder to keep you all toasty if…

Chrysanthemum: showiest bloom on earth?

Relative to the daisy plant, Chrysanthemums, in their many guises, were originally cultivated in China as a herb, but now they’ve paraded the horticultural world and they’re total show offs. Dubbed ‘mum’, the blooms are bulbously round with a heady scent. But be quick to pick. They were my Grandpa’s favourite flower, he used to say not to be put…

Rhubarb & Baobab Jelly

I had what seemed like a forest of rhubarb. I also have a bag of the superfruit baobab. You can almost see the halo above this guy. Baobab has six times more vitamin C than an orange, more antioxidants than blueberries and more calcium than milk. Baobab originates in Africa where its tree, aka the ‘tree…

Gooseberry & Elderflower Martini

The pain of picking gooseberries seems worth it when you consider they’re rammed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Mine were ripe for the picking, the green fruits swollen and tinged with red. They team well with elderflower and I managed to get hold of some new J. J. Whitley Elderflower Gin, subtle in flavour with real elderflower…

The Chicken Mushroom

I’d never heard of it, but when I was almost blinded by its brightness I have to say it scared me. Mushrooms mean danger – at least in the countryside where I grew up they do. If they’re not magic they’re downright poisonous and you shouldn’t go near them, and certainly not eat them. This…

Himalayan Margarita

I probably should have written this before drinking the margarita. A couple of hundred million years ago in the pristine snowy environment of the Himalayan Mountains, beds of crystallised sea salt were covered by lava, which was thought to have protected this special salt from pollution, leading to the belief that Himalayan pink salt is the purest…

Riverside Wild Garlic Pesto

Some may call it child labour, I call it Free Easter Holidays Foraging Fun in the Fresh Air. Agreed, it needs a catchier title. Our local banks of the River Etherow are covered with a carpet of wild garlic, the smell is enough to speed up your metabolism as you walk past. A relative of chives, wild garlic is also…

Saturday Night TV Dumplings

I just love Wing Yip. I can spend a good couple of hours admiring and deciphering the myriad of colourful Chinese ingredients. I can spend another couple doing mental calculations of the spice prices in comparison to my local supermarket. Seriously the margins the mainstream supermarkets must be making… for less authentic, lower quality products. Tonight…

Lotus Root Crisps

An Asian aquatic plant, this is not something I’ve grown in the garden but something visually appealing and which also plays a tune as it’s sliced, akin to a diminutive church organ. An intriguing vegetable. I bought mine from Wing Yip, it was in four attached sections. I used some for Chinese dumplings and the…

Thyme for a Whiskey?

With St Patrick’s Day looming it’s only right to bring out the whiskey. Not just any old whiskey, this is The Pogues’ Irish whiskey, a blend which has been specially crafted by the famed Celtic punk band. So here’s a tribute tipple to help you on your way to the type of raucous celebration The Pogues would…