12 November 13

Pheasant with Stichelton Cheese, Barley and Quince

This recipe is dedicated to my mother and father and is a huge thank you to them for always putting a cooked meal on the table. They both worked full-time, and then coming home late, cooking dinner, managing the household and helping me with my homework were a struggle at the best of times. My mother’s prize possession was her pressure cooker. Mum used to put the entire meal into the pressure cooker and then, hey presto! dinner was served in half an hour. It’s quite impressive and I never realised the importance and relevance of this piece of equipment until fairly recently.

It’s become the ‘new’ toy for chefs because it’s fast and efficient, and under pressure the flavour and moisture are kept intact. I must agree it’s done a pretty good job of these pheasant legs and as far as an almost one pot meal goes, it’s pretty


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21 October 13

Butternut Squash and Stichelton Gratin

Mmmm, a gratin of any kind gets the thumbs up from me. Cooked in cream and smothered with cheese is just the kind of food I need at this time of the year. Still warm during the day, but as soon as the sun goes down the chill sets in and the urge for warming rich foods sets in. Well, perhaps not for everyone, but then a treat every now and then is not such a bad thing is it?!

We get organic butternut squashes delivered to our back door from Foskets Farm located in our village. It’s a great sight for tired chef’s eyes so early in the morning, opening the back door and tripping over crates of butternut squashes. It’s the beauty of living in the country and perhaps ‘living the dream’. I make my life here in Suffolk sound all fantastic and cosy don’t I?! Don’t get


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26 September 13

Wicked Bitter Chocolate Cake with Real Ale Ice Cream

This wicked chocolate cake is dark, gooey and rich, and utterly delicious! The real ale ice cream is a perfect accompaniment as the natural bitterness of the ale cuts through the richness of the chocolate, but at the same time provides the sumptuous creamy richness you would expect. I prefer to use dark chocolate with 75% cocoa solids for the flavour, as any lower percentage chocolate will make the cake taste sweeter.

For the real ale ice cream, you can use any local ale of your choice and preference. I have selected Woodforde’s Wherry real ale, an East Anglian ale from Norfolk, for its fruity character. It is slightly floral and less hopsy in taste and that tones the bitterness down.

In the summer, I substitute the real ale ice cream for cherry ice cream and serve cherries marinated in red wine syrup with it. It’s a classic but reliable


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02 September 13

Beetroot Soup with Horseradish Cream

Beetroot is one of the much-loved vegetables in our household, and consequently, we often cook with it and our menus frequently feature beetroot in various guises. Ruby, golden or candy-striped beetroots are all fantastic and I love the many different recipes that can be created using them. Boiled, puréed, roasted, pickled, shaved raw and even used in cakes, are all ways we prepare beetroot for our dishes.

I find growing beetroot is very easy. I use deep terracotta pots and place them in a sunny spot on the terrace. Planting two crops per season is easily achieved if you keep them well watered. However, too much water will encourage leaf growth and the actual beetroots themselves will remain small, so the advice is to let them go dry a bit as the goodness will then be stored in the edible roots rather than in the leaves. The smaller leaves are


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