Polina’s Recipe: Russian pastila

Here’s a tasty sounding recipe from Polina, one of our produce share members:

As it is apple season, I also thought I share a simple recipe which has been our breakfast staple for a couple of weeks. It is based on traditional Russian sweet called “pastila”, made of apples, eggs, and honey. Here is homemade British “twist”. The recipe can be safely halved – depending on the blender/foodprocessor.

Ingredients:

2lb of apples
3 tablespoons of honey/50gr of sugar (depending on apples)
9 tablespoons of oats (gluten free or not)
3 eggs whites (can be omitted for vegan version)
Spices to taste: ground cinnamon/cardamom/gloves

Preparation:

Core apples (no need to peel) and bake them in the oven on 185 degrees C for 35 minutes. Let them cool down. Place the baked apples in a food processor/blender (I use Blendtec) and process to a smooth pure. Add spices (if using) and honey and process for 2 minutes to mix them in. Turn the mixture into mixing bowl, fold in oats stirring with spatula, then slowly add egg whites whisked to soft peaks (if using). Fill in individual souffle dishes/ramekins (I use small ceramic bowls from Charlie Bigham pies) and bake in the oven at 100 degrees C for about an hour.

Keeps well in a fridge for a few days. Seems equally delicious cold and hot.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: A Lot of Plums

Dom’s assessment of the orchard this week is that there are no more plums, so it is likely (no matter how hard you search) that you’ll find the same now. Perhaps you have another source of plums, or have stashed some in your freezer to be able to enjoy the offering from Rebecca this week:

Here is a sweet, warming chutney to eat with dal, or in a sandwich. Nigella seeds are surprising little black specks, with an intense umami flavour resonate of onions.

Plum and Nigella Seed Chutney
Makes 1 jam-jar

Ingredients
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
12 plums
3 teaspoons nigella seeds
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 lime, zest and juice

Preparation
Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes, until they become toasted and smell delicious. Leave them to cool.
Meanwhile stone the plums and chop them roughly into pieces. Put them in a saucepan along with all the other ingredients aside from the cumin seeds.
Grind the now-cooled cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle and add them to the saucepan as well. (Apparently if you grind cumin seeds while they are very hot the flavour is not as good.)
Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is a bit jammy and the plums have broken down.
Cool and decant into a sterilised jar. Store in the fridge.

Recipe adapted from Anna Jones, The Guardian,28 Sept. 2019.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: What to Do with an Ear of Corn

This is an approximation of a salad I’ve just eaten for lunch. (I’m currently in California, for work, since you wondered.) My salad was served with GREEN chickpeas, something I’d never encountered hitherto.
The corn in the California salad was roasted; if you are able to do this it will add depth to the flavour. See the instructions below.

The Border Grill’s Mexican Chopped Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients
Dressing Ingredients
4 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin (ideally, roast your cumin seeds in a dry pan and then grind them)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped roughly, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Salad Ingredients
2 ears of corn (or use 1 cup frozen corn, thawed)
1 medium red onion, peeled and diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 romaine or 2 little gem lettuces, shredded
1 crisp apple, diced
½ cup cooked chickpeas or black beans
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Guacamole, to serve (optional)
Tortilla or plantain chips, to serve (optional)

Preparation
Make the dressing: combine the dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously. Taste and see if you’d like more lemon, etc. Adjust as necessary.

IF you are able to roast the corn, follow the instructions below. Otherwise, shuck the corn and remove the stringy silk. Cut off the kernels: hold the ear vertically on its end and use a knife to cut the kernels off each cob. (Of course, if you’re using frozen corn this is unnecessary.) Place the kernels in a medium bowl with the diced red onion and cover with the dressing. Leave for 10 minutes, or longer.

When you’re ready to serve combine the corn and onion mixture with the other ingredients, toss well and serve, garnished, if you wish, with a dollop of guacamole and tortilla or plantain chips.

To Roast the Corn: Carefully peel back the husks from the corn, and remove the corn silks, leaving the husks attached. Wrap the husks back around each ear of corn. Soak the corn in a large bowl or sink of cold water for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat your grill to high.

Drain the corn well and place each husk-enclosed ear on the hot grill. Cook for about 12 minutes, turning frequently. Remove each cob from the grill and set aside to cool slightly. Then follow the instructions above to remove the kernels.

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Berries

This very simple recipe is a nice way to use a smallish quantity of strawberries. You can dress it up by serving with ice cream, or create a version of Eton mess by folding the berries and raspberry sauce into some lightly-whipped cream and crushed meringue.

Strawberries and Blueberries in Raspberry Sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients
200g raspberries (frozen is fine but thaw them first)
1-2 tablespoons icing sugar
250g strawberries, hulled
250g blueberries
a few leaves of fresh basil or mint, shredded (optional)

Preparation
Purée the raspberries in a blender (standard or stick) and then push the purée through a sieve to remove the pips. Sweeten to taste with the icing sugar. You want this to retain a hint of tartness.

Slice the strawberries into thick slices and toss with the raspberry sauce into a serving bowl. Stir in the blueberries and add the shredded herbs if you wish to use them. Leave to sit at room temperature for about an hour so that the flavours blend.

Recipe adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Fruit Every Day! (2013).

21st June 2018

Recipe of the Week: Spiced and Roasted Beets

This week’s recipe comes from share member, Judit Juhasz, with lovely warming spices as a delicious addition to a winter staple – ideal for anyone who has an abundance of winter roots! Thanks for sharing it Judit!

Roasted beetroot and apple in balsamic vinegar

This recipe is inspired by Jamie Oliver, but I’ve changed it around a bit to my liking. It is also very versatile because instead of apples you could use other root veg like celeriac or parsnips and carrots. You can also change the amount of the beetroot and apples if you want to make less or more.

Ingredients

400 g beetroot
400 g apples (on the sour side, it complements the sweetness of the beetroot)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
25 g butter
300 ml balsamic vinegar

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. I make this in my cast iron pan as it makes it easier to transfer to the oven straight away, but you can sauté the veg in a pan and than transfer it into an oven dish to roast it in the oven.

Peel the beetroot and cut it into wedge sized chunks, roughly the same size as your apple wedges. I use the whole apple, as I like it rustic and the peel also protects it from the heat, but you can peel and core the apples if you’d like. Cut the apples into wedges.

Melt the butter in the pan and sauté the beetroot and the apples for 5 minutes. Add the spices and the salt, mixed it well and sauté for another 5 minutes until apples start to become soft.

Pour over the balsamic vinegar, toss the veg in it and transfer it to the oven or to an oven dish to roast. Roast it in the oven until the vinegar becomes a thick sauce, the apples are mushy and the beetroot is soft. You can test the beetroot with a fork or knife for softness.

It’s a perfect side dish to accompany your roast next to some spuds and with the spices it is also quite Christmassy. Enjoy!

Recebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Apple Cake

Moist and satisfying. You don’t need to use the glaze if it all seems a bit much.  (This recipe uses US cup measures; a US cup is equivalent to 8 fluid ounces.)

Don Farmer’s Fresh Apple Cake

Ingredients

Cake
2 cups sugar
1.5  cups oil (use a neutral oil such as sunflower)
3 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1 cup wholewheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups chopped apples
1 cup chopped walnuts

Caramel glaze
4 tablespoons double cream
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons white sugar
4 tablespoons brown sugar

Preparation
Preheat oven to 165C.

Butter the inside of a bundt or tube pan, and sprinkle it with flour to stop the cake from sticking. Set aside while you prepare the batter.

Whip the sugar and oil together in a large bowl for several minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract. The mixture should be light and fluffy.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg-oil mixture.

Fold in the apples and walnuts.

Turn the batter into the cake pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out dry.

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool.  Once it is cool, remove it from the pan, and place on a plate.  Then prepare the glaze:

To make the Glaze: melt all the glaze ingredients together in a saucepan over gentle heat.  Bring to the boil and boil for one minute. Pour this over the cake and let cool.

(Recipe adapted from James Beard, The New James Beard, 1981.)

Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: Grandmother’s Plum Cake

My Austrian grandmother was a rather difficult person, but an excellent cook. Here is her recipe for plum cake. It is easy and very tasty, and you can use other fruits in place of the plums. My friend Lizzie has invented a delicious variation that uses fresh pears and ground almonds (add half a cup along with the flour). This makes a small cake but the recipe can easily be doubled.

Pflaumkuchen (Plum Cake)

This recipe uses US cup measures, which equate to 8 fluid ounces.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
3 egg yolks
1 cup flour
3 (unbeaten) egg whites
as many plums as you like, cut in half. You can also use other fruit in place of the plums.
icing sugar, for dusting on top

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 190C.
Grease and flour a 20cm cake pan.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Stir in the lemon zest, egg yolks and flour.
Add the unbeaten egg whites and spoon the mixture into the cake pan.
Place the halved plums on top, cut side up. ‘Do not push in’, says the handwritten recipe from my grandmother. You can place them close together or far apart, as you prefer.
Bake at 190C for 30 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 180C and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Dust with icing sugar when it is cool.

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