Posts Tagged ‘seasonal cooking’

Baba Ganoush with griled Halloumi and Beetroot salad by Dalziel Douglas from the Black Douglas Coffee House.

This makes a fabulous  starter or light lunch

Serves 2 for lunch or 4 for a starter…I often serve it as part of a middle eastern spread.

Baba Ganoush…

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 aubergines
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoons tahini or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or more to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • smoked paprika to garnish
  • fresh mint to garnish


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • Place aubergine on baking sheet, and make holes in the skin with a fork.
  • Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally, or until soft.
  • Remove from oven, and place into a large bowl of cold water.
  • Remove from water, and peel skin off.
  • Place aubergine, lemon juice, tahini, and garlic in an electric blender, and puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer aubergine mixture to a medium size mixing bowl, and slowly mix in olive oil. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.
  • Dry fry sunflower seeds on a low heat until golden brown but not burnt – to decorate when serving
  • When ready to serve, sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds, some smoked paprika and fresh mint

Beetroot salad – see previous recipe

When you are ready to eat you need to prepare the Halloumi. You should have Beetroot salad and Babaghanoush prepared well in advance

Grilled Halloumi…this is actually dry fried rather than grilled.


  • 1 packet Halloumi cut into 0.75cm slices
  • Chopped fresh mint


  • Get your frying pan really hot and then place the halloumi slices in it.
  • Leave for 1 minute and check the under side. It should be golden brown. turn with a spatula and repeat on the other side.
  • When golden on both sides it is ready to serve. arrange on plates.
  • Sprinkle with chopped mint and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.



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Dalziel Douglas from The Black Douglas introduces us to her amazing Black Currant and amaretto cheese cake

“Try this party piece that will knock your guests pants off!

You will need:

  • 1 x 9 inch cake tin
  • 1 x 250 grams dry amaretto biscuits from super market or deli
  • 1 x pack of frozen black currants or forest fruits
  • 125 grams unsalted butter
  • 6oz caster sugar
  • 250grams mascapone
  • 250 grams Greek yogurt
  • few drops of top quality vanilla essence


  • Defrost berries a room temperature 2.5 hours before.
  • Melt butter in a pan
  • Grease and line tin
  • Crush amaretto biscuits and mix with melted butter
  • Press biscuit mix into tin.
  • Mix yogurt, vanilla essence, mascapone and 3 oz sugar
  • Spread mascapone mix onto biscuit base.
  • Put berries onto mascapone mix
  • Shake remaining 3oz sugar onto berries.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hrs

This can be quite difficult to cut, so remove from tin onto plate first (leaving base of tin under cheesecake). Cut with a large kitchen knife and press blade through biscuit base slowly and carefully applying maximum, even pressure.

This goes very nicely with espresso and a cointreau or amaretto liqueur.”

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If you are learner in the kitchen this is a great place to start as it is a cinch and tastes delicious.  Perfect for the veggies out there.


  • 1 x packet of puff pastry
  • 8 x large organic portabello mushrooms
  • 1 x bunch fresh tarragon or handful of dried tarragon
  • 4 x plump cloves garlic
  • 2 x organic leeks or 1 x red onion
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  • Set oven to 180/gas mark 4
  • Grease a large roasting tin with butter roll out the pastry so it fits into the tin bake until pale gold and puffed up.
  • Slice garlic and saute in butter (set aside)
  • Slice mushrooms and saute in butter (set aside)
  • Slice leeks and saute in butter.  Then mix above together and add tarragon, a pinch of salt and several twists of black pepper.
  • Mix again and put mushroom mix onto pastry leaving an inch around the edge free of filling and stick back in oven for another 20 mins until outer edge is deep golden and more puffed up.

Serve with a dry white Sauvignon and a delicious herb salad.

Herb salad – ingredients

  • 1 x bunch coriander
  • 1 x bunch dill
  • 1 x bunch rocket
  • Strong extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pepper and Maldon sea salt


  • Wash and chop herbs add olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and salt to taste
  • Toss and serve

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Partridge are two a penny at the moment and what is so wonderful about them is that they are THE perfect size for one per person. They look super on the plate at a dinner party. This is a stunning Burns night (Jan 25th) feast to wow your friends and enemy’s with.  Partridge wrapped in bacon and stuffed with a haggis, fresh herb and garlic mix. Unbelievably delicious. You can serve this with a celeriac and potato puree, savoy cabbage with garlic and ginger or red cabbage with juniper. Because they are small partridges are quick to cook so for this special dinner you need to have everything prepared before you put the partridges in the oven.

Celeriac puree: ingredients

  1. 1/3 celeriac to 2/3 potato.  If you’re absolutely mad about celariac then do half and half.
  2. Butter
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cream or milk
  5. Nutmeg.

Left over mash is great for making fish cakes and other vegetarian delights so don’t worry about having slightly too much. Toddlers love it with a bit of grated cheddar on top!

  1. Peel your potatoes and celeriac. Put your spuds in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until soft.
  2. Do the same with the celeriac in a seperate pot. Celeriac cooks more quickly than potatos because it is less dense.
  3. Drain the veg when done and put back on the hob in the same pot this time on a low heat and shake vigorously to dry out. There is nothing worse than water logged mash. When plenty of steam has evaporated and it looks like it might start sticking to the bottom switch the heat off.
  4. Add half to a whole pack of butter and allow to melt and mix in  loosely.
  5. Add a tea cup of milk or cream and START MASHING.  Finally, when as smooth as possible add salt and pepper to taste and a touch of grated nutmeg. Mash can now be set aside and reheated on the stove or in the microwave

Partridge and haggis stuffing (for 4): ingredients

  • 4 partridges. Clean out with water in the sink and set aside.
  • 1 small haggis from your butcher
  • Fresh thyme, rosemary or sage
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  • olive oil
  • 16 rashers of streaky bacon to wrap partridge

Take the haggis and squeeze inside out of skin into a bowl. Discard the skin. Chop onion and gently fry in olive oil until soft and set aside.

Chop garlic and gently fry in oil – set aside.

Chop bacon, fry and set aside.

Chop rosemary and/or thyme.

Mix everything together in a bowl and then START STUFFING!! Grab a handful of the haggis stuffing mix and start ramming it up the arse of the bird. Wrap each stuffed partridge in bacon – the partridges need to be completely covered, so too much is better than too little. When it comes to eating them you don’t have to eat all, if any of the bacon. Four rashers should be more than enough for each partridge. They are now ready to roast. Put the birds into a buttered oven dish uncovered.   Get the oven really hot – at least 200 and then put the partridges in for 25mins.

Take out and cover with foil for 5 – 10 mins before serving. While the partridges are in the oven, do your cabbage.

Savoy Cabbage with garlic and ginger: ingrediants

  • 1 savoy cabbage for 4 people
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • one small chunk of fresh ginger
  • butter

Bring a large pot of water to the boil with a pinch of salt. Take the outer leaves off and cut the cabbage into 4 quarters. Drop the quarters into the boiling water and boil for 5 mins. The cabbage should not be overdone. When cooked take out of water and drain on a towel. Finely chop a peeled clove of garlic and a small chunk of fresh ginger (no need to peel). Gently saute in butter until soft.

Corsely chop the cabbage, mix into the garlic/ginger butter and fry a bit more (about 2 minutes).  Add some freshly ground black pepper and it is now ready to serve.


Red Cabbage with juniper: ingredients

  • 1 small red cabbage. Red cabbage is very dense and so goes a long way
  • 2 large glasses of red wine
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 1 orange
  • 1 dessert spoonful of dark muscovado suger, add more to taste.
  • 6 cloves

Slice you cabbage fairly finely and put into large pot with the red wine.
Add a dessert spoon of dark sugar, the zest and juice of an orange, 10 juniper berries and 5 cloves and thoroughly stir.  Cover the pot and on a high heat cook the cabbage for about 10 mins – 15 mins. It is now ready to serve.

To start have something really simple like plain watercress salad with extra virgin olive oil and a little lemon juice. To finish have a creamy cheese like vignotte with quince jelly or an apple tart with cream and a shot of single malt whiskey.

Serve the partridge, Cabbage and Celeriac mash at the table with red currant jelly and good french mustard and the most expensive bottle of red you can afford.

That’s all folks xx

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A report in the Grocer this week shows that cash strapped shoppers are buying less and less jam and marmalade.   The cost of sugar has almost doubledfrom 2008 to 2009, and higher fruit and packaging costs has seen an increase in the price of a jar of marmalade.

But don’t let these rising prices affect your saturday morning ritual.  This is the perfect time to make your own.  If you don’t have the kit you can order all you need online at Lakeland.

Makes around seven 1lb jars, depending on the size of your oranges.


  • 9 whole, unpeeled Seville oranges
  • Sugar
  • 12 jars
  • Stainless Steel Preserving Pan


Wash the oranges and put into a large saucepan with enough water to cover them well. Simmer for an hour, change the water and simmer for a further hour until the oranges are so tender, a pin head will easily pierce the rind.

    Remove the oranges, allow them to cool and reserve the liquid. Take off the peel and slice into shreds. Cut up the pulp, discard the pips and weigh.

    For every 400g pulp, allow 600g sugar and 500ml of the reserved liquid, made up with water if needed. Put the pulp, sugar and liquid into a preserving pan and stir over a low heat to dissolve the sugar. Add the peel and bring back to a fast boil for 10 minutes.

    Begin testing for a set. When the desired consistency is reached, skim, turn off the heat and leave to cool until a skin begins to form. Stir to evenly distribute the peel, then pour into warm, sterilised jars, cover and seal.

    Source: Lakeland

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    Beetroot salad by Dalziel Douglas

    I often serve this salad as a starter at the Black Douglas supper clubs. It can be varied by adding parma ham, caper berries, dry cured smoked lamb, smoked tongue,  chorizo or parmesan.


    • 1-2 per beetroot per person
    • Olive oil
    • Zest of 2 oranges
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • Pomegranate syrup if you can find it (otherwise honey or maple syrup)
    • Crumbly goats cheese

    Wrap each beetroot (1 or 2 each) individually in foil and bake until soft at 200 degrees c or gas mark 6. Aprox. 40-90 mins depending on size. baby beets may take less. Check each one, the beetroot should be tender when pierced with a sharp knife. When cool enough to handle, unwrap and skin the beetroots. Chop up into largish bite size pieces.

    Dress with olive oil, orange zest,  balsamic vinegar, a tiny amount of pomegranate syrup if you can find it, a little honey or maple syrup, flaky sea salt like Maldon, plenty of freshly ground black pepper and toasted seeds of your choice.

    If you buy the beetroots with their tops on, blanch the leaves until tender, chop and add to the salad.  If not, use whatever  leaves you can get your hands on, like mustard leaves or rocket.

    Any fresh herbs you can get will enhance the salad.  Finish it off sprinkled with some crumbly goats cheese when you serve.

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    Rabbit stew for 2 – 4  by Dalziel Douglas from The Black Douglas Coffee House

    In this freezing weather its nice to cook a real winter warmer for all the family.  My husband and I cook this when we have friends to supper at The Black Douglas and serve with a really good burgundy. Its always a winner.

    Wild rabbits are in season at the moment and you should be able to buy them from your fish monger or game dealer.


    • 1 medium size wild rabbit
    • 1 large onion
    • 3 plump cloves of garlic
    • bunch of fresh thyme
    • butter
    • muscovado sugar or honey
    • Bottle of passatta or 1 tin of chopped tomato’s
    • black pitted olives
    • capers
    • anchovies
    • balsamic vinegar
    • red wine
    • water

    Remove the legs, front and back with a sharp knife (click here for a demo). Cut the saddle in two with a heavy sharp knife so you can get through the bone. If you are feeding 4 people give a front leg and a piece of saddle for 2 of them and one back leg each for the other two. The front legs are smaller. The back legs are in my view the best pieces of the rabbit so bear that in mind when you are dishing it out!

    Chop and saute an onion in olive oil. In a separate pan brown the pieces of rabbit in olive oil. This browning of the meat before stewing adds flavour. Add the cooked onions to the rabbit, cover with a bottle of passatta or a tin of chopped tomato’s, a glass of red wine and set on a gentle heat. You want it to simmer without letting it stick to the bottom.

    Chop and gently fry 3 cloves of garlic in butter but don’t let the garlic go brown because it will give a burnt garlic flavour to the stew. Add the cooked garlic to the stew. Chop and add 3 anchovies.  Remove the leaves from a bunch of thyme and add to the stew, reserving some to sprinkle on top when you serve.

    Add a generous spoonful of honey or a spoonful of muscovado sugar, a dash of balsamic vinegar, a knob of butter and simmer for 1.5 hrs – 2 hrs. Half way this cooking time add a handful of black olives. I like to use kalamata olives.  If the stew appears to be drying out, add a glass of water, red wine or more passatta. The saddle pieces will be a better texture if you remove them as soon as they are tender, set aside and cover. They will become tender sooner than the legs and have a tendency to dry out if stewed for too long.  Add them back into the stew, 15 minutes before you switch it off. At this point you can also add a handful of capers.

    The stew is cooked when the legs are tender and the meat comes easily away from the bone. When the stew is cooked add a pinch of flaky sea salt and some cracked black pepper.  A young rabbit will become tender before an older rabbit so keep you eye on it since the cooking time will vary depending on the age and size of the rabbit. The stew should sit for 20 minutes with the lid on before serving.  This stew is fabulous served with polenta. I find one of the easiest ways of cooking polenta is to follow the guide lines on the packet in terms of quantities of polenta and water. Mix it up and bring to the boil on the hob. Switch it off just when it seems like its all going to stick to the bottom. Add generous amounts of butter, freshly grated parmesan or a good strong cheddar, salt and pepper. Pour into an oven tin so the mixture is 1 – 2 inches thick and bake in the oven at 180 – gas mark 4 until the polenta is golden and crispy on top. You can get this on the go once your stew is simmering away. It can sit in the turned off oven for about 20 mins if necessary before serving because it retains its heat in the tin.

    Serve the rabbit stew and the polenta or fresh bread with watercress on the side. Delicious.

    If there is any stew left it can be turned into a delicious base for a pasta dish for the kids the next day. Make sure there are no small rabbit bones lurking around, break up into small pieces any rabbit that’s left. Add some cooked pasta, some cheddar, a bit more passatta if neseccary, a spoonful of cream cheese, mix it all up, add some more grated cheddar on top and bake in the oven for half an hour for the kids supper.

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