Bocals of anchovies and an ode

Bocals of Anchovies

Bocals of Anchovies

I visited my supermarket recently to find to my delight a pile of fresh anchovies glistening in the ice. 5 euros a kilo I’ll have the lot I say. A proud possessor of 2.5 kilos of slippery silver jewels. A bit of team work with my youngest and a few handfuls of salt and a comfortable years worth of salty umani flavour rest in 5 bocal’s.

Details on how to salt Anchovies can be found in an earlier pst by clicking here. It’s simple and worth giving a go if you can the little fishies

I love anchovies and to have a comfortable years supply for a very modest 12 euros is very frugal. To celebrate my success I offer you a poem, originally posted at All that’s in between, you can find the blog here.

 

An ode to anchovies

 Anchovy anchovy anchovy.

Salty, briny, anchovy.

Silvery sliver.

Hangover God.

Tiny

Mighty

Motivator of disgust.

Troublemaker.

Agitator.

Instigator of terror.

Light in my life.

King of my kitchen.

Never without.

Always within.

There you are frugal anchovies and a poem, life is good

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Easy Peas-y

Peas are in season and generally I will always advocate eating fresh, seasonal produce but peas are actually the exception to the rule unless you grow your own. The reason being that they lose their sweetness just a couple of hours after picking which is why the packets you buy from the freezer will proudly tell you just how quickly they were frozen after picking.

Having said that a lovely light pea and mint soup is the essence of summer and it’s pretty, and yummy and only requires the minimum of ingredients and effort. What’s not to like?

500g frozen peas (petit pois are ideal)

IMG_3425

A cup of pea

500ml water
2 onions
1 clove garlic
25g butter

pinch sugar
small handful mint
4 tbsp double cream (not essential – naughty but nice)

Melt the butter in a large pan, add the sliced onions and cook until soft and translucent (don’t let them caramelise), add the crushed garlic and stir for another 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to the boil. Add a pinch of sea salt, throw in the peas with a pinch of sugar, add the mint and cook for a few minutes until just tender. Blitz in a blender and if you want to make it really special, sieve it for a velvety finish. Check for seasoning and stir in the cream, or if you want to posh it up, whip the cream and pop a dollop on top with a few crushed pink peppercorns.

Serve with sippets….whoever knew that sippets is the English word for croutons and was in general English usage for hundreds of years? The crouton took over sometime in the 20th Century and the sippet disappeared. A crying shame I say. I hereby begin a campaign to save our sippets.

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Today I will be cooking mostly with elderflowers

The elderflower season is up on us, a little late this year as the weather has been rubbish in France and the UK but the grand bushes/trees in our garden planted as pushed in twigs a few years ago are in their perfumed glory.

I have posted about Elderflowers before so you you want to know more about this lovely little shrub check out my post here.

The cooking window for the flowers is quite short, the trees have to be in flower! Dry, preferably in sun to encourage the aroma and picked midday or early afternoon when they are the most perfumed.

A basket of Elderflowers

A basket of Elderflowers

I used the flowers in a variety of ways to make;

  • Elderflower Cordial
  • Elderflower Vinegar
  • Elderflower Sorbet
  • Elderflower Pannacotta

All the recipes are simple in there execution hence the rather impressive list.

So in descending order

Elderflower Cordial

It’s been a few years since I made Elderflower Champagne as I have preferred to make this cordial. It’s far more versatile than champagne as it can be drunk diluted to taste, added to a Gin and Tonic, used to flavour desserts or simply drizzled over ice cream. I posted a link to the recipe  an old post, but here it is in all it’s glory.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1 kilo of white sugar
  • 25 Elderflower heads
  • Juice and zest of 4 lemons
  • 55 grams citric acid – Finding citric acid can be a little problematic, traditionally stocked at chemists but many don’t stock it now. Try home brew shops (cheapest), Lakelands or other specialist cook shops.

Snip the flowers off the stalks using a pair of scissors. Bring the water to the boil and add the sugar, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Take the water off the boil and add the flowers, lemon juice, lemon zest and citric acid. Leave to steep overnight  then strain through boiled or ironed muslim into sterilised bottles. Label and store in a dark place.

The muslim is boiled or ironed to sterilise the cloth, to sterilise the bottles pop into a low oven for 15 minutes of put them through a dishwasher wash cycle.

The cordial keeps very well at least a year.

Snipped

Snipped

Elderflower Vinegar

Elderflower vinegar is an embarrassingly simple recipe that helps you to transform a light salad dressing into a breath of summer, something very welcome in the winter. The vinegar can also be drunk as a cordial by diluting with water and adding sugar to taste.

To make cram a wide bottomed jar with as many elderflowers as possible (snipped from there stalks with scissors), add enough white wine or cider vinegar to cover (about 750ml – 1 litre) leave to steep in a dark place for 3 weeks. Filter through muslim or a clean tea towel bottle and use as required. Keeps for ages.

Elderflower Sorbet

Another simple recipe that doesn’t require an ice cream making machine. Truth be told it is pretty sweet a small glass is very nice but you won’t be wanting a bowl!

Steeping

Steeping

Ingredients

  • 750 grams sugar
  • 1 litre water
  • 15 heads of Elderflower
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons.

Boil the water and add the sugar, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Take the water of the boil and add the elderflowers (snipped of the stalks) the lemon juice and zest. Leave to steep over night in a non-reactive bowl or container.
The following day strain through muslim or a clean tea towel add the contents to an ice cream maker and follow the manufactures instructions, alternatively add the liquid to a freezer proof bowl freeze until crystals start to form, stir and repeat until the sorbet is set.

And finally……..Elderflower Pannacotta which is very nice indeed. TV chefs go on about this, getting the set, getting the wobble etc but truth be told Pannacotta is cream jelly. Don’t go mad on the gelatine and unlike the TV programmes give yourself more than a couple of hours between making it and eating it.

You can make this Pannacotta with your home made cordial but if available I prefer to use fresh flowers as I think the final result is more frag

Bottles of Cordial

Bottles of Cordial

rant.

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 3 sheets of gelatin
  • 150 ml whole milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 20 elderflowers
  • 75g caster sugar
  • A slug of gin

Soak the gelatin in warm water. Snip the flowers from the stalks and put into a pan with the milk and cream, bring gently to the boil and simmer for ten minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, squeeze the water out of the softened gelatine and add to the pan with a good slug of gin, stir until the gelatine is dissolved.

Sieve the mixture through muslim or a clean tea towel  into the a suitable large or individual moulds. Leave to cool then chill in a fridge until set (about 4 hours). That’s it, you can turn out the pannacotta onto a serving plate if you like, you’ll need to dip the mould into hot water or serve in glasses, teacups or whatever. It’s great served with summer fruits.

That’s it lots of ideas, the best thing about cooking with Elderflower is that it is great to do with kids, I gathered and made the pannacotta with Oscar my 6 year old nephew, we had a blast and when we finished Oscar took me to the pub for a cheeky half, Oscar had pop :-)

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Cherry Oh, Cherry Oh Baby

Those of you following my previous posts will know I’m on a Mrs Beeton roll preparing for my next pop-up on Saturday.

And so to dessert. It has to be cherries. It’s July and Kent is famous for them. I’ve just finished reading ‘The History of English Food’ by Clarissa Dickson Wright (which has set . . . → Read More: Cherry Oh, Cherry Oh Baby

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Eating with Mrs Beeton

Eating with Mrs Beeton is the final pop-up in my first season at the wonderful N084 Tearoom & Eatery. I have loved every moment. The good news is I’m back in September with another 4 nights lined up and featuring a guest appearance in December, by the one and only Mr Frugal Gourmet himself, Colin . . . → Read More: Eating with Mrs Beeton

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A tale of two drinks

Out and about in Nottingham with my two good friends Kevin and Maz. Plan A was a drift through down consuming enough IPA for me to forget about my head cold and finish off at The Navigation Nottingham’s gourmet burger bar. The beer part worked well though a bit of ducking and diving was . . . → Read More: A tale of two drinks

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Good things come to those that wait

Well it’s been a long time coming but Coursera has finally come up with a start date for their Science of Gastronomy course that was subject to a blog posting back in November last year (you can read the original post here).

The course is scheduled to start on 10th July running for 6 weeks, . . . → Read More: Good things come to those that wait

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Popping Up

WIld about Kentish produce

I now have my first pop-up restaurant under my belt and getting ready for the next. It’s on June 8th at the No84 Café and Eatery in Gravesend if you are interested.

I had a huge sense of achievement after the first. It was a sell-out. I managed to feed 32 people who all . . . → Read More: Popping Up

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Yummy

One reason that I bother to make bread, make sausages and generally take an interest in what I eat is that I like to know whats in my food. The UK Guardian has an interesting feature on food additives that you would rather not know about. Here’s the list;

Arsenic – Rice, Juice and Beer . . . → Read More: Yummy

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Rhubarb Rhubarb

The Rhubarb season is upon us and I for one rejoice to eat the first fruit or vegetable of the season.

I love Rhubarb it takes me back to my childhood of pink Rhubarb pies and tart crumbles, yum. As a vegetable or a fruit and there is quite a debate on that topic, it’s . . . → Read More: Rhubarb Rhubarb

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Bed and Breakfast at La Canterie

We now offer bed, breakfast and the possibility of an evening meal at La Canterie. Information and booking can be accessed through the ' Blogs that I like' link on the right.