Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A pie for the King's Army - Steak, Kidney and Guinness


I have been reading what little information there is about my family history, where the Wheeler family originated and how they came to Ireland.  Using several reliable leads left by my grandfather plus the help of the internet, but, I must add without a long manual search of hand written, non-digitalized church and parish records, it appears that we Wheelers hail from Wheeler's Fold in  the parish of St. Peter's  in Wolverhampton, the earliest recording  that I can find being of a Wheeler's Court in the same place in 1750.
There seems to be a general consensus among researchers that the Folds listed in Wolverhampton were for holding sheep used for the wool trade rather than for any other purpose.  It seems that at this time in England sheep were not widely traded for eating - what a shame!
As a start to my research it appears that my Great, Great, Great, Great, Grand Father Wheeler  was not in the wool-trade, nor was he a wheel wright as the name might suggest, but he was the owner of the Whitehorse Inn in Wolverhampton.
What a thrill to find this out - so as a celebration tonight, I made a delicious steak, kidney and ale pie and dreamed that I was serving it to the Earl of Enniskillen.  He stayed there apparently and it is possible that he too was served a slice of this delicious dark treacle-like crusty goodness to warm him on his way back home  to Ireland with his new recruits for the King's Army, one of which was the Inn Keeper's son, my Great Great Great Grandfather.

To make a hearty meal for 4, you will need:

The filling:
2 lb (about 1 kg) stewing steak, in chunks
5 tblsps plain flour
4 tblsps vegetable oil
1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
300g chestnut mushrooms, halved
5 lambs kidneys (see note below), white core removed
500ml bottle Guinness or other dark ale
a dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees.

Take the stewing steak and place in a food bag with the flour and seasoning and coat the meat in flour.  Heat the oil in a deep, oven proof casserole dish and brown the meat until slightly golden.  You will have to do this in batches so that each meat piece is browned without the pan being overcrowded.  Set the meat aside.
Add a little more oil to the pan and cook the onions for 7 minutes until soft but not coloured.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the remainder of the flour in the bag, give it a good stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Then slowly add the Guinness or ale and stir gently until the sauce thickens.  Add the meat back to the vegetables and, adding the Worcestershire Sauce, place in the oven for 90 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the white core from the kidneys and quickly fry these in a little butter for a few minutes just to colour them lightly.  Place in a colander and drain until needed.  A little blood will seep out.
20 minutes before the end of casserole cooking time, place the kidneys into the casserole dish with the rest of the meat and cook until the original 90 minutes has expired.
Let this cool completely, place in the fridge until needed.

*Notes on the kidney:  I used Lamb's kidney here (hardly authentic in Medieval England) but I find that ox or pigs kidney has a much stronger and quite overpowering flavour on the end result.  It also takes longer to cook.  It is not to say that Ox/Pig is not good and if you like it then by all means use it, in fact most recipes call for ox's kidney as it is the most authentic -  it should be added to the casserole dish at the same time as the browned steak pieces.

 This can now stay in the fridge over nightso that the fat can rise to the top and can be spooned off easily.  My steak pieces this evening were virtually fat free and so did not require this.

About 1 hour before serving your pie, pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees.

And make the pastry:

450g plain flour
200g suet - I used Atora but a good butcher should have some also
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper, several pinches
cold water

Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the suet, salt and pepper.  Mix well and slowly add a generous dash of water.  Mix well with a knife.  Using your hands bring the dough together into a clean ball of spongy dough, adding more water as you require.  Bear in mind that that the more water you add, the harder the crust will be, so try to achieve a good pliable dough without adding too much water.  I added a little too much this evening and the top was a little crunchy - nice but it perhaps could have been a little less so.

Now split the dough into two, and on a floured surface, roll out the base of your pie.  I usually make the base of the pie thinner than the top, but neither should be as thin as you would roll out shortcrust pastry - so perhaps about 1cm thick on bottom and maybe 2cm on top
I used a fluted, loose bottomed flan tin this evening rather than an official pie dish and it worked fine.
Butter the dish well and line the bottom with the pastry, pressing it well into the dish, using any excess to patch up thin parts.

Take the cold meat filling out of the fridge and gently spoon off any fat that may have collected on top.
Spoon it into the pie base.  Brush a line of water around the edges of the bottom of the pie and add a slightly thicker rolled out top.

 
Pinch the sides to seal the pie and cut a little air-hole in the top.
Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes at 220 degrees until you pie is golden.
Serve with ale and mash and my favourite, HP sauce of course!
A fitting supper for the long road ahead.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Glens Gnocchi with Roast Butternut Squash and Apple

I seem to have an insatiable fetish at the moment for roasted, sweet, bright and delicious butternut squash.
This was a whim of dish this evening, cooked up from nowhere just as an excuse to use the butternut squash that I found hiding in my mothers kitchen.
My apologies for the slightly gloomy photos tonight as the light in the temporary kitchen is a little dull and will be until the building work down the road is complete - and not to mention that my poor mother had to go to the garage in search of her potato ricer!  But all good things come to those who wait, and I know I will be more than envious of the natural daylight-rich end results in her new kitchen.

Glens Gnocchi with Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple



This is really quite easy to make and this evening, in the cold North, made a quick and delicious starter - its flavours intensified somewhat by having to eat it in the dark - a game enjoyed by my children who found grannies in-case-of-emergency-torches under the stairs and thus plunged the eaters into darkness!

You will need as a starter portion for 4:

300g unpeeled floury potatoes, about 2 or 3 depending on size
100g plain flour, plus more for dusting
2 pinches of fine table salt
1 small egg, lightly beaten

2 tblsps olive oil
1/2 a butternut squash, cubed
1/2 a red apple, core removed and finely sliced
1/2 yellow courgette
3 cloves garlic, whole
1 sprig sage

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

Firstly boil the potatoes (skin-on) in salted water until tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the vegetables.
Add the cubed squash and garlic to a shallow roasting tin and toss in the olive oil and sage leaves.  These will require about 35 minutes cooking time.
15 minutes before the end of cooking add the apple slices and the courgette.

Meanwhile, when the potatoes are cooked, peel them and put them through a ricer to ensure that they are really finely mashed.  Add the flour and the lightly beaten egg yolk and mix thoroughly with a fork until everything is combined.  The dough will start to clump together but take care not to handle or work it too much.  When it has come together, gently knead it with your hands against the side of the bowl for a minute or so. Break the dough evenly in two pieces.
Turn one piece out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a long sausage shape about 1-2 cm in width.  Cut into small bite size morsels.
Place on a clean tea towel which has been lightly floured.
Repeat with the remaining dough and then cover with a very light cloth or muslin until you are ready to cook them, but do not have them sitting for longer than about 30 minutes.


When the roasted vegetables are almost cooked,  bring a pot of salted water to the boil.

Drop in the gnocchi and boil for 2 minutes.  They will float to the top but be sure to taste them to make sure that the floury taste has gone and they taste cooked.

Remove the pan of vegetables from the oven and add a knob of butter.  This will melt and mingle with the sweet vegetables in the pan and provide a really good flavour-some coating for the gnocchi.
Remove the cooked gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon and add to the vegetables, stirring them in gently.
Spoon in to a serving dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.  Eat immediately.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fiery Autumn Curry of Monkfish and Sweet Potato

WheelerandCompany packed up went to Powerscourt Gardens in Co. Wicklow today. 
I was not particularly excited about the prospect of going as for me the large commercial ground floor of the original house is overdone plus we have had several poor experiences in the cafe.  But I am always willing to give things another go.

So ignoring the house, we headed through to the garden which was at its most beautiful today - it was as bright an Autumn day as I have ever experienced, the vibrant colours shone reminding me how wonderful this season really is. 
We celebrated the bank holiday weekend with a delicious red Thai curry packed with succulent mouthfuls of monkfish, fresh crunchy vegetables and vibrant sweet potato - hearty but uplifting and delicious.



To make a good red fish curry for 4 you will need:

The Paste:
4 birds eye(hot) chillies
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp coriander seeds
2 lemon grass stalks, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
4 shallots, chopped ( or 1 medium onion)
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 limes, zest and juice of
2 tblsps hot cayenne pepper 
2 tblsps Thai fish sauce (Naam Pla)

The rest:
400ml fish stock - I used stock cubes
5 kaffir lime leaves
350-400g monkfish, cubed
8-10 raw prawns
fresh coriander leaved for garnish

Place the cumin and coriander seeds into a frying pan or saucepan and heat until you can smell their aroma - this will only take a few minutes.  Crush the warm seeds using a pestle and mortar and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a small electric blender.  Whizz until you have a medium-rough paste.  The quantities listed will give enough paste for a curry for four people - a handy tip here is to double or triple the quantities and this can be made in bulk and frozen in smaller portion sizes.



Simply add 4 tblsps of the paste into a large wide casserole dish and cook for a few minutes.  Add 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk and 5 dried kaffir lime leaves and bring it to a low simmer. 

Add the sweet potato and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Add the remaining vegetables - I used courgette, aubergine and red and yellow peppers simmer gently for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables still have a bit of bite to them. 

Add some monkfish or other meaty white fish and perhaps some raw peeled prawns.  Place the lid on and simmer for a further 4-5 minutes until the fish is cooked through.  Note if using frozen prawns, put them in before and give them a few minutes cooking before adding the raw fish.

Serve with basmati or Thai jasmine rice, a slice of lime wedge and some fresh coriander leaves.

The important thing to remember here is that once the paste is made, your hard work is done, you can add raw chicken, prawns, squid and/or any vegetables you like, green beans, mange tout or baby corn - whatever you might have to hand and need used up.

For me this is the perfect fiery Autumnal dish where the colours are magnificent and the heatiness gives warmth to the soul.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gratin of potatoes, cheddar and pancetta

I generate a lot of leftovers and love the challenge that they bring as I hate throwing food out.  Towards the end of any one week I have at least two types of vegetable which need to be used up before the compost heap gets them.

Today I made a delicious gratin with potatoes, pancetta and some Montgomery Cheddar.
It is dainty with punchy flavours and I cannot wait to make it again on a larger scale.  I think it would be perfect for lunch with a side of salad, or as an accompaniment to a piece of simply cooked white fish.

I am also a great fan of cheese of any variety but for me the Montgomery Cheddar is the best Cheddar around, especially at this time of the year.  It originates from a farm of Friesian cows just north of Yeovil and South of Bristol - it is supplied in Dublin by Sheridans Cheesemongers  - I once carried a heavy truckle from London to Dublin for Christmas from the Neal's Yard Dairy and I cursed it the whole way, but in the end it was worth it and I would do it again! Maybe in November when I will attempt a repeat of my April ash-cloud spoiled weekend.






For two as a starter or side, you will need:

3 Chopin potatoes - I bought these for the first time this week from M&S (they were specifically developed by M&S probably to look, taste and act perfectly no doubt) - in fact they taste really creamy and have a great texture for this, but you could use any good all rounders like Desiree or King Edwards.
100g smoked pancetta, in small pieces
1/2 savoy cabbage - I used the lighter green inner leaves which were left over
75g strong cheddar, like Montgomery or Heggarty's

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. 
Lightly grease the inside of a gratin dish with butter or vegetable oil.

Slice the potatoes into 4-5mm slices, pat dry and season with freshly ground black pepper. (Note as the pancetta is quite salty, I do not add any additional salt to this).

Saute the pancetta pieces until they are slightly golden and using a slotted spoon remove them and set aside.
Add the seasoned potato slices to the pan with the pancetta fat and toss fro a few minutes in the hot oil.

Take each (cleaned) leaf from the cabbage and cut out the central stem leaving 2 drop-shaped leaves. 
Boil the cabbage leaves for no more than 2 minutes in boiling salted water and then drain and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process.  Pat dry and set aside.

Assemble in an oven-proof gratin dish with layers first of potato, then cheese, then cabbage and then pancetta - and repeat until all the ingredients are used up ending with a healthy sprinkling of cheese.

Cover the dish with a tinfoil, you could use baking parchment, and bake it for about 30-40 minutes in the oven.
Remove from the oven and leave it to cool for about ten minutes. 
You can serve the dish straight to the table or turn it out onto a wooden board and serve it in slices - I also pressed a circular food cutter into some of it today producing a perfect, neat accompaniment to fish. 
I am really looking forward to making this in a bigger quantity with more layers.  I will experiment next time with the addition of onion and perhaps a sprinkling of capers, and I do think that one could substitute the pancetta for some delicious flakes of smoked haddock. 
If you get there before me, let me know how it turns out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Little Lambs


The weather here is strange and given that it dictates so much of our eating habits, I am somewhat confused.  One day we will have high winds, grey skies and the next it is bright beautiful blue, sunny and calm.  As a result I have been oscillating between pavlova and tomato tarts to sticky wintry roast meats which only deserve to be eaten by the fire on cold dark days.  I think the kite surfers on Sandyount Strand would love the slow roast lamb after their morning being buffeted and battered by the wind and waves.

I mentioned last week that I had made a lamb tagine with a boned shoulder of lamb and going through my freezer I found a boned and rolled shoulder of lamb which, along with several other choice cuts, has gone unnoticed within the icy depths for quite a while.  I cannot emphasise how much I rate this cut of meat, it is inexpensive and with a little patience yields a sweet and succulent meal fit for kings.

The tagine was delicious and not too labour intensive great for a party and the flavours are just right.  The boned and rolled shoulder was not stuffed (although you could do this yourself easily) and this provided a great Sunday lunch for four without fuss - I think it cost about 11 euro and it fed four.


Slow roast shoulder of lamb, for 4


1 smallish boned, rolled shoulder of lamb, about 2lbs in weight, (standard cut in good butcher but don't be afraid to ask for it to be done for you)
3 garlic cloves cut in half
3 sprigs rosemary
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees

Very simply spike the lamb with a sharp knife and insert the garlic, and rosemary intermittently into the skin of the lamb.


Place the lamb into an oven proof dish and put int he oven for 20 minutes.
After the 20 minutes, turn down the oven to 160 degrees and roast the lamb for a further 45 minutes, 15 minutes per lb plus 15 minutes.
It should be slightly pink in the middle but not raw.
Take it out of the oven and rest for 25 minutes covered with tin-foil and several clean tea-towels for insulation.
Slice and serve.


You can also make a sauce reduction with the juices which are in the bottom of the pan.

Separate the fat from the juice, either by using a fat separating jug(very handy) or simp0ly tip the dish on its side, the fat will float to the top - skim off and drain the fat-free juices into a small heavy bottomed saucepan.
Bring the juice to the boil, add a good glug of red whine and let it reduce for about 5 minutes.  I added 2 tblsps of drained capers to this, although it would be fine on its own - I have a caper fetish and love the slightly sour, salty taste which they add.

I served this with some steamed savoy cabbage, simple and delicious.


my favourite-the midnight leftovers


Lamb tagine


I always think that this looks horrible in preparation as I make it the authentically Moroccan way and do not brown the meat before all the liquids go in.  I have consulted several recipes over the years for this and it seems that everyone stands divided on whether to brown the meat or not - some claiming that it adds more flavour to brown it and others arguing that the stronger taste of the browned meat interferes with the delicate taste of the spices involved.  I do not brown it simply because it inevitably sets of my fire alarm in the kitchen and also takes longer to do - the choice is yours so experiment if you have the time.



You will need, for 6-7:

3lb (boned weight) of lamb shoulder - trim a lot, but not all, of the fat off and dice into cubes
4 tblsps sunflower oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp crushed saffron strands - either crushed with the back of a tea spoon or dissolved in an espresso cup of hot water.
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
sprinklinf of sea salt
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 onion, finely chopped
300g Aegean pitted prunes ( optional but really good)
2 tblsps runny honey
handful of skinned, toasted almonds
handful of fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Place the meat into a large casserole dish (I used my larger le creusset).
Add the oil, saffron, ginger, cinnamon, onion and salt and pepper.
Add enough water to just about cover the meat, stir the whole lot well and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat, put the lid on, and cook on a bare simmer (I cook mine on the smalled ring on the lowest setting with a diffuser) for 1 1/2 hours. 



Add the prunes and cook, uncovered, at the same rate for a further 30 minutes.
The prunes will make it sticky, sweet and will create a think sauce.
Add the honey at this point also.
Add the coriander and the toasted almonds just before serving.  Serve with couscous.


This recipe is by Claudia Roden which I have cooked time and time again, it works really well and is a real hit for a dinner party.  It is also incredibly hands-free and although cannot successfully be prepared in advance and reheated, it is a great dinner party dish as you can spend the 2 hours cooking time on other things.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Summer warmth for one last weekend

Its cold, its a bit damp but I am in denial of it all in the enjoyment of the new outside room... why not create a taste of summer with chocolate and strawberry pavlova in the garden? ... we wrapped up in coats and blankets it was just like July ... sort of!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Tomato, Thyme and Cheddar Tart


We are really pushing the dining al fresco thing to its limits but the weather has been so dry its a shame not to enjoy it, so who cares about the cold - the blankets were out this afternoon but the chill in the air did not seem to bother anyone!

I made a tomato, cheddar and thyme tart with some ready-made puff pastry and it was a colourful and tasty light lunch for three.

I make a mushroom, Parmesan and creme fraiche in puff pastry quite often which is delicious with a glass of beer but this recipe comes from Dianne Henry in her new book, Food for Plenty.  I had a lot of strong cheddar, Hegarty's from Cork in the fridge and this added the perfect sharp taste to the tart and although she only suggests using 1 clove of garlic, I use three and also add the thyme to the Mascarpone as well as sprinkled over the top.  It takes about 5 minutes to assemble and is a really pretty addition to any table.
Today I made 2 x 23" tarts but  as she suggests, you could make 1 large tart with the entire pastry roll.

For 2 tarts which served 3-4 for lunch:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
1 x 500g packet ready-made puff pastry

10 plum tomatoes, tops removed, main fruit finely sliced

3 cloves garlic
1 250g tub Mascarpone cheese
150g finely grated strong cheddar
6 springs fresh thyme leaves, 3 de-leaved, 3 spring left whole
Roll out the pastry and using a circular cake/flan tin as a cutter, cut out.  Alternatively or additionally line a quiche tin with pastry.


Combine the Mascarpone, cheddar and thyme leaves in a bowl.  Spread over the base of the puff pastry staying about 5 cm back from the edges if baking on a flat baking sheet and not in the quiche dish.
Arrange the finely sliced tomatoes in concentric circles starting at the outside edge of the pastry and working your way in towards the centre, finally placing one tomato slice in the middle.  Season the top of the tart well with freshle milled black pepper and sea salt.


Place in the oven for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 160 degrees and cook for a further 30 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and have caramelised slightly.
Serve immediately.



Tip: I have also made this using some leftover shortcrust pastry which is also a good substitute to puff, although I would not advise using a commercial ready-made shortcrust as it is not half as good as the home-made variety.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Apricot and Apple Stuffed Pork, Roast Winter Squash and Toffee Apples

Given the delightful weather we are having, WheelerandCompany have been spending long hours in the new garden.  It has been a little strange getting used to the immediacy with which it arrived, as it really only took a few weeks work and somewhere that we previously let the recycling collect has become a peaceful, green oasis in the middle of the city. 
It's quiet in the evenings and the now dark mornings without the traffic when everyone is asleep except for the steady hum of the port, which never tires. 
When I first moved from the familiarity of the tides and my seaside cradle to the city of Belfast as a young architecture student, I was terribly homesick, missing those night sea sounds- I thought that they could never be replaced.  Now in this city, I listen in the dark and feel just at home to the fog horns, the dull drone of a ships motor leaving for another place, the energy that is never quite extinguished.  
The magic of the garden is that it has given us a place to listen to the city.  It is also another place to share food.
Saturday in the garden was laughter with friends, eating Pork Fillet stuffed with apricot, apple and pancetta, served with an assortment of roast winter squash filled with a deeply soothing risotto of wild, basmati and wholegrain rice followed with oven baked apples and plums with toffee sauce and a slice of Charlotte's wonderful velvety chocolate cake - an Autumn feast worth writing about.






We sat  in the garden until well past darkness, it was like reliving the summer except that the time felt stolen from a winter's meagre store of sunny days....


Roast Stuffed Winter Squash




These look and are irresistible.  The combination of all the different varieties on a plate is so colourful it does bring brief but distinct silence to the table.  They are also easy to make and can be prepared and put in the oven 30-45 minutes in advance of any eating.

Cut each squash in half and, with a sharp spoon, scrape out the seeds and fibrous surroundings.  Score a diagonal pattern into each fleshy inside, taking care of your hand!
Rub each half with soft butter, season and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 160 degrees.


Meanwhile prepare the rice filling.  Sautee 1 finely chopped onion in butter and a little oil, add some finely chopped streaky bacon and a handful of chopped herbs.  Add a random mix of wild, basmati and wholegrain rice and about 1 pint of vegetable bouillon.  Put on the lid and let the rice cook until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Keep an eye on it as you may need to add more bouillon depending on the amount of rice you have added.  Simmer for about 30 minutes until the basmati is well cooked and the wild and wholegrain still have a fair bit of bite left in them.

Remove the squash from the oven and spoon in the rice, leaving any delicious little pools of butter that will have collected in the squash cavities.  Return to the oven for a further 30-45 minutes until the squash is soft and melting and the rice is a combination of a little nutty and very soft.  Towards the end of cooking, about 10 minutes, I sprinkled some of the squash with a little cheddar, Hegarty's, you could also use Parmesan.  The cheese was good and added a little saltiness to the rice.



Pork Fillet stuffed with Apricot and Apple
Pork fillet is delicious cooked in this way - it is moist, tasty and delicious and is great for a brunch.  For 8 people I cooked 2 fillets and as a lesson for the blog, I prepared it in two slightly different ways.

First make the stuffing but cooking 1 large onion, finely chopped, in 1 large knob of butter with a little oil in a pan.  Cook for 6-8 minutes until the onion has softened.  Add about 100g of chopped pancetta or streaky bacon and cook until any moisture has evaporated.  Add some freshly chopped herbs (thyme, sage,parsley, rosemary) and another large knob of butter.  Add 100g breadcrumbs and 100g finely chopped unsulphured apricots.  Mix well together to ensure that all the ingredients are coated with a herb butter.  I also grated half an apple in at the end to add an extra bit of moistness to the mixture.
Cool fully before stuffing the pork.

To prepare the pork, use a very sharp knife and trim off any visible fat and the fine membrane which surrounds the fillet.  It is important to remove this or the meat will shrink a little more than it should when cooked.  If you slide the point of a knife under the skin you will catch the fine transparent layer - try to remove as much of this as you can without removing the actual flesh.

Take the fillet and slice an even line half-way into the middle of the fillet, taking care not to cut through.  Then take each half to the left and right and split this open, thus opening the fillet thoroughly out flat.  If you find that it is not flattening out as evenly as you might like, place a piece of cling film over the top and hit it with a meat hammer or rolling pin - not too hard but enough to flatten the meat out. 

You are now ready to add the stuffing.  Take a handful of the cold stuffing and lay it in a thin line down the middle of the fillet.  Either close it up with a piece of string or with some pancetta or streaky bacon.  Both options are given below in the photographs.




For the tied option above, start at one end of the fillet.  Close the flesh over the stuffing and tie the string round it in a knot, leaving the string long on one side.  Work in 1/2 inch sections closing the meat around the stuffing. Run the long side of the string down the newly closed section and hold it on place while wrapping the string under and around the back of the fillet as you see above.  Repeat down the fillet and tie at the end.
Alternatively see below.



Lay the meat out on top of pancetta or streaky bacon slices and use it to wrap the meat tightly closed.

Wrap each fillet tightly in tinfoil and cook the oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes. 
Serve warm with a homemade apple sauce.

Please take time to properly wash your boards and preparation equipment thoroughly with very hot soapy water after all meat preparation.  All surfaces, including those which may take splashes, should be wiped down with an antibacterial fluid after all food preparation.


Baked apples and plums with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream

This felt like a very lazy dessert but everything preceding this was oven baked, so it seemed like an obvious choice. 
Scatter cored, halved apples (skin on) and stoned half plums into a large baking tray. 
Melt approx. 75g butter in a pan adding about 5 tblslps sugar, cinnamon, 2 cloves and 2 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg.  I
Pour this over the apples and plums and toss the fruit to ensure that it is all well coated. 
Put it in the oven at 160 degrees for 45 minutes until the apples are soft but still whole.


For the toffee sauce, some non-measuring of ingredients occurred!

Add a small pile of golden caster sugar with a small pile of butter, it looked like equal quantities, stirring well as it melted. 
Bring it to the boil and cook at boiling point for about 5 minutes, stirring all the time. 
Turn down the heat and gradually add some double cream, stirring simultaneously. 
Taste as you go along, but take care not to burn your tongue or eat it all!


Serve drizzled over the apples with a large dollop of vanilla ice cream.

I will leave you with a suggestion to enjoy your garden for the next week or so, it will probably be the last chance you will get until next year.