Swedish Crispbread

Jayne brought some one of our work parties. Delicious!

(Jayne brought some of her Swedish crispbread to one of our work parties, and it was delicious. I’ve converted her deciliter units to cups. Joe)

Here is the recipe for the Swedish crispbread.  Our corn flour isn’t as good as the Swedish Risenta corn flour (majs mjol) but polenta flour may work.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cornflour
  • 2 cups seeds – for instance : 
    • 0.5 cup linseed
    • 0.5 cup sunflower seeds
    • 0.5 cup pumpkin seeds
    • 0.5 cup sesame seeds
  • 1.5 cups boiling water
  • 3/8 cup sunflower or rape seed oil
  • 1/2 teasp salt.
  • flake salt for topping

Method: 

Mix flour and seeds, add boiling water and oil and mix thoroughly. 

Take half of the mixture and place on sheet of baking paper the size of oven shelf.  Place another sheet of baking paper on top and press or roll mixture until flat.  Take top piece of baking paper off and place in oven. 
Bake at 150 degrees C for 45 minutes.

Try to do all the mixture in one go as it doesn’t sit very well.

Jayne Harnett

Greek Baked Giant Beans

I wondered if our white “Aztec” beans would work in this…

Fasolia gigantes are very large white beans much loved in Greek cooking, and I wondered if the white-seeded “Aztec” runner beans that some of us grow would work instead in this recipe which I found in Rena Salaman’s book Greek Food.  I tried it out on a Greek friend of mine, and the result was “just as it should be”.

Serves four people as a main course.

  • 2 cups dried “Aztec” beans, or about 4 cups of fresh ones
  • Half a cup of good olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 tins of tomatoes or about 1kg of fresh ones
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

If you are using dried beans, soak them overnight, drain, then boil until just tender, but not too soft. Fresh beans just need boiling for a few minutes and draining. Heat the olive oil and fry the onions, garlic and dried herbs until they start to be golden. Add the tomatoes and their juice and a bit of water and mash them up a bit and cook for 30 minutes or so, until the sauce starts to thicken. Spread the beans across the bottom of a nice oven dish or casserole. Mix the parsley into the sauce, pour it over the beans and mix them all together.  Sprinkle a bit of oregano and black pepper on top and bake at 180 degC for 40 minutes, until they start to look a bit crisp on top.

From Joe Foster

Tuscan Beans

My favorite bean dish, using our large white “Aztec” beans, or borlottis.

This is my very favorite bean dish.  It works especially well with the large white “Aztec” beans that some of us grow on our plots, dried or fresh. It might be even more delicious with borlotti beans, it that is possible. It serves 2 or 3 people.

  • A cup of dried beans, or about 2 cups of fresh ones.
  • Half a cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Six fresh sage leaves, or a sprig of sage blossoms
  • A small dried chili pepper, crumbled
  • Four good cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Salt and black pepper
  • A 400g tin of tomatoes or about four fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped.

If you are using dried beans, soak them overnight and drain. Boil the beans for about an hour, until they are nice and tender. Drain them.

Get about half the oil hot and simmer the sage, chili, and garlic in it for a minute or two, then add the beans and fry them all together for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes and simmer it all for about 30 minutes.  Top up with water if it gets too thick.

Season to taste, then pour the rest of the olive oil over the top and serve. Do not be tempted to skimp on the olive oil!

I like it with steamed brown rice, but my wife prefers it with mashed potatoes.  If you manage to have any left the next day, try Tuscan Beans on toast.  Sublime!

I found the original version of this recipe in a wonderful little book called The Goodness of Beans, Peas and Lentils by John Midgley. It is full of great things to do with beans.  Any of the recipes that use cannellini or haricot beans are even better with Aztec beans.

from Joe Foster

Rhubarb Mousse

has an unexpected gentleness on the palate and a subtle flavour…

Rhubarb Mousse

  • 150 ml orange juice
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 50 g sugar
  • 350 g peeled rhubarb
  • 70 g powdered sugar
  • 200 ml whipped cream
  • 3 eggs
  • cinnamon
  • 5 leaves of gelatine (or an equivalent amount of vegetarian substitutes like agar)

Cut the rhubarb and mix it with the sugar and juice, boil until the rhubarb is soft and excess liquid evaporates, then purée the mixture. Separate the eggs, and beat the egg yolks and powdered sugar over a double-boiler until fluffy. Add a generous pinch of cinnamon. Dissolve chosen gelling agent into the egg mixture and and add it to the puréed rhubarb. Beat the egg whites and fold them into the rhubarb, then repeat this with the cream. Chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

From Joe Foster (many thanks to Franzisca!)

Golden Apple Mincemeat

Joan Croft’s delicious filling for tartlets, flans, sponge cake or topping to ice cream…

Makes about 6 lb.

  • 3 lb eating apples
  • 1/2 oz butter
  • 2 lb sultanas
  • 1 pint water
  • 1 level teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 level teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 1/2 lb sugar
  • 4 oz chopped candied peal
  • juice of 1 lemon

Peel, core and slice the apples.  Butter the bottom of a saucepan and put the apples, sultanas and water in it and cook gently for 20 minutes.  Add the spices, sugar, candied peel and lemon juice.  Heat to dissolve the sugar, then boil, stirring until it reaches a thick consistency, about 20 minutes.  Pour into clean, warmed jars. Cover and label them.

Use it as a filling for tartlets, flans, sponge cake or as a topping to ice cream.

From Joan Croft

Apple Butter

Another good way of using up surplus or damaged apples …

Apple butter has always been associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch in America who have made it for several centuries. It is another good way of using up surplus or damaged apples, and you can try mixing in some crab apples.

  • 3 kg apples cleaned and quartered
  • 2.5 litres of water or apple juice
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • sugar

Simmer the fruit and liquid until it is very tender. Rub it through a sieve and weigh the pulp you get. Weigh out and set aside 750 grams of sugar for every kilogram of pulp. Simmer the pulp until most of the water has evaporated, then add the sugar and spices and boil, stirring frequently, until the mix is creamy. Pour into hot jars and seal.

From Joe Foster

Apple Juice

What do you do with all those windfall apples? Make apple juice …

What do you do with all those windfall apples? We only recently discovered how easy it was to make apple juice if you have some form of mechanical juicer. Surprisingly, the apples from our old Bramley tree, normally too sour to eat, make the most delicious juice with just the right balance of sweetness, acid and tannin – like a fine wine. All we do is wash them in plain water, cut off the damaged bits and chop them small enough to go into our juicer. With our machine you get a lot of froth at the top of the juice which seems to hold most of the original tartness. Let it sit for a while, then scrape most of it off, and carefully decant the juice into a fresh bottle, taking care to fill it right to the top. Try putting a small wedge of lime through the machine for every litre of so of juice for an extra lift to the flavour.

From Joe Foster

Courgette Soup

What to do with the courgette that got away? Courgette soup …

You come home from your summer holiday, and your zucchinis (courgettes to you) have nothing -ini or -ette about them. Look at that one – what is it? A courge? A zucchalone? A zeppelin? And what can you do with it? Here is a recipe from the late Ric Masten of California, poet, folk singer, lover of food and all around great human being. Joe Foster

THE CHEF
Slice and boil
the one that got away
the one that would play the lead
in THE SQUASH THAT ATE CHICAGO
the monster
that always has the crowd wild eyed
and screaming
My god! Is that really
A zucchini.
Strain off the water
Adding one bouillion cube (any kind)
and one tablespoon of olive oil
to every quart of cooked squash.
Puree and serve hot and steaming
with a slug of cold sour cream
dumped into the center of each portion.
Top with a sprinkle of dill seed,
salt and season to taste.

and now let us praise the chef
the only artist whose creative work
must speak to every sense

the literary labors of Shakespeare are immense
feeding and filling the soul
but a steady diet of language
leaves the stomach growling

and although it would garnish your life
and delight your eye
a garden salad by Picasso
would be as tasty as old canvas and varnish

and whatever the sculpture Rodin
might put out on the table
would be a masterpiece for sure
but nothing you could get your teeth into

no doubt
the sound of a string quartet is more uplifting
than the sizzle of bacon in a pan
but by intermission a sweaty musician
doesn’t smell as good

the fine art of cookery demands the heart
hand and eye of a complete renaissance man

and as always
muttering into her napkin counterpoint to this
my wife
why is it when a woman cooks a meal
it’s just a meal
but when a man cooks a meal
it’s such a big big deal

Ric Masten

Scarpaccia

A Tuscan zucchini pie without pastry …

(a Tuscan zucchini pie without pastry):

  • 1 or 11/2 lb young courgettes (use flowers as well)
  • 4 or 5 large spring onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 or 5 tbspns finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Batter made from
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 oz brown flour
    • 4 fl oz skim milk or milk + water
    • Butter and olive oil

Finely chop or slice courgettes and finely slice spring onions. Crush garlic. Beat the eggs, flour and milk to make a thin batter. Add vegetables and Parmesan, and season and mix well. Butter a large shallow oven proof dish and pour in the mixture. Don’t make it too deep – rather use two dishes. Drizzle over some olive oil and bake in a hot oven (gas 6/ electric 400) until set, lightly browned and risen slightly. Serve warm or cold.

From Gillian North