November 2009

Just a quick one this time.  You must make this.  It’s easy and tasty and cheap and warming. 

Sexed up Cabbage

One savoy cabbage (into strips)   
One white onion (finely chopped)  
1 litre Chicken stock  
1 packet Streaky bacon(very roughly chopped, chunky 1cm pieces)  
1/5 litre white wine (half a bottle ish, the rest for quaffing)  
New potatoes (enough for two – into thirds) 
25g salted butter  
1 tin Butter beans  
Salt and pepper 

Making – you’ll need a wok or deep frying pan  

Heat a spalsh of olive oil in your pan on a high heat and add the bacon. Cook until crispy and remove to a seperate bowl.  

Add the butter to your pan, heat gently and add your onion, fry for 5 minutes until softening, then add your cabbage and fry gently for a further 10 minutes.  

Add the bacon, salt and pepper and then add the chicken stock and potatoes and turn up the heat – let it come to a boil.  

Then add the white wine, bring to a boil again  and then simmer for 15 minutes or so until the potatoes are tender, you may want to stick a lid on – just depends how runny you want it.  

Add the butter beans about 5 minutes from the end.  

Serve with bread and butter  

Pretend that you will save some for lunch whilst in fact eating it all that night, mostly with spoon out of the pan.


In the lovely little village I grew up in, the Fete, Produce Show and Hog Roast were big occasions in the village calendar.  One such event I remember vividly from my childhood was the ‘WI Winter Warmers’.   Around this time of year the  local WI would cook masses of winter food, sell tickets and then serve it in the Village Hall.  I remember that the windows steamed up and you could barely squeeze between the tables as everyone tucked into a warming wintery meal .

I remember beef casseroles, lamb hot pot, thick stews and spicy curries, followed by fruit pies, crumbles, sponge puddings all served with hot custard. It was such an occasion of village life, warm and friendly and delicious. I loved it because it heralded the start of winter, which was and still is my favourite type of year to cook and eat. Now it’s November and definitely winter, here a couple of warming winter recipes that are very effective at internal heating:

Sausage Casserole

You’ll need a non stick frying pan, a large saucepan and another saucepan to cook the rice

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

2 ts Cayenne Pepper

2 ts Mild chilli pepper

Good quality sausages (2 – 3 per person, depending on size of the sausage & the person)

Two small red onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic

1 tin black eyed beans

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 chicken stock cube

Wholegrain rice

1.       Chop the sausages into thirds (width ways), and fry in a tablespoon of olive oil and half the spices until brown on most sides in a non-stick frying pan

2.       Meanwhile in a big saucepan fry the onions on garlic on a high heat until sticky and cameralized

3.       Add some salt and pepper and the sausages to the saucepan

4.       Add the chopped tomatoes

5.       Add the beans

6.       Add the stock (make in one of tins to save washing up)

7.       Leave to simmer gently away while you cook the rice

8.       Serve with lemon wedge, natural yoghurt, chopped chives and some parmesan cheese (or none, it’s so tasty it doesn’t matter)

Note: If I had smoked paprika I would add this instead of chilli powder. If I had any red or yellow peppers I would have added those. If I had chorizo I would have definitely chopped some of that in as well.



Revised Ginger Nut Crumble


A while ago I promised that if I made my Ginger Nut Crumble again using the crushed biscuits in the crumble mix I would post the results. Last night I finally got around to it (nothing like freezing rain to inspire a bit of baking) and from now on I will ALWAYS add biscuits. I revised the recipe a bit, and this one is definitely better. I’m looking forward to experimenting with different kinds of biscuits – hob nobs are next on the list.

You’ll need an oven proof dish.

For the crumble:

275g plain flour

150g light brown sugar

50g of crushed ginger nut biscuits – I crushed them in a big bowl with a rolling pin (it was very theraputic)
200g/7oz unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature 

For the filling:

Three apples chopped into bite-sized chunks

4 plums quartered

1 big tablespoon of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of plain flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

5cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped (optional)

1.       In a big bowl add all the filling mix and gently stir around

2.       Add to your oven-proof dish

3.       Wash the bowl out and

4.       Fill your oven-dish with the fruit mix

5.       Mix the flour, crushed biscuits and sugar in the bowl. Add the cubes of butter a few at a time and rub with your fingers until all the butter is added and the mix looks like breadcrumbs (you may not need all the butter)

6.       Add on top of the fruit

7.       Put in the oven at 180C for about 40 minutes. Check it at 30 – the fruit should be bubbling out of the sides a little bit and the crumble should be browning

8.       Eat in a bowl with custard or ice cream. (not out of the oven dish stood at the oven because you will burn your mouth. I learnt that the hard way – twice now.)