Food for Free is a great guide to Britain’s wild foods. Many superfoods are all around us for the taking. This small volume is a favourite of ours, detailing wild herbs, berries, greens sea vegetables and fungi. Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Set in an Aberdeenshire castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the Scottish witchcraft accusations, a handsome Laird, an ancient stone circle and a love story.
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen and is set in both Scotland and Colonial Pennsylvania.
This redcurrant jelly is absolutely delicious, the addition of rosemary giving it a savoury tang that makes it the perfect accompaniment for roast dinners. Also great in a sausage sandwich! Ripe in summer, redcurrants are great to preserve for winter, given that they’re so nutrient rich and have immune boosting properties.
Here’s the basic recipe for the Redcurrant and Rosemary Jelly. It makes a cloudy jelly. If you want a sparkling clear one, other, more time consuming, recipes will come up on a Google search.
We picked 1.5 lbs/0.75kg of redcurrants and put them in a pan, stalks and all, with a few sprigs of rosemary. Then we added 1lb/500g of sugar, half a cup of water and the juice of half a lemon.
Redcurrant Jelly Method
Bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for half an hour, stirring quite frequently. Allow the mixture to cool a little, though not until the jelly sets, and squash it through a sieve into a bowl. This is the hard work phase of the recipe! Press and rub it with a spoon until you’re left with mainly stalks and seeds in the sieve. Pour into jars of your choice. Cool completely before sealing/adding lids. Yum. This amount filled two medium jam jars, and should keep in the cupboard for months (if not years).
Cooking on the stove this morning is Apple and Ginger Chutney from the Cranks recipe book with the apples gathered on a bike ride, heavily supplemented with ones from our trees and our own onions too 🙂 Adapted recipe on the sauces page.
We love the humble potato, or tattie, here in Scotland. We eat mince with tatties. Haggis, neeps and tatties. Baked potatoes. Chips. We even put them in our sweet treats such as coconut macaroons. So when Scotty Brand, one of Scotland’s leading food producers, asked if we’d be interested in developing a potato milk recipe for them, we happily said yes.
Some Potato Facts
Potato milk is the most sustainable of the plant based milks.
Potatoes are a land efficient crop.
They use up to 56 times less water than other plant milk crops.
One medium potato gives you 30mg of Vitamin C, as much as a glass of tomato juice.
Scotland’s weather, climate and rich soil are perfect for growing potatoes.
Scotty Brand potatoes are all grown on a selection of farms across Scotland.
Potato Milk Recipe, makes 5 cups
You could, essentially, leave out the almonds/oats, dates/sweetener, vanilla and salt but they do improve the texture and taste considerably. However this option would be excellent for those on specific dietary regimes or with food intolerances.
Potato Milk Ingredients
4 cups of water
1 large potato, peeled and boiled. We used 3 Scotty Brand baby potatoes
1 heaped tablespoon of ground almonds (makes it creamy) or a tablespoon of ground up porridge oats (also creamy, slightly less so).
dates. For a sweet milk use 3 medjool dates or 6 small dates. For unsweetened milk use 1 medjool or 2 small. Alternatively you could use agave nectar or sugar (a tablespoon for sweet, a teaspoon for unsweetened).
half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
a pinch of salt
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain through a nut milk bag, or a sieve lined with cheesecloth or even a new nylon stocking (rinsed out first). Chill in the fridge. Like most plant milks, it’s best to shake or stir before use.
We tried it by itself, in cereal and in tea. All worked well, but, as is typical in this family, it was the next option that was the favourite!
Potato Milk Chocolate Shake
For a chocolate shake use 1 cup of potato milk per person with 1 banana each and 1 teaspoon of cocoa. Blend. Delicious…
Scotty Brand offers the finest seasonal produce including potatoes, Ayrshire new potatoes, seasonal berries, fresh soups, frozen chips and prepared vegetables.
Included in the large zip-up bag are a 5 in 1 pop up reflector:
8 postcards with tips from a professional photographer on aspects like composition and lighting:
… and 4 wonderful backgrounds. We used the gold reflector to good effect in the top noodle bowl photo. It was a really dull day. One of the frequently occurring storms was ongoing and the reflector really helped light the food.
And here’s a chocolate smoothie on the white marble background:
Sometimes lighthearted, sometimes provocative, the range of vegan clothes from Vegan Outfitters is designed to help keep you smiling through meat-heavy family dinners, and maybe even start a discussion or two…
The small but perfectly formed company is on a mission to spread compassion, one tee at a time.
Get 5% off when you spend £50 with code VEGANFAMILY5
And down at the bottom of the garden: snowdrops! Spring will be here any day…
A simple but truly delicious vegetable curry with onion bhajis from Lidl and some winter lettuce from the polytunnel.
Vegetable Curry Ingredients (serves four)
A little oil
one onion, chopped
a pepper, chopped
an apple, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons of curry powder or spices of your choosing (we like a combo of fenugreek, cumin, turmeric and chilli).
vegetables of your choice, chopped: we used an aubergine, some green beans, a few small potatoes and a diced carrot.
water to cover. We had some broccoli stock from earlier cooking and water saved from a tin of cannelloni beans.
a teaspoon or two of cornflour
salt to taste
Fry off the onion, pepper and apple in the oil for a few minutes then add the spices. Stir well for a few minutes taking care not to burn the mixture. Add the vegetables and water, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer until all veg is tender. Combine the cornflour with a little water and mix until smooth then add it to the curry, stirring all the time until it thickens. Add salt. We served it with some golden vegetable rice (add turmeric and a few peas/pepper/celery to rice as it cooks).
This turmeric macaroni is flavourful and nutritious, high in protein and also, thanks to the turmeric, has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s important to use a high quality turmeric: we like this one.
We used Tesco’s free from macaroni as it’s one of the nicest we’ve found. It does have a tendency to stick together in the pan so stir frequently for the first few minutes of cooking if using this one.
Turmeric Macaroni Ingredients
Pasta of your choice, cooked to pack instructions. The sauce is enough for 500g.
half a cup of quinoa grain
half a cup of cashew nuts
a medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, scraped and chopped
7 cloves of garlic
3 sticks of celery, chopped
3 cardamon pods
1 heaped teaspoon of turmeric
1 heaped teaspoon of cumin
and another heaped one of ground fenugreek
water to cover
salt if you like, but it really doesn’t need it
While your pasta is cooking, place all the other ingredients in a medium saucepan and cover well with water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer until the quinoa is cooked and sprouted and the vegetables are soft. Blend well until smooth then stir into the cooked, drained, pasta. Yum.
Kala Namak (black salt, tastes sulfurous like egg) to taste
a little olive oil
a box of fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced (or tinned ones)
a chopped red pepper
one small tin of sweetcorn
Preheat your oven to 200C/400F.
Grease a baking dish and place it in the oven to heat (frittata will cook more quickly).
Blend the tofu with the turmeric, gram flour and Kaka Namak.
Wash, slice and fry up the mushrooms and pepper in the olive oil.
Add the sweetcorn to the mix and stir until well heated through.
Combine the blended tofu mixture with the mushrooms and vegetables (in the cooking pan if big enough, or straight into the oven heated dish) and bake for at least half an hour or until the frittata/tortilla seems set through.
We served it with chips and salad above, but it is lovely on its own and also cold and sliced the next day.
This is a totally delicious sweet and sour pizza, made spicy by the inclusion of a chilli in the sauce. And it’s all about the sauce. You can put it on any base you like. We used homemade sourdough (see how we do it here) but you could use ready made bases or even pitta breads.
The quantities below made enough for a large, full roasting tin size pizza, serving four.
Sweet and Sour Pizza Sauce Ingredients
a little olive oil
one onion, finely chopped
a few cloves of garlic, really finely chopped or crushed
one small sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
one chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
about a quarter cup of pineapple juice (handy if putting tinned pineapple on pizza, as you can use the juice from the can)
about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
half a tube or a small jar of tomato puree
a few sprigs of parsley, very finely chopped
salt to taste (doesn’t need much)
Toppings of choice: we used tinned pineapple, tinned mushrooms (they don’t dry up on a pizza like fresh) and Asda Free From Grated Mozzarella (Asda have the cheapest free from cheese we’ve seen).
Prepare your base as desired. In our case, we made sourdough bread dough and left it rising in the tin all day!
Fry the onion, garlic, sweet potato and chilli in the oil for a few minutes.
Add the juice, vinegar, parsley and puree
Mix well, adding more juice if too thick.
Season with salt
Spread it over your pizza base and add toppings!
How long you need to bake depends on the base. Our thick homemade one needed half an hour at 200C/400F. Pittas would need much less as they’re already cooked. In fact you could just grill them.