Author: Suzanne James

Sue’s Perfect Blackberry & Apple Pie

Who didn’t grow up with Blackberry and Apple Pie, it is a dish that makes many of us nostalgic and for me it also heralds the turning of the season. So, what makes the perfect Blackberry & Apple Pie? Everyone has a different view, but for me it comes down to ingredients. The perfect pastry, sweet English apples, and blackberries that have just enough acidity to contrast with the sugar-crusted pastry (shop bought blackberries are often much sweeter than wild ones). I am lucky as between the windfalls from my neighbor’s apple, Amanda’s allotment, and local hedgerows my house is well stocked with apples from September to November. Blackberries are around until the end of the month, so now is the time to make your pies! For preference I would always use a classic short crust pastry, light and not too sweet it will enhance the magical contents within, leaving that to be the star of the show. Plus, of course, it must stay crisp on top! Of course, my way may not be your …

Peaches & Brioche

Continuing our mission to create amazing dishes from home grown produce from our allotment….or in this case peaches from the next plot (which we exchanged for our own Blackberries which we have in abundance)! Peaches & Brioche (serves 4) Ingredients 2 peaches (or nectarines) 4 brioche slices 150g Mascarpone 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out, pod reserved 150g caster sugar, plus extra to taste pinch Cinnamon 50g Butter 50ml double cream Method Bring a pan of water to the boil. Make a cross in the bottom of the peaches with the tip of a sharp knife, then place the peaches in the water and leave for 30 seconds. Drain, peel away the skin of the peaches and set aside. Cut the fingers of brioche in half and toast them on a griddle pan until golden-brown. Remove from the heat and set to one side. Mix together the mascarpone and vanilla seeds in a bowl, adding sugar, to taste. Set aside. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Sprinkle the caster sugar over the base …

Summer Pudding Loaf

Serves: 6 Prep Time: Overnight Cook Time: 10 minutes or less If you have been hard at work on your vegetable plot or allotment all year then this is the time when you feel the full benefit of your labour. Nothing feels better than loading up a basket with home grown fruit and vegetables, and, thanks to our new netting, there will be masses of fruit this year as the weather really has been perfect & we have succeeded in keeping the birds off. This success can of course lead to its own problems, as you can only use up, or freeze, so much fruit at a time, but this is a lovely recipe that should help if you have a ‘glut’ like we do! Ingredients 1kg / 2lb 4oz mixed summer berries – we used blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, redcurrants all from the allotment! 250g / 9oz caster sugar 1 large unsliced white loaf or thick-sliced white bread (preferably slightly stale) Method Line one 450g / 1lb loaf tin with a double layer of cling …

Nunhead Garden Risotto

Our lovely allotment in Nunhead is flourishing, everything is planted and now it’s all about the watering, weeding and feeding. Meanwhile we are dreaming of making one of our favourite risotto’s next month when we will be harvesting homegrown Peas, Garlic, Mint, Onions, Thyme, Bay Leaves, French Beans and Runner Beans – not a bad haul – if only white wine grew on trees we’d be laughing! Nunhead Garden Risotto Serves approximately: 4 People Preparation time: 30 Minutes Cooking time 20-30 Minutes Ingredients: ·       250g / 5oz Peas ·       250g / 5oz Broad Beans ·       100g / 3½ oz French Beans, but into small pieces ·       50g / 2oz Butter ·       3 tbsp Olive Oil ·       1tbsp chopped fresh Mint leaves ·       1 Finely chopped Onion ·       3 Finely chopped Baby Leeks ·       2 Garlic Cloves crushed ·       3-4 Sprigs fresh Thyme ·       1 long strip of Lemon Zest ·       1 Bay leaf ·       150g / 5oz Arborio Risotto Rice ·       150ml / 5oz Dry White Wine ·       750ml / 1-pint 7fl oz hot vegetable …

Asparagus & Cheddar Tart

There is only one thing on my mind at this time of year – English Asparagus. We are hoping the ‘Beast from the East’ hasn’t put things back too much – right now we are on track for the season to start on the 23rd April – Hurrah! Asparagus & Cheddar Tart Serves approximately: 4 People Preparation time: 30 Minutes Cooking time 30 Minutes Ingredients Pastry 140g Plain flour 85g Butter Cubed 100g Cheddar Pinch Cayenne Pepper Filling 5 eggs 175ml Milk 125g Cheddar 25g Parmesan 300g Asparagus Truffle Oil (to finish) Method: Put the flour in a bowl, add the butter to the flour and rub in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the grated cheddar and Cayenne into the pastry and mix. Add 3 tbsp cold water and mix until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 5 mins. Butter a 20 x 6cm deep loose-bottom tart tin, or a 35 x 12cm rectangular tart tin. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Lightly dust the work …