Huevos rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

This was my favourite brunch choice at Giraffe in Richmond, a fried egg, refried beans on a tortilla with salsa. The veggie option in Giraffe included mushrooms instead of chorizo. Since we moved we have tried to recreate this dish at home.

  • tortilla
  • eggs
  • pinto beans
  • chilli
  • pimento peppers
  • tomatoe puree
  • cumin
  • avacado
  • onion
  • tomatoe
  • lime
  • corriander

Start by making the refried beans. Fry a finely chopped onion in some olive oil once softend add a pinch of dried chilli (smoked chilli could be a good alternative). Add some chopped pimento pepper (or jalepeno). Drain can of pinto beans and add to the mixture, use a fork to smash up some of the beans.Add a pinch of cumin and some tomatoe puree and leave to simmer

Meanwhile make the salsa, simply chop some onion, tomatoes and avacado, season, add olive oil and lime juice and finish with some fresh corriander

Heat up a couple of tortillas and fry some eggs.

Once the eggs are cooked you are ready to eat, spread the beans over the tortilla lay a fried egg on top with salsa at the side.

Summer Salmon with peas, beans, potatoes and samphire

IMG_5980

This is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe (from Jamie’s Dinners), but with some slight variations.

  • Salmon fillets
  • Runner beans
  • Broad beans (we took the outer skin off because I’m fussy and think they are bitter)
  • Peas
  • (we stopped here, but any other seasonal green stuff you want)
  • Samphire (this was an impulse buy when we saw it in the fishmongers)
  • Lemons
  • Dill
  • New Potatoes – we used Anya, but any small variety – like Red fur apple or Rattes

Pre-heat the oven to 230 degrees.

Boil the potatoes for 10 or so minutes, and add any beans that might need a bit of pre-cooking – for us, just the runner beans – for a few more minutes. You don’t want them completely cooked, as it is all going into the oven for 15 minutes.

Descale the salmon (just scrape the scales off with a knife), cut into portion sized bits, and cut two or three slits in the skin. Roughly chop the dill, and push into the slits.

Drain the potatoes and other veg and put into a baking tray with all the other veg and samphire. Season with salt and pepper (if you are using samphire you won’t need much salt as it is quite salty), add lemon zest and lemon juice (we used 2 lemons for 6 people) and mix together. Lay the salmon portions on top, and drizzle with oil. Put the tray in the oven for about 15 minutes – basically until the salmon is cooked.

And that’s it – incredibly easy, and tastest great, especially eaten outside with a glass of wine, in the company of family and friends on a beautiful summer’s day.

Rye Bread

Rye Bread

Rye Bread

Admittedly, it doesn’t look very impressive – but this was the product of many hours of dedicated labour – and it tastes – well, like Rye Bread – so job done.

Two books have both enthused me about making bread over the last year. One I’ve already mentioned on this blog – Dough by Richard Bertinet. The other, and the one which this recipe comes from, is The Handmade Loaf by Dan Leppard. The recipes in The Handmade Loaf were collected by Dan from around Europe.
Dan Leppard’s approach to bread making is not for the impatient or the short of time. Many of them rely on a natural leaven – that is a ferment made from naturally occuring yeast. Initially the leaven takes several days to get going, but once you have a mixture that is fermenting you can keep it going by ‘feeding it’ – that is topping it up with flour and water.
Since this Rye Bread uses the natural leaven – this is where I should start. The instructions (and pictures) in the book are so good it seems both pointless, and unfair to the author, to repeat them here, but I’ll summarise quickly:
Mix 50g water, 2 tsp rye flour, 2 tsp strong white flour, 2 tsp currants or raisins, 2 tsp live low-fat yoghurt in a (atleast) 500ml jar, and leave at room temperature for 24 hours
Add a further 50g water, 2 tsp rye flour and 2 tsp strong white flour, stir well, and leave for 24 hours
Add 100g water, 4 tsp rye flour, 4 tsp strong white flour, stir in, and leave for 24 hours
Remove 3/4 of the mixture, add 100g water and stir well. Strain out the raisins/currents. Add 125g strong white flour and stir well – the leave for 24 hours
Add 100g water, stir well, add 125g strong white flour, stir well, leave for 24 hours
As you can see – this has already taken you 5 days – and you haven’t even started on the bread yet!
You should have a leaven that is now fermenting. To keep this going, every 24 hours you need to use, or otherwise dispose of, 3/4 of the leaven and top up with 100g water and 125g strong white flour (or in these proportions)
However, for the Rye Bread I needed a Rye Leaven instead of the white leaven that is described here. To make a Rye leaven you simply take the leave above and start feeding it with Rye flour and water rather than strong white flour and water. However with Rye flour you need a bit more water – I ended up using 125g Rye and 125g water for each refresh. I repeated this over a few days, refreshing roughly every 48 hours discarding 3/4 of the mixture and adding these proportions of water and rye flour – I think I refreshed like this 3 or 4 times.
With the Rye Leaven ready, you can start on the bread:
Boil water and measure out 240g – then let it cool to 90 degrees, and then whisk in 60g of rye flour – I have to admit I didn’t measure the temperature, I just boiled the water, poured out 240g into a bowl, and then whisked in the flour. The recipe suggests that adding the flour to water at different temperatures creates different textures to the final loaf.
Leave this mixture for at least an hour (I left it for just 1 hour), up to 24 hours
Now add 200g rye leaven to 50g water – and whisk in all but 1-2 tbsp of the rye and water mixture you made earlier (you use this little bit you have saved to brush the loaf later)
Add in 300g rye flour, 1 tsp salt and mix well
You’ll have a very wet dough
The recipe says to knead this ‘gently’ on an oiled surface – I have to say I found this very difficult. The dough was extremely wet, and despite the oil stuck to the surface quite quickly. From the description in the recipe it is not at all clear if you knead for just a few minutes, or until the dough firms up a bit and becomes easier to handle.
I was a bit less ‘gentle’ with the dough to try to get it to firm up, but in the end floured my hands liberally (although trying not to put more flour into the mixture, since in general the recipes Dan Lepard gives do result in quite wet doughs – and this is deliberate not a mistake), and shaped into a loaf.
Once you have a loaf, wrap in a (very very) well floured cloth, and leave to rise for 5 hours.
The recipe suggests the loaf will double in size – mine didn’t come close to this. Although you could tell that the dough had relaxed somewhat, it was hard to see if it had actually increased in size at all after 5 hours – maybe just a very little.
While the loaf is rising, pre-heat the over to 210 degrees. Don’t do what I did and accidentally switch the oven off, rather than switching it on 🙂
Turn the loaf onto a floured tray, and brush the top of the loaf with the leaven/flour/water mix from earlier, spray the loaf with water and bake in the over for 50 minutes, spraying again after 5 minutes.
The resulting loaf will be dense (I thought I’d baked a brick when my came out) – but will have that very distinct, and delicious, rye bread flavour. The bread goes well with a good hard cheese (something strong like Lincolnshire Poacher), smoked salmon, or just with some nice creamy butter. It may take 6 or so days to make, but it is worth it.

Green Filo Pie

This is one of the first dishes Owen ever cooked for me, and is a great way of using up lots of green vegetables. As usual I don't tend to follow any particular recipie, hence the quantities are a little vague. I tend to use enough vegetables to feed four and about 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt.

Filo Pastry
Spinach
Courgette – diced
Peas
Sprouting Broccoli
Leeks – sliced
Yogurt
Feta – 250g packet
Cumin
mint
Parsley
Oil

Fry the leeks till soft, add the courgette, followed by peas and broccoli till they are all cooked, season with salt and pepper. Once they are cooked tip into a bowl and mix in some yogurt, feta (cubed) and a pinch of cumin. Add in a handful of chopped mint and parsley.

Brush a dish with oil and then layer a sheet of filo pastry, brush with oil and add another layer, I normally place about 6-10 sheets of filo pastry. Add the filling and then top with more sheets of filo pastry, then place in a hot oven to bake for about 30 mins.

Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas

For years I believed that deep frying something was some dark art, and one you wouldn’t attempt at home without a deep fat fryer – probably because of those films that showed how cooking chips was essentially a short cut to burning down your house. Since then, my wife’s delicious samosas, pakoras and other great tasting snacks taught me otherwise. Despite this I only did fish in batter for the first time last year, and (for health reasons) oven cooked, rather than fried, the chips. Whether this really helps on the health front when I’ve deep fried the fish I’ve no idea – especially when you look at the mushy pea recipe.

In summary, this was easier and much better than I expected, but for those watching fat intake should be saved for special occasions.

Preparing the fish

Preparing the fish

I’ve done this with both plaice and haddock (pictured here), but I think plaice works better (mainly because it cooks much much quicker.

For the chips, I just slice the potato (peeled or not depending on what
you like) into chip sized pieces, dry off (with a tea towel), and put into a roasting tin with some salt and good quality, extra virgin, rapeseed oil. Put in the over for about 30 mins – give them a turn/shake about half way through.

Easy.

I then do the mushy peas, because they can be cooked, and kept warm or reheated later if necessary (this is from Jamie Oliver):

  • Frozen or fresh peas (you get a different texture depending, but both taste nice)
  • Fresh mint – chopped
  • Butter
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt/Pepper

Put the peas and chopped mint in a saucepan with a knob of butter, put the lid on and simmer (no water required) – 10 minutes or so (possibly a bit more if you are using fresh peas). Add lemon juice (to taste) and salt and pepper (of course, to taste). Then mash them – I prefer them to mash them reasonably roughly.

Chopping Mint

Chopping Mint

OK – now the fish. Obviously you want to be using fillets – as I say, flat fish cooks quicker, and I think is better (Marco Pierre White says that you can’t beat fish and chips made with turbot – I’ve had to take his word for it to date).

The batter (for 2 fillets):

  • 110g flour
  • 140ml Cold Hoegaarden (I’ve tried other beer, but I think the subtle spices in Hoegaarden work well)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (that’s one heaped, one level)

Mix all these together and whisk until smooth – you want it to be thick enough to stick to the fish!

This is probably the point to put the oil on – you can use vegetable, rapeseed or sunflower oil – any oil that is suitable for deep frying (basically not olive oil). I’ve started doing this in a wok – it heats up extremely quickly, and you can get away with a relatively small amount of oil – also the wok is going to be oily anyway, so you aren’t going to ruin it this way.

You can tell when the oil is ready by dropping in a crumb of bread – you want it to ‘fizz’ and float to the top of the oil.

Season the fish with salt and pepper, then put some flour on a plate and lie each fillet in, one at a time, to cover with a thin layer of flour – shake off any excess.

Dip the fish in the batter mixture – make sure it is covered, then hold it up and shake it a bit – letting excess batter drip off. Carefully lay the fish into the hot oil (see advice on checking the temperature above) – you really want to be careful here. You should be able to do two fillets at the same time in a reasonably sized wok. They’ll take a few minutes each – it really depends on the thickness of the fillet. You’ll also probably want to turn them over after a couple of minutes – essentially once the bit in the oil is crispy and brown, I would turn to get the same colour on both sides. Once they are done, take them out and put them on kitchen paper to drain. I cut into one of them at this point to check it is done – if not, back in the oil for a bit longer. I do find this can be tricky, as it can all start to fall to pieces if you aren’t careful – in general it is much better if they are done at this point!

Frying Fish

Frying Fish

Hopefully everything is done by this point, and you can serve up – with plenty of salt, malt vinegar, and if you like, ketchup.

Oriental Sea Bass with spicy dipping sauce

Sea Bass preparation

Sea Bass preparation

Appetite by Nigel Slater
is one of my favourite cookery books. I have to admit that if I’m
cooking from a recipe, I generally like to follow it – despite my
wife’s best attempts to get me to relax, and treat the recipe as a
starting point rather than a set of rules that have to be followed.
‘Appetite’ doesn’t generally have recipes, but rather guidelines and
suggestions – and it was the book that finally got me to engage in wha
I was cooking, taste as I went along, and gave me some confidence in my
ability to produce something edible without strict instructions.

In
the same vein the quantities here are vague, and can, and should, be
varied to taste, and depending on how many you are serving.

  • Enough Sea Bass to go around – the one above served two, although without any scale clearly difficult o know how big it is!
  • Chilli – I used 1
  • Ginger – a bit – lets say about the same amount ginger as you have chilli
  • Some coriander
  • Lemon grass
  • Chinese Rice Wine (a.k.a Shaoxing wine, Shaohsing wine, Shao hsing wine, Hsao Shing wine)

Scale and gut the sea bass – or buy it that way of course – I take a
slightly peverse pleasure in doing this myself when I have the time.
Put the fish on a piece of foil – big enough to form an envelope around
the fish.

Bash
the lemon grass a bit – e.g. with a rolling pin – so it splits a little
(don’t overdo it – you don’t want it in pieces), and stuff it in the
cavity in the fish.

Thinly slice the chilli and ginger into
strips, and scatter around the fish, add some coriander (stalks and
leaves) – in the cavity and around. Finally add salt, and a small glass
of rice wine (making sure you’ve turned the foil up so it stays in the
foil)

Make an envelope out of the foil, sealing the fish inside.
You can leave this for an hour or two, or cook immediately if you want.

To
cook, put the oven on about 200 C, I recommend putting the foil parcel
is a shallow tray or dish just in case any liquid leaks out. For a
small sea bass it could take as little as 15 minutes – just check it
regularly after this – you want it so the flesh pulls away from the
bone easily.

This can be served with plain rice, but Nigel recommends (and I concur) a dipping sauce with it:

  • Rice wine
  • Sugar
  • Chilli
  • Dark Soy sauce
  • Lemon or Lime

Put equal amounts (by volume) of sugar and rice wine in a pan (for
2-3 people, 6 tablespoons of each). Bring this to the boil, and simmer
until it starts to get a bit syrupy – maybe 5 minutes or so. Finely
slice a chilli (again for 2-3 people 1 will be fine), and add to the
sauce, along with a tablespoon of dark soy (based on the same
quantities) and juice of half a lemon or lime (depends on the juiciness
and size – basically you don’t want to water down the sauce too much,
but just add a bit of zing)

Sea Bass with Spicy Sauce

Sea Bass with Spicy Sauce


Red Snapper and Spicy Rice

Red Snapper with Spicy Couscous

Red Snapper with Spicy Rice

This is a variation on a Jamie Oliver recipe – I have to admit that I think the original is better than this variation (it’s in Jamie’s Dinners, called Omega 3 and Couscous if you are interested) – but we were missing some of the key ingredients, including the Couscous, so this is what we got instead (some of the quantities I’m guessing about)

2 fillets of red snapper (although you could use another fish – barramundi would probably work well)
Cherry Tomatoes (a small punnet – 125g I think)
1 Red Onion
1-2 tsp dried chilli
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 bay leaf (fresh is better – you can freeze them and use straight from the freezer)
Basmati rice (enough for 2 – I would say a cupful)
1 anchovy fillet

Cook the rice leaving it just slightly underdone

You want a pan that is going to fit everything in it – we use a deepish wide frying pan – ideally with a lid, although you could use foil to cover the pan as well.

Chop the onion finely, and cook on a low heat in some good olive oil, with the fennel seeds, bay leaf and chilli in a covered pan (you want the onion to get quite soft – it will take 10 minutes or so)
Chop the tomatoes into halves or quarters (depending on the size – you don’t want the pieces to be too small), and chop the anchovy as well, and add them both to the onion and herbs/spices. Season the mixture to taste.

Spread the tomato/onion mixture over the base of the pan, then spread the rice over the top, covering the tomato/onion completely. Lay the fish fillets, skin side up, on top of the rice, and cover the pan. Cook on a low heat until the fish is cooked through. You may well want to add a drop of water during the cooking – I usually end up adding half a cup or so. How long it takes to cook will depend on the size of the fillets – 10-15 minutes as a guide.

What you will hopefully get is a thick, spicy, jammy, tomato mixture at the bottom of the pan which you can mix through the rice.

Serve with a yoghurt dressing – yoghurt, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mint, coriander if you like.

I would recommend the original recipe – couscous takes the flavours of the tomato mixture better, and uses fresh fennel to give a bit of an aniseed edge.

Apricot and Oat Bread

Apricot Oat Bread, Sliced

Apricot Oat Bread, Sliced


This recipe is from Dough by Richard Bertinet. I came across this book in Richmond library while actually looking for a Chinese cookery book, and thought it looked interesting. After a few weeks, several loaves, and some overdue fines, I decided I needed to invest in my own copy.

Richard Bertinet is a Frenchman living in the UK (around Bath somewhere), and he has some definite views on the way you should bake bread. He dispenses with the traditional ‘kneading’ process, and replaces it with a method where you stretch and fold the bread. For some of the breads I think the technique makes quite a big difference, giving a more open texture. However in this case, the bread has quite a close texture anyway, so I think normal kneading will be fine.

If you are interested in trying a different approach, I’d really recommend the book and it includes a DVD showing how to carry out the technique. If you are really  interested you can book yourself on one of Richard’s cookery courses!

This recipe makes two smallish loaves.

300g Strong (Bread) wholemeal flour
200g Strong (Bread) white flour
10g yeast (fresh or dry, but not the easy bake stuff)
10g salt
350g water (or 350ml – but you’ve got the scales out anyway, and weighing is more accurate they say)
200g apricots (roughly chopped)
50g (or so) Oats (e.g. Jumbo oats)

Mix the flours together. If you are using fresh yeast, rub it into the flour – like you would butter in pastry. If you are using dry yeast (which I did) just mix in the yeast with the flour – you just want to get the yeast distributed through the mixture.

Add the salt, and mix through (do this separately to the yeast, as a concentration of salt can kill the yeast). Then add the water, and mix. You’ll get a slightly wet dough – it will be sticky, but should be firm enough to knead, and as you knead the stickiness will go.

When the dough feels less sticky, and firmer, add the chopped apricots to the dough – and keep on kneading to spread them evenly throughout the dough. I usually flatten the dough, put the apricots on top, then fold the dough over and start kneading again. I have to admit I find the dough slighly more difficult to handle once its got bits in, and find the bits (in this case apricot of course) fall out and shoot across the work surface (or onto the floor).

Once you’ve got the apricots pieces mixed in with the dough, form the dough into a ball by flattening the dough just a very little, and then fold in the edges to the middle. Turn the ball over, so you’ve got a smooth side on top. Put the ball of dough in a lightly floured bowl (big enough for the dough to double in size) and cover the bowl with a damp tea towel.

You need to rest this in a reasonably warm place for about an hour – until the dough has doubled in size. It really shouldn’t take more than 90 minutes at the very most. If your kitchen is warm this is an ideal place to put it.

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out and divide it into two. Form each half into a ball, and rest on the side (you may want to flour the side to stop it sticking) – covered with the damp tea towel – just for 10 minutes.

You now want to form each of the balls into a loaf. Turn the ball upside down, so the smooth side is down on the work surface. Flatten it out into a slight oval. Along one long side – fold the edges into the middle. Then do the same with the other long side. You should have something vaguely loaf shaped by now. Fold it in half lengthways, and turn it over so the ‘seam’ you’ve just made is on the bottom. Hopefully this will look pretty much like a loaf! (the shaping is meant to help the rising – but to be honest you can probably get away with any shape!)

Brush the top and sides of the loaves with water, spread the oats out on a plate, or on the side, and roll the loaves in the oats until they are covered (not on the bottom).

Put the loaves on a tea towel you have generously dusted with flour, pleating the tea towel slightly between the loaves so they don’t touch as they rise. Make three or four cuts across each loaf with a sharp knife (again, this helps the loaves rise). Cover the loaves (I usually just fold over the edges of the floured tea towel they are resting on), and leave to rise for another hour. This is often a good point to put the oven on – you want to pre-heat it to 250 Celsius. If you have a pizza stone, you can use this to bake the bread on – put this in oven now so it has plenty of time to heat up.

After an hour, put the loaves in the oven – either on a baking sheet (don’t worry about handling the loaves at this stage – they should be quite robust), or on a pizza stone that has been in the oven as it was pre-heated. I also pour half a glass of water into a tray in the bottom of the oven to get some steam in the oven – once again, to help with the rising of the loaf – but you can omit this if you want. Immediately turn the oven down to 220 degrees, and bake for 25 minutes.

Take the loaves out of the oven – check they are cooked by tapping the bottom of the loaf with your fingers – they should sound hollow – if not, put them back for another 5 minutes or so.

Cool the bread on a cooling rack.

Apricot Oat Bread

Apricot Oat Bread


Russian Fish Pie

Dinner tonight was a version of Russian Fish Pie, the recipe is from ‘Tana Ramsay’s Real Family Food: Delicious Recipes for Everyday Occasions’ and is salmon encased in rice in puff pastry. As we no longer have this cook book (had to go back to the library) I have no quantities for the ingredients, I tend to do this just by eye.

Russian Fish Pie

Russian Fish Pie

2 x Salmon fillets

Pack of puff pastry

Rice
Creme Fraiche

Mushrooms (chestnut)

2 x Leeks

Thyme

Dill

Cinnamon

Star Anise

Garlic

1. Roll out a third of the puff pastry into a rectangle, this will be the base of the dish, then place in oven (200c) for 10-15 minutes till brown.

2. Cook enough rice to cover the base of the puff pastry and the salmon. I use basmati rice, which I wash thoroughly then fry in some oil with star anise and cinnamon before adding enough water, once water is boiling reduce heat and leave to simmer. When the rice is just about cooked, turn off the heat and cover pan with foil then the lid, the steam should then continue cooking the rice.

3. Fry the leeks and garlic till soft, season, add thyme and mushrooms and continue cooking for a few minutes.

4. Add salmon to the pan, on top of mushroom and leek mixture then put the lid on and let the salmon cook for 10-20 mins. Once cooked remove the salmon and take off the skin.

5. Add remaining mushroom and leek mixture to the cooked rice and combine with dill and creme fraiche, the mixture should be a thick consistency. Add a layer of rice mixture on top of the cooked pastry, add the salmon then cover the fish with the rice mixture.

6. Roll out remaining puff pastry and cover the dish, then bake in over for 15-25 minutes.
This dish works well on its own, you could add some capers or green peppercorns to the rice mixture for some added bite.

Foods for thought

This blog was originally intended to be a ‘personal’ blog, complementing the professionally oriented ‘Overdue Ideas’ blog. However, we never really managed to keep this up to date – partly because of time, but I think mainly because there was no natural audience for the comings and goings of our everyday lives apart from close friends and family – who already knew what we were doing.

Recently I tweeted what I was cooking for our evening meal, and got a couple of requests to share the recipe, and it made me think that perhaps it was worth resurrecting this blog as a food focused blog. This was there will be a reason to blog on a regular basis (after all, we eat every day, even if it isn’t always that interesting), and if no one else is interested we can look back and see what we’ve cooked, and what we thought.

So, here is the first entry – unfortunately no pictures with this one, as we cooked and ate it on New Year’s Eve, but here is the recipe and comments:

Mushroom and Pickled Walnut Suet Puddings (serves 2)

This is actually a simple variation on a Waitrose Recipe card for “Mushroom and Chestnut puds”. I was originally going to follow this directly, but I initially had difficulty finding the chestnuts, and decided to try it out with pickled walnuts instead. The results were good, although we both felt that the walnuts were a bit to vinegary, and if I did it again I’d probably cut down the walnuts and mix with chestnuts – I do think the walnuts add something a bit extra to the recipe. The original recipe makes two small puddings (300ml each), but I made one large one. Anyway, the recipe here is as I cooked it.

The other thing about the recipe that I was both pleased and suprised by was how easy the suet pastry was to make – and how light it turned out – my first attempt at a suet pastry and I was really pleased with it.

Olive Oil
250g Portabellini (or field) mushrooms
Clove of garlic
Pickled Walnuts (I’d estimate about 6, but to taste really)
1 tbsp tomato puree
300 ml good red wine (I used a Barolo, but any meaty red wine – a Burgundy or good Cabernet Sauvignon from elsewhere would be good)
150g self-raising flour
75g vegetable suet (I used Atora – I don’t even know if there are other brands)
Salt
Pepper
Water

You will also need a 600ml ovenproof bowl – greased with olive oil, some kitchen foil, some string, a saucepan (with lid) large enough to accommodate the bowl and a steamer or trivet.

I made the pastry first:

Mix the flour, a pinch of salt and suet in a bowl. Add about 100ml (or a bit more if needed – I would guess I actually used more like 110ml in the end) cold water and mix to a dough. The original recipe describes this as a ‘stiff’ dough, but I would have said it was slightly wet (compared to a normal pastry anyway). I then wrapped this in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to rest.

Then the filling:

Slice the walnuts (about half a centimeter thick) – don’t worry if they disintegrate a little.

Chop the mushrooms into chunks – a little bigger than bite sized – fry in olive oil until they just start to go golden (a few minutes). Crush the garlic, add to the mushrooms and continue to cook for about another minute. Add the sliced walnuts, the tomato puree and the red wine. Season with a pinch of salt (I think I overdid this a bit, so I’d just add a small pinch now, and season again towards the end), and a generous grinding of pepper.

Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduced the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, then take off the heat.

Get the pastry out of the fridge, and remove about a quarter and put to one side. Shape the remaining dough into a ball, then roll out into a circle, until it is big enough to fit the bowl with a little extra over the edge (don’t forget to grease the bowl with olive oil). Line the bowl with the pastry.

With the smaller piece of dough that you reserved, roll a circle large enough to cover the top of the pudding.

Pour the filling into the lined bowl – you may not need it all, I would suggest not filling quite to the top, as my pudding leaked a little in the end. Wet the edge of the pastry around the rim of the bowl, and push the pastry cover down over the top making sure it seals all the way round. Trim away excess pastry with a knife. I was worried when I poured the filling in that the liquid would just soak the pastry, but this didn’t happen I’m glad to say.

Cover the pudding with an oiled piece of kitchen foil, and tie this into place with string. Place the pudding on a steamer/trivet in a large saucepan with water in the bottom, put the lid on, and bring to the boil. Steam the pudding for about an hour – check regularly to make sure the water doesn’t boil dry – just top it up if it looks like this might happen.

Take the pudding out of the steamer, loosen around the rim with a knife, put a plate over the top, and turn over. Lift the bowl off (I found this very difficult with a hot bowl and rather clumsy oven gloves) and hopefully you will be left with a perfectly formed pudding.

We served with boiled potatoes, but some greenery – perhaps some broccoli – wouldn’t go amiss.