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For those of you thinking of taking one of our cooking courses, we'd like to introduce you to your cookery trainer. Milly Rees moved to Shropshire in 1997 and runs workshops and demonstrations, caters, and cooks in our Cafe if we need a helping hand. Each Tuesday she will provide a recipe, cooking tip or introduce an ingredient which will hopefully fire your enthusiasm for cooking. Look within this section of our website for courses that you can take with her.

Baked Sea Bream

I have been reading recently how over-fished bass are now. So try bream. They taste great and they can take the place of bass in every recipe I can think of. One fish feeds one mouth and you can get your fish filleted if you prefer, in which case shorten the cooking time to 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Gut and rinse out the bream if they are completely whole. Fill with a couple of thin slices of lemon, a little fresh fennel or thyme and sit them in an oiled tray with some extra spring onions or shallots tucked around them.

Season well with salt and pepper and maybe some fennel seeds and drizzle with olive oil (if it is garlic infused then great). Add a dash of white wine or a little water to the tin and tent with foil.

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes then remove the foil and test for done-ness by lifting the skin a little with the tip of a knife.  The flesh should be white and easy to move off the bone. Remember the fish will carry on cooking for a while if you leave it on the tray out of the oven while is a good way to let it finally cook to perfection without overdoing it.

Click here to download this recipe.


Roast cauliflower with yogurt and spices
Serves 4 as a main dish
2 heads of cauliflower                        1 tsp paprika
4 tbsp. runny natural yogurt               1 tsp turmeric
Juice and zest of half a lemon           1 tsp ground coriander
1 red chilli                                          1 tsp cumin seeds
1 clove garlic, crushed                       salt and black pepper
1 tbsp. rapeseed or sunflower oil      Pumpkin or sunflower seeds (to add before roasting)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Trim the stalk and most of the leaves off the cauliflower heads and nestle them into a close fitting tin.
Mix together all the other sauce ingredients and smear all over the vegetables. Top with seeds and put into the oven for 45 minutes (depending on the size of the cauliflower heads)

Click here to download this receipe.

Noodle Salad
This is a crunchy, light but filling way to get a dose of vitamins into you at this time of year. Make plenty so that you can use it for packed lunches and double up the dressing ingredients so that you have some to keep in the fridge.
Serves 4
100g nuts eg hazelnuts and cashews
200g fine egg noodles
150g fine beans/sugarsnaps cut in half
Small head of broccoli, broken into florets
A packet of mini sweetcorn, chopped
6 spring onions
Small bunch of coriander and some mint if you can find it

2 tbsp white wine or rice vinegar
1 tblsp tahini
Grated zest and juice of a lime
1 mild red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp honey or brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tblsp soy sauce

A splash of water
Put all the ingredients for the dressing into a screw topped jar and shake till mixed.
Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan if they are not already roasted.
Blanch the beans for 3 minutes in a large pan pf boiling salted water then add the sugarsnaps, sweetcorn and broccoli and cook on for another 2 minutes.
Drain the veg and refresh with lots of cold water. Drain thoroughly so that it is as dry as possible.
Cook the noodles according to the instructions, refresh and drain.
Cut the spring onions on the diagonal. Put all the salad ingredients into a large bowl with the nuts and dressing. Add the mint and coriander and mix well.

Note you could add some smoked tofu, shredded chicken or cooked fish to this to ring the changes.

Click here to download this recipe.


Inviting people around and looking for some food to serve, this recipe from Milly Rees could be just the ticket!

Beetroot Patties with tahini and sweet chilli sauce

200g roasted beetroot                          1 tblsp tahini
100g chick peas                                   2 spring onions
handful chopped mixed herbs              1 egg beaten
     (mint, parsley, coriander)                 ½ grated lemon zest
½ tsp ground cumin                              salt and pepper

Finely chop all the ingredients and mould into patties with wet hands
Fry in shallow oil until golden brown and serve with natural yogurt or maybe these sauces.

Sweet chilli dipping sauce – So easy and great with pretty much anything.
Use a blender to blend 150ml white wine vinegar, 3 red chillies,(deseeded), 2 cloves of garlic, 120g caster sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for a minute then add a dash of Thai Fish Sauce. Store in a jar for up to a week in the fridge.

Clementine and Tahini Sauce – Nicely Christmassy and full of flavour
125g light tahini 2 tbsp maple syrup 2 tsp cider vinegar 1 tbsp soy sauce Grated zest of a Clementine 80ml Clementine juice 1 tsp grated ginger ½ red chilli, finely chopped
Blend everything with a little water until the sauce is smooth. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Click here to download this recipe.


Take advantage of this snowday and make snow ice cream!

  • 1 cup milk (any kind)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 cups clean snow (more or less depending on the density of the snow)

Whisk together the milk, sugar and vanilla. Bring in the snow and begin stirring snow into the milk mixture, and adding it until an ice-cream-ish consistency is achieved.  It should be fluffy and scoop-able, but not runny. Enjoy.

Click here to download this recipe.

You could make this just using potatoes or any combination of tubers and celeriac. Sometimes I make it with sweet potatoes as well.  It is a classic side dish but with the addition of seeds on top and maybe some cheese you have a delicious vegetarian supper. You can part cook it in advance to split the cooking time to suit and it also freezes perfectly well.

Jerusalem artichoke and potato gratin – serves 4

Preheat oven to 170 degrees

300g Jerusalem artichokes                                         1 large clove of garlic, crushed
300g potatoes                                                               40g butter
300ml double cream                                                    Grated nutmeg

300ml veg stock                                                            salt and pepper

Scrub and peel the artichokes and potatoes and slice them thinly.

Butter an oven proof dish. Mix the liquids and seasoning into a large bowl and stir in the crushed garlic.

Add the sliced vegetables and stir with a big spoon.

Layer the creamy veg into the dish and dot with a little extra butter.

Cover with greaseproof and foil and press down before it goes into the oven. I press once or twice during cooking.

Bake for at least 1 ½ hours then remove the paper and turn up the heat a little to brown for a few minutes, adding seeds and cheese if you like.

Let it sit for a short while before you eat it.

Click here to download this recipe.


Here is something delicious recipe for the last of your spinach or chard before the frost gets it all.

Spinach and Gruyere Tart

Serves 4-6

500g plain flour
½ tsp salt
150g butter
100g lard
1 tsp dried herbs or fresh thyme
1 egg
Ice cold water

300g spinach or chard                                        1 tsp Dijon mustard
100g sorrel                                                          Nutmeg
3 spring onions, chopped                                    ½ tsp cayenne
200ml double cream                                            salt and pepper
100 ml milk                                                          100g sunflower seeds
3 eggs


Make the pastry and leave to rest for 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 180degrees and line the tart case with pastry. Prick the base and bake blind for 15 mins.

Wilt the leaves with the spring onions until tender and squeeze out excess water then chop.

Mix the cream, milk, eggs and seasoning . Mix in the grated cheese.

Spread the leaves on the base of the tart. Scatter over the seeds and pour over the cream mixture.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or 20 if making individual tartlets.

Click here to download the recipe.


It is time to start ticking things off your 'Preparing for Christmas List', beginning with your Plum Pudding.

Plum Pudding

Makes 2 x 3lb (or 1.25kg) puddings

250g self raising flour                                                       1 lemon
175g breadcrumbs                                                           200ml Guinness
100g ground almonds                                                      6 tblsp dark rum
500g muscovado sugar                                                   200g chopped mixed peel
15g ground mixed spice                                                  375g ready-to-eat prunes, chopped
½ nutmeg, grated                                                            300g sultanas or raisins
¼ tsp ground cloves                                                        1 apple, grated
400g suet or butter cut into small pieces                         4 eggs, beaten
1 orange

Prunes are dried plums so this makes it a plum pudding!

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and rub in the butter or stir in the suet depending on what you are using.

Remove any pips from the lemon and orange and cut into quarters before blitzing in a processor until a chunky puree.

Stir this and all the wet ingredients (except the eggs) in to the dry ingredients. Make a wish!

Cover and leave in a cool place for a day or two.

When ready, stir in the eggs and fill your pudding basins three quarters full. Cover the top with baking parchment followed by foil, making a pleat in the middle to allow for expansion.

Tie with string and steam for 4 hours hours.  If you have split the mixture into smaller bowls then allow about an hour and a half per 500g of mixture.

I use a combination of saucepans with trivets and my steamer on top. If I need more room I use my slow cooker.
Remember to top up with boiling water when you can.

Keep the original wrapping on and when cool, store until Christmas in the fridge or in a cool place.

I use a microwave on the day to reheat and to heat up a little brandy to tip on to the pudding and set alight.
Alternatively , steam it in a pan or steamer for a couple of hours on Christmas day and use a small pan to heat your brandy.

Click here to download this recipe.


In the run up to Milly's FREE cooking workshop Let's Cook here is her list of store cupboard essentials.

Store cupboard essentials
Baked Beans (you can rinse off the sauce if you just need them plain)
Tinned tomatoes
Kidney beans, butter beans, chick peas, lentils – add to stews etc
Tuna, and mackerel - cheaper than tuna and good for fishcakes
Corned beef – good for stirring up with cooked potatoes
Egg noodles
Pasta – all shapes
Rice – basmati, long grain, risotto
Pudding rice and Semolina
Cous cous
Red lentils – great for thickening stews and soups
Potatoes (buy in sacks if there are a lot of you and store in a cool , dark place) Onions, garlic, ginger
Plain and self raising flour
Custard powder
Dark chocolate – Aldi and Sainsbury’s do good value choc for cooking
Soy sauce
Curry powder
Dried mixed herbs
Vegetable stock powder – I buy marigold bouillon
Coconut milk
Chilli flakes, spice rubs, Mustard , salt, black pepper in grinder
Vegetable or sunflower oil

Strong cheese – no point buying mild for cooking
Dripping – ie fat collected when cooking meat for frying and roasting
Lard – frying and roasting and pastry
Parmesan cheese – keep wrapped and grate when needed on pasta, risotto
Bacon – streaky
Section of chorizo or salami – good for adding meaty flavour to rice and pasta dishes
Fish fingers
Frozen peppers, herbs, sweetcorn, peas, spinach
Minced beef or turkey or pork
Chicken thighs
Bread/ Breadcrumbs

Invest in some freezer bags or containers and recycle other bags and margarine tubs. The ones out of cereal boxes are excellent for freezing. Do label things so that you are more likely to use them!
Avoid using foil and cling film. Go old style and cover with plates or wrap in carrier bags.
Plan your meals before you shop and write this on your shopping list.
Regularly make do with what is in your fridge or freezer. Don’t let it build up.
Don’t just shove left overs in the fridge. Use them to make new meals or packed lunches.
Buy when in season or cheaper and learn to store for another day. Make friends with butchers and grocers.
Learn to love porridge!

Click here to download this list.

This recipe was used as the snack for the Craven Arms Girls Group last night and disappeared in no time, it will do the same in your house.

The Very Best Apple Dessert Cake
from Mary Berry

This recipe not only tastes delicious but the apples can be windfalls or even shrivelled ones left in the fruit bowl.

225g self-raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp almond extract
150g butter, melted
250g cooking apples, peeled and cored

1. Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Lightly grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

2. Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, almond extract and melted butter into a bowl. Mix well until blended, then beat for a minute.

3. Spread half this mixture in the prepared tin. Thickly slice the apples and lay on top of the mixture in the tin, piling mostly towards the centre. Using 2 dessert spoons, roughly spoon the remaining mixture over the apples. This is an awkward thing to do, but just make sure that the mixture covers the centre well as it will spread out in the oven.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 1¼-1½ hours until golden and coming away from the sides of the tin

click here to download the recipe


As Cooking Tuesday falls on a Tuesday, how could we let it pass without a pumpkin recipe from Milly Rees. 

Quick Pumpkin Bread

Here is a scone-type bread for eating straight from the oven with plenty of butter and of course it would be lovely with a spicy pumpkin soup!

Double or triple the ingredients to use up your pumpkin. I don’t use the seeds from the pumpkin as I find them too tough. Bought is better for this. Sunflower seeds or chopped hazelnuts are also good.

200g grated pumpkin (raw or baked)
250g  self raising flour (wholemeal if you have it)
Salt and pepper
50g cheese (plus a little for topping)
50g butter
Small bunch chives
100g pumpkin seeds
I egg
150ml milk
1 teaspoon mustard


1 Set oven to 200/400/gas mark 6. Brush a baking sheet with a little oil.

2 Put flour, salt and pepper into a bowl.

3 Cut up butter and rub into the flour. Stir in the pumpkin and half the seeds.

4 Grate the cheese, snip the chives and add both to the mixture. (save some cheese for topping)

5 Beat the egg with the milk and mustard and add to the other ingredients

6 Sprinkle a work surface with flour and knead the dough on it until it can be made into a circle.

7 Place this onto the sheet and cut through into six segments with a little space between. Top with the remaining cheese and seeds and bake for 15 to 20 mins.

Click here to download this recipe.


Milly Rees like to serve this with a blackberry and damson coulis but poached pears or plums would also be delicious. Mary Berry’s recipe suggests lemon curd and passionfruit. So it’s up to you.

Hazelnut Roulade

5 egg whites
275g caster sugar
50g shelled, roughly chopped hazelnuts
300ml double cream, whipped

1. Preheat the oven 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6 and line a Swiss roll tin with greased, non-stick baking paper, pushing it into the corners

2. Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer on full speed until stiff

3. Very gradually add the sugar at high speed

4. Whisk until even stiffer and all the sugar has been included. Then mix in two-thirds of the hazelnuts

5. Spread the meringue mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts evenly over the top

6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes or until a pale gold colour

7. Lower the oven temperature to 160°C/ fan 140°C/gas mark 3, and continue baking for a further 20 minutes, until firm to the touch

8. Remove the meringue from the oven and turn, hazelnut-side down, on to a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Remove the paper from the base of the cooked meringue and allow to cool for about 10 minutes

9. When cool, spread the whipped cream over the meringue. Start to roll tightly from the short end, until it is rolled up like a Swiss roll

10. Wrap in non-stick paper and chill before serving

Nb I like to lightly toast the hazelnuts first. You needn’t bother with this or maybe just buy them ready toasted........


Click here to download this recipe.


Lamb is lovely at this time of year. You might need to put an order in with your friendly butcher as these cuts get booked by all the local eateries!

Rack of lamb with mustard and herb crumb

Serves 4

1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon minced garlic, about 3 cloves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 (6-7 bone) French trimmed racks of lamb,
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine bread crumbs, garlic and rosemary in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.

Season racks all over with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear rack of lamb for 1 to 2 minutes on all sides. Set aside to cool. (option - Deglaze the pan with a little white wine and stir in a little redcurrant jelly and some stock if you have some. Bubble it through, season and reduce until it makes a juice to serve with the lamb)

Brush rack of lamb with mustard. Press bread crumb mixture evenly on the meaty side of the racks. Cover the ends of the bones with foil and place bone-side down in the skillet. Roast for 15 - 20 minutes until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees F (for medium rare) with an instant read meat thermometer. Set aside for 5 minutes before serving.

Note –If you wish to prepare in advance, get the cutlets to the crumb stage and keep in the fridge but remember to get them out to lose their cool before roasting. If they are very cold, you will need to extend the cooking time.

Click here to download this recipe.

Although Milly loves a good steak and ale casserole, comforting Autumnal stews don’t need to be brown and meat filled. This one is full of colour, vitamin C and the beans make it extra nourishing. It is also great cold the next day tapas style with salty cheese or some cured meats and spicy sausage.


2 large aubergines                                                                                    2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Olive oil                                                                                                     1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 large red onion, halved and sliced                                                         1 tsp cocoa
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped                                                                  Salt and Pepper
2 tins plum tomatoes (or 8 skinned and chopped fresh ripe toms)           Small bunch of basil
1 tin of cannellini beans, drained                                                               2 tbsp. capers

To serve—small bunch of parsley, chopped
A little fresh mint, chopped
Crème fraiche

Cut the aubergine into chunks. Either tip the chunks on to a tray, drizzle with oil and brown for 20 minutes on the top shelf of a hot oven or fry in batches until nicely browned.
If sautéing the aubergine, remove to a bowl, add a little more oil to the pan and gently fry the onions until soft. Add the garlic and cook on for another minute.
Replace the aubergine and mix well with the onions. Tear up the basil and add this and all the other casserole ingredi-ents and simmer everything over a low heat for 40 minutes. Check to make sure it doesn’t dry out too much. (I like to swill out the tomato tins with a little water and put this in too.) Season well with salt and black pepper.
You could cook it in the oven instead in a lidded casserole dish.
When ready to serve, scatter over the parsley and mint and you might like to spoon on some crème fraiche....

Click here to download this recipe

Wild food: Greater Plantain Seed Recipe

From Robin Harford, Guest Blogger on Woodland Trust

I love the flavour of Greater Plantain seeds (Plantago major). They have a mild, nutty taste. Greater Plantain seed is also pretty high in calcium. This recipe makes a superb snack.


1 handful of Greater Plantain
3 handfuls of Pumpkin seeds
3 handfuls of Sesame seeds
Good splash of Tamari / Soy sauce

Suggested Instructions

Put your seed mix into a non-stick frying pan and toast the seeds lightly.

Add a generous dash of Tamari or Soy sauce and coat the seed mix, allowing any excess Tamari / Soy sauce to evaporate.

Turn out into bowls.

Serves: Use a snack

Identifying Greater Plantain

Greater Plantain has broad oval leaves which form a rosette on the ground. Yellow-green flower spikes grow up from the leaves and their flowers are small and packed closely together. The leaves are tough and elastic.

Click here to download this recipe.


The fish stall in Stretton is on Thursday and of course there is the fish house in Ludlow or the market - we are not that landlocked after all!

Scallop, apple and Rocket Salad

Allow five scallops per person. (Remove the corals and treat yourself to these grilled on toast with
lemon.) If you buy frozen then go for the luxury whoppers to avoid disappointment.

Allow a big handful of rocket and watercress per person
2 tart apples, peeled and cut into wedges
Balsamic vinegar
sunflower oil and butter
Salt and black pepper

You can fry the scallops from frozen but I prefer to defrost them first and dry them off in kitchen
Melt some butter into the frying pan and let the apple wedges caramelise then remove and keep
Pour a glug of oil into the pan. If you have two pans so much the better. While you are waiting for
the oil to heat up, spread out your plates and make a nest of salad leaves on each. When the oil is
hot but not burning place the scallops round the pan in diminishing circles (or pans) as if you were
numbering a clock starting at the top. Leave for a minute then turn the first one over. When it looks
nicely toasted start to turn them all over and brown on the other side. If you doubt that they are
cooked, break one open. It should be white in the middle rather than opaque. Scoop them onto their
rocket nests, swirl some balsamic vinegar round the pans and drizzle this over and scatter the apple
around. Serve pronto with enough fluffy bread to mop up the juices.

Nb I like to scatter over some toasted hazelnuts or sunflower seeds for a bit of extra crunch.

Click here to download this recipe.


Oh this recipe excites me, I have been looking for something else to do with my courgettes!

Pickled cucumbers

Fantastic with cheese or cold meats. You could use courgettes instead or a mix of the two if you need to.

3 large cucumbers, thinly sliced
3 large onions, thinly sliced
50g salt
600ml  white wine vinegar
400g brown sugar
1/2tsp turmeric
6 cloves
1 tbsp mustard seed

You will need 4 or 5 jars, preferably with plastic lids. I find coffee jars are perfect but don’t worry too much if you only have metal lids. The vinegar can make them rust a bit but usually we eat it up before this happens! Wide necked jars make life easier.

Layer the onions with the cucumbers and salt in a colander. Place a saucer or plate on the top so that it fits snugly. Put a weight (a tin of beans will do) on the top and put the colander over a bowl for 2 hours to catch the drips.

Shake the colander to get rid of the excess liquid and pat the vegetables with a clean dishcloth or paper towel to dry them off as much as possible.

Put all the other ingredients into a large pan and heat slowly to dissolve the sugar. Add the cucumbers and onions. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute.

Use a slotted spoon to spoon the cucumbers and onions into the wide necked jars. Pack the veg down. Meanwhile, boil up the vinegar mixture for 15 minutes before pouring on top of the veg.

Seal the jars. Label when cold and store for at least 2 weeks before eating.

 Click here to download this recipe.


This is a local recipe passed on to me by my neighbour whose family have been here for
generations. She calls it Shropshire apple chutney so I am not going to argue with her about
the origin. Anyway, it’s delicious.

Shropshire Apple Chutney

Leave to mature for at least a month before eating.
Nb I used a mix of eaters and cookers and have converted the recipe into metric.

2kg apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
1kg brown sugar
700g onions, peeled and chopped small
1.2 litres malt vinegar
500g chopped dates
200g raisins
2 heaped tsp ground ginger (I used a big tbsp of fresh this time)
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 heaped tsp cayenne

Simmer the apples, onions, sugar and vinegar until pulpy.
Add all the other ingredients and simmer for at least 15 minutes until thick.
Pot up into sterilised, warm jars and top with waxed paper discs before screwing on the lids.
Ideally use plastic lids .Coffee jars are good for this. I cover the top of the jar with a double
layer of cling film if I have to use metal because the vinegar can corrode.

Click here to download this recipe 


Blackberry, bay and honey tart

For pastry                                                      Frangipane

250g flour                                                       100g butter
2 tsp honey                                                     4 tbsp. honey
130g butter                                                      2 eggs
1 egg, lightly beaten                                       100g ground almonds
50ml cold water                                              2 tbsp. flour
                                                                       Zest of a lemon
                                                                       1tsp vanilla essence
                                                                       450g blackberries
                                                                       6 bay leaves

Make the pastry by hand or in the processor by blending all the ingredients except the water. Add this a little at a time in case you don’t need it all in order to get to a dough ball. Wrap the dough in cling film for at least half an hour.

Butter a 22cm loose bottomed tin. Roll out your pastry on a floured board and line your tin, prick the base with a fork before putting it in the freezer for half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 200c and line the pastry with grease proof and use beans or coins to weigh the paper down. Bake for 10 minutes with the paper on then remove the paper and bake for another 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180c.

To make the frangipane, use an electric whisk to mix the butter and honey then slowly add the eggs. Mix in the other frangipane ingredients. Scatter half the blackberries onto the pastry, smooth on the frangipane before pushing in the rest of the blackberries. Stick the bay leaves round the edge.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. If the edges get brown, cover with foil and cook on a bit longer. The centre should be set but still a little soft.

Allow it to cool enough to remove from the tin but this is best served warm.

Click here to download this recipe.


Cashew cheese

280g raw cashews                                                 1 tblsp soya yogurt
175 ml water                                                          1 tblsp of chopped fresh herbs,
1/2 tsp garlic salt                                                            chives, tarragon or dill plus extra for
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon                                                garnish
Juice of half a lemon                                              Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the cashews in a bowl of water overnight.

Drain the nuts and blend in a processor with the 175 ml water until smooth>
You will need to scrape it down with a spatula a couple of times.

Add all the other ingredients and blend again.

Tip the mixture into a plastic bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave on a sunny
windowsill or warm place for 24 hours. You could mould your cheese into a lined container or roll it in herbs to form a log or ball.

Store in the fridge for up to a week. I like to drizzle it with chilli or garlic olive oil when serving it.

Click here to download this recipe. 


This is Milly's favourite lentil soup for flavour and also for its simplicity. She recently made it on her return from Devon as she had nothing in the fridge; a very satisfying bowlful after 2 weeks of scrappy holiday fare.

Lebanese lentil Soup

Nb. This time I used pickled lemons and frozen coriander in place of fresh

1 x 425g tine of plum tomatoes or 4 large fresh tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped

2 onions, finely chopped                                                               5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger                                                        1 lemon (or 2 sections of chopped preserved lemon, skin only)

1 tbsp. ground cumin                                                                    300g red lentils

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper                                                                1 litre veg or chicken stock

Salt                                                                                               fresh or frozen coriander (optional)

Heat a little oil in a large pan and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook gently for 5 minutes.

Add the cumin, cayenne and a good pinch of salt. Stir for a minute.

Add the lentils, tomatoes and 4 slices of lemon (or preserved lemon). Add the stock.
Stir and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes. Add more liquid as desired.
Stir in some chopped coriander and top with a slice or two of lemon.

 Click here to download this recipe.


Braised and barbequed short ribs

This is a great way of serving these meaty ribs but you need to know that they are cooked the day before you want to barbeque them. If the weather turns to rain, don’t worry as the ribs are delicious simply braised. In this case, make them the day before and let them cool over night so that you can skim off the fat and reduce the sauce a bit before adding the other ingredients.
Serves 6

6 short ribs (your butcher might cut them in half if you like)                 Butter/oil
Salt, pepper                                                                                          Dijon Mustard
2 red onions                                                                                         Tomato ketchup 
2 carrots                                                                                                Honey
1 fennel bulb                                                                                          Worcester sauce
A few sprigs of thyme
A bottle of ale

  • Season and brown the ribs in a large frying pan and set aside.
  • Chop up the veg and fry gently for a few minutes in some butter and oil. Transfer to a roasting pan or slow cooker. Top with the ribs and tuck some herbs around them.
  • Pour the bottle of ale into the pan and swirl it around. Scrape and pour it onto the ribs.
  • Cover tightly with foil if oven baking and cook at about 160 degrees for a minimum of 3 hours or let them gently cook in a slow cooker for up to 6 hours.
  • When they are nice and soft, lift out the ribs into a bowl and get them cool as quickly as possible and store in the fridge till the next day.
  • When the cooking liquid has cooled a little (or the next day) skim off some fat and then boil it up in a small pan. Reduce by half and add a squirt of ketchup, a spoon full of honey, a few dashes of Worcester and a good spoonful of mustard. This is the sauce you can baste the ribs with when you barbeque them. Taste the sauce to make sure it is flavoursome.

Click here to download this recipe.


Bubble Mixture and Wands

Yesterday the Centre was represented at the Craven Arms Play Day and we came with homemade bubble mixture and wands. As a quick start you can simply dilute washing up liquid. But if you want to make large bubbles and bubble films, here are two recipes.

Mixture 1. Put 200 ml of warm water into a measuring jug. Stir in a tablespoon of sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add 50 ml of standard washing up liquid or 30 ml of more concentrated washing up liquid to the water. Stir in a tablespoon of glycerin. Finally, add 300ml of water into the mixture and stir well.

Mixture 2. Put 500ml water into a container. Add 50 ml of standard washing up liquid or 30 ml of more concentrated washing up liquid to the water to the container. Stir in a tablespoon of baking powder. If you keep this solution undisturbed for 24 hours, you will find it performs better.

Homemade Wands.

  • Take a small drinks/water bottle and unscrew the top and cut off the bottom. Dip the cut end in the bubble solution.
    • To get small bubbles stretch fruit/vegetable netting over the cut end before dipping and blowing.
  • Take a straw and cut it in half. Thread the two halves onto a piece of wool or string 50 cm long and tie the ends together. Dip it in your bubble solution, holding it by the straws, pull it through the air and form a big bubble; blow through to make smaller bubbles; have someone else blow a bubble and catch it and bounce it on the film of your string and straw wand.

Click here to download this recipe.


A tasty way to use up any that are still in your freezer since last July or perhaps you are lucky enough to have another bumper crop this summer. I’ve written the recipe in ‘Old Money’ as it looks better and makes more sense.

Gooseberry Chutney
Makes about 4lbs

3lbs gooseberries, topped and tailed
1 pint white vinegar
12oz mixed raisins and chopped dates
8oz onions chopped
8oz light brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground ginger (or fresh)
1 tsp mixed spices
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)

Place gooseberries and onions into a heavy bottomed saucepan with just enough water to stop it burning.
Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally and boil for about 20 minutes.
Remove from the boil and add all the other ingredients. Stir the sugar until it has dissolved before returning to the heat.
Once it has returned to the boil, simmer until it has become thick, stirring as necessary. Pot it up and store for 3 weeks before using.

Click here to download this recipe.

There is lots of chard on my allotment - it is almost a weed there, so this recipe of Milly's is becoming one of my 'go to' recipes.

Spinach and walnut pasties

250g flour - plain or wholewheat.
175g butter or a mix of butter and veg lard, chilled and cut into cubes
Pinch of salt 1 beaten egg to glaze

700g spinach or chard or a mix of the two.
6 spring onions
75g walnuts
175g cottage cheese
50g grated parmesan
1 clove garlic, crushed
A little butter
Grated nutmeg
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper

Make the pastry by rubbing the fat into the flour. Add the salt and then sprinkle on enough cold water to make a dough. Chill while you make the filling.
Turn the oven to 200 degrees.
Wash the spinach if necessary. Chop the onions and walnuts.
Wilt the spinach in a saucepan with no added water, turning the leaves occasionally. Drain in a colander and when cool enough squeeze out any excess water.
Chop and put in a bowl.
Melt the butter and gently fry the onion, garlic and walnuts. Put into the bowl with the spinach and stir in the cheeses. Add the nutmeg, lemon juice and seasoning.
Roll out the pastry and cut into 8 15cm rounds. Divide the filling between the rounds. Moisten the edges and fold into semi circles and firmly seal with your fingers or with the
     prongs of a fork.
Brush with the beaten egg and bake on greaseproof lines baking sheets for 20-25 minutes.

Click here to download this recipe.

Apricot and pistachio tart

This is a recipe taken from a wonderful entitled ‘Salt’ by Shaun Hill (of local fame) and he chose to
keep the imperial measurements so I have followed his example. No need for blind baking here but
keep the pastry thin and bake on the middle oven shelves.

1 x 11 inch tart tin lined with sweet shortcrust pastry
5 oz shelled pistachios – plus a few for scattering
3 oz blanched almonds
1 ½ ounces flour
8 oz butter (room temp)
8 oz caster sugar
4 eggs
About 10 ripe apricots

Blend the pistachios, almonds and flour in a food processor until like breadcrumbs.
Cream together the butter and sugar before beating in the eggs one at a time.
Add the nut mixture and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the unbaked pastry shell and chill for 2
Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees and arrange the apricot halves, cut side down on top of the mixture.
Scatter the remaining chopped nuts and bake for 40 minutes. Rest the tart for 20 minutes before

Click here to download this recipe


A great cold meal for the next time the temperatures peak.

Chilled Summer Kedgeree
This recipe works very well with left over scraps of salmon, trout or even smoked salmon if you happen to find yourself with some.
Serves 4

500g undyed smoked haddock (originally it would have been bright yellow!)
300g salmon (this is my addition as salmon was food for Kings back then)
175g long-grain rice or basmati (the old recipe used ‘patna’ rice)
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
A couple of handfuls of prawns
Juice and rind of a lemon
200ml single cream
A bunch of parsley, chopped
A small bunch of chives, snipped small
Tin of anchovies (you may not want to use all)
Salt and pepper

Cook the fish by pouring a enough boiling water over it to cover and throw in a few parsley stalks and some pepper-corns. Simmer very gently for ten minutes and save the water for cooking the rice. Flake the fish into a bowl and leave to get cold. If your prawns are raw rather than pre-cooked you can cook them for five minutes along with the fish then remove the shells when cool enough to handle. Reserve the milk in case you want to moisten the dish at the end.

Cook the rice using 600ml water, adding more if necessary. Cool it quickly so as not to let it overcook. Mix together with all the other ingredients and chill. You can lay the anchovy fillets on top to get the retro 1970s feel or chop and mix in.

Click here to download the recipe.


Here is a summer recipe for a really juicy cut of lamb.

Rump of lamb

1 rump is usually a bit big for one (my husband disagrees!) so I would say that one rump would feed two as part of two or three course meal. Or you could say two rumps easily feeds a family of 2 adults and 2 children. You could dispense with the marinade stage but I like to give it at least a couple of hours sitting in a bath of flavour.

2 rumps of lamb
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced into slivers
Anchovy paste or 4 anchovy fillets from a tin cut into pieces  (you can freeze what you don’t use)
2 glasses of white wine
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons of mild mustard
Redcurrant jelly

Plunge the point of a knife into the rumps a few times and force in some slivers of garlic and the anchovy. Put the rumps into a bowl or plastic bag with the wine and sprigs of rosemary. Leave in the fridge preferably overnight.

1 ½  hour before you want to eat take the rumps out to de-chill.

45 to an hour before you want to eat, turn on oven to 200 degrees.  Wipe the rumps with kitchen paper, (reserve the marinade) season with salt and pepper and sear in a hot frying pan, fat side first. You don’t need oil if you sear the fat side first. The searing will take about 15 minutes.

Put them in a roasting tin and roast for ½ an hour.  They might need a few minutes longer if they are particularly big. Cut a slice to check.  Wrap in foil and let them rest while you make a gravy in the frying pan you used. Use  the marinade and a little more liquid. Stir in the mustard and maybe some redcurrant jelly.

Slice the rumps thickly.

Click here to download this recipe.


In the Onny meadows and along most of the roads you can see elderflowers, here is a recipe for Elderflower cordial so that you can bottle some of the springtim

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