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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.

We are lucky enough to have one of the recipes from Milly Rees' Vegetarian Christmas Cooking Course last week.

All the colours of Christmas roulade

Ingredients

400 g   (14oz) baby-leaf spinach                                                  500 g (1lb 2 oz) ricotta
6 medium eggs, separated                                                          3 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1 roasted red pepper, deseeded and                                          3 tbsp. plain flour
          and finely chopped                                                            1 few sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. baking powder                                                                   25 g (1oz) chopped toasted walnuts, plus
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg                                                                             extra to garnish
60 g (2 oz) vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese

 Preheat oven to 190°C (170°C fan) mark 5 and line a rough 23 x 33cm (9 x 13in) Swiss  roll tin with baking parchment. Empty the spinach into a large pan, add 50ml (2fl oz) water and cook, stirring frequently, until spinach wilts. Empty into a colander and cool under cold running water.

Lift out handfuls of spinach and firmly squeeze out excess moisture. Put spinach into a food processor with the egg yolks, flour, baking powder, nutmeg and some seasoning. Whiz until spinach is finely chopped. Scrape into a large bowl.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Mix one-third
of the whites into the spinach bowl to loosen, then fold in the remaining whites, retaining as much air as possible.

Spread mixture into prepared tin and cook for 12-15min or until firm to the touch and lightly golden. Meanwhile, sprinkle the Parmesan-style cheese over a large sheet of baking parchment on a work surface.

When cooked, invert the spinach tin on to the prepared baking parchment, remove tin and allow roulade to cool.

To make the filling, mix together the ricotta, chives, red pepper, tomatoes, walnuts and plenty of seasoning.

Peel off upper baking parchment from roulade, then spread over the filling. With the help of the base parchment, roll up the roulade from one of the short edges. Transfer to a serving plate, seam down. Garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan-style cheese and chopped walnuts. Serve.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

“♪ ♫ And a partridge in a pear tree ♫ 

Well the partridge isn't actually in a tree, but you will have trouble getting that tune out of your head for the rest of the day and this make for a wonderful seasonal recipe.

 

This makes a tasty starter or light lunch. You could also use quickly fried pigeon breast instead of partridge or quail in which case don’t cook for more than five minutes. The breasts should be browned but pink inside.

 

Quickly fry some lardons or pancetta and remove. Season and brown a brace of partridge or quail in the same pan with a little butter and olive oil and then add some finely chopped shallot and a crushed clove of garlic and cook together until the vegetables are soft. Remove from the pan and slosh in half a pint of wine to deglaze. Put everything back and add a sprig of rosemary or thyme.

Cover and bubble gently for 20 minutes. Remove to a warm dish and reduce the sauce and stir in a little redcurrant jelly and balsamic vinegar. Strip off the meat and scatter onto the salad with the pancetta.

 

To make the fennel and pear salad:

Take a couple of fennel bulbs and remove outer leaves. Slice finely and mix with some finely sliced celery and pear. Squeeze on some lemon or lime for acidity and a little honey or maple syrup for sweetness together with a little olive oil and seasoning. Some fried walnuts are good with it and you could turn it into more of a slaw by mixing in some mayonnaise and maybe some mild creamy mustard.

 

Click here to download this recipe.

 

 

This makes a tasty starter or light lunch. You could also use quickly fried pigeon breast instead of partridge or quail in which case don’t cook for more than five minutes. The breasts should be browned but pink inside.

 

Quickly fry some lardons or pancetta and remove. Season and brown a brace of partridge or quail in the same pan with a little butter and olive oil and then add some finely chopped shallot and a crushed clove of garlic and cook together until the vegetables are soft. Remove from the pan and slosh in half a pint of wine to deglaze. Put everything back and add a sprig of rosemary or thyme.

Cover and bubble gently for 20 minutes. Remove to a warm dish and reduce the sauce and stir in a little redcurrant jelly and balsamic vinegar. Strip off the meat and scatter onto the salad with the pancetta.

 

To make the fennel and pear salad:

Take a couple of fennel bulbs and remove outer leaves. Slice finely and mix with some finely sliced celery and pear. Squeeze on some lemon or lime for acidity and a little honey or maple syrup for sweetness together with a little olive oil and seasoning. Some fried walnuts are good with it and you could turn it into more of a slaw by mixing in some mayonnaise and maybe some mild creamy mustard.

 

 

Naughty but nice Popcorn Boulders, a lovely winter treat - and definitely not for kids only!

Popcorn Boulders
50g popping corn
150g roasted cashews, roughly chopped
250g caster sugar
25g muscovado sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tblsp condensed milk
25g butter
75ml water
Large pinch of salt

Butter 2 mini muffin trays

Pop the corn in batched in a pan or microwave. Put into a large bowl being careful to remove any un popped corn. Mix in the cashews.
Put everything else into a pan and stir over a low heat to start to melt the sugar. Bring to the boil and boil until thick and caramel like. Stir into the corn. Do this as quickly as poss.
With two spoons, pile the mixture into the tins and press down. Leave to cool.
Note (if you find you have undercooked the caramel then you can crisp it up by putting the tray into a hot oven for a few minutes until brown – be careful not to burn it)

Click here to download the recipe

 

Here is a recipe for the festive season - maybe for the day itself - and you can make it in advance. If you haven't made them before (and fillet is not cheap!) try doing a trial run with one to test your oven's timings. They are also delicious made with venison.

Beef Wellingtons
Serves 4
4 x 170g/6oz fillet steak
Salt and pepper
Worcester sauce 30g
beef dripping or a mix of butter and oil
60g field mushrooms, chopped
80g chicken liver pate
1 packet puff pastry
Beaten egg

Trim off any membrane from the steak. Heat the dripping in a frying pan. Season with pepper and brown the steaks quickly in the hot pan. The outside should be brown and the middle absolutely raw. Leave the meat to cool on a wire rack.
Cook the mushrooms in the frying pan and tip onto a bowl.
Beat the mushrooms into the pate. Taste and season if necessary. Set oven to 200 degrees.
Roll out pastry until it is the thickness of a pound coin. Put a dollop of the pate mixture onto it. Sprinkle the cooled steaks with Worcester sauce and place onto the pile of pate. Cut pastry into squares large enough so that the pastry will completely cover the whole steak. Brush the edges with water and draw the pastry over the steaks to make a neat parcel.
Decorate with trimmings of pastry.
Let them relax in the fridge for 10 minute and then brush with beaten eggPlace on baking trays with plenty of space between and bake for 15 minutes. Make some gravy!
To make ahead – Just be sure the mushrooms cold before mixing with the pate and that the steaks have cooled after frying. They can be assembled and stored for up to 3 days in the fridge and also frozen in which case cook from frozen for 25/30 minutes. They are meant to be pink in the middle!

Click here to download this recipe.

Milly Rees just dug up the last of her beetroot and they had beef yesterday so here is the result - 

Beef Borscht 

In this recipe I have used left over beef from the Sunday roast but it is not essential to add any beef at all. I like it with beef stock but of course veg stock would be a sensible alternative. Another way of doing all this is to put whole beetroots and root veg in when you slow cook brisket so that you can use it all up for soup the next day. If you do it this way, blending the finished soup with a stick blender is best.

About 250g left over beef, cut up small 
2 red onions 
4 medium sized fresh beetroot 
1 carrot 
1 parsnip 
1 can of consommé (or use a stock melt capsule) 
Sherry or Madeira 
A little butter and oil 
Salt and pepper 

Starting with the onions and beetroot, use a magimix to shred your peeled vegetables or grate them with a cheese grater. Put the butter and oil into a large pan and
start to soften the beetroot and onion with a little salt. Put the lid on and let them cook for five minutes while you prepare the other veg. 

Once the onions and beetroots are broken down a bit, add the rest of the veg. Stir well and put the lid on again for 10 minutes over a medium heat. 

Add the stock or can of consommé so that there is enough liquid to cover the vegetables. 

Simmer gently for 20 minutes. 

Add the finely chopped beef and cook on for another 10 minutes. Season again and add a glug of sherry. 

Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

A reason to be happy about that hard frost last week.

Sloe Gin

You could make this in jam jars for Christmas presents or make in large quantities for storing. I love it over ice with a splash of soda and it makes a good and luxurious addition to jellies and sauces.

Pick your sloes now that they have had the frost on them as it makes the skins softer which releases the juices quickly.

600g sloes

1 litre gin or vodka

400g sugar

Pick over the sloes to get rid of any stalk or leaves and put them in a large sterilised kilner jar. Pour over the sugar and then the alcohol.

Close the jar tightly and tip it up regularly for a week or two to dissolve all the sugar. Then store in a dark place for at least three months.

Strain off the sloes and pour the alcohol through a funnel into sterilised bottles.

A recipe for the season!

Click here to download this recipe.

 

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 

Method 

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 the recipe.

 

Here is quince recipe for anyone who has a tree full of them.

Quince Jelly

This is lovely as an addition to sweet dishes but I also like to add a little to gravies, pork dishes and even in dressings. If you want it to be really set, then just boil it for longer but I find it makes a versatile drizzle and I pour it over everything from fried haloumi to my breakfast
yogurt!

3 good sized quinces (or should that be 3 quince?)
1 litre water
850g sugar

Roughly chop up the quince and throw the whole lot, pips, peel and all into a large pan with the sugar and water.

Stir over a gently heat to dissolve the sugar then simmer for at least an hour. The liquid should have reduced by about half to leave you with a rosy coral colour.

Strain into a couple of, warm sterilised jars or make up a few small ones for Christmas presents. If you prefer, you can stop the boiling a little earlier to make a more liquid glaze in which case you could use bottles and the colour will be more like rose lemonade.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Here is another slow cooked dish for Autumn nights.

Glazed gammon

Unsmoked gammon—about 2.25 kg                  2 tbsp Worcester sauce
500ml apple juice or cider                                  1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp juniper berries                                         1 tbsp English mustard
4 cloves garlic, bruised                                      2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 onion, quartered                                             1 tbsp cloves

To get rid of some saltiness I soak the gammon overnight then throw out the water but it depends on the gammon supplier.

Put the soaked gammon into a slow cooker (or casserole) with the cider (or apple juice), juniper berries, garlic, onion and Worcester sauce. Top up with water so that the liquid comes half way up the sides of the meat. Smear with the treacle and cook slowly with the lid on for at least 5 hours. Keep the cooking liquid.

When ready to roast it, turn on the oven to 180 degrees. Place the gammon into a roasting tray. Remove the rind from the meat and score it with a sharp knife. Slather it with mustard and then pat on the sugar. Stud the whole thing with cloves and pour enough liquid in to come up by about an inch all round. Tent it loosely with foil and bake for about 40 minutes. Take off the foil and carry on cooking for about another 15 minutes to get the colour just right. Serve hot with some of the reduced liquor or slice it when cold.

Click here to download this recipe

Slow cooked short ribs

With the frosts arriving I want to celebrate the drop in temperature with a comforting bowl of slow cooked beef made in my slow ribs are so flavoursome and like lamb shanks, when cooked very slowly they fall off the bone and and are delightfully soft. Use any like with them but here is one with a vaguely Chinese style and I’ll serve it in a bowlful of brown rice. Ribs vary in size (hence the sk tion recommendation) so when choosing them try to imagine them off the bone!

Serves 3 - 5

3 ribs
1 cup of soy sauce
1 cup of plum sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce or a dash of anchovy essence 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2 red chillies, chopped
2 star anise
2 inches of ginger, peeled and chopped
2 cups of water
1 cup of white wine or vermouth
Six shallots or small red onions

Nb if you haven’t got plum sauce you could add some apple puree or even some tinned plums or prunes – the idea is to add some sweetness.

Brown the ribs in a little oil and place in your slow cooker. Brown the onions in the fat and add these but put the fat in a cup and store in the fridge for another time.

Place all the other ingredients in the oil-free pan and stir until mixed and hot through. Tip this onto the meat and on- ions and cook for about four hours.

When the meat is really tender, scoop it out to an oven proof casserole dish, removing the bones as you do so. The meat should break into big chunks.

Skim off the fat from the liquid. Transfer the juices into a large saucepan and bubble to reduce by at least a third then tip back over the meat.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Supergrain salad with tahini dressing 

150g wholewheat cous cous 

150g quinoa 

150g brown rice or barley 

1 teaspoon sea salt 

1 bunch spring onions 

1 tin of chick peas 

Big bunch of chopped mixed herbs 

Olive oil 

Grated zest and juice of a lemon 

100g chopped olives 

100g chopped capers and gerkins 

100g toasted seeds 

 

Cook all the grains according to instructions on packet. Allow to cool for a while before folding in the other ingredients. Top with the dressing and a teaspoon of Zaatar if you have it. 

To make the dressing – mix 3 tablespoons of tahini with a clove of garlic (minced), the juice of an orange, ½ tsp chilli flakes, a little oil, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey. Shake it all up in a jam jar. 

(pomegranate syrup is nice with this too and some of the seeds scattered over the top adds taste and colour) 

Note - Quinoa (pronounced Keenwah) although less popular than rice, can be a more nutrient-dense alternative. For a 100-gram serving, quinoa has double the amount of protein (14 grams versus 7 grams) for approximately the same amount of calories. It also has 2.5 times the amount of fiber than rice: 7 grams versus 3 grams, respectively. 

It's higher in B-vitamins than other grain alternatives like barley, rye, rice, and corn. B-vitamins contribute to the metabolic reactions going in your body all the time, converting the food you eat into fuel for energy. Eating quinoa may also help lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a 2012 study.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Lemon and herb cutlets 

If your butcher is any good, they will be very happy to French trim cutlets. When they are trimmed they look good but more importantly, they make the pleasure of picking them up and gnawing on them even more joyous. At this time of year you could get away with 2 person but 3 piled up on the plate looks more generous. 

For 6 cutlets 

Make a marinade by chopping up a good handful of fresh herbs and mixing with 2 cloves of garlic, a spoonful of honey, the zest and juice of a lemon, a teaspoon of mustard and a dash of anchovy sauce (or a couple of anchovy fillets mashed up). I also like to add a splash of vermouth and a little olive oil. 

The easiest way to marinade is to tip everything into a freezer bag and put this into a bowl. I let the cutlets marinade over night then move them around in the marinade once again the next morning. 

An hour before you want to eat, take the cutlets out of the fridge, wipe them with kitchen paper and remove them on to a plate to take the chill off them. Keep the marinade. 

To cook, heat up a frying pan, put a little oil into the pan. When the pan is hot, let the cutlets sit skin side down to brown then flick them over and fry on a medium heat until they are cooked. This will take between five to 10 minutes. Alternatively (particularly if you are cooking a big batch) roast them in the oven for fifteen minutes. 

Let them rest and while they are resting use the marinade to swirl around the pan to use as a gravy.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

So called because it is basically handfuls of stuff though I’ve given the approximate weight. Also handy for anyone on a vegan or gluten free diet as I often use rice flour or a gluten free brand.

Handy Cakes

So called because it is basically handfuls of stuff though I’ve given the approximate weight. Also handy for anyone on a vegan or gluten free diet as I often use rice flour or a gluten free brand.


2 handfuls desiccated coconut (60g)                                          4 tbsp oil
1 handful roughly chopped nuts (85g)                                        4-5 bananas
3 handfuls of oats (60g)                                                              1 handful raisins (110g)
2 handfuls cooked brown rice (110g)                                          2 handfuls flour (60g)
4 prunes plus a little juice ( or apricots)                                      2 tbsp apple juice
pinch of salt
a little sweetening eg maple syrup, honey, brown sugar


Preheat oven to 180degrees.  Line a 30 x 25cm tin

Combine all the dry ingredients. Mash the banana and mix in along with the finely chopped prunes. You could add some cinnamon or any other extra flavour you like.

Add all the liquids until it is like a flapjack mixture. Spoon it into the tin and smooth it down to about an inch deep.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes

Note – this is the basic mix but feel free to add stem ginger, cranberries, seeds etc. Also, if you want it less like a flapjack then do process the oats a bit first. In fact you can process the whole lot if you wish!

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Try a healthy snack eaten in ancient roman - roasted peas. No crisps or popcorn in Europe then, so instead at the gladiatorial matches and at the baths this is what you would have eaten - enjoyed by those who went to the Ludlow Food Festival this last weekend. 

Roasted Peas
To make roasted green peas, just toss the green peas with a little olive oil, put on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 375F for 45 minutes to an hour.  That’s it! Move them around once or twice during the roasting. As the peas are being baked, since they are so small in size they just dehydrate and become dried and crunchy. When the peas are roasted, sprinkle them with salt or your favorite seasonings. They can be made with frozen peas, thawed and dried.

 

This week a lovely starter.

Fig and Pancetta Tart with Dolcelatte

This makes a delicious starter for 4 to 6 people or by all means double up (or more) for a party.

100g puff pastry plus a little flour for dusting                          1 packet pancetta slices
Butter for greasing  the tin A little olive oil
6/8 large figs 1 small beaten egg
150g dolcelatte cheese 100 ml double cream
a few leaves of coriander or other herbs

Roll out the pastry into a square or rectangle that is about 10cm wide. Brush with the beaten egg. Place on a buttered baking sheet and chill for 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 200degrees. Cut the figs into quarters and arrange on the pastry leaving a 1cm gap round the edge. Dot the cheese around the figs and drape the slices over the top. Season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper and drizzle over a little olive oil.

Bake for 10 mins.

Remove from the oven and our on the cream and scatter some herbs on the top. Carry on baking for a further 8 – 12 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and golden.

Serve with a simple herb salad to include coriander, parsley, mint and maybe some baby spinach.

 Click here to download this recipe.

 

A good dish to showcase some vine ripe tomatoes. I can still remember when I first tasted this dish made by Milly at the Ludlow Food Festival a few years ago when she was doing a workshop there for the Centre. She let me take some of it home and now I have her recipe, as do you.

Panzanella

Serves 8 as a starter or side dish

1 kg large ripe tomatoes                                                       75g tin of anchovies, drained and
3 thick chunks of ciabatta or sour dough                                      roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves                                                                      1 small red onion
2 tbsp olive oil                                                                      12 black olives
2 tbsp red wine vinegar                                                        Large bunch of basil
1 heaped tbsp capers                                                          Large bunch of parsley
1 mild red chilli

Method

Skin the tomatoes and, keeping one aside, deseed and chop the rest. Put in a sieve over a  bowl to catch the juice.

Tear up the bread and put in a large bowl. Season the juice with the garlic, pepper, oil and vinegar and pour this over the bread.

Layer up with the other ingredients and leave to steep for an hour before topping with a few more basil leaves and the chopped tomato.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

After last weeks main course, we have now arrived at the dessert, using seasonal peaches (or nectarines).

Peach and almond pie

Serves 8

For the Pastry

225g plain flour                                                175g butter, cubed
75g ground almonds                                       75g caster sugar
1 tsp mixed spice                                              Grated zest of one orange
2 medium eggs

Filling

100g amaretti biscuits, crumbled
6 peaches, halved and stoned (nectarines are also lovely)
Extra Caster sugar

Mix the flour, almonds and spice for the pastry in a large bowl. Rub in the butter. Stir in the sugar and orange zest.

Separate the one of the eggs and add the yolk and other whole egg to the pastry. Keep the left over white for the glaze.

Form into two thick discs, one slightly bigger than the other. Chill these in the fridge for 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Roll out the larger disc to line a 24cm fluted tin. Sprinkle the pastry base with the biscuits and set the peaches on top, cut side down.

Trim the edges and roll out the rest of the pastry. Press down the pastry lid and pinch round the edge. Trim to neaten it up.

Using a fork, whisk the egg white a little then brush it on to the pastry lid. Scatter some caster sugar on top and bake in the middle of the oven for about 45 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Well we had a starter last week, so on to the main course!

Rump of lamb

I find that one rump of lamb easily feeds 2 and can often stretch to 2 adults plus one child – which is handy to know.

I like to marinate it over night.

To do this, I slice a couple of cloves of garlic and stick the end of a sharp knife into the rump and stud it with the garlic slivers. I then smear the lamb with a couple of teaspoons of anchovy essence for maximum flavor and push the sauce into the holes I have made. (you could use tinned anchovies but go easy, 3 cut pieces is probably enough) I then put the rump into a strong plastic bag and pour in some vermouth or white wine, scatter in some pepper corns, a little lemon rind and a couple of sprigs of rosemary. Sometimes I add a little maple syrup or honey before dumping the bag into a bowl and leaving it in the fridge until I want it.

Half an hour before cooking I take the lamb out of the fridge to take off the chill. When I want to cook it I turn on the oven to 200 degrees and set a frying pan on to heat up. I lift the lamb out of the bag, letting the bowl catch the drips and I pat the rump with a paper towel.

I pour a very little oil into the hot pan and lay the rump in the pan skin side down until it is nicely brown. I sear it all over before putting it into a small tin in the oven. I roast it for about 25 minutes (less if you like it rare) and rest it in a warm dish for at least another 5. While it is resting I tip the remaining marinade into the roasting pan with some water or stock to swirl it around then tip this back into the frying pan to heat up and make a little gravy.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Just the recipe for these hot August days

Gazpacho

must be served ice cold!

750g ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber, chopped
A small red onion
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp finely chopped olives
80ml red wine vinegar
60ml olive oil
1tbsp tomato paste
Bunch of mixed herbs to your liking
parsley, basil, a little mint finely chopped


You can serve it with chopped hard-boiled egg, natural yogurt, croutons, chilli oil, jummus, toasted seeds, etc. and some crusty bread.

Score a cross on the top of the tomatoes then place them in a large pan or bowl. Pour on boiling water from a kettle and leave for a minute. Scoop them out and drop into cold water. Slip off the skins and chop the flesh very finely.

Mix together with all the other ingredients and season to taste. Chill for a couple of hours before serving with  the accompaniments in little bowls. I like to drop in some ice cubes too.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Another gooseberry recipe, if you don't have some in your freezer, blackcurrants or nectarines would be delicious.

Gooseberry meringue roulade (Makes two medium or one large roulade: serves 12)
 

10 egg whites                                            560ml/1pint double (not whipping) cream, whipped
1 tsp cornflour                                           2-3 tbsp. elderflower cordial
560/1lb 4oz caster sugar                          170g/6oz ground almonds
Grated zest of 1 lemon                             75g flaked almonds
450/1lb gooseberries (or more for a stronger flavour)

Top and tail the gooseberries and cook them without water until they can be mashed to a pulp or liquidised. Sieve the purée if you prefer and, if it is watery, boil it down a little. Taste and add a little sugar if you like, but bear in mind that the meringue is very sweet. Allow to cool, then stir in the cream, cordial and almonds.

Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Sift the cornflour and sugar and add to the egg white gradually, along with the lemon zest, beating all the time, until the mixture can form droopy peaks again.

Line one or two large baking sheets with silicon paper and spread the mixture 1cm/.5in deep to make one huge or two smaller rectangles. Scatter on the flaked almonds.

Bake the meringue for 5-6 minutes at 180C/350F/Gas 4, until set and dry to touch. It will still be very soft inside.

Turn the cooled meringue over on to greaseproof paper and spread on the cream mixture. Roll it up, using the paper. Chill until ready to serve.

Click here to download this recipe. 

 

Quick pickles are delicious, tangy and a great way to use freshly picked veg. Any combination works but the turnips and radishes give a bit of mustardy hit and the beetroot sends it all a fantastic pink to liven up a plate of cold cuts.

Beetroot Pickles

1 kg of mixed turnips, radishes, kohl rabbi, celeriac etc.
2 beetroot

170ml cider vinegar
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced (optional)
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
2 tbsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp peppercorns
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 sprigs dill or fennel

Peel and slice the vegetables into batons about the size of large French fries.

Combine all the other ingredients in a jug with 450ml water.  Stir to dissolve the salt.

Layer up all the veg etc. into a one or 2 cleaned and sterilised jars and pour on the liquid to cover. Top up with more vinegar if you need to.

Put on the lids and store for a week at room temperature before eating. After that, store in the fridge.

 

NB When I’ve eaten all the veg, I re-use the liquid by just adding more veg to the jar.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Here is a good chutney for using up a bumper crop of gooseberries.

Gooseberry Chutney
Makes about 4lbs
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.

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 the recipe.

 

Here is something delicious to do with the glut of summer fruit we are all experiencing in our gardens from the lovely summer heat.

Raspberry drops

These are so tasty and very simple to make – but you do need to own some sort of blender or food processor. This recipe is dairy free but you could of course use butter or margarine instead of the coconut oil. Thank you to Sarah Britton for the idea.

1 cup/300g rolled oats
1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder
A good big pinch of sea salt
½ cup/ 80ml coconut oil (melted)
2/3 cup maple syrup or honey (you could use a mix of golden syrup and honey)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup / 45g chopped toasted hazelnuts

1 cup of raspberries
Raspberry jam

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees and line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Process most of the oats until like a rough flour. Put this with the rest of the oats, the arrowroot, salt , oil and syrups into a bowl and stir together. Mix in the nuts and vanilla.

Roll the mixture into balls and place onto the baking sheet and (with wet hands) pat them down and press your thumb in the middle of each one to make an dent.

Spoon in a little jam into the dent and press a raspberry on top.

Bake for about 20 mins.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

With this warm weather, Milly has been asked for this recipe. For the eagle eyed, it's the one she did on the telly with Gino.

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)
Milk
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 this recipe.

 

This sauce is addictive. Use it to add a really vibrant kick where you need it. I like it on salmon or chicken but I also use it as a dressing to add contrast to something creamy like a quiche or eggs mayo.

The mix of herbs is up to you and what you have available but don’t miss out the capers and the gherkins (though an optional extra) give it extra depth.

Salsa Verde

Large bunch of parsley with chives, a bit of mint, fennel and some basil if you have it Sorrel is a nice addition
4 gherkins
1 heaped tablespoon capers
250 ml olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of sugar
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper

Chop all the herbs etc by hand and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and pinch of sugar. Add the garlic and transfer into a jam jar. Add the oil and lemon juice. Screw on the lid tightly and give it all a good shake.

Keep in the fridge or in a cool place till needed.

Alternatively whizz everything with a blender but not too fine.

Click here to download this recipe

 

Here is one for lamb which has a Middle Eastern vibe so serve it with a sprinkling of mint and lemon zest and a cucumber and yogurt salad.

Lamb shanks with fennel, chickpeas and apricots

4 lamb shanks                                      1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp. oil                                             1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
Flour                                                    2 bay leaves
4 onions                                               2 strips of orange peel
2 fennel bulbs                                      200g dried apricots
2 tsp fennel seeds                                2 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp ground coriander                        Salt and pepper
2 tsp paprika                                        150g chickpeas
A thumb sized piece of ginger

Heat the oven to 175 degrees. Roll the shanks in seasoned flour and fry in oil until browned. Transfer to a roasting tin.

Lower the heat and lightly sear the fennel and put aside in a bowl for later. With a little more oil, fry the onions until soft. Add the spices, bay leaves and orange peel and season well. Stir for a few minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and add 500ml of water or stock.

Add the chick peas and bubble for a minute before adding to the lamb. Cover with foil and bake for an hour and a half. Turn the shanks and skim off some fat. Lower the heat, add the fennel and apricots  and cook for another hour.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Milly had a request for what to do with half a jar of preserved lemons ( remembering the recipe back in the early spring, search this website and that recipe will come up) so here is one of my favourites. Recipe is taken from an ancient booklet on Mediterranean cooking by the late great Jane Grigson.

 

Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and olives

Serves 6

2 cloves garlic, crushed                                                       1 onion, grated
1 tsp powdered ginger                                                         1 bunch of chopped parsley
1/2 tsp ground cumin                                                           Pinch of saffron ( or 1/4 tsp turmeric)
3 tbsp. sunflower oil                                                             60g green olives
1 chicken                                                                              2 pickled lemons
Black pepper

 

The day before you want to cook it, put the chicken into a casserole dish. Mix the spices, garlic and oil and smooth over the chicken. Put the lid on and leave in the fridge over night. Baste the chicken once or twice if you can. (You can use chicken joints instead of a whole chicken)

The next day, add the grated onion, herbs and saffron or turmeric. Pour in enough water to come up about a couple of centimetres in the dish and bring to the boil. Put on the lid and cook at a very gentle simmer for an hour and a quarter if the chicken is whole or 45 minutes for chicken
pieces.

Meanwhile, cut the olives in half (stone them in they need it). Cut away the pulp from the lemons and rinse them. Cut them in half and add them with the olives to the chicken.  Cook on for another 15 minutes then remove the chicken to a serving dish and boil the liquid to reduce it to
about 150 – 170 ml.

Taste and add extra salt if it needs it and plenty of black pepper. Pour the liquid over the chicken and serve.

Click here to download this recipe. 

 

Just the weather and time of year for this!

Elderflower cordial
Collect your flowers on a fine day. Use scissors to snip the flowers into a bag or bas-ket and be careful not to knock off the pollen – It’s the pollen that has the fragrance.
Ingredients
30 elderflower heads
1.7litres/3 pints boiling water
900g/2lb caster sugar
50g/2oz citric acid or tartaric acid (available from chemists)
2 unwaxed oranges, sliced
3 unwaxed lemons, sliced
Method
Pour the boiling water over the sugar in a very large mixing bowl. Stir well and leave to cool.
Add the citric acid, the orange and lemon slices, and then the flowers. Cover with a tea towel or clingfilm.
Leave in a cool place for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
Strain through some muslin and transfer to sterilised bottles.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Summer vegetable pasta
Serves 2

250g dried pasta – farfalle or rigatoni works well
1 egg
100ml low fat crème fraiche
Salt and pepper
2 handfuls of frozen peas
A bunch of asparagus tips
3 handfuls fresh spinach
1 courgette
2 rashers of smoky bacon or pancetta (optional) 
Bunch of mixed herbs ie mint, parsley, chives, sorrel
1 handful grated parmesan

Method
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
If using bacon, cut it up small and dry fry until crispy. Grate in the courgette and add spinach. Stir over a medium heat until wilted.
When pasta is nearly cooked, throw in the peas and asparagus and cook for a couple of minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving a little water. Stir in with the bacon and vegetables. Add most of the chopped herbs.
Mix together the crème fraiche and egg and stir into the pasta with a little water. Season and sprinkle with parmesan and remaining herbs.

Click here to download this recipe.

 

Asparagus salad with hazelnut and orange

Serves 6 

Can be a side salad or starter
2 handfuls of fine asparagus spears, 2 handfuls of mange tout, 2 handfuls of samphire or fine beans, a small bunch of tarragon
2 handfuls of baby new potatoes (optional)
70g un skinned hazelnuts
1 orange

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