RICH PICKINGS FROM THE GARDEN >>
There are a few treasured favourites still to be picked:
Purple sprouting broccoli can flower over a very long period – November to May, if you’ve sown a packet of seed with differing varieties inside. The central head needs to be picked in order to allow the outer stems to branch off and form lots of further florets.
Parsnips are one of the few root veg that benefit from being left in the ground during winter; frosts cause the roots to turn sweeter as a natural antifreeze mechanism. Perfect for roasting or making into curried parsnip bhajis.
JOBS IN THE GARDEN >>
Hurray – it’s time to snuggle in front of the fire, gather your seed catalogues and dream of spring 2021!
Cranberry, pecan & hazelnut chocolates >>
These sweet treats are a doddle to make and the addition of coconut oil provides seriously, glossy chocccies without any panic about that ‘holy grail’ of chocolate: tempering.
75g pumpkin seeds
100g chopped nuts (pecans and hazelnuts)
2tbsp sesame seeds
400g dark chocolate (70%)
1 tbsp coconut oil
Flaky sea salt
Zest of 2 large oranges
75g dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 200°C and roast the pumpkin seeds, nuts and sesame seeds for four minutes until they start to pop
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and heat gently over a pan of simmering water – do not overheat. Stir until melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the coconut oil and the orange zest
Pour the chocolate into silicone moulds, leaving room for the nuts, cranberries and seeds to be gently pressed on top. Leave to set and then unmould and package in small, see through packets or decorative tins
Sticky onion & cranberry marmalade >>
This is great with cheese and cold meat – and makes a superb accompaniment to pâté.
100g dried cranberries
1.5kg red onions
120ml sunflower oil/olive oil
100g light muscovado sugar
120ml red wine vinegar
Little kilner jars
Place the cranberries in a saucepan with the port and bring to the boil then take off the heat and leave to steep while the onions are cooking
Peel and slice the onions in half, then slice very thinly – a mandolin makes this job much easier (while working in a face visor, as we are having to do at present, it oddly makes your eyes water even more than normal!)
Heat the oil in a frying pan or large saucepan; add the onions and cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time
Then add the sugar and continue to cook for another 30 minutes until nicely caramelised. While this is caramelising, you can sterilise your kilner jars by washing in hot soapy water and then rinsing with boiling water
After the onions have caramelised, add the cranberries and port mix, along with the vinegar and cook gently for another 30 minutes until a wooden spoon pulled through the mixture leaves a clear trail showing the base of the pan
Pour into your kilner jars and label