Incredible recipes from Rosemary MoonLast update: 16.07.13 First posted: 16.07.13 by Estelle in What's Cooking In Tod?
Mary met the amazing cookery writer and local food activist Rosemary Moon when she went down to speak at West Dean College. I used to live down south and we drove past the massive south downs flint walls and huge ornamental gates all the time, but I never got to go inside, this made hearing all about Mary’s visit even more thrilling.
So when Rosemary generously sent Mary some of her wonderful recipes for the website we couldn’t wait to share them with you dear readers, so here they are.
Fabulously refreshing and so much more than just a herb. Try it in salad, as a drink, in curry and in dips. Always take mint leaves off the stalk before using them as the stalk is bitter.
Potato and pea curry with mint Serves 4
2 large onions
1 clove garlic
4-5cm piece root ginger
1 red chili
500g new potatoes
2 tbsp ghee or oil
1-2 tbsp curry paste or powder, to taste
300g frozen petit pois, or freshly podded peas in season
200g cheese, Indian paneer, halloumi or Cornish Yarg
Loads of mint, to garnish
1 Prepare the vegetables. Roughly chop the onions, garlic and peeled ginger and place in a blender. Seed the chili, add it to the onions and blend them together to a purée. Put aside. Scrub or peel the potatoes and cut them into 3-4cm pieces. Roughly chop the tomatoes.
2 Melt the ghee in a frying pan, add the onion and curry pastes or powder and cook slowly over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
3 Bring the potatoes to the boil in a pan of water. Add the peas, return to the boil and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the onions as you add the peas to the potatoes. Drain the peas and potatoes, then return them to their pan.
4 Season the onion mixture with salt, then pour it over the potatoes. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.
5 Chop the cheese into 1 cm cubes – Yarg with wild garlic is my preferred choice for this recipe, but it does melt whereas halloumi will keep its shape, more like the Indian paneer. Add the cheese to the pan, leave for 1 minute to melt slightly before serving, garnished with loads of chopped mint.
If you make this with main crop potatoes, boil them for 8-10 minutes before adding the peas.
Minted tomato tabouleh salsa Serves 4-6
2–3 cloves garlic
1 red onion
1 red pepper
250g cracked wheat or bulghur
Mint and parsley
1 lemon, zest and juice, and olive or rapeseed oil to taste
Seed the chilies then finely chop with the garlic. Finely chop the onion and dice the tomatoes and pepper. Grate half the cucumber and finely dice the remainder. Mix together in a large bowl, season with salt and leave stand for 15 – 20 mins, to extract lots of juices from the salsa.
Meanwhile, cover the wheat in a pan with a knuckle’s depth of boiling water, then simmer for 4-5 mins, until almost all the water is absorbed. Leave for 10 mins, then stir into the salsa while still warm with the lemon zest and juice. Leave to cool.
Finely chop good handfuls of mint and parsley and add to the salad with oil to moisten and extra salt to taste. Stir before serving.
This is great on its own, or with cold meat or BBQ’s fish. If you can get a really fine cracked wheat from an ethnic grocers you can just add it to the salsa juices without pre-cooking.
Just squash 3 leaves of mint between 2 spoons to bruise them, then add hot but not boiling water – 3 leaves is plenty for a mug full of tea. Leave for 3-4 minutes, then drink! You’ll get two brews from one lot of leaves.
Tzaziki: cucumber and mint yogurt dip Serves 4
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 cucumber, or more – skin on 2 cloves garlic
150g/a small pot thick natural yogurt or 200g pot Greek natural yogurt
Good sea salt, pepper and sweet paprika to taste
freshly chopped mint
lemon or lime zest (optional)
1 Heat a small frying pan, add the cumin seeds, dry-fry for just a few second until fragrant then turn them into a mixing bowl. Coarsely grate the cucumber and squeeze dry in your hand or through a sieve (keep the juice if you are going to make the tabouleh salsa, or splash it on your face in hot weather!). Crush the garlic into the bowl.
2 Mix all the ingredients together, adding a little paprika to the dip and scattering a little more over the top. Serve with crusty bread or pittas, as part of a mixed mezze or as a sauce with barbecued meats, or just with your favourite crisps.
Blackcurrants and redcurrants
The trouble with currants is that no-one really knows what to do with them and they are a bit of a fiddle to deal with. String them by pulling the fruits off the stalk with a fork. The little remains of the flowers at the opposite end to the stalk can be left on unless you or your kids really don’t do ‘bits’ at all!
Currant cordial Makes about 1.5 litres
2kg currants, black or red or mixed
1 litre water
1 String the currants into a pan, add the water and bring to the boil. Cook slowly until the fruit is completely soft, about 20 minutes – mash the currants with a potato masher or a ladle as they are cooking. Leave to cool slightly.
2 You need to strain this mixture to get rid of the bits. Use a jelly bag if you have one, or place a clean tea towel in a colander over a bowl. Pour a little boiling water through the cloth to sterilise it, then pour the water away. Pour the fruit mix into the teatowel, carefully gather the edges up into a ball and press as much juice as you can out through the colander. As the fruit becomes cooler squeeze the cloth really hard to get as much juice as possible from the fruit.
3 Measure the liquor and add 700g of sugar for every litre of juice. Heat the cordial with the sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Pour into clean ‘bottles’ – I use soft drink bottles or small plastic milk containers with lids, thoroughly washed out. Fill to within 1.5cm of the top. Freeze for storage. Keep in the fridge for immediate use within 2-3 weeks, and dilute before drinking with water or tonic.
I like to add half a lemon, finely sliced, to the currants when cooking for a sharper flavour.
Baked currant cheesecake Serves 10-12
200g digestive biscuits
100g Wensleydale cheese, or other crumbly one
3 large eggs
175g caster sugar
200g tub cream cheese
50g plain flour
150g pot natural yogurt
250g currants, stringed
Icing sugar for serving (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to gas mark 3, 160C. Crush the digestive biscuits into fine crumbs and grate the cheese. Separate the eggs, placing the yolks and whites in separate large mixing bowls. Finely grate the zest from the orange and squeeze the juice.
2 Melt the butter, add the biscuit crumbs and 50g of the sugar. Mix well and press into the base of a 23cm springform, loose-bottomed tin. Chill while making the filling.
3 Add the cream cheese, orange zest and juice, cheese, flour and yogurt to the egg yolks and beat until well mixed. Gently mix in the currants.
4 Whisk the egg whites until stiff – tip the bowl upside down and the egg whites should not move. Gradually whisk in the remaining caster sugar to make a meringue. Using a metal spoon, fold the egg whites into the cheese and currant mixture. Pile the filling into the tin over the biscuit base and level the top gently.
5 Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, until well risen and firm to the touch. Turn the oven off, leave the door open and the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour. It will sink back, but that’s OK.
6 Allow the cheesecake to cool completely and chill lightly for an hour or so. Dust some icing sugar on the top if you want to.
Summer Pudding Serves 8
You must make this the day before you want it – or very early in the morning for that evening. Don’t make Summer pudding with fresh fruits if you have to buy them as they are so expensive. You can make it with anything that’s incredible and edible at the moment. Rhubarb, gooseberries, currants, berries – make up your own mixture. Try to use firm bread – ordinary sliced just goes slimy and yuk. Buy a good loaf and slice it thinly yourself, if you have a good knife. And you can always make bread pudding with the crusts!
1kg mixed summer fruits, fresh or frozen
150g sugar, or to taste
150ml elderflower cordial or water
1 medium loaf of good sliced white bread
Cream to serve
1 Pick over and top and tail the fruit if using fresh. Stew with the sugar in a covered pan until soft. Set to one side.
2 Use a pudding basin about 750ml or a little larger, or a small loaf tin. Cut the crusts from the bread and cut the pieces to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl, jamming them tightly against each other so that there are no gaps. Take all the pieces out again and dip one side into the juices from the fruit, returning them stained side against the basin. You’ll probably find that you need a couple of extra pieces now.
3 Use a slotted spoon to pack the fruit with a minim of juice into the bread-lined basin. Cut more bread to cover the pudding, dip it into the remaining juices and use it stained side up. 4 Cover with another plate that fits the basin snuggly and pushes down on the pudding firmly. Balance a heavy weight on the top to press the pud, place on a plate to collect any drips and chill overnight or for at least 8 hours. Keep any remaining juices and fruit for serving.
5 Remove the weight and carefully lift away the plate. Run a palette knife round between the pudding and the bowl to loosen it, then invert onto a plate. Spoon any extra juice and fruit over and serve with cream or yogurt.
Gooseberry and elderflower jam Makes about 3kg
Make this whenever there are plenty of gooseberries – slightly under rather than over ripe gives the best results. Use heads of elderflowers or cordial, according to availability. Gooseberry jam is one of the miracles of the kitchen – why does it turn red?
1.5kg green gooseberries
5 heads of elderflowers or 5 tbsp cordial
1.75 kg granulated sugar
1 Wash, then top and tail the gooseberries into a preserving pan. Relax, that’s the hard work done now. Finely grate the zests of the lemons into the pan. If you still have elderflowers, tie the heads in a muslin bag, a jelly bag is ideal. Add the elderflowers or cordial to the gooseberries with the water. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the gooseberries are just tender and starting to split.
2 Meanwhile, wash and rinse some jam jars, then place them on a baking sheet in the oven at gas mark 3, 160℃, 325℉ to dry. Put a plate in the fridge to chill, ready to test for setting.
3 Add the sugar to the fruit and stir until dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes until the jam starts to turn red, then move the pan off the heat. Spoon a little jam onto the cold plate, leave it for a few seconds then push it with your fingernail. Does it wrinkle? If so, the jam is ready to bottle. If not, boil it for a further few minutes and try again.
4 Skim away any creamy crust with a spoon, then add a few flakes of butter and stir – this will disperse any remaining foam. Use a Pyrex jug to pour the jam into the warmed jars. Cover with a lid when hot, or with waxed discs and then cellophane covers when cold. Clean the jars and label them once the jam is cold. Store in a cool, dark cupboard or larder.
Gooseberry and eldeflower ice cream Serves 4-6
Elderflower cordial is used to flavour this light, refreshing low-fat ice cream. Making it in a machine achieves a really creamy consistency in what is really almost a sorbet – stir frequently by hand to avoid large ice crystals forming. Low fat is good news – not having to top and tail the berries is even better! Because it is so low fat it will not keep very well – you just have to eat it quickly!
3 large egg whites
100ml elderflower cordial
100g caster sugar
150ml double cream
1 Cook the gooseberries slowly in a covered pan with 50ml water until the soft and starting to split. Press through a sieve and measure the purée – you should have about 400ml. Leave to cool completely then chill.
2 Whisk the egg whites until light and frothy, then add the cold purée and all the remaining ingredients and combine them with a wire whisk. Turn into an ice cream maker and freeze-churn until ready, or freeze in a suitable container, stirring every half an hour or so.
Gooseberry cream Serves 6
3-4 large heads of elderflowers
250g tub mascarpone or Greek yogurt
375g jar orange or lemon curd
5-6 tbsp muesli
1 Top and tail the gooseberries and place them in a pan with 100ml water. Rinse the elderflowers under cold water then add them too (or use 100ml elderflower cordial and no water). Cover the pan and cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the berries have burst. Leave to cool completely, then remove the elderflowers and measure the fruit in a jug – you should have about 500ml.
2 Beat the mascarpone or yogurt in a bowl with the orange or lemon curd until combined, then add the gooseberries. Pour into a serving dish and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. This is a soft mixture but it will thicken slightly in the fridge.
3 Scatter a layer of muesli over the pud and serve. Add more muesli to any left-overs for breakfast!
for more visit Rosemary’s fab website www.moonbites.info
keep an eye out around town, some recipes may be appearing in a growing bed near you
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