Sunday, 29 April 2012

Scots wha hae!

April has been a really busy month for me- lots happening foodie wise but no time to write about it!

At the beginning of the month I went to Bouches du Rhone - to visit family and to attend a food festival called Artisans 13 held in the Conseil Municipal in Marseille.

I ate so well over those 4 days in April- and there will be lots of pics and recipes appearing over the next few months inspired by my long weekend. However- back to the food festival.

Glasgow, as I'm sure we all know, is the European Capital of Culture- but will be handing over the baton to Marseille and the region of Provence in 2013. To begin the handover, artisans from Glasgow and from Marseille came together to present their wares.

Marseille is no stranger to offal- witness here it's renowned dish 'Pieds Paquets'- and how about this stall in the Camargue selling every type of sausage that can be made from a bull !-  so it's no surprise that the haggis stall at the festival attracted lots of buyers.

Being superscrimpers, we managed to blag a couple of baby haggises- and took them home to tempt French eaters. We finely sliced the haggis and fried it in butter before serving on green leaves with a simple lemon vinaigrette. It was a hit!

This recipe would work well with other similar meats such as black pudding or liver sausage.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Tout est fruity!

There can never be a good reason for throwing away fruit- unless it has gone completely mouldy and maggoty. If it's just a bit tired and wrinkly then (like most of us) - it can be put to good use.

There really is so much that you can do with it- crumbles, compotes, fruit salads (warm or cold), add it to gin to make a fruit liqueur- or put it into cakes.

Use a basic sponge mixture (125 g butter creamed with 125g caster sugar, beat in 2 eggs and 125g self raising flour) or even use a packet mix from the store cupboard- the possibilities are endless...

My Sister Dolly's Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I don't really have a sister called Dolly- but this is a nod to Private Godfrey from Dad's Army who did have- and who was famed for her pineapple upside down cake!


1 portion cake mix (as above)
4 slices pineapple
(Cherries or walnuts/pecans if you have any)
50 g soft brown sugar
50g butter

Thoroughly grease a 20cm cake tin.
Melt the butter and sugar together and pour over the base of the cake tin.
Lay the pineapple slices in the sugar syrup and add nuts/cherries if you want
Pour on the cake mix and bake in a moderate oven  (180 degrees ) for 30-40 mins until risen, golden and firm to the touch.

Allow to cool for 10 mins and then turn out onto a plate- the syrup should still be sticky on the surface.

Variations on this include Apple Cake (with the apples mixed into the cooking mix rather than laid on the surface).....

Or how about a Lavender Cake- with flowers picked and washed from the garden?

And finally- what about a Banana Cake?

Many people throw bananas away when they start to go a bit too spotty- but this is actually when they are beginning to reach their best!

When they reach the spotty stage- put them in the fridge in a plastic container with a lid (for up to a week). When you open the lid, they will be all black and slug-like and not at all appealing- but don't be fooled!

When you unzip them- they will be perfect inside and ready to slice into your cake mix- and then ready to pour into muffin cases and bake for tea!

You can adapt any of these recipes with whatever fruit you want to use up- apricots or peaches instead of pineapple, pears instead of apples, red fruits instead of bananas.... just don't throw any of it away unless you really, really have to!