Monday, July 9, 2012

We had a cracking frost the other day..
the kale doesn't seem to mind,
nor does the broccoli.
The Aga has come into its own in this chilly weather.  It is keeping our kitchen toasty warm and is churning out some hearty winter fare, especially casseroles cooked long and slow and spectacular roasts.  The only snag is that it the busy housewife occasionally forgets what went in and this happens....
It took quite a while, but at last my medlars have finished "bletting"
It was only a small haul, so I decided to try medlar jelly.  I washed them and boiled them with a quarter of a lemon for about an hour until they were soft.  Fished out the lemon and strained them through my jelly bag (muslin or a big chux, clean, folded in two would do the job).  I measured the resulting liquid and for every cup of liquid I added 3/4 cups of sugar.  Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar then boil rapidly until setting point is reached.  Bottle in sterilized jars.
It is quite sweet, but would be good with lamb, chicken or venison, maybe added to gravy or with cold meats or a sharp cheddar.
This unremarkable-looking pasta dish was suprisingly good and gobbled up in seconds by the starving troops.  It was born from laziness....I cooked the pasta in the sauce to save on dishes.

Cook a chopped onion in olive oil and add some chopped bacon and cook for about five minutes.  Add batch of roasted tomato sauce and bring to the boil.   Add pasta (a big handful of curly pasta per person, plus a bit extra), return the the boil and cook until the pasta is al dente.  This could be done in the simmer oven of the Aga.   I kept it simple and just finished it with parmesan, but you could go to town and add olives, capers or anchovies, like a puttenesca, if the mood takes you.  The pasta seems to absorb the sauce, giving a great flavour.  Good one for the holidays.

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