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Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Here's a recipe for biscuits - similar to cheese scones - provided by regular contributors Donna and Bill over in Canada. 

"I don't suppose that you have any of the Red Lobster chain of restaurants in England? They make the best biscuits you've ever eaten. I guess they are not what you'd call biscuits, we'd call what you call biscuits cookies, so not sure what you'd call these. Have attached the recipe in case you want to try them. They are awesome. When I found the recipe, I made a batch, and that's all we had for dinner. They are pretty musty, you must keep eating more!" - Donna

Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits in 20 Minutes - makes approximately 18 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter (divided)
1 cup whole milk
1 (8 oz) package shredded cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon dried parsley

  Biscuits

 

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add 1 stick (½ cup) of butter to a small microwave safe mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar, garlic and ½ tsp salt. Whisk until well combined. Add melted butter and milk and whisk just until flour is all wet, do not over mix. Add cheese and fold in with a spoon.

Drop heaping spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown.

Meanwhile melt remaining ½ stick (¼ cup) of butter in small mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and parsley. Stir with pastry brush.

Remove biscuits from oven, brush with melted butter mixture. Serve and enjoy!

Aug 2014 Update

It's quite a short one this time, I could say all I have done is harvest this month but that's not completely true, but it does more or less cover the month.

The garden has been providing an overabundance of Courgettes, Patty Pans, French Beans, Aubergines, Peppers, Chillies, Lettuce and Tomatoes, some are now frozen either individually or in meals, or alternatively they have been eaten by us or given to friends and colleagues (Fig 1).

 

After having some rain, the soil is now more manageable, so after struggling for a month to dig spuds it's now easier.

 

The Onions and Garlic have all dried well in the greenhouse and hanging under cover, we are using them as and when needed. The Carrots are just starting to be harvested now.

  Figure 1

Read more: Aug 2014 Update

Baracchi Moments

An unforgettable week in Tuscany:

I have chosen to call this holiday the Baracchi Moments because the whole event was based around Cortona, the Baracchi estate and events that took place within close proximity to their holdings.

We stayed at the Locanda Del Molino, which is a lovely traditional Tuscan Bottega or Inn just east of Cortona, it is owned by the Baracchi family and admirably managed by Stephano and Anna Marie Coley. The Locanda historically was a mill on the Esse which is now a little stream which runs alongside the terrace; it has a Michelin recommended restaurant.

Read more: Baracchi Moments

July 2014 Update

Summer has arrived with a vengeance in Hampshire, loads of sunshine, no rain, which, if you're a holidaymaker is fine – in the garden it brings its own challenges. The soil has gone from a lovely soft fine tilth to a bone dry, rock hard, difficult to work crust in a matter of days.
I managed to get the Red Currants and Black currants gathered before they went over and turned to pulp, despite pruning hard back last year I eventually gathered 12 pound of Red and 8 pound of Black currants.

New potatoes are continuing to yield a good crop, however, because they are the only source of moisture in the soil the slugs are finding them very tempting also the hard soil means they are hard to dig up at present.

I have started to harvest Tomatoes (Fig 1), the Aubergines (Fig 2) along with the Cucumbers are almost ready to be picked (Fig 3), I am just leaving them to get a little more size to them.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3

 

The Courgette harvest has started, the Tondo Di Zucchino (Fig 4) or round courgettes are doing very well, I have had about 4 Bolognese courgettes (Fig 5) and a couple of the Rugosa variety (Fig 6).

Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6

 

I have tried growing the Tromba of Albegna up a frame (Fig 7) to see if I can get some straight ones this year rather than the curved crop I usually have. The Patty Pans are starting to show now with a couple ready to pick.

The Chillies and peppers are doing well, I have had my first red chilli and wow was it hot, I am waiting for the sweet peppers to go red. The Basil is also doing very well, nice and healthy (Fig 8) I continue to pick Sage and Oregano.

The sweet corn are growing well, another month or so and we should be eating cobs, that will be nice (Fig 9).

Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9

 

Beets (Fig 10) are doing ok, just about ready to eat as Baby Beetroot, the Carrots need a little more size to them yet, but they should not be too long now.

I picked some Runner Beans (Fig 11) last weekend so they are starting to come, the Borlotti (Fig 12) and the dwarf French beans are on the way and so are the climbers.

Figure 10 Figure 11 Figure 12

 

The Grapes are looking really good again this year (Fig 13), therefore, I am definitely going to make some wine at the end of the season.

The Onions are up and drying in the green house (Fig 14), I decided to try doing that this year rather than hang them; the Garlic is hanging up to dry (Fig 15).

Figure 13 Figure 14 Figure 15

 

I have planted out all of the greens for the winter, so all in all, it's been a productive, if very hot month; looking back on last year, I think we are ahead with our produce by at least 3 weeks (Fig 16).

Figure 16

 

That's it for this month.

Italian Sausages Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1.8kg (4 lb) coarse minced pork shoulder (Fig 1)

450g (1 lb) coarse minced pork back fat (could try taking the fat off the shoulder)
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dry Sage
1 teaspoon Fennel seeds
2 teaspoons Rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 3 cloves fresh garlic
3/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup (125ml) ice water
2 metre sausage casing, 4cm wide

Method:

1. Using a spice grinder, food processor or Pestle and Mortar grind down the salt, black pepper, Fennel, sage, Rosemary and Garlic.

2. In a large bowl, mix everything together, making sure the minced pork shoulder and back fat are kept cool by adding the water gradually.

3. Stuff the sausage mixture into the casings and twist off in 10cm (4 inch) lengths (Fig 2).

The Italians quite often remove the skins from their sausages when cooking so don't worry if you do not have a sausage maker, the meat can be formed into patties or rolled into sausage shapes and fried or griddled.

In the refrigerator they will last about a week, and they will benefit from resting in the fridge for 24 hours anyway. You can then freeze and they should last for 6 weeks or so.

 

Figure 1 Figure 2

Italian style Cherry Liqueur

This is a fabulous drink you will want to make every year; it's akin to Sloe Gin, but stronger.

Because I know you will not want to wait for this process to complete (by then the cherry season will be over) I have started the process, taken pictures, but in order to enable you to catch the cherries at optimum price and ripeness I am publishing this without the final stage pictures.

Read more: Italian style Cherry Liqueur