I was on Lorna Milton’s show today on BBC Three Counties Radio and my remit was to cook three dishes using local produce. Using wonderful goats cheese from Wobbly Bottom Farm, jellies and jams from Humber’s Homemade, rare breed sausages and bacon – and rhubarb – from Hazeldene Farm and ice-cream from Beechdean, I made a goats cheese tart with apple and chilli jelly, traditional toad in the hole with onion gravy and a wonderful rhubarb crumble.
Here are the recipes I made… To listen to my slot on the show, click here and it starts about 29 minutes in.
No need to over-complicate things when using such wonderful ingredients as Wobbly Bottom goats cheese and Humber’s Apple and Chilli Jelly, so I deliberately made this tart as simple as possible. Apple is a great match for goats cheese – and the chilli in the jelly just tops it all off perfectly. This is a tart with strong flavours so, if you prefer it milder, use one of Wobbly Bottoms creamy goats cheese logs and maybe use Humber’s Pear and Almond jam instead.
Makes 4 tarts
1 pack of pre-rolled puff pastry
2 Wobbly Bottom Goats Cheese “Camemberts”
3 tbsp Humber’s Homemade Apple and Chilli Jelly
Preheat the oven to 220C/ 425F/ Gas Mark 7 (a little lower for fan assisted ovens)
- Prepare the cheese. Take a very sharp knife and run it under hot water as a warm, moist knife cuts through the cheese much more easily. Thinly slice off the top and bottom crusts of the goats cheese then cut each cheese in half. I find that turning the cheese with your left hand while your right hand cuts with the knife helps this a lot.
- Cut four squares of the puff pastry, approximately 1½ cms wider than the goats cheese circles.
- Put the pastry slices on a lightly floured, non-stick baking tray and lay one slice of goats cheese in the middle of each square. Make a 1cm diagonal cut in each corner of the pastry and fold the edges of the square back to make a nice border. Crimp the borders a little with a fork.
- Heat the apple and chilli jelly in a bowl in the microwave for 15 seconds, then glaze the goats cheeses generously using a pastry brush (or anything you can get your hands on!). Put the baking tray in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is golden.
- Take the tarts out of the oven and glaze them with a little bit more of the apple and chilli jelly and serve immediately
Hazeldene Farm in Chesham makes wonderful sausages and bacon with meat from the rare breed British Lop pigs they rear on the farm. I can’t think of a better way to eat their sausages and bacon than in a traditional toad in the hole. I would normally use 8 sausages but theirs were so large that I could only fit 7 into the pan!
For the “toad”
8 thick pork sausages (Using excellent quality sausages will dramatically improve this dish)
8 rashers streaky bacon
A large glug of vegetable oil
For the “hole”
100g plain flour and a pinch of salt
- Wrap the sausages with the bacon and put them in a deep baking dish. Drizzle them with vegetable oil. You want the base to have a good covering of oil too.
- Bake the sausages for 20 minutes until the bacons starts to go nice and crispy.
- While the sausages are baking, sift the flour into a bowl, drop in the egg and whisk in the milk. Try not to over-whisk the batter but you will want it to be nice and smooth.
- Remove the sausages from the oven. Be careful as the oil will be very hot. Pour the batter into the dish and swirl it around the sausages.
- Bake the toad in the hole for a further 25-30 minutes. Whatever you do, don’t open the oven for at least 20 minutes. The toad in the hole is ready when the batter has risen and is golden brown.
To make a simple onion gravy to accompany the toad in the hole:
While the sausages are cooking, thinly slice two onions and fry them gently in a drizzle of oil in a non-stick frying pan on a moderate heat. They will need about 15 minutes to go nice and soft. Sprinkle in a good pinch of brown sugar and stir for a few more minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp flour and keep stirring until until all the flour is absorbed. Pour in 500ml beef stock and bring it to the boil. Let the sauce simmer gently for five minutes until it has thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper before serving.
Ruhubarb is bang in season locally at the moment and it pairs wonderfully with ginger so I used some of Humber’s Homemade’s rhubarb and ginger jam to add a lovely tangy kick to this most classic of desserts. The rhubarb was fresh from Hazeldene Farm’s shop and we finished it all off with some lovely rhubarb and vanilla ice cream from Beechdean.
Serves 4 – 6
1 kg rhubard (about 12 stalks), cut into 5cm long pieces
3 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp Humber’s Homemade Rhubarb and Ginger Jam
100g soft butter
200g plain flour
80g demerara sugar
Beechdean Rhubarb and Ginger Ice Cream
Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F / Gas Mark 6
- Put the rhubarb pieces on a baking tray (or in a shallow dish), sprinkle them with the caster sugar and a little water. Bake them for 10 minutes, then take them out of the oven and transfer them to an ovenproof dish – not forgetting the lovely sugary juices.
- While the rhubarb is cooking, put the butter, flour and demerara sugar in a bowl and rub it all together with your fingertips until you get a fine crumbly mix.
- Turn the oven down to 190C/ 375F/ Gas Mark 5. Stir 3 tbsp of the Rhubarb and Ginger Jam into the rhubarb and check whether the fruit is sweet enough for you. You can always add a little caster sugar if you want it sweeter. I prefer to leave my rhubarb a little bit tart and serve the crumble with a little sugar in a bowl in case anyone wants to sweeten it. If you cannot get hold of rhubarb and ginger jam, simply add some grated fresh ginger at this stage.
- Cover the rhubarb with the crumble mix (don’t pack the mix down or it will turn into pastry) and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top is lovely and golden. Serve warm with the ice cream.