Eynsham picture

Enter a query to search our site.

Note that you can use "*" and "?" as wildcards.

Enclosing more than one word in double quotes ("Letterbox") will search for the exact phrase.


extra content...

Tip: Looking for something?
Try the Site Search or the
Document Archive

Eynsham Parish Council

Dishes for August

  • Warm romanesco salad with cashew nuts
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 15/08/2014

    Some people call it Romanesco others Romanesque cauliflower. What ever its name this remarkable vegetable is a fine example of phyllotaxis (the fractal patterning that appears in nature). It has a sweet vegetable nuttiness and tastes more like broccoli than cauliflower, which is why it goes so well with cashew nuts. For real effect it can be boiled whole and served as it is, but you can also celebrate its shape by dividing it into florets and placing it in a dish such as this stir fry which highlights its amazing shape.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    Half a Romanesco

    1 head of garlic

    2 oz (50g) cashew nuts

    Generous handful of chopped curly kale.

    Splash olive oil to fry

    Splash Soy sauce

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorn to season.


    Break the romanesco into florets and divide the head of garlic, peeling each clove as you go.

    Blanch the romanesco florets in boiling salted water, removing from the pot while they are still crisp.

    Cover the base of a large frying pan with olive oil and heat, adding the cashew nuts first, allowing them to cook for about 5 minutes before stirring in the garlic, romanesco and the chopped curly kale.

    Fry for about five minutes then season and stir in soy sauce to taste.

    Serve warm.

  • Chocolate meringues
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 23/08/2015

    These are so easy to make you will wonder why you have never cooked them before.

    Chocolate meringues can be enjoyed just as they are (as pictured), or can be decorated by drizzling threads of chocolate over them and of course you can stick two together with lashings of whipped cream. They also make a great dessert, especially when served with chocolate ice cream, or warm chocolate sauce poured over them just before serving. Strawberries go well with them too. They certainly make a great dessert for a barbecue party.

    To makes approximately 12 you will need:

    4 free range egg whites

    8oz (225g) caster sugar

    2 heaped teaspoons cocoa powder


    Adjust your oven so that it is no higher than gas 1, 140°C or 275°F (any higher than this and the meringues will cook too quickly and spoil).

    Line a baking tray with greased baking paper.

    Carefully separate the egg whites from yolks (yolks can be used for crème caramel.)

    Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until the mix stands up in shiny soft peaks, then gradually add the caster sugar, spoonful by spoonful.

    Continue beating until all the sugar is incorporated, then divide into two bowls.Add the cocoa powder to one bowl, stir in well.

    Gently swirl this chocolate mix into the plain meringue, you are aiming to produce a two tone effect.

    Spoon the mixture onto greased paper any size you want, sprinkle cocoa powder over them - but not too much.

    Cook for approximately two hours, until they are firm and have dried out. To make quite sure they are firm enough you can allow them to remain in the oven for a further 10 minutes with the door open.

    Leave to cook, decorate with melted chocolate if you wish.

  • Lamb cutlets with mulberry sauce
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 07/08/2011

    The mulberry tree is considered the wisest of fruit trees as it doesn’t develop its buds until severe weather is no longer expected, which is why even in the most difficult conditions this remarkable tree provides fruit in abundance during August.

    This year the mulberry harvest is about as good as it can get. These sweet purple fruits are simply packed with juice.

    Because this is one fruit that’s considered far too delicate to travel when ripe, you will only find dried mulberries in the supermarket. For fresh ones you need your own mulberry tree - or someone who is willing to share their harvest with you. As there are several ancient mulberry trees in Eynsham this should not be a problem. Black mulberry was imported to Britain in the 17th century at the instigation of James I, for the cultivation of silkworms. Because silk worms survive only on white mulberry leaves this plan came to nothing, but left us with a legacy of ancient trees bearing dark red fruits.

    To serve 2 people you will need:

    4 lamb cutlets

    One generous handful fresh mulberries

    2 cloves garlic - chopped fine

    Generous dash of red wine

    Few sprigs fresh parsley - chopped fine

    Oil to fry chops

    6 medium new potatoes

    Olive oil to finish the crushed new potatoes

    Flour to coat cutlets before frying

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.


    Toss the cutlets in seasoned flour, then fry gently in a drop of oil on both sides until golden brown. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

    While the cutlets are frying place the new potatoes in salted water and cook until done. Strain and crush with a fork, having added a few drops of olive oil to the potatoes, then set to one side too.

    Add the mulberries, parsley and chopped garlic to the meat juices in the frying pan and toss in a generous dash of red wine, lower the heat and allow to simmer.

    When the mulberries are cooked (will only take a moment) remove half with a slotted spoon and reserve, then use a potato masher to crush the rest of the mulberries into the liquid. Because they are so juicy, it is highly unlikely that you will need to add further liquid to the pan.

    Taste sauce, season accordingly and assemble the dish by dividing the crushed potatoes onto the plates. Now pour a little of the sauce over them and arrange the cutlets on top. Next spoon on the whole mulberries. Garnish with mint or parsley and pour any leftover sauce around the dish.

  • Plums and lamb chops
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 31/07/2011

    If you have a plum tree in your garden you will probably have noticed that they are ripening early this year - two or three weeks early at least. Like apples they are responding to the unusual weather conditions we have had this summer and are ready now.

    Don’t waste them, ripe plums are one of those great fruits that can be enjoyed warm from the sun straight off the tree, or in a cooked dish that requires a slightly tart flavour addition.

    This recipe mixes plums with grilled lamb chops - the result is delicious.

    To serve 2 people you will need:

    2 lamb chops

    6 firm plums (4 finely chopped - 2 halved stones removed)

    2 cloves garlic - chopped fine

    One shallot - chopped fine

    One piece of ginger the size of a walnut - grated fine

    Oil to baste chops and fry

    Splash of port

    150 ml stock

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper corns to season

    Parsley to garnish.


    Pour a little oil into a frying pan and having added the chops, fry until they are golden brown and crispy.

    Set to one side.

    Now add the chopped shallot, garlic, ginger and chopped plums to the pan and cook gently until the plums soften.

    Add the stock.

    Press the plums into the juices to thicken the sauce.

    Slosh in a splash of port and stir. Allow the mix to reduce a little.

    In a separate pan fry the plum halves until cooked.

    Assemble the dish by spooning out the sauce onto the serving plate, then adding the chops. Then dress each chop with a plum half and a small sprig of parsley.

  • Deep-fried courgettes & flowers
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 09/08/2009

    Courgette flowers are very delicate and should be handled with care, but if used complete with courgette on the day they are picked they add a novel and very colourful touch to the meal. If stuffed with a soft cheese such as ricotta or mascarpone - both of which both have a delicate creamy taste - they make a wonderful starter.

    Ask Sandy at Cornucopia if you want to know more about soft cheeses such as these - she has a great selection to choose from.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    8oz(225g) soft cheese such as ricotta or mascarpone

    Juice and zest of one lemon

    Handful chives, chopped small

    small courgettes, complete with flowers

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.

    For the batter:

    8oz (225g) plain flour

    1 tsp bicarbonate soda

    Pinch salt

    9fl oz ice cold carbonated water

    Oil to fry


    Mix the soft cheese with the lemon zest and juice and stir in the chopped chives, taste and season if you wish.

    Spoon the mix gently into each flower, gently squeezing the petals back once they are full to enclose the mixture inside.

    Dredge the filled flowers with a little flour and fill a pan with sufficient oil to fry them.

    Fill a pan large enough to deep-fry the courgette flowers and place over high heat, using the time it takes to reach full heat to mix up the batter.

    Mix the batter by combining the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl, gradually adding the water and whisking well to form a batter.

    When the oil is hot dip the stuffed courgettes into the batter and place them gently into the pan one by one.

    Providing the oil is hot enough they shouldn’t take longer than three or four minutes to turn a crisp golden brown.

    Remove from the pan onto kitchen paper to drain and serve at once with a summer salad.

    NOTE: This is a basic recipe - try adding a little cooked rice, finely chopped ham or crispy bacon to the cheese mix for extra flavour. In fact, how you stuff the flower is up to you as long as the mix is firm and will not leak out when cooked.

  • Courgette chutney
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 02/08/2010

    If you are wondering what on earth to do with all the courgettes that are now filling your kitchen - think chutney. This is a great way of preserving the summer and getting rid of a glut of courgettes. I will list ingredients that I use when making this chutney, but please use your imagination when making it up. You don’t have to adhere strictly to those listed, add other ingredients if you feel they will work.

    To make approx 3 jars you will need:

    1lb (450g) courgettes (more if you wish)

    2 medium onions

    1lb (450) ripe tomatoes

    2 cooking apples

    300ml wine or cider vinegar

    8 oz (250g) brown sugar

    1 tspn mustard seeds

    Piece of fresh ginger the size of a walnut

    2 to 4 cloves garlic (exact amount up to you)

    2oz (50g) dried apricots

    2 tsp mixed spice

    1 bay leaf

    ½ tsp salt


    Dice the courgettes, tomatoes, onions, dried apricots and apples reasonably small.

    Grate the fresh ginger and crush and chop the garlic cloves.

    Place all the ingredients into a large preserving pan and bring to a slow simmer, stirring as you go.

    Place on a low heat and simmer without a lid for about 2 hours, or until it turns thick.

    Taste, adjust seasoning if you feel it needs a little more salt, then spoon into sterilised jars.

    Leave for two or three weeks before using to allow flavours to mature and fuse.

  • Courgette and cheese tart
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 02/08/2010

    If you are inundated with courgettes, but hate to waste them, try making this tart as a lunch dish - it’s easy to make and delicious to eat.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    14 oz (350g) short crust pastry

    3 medium sized courgettes

    2 cloves garlic

    4 tbspns crème fraîche

    Olive oil

    2oz (50g) Parmesan cheese

    Salt and freshly ground peppercorns to season


    Turn the oven to 180°C / 350°F or gas mark 6.

    Grate the Parmesan cheese finely

    Roll pastry to thickness of a pound coin and place into a square or round baking dish.

    Mix the crème fraîche with half the Parmesan cheese and spread inside the raw pastry case.

    Slice the courgettes thinly, chop the garlic and mix together with a little olive oil.

    Arrange the sliced oiled courgettes in overlapping rows, and scatter with the rest of the Parmesan cheese.

    Scatter a little salt and freshly ground peppercorn on top and place in the oven.

    Bake for approximately 15-20 mins, or until the cheese has melted and turned a delicious brown colour and the pastry is cooked.

    Remove from the oven and serve warm with a tossed green salad.

  • Courgette salad
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 01/08/2010

    Because the promised rains still haven’t arrived, gardens and allotments are rather sad places at the moment. Runner beans are suffering badly and so are many other fruits and vegetables.

    Strangely, courgettes seem to be coping with the drought conditions, which means they may be the only decent vegetable you have at the moment. This simple salad, which takes but moments to prepare, is one easy, tasty way of using them up.

    To serve 2 people you will need:

    2 medium sized courgettes

    One lemon

    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season


    After washing the courgettes, use a swivel potato peeler and cut into thin ribbons.

    Grate the zest from the lemon and extract the juice.

    Place the cut courgettes into a large bowl, scatter the grated lemon peel on top, also the lemon juice and the olive oil.

    Scatter freshly ground black peppercorns and a little salt onto the mix, then stir gently until the courgette ribbons are coated with the mix.

    Place in the refrigerator for half an hour so that the flavours of the lemon and oil can penetrate the courgettes, then serve as a side salad or simply enjoy as a light lunch salad with some warm crispy bread and butter.

    Note: By adding a little chopped cooked chicken just before serving you can turn it into a more substantial dish.

  • Vegetarian pasties
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 28/07/2010

    This is not a traditional pasty recipe, as it doesn’t contain meat and the filling is cooked before being wrapped in pastry and then baked. It is, however, a great dish to cook up if you have loads of summer vegetables in the kitchen that you don’t know what to do with. The vegetables can be all cooked up together in a frying pan to which a little olive oil has been added, but to get the best out of the veggies some can be cooked separately.

    For example, if you have carrots to add to the mix, by boiling them in salted water to which a little sugar or honey has been added, their sweetness will be enhanced. And by cutting new potatoes into cubes and boiling them up in salted water to which a couple of sprigs of mint have been added, you have another positive flavour to add to the pasty.

    To make 4 pasties you will need:

    8oz (225g) short crust pastry

    12 oz (350g) summer vegetables to include: peas, runner beans, carrots, spring onions, new potatoes, tomatoes and anything else you have at hand.

    2 sprigs mint

    2 or three sprigs parsley

    A little olive oil to fry vegetables

    One egg - beaten

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorn to season


    Turn the oven to 200°C / 400°F or gas mark 6.

    Prepare the pastry, then wrap it in cling film and chill until needed.

    Prepare the vegetables, cutting and chopping them all into very small bite sizes. Chop the parsley fine.

    Boil the potatoes with the mint and drain when cooked.

    Boil the carrots in sugar or honey and drain when cooked.

    Add oil to a large frying pan and bring to medium heat, adding the chopped vegetables that take longest to cook first, leaving vegetables such as tomatoes and peas until the end. Stir the potatoes and carrots into the mix.

    Adjust seasoning and remove from heat once cooked, stirring in the chopped parsley. Set to one side and allow to cool.

    Roll the pastry until it is as thick as a pound coin, and cut four circles as large as a tea plate - using the tea plate as a guide.

    Brush the sides of each circle with the beaten egg, divide the vegetable mix between the four circles, fold together, pinch the sides to secure filling inside, brush with the egg wash and bake or at least 20 minutes or until they have turned a delicious golden brown.

  • Pea & roasted garlic soup
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 08/07/2009

    When my friend served this delicious soup for dinner the other evening, she remarked that it contained four whole heads of garlic. One of the guests looked slightly alarmed at this admission, but my friend continued dishing up, smiling as she did so.

    “Once you have added one head of garlic, it makes hardly any difference if you add another three. Besides which, garlic is good for you,” she said as she placed the final dish of soup on the table.
    The soup tasted superb as she had used freshly harvested peas and garlic from her allotment. The garlic certainly didn’t overwhelm the pea flavour.

    Apparently this recipe was developed by TV chef Rachel Green, and my friend simply added a couple of flourishes to make it her own.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    4 heads of garlic

    2 medium sized onions - rough chopped

    2oz (50g) butter

    1 tbspn olive oil

    2lb (900g) fresh or frozen peas

    1ltr vegetable stock

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season

    Yoghurt or crème fraiche and mint sprigs to garnish


    Turn the oven to 180°C / 350°F or Gas Mark 4.

    Wrap the garlic heads in foil and bake them in the oven for at least 40 minutes or until they have softened.

    While the garlic is cooking, fry the onion in a mix of butter and oil in a large pan until soft but not brown.

    Add the peas and stir them into the oil, butter and onions for just a minute, then pour in the stock and bring the whole lot to boiling point.

    Turn the heat down and allow the mix to simmer for five minutes.

    Take the garlic out of the oven, leave it to cool for a moment, then remove the foil and very gently squeeze the soft garlic cloves into the soup.

    Zap together in a liquidizer until you have a rough purée and pour into a clean pan, taste and adjust seasoning.

    Bring the soup back to full heat and serve with a garnish of crème fraiche or yoghurt and a small sprig of mint.

    Serve with chunks of warm granary bread.

  • Sweetcorn relish with green chilli
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 22/08/2009

    Thanks to a friend who encouraged me to grow my own chilli this year, and another who has allowed me to raid his sweetcorn patch, all I had to buy to create this classic American relish was a fresh green capsicum. It can be made with either red or green chilli and will keep for at least six months if sealed in sterilised jars. You will notice it will be a little wetter than chutney as it is chunky mix and the ingredients don’t absorb moisture.

    To make approximately 2lb you need:

    1lb 2oz (500g) corn kernels taken from 5 to 6 cobs

    2 medium sized green chillies - de-seeded and chopped fine

    One green capsicum weighing approximately 4oz (115g) - de-seeded and chopped fine

    2 sticks celery - chopped fine

    4 oz (115g) chopped shallot or onion

    6oz (175g) granulated sugar

    Juice of one lemon

    10fl oz (300ml) white wine vinegar

    1 tsp mustard powder

    ½ tsp celery seeds

    2 tbsp. salt.


    Place all the ingredients except the salt into a large pan and gently bring it to full heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

    When it comes to the boil, reduce the heat and allow the mix to simmer for 20 minutes, by which time the liquid should have begun to thicken a little.

    Add the salt, and stir in well then remove from the heat.

    Spoon into hot sterilised jars, cover with vinegar-proof seals and store in a cool dry place.

    This relish is great with barbecued and grilled dishes.

    NOTE: take care not to rub your eyes when chopping the chilli as it can make them sting badly and be very painful.

  • Five a Day
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 26/07/2009

    This is not a recipe, but a reminder that there is no better time in the year than now to enjoy five fresh vegetables a day.

    French beans are flourishing, thanks the rainy conditions. They are succulent, easy to prepare and cook, and taste absolutely wonderful. If you have not planted your own French beans, pop down to Medley Manor Pick-Your-Own, half a mile down Binsey Lane, off the Botley Road. You won’t be disappointed as the farm has a wonderful crop this year. Or wait until Saturday and visit Jonathan Bowden at his Millwood Market Gardens stall outside the Emporium.

    New Potatoes - well, what can I say about freshly dug new potatoes that has not already been said? The joy of these glorious vegetables begins when you scrape their skins under running water and discover that they peel off with ease. All you need to chivvy them up is a generous bunch of freshly picked mint.

    Leeks are at their succulent best at the moment. Whilst they can be kept in the soil until they grow larger and mature, try eating them while young, with a cream cheesy sauce - you will not be disappointed.

    Courgettes - this delightful vegetable is now at its best. Their shiny skins tells you that. If you don’t grow your own, seek out a friend who does, for this is the time of the year when they are so plentiful at this time of the year, they can be shared.

    Spinach - to ensure a constant supply of fresh spinach, many gardeners cut them right back at this time of the year. Within a week or so fresh green shoots develop offering the cook an abundance of green leaves that are both good for your health and tasty. Try fresh cooked spinach topped with a poached egg if you fancy a tasty snack - delicious.

  • Runner beans
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 03/08/2008

    There are fancy recipes that can be used to help you use up a glut of runner beans from the garden and the allotment, but I am not going to give you one.

    This superb vegetable needs no garnish, no fancy cooking techniques. It stands alone. The flavour of runner beans, picked fresh from the garden or allotment is so scrumptious, that all you need is a pot of boiling salted water to cook the beans and a sharp knife to slice them thin.

    The knife in the photograph is a cheap little knife I picked up from The Emporium, Mill Street, about three months ago. I wanted a paring knife for vegetables and Corin, who owns and runs The Emporium, suggested I try this one.

    I was slightly apprehensive at first, having never owned a green knife that came in its own sheath before. I needn’t have been. It has proved a real wonder. Indeed I now consider it a real friend as it cuts through tomatoes and vegetables such as running beans as if it is cutting through butter.

    Thanks to this little knife, which is very reasonably priced, preparing my runner beans for the pot have been so easy, I really wonder how I ever managed before.

  • Courgette & mushroom bread
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 10/08/2010

    If you have more courgettes in the kitchen than you know what to do with - try adding them to a loaf of bread. The result is a moist,flavoursome loaf, which is really delicious, particularly when eaten shortly after it has come out of the oven.

    You will need:

    1lb (450g) strong white flour

    2 tsp salt

    7g sachet dried yeast

    1 tspn runny honey

    3 medium courgettes - grated fine

    3 spring onions - chopped fine

    4 oz (125g) mushrooms - chopped fine

    2 cloves garlic - chopped really fine

    2 tbspns olive oil

    100 ml water at blood heat

    Course sea salt and grated Parmesan to scatter on loaf before baking.


    Turn oven to 220°C / 425°F or gas mark 7

    Grate courgettes, chop onions, mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes over a gentle heat in a pan to which the olive oil has been added.

    Remove the cooked vegetable mix from the heat, and place in a strainer, which has been placed over a container that can catch the drips. Press the mix against the strainer to remove as much liquid as possible, leave liquid and courgette mix to cool to blood heat.

    Place flour, salt, yeast and honey into large warm dish and add the courgette mix and combine.

    Measure the retained liquid and top up with warm water until you have 100ml - work this into the mix, adding a little more water if the mixture is too dry and a little more flour if too moist.

    Work the mix on a clean dry surface for five minutes, roll into a ball and place back into the bowl, cover and store in a warm spot until it has doubled its size which should take about 30 minutes.

    Knock the dough back, and knead for a further ten minutes, then roll into a ball and place on greased baking tray. Place your hand on the ball and flatten slightly, cover and leave for a further 25 minus or until doubled in size.

    Place in the hot oven having scattered a little coarse sea salt on top, and grated a little Parmesan cheese on too (the cheese is optional but nice).

    Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until it turns a delicious golden brown.

    Serve warm for best flavours, though it is good cold too.

  • Stuffed courgettes with cheese
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 18/08/2010

    Round courgettes can be sliced thinly and fried, but they are best stuffed and baked with a cheese topping. I create this dish when I have vegetarian friends for super, as it is both tasty and nutritious - it’s easy to prepare too. What’s more they look good. One per person is usually enough, but I often cook extra in case people want seconds.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    One round courgette per person and perhaps a couple more

    One onion - diced fine

    4 tomatoes - diced fine

    2 cloves garlic - chopped fine

    2 oz (50g) mushrooms – chopped fine

    2 sticks celery – chopped fine

    1 dspn fresh marjoram - chopped fine

    1 dspn parsley - chopped fine

    4 oz (125g) cheese

    2 tbsns olive oil

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season

    Note: the vegetables listed are just a suggestion, if you have other vegetables in your fridge such as peas, spinach etc., that need using up, these can be added too. The mix of vegetables is really up to you.


    Cut off the top of the courgette, this acts as a lid when served.

    Using a spoon carefully remove the centre of each courgette and chop the flesh you have removed into small pieces.

    Drop the courgettes and the tops into boiling salted water and cook until they begin to soften. Remove from the pot and place upside down on kitchen paper so that they can drain.

    In a large frying pan, to which you have added the oil, place all the chopped vegetables and herbs and fry over a gentle heat until almost cooked. Season and remove from the heat.

    Cut half the cheese into small cubes and add to the stuffing mix and slice the rest for the topping.

    Place the courgette shells onto a baking tray and spoon in the filling, then top with slices of cheeses when they are full.

    Place the filled courgettes under a hot grill until the cheese begins to bubble and brown, add the tops to the tray and continue cooking for a moment to warm then through, then remove and serve, placing the top back in place.

  • Summer vegetable soup
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 15/08/2009

    Because summer is not turning out as promised and barbecues remain stored away in the garage, perhaps it's time to consider serving soup rather than salad.

    The one advantage of the rain that has drenched the soil recently is that runner beans have never been better and vegetables such as sweetcorn are tastier than they have ever been. Courgettes however are growing so quickly they seem to be turning into marrows overnight.

    This soup is an excellent way of using up those overgrown courgettes.

    For the main purée you will need:

    Two overgrown courgettes, twice as large as they should be - rough chopped

    One medium onion - rough chopped

    One clove of garlic - rough chopped

    2 or 3 small new potatoes - rough chopped

    Handful of parsley and any other herbs you have (marjoram and thyme are best) - all rough chopped

    A little oil to fry vegetables

    ¾ pt vegetable or chicken stock

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.

    For the vegetable garnish:

    This is where you use up any of the vegetables hanging about in the kitchen. All measurements are approximate - just use up what you have available apart from beetroot which would discolour the mix.

    2 runner beans - chopped small

    1 sweetcorn - remove all the corn with a sharp knife

    2 leaves of chard or spinach - sliced thin

    2 French beans - chopped the size of a pea

    1 medium carrot - chopped the size of a pea.


    Using a large frying pan, gently fry the chopped courgettes, onions, new potatoes, chopped herbs and garlic over a low heat until the potatoes are soft.

    Add the stock, bring to the boil then remove from the heat.

    Allow the mix to cool a little so that it can be zapped in the liquidizer to produce a purée.

    Once puréed, taste, adjust seasoning and set aside, having added a little more stock if the mix appears too thick.

    Place remaining vegetables in a saucepan of boiling salted water and cook over high heat until done.

    Strain and keep warm while you reheat the courgette purée in a clean pan.

    Divide the reheated purée between the soup bowls, then scatter the cooked diced vegetables on top and serve with crusty bread.

    NOTE: Once cooked the purée can be frozen until needed and any of the vegetable mix that is over can be packed in small plastic bags and frozen until you need vegetables to add flavour to casseroles, stews or soups.

  • Horseradish sauce
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 16/08/2009

    Horseradish sauce made from fresh horseradish root, rather than the chopped mix that you buy in a bottle, is a wonderful way of complementing a joint of roast beef purchased from our excellent family butcher, Richard Golsby.

    Horseradish root looks rather like a parsnip and is easy to identify because it releases a distinctive peppery aroma when bruised or cut.
    As horseradish has a very strong flavour, very little grated root is needed to make a fine creamy sauce. And if you don’t grow horseradish on your allotment or in the garden, take a walk down Chilbridge Lane, where you will find it growing wild on the left hand verge. It’s easily identified by its large leaves (far bigger than dock leaves) which stand proud and high.

    It’s not the easiest root to dig up as it goes deep into the ground. Gardeners who are familiar with this plant will know that once it has made itself at home, it is impossible to get rid of as the root replenishes itself if the smallest piece is left in the ground.

    For enough sauce to feed a family you need:

    ½ oz freshly grated horseradish, soaked in hot water

    1 tbspn white wine vinegar

    5 fl oz double cream - lightly whipped

    Pinch of mustard powder

    Pinch of caster sugar

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to taste.


    Peel and finely grate the horseradish root – taking great care not to rub your eyes or breath in the vapours as, once cut, it can make the eyes sting.

    Place in a bowl, pour on enough boiling water to cover and leave for half an hour.

    Drain and dry the grated root on kitchen paper.

    Weigh out the amount you need and wrap the rest in plastic and store in the fridge for up to a week. The whole root freezes very well too.

    Whip the cream until begins to thicken - don’t let it get too stiff.

    Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

    If you have some over, try serving it with smoked mackerel during the week, as it will last for several days if kept cool in a sealed container.

  • Raspberry and coconut slice
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 08/08/2010

    This easy recipe makes a perfect pudding, but can also be cut into thin slices and served as a treat with an afternoon cup of tea.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    6oz (200g) fresh raspberries

    4oz (125g) self raising flour

    1oz (25g) ground almonds

    4oz (125g) soft butter

    4oz (125g) granulated sugar

    1oz (25g) desiccated coconut

    1 egg - beaten

    Pinch salt


    Turn the oven to 180°C / 350°F or gas mark 4.

    Place the flour, butter ground almonds, sugar and salt into a large bowl and mix together with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.

    Remove one third of the mixture and reserve.

    Add a beaten egg to the remaining mix, which will probably be quite sticky. Don’t worry, just press it into a greased small baking tin (approx 15cm x 10cm x 3cm), bringing the paste up the sides. If it looks uneven, that is fine, no one will notice once it is cooked.

    Sprinkle the fresh raspberries over the paste.

    Add the desiccated coconut to the remaining mix and scatter over the raspberries and bake for about 30 minutes, or until it turns a delicious golden brown.

    Allow to cool a little before cutting into slices.

  • Raspberry & orange pudding
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 09/08/2008

    If the cold wet windy weather continues we are going to be looking for comfort food rather than salads. This easy-to-make, raspberry pudding combines that wonderful summer flavour of freshly picked raspberries with the comfort-food feel of warm sponge pudding.

    You will need (for 8 small puddings):

    4oz (100g) caster sugar

    4oz (100g) soft butter or margarine

    4oz (100g) SR flour

    2 free range eggs

    Grated zest of one lemon and one orange

    8oz (250g) fresh raspberries

    4 dspns golden syrup

    Pinch salt.


    Turn the oven to 180°C / 350°F or gas mark 4.

    Grease and flour 8 dariole moulds (150 ml size).

    Divide the raspberries between the moulds and then pour a dessertspoon of golden syrup on top of the raspberries.

    Beat the sugar, butter and orange and lemon zest until the mix has become creamy and light.

    Beat in the two eggs and then carefully fold in the flour and salt.

    Divide the mixture between the moulds and cover each with a circle of buttered greaseproof paper, place on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes or until the sponge feels firm to the touch.

    Serve warm with cream or yoghurt.

  • Rich chocolate cake and raspberries
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 03/08/2008

    Sometimes there are not quite enough fresh raspberries to give everyone a full bowl served with cream, but there are often enough to tip on top of a rich chocolate cake to make it look lavish. As chocolates and raspberries make the most delicious combination, it’s worth thinking of ways to combine the two. This chocolate cake is so easy to make, even the children can cope with this recipe, because all you do is tip all the cake ingredients into a bowl and mix until you have a soft creamy texture, then bake for about an hour and 15 minutes.

    I made this one for my brother John’s birthday as he simply adores chocolate cake. It fitted the bill perfectly.

    You will need:

    8oz (250g) SR flour

    8oz (250g) caster sugar

    Generous pinch salt

    2oz (50g) cocoa powder

    5oz (150g) soft butter or margarine

    8 fluid oz milk

    2 free range eggs

    For the icing:

    142 ml single cream

    One bar rich dark chocolate (150g)

    Raspberries, raspberry jam, chocolate butter cream or whipped double cream for filling

    Icing sugar to garnish finished cake.


    Turn the oven to 180°C / 350°F or gas mark 4

    When the oven has reached full heat, prepare 8 inch cake tin, by rubbing butter over the surface and then shaking flour into the tin so that the butter is completely coated. This will stop the cake sticking when you come to turn it out.

    Place all the cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and gently mix well together, then beat furiously for a moment or two until the mix looks glossy.

    Spoon into cake tin, smooth the top and place in heated oven for one hour 15 mins.

    Test that it is done, by inserting a skewer into the centre, if it comes out clean it’s done.

    Remove from oven, leave to settle a moment or two then turn out and allow to cool on cake rack.

    When the cake is cool, using a sharp knife cut it into two horizontally.

    Make up filling of your choice. I used chocolate butter cream, but fresh double cream is delicious too.

    Spread a little raspberry jam over the surface of first half, add filling and a few raspberries if you have enough, but don’t worry if you haven’t.

    Place the second half on top.

    Place the cream in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, break the chocolate and whisk that in until it thickens and takes on a lovely glossy shine.

    Very, very, gently pour the melted chocolate and cream topping over the surface of the cake, allowing it to ripple down the sides.

    Smooth with a palate knife, and when cool top with fresh raspberries and garnish with a little icing sugar.

  • Marzipan kuchen with plums
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 27/09/2009

    It was a German friend who encouraged me to mix the flavours of marzipan with plums and create a dessert that was part crumble and part pastry. This recipe serves the whole family.

    Despite the recent rains, plums are ripening rapidly. If you don’t grow your own it’s worth keeping an eye out for gardeners who have a plentiful crop and are prepared to share them around.

    You will find Eynsham’s Country Market, which takes place every Thursday morning from 09:00 to 10:30 at St Leonard’s Church Hall, will have plenty of home grown plums for sale at this time of year.

    You will need:

    1lb (450kg) plums

    6oz (175g) SR flour

    4oz (125g) butter

    1 free range egg

    2oz (50g) light muscovado sugar

    2oz (50g) ground almonds

    1 tsp vanilla essence

    Grated zest of 2 lemons

    6oz (175g) marzipan

    Icing sugar to dust

    Rectangular tart tin 14x4 inch or a 9 inch round tin.


    Turn the oven to 180°C / 350°F or gas mark 4

    Carefully remove the stones from the plums without breaking up the fruit.

    Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.

    Stir in the grated lemon zest, sugar, ground almonds and vanilla essence.

    Remove a couple of heaped dessert-spoons of this crumble mix and set to one side.

    Beat the egg and add to the remaining mix to create a moist paste.

    Chill the paste for 30 minutes.

    Once the paste is cool and therefore easy to handle, carefully roll it out on a floured surface until it fits the tin, with enough over to cover the sides. Trim and crimp the edges.

    Roll out the marzipan into a shape that will cover the bottom of the tin and place on top of the pastry.

    Now arrange the plums in the tin and scatter the reserve crumble mix over the top, so that it falls into the space between the plums.

    Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the plums luscious and soft.

    Serve warm or cold with lashings of double cream, after dusting with a little caster or icing sugar.

Thumbnail panels:
Now Loading