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Eynsham Parish Council

Dishes for October

  • Mini mushroom pies
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 26/10/2014

    The flavours of mushrooms differ greatly, yet when gently cooked as a mix so that their flavours are infused together creates a superb flavour quite superior to any of the individual tastes.

    A box of mixed cultivated mushrooms containing Buna Shimeji, Oyster, Shitake and Eryngii, all of which complement each other exceptionally well, are the secret to this dish. Waitrose stock a great mixture. A few drops of Soy sauce added to the cooking pan adds its own touch of magic. These pies are great when eaten straight from the oven with a green vegetable.

    There was a time when I would use mushrooms growing wild, but there’s now great concern about the amount of wild mushrooms that are being harvested, depleting stock that insects and woodland creatures rely on. I am therefore tending to go for cultivated mushrooms these days.

    To make a dozen you will need:

    8oz short crust pastry - ready rolled is OK.

    One box of mixed mushrooms weighing 300g.

    2 cloves garlic - chopped fine.

    4 sprigs fresh parsley - chopped fine.

    Few drops Soy sauce.

    ½ oz butter and a dash of vegetable oil to cook mushrooms.

    1 egg for egg wash.

    Green vegetable to serve alongside pie

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorn.


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

    Chop most of the mushrooms quite fine except the Buna Shimeji (the cluster of long steamed mushrooms) which make a great garnish.

    Chop garlic cloves fine, also the parsley.

    Place butter and a generous dash vegetable oil into large frying pan, add the chopped mushrooms, garlic and parsley and cook over a gentle heat until the mushrooms begin to soften.

    Remove from heat, stir in a few drops Soy sauce, season, add parsley and allow to cool.

    While the mix is cooling cut out circles of pastry to fit each section in muffin tray designed to hold 12. Oil the tin and arrange pastry rings ready to fill with the mushroom mix when it has cooled.

    Place pastry lid on top, press down gently, brush with beaten egg and allow to cook for about 20 mins.

    Cut the cluster of Buna Shimeji from their base and gently fry in a little oil - this won’t take long. This will be your garnish and will look great when placed on the chard or spinach besides the pie.

  • Beef and pumpkin bake
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 11/10/2013

    This is really a popular cottage pie recipe to which pumpkin has been added both to the meat base and the potato topping. This adds a delightful orange glow to the dish and tastes good too. For even further flavour, grated cheese can be sprinkled onto the topping before cooking. An easy dish to serve up at a Halloween party.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    1lb (750g) minced beef

    1lb (750g) pumpkin flesh, de-seeded and peeled

    1lb (750g) potatoes peeled and sliced

    1 onion, peeled and chopped fine

    2 sticks celery - sliced fine

    4 oz (100g) mushrooms - sliced fine

    1 dessert-spoon tomato paste

    1 bay leaf

    2 oz (50g) butter

    ¼ pt beef stock

    Olive oil

    Dash milk

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.


    Preheat oven to 180°C/ 370°F or gas mark 4.

    Cover the base of a frying pan with a little oil, heat and add the mince, stir now and again and allow to fry until it begins to brown.

    While the mince is cooking place the potato pieces and the rest of the pumpkin (chopped) into a saucepan with salted water. Bring to the boil, then allow to simmer until potato and pumpkin has softened. Drain, add the butter and mash to a soft purée, adding a little milk if needed. Set to one side until assembling the dish.

    Toss a bay leaf into the meat mix, also onions, celery, mushrooms and 4oz (100g) of the pumpkin flesh, stir and continue frying over a slightly lower heat for about 5 minutes.

    Add the tomato paste and stock and bring to the boil. Season and remove from the heat. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

    Spoon the meat mix into an oven-proof baking dish, then top with the potato and pumpkin, taking care not to press it down firmly, you are looking for a nice rustic finish.

    Bake for about half an hour, or until the topping begins to brown.

  • Leek, cauliflower and potato pie
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 22/10/2012

    There appear to be dozens of different way of creating a leek and potato pie. Some come with pastry crust, others with a mashed potato topping so that they look rather like a cottage pie and some are mixed with cauliflower, smothered with a cheese sauce and garnished with a layer of sliced potatoes, then covered with cheese.

    The photo is of the latter. It tastes superb and is just the right dish to bring out on bonfire night, as all you have to do once the dish is assembled is place it in a moderate oven and leave it there until cooked.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    4 medium sized potatoes

    4 leeks

    Quarter of a medium cauliflower cut into florets

    1 pt milk

    1 ½ ozs butter

    1 ½ ozs plain flour

    4 oz grated Cheddar cheese

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.


    Scrub the potatoes and slice into rings half an inch thick, leaving the skin on. Cook in boiling salted water until almost done. Drain and set to one side.

    Cut the white section of the leeks into rings, and boil in salted water along with the cauliflower florets until almost done. Drain and set to one side.

    While the vegetables are cooking prepare a cheese sauce by heating the butter in a saucepan and stirring in the flour to form a roux.

    Cook the roux for a couple of minutes, then gradually add the milk, stirring as you go until you have created a reasonably thick white sauce. Add half the cheese and season with salt and freshly ground black peppercorns.

    Assemble the dish by placing the cauliflower and leeks at the bottom of a pie dish. Pour cheese sauce over them, then arrange the potatoes on top in circles to create an attractive finish.

    Sprinkle remaining cheese over potatoes and place in moderate oven and cook for about half an hour or until the potatoes have softened and the grated cheese has turned a golden brown.

    Garnish with chopped parsley if you wish.

  • Pumpkin wine
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 18/10/2012

    If you hate waste and are trying to think of an interesting way of using up all that pumpkin flesh left over from Halloween, try brewing up some pumpkin wine. If you get it right it will give you at least five bottles and cost only the price of the sugar and root ginger, providing you have loads of pumpkin flesh left from carving.

    You will need:

    6lbs (3 Kilos) pumpkin flesh

    1 piece of fresh ginger the size of a walnut

    1 gallon water - warm

    3lbs (1 ½ kilos) granulated sugar

    1x7g packet of dried yeast

    Juice of three lemons


    Cut the pumpkin flesh into reasonably small chunks and chop the ginger really fine.

    Place both pumpkin and ginger into a clean bucket.

    Pour on the water, add the lemon juice, sugar and yeast - stir well until sugar is dissolved.

    Cover with clean cloth or lid and allow to ferment for about a week, stirring every day.

    When it has settled down, strain into a sterile demijohn, add an airlock and store in a reasonably cool place for at least six months, or until the wine is clear and sparkly.

    Bottle in sterile jars and enjoy.

  • Potatoes & chestnut mushrooms with sage
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 09/10/2012

    This is one of those very simple easy to cook dishes influenced by Antonio Carluccio, which comprises three basic ingredients that when mixed together tastes wonderful. Should you wish, the flavour can be enhanced with a couple of finely chopped cloves of garlic; and for an earthier taste you can bake the potatoes in their skins instead of boiling them. I rather enjoy serving this as a starter, but it can also be served as an extra vegetable.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    One medium sized potato for each person

    A dozen sage leaves

    8oz (200g) chestnut mushrooms - sliced

    Knob of butter the size of a walnut

    5 tablespoons olive oil

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.


    Prepare the potatoes by boiling in salted water or baking in the oven until cooked.

    Remove potatoes from oven or pot and then slice into reasonably thick slices when cool enough to handle, then fry with the sage leaves in half the butter and oil until crisp and brown.

    In a separate frying pan cook the chestnut mushrooms in the other half of the butter and oil until done and then mix with the cooked potatoes and sage leaves.

    That’s it - just season a little with salt and freshly ground black pepper and you will have a tasty little side dish.

  • Potato salad with black radish
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 30/09/2012

    Black radishes with their coarse black skin are a winter vegetable that has a pungent white flesh. Their flavour is far too intense to eat on its own, but these black beauties can add a superb peppery bite to a salad.

    Apparently black radishes date back to antiquity and are now being hailed as a super food that is thought to promote digestive health, detoxify the liver, boost the immune system and fight aging.

    To serve 6 as a side dish you will need:

    ½ lb / 225g waxy potatoes

    1 firm red skinned apple

    1 medium sized black skinned radish

    6 chives

    2 tspn wine vinegar

    4 tspn olive oil

    Outer leaves of one or two baby gem lettuce

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.


    Peel the potatoes, chop into small cubes and cook in salted water until done. Strain and leave to cool.

    Chop the apple into really small cubes, leaving the skin on to add colour to the dish.

    Cut the chives into small pieces.

    When the potatoes are cool, place in dish along with the apple and chives.

    Grate half the black radish into the mix and stir.

    Add the oil and vinegar, season lightly and stir together.

    Spoon into an outer leaf from the baby gem lettuce and then grate the remaining black radish over the top of each salad.

  • Pumpkin cup cakes
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 17/10/2011

    The miniature pumpkin in the picture caught my eye when shopping at a Farmer’s Market last weekend. I bought several, confident that they would make excellent decorations which could then be cooked or hollowed out and used as decorative soup bowls when Halloween is over.

    To make a dozen you will need:

    A dozen paper cup-cake cases

    5oz (150g) soft butter

    5oz (150g) caster sugar

    5oz (150g) SR flour

    2 free-range eggs

    ½ tsp mixed spice

    1 tbspn cold pumpkin purée


    Pinch salt


    3oz (75g) soft butter

    6oz (175g) icing sugar

    Orange or yellow colouring.


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

    Place sugar and butter into a mixing bowl and cream together until the mix is fluffy and pale.

    Beat the eggs together and gradually add to the bowl until the egg is absorbed.

    Add the flour, mixed spice, salt and the pumpkin purée and stir well, adding a little milk to obtain dropping consistency if needed.

    Place the paper cases into a muffin tray and carefully divide the mixture into each.

    Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until they have turned golden and are springy to the touch. When done, remove onto a cooling rack and prepare a topping.

    To obtain a tasty orange topping, mix together the icing sugar and butter, gradually adding a few drops of colouring until you have obtained the colour you require. Wait until the cakes are cool before you decorate them otherwise the butter will melt.

    For the cup cakes pictured, I poured melted chocolate on the cakes first, then decorated with the orange coloured mixture - when it had cooled, but how you decorate them is really up to you.

  • Cobnut, chicken and bacon salad with apples
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 07/10/2011

    You will discover cobnuts growing in the wild and being blown to the ground by autumn winds as they mature. You may even have a tree in your garden. If not, Richard Golsby Eynsham’s family butcher has some for sale. They can be eaten raw or roasted and are great chopped or whole. They are also delicious when covered with chocolate. But here’s a way of adding them whole to a tasty autumn salad.

    To serve 2 people you will need:

    One big handful of cobnuts

    ½ oz (10g) butter

    1 chicken breast cut into strips

    1 rasher of bacon grilled until crisp

    2 outer leaves of a sweetheart cabbage as a container and two leaves chopped very fine

    4 spring onions chopped small

    1 red eating apple, chopped small with skin still on

    1 clove of garlic chopped fine

    Few sprigs of parsley chopped fine

    Handful of rocket leaves - half for salad, half for garnish

    Flour to dust chicken pieces

    Olive oil and juice of half a lemon for dressing

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.


    Shell the cobnuts and place them in a small frying pan with the butter and gently cook over a medium heat until the nuts begin to brown. Remove and set to one side.

    Grill bacon rasher until crunchy, chop small and set aside.

    Finely slice the cabbage leaves for the salad.

    Chop the apple into very small pieces leaving the skin on.

    Chop the spring onions small, also the parsley.

    Cut the chicken breast into strips, sprinkle with seasoned flour and fry with a little olive oil until brown, adding the chopped garlic to the pan half way through.

    Place the sliced cabbage, spring onions, parsley and apple into a bowl with rocket leaves, sprinkle with olive oil and the juice of half a lemon (1/3 lemon juice, 2/3 oil) . Add a little seasoning and then toss together until well mixed.

    Spoon this mix into the cabbage leaf container, then garnish with chicken slices and bacon bits and a little parsley. Add a little rocket on the side as extra garnish.

    Sprinkle the cobnuts on top.

    Serve with slices of crunchy wholemeal bread and butter as a light lunch.

  • Caramelised apple & croissant pudding
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 01/10/2011

    Sandy Hellig from Cornucopia Cooks inspired this dish, which she cooks regularly using crisp croissants that have been made with butter - part baked croissants contain a fat that makes the outcome greasy.

    Having made it up to her instructions I found it a delicious variation on the classic bread and butter pudding and a great way of using up all those apples I have at the moment. One of my friends took a portion home and ate it for breakfast and declared it perfect and I ate half with my dinner and really enjoyed it.

    To serve 2 people you will need:

    2 croissants - each sliced horizontally into five or six pieces.

    1 beaten egg made up to 350ml with half full fat milk and half double cream.

    2 cooking apples & half a dessert apple

    A handful of raisins

    2oz (50g) sugar

    1 oz (25g) butter

    Grated nutmeg


    Peel the cooking apples, remove the core and cut into chunks.

    Melt the butter in a frying pan, add half the sugar (1oz) and the apple chunks and fry gently to obtain a caramelised finish.

    Place the caramelised apple into a pudding dish large enough to contain two sliced croissants. Scatter raisins on top.

    Fit croissant slices over the apples.

    Carefully pour milk mixture over the top, allowing the croissant slices to absorb it as you do so.

    Slice the dessert apple half into very thin slices, leaving the skin on, and insert them into the pudding so they can be seen.

    Scatter the rest of the sugar on top, grate a little nutmeg over the top and place in a moderate oven (180°C 350°F or gas mark 4) and allow to cook for about 20 minutes or until the top is crispy and brown.

  • Autumn harvest vegetable pie
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 19/10/2008

    And so we reach that moment when the harvest is gathered in. Marrows, carrots, parsnips, celery, pumkins, potatoes, green tomatoes and all those glorious autumn fruits are now waiting to be used up.

    Don’t waste them. Even bruised and damaged fruits and vegetables can be used up, and either frozen for later, turned into pickles and chutneys or baked in a pie.

    I’m not writing a recipe as such for your autumn harvest vegetable pie, as its content will depend on what you have gathered together during the past few weeks.

    Look at the vegetables you have, peel those that need peeling and cut them all into bite sized chunks. Green vegetables such as chard or spinach leaves can be added to the pie just before you add the pastry topping.

    Add to the mix of vegetable chunks a couple of chopped onions and a couple of cloves of garlic chopped fine, also a few fresh herbs if you have any. Marjoram, parsley and thyme will add a touch of magic to the mix.

    Mix all your chopped vegetables and herbs together.

    Cover the bottom of a large roasting pan with oil, add the vegetables to the pan and use a pastry brush to ensure that they are all coated with the oil, adding a little more oil if you need to.

    Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper corns, then roast at a medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften and brown, then remove from the oven.

    Scatter a few frozen peas to the mix if you want to add more colour contrast, and if you have spinach leaves or chard you wish to use up, add them at this point too.

    Place the roasted vegetables into a pie dish, pour on a little vegetable stock, and when cool add a short crust pastry top and cook until a delicious golden brown.

    NOTE: I have sometimes added a few chunks of cooking apples to my autumn harvest vegetable pie to great effect.

    This pie is certainly one way of ensuring that members of the family get their daily allowance of vegetables.

  • Toffee apples
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 29/10/2009

    Toffee apples and bonfire night go perfectly together and are certainly a great way of keeping the children quiet. They are very easy to make, but please take care when working with hot toffee as it can cause painful burns if the hot caramel falls on the skin. This is one of those recipes which is best created when the children are out of the house, then presented as a surprise when the bonfire is lit.

    To make six apples you will need:

    6 eating apples

    6 strong wooden sticks

    8oz / 225g granulated sugar

    4 fl oz / 110ml water

    1 oz / 25g butter

    2 tbspns golden syrup


    Wash the apples, dry and remove the stalk, then secure a wooden stick into the stalk end.

    Place the sugar and water into a thick-bottomed pan and allow the sugar to dissolve over a gentle heat.

    Add the butter and syrup, raise the heat and bring to a rapid boil. At this point resist the urge to stir the mix – that would spoil it.

    When the toffee begins to change colour and turn a soft brown, test its heat with a sugar thermometer – it should be at the soft crack stage (290°C). If you haven’t a thermometer, drop a little of the toffee into a bowl of chilled water; if it hardens into a ball, it is done and should be removed from the heat.

    Having removed the toffee from the heat, dip each apple into the toffee, one by one, making sure that the apple is completely coated with the toffee before placing it on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, where it can harden.

    This recipe won’t take more than half an hour and will certainly delight the family.

  • Braised pheasant in cider with walnuts
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 26/10/2010

    Apples go particularly well with pheasants, which means that cider is a tasty way to enhance their flavour too. Add a handful of walnuts and a few mushrooms and you have a really seasonal combination, which if served with cabbage or watercress and baked jacket potatoes makes for a hearty well balanced meal.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    2 pheasants – quartered

    2oz (50g) butter

    2oz (50g) shelled walnuts

    2 medium sized apples

    2 medium carrots

    1 medium onion

    2 cloves garlic

    2oz (50g) mushrooms

    2 tbspns flour

    ½ pt (300ml) dry cider

    ¼ pt (150ml) chicken stock

    Small bunch of herbs (marjoram, thyme and parsley) tied with string.

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to seaso.


    Turn the oven to 170°C / 325°F or gas mark 3.

    Slice the apples into wedges, having removed the core but not the skin.

    Slice carrots, onions and mushrooms and chop the garlic fine.

    Fry the pheasant pieces in the butter until they begin to brown, having rolled them in a little seasoned flour.

    Place the pheasant pieces into a casserole dish.

    Add the carrots, onions, mushrooms, sliced apples, walnuts and garlic to the residue of butter left in the frying pan and cook until the onions begin to soften and the garlic fills the kitchen with its glorious aroma.

    Stir in the remains of the flour, cook for a minute or two, then gradually add the stock and cider.

    Tie the herbs with string and add to the casserole dish.

    Place a lid on the pan and allow to cook for at least an hour, or until the flesh begins to show signs of falling off the bone.

    Remove the bunch of herbs and adjust seasoning before serving.

    NOTE: If cooked the day before needed and refrigerated overnight, the flavours of this dish will fuse together and mellow.

  • Baked apples
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 01/10/2008

    Now’s the time to make the most of this year’s abundant apple harvest by popping a few into the oven while the roast is cooking.

    For a slightly different flavour, try flavouring them with a little beer, it makes for a great taste combination. I am not giving exact quantities for the ingredients, as this is one of those dishes that calls for a handful of this, that and the other. You can use loads of sultanas, or just a few, you can add extra sugar if the apples need - or just a little.

    You will need:
    Sultanas, beer, brown sugar and some apples.


    Remove the core of the apple with a sharp knife and score each apple round the centre, so that the top can puff up as it cooks.

    Place each apple on a baking tray.

    Mix together a little sugar and sultanas and stuff this mix in the centre, letting some sultanas spill out into the pan.

    Now pour a little of your favourite beer over each apple and splash some onto the tray too and cook in a hot oven.

    The apples are done when the top puffs up and the beer begins to caramelise - they normally take no more than half an hour to cook.

  • Oven roasted winter vegetables
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 09/11/2009

    Proprietor of Eynsham's specialist deli Cornucopia, Sandy Hellig, put R-Oil through its paces before placing it on her shelves along with all the other oils she sells, and came up with several winter recipes which worked extremely well.

    Her favourite is oven roasted vegetables because it calls for locally grown, seasonal vegetables such as butternut squash and onions. This dish can be eaten as it is or served with a main course. It's one of a range of special dishes she cooks up daily for people to take away.

    Sandy usually roasts her vegetables in olive oil, however she discovers that this recipe works just as well when using R-oil.

    To serve 6 people you will need:

    One medium sized butternut squash

    One medium swede

    Aprox 12oz celeriac

    3 medium sized carrots

    12 shallots - peeled

    Bunch fresh thyme - chopped fine


    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.

    Note: you can add other root vegetables such as sweet potato, parsnips or turnips to this mix if you wish. In fact the more variety the better the taste.


    Peel and chop butternut squash, swede, carrots and celeriac into chunky bite sized pieces.

    Place all the chopped vegetables and the shallots into a large bowl.

    Scatter the thyme leaves over the vegetables and season with salt and freshly ground black peppercorns.

    Pour about three desertspoons of R-Oil into the mix, and mix together well so that all the vegetables are coated with the oil.

    Spread the vegetables out onto a large baking tray and cook at 220ºC / 425ºF or gas mark 7 for about half an hour or until they begin to brown at the edges and are nice and tender.

  • Parsnip and apple soup
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 15/10/2008

    Adding an apple to root vegetables such as parsnip heightens the flavour of the parsnip.

    This recipe is a great way of using up the glut of apples many gardeners are facing this year.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    4 medium parsnips

    1 large cooking apple

    2 medium potatoes

    1 large onion

    2 tspns chopped fresh sage leaves

    1 tspn chopped parsley

    1 oz (25g) butter

    1 pt (600ml) vegetable stock

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.


    Peel and chop the parsnips, apples, potato, onion, parsley and sage leaves.

    Melt the butter in large saucepan and toss in all chopped vegetables and herbs and cook gently for ten minutes.

    Add the vegetable stock and seasoning, and allow the soup cook until the vegetables soften.

    Remove from heat, allow to cool for a few moments then liquidise in food processor until smooth.

    If you feel the soup is too thick, add a little water to bring it to desired consistency, taste, adjust seasoning and return to high heat.

    Serve with crispy bacon pieces or croutons.

    NOTE: for a different and very tasty soup, you can leave out the sage leaves and add a couple of teaspoons of your favourite curry powder to the mix when the vegetables are cooking in the butter.

  • Pumpkin bread
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 19/10/2008

    If you are faced with a large pumpkin and have no idea how to use up the flesh before it begins to deteriorate - think BREAD.


    Cook your left-over pieces of pumpkin by boiling in water until soft enough to mash.

    Weigh out two-thirds of the flour for your favourite bread recipe and make up the remainder with cool, mashed pumpkin flesh.

    Make the bread as normal, with the flour/pumpkin mix plus yeast, salt, sugar and water.

    Add water with CAUTION or the dough will become too sticky, because the pumpkin is moist already - but that's all you have to worry about.

    You will achieve an amazingly moist loaf which tastes great and lasts for several days.

  • Spiced cauliflower & coriander
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 30/09/2008

    Have you ever tried frying cauliflower? The result can be very tasty, especially when you spice it up with a little curry powder and some chopped coriander.

    You will need:

    One fresh cauliflower

    2 cloves garlic - chopped fine

    One small piece fresh ginger the size of a walnut

    Half a bunch coriander

    Oil to fry cauliflower

    One level dspn of your favourite curry powder

    Salt and pepper to season.


    Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower and cut the head into little florets.

    Chop the garlic and peel and chop the ginger as fine as you can.

    Rough-chop the coriander leaves.

    Using a large frying pan, pour in enough oil to cover the bottom, heat and then toss in the cauliflower florets.

    Stir and continue to cook until the cauliflower begins to brown a little.

    Toss in the garlic, ginger, salt and continue frying until the garlic begins to give off a delicious aroma.

    Place a lid on the pan and allow it to continue cooking on a low heat until the cauliflower begins to soften - this should not take more than a few minutes and you don’t want the cauliflower to get too soft.

    Sprinkle the curry powder over the cauliflower and stir, taking care that it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.

    Toss in the chopped coriander and serve hot or warm. It is a useful dish to serve with cold meat.

  • Fresh trout baked in paper
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 29/10/2009

    By baking fresh trout in a paper parcel you seal in the juices and concentrate the flavours. It’s a quick, easy way of cooking trout that never fails.

    You will need:

    One whole trout

    Two lemons - one sliced thin, the other cut in half

    One bulb of fennel - roughly chopped

    3 small onions or shallots - chopped fine

    Handful of button mushrooms

    Splash of white wine

    Small bunch parsley - chopped fine

    Greaseproof paper to wrap the trout

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorn to season.


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

    Wash the trout under cold running water and place on a sheet of greaseproof paper, large enough to wrap it into a parcel.

    Stuff into the trout with the lemon slices, along with a handful of the chopped fennel, and a little chopped parsley.

    Sprinkle the mushrooms, chopped onions/shallots and the rest of the parsley over the trout, then sprinkle the trout with a splash of wine and the juice of half a lemon, season and fold the paper into a parcel. If you are having trouble sealing the paper parcel, try using wooden clothes pegs to hold it firm - they work every time for me.

    Place parcel on a flat baking tray and cook for at least 25 minutes.

    On opening the parcel, sprinkle juice from the remaining lemon half over the top and serve with boiled potatoes and a green salad.

    NOTE: If you have no fennel, then add chopped celery to the parcel instead.

  • Trout pie
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 18/10/2009

    A kind friend turned up at my cottage the other day bearing gifts. He held out two massive trout that he had caught at Farmoor Reservoir that afternoon. He says that the fish he catches there at this time of the year are particularly good as they have spent many months waxing fat on the huge amount of natural food contained in the reservoir. He certainly prefers them to the farm-bred fish that can sometimes taste of the pellets on which they are fed.

    I froze one and baked the other in paper. There was enough flesh to feed the family, but even after giving the cats a treat I had some over and this is what I did with it.

    To serve 4 people you will need:

    Approx 8 oz (200g) cooked trout

    4 oz (100g) rice

    4 spring onions - or one small onion / shallot

    3 eggs

    Juice and zest of one lemon

    2 tspns chopped parsley

    One 500g block puff pastry / equivalent short crust pastry

    Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to season.


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

    Cook the rice in boiling salted water, drain and set to one side.

    Hard boil two of the eggs and beat up the other for egg wash.

    Break up the trout fillets into flakes and place in large bowl.

    Chop parsley, hard boiled eggs and spring onions fine and grate the lemon rind.

    Mix together the trout flakes, parsley, spring onions, hard boiled eggs and grated lemon rind with the cooked rice and stir gently. Season, squeeze lemon juice into the mix and set to one side.

    Cut the pastry into two, and roll out to obtain two 10 x 18cm rectangles.

    Place one sheet of pastry on flat baking tray, moisten the border with beaten egg and lay the fish mix onto pastry.

    Place the second rectangle on top. Press to seal the edges, trimming where needed (the trimmings can be used for decoration).

    Brush the rest of the beaten egg over the pie to glaze, then bake for about half an hour or until the pastry has turned a delicious golden brown.

    Serve warm with winter salad.

  • Apple and walnut bread
    Photo: Helen Peacocke 13/10/2010

    This is a great way of using up windfall apples and fresh walnuts to produce a moist loaf which has a delightful nutty apple taste that goes particularly well with cheese.

    As both walnuts and apples have been prolific this year, this is one tasty way of using up the autumn offering before all your windfall apples deteriorate and can no longer be used.

    You will need:

    12 oz (350g) wholemeal flour

    6 oz (175g) peeled and cored apple slices

    4 oz (125g) walnuts in their shells

    7g sachet dried yeast

    Generous pinch salt

    Warm water


    First prepare the apples and cook them to a pulp with a little water.

    Shell the walnuts and chop quite fine.

    Drain the apples and mash with a potato masher to achieve a smooth purée, then leave the mix to cool.

    When the apples have reached blood heat, scatter the dried yeast into the mix and stir well

    Place the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the warm apple purée and mix well, until the ingredients form a dough, adding a little warm water if the dough is too dry.

    Knead lightly, then place back into the bowl, cover with a clean cloth and leave for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

    Turn the oven to 210°C / 400°F or gas mark 6 so that it is at the right heat when you are ready to bake the bread.

    Turn dough out onto a clean surface, knock back, knead lightly and either place in a greased bread tin, or shape into a round and place on a baking tray. Allow to rise to twice its size again.

    Scatter a little flour on top of the uncooked loaf and bake for 20 minutes at this temperature, then lower the heat to 190°C / 375°F or gas mark 5 for a further 20 minutes. It is done when it begins to brown and you get a hollow sound when you bang it on the bottom with your hand.

    Turn out and allow to cool, before enjoying it with a big chunk of cheese and some pickled walnuts.

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