By Linda Parker
I’m not a very good baker or pastry chef, (despite my attendance at a Claridges pastry course several years ago), so my interest in The Great British Bake Off has waned somewhat.
Notwithstanding the attraction of Paul Hollywood’s twinkly blue eyes (experienced at first hand by my mother when she accepted a flower arranging prize on behalf of the Women’s Institute from him at the Shrewsbury Flower Show back in August), I’m now getting into the mood for the next series of River Cottage, featuring of course, recipes, ideas and unique ideas from the delightful Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
The latest series, which starts at 8pm on 16th October, Channel 4, is entitled River Cottage to the Core, and will focus on fruit – very under-rated in my opinion, and of course it’s also tied in with Hugh’s new Fruitshare project, entitled Fruit Every Day, which is aimed at teaching school kids about fruit, with the intention of getting schools and their pupils involved with growing fruit trees.
I’ve done a little bit of internet scouting around and have already found one of his new, interesting fruity recipes … Roast Chicken with Pomegranate, which looks and sounds delicious.
I love the tiny red jewel-like seeds of the pomegranates contrasting with a plain whole milk yoghurt dressing and the crispy chicken skin, so that will be added to my ‘must try this’ list.
I’ve also recently taken delivery of two great bits of kitchen kit for testing-and-trying-out purposes, so will look forward to picking up some more fruity recipes from this series – with the expectation of rustling up some new menus with the help of the Multi-Cooker from the Sage range by Heston Blumenthal which I’m planning to use to slow-cook a beautiful piece of lamb, hopefully accompanied by some fruity suggestions by the aforementioned Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall.
As the Multi-Cooker can steam rice at the same time, I think that perhaps a spiced rice accompaniment will work well there.
The other item I’m trialling is the Non-Stick Electric Skillet by Judge which I think will make light work of frying up big breakfasts and also for when you’ve run out of oven space and need to let a lasagne or moussaka take it’s time.
Both of course, will be useful in the run-up to Christmas, when I’m hoping the afore-mentioned River Cottage to the Core will reveal some gorgeous seasonal, cold-weather recipes that will perk up my repertoire for both mains and puds.
Seasonal entertaining is, of course, one of the crunch-time tests of any kitchen, so I’m planning to take a little time to do some pre-Christmas de-cluttering, armed with a few bin-bags and boxes. I’ll discard anything, utensil-wise, that hasn’t been used for the last year, I’ll sort out the under-sink cupboard, and perhaps splash out on a spanking new set of cleaning bits and bobs to make me feel a little more enthusiastic about getting the kitchen and all it’s equipment ship-shape for the party season … And then, I will over-order food on-line, managing at the same time to forget at least half a dozen crucial ingredients, and then get into a panic racing down to the local shop hoping they’ve got at least something half-way equivalent.
Now, I wonder, does a nip from that bottle of Damson & Plum gin I’ve got stowed away for Christmas count towards one of my five a day fruit and veg intake…