Real FOOD !


real food !

Parsnip Soup

The thing is, try not to add cream. I would also recommend more than sautéing the carrots otherwise when you blend them they are more chunky than the more malleable parsnips — so blanche them additionally but separately in a little water or the chicken broth. Naturally you can triple the garlic if you wish or substitute with shallots, and a good substitute for thyme is sage. If you don't like nutmeg, substitute mace or allspice. If you REALLY want cream don't mix it in, but get the French version of sour cream [creme fraiche] and add marsala. Pour it in to the plated soup in artistic phi spirals from the back of a spoon intoning Ooo la! Ooo la la! as you do so  


•1/2 cup finely chopped onion

•1 garlic clove, minced

•1 teaspoon minced peeled gingerroot

•1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot

•1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

•1/8 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

•2 tablespoons unsalted butter

•3/4 pound parsnips (about 3), peeled and cut into 1/8- inch slices (about 2 cups)

•2 cups chicken broth

•freshly grated nutmeg to taste


In a heavy saucepan cook the onion, the garlic, the gingerroot, the carrot, the celery, and the thyme in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the parsnips and the broth, bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender. Purée the soup in a blender and return to the pan. Stir in the nutmeg, enough water to thin the soup to the desired consistency if necessary, and salt and pepper to taste.

Secret History of the Pasty

Only recently have art historians uncovered layers of paint from a famous painting to reveal the true origin of the pasty. Portrayed is the Cornishman Penthagoras from Buzzoe receiving a pasty from God — and who then had a theory of triangulation which he sold to some Greeks along with a boat of pilchards. Now my ‘ansomes’ some of that might be true, but the rest of this essay is more reliable.

Despite the modern pasty's strong association with Cornwall, its exact origins are unclear. The English word "pasty" derives from Medieval French (O.Fr. paste from V.Lat pasta) for a pie, filled with venison, salmon or other meat, vegetables or cheese, baked without a dish. Pasties have been mentioned in cookbooks throughout the ages; for example, the earliest version of Le Viandier (Old French) has been dated to around 1300 and contains several pasty recipes. In 1393, Le Menagier de Paris contains recipes for pasté with venison, veal, beef, or mutton.

Other early references to pasties include a 13th-century charter that was granted by Henry III (1207–1272) to the town of Great Yarmouth. The town is bound to send to the sheriffs of Norwich every year one hundred herrings, baked in twenty four pasties, which the sheriffs are to deliver to the lord of the manor of East Carlton who is then to convey them to the King. Around the same time, 13th century chronicler Matthew Paris wrote of the monks of St Albans Abbey "according to their custom, lived upon pasties of flesh-meat". A total of 5,500 venison pasties were served at the installation feast of George Neville, archbishop of York and chancellor of England in 1465. They were even eaten by royalty, as a letter from a baker to Henry VIII's third wife, Jane Seymour (1508–1537) confirms: "...hope this pasty reaches you in better condition than the last one..." In his diaries written in the mid 17th century, Samuel Pepys makes several references to his consumption of pasties, for instance "dined at Sir W. Pen’s ... on a damned venison pasty, that stunk like a devil.", but after this period the use of the word outside Cornwall declined.

In contrast to its earlier place amongst the wealthy, during the 17th and 18th centuries the pasty became popular with working people in Cornwall, where tin miners and others adopted it due to its unique shape, forming a complete meal that could be carried easily and eaten without cutlery. In a mine the pasty's dense, folded pastry could stay warm for several hours, and if it did get cold it could easily be warmed on a shovel over a candle.

Side-crimped pasties gave rise to the suggestion that the miner might have eaten the pasty holding the thick edge of pastry, which was later discarded, thereby ensuring that his dirty fingers (possibly including traces of arsenic) did not touch food or his mouth. However, many old photographs show that pasties were wrapped in bags made of paper or muslin and were eaten from end-to-end; according to the earliest Cornish recipe book, published in 1929, this is "the true Cornish way" to eat a pasty. Another theory suggests that pasties were marked at one end with an initial and then eaten from the other end so that if not finished in one go, they could easily be reclaimed by their owners.

The word "oggy" in the internationally popular chant "Oggy Oggy Oggy, Oi Oi Oi" is thought to stem from Cornish dialect "hoggan", deriving from "hogen" the Cornish word for pasty. When the pasties were ready for eating, the bal maidens at the mines would supposedly shout down the shaft "Oggy Oggy Oggy" and the miners would reply "Oi Oi Oi

Tomatoes Galore

Its that time of year to put stuff up for the winter, and here are a few ideas of what to do with tomatoes without canning them.

A suggestion is to visit your local farmers’ market  towards the end of the day and see if you can spot a farmer with a few flats of tomatoes left.  Last year we found some local organic heirloom varieties selling at $4 the pound and we offered $1.50 a pound for two flats. Accepted! The farmer wants to go home and not take his produce home too, so this was agreeable to all.

I strongly recommend obtaining plum or Italian type tomatoes which have a meaty texture, rather than cosmetically good looking ‘sandwich’ tomatoes which are 75% water and have less taste.

I have tried three ways of preserving tomatoes without canning them.  If you want skinless tomatoes boil them first then remove skin with fingers — though nutritionally vegetables and fruits [tomato is technically a fruit] there is much goodness near the skin.

Make sauce with onions and sweet peppers or whatever you like. Split the sauce into meal-sized batches in pint or quart freezer bags. Or, after washing them of course, put whole tomatoes directly into quart or gallon freezer bags.

Make a few specialty sauces with too much sauteed garlic or shallots [in oil, not butter], both of which have more bite than onions, and to which you can add any fresh herbs still left in the garden before the first frost.

Switch the sweet peppers for hotter ones? Remember February is coming, and you can use these right out of the freezer to add to soups or stews or as a ready made pasta sauce. A bag of frozen tomatoes is ready in 15 minutes after putting into a sauce pan.

Making Spaghettios

We all know what they are, but here is the question, how do you make them?

The manufacturer Campbells recent recalled 15 million pounds of them containing meatballs.

More than 150 million cans of SpaghettiOs are sold each year, many of which are consumed by children.

A woman reports that much to the bemusement of her traditional Italian grandmother. “I remember her once picking up a can, reading the label, and saying to me, “This is NOT food.””

The answer is obviously to make them at home, and here’s how


15oz no-salt-added tomato sauce

2 tbsp milk of choice

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp paprika

3/4 tsp to 1 tsp salt (depending on your preference. I like 1 tsp.)

2-3 tsp butter-type spread (such as Earth Balance or Smart Balance Light)

3-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

pinch pure stevia OR 2 tbsp sweetener of choice (agave, sugar, whatever)

1 cup uncooked tiny pasta of choice (If using a larger pasta, such as elbows, increase to 2 cups)


Homemade Spaghetti Os Recipe: In a small saucepan, stir together all ingredients except the pasta. Bring to a boil, then lower and cook on low until the butter spread melts completely. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, throw in the pasta and cook until desired texture is reached. Drain, then pat dry with a towel. Pour the pasta into the sauce, and stir to combine. Serve. Before reheating any leftovers, stir and add a little milk of choice if needed.

Starry Gazey Pie

Phil Innes

Stargazy pie (sometimes called starrey gazey pie or other variants) is a Cornish dish made of baked pilchards, along with eggs and potatoes, covered with a pastry crust. Although there are a few variations with different fish being used, the unique feature of stargazy pie is fish heads (and sometimes tails) protruding through the crust, so that they appear to be gazing skyward. This allows the oils released during cooking to flow back into the pie.

The dish is traditionally held to have originated from the village of Mousehole in Cornwall and is traditionally eaten during the festival of Tom Bawcock's Eve to celebrate his heroic catch during a very stormy winter. According to the modern festival, which is combined with the Mousehole village illuminations, the entire catch was baked into a huge stargazy pie, encompassing seven types of fish and saving the village from starvation. There is evidence that the festival dates back even further, to pre-Christian times. The story of Bawcock was popularised by Antonia Barber's children's book The Mousehole Cat, which featured the star-gazy pie. In 2007 contestant Mark Hix won the BBC's Great British Menu with a variant of the dish. See Recipe and Method below.


Illustrated is a  blue ceramic dish containing a stargazy pie, with six fish poking out of a shortcrust pastry lid, looking skywards

Stargazy pie, with sardines looking skywards before it is baked in the oven

The original pie in the legend included sand eels, horse mackerel, pilchards, herring, dogfish and ling along with a seventh fish. In a traditional pie, the primary ingredient is the pilchard (sardine), although mackerel or herring is used as a substitute. Richard Stevenson, chef at The Ship Inn in Mousehole, suggests that any white fish will work for the filling, with pilchards or herring just added for the presentation. Prior to putting it in the pie the fish should be skinned and boned (except the head and tail), to allow for ease of eating. Along with the fish, the other traditional ingredients are thickened milk, eggs and boiled potatoes.

Many recipe variations around the traditional ingredients exist, some of which include hard-boiled eggs, bacon, onion, mustard or white wine. Other alternatives to the main fish can be crayfish and rabbit or mutton. The recipes for the stargazy pie are all topped with a pastry lid, generally shortcrust but sometimes puff pastry, through which the fish heads and sometimes tails protrude.

For presentation, one suggestion is that the pilchards are arranged with their tails toward the centre of the pie and their heads poking up through the crust around the edge. As it includes potatoes and pastry, the pie can be served on its own or with crusty bread, sometimes with vegetables. Other suggested accompaniments are Cornish Yarg, Rhubarb chutney, poached eggs or a slice of lemon.


25 g butter

1 onion, finely chopped

3 rashers rindless streaky bacon, chopped into rough 5mm dice

1/2 tbsp flour, plus more for dusting

3 tbsp dry white wine

250 ml fish stock, (or a corner of a good-quality fish stock cube dissolved in 250ml hot water)

300 ml double cream

2 tbsp chopped parsley

2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and chopped

6 pilchards, herrings, or small mackerel, filleted, any residual bones removed and heads reserved

200 g puff pastry, rolled out to a thickness of about 3mm

1 egg, beaten


1. Heat the butter in a medium pan and gently cook the onion and bacon until soft. Add the flour and stir well, then slowly add the wine and fish stock, stirring well to prevent lumps forming. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Add the cream, bring back to the boil and simmer until reduced by half and thickened. Remove from the heat; add the parsley and chopped egg, season with salt and pepper and leave to cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6.

4. Cut the fillets of fish in half and lay them in a shallow pie or flan dish, then lightly season with salt and pepper.

5. Pour the sauce over the fish. Lay the pastry over the dish and trim it to size. Make 6 small slits in the pastry and push the reserved fish heads through them. Brush the top with the beaten egg. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the pastry is golden and risen.

6. Serve with greens in autumn and winter, or with a selection of spring vegetables.

Recommend listening while making the dish — Brenda Wootton if you can find her.

And another reason for cooking the dish has to do with a  legend:— 

The legend surrounding stargazy pie, along with the other unusual pies of Cornwall, is that they were the reason that the Devil never came to Cornwall. In his book Popular romances of the west of England; or, The drolls, traditions, and superstitions of old Cornwall, a collection of Cornish traditions, Robert Hunt explains that the Devil crossed the River Tamar to Torpoint. The chapter, entitled "The Devil's Coits, etc", reasons that the Devil discovered the Cornish would put anything in a pie and decided to leave before they took a fancy to a "devilly" pie, returning to Devon.

We have met the enemy and they are targeting our children.

Phil Innes

Ranged against healthy food is big business and the media, here is a UK report:

Almost two thirds of parents in the region are being hounded by their children to buy junk food they have seen advertised on TV, according a new study.

The study, carried out by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), found that 38 percent of parents in the South West with children under 16 are badgered to buy unhealthy snacks at least once a week.

Two in five parents also said they think junk food adverts on TV make it harder to encourage their children to eat a healthy diet.

The charity published its study in time to coincide with February’s “Heart Month” and is now calling on the Government to introduce tighter restrictions on food advertising.

Mike Hobday, director of policy at the BHF, said regulations for TV and online advertising in the UK were “weak.”

“Loopholes in the system mean that every day millions of children are exposed to sophisticated marketing techniques specifically designed to lure them into unhealthy eating habits,” he said.

“This evidence shows that junk food ads are having a detrimental impact on children’s behaviour and are hindering parents’ efforts to get their children to eat healthily.

“We cannot allow companies to continue exploiting holes in the system at the expense of our children’s health. The Government must act now to help give children a stronger chance at fending off future heart disease.”

The charity polled more than 2,100 UK parents with children aged between 4 and 16.

Its findings are supported by research carried out by broadcasting regulator Ofcom, which claims that television advertising can impact on children’s food preferences, consumption and behaviour, and that younger children in particular cannot distinguish advertising from entertainment.

The BHF said around a third of children in the UK are currently overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk of a coronary heart disease, stroke and some cancers in later life.

A petition has now been launched calling for tighter restrictions on online advertising and a ban on junk food adverts being shown before the 9pm watershed.

White Stew

Phil Innes

This is a stew where all the ingredients are white or nearly so, and you can vary ingredients to suit yourself, even adding one colorful thing for contrast.

Get starting by sautéeing some onion and if you use it, celery — this makes both much sweeter. I also pre-cooked some chicken by frying it until 2/3rd cooked, then removing bone from thighs. You could as well boil the chicken and reserve the stock for the stew. Breast meat ‘looks better’ but has less taste and chunky texture. For a vegetarian stew add marinated tofu instead.

I also used an unusual vegetable, white eggplant. Cut into coins, and mix with plentiful oil in large bowl, sauté.

Otherwise in a large pot successively add some or all these ingredients:


Garlic [rough chopped]









Seasoning [I used a lemon-garlic mix]

Liquid should just cover ingredients.

You can finish the stew by adding cream to it at the end with the heat off, or perhaps serve plain Greek yoghurt at the table. Serve over rice or with chunky bread.

Introducing Recipes for Simple Meals

Mac Gander

The following recipes in the series Recipes for Simple Meals are provided by Mac Gander as being a collection easy to cook and nutritious meals aimed at those who might be cooking for themselves for the first time.

Recipes for Simple Meals


Mac Gander

Make a simple, basic red sauce, using enough cans of tomatoes to cover the amount of meatballs you plan to make.

Meatball mix: 1 pound each of ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal, or two pounds beef if you can’t find veal.

Mix meat together with about a cup of bread crumbs and about ¾ cup of parmesan cheese, and also a bunch of finely chopped parsley, and one egg to make it stick together

Roll the meat into meatballs by dipping your hand in some cool water (so your hands stay moist) and rolling them softly between your hands—don’t pack too tight. Make all the meatballs and the sauce before you brown the meatballs.

Brown the meatballs in batches in some olive oil in a frying pan, making sure that the oil is hot before putting the meatballs in. Try to brown them on all sides.

Add the meatballs to the red sauce and simmer on low for as long as possible—four hours is ideal, but they should be ready in a hour.

This is a great weekend dish that you can then eat all week long.

Recipes for Simple Meals

Braised pork-chops in tomatoes

Mac Gander

This is another inexpensive and filling pasta dish. Pork chops are cheap, but they are awfully dry if you fry or grill them, so braising them in liquid after pan-searing them is a good alternative.

Heat some oil in a sauce-pan and then brown the porkchops on each side. (You can use any type of porkchop. The ones with bones cook up with more flavor, but you have to watch for the bones when the meat gets really tender.)

Remove the porkchops and set aside, then saute some onions, peppers, and garlic in the oil, adding some oil if necessary, and scraping up the burnt bits with a spatula.

When the veggies are soft, add some canned tomatoes (crush or pureed, and then add the pork. You just need enough tomato sauce to cover the pork.

This should simmer for a while—the longer the better, since the flavor will deepen and the pork will get really tender. A good dish to make when you have some time, and another good one for leftovers.

Recipes for Simple Meals

Roasting a whole chicken and living off it for a week

Mac Gander

This is a very smart and cheap way to feed yourself for a while. On a Saturday or Sunday, roast a medium-sized chicken.

I like to put a lemon that I have pierced with a fork in the cavity, and then cover the chicken with salt and pepper, and maybe some herbs or some paprika, cayenne, and brown sugar

Roast at 350 for about 15 minutes per pound—don’t undercook. It’s done with the juices flow free with you pierce with a fork.

Serve the chicken with rice or potatoes and a salad or peas and carrots—whatever you want.

Then, the next day:

Make a quick white sauce with the leftover white meat, or else use the meat to sauté with peppers and onions and make burritos or nachos

Then, make chicken soup:

Simmer the carcass in enough water to cover it for about four hours—you can leave the water at a fairly low temperature, just enough to simmer. You can basically start doing this while you are cooking the white sauce, and if you leave it on the stove, just make sure to heat to a boil before turning down when you simmer it up again.

When you are ready to make soup, get a good big soup-pot, preferably one that is heavy but any will do, and put a little oil in the bottom, and saute some chopped up onions, carrots, and celery. Use quite a bit. You can also add any other veggies you like—chopped spinach or kale is healthy and good, or broccoli or zucchini.

For bulk, you can also add potatoes to the veggies, or you can add cooked rice or pasta at the end. You can also use little white beans (navy beans) or Fava beans—these are good with pasta

Once the veggies have soften, drain the chicken stock into the soup pot using a colander, and then pick the remaining chicken off the bones (once it has cooled) and add to the soup.

Let it cook for a while, and add salt and pepper to taste. A nice healthy meal with a salad.

Recipes for Simple Meals

Red Sauce, White Sauce

Mac Gander

Basic Red Sauce

Saute chopped garlic and onion in a pan big enough to hold a couple of cans of tomatoes

Add peppers (red and green) if you want

Add some meat—Italian sausage, ground pork, or ground beef—and cook until browned

Add a couple of cans of crushed tomatoes, or else whole tomatoes that you crush with your hands

If the sauce is watery, add tomato paste

Add basil and oregano, maybe a little salt and pepper

Simmer for a while—at least 20 minutes, up to a couple of hours

Basic White Sauce

Saute chopped garlic and olive oil

Add other veggies (red peppers, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, fresh cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes) along with cooked chicken or else seafood (e.g., clams or scallops)

If you are using uncooked chicken, cut it up and cook it with the onions and garlic before adding vegetables

When veggies have started to soften, add some basil and salt and pepper, and then add heavy cream or sour cream. You can also use lighter cream or milk, but then you have to first add some corn starch to thicken the sauce

Cook until the sauce is nice and thick, but don’t over-cook or the veggies will get mushy

Tara’s Tortillas

Tara Innes

A pair of tortillas cooked in a hot pan with chicken, cheese, bbq sauce, onions, & peppers inside. Add yogurt, salsa, and cilantro on top.

Nashville Hot Chicken

Mark Lee

This is my home made version of Nashville Hot Chicken. Brined for 12 hours in special salt/pepper seasoning and then soaked in Tabasco Buttermilk and egg, then dredged again in a spicy flour and pepper mix. I have a new respect for Nashville Hot Chicken. It's easier to just go get you some. Recipe available for those that really want to spend about 3 hours in the kitchen, but worth it if you like to cook.

Blendering & Bolognese

Tara Innes

Mostly I use the biggest one for blendering things (i like to do smoothies in the summer, soups in the winter -- squash, and carrot cilantro are favorites), but sometimes the smaller one for chopping sauce ingredients etc. It's so much easier to clean than a standard blender, being upside down. One of my fav things is a nice chili sauce to go over stirfry/etc.

we also do bolognese pretty regularly, and i like the cooks classic recipe (with some changes which i've noted below):

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons minced carrot
2 tablespoons minced celery
¾ pound ground beef chuck
table salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, packed in juice, chopped fine, with juice reserved

  1. 1.Heat butter in large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion, carrot, and celery and sautè until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes. Add ground meat and ½ teaspoon salt; crumble meat with edge of wooden spoon to break apart into tiny pieces. Cook, continuing to crumble meat, just until it loses its raw color but has not yet browned, about 3 minutes.

2. Add milk and bring to simmer; continue to simmer until milk evaporates and only clear fat remains, 10 to 15 minutes. Add wine and bring to simmer; continue to simmer until wine evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Add tomatoes and their juice and bring to simmer; reduce heat to low so that sauce continues to simmer just barely, with an occasional bubble or two at the surface, until liquid has evaporated, about 3 hours. Adjust seasonings with extra salt to taste and serve over pasta. (Can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days or frozen for several months. Warm over low heat before serving.)

EXCEPT, that this is way not enough vegetables. i add a whole onion, several carrots, and a couple stalks of celery, instead of the paltry 2 tblsp of each, and i find that the easiest way to handle all that is in the ninja. we also use mixed meat instead of just beef-- you can buy "meatloaf mix" at the store, but we usually just get a large thing of ground beef, and a large thing of pork ground, and sometimes unseasoned sausage or something (we usually skip the veal although that would be traditional), and then freeze it in chunks so that come dinnertime we can just pull one of the mixed bags from the freezer. 

I also like it for super-fine chopping spices like ginger, garlic, onion etc when I'm mixing them into something like larb,  (this is a good starter recipe, except just buy ground chicken (or pork) OR chop it in the ninja, instead of hand chopping it, and put all the spices/roots/leaves/etc in the ninja and just pulse them to a mush -- where you don't really want to bite into a chunk of ginger, but you want that strong fresh flavor. i also do a lot of salsa fresca, which is good in the ninja [blender model] -- when i hand-chop, i tend to leave the pieces too big. raita is similar -- i always leave the bits too big if i hand-chop.

Comb Potato?

Mark Lee

One of those insane ideas you want to try.... Of course, I took on the challenge. Peel and slice a potato nearly through, fan like a deck of cards and spoon or brush (EVO, sea or Kosher salt, and course Black Pepper) a little enhanced olive oil and bake for 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven. It's fun to eat too!

[Editorial note: inspired by Mark’s experiment I am going to try the same, and add a sweet potato and maybe even a plantain!]

Grandma’s Rhubarb Pie

Tara Innes


combine 1-1.5 cups sugar (recipe says 1.5, but I usually do more like 1)

1/4 cup flour

3/4 tsp nutmeg

beat in 3 eggs.

fill a pie crust with approx 4 cups chopped rhubarb, pour egg mixture over top.

bake @400 for 50-60 mins.

Green Sauces, 2 variations

Tara Innes

#1 Tara’s Variation

Cod w fingerling potatoes and "green sauce."

Remarkably quick easy recipe w a couple adjustments.

As you will see from the difference of pictures, I have more of a "green goop" as opposed to their "green water" which is because i don't have a juicer, and made do by just sticking it all in the blender with a touch of extra water. worked quite well—very fresh and flavorful.

Also, we had cod without skin, so I coated it in flour to give a bit of a crunch/retain moisture, which also worked well. I was skeptical that the seared scallions would add much, but the char was a nice counterpoint to the fresh herbiness of the sauce.

I was surprised that this took me only about a half hour, start to finish, without knowing the recipe. good for weeknights.

#2 Bon Apetit Variation

Seared Hake with Baby Potatoes and Green Sauce


Combine celery juice, sorrel juice, leek juice, and vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and more vinegar, if desired.

DO AHEAD: Green juice without vinegar can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Stir in vinegar just before serving.


Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and add water to cover; season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 10–15 minutes; drain and return to saucepan. Toss potatoes with 1 Tbsp. oil, then season with salt.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season fish with salt and cook, skin side down, until very crisp, about 4 minutes. Turn fish and cook until just cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet and add scallions. Cook, turning occasionally, until scallions are charred in spots and are slightly softened, about
1 minute. Transfer to plate with fish.

Divide fish, yogurt, and potatoes among shallow bowls. Spoon green sauce around and drizzle with oil. Top with scallions and chervil.

Susan Wagner’s Curried Fish Soup — Innes variations

I don’t know who started this recipe exchange, and if I taught it to my daughter Tara Innes or she taught herself, but we have been back and forth with it for 10 years. Unless otherwise stated as “Phil”, comments are Tara’s, We being Daddio and Daughter Inneses.

"And recipe (which I'm sure Phil knows, but just in case): Saute 1 chopped onion in 4 TBS butter (i reduce the butter) add 4 TBS flour,

Phil: I don’t in my ignorance reduce the butter since I don’t know what effect that has, and for gluten free recipes try rice flour or even rye — I have made it before without thickening the broth.

1 TBS curry powder, 1/2 tsp salt Add 6 cups stock (original says veggie but i use chicken)

Phil: me too. Chicken stock deepens the flavor, since the fish alone won’t do that.

Add a can of stewed tomatoes (this has canned whole plum tomatoes i think, couldn't find stewed ones. you can also add some chili if you like. I also added some aberrant potato here. This is the point at which I took the photo.)

Phil: I also added one large aberrant potato and lots of chile as well as a hot prepared curry powder.

Cook for a half hour Add a lb of thick/heavy white fish (and/or shrimp, scallops, etc) (i'm not really sure visually how much a pound is, so i just throw seafood in until it looks right...)

Phil: Gordon Ramsey moment. I bought 2 lbs of wild caught Pollock which is a sustainable fish which Gordon stresses is a good thing. Anything with more delicate flavor gets lost in this soup in my opinion, but my all means add shrimp at the end.

Cook 5 mins Add 1 cup cream (you can reduce this for a less rich soup) and a can of corn and heat till warm.

Phil: Big variant here, no cream but coconut milk, and I left out the corn entirely.

(original recipe has you put rozdali in it at the end, which is great if you're going to eat ALL of it immediately, and it's a significant amount of soup, but if you don't eat it soon the rozdali swells up and you get curried-fish-chowder-glutinous-matter which is not so good. hence my experimenting with potato.)

Phil: Agree!

Serve with bread.

Phil: Or some starch cooked outside the soup, if bread, coarse bread, but you could also use Japatis, or any flat bread like Naan.

This is one of my favorite soups. Great for feeding a large group of people, or for cool nights when you want something to warm you up.

Acquired originally from Susan Wagner, who I don't remember very well, aside from the fact that I was always super happy to get soup at her house since her kitchen was perpetually frigid.

Lamb Stock or Stew

I used a recipe from Gordon Ramsay since I have his book, “Cooking for Friends” and besides, it is a good clean simple one to follow. The only innovation was to cook it on a wood stove since it was on and simmering takes a long time. To make the stew add new vegetables of your choice after you obtain the stock — root vegetables are indicated to provide an earthy taste. I also used about 3lbs of lamb bones since I had them.

Makes 8-10 cups

1 lb lamb bones

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

1 celery stalk, roughly chopped

6 cloves of garlic, peeled

2 tsp tomato paste

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

A few sprigs of thyme and flat leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spread the bones out on a large roasting pan and drizzle with a little olive oil to coat. Roast for about 45-60 minutes, turning the bones over halfway, until evenly browned.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot and add the vegetables and garlic, stirring occasionally over medium-high heat until golden brown. Add the tomato paste and fry for another 3 minutes. Add the wine and let boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the bones to the stock pot and pour in enough water to cover, about 4-6 cups. Bring to a simmer and skim off the froth and scum that rises to the surface.

Add the peppercorn and herbs. Simmer the stock for 4-6 hours or until you're happy with the flavour, then take the pan off the heat. Let stand for a few minutes before passing the stock through a fine sieve. Cool the stock to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours. The fat from the stock will rise and congeal at the surface and can then be removed with a spoon and discarded. Fresh stock should be used within 5 days or keep frozen for up to 3 months.

Garlic Soup

Serves 4

26 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) organic butter (grass fed)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 cup fresh ginger
2 1/4 cups sliced onions
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
26 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
4 lemon wedges


Preheat oven to 350F. Place 26 garlic cloves in small glass baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and toss to coat. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Transfer cloves to small bowl.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, thyme, ginger and cayenne powder and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add roasted garlic and 26 raw garlic cloves and cook 3 minutes. Add vegetable broth; cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan; add coconut milk and bring to simmer. Season with sea salt and pepper for flavor.


Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.

Alternatives; skip the puree stage, and let the cloves speak for themselves. Omit the ginger. I have also made this soup all with stock and without coconut milk.

World Pasty Championship

At Eden Project, Cornwall, England

One of the world's hottest chillis featured in the World Pasty Championships in Cornwall today.

Nearly 150 companies, professional bakers, keen amateurs and juniors followed strict guidelines to present their traditional Cornish or more exotic variety of pasties for scrutiny.

The World Pasty Championships at the Eden Project.

One of the entrants was Richard Shaw from Hampshire who cooked a pasty using the Bhut Jolokia, also known as the ghost chilli and one of the hottest in the world.

Richard also baked a “D-day pasty” which has a traditional Cornish steak filling in one side and French steak, mushroom and garlic in the other.

A panel of 30 judges have been spending four hours deliberating in advance of the planned Oggy Oscars award ceremony this evening.

Eden spokesman David Rowe said: “Pasties are Cornwall’s gift to the world and we have brought it all back home to Eden again today in the Spring sunshine.

“Judges are reporting a very high standard of entry with superb traditional steak and some very inventive non-Cornish concoctions. In particular we saw a big increase in the number of companies and professional bakers this year.

"Alongside the competition we have a fabulous celebration of local produce and a day of music, baking demonstrations and a forum on the pasty.”

Today also saw the launch of a new campaign Charity Begins in Cornwall, with locally-based charities present on the day. Thanks to a partnership of local business and the Cornwall Community Foundation, donations made to the charities through are to be doubled pound for pound.

Fish tacos

by Tara Innes

My motto seems to have become: if in doubt stick it in a taco. Fish tacos are so easy... This is completely inauthentic but reasonably healthy provided you don't go overboard with the mayo. I riffed a bit here adding shrimp and scallops.

Just stick the seafood in the oven with a little olive oil and lemon juice. Takes maybe 15-20 mins depending on size and frozenness of seafood.

Then the toppings are sauce, a pineapple cabbage jalapeño slaw, and an easy salsa.

The sauce mixes yogurt and mayo for the base (sounds gross but the mayo gives you the right unctuousness) then finely chop dill (and cilantro) add dried coriander chili powder and garlic and onion powders... Or real garlic if you want more kick, but I prefer the powder. Some lemon juice. Let it sit for an hour or so while you prep the other stuff.

I sometimes put other stuff in too. You can just play with it till you like the flavor. Same with the salsa and slaw. I use pickled jalapeños, canned pineapple and whatever cabbage is handy. You don't need to dress it. Then tomato cilantro and just a bit of onion for the salsa. Minimize moisture or your tacos will drip.

Korean tofu tacos

by Tara Innes

Made Korean tofu tacos and easy (although give your tofu time to press then marinate.) recipe could very easily be made vegan. basically press and slice your tofu (one block fed two of us, could probably cover three, but we were hungry), then make a marinade with:

3 TBLSP soy sauce

1 TBLSP sesame oil

1 TBLSP ginger, pureed or chopped fine

1 TBLSP garlic, pureed or chopped fine

1-2 TBLSP chili sauce (depending on how hot you want it)

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1 TBLSP fish sauce (omit for veganification)

let tofu marinate for at least an hour.

slice some cabbage thin and dress with a little rice wine vinegar (or other mellow vinegar)

also pull out for toppings:


sesame seeds

(we also had leftover spicy zucchini and brown rice)

throw the tofu in a really hot pan and sear the sides quickly. just a minute or two per side.

layer all the ingredients into a tortilla.

Miracle Cleaner

Now it can be told — Actually useful advice found on-line

How to clean your cookie sheets--Kitchen "Miracle" Cleaner! You put about 1/4 cup of baking soda in a small glass bowl and squirt in hydrogen peroxide until it makes a nice paste. Then you rub it on the offending dirt/stain/grease...whatever! You can usually just use your fingers...but you can also use a small sponge as well.

I haven’t tried it yet, but have half a dozen candidate items. If you try it, let me know how it went.

Zucchini Parmesan Bites.

Article suggested by Terri Kneipp

Ingredients 4 medium, fresh zucchini, sliced in half 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated 1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary & thyme, minced smidge of olive oil salt & pepper to taste.

Directions Pre-heat oven to 350F, lightly brush both sizes of the zucchini with olive oil and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Mix cheese and herbs together in a small bowl and sprinkle over the zucchini along with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 15 minutes and place under the broiler for the last 3-5 minutes until cheese is crispy and browned.

A Christmas dish from an American in London

Stuart Rogers

4-6 lbs salmon or bass.  Stuff with dill, herbs, garlic, lemon slices.  Place on jellyroll pan.  Sea salt to cover – probably 3-4 pounds.  1 egg white per pound.  Mix like cement and cover like covering someone at the beach.  Leave head and tail exposed, but covered otherwise.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-55 minutes depending on size of fish.  When done, crack and remove the salt dome, and clear away any salt from around the fish.  Remove skin and serve flesh from above the bones.  Once that is served, remove the bone structure, and serve the flesh from below the bones.

Illustrated is a salt-domed fish with a little cognac flambé

Thanksgiving — but first the chestnuts

Phil Innes

I bought a pound. Cut an ‘x’ on one side and put on flat baking sheet in oven pre-heated to 425 for about 30 mins. Allow to cool a little then peal while hot. These chestnuts are destined for the stuffing.

Curried carrot soup.

Tara Innes

"This soup, btw, is already gluten-free and would be easy to make veggie/vegan (I used chicken broth, but you could sub veggie broth). just saute half a large onion in curry spices and coriander, roast the carrots in the oven with olive oil and salt (all the recipes I looked at said to just boil the carrots, but i wanted the roast carmelized flavor), and then process it all in the food processor (or blender). Add back to the pot with enough broth to make it the right thickness and cook on low for a few minutes. I garnished with yogurt and fresh cilantro. If you're NOT avoiding gluten, it was super-awesome with a heavy multigrain bread dipped into it."

An exotic quick paté & simple Asian delights, and how to run a country.

Phil Innes

Blend chicken livers with a bit of onion, garlic and perhaps poblano pepper or chilies, add salt and fresh ground black pepper. I spooned mine into a dinner bread mold. Cook 350 for 45 to 60 mins. chill or serve hot.

Eggplants sliced and then sectioned, heavily salted and put in a colander for 30 minutes, and without rinsing fried till brown both sides, then removed. That’s an Asian basic, then sautée as is or with selected flavorings like spring onions, or with sesame oil, serve hot. Keep it simple.

Bought a three pound bag of sweet potatoes. Pricked three with fork half dozen times and baked. Remove when smells right. Since we have this 350 oven, ths was about an hour. You can’t beat this treatment, and don’t need to peel them neither, eat the skin and the innerds are heaven.

I cooked some chicken in same oven. You could for example, eat roast chicken as is, or reserve for further treatment. I plied mine with lemon juice.

If you chill the chicken livers serve with coarse bread, or even add sections to a late season salad.

These Asian master cooks rarely recommend more than 3 or 4 ingredients for any dish, but also say to make a lot of different dishes for a feast. In 100 years we will all cook this way.  They keep it simple, and simple is sometimes difficult.

Then again, if you can cook with all its alchemical combinations, you can, or rather you could potentially, run a country.

Hearty In-Season Vegetable Dishes

Phil Innes

Those holding parties these days need to consider people who do not eat meat, as well as good vegetable side dishes for those who do. I made these today, and they are all easy, and portion proportions are common sense.

A bean salad with dark red organic kidney beans plus black beans, with chopped celery, green pepper, red radish, onion, cucumber, diced tomato — fresh ground black pepper, salt and olive oil.

My wife says I have invented a salad, grated raw beets and ginger in a vinaigrette of olive oil and [usually] cider vinegar, plus today, with lime juice — I bought a sack of limes.

A third dish is made from yukka; I am dousing pencils of yukka in a bowl loaded with cayenne, paprika, lime zest, then in a canola sauté , with lots of salt. Great change from potato fries with much more taste. Possible is to combine sweet potatoes prepared similarly; serve both together.

Not finished yet: there is another dish I may have invented, but probably copied from somewhere — I have pity on musicians who come up with an ‘original’ song, and then get sued because it so like something from 30 years ago —  but this dish has grated carrots, fine chopped garlic, shallots or spring onions as good, mixed in a bowl with egg and ricotta and ‘Italian’ herbs. Sauté, and serve hot with a sauce of whatever you like. I have used another prime ingredient, shredded zuchinni, but it’s good press the water out of it. I’ve also tried cooked split peas, heavily spiced with cayenne and/or chile. Good stuff for a party even cold. The split peas become very dense and heavy and could stand as a base for exotic bits and pieces like salmon slivers or even a heavy herb butter, or…

A good grain to go with all the above is quinoa, and for a party how about black and white quinoa? It compacts well, so can be presented as a dome by using an ice-cream scoop. The black quinoa looks like caviar, and you could adorn this or the white scoop with something like cilantro, or some garlic chives, at least for color and bouquet.

One more then: a good slice of tomato with a  thick fresh slice mozzarella atop, pleasantly herbed and adorned with olive oil, or even an exotic vinegar. Very simple, elegant and satisfying, and with a few lettuce leaves on the side this is a quality salad on its own.

Herb Sauces

Phil Innes

I have a lot of Marjoram growing in the garden but have never cooked much with it nor seen recipes, so I looked it up:—

An herb of the mint family with oval, inch-long green leaves with a mild, sweet, oregano-like favor. Wild marjoram is actually just another name for oregano.

Season: available year-round

How to prepare: Add near the end of cooking or the heat will destroy its delicate flavor.

Matches well with: carrots, chicken, corn, duck, eggs, fish, halibut, lamb chops, meats, mushrooms, peas, pork chops, potatoes, rabbit, ravioli, salads, soups, spinach, squash, stuffings, tomatoes, tuna, zucchini

Substitutions: basil, thyme, oregano or savory

Tonight I will try baked fish, and at end add a marjoram in lemon butter sauce, with fresh ground black pepper on top.

More traditional sauces call for white wine and heavy cream with most herbs, but if you don’t want all the cholesterol, simpler sauces or a bit of butter mixes are possible. Another benefit of simple sauces is that there are not 19 steps in the recipe, and you can make something in two minutes.

An Italian idea is to leave out the dairy entirely and add olive oil: Something similar can be done with mint,  and I like to use a vinaigrette as a base, even adding some brown sugar to it, and heavy on the olive oil (about 2/3rds), since anointing plain boiled potatoes while still hot allows the oil to soak in. Eat hot or cold, and by all means chuck in a lot of garlic with the mint.

Garlic Soup plus Béarnaise sauce

Phil Innes

I suppose one good thing about being English is that after suffering British cuisine for the best part of thirty years, you are ready to consider anything.

On the other hand, one half of American seem to like eating baby-food at expensive prices, and the other half represents a liking for eating and preparing the most comprehensive and good cooking from all over the planet.

First here’s a conservative recipe from N’Orleans for garlic soup followed by an adventurous bit of saucing with a back and forth with my brother in law, and where you can write in if you have had a go at an original béarnaise.

GARLIC SOUP  from Bistro at Maison de Ville, New Orleans. From the book CAFÉ CUISINE, by Linda Glick Conway. Houghton Mifflin, publishers.

Serves: 6 to 8

2 pounds onions, roughly chopped

1 cup chopped garlic

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cups chicken stock

1/2 loaf stale French bread, in chunks

1 bouquet garni made from 10 3-inch sprigs parsley, 5 sprigs fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf, tied together with cotton string

2 cups half-and-half or light cream

Salt and pepper to taste.

Sauté the onions and garlic in the butter and olive oil over low heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetable are a deep gold (about 30 minutes). Add the chicken stock, bread chunks, and bouquet garni and purée the mixture in a blender or food processor. Heat the half-and half and add it to the soup, along with the salt and pepper. Serve immediately or keep for a day to let the flavors mellow.


Now to the Béarnaise sauce, which is essentially a milk and butter one. Here is where I asked my culinary brother-in-law what to do without ‘the packet’ of additions, and what we wrote together:

He thought addition of shallots to the basic brew of milk/butter can’t go wrong, but then instead of the powdered milk and corn starch in the packet, try masa*. [I will have to research that at the Coop] Tarragon was good [representing Italian herbs] but also lavender [representing French]. He thought at Thanksgiving we could have a go at making a dark gravy to go with noodles. He also said to warm up the mix; put chillies into the butter at the start.


Anyway, I write while making the garlic sauce, having substituted local fresh herbs, mint and sage mainly, plus green onions and garlic chives.

Cost of meal; about six dollars total for eight people. About an hour and a half in time, but with  plenty of time to make other things than this soup.

*Masa is Spanish for dough, it is sometimes referred to cornmeal dough (masa de maíz in Spanish). It is used for making corn tortillas, tamales, pupusas, arepas and many other Latin American dishes. The dried and powdered form is called masa de harina or maseca (which is actually a commercial brand); it is reconstituted with water.

Masa de trigo is Spanish for wheat flour dough. It is also used for making tortillas and other breads and pastries.

Masa nixtamalera is nixtamalized maize dough. It is nutritionally superior to cornmeal dough because the limewater adds calcium to the dough and makes the niacin in the cornmeal nutritionally available.[1] In Central American and Mexican cuisine, masa nixtamalera is cooked with water and milk to make a thick, gruel-like beverage called atole. When made with chocolate and sugar, it becomes atole de chocolate. Adding anise and piloncillo to this mix creates champurrado, a popular breakfast drink.

To make masa de maiz, field corn (or maize) is dried and then treated in a solution of lime or ash and water, also called slaked lime. This loosens the hulls from the kernels and softens the corn. In addition, the lime reacts with the corn so that the nutrient niacin can be assimilated by the digestive tract. The soaked maize is then washed, and the wet corn is ground into a dough, called masa. It is this fresh masa, when dried and powdered, that becomes masa de harina.

Pure di Patate all’Olio — Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Phil Innes

A new cook book at the library by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich had some good looking vegetable dishes and I decided to try some. Here’s the second. Healthier than adding all that butter and less ‘wet’ than adding milk.

1 lbs Idaho or Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil


1 cup water

Freshly ground pepper preferably white

(option, add 4 cloves garlic per serving, peeled and smashed)

Pour enough cold water over the potatoes (I substituted russets which worked well) to cover them by a few inches, season with salt and bring to boil. Cook until potatoes are tender but retain their shape, 15 to 20 mins depending on size of potato. Drain, let cool.

Peel potatoes (I did this with my fingers) and pass through a ricer or a food mill on fine disk. (I used a ricer on coarse) Gently stir in the olive oil, season (I used black  pepper not white) and serve hot.

I also added sautéed garlic, about 4 whole cloves per person.

Cavolini Brasati con Aceto — Brussel Sprouts Italien

Phil Innes

A new cook-book at the library by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich had some good looking vegetable dishes and I decided to try some. Here’s the first.

1.5 lbs Brussels sprouts

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed


1 cup water

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

Trim and cut sprouts lengthwise. ‘Smash’ garlic with side of knife. I used a wok and added the oil, when medium hot added garlic and shook until golden brown, then added the sprouts cut side down, browned for 2 minutes and turned for 1. I added some red onion rings which was not in the recipe. Add water and vinegar [I substituted apple cider vinegar and red wine the idea to to adjust the ‘cabbage taste’ with some acidity], bring all to simmer lower heat and cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until liquid almost all gone. Add small amounts more water if necessary. Season to taste, serve in warm bowl with more drizzled olive oil.

Beet Salad with Shallots and Toasted Almonds

Phil Innes

The new edition of Cook’s arrived yesterday, and I have become a little cynical of its long lists of ingredients, so the simple beet salad attracted me. I adapted this recipe:

Cut ends of about 1.5 pounds beets and halve them then simmer for about 45 minutes in a cup and a quarter of salted water. Remove beets from stock and then remove skin with your fingers or paper towel when cooler. Reduce beet stock for about 5 minutes until almost gone then add in 3 tablespoons white vinegar and one tablespoon brown sugar, plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and reduce for another two minutes until dragging a wooden spoon through leaves a clear channel. Cut beets to wedges and add to stock. Toast ¼ cup whole almonds, then either chop or crush, chop thin one shallot, remove beets, add almond flakes and serve hot or cold — try some fresh mint with it if you have any.

Poached Eggs

Phil Innes

I know they are not hard to make, but when did you last make yourself a poached egg? You can simply drop the egg and yolk into lightly boiling water (without breaking yoke) or use an egg poacher.
A little butter to grease the sides of the cups, then add eggs, cover for about 3-4 minutes over lightly boiling water. Adjust time for more or less cooked yokes which are slower than the outside. Serve on toast, and if you need a sauce try something citrus, lemon juice or perhaps eat an orange with the eggs? Finally, salt and fresh cracked black pepper and serve immediately.

Real Food vs Lake Effect Tourist Food

Phil Innes

The Great Pasty Debate

According to the NY Times writer John Willoughby

NY Times magazine just came out with a food issue, which included a report from Michigan with this title on pasties and for the premier magazine in the nation to issue this is sufficient to contest it. Essentially, the reporter turned a basic food for poor people into tourist food suitable to an American market, as if reporting about a burrito or fajita, but subverting all that is essential to make a simple meal which is cheap and wholesome.

Recently I criticized the editor of Cooks magazine for his 58 ingredient hamburger and his 65 ingredient meat loaf. Surely no one can mess up 4 ingredients, plus salt and pepper, in a pastry case? Yes they can, and presumably they do it in Michigan to ‘make it better.’

For a nation that doesn’t cook and is content with ersatz food suitable for children and food reporting from the stance of only eating out, here is the NY Times report on how this pasty is currently made in Michigan, plus according to me:—


1 double-crust pie dough, preferably made with shortening

Vermont Views: What is Shortening? Margarine? My mother would have put lard in it, which is beef drippings or fat, since it was cheaper than butter. These days I recommend a stick of margarine and a stick of butter to about 2.5 cups of all purpose flour. Work it in with your fingers, not a machine, add water as necessary to make a slightly sticky dough.

1 1/4 pounds coarsely ground sirloin, flank or chuck steak (or you may chop into 1/4-inch dice)

Vermont Views:  Aaargh! Precisely the wrong idea. What you want is the cheapest cut of beef with lots of fat veined in it. These fats melts into a juice in cooking. This is both economical and sensible for the cook.

2 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

Vermont Views: Chopped like the potato and turnip, or chipped not sliced. It needs to be chunky.

1 medium rutabaga, peeled and thinly sliced

Vermont Views:  Use a yellow turnip. Don’t slice it. That’s fancy work and unsuitable to the meal, which wants chunky. You are not going to eat this with a knife and fork. You are going to pick it up in a paper bag or wrapped in a kitchen towel, and eat it from your hand.

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter.

Vermont Views: No. You don’t need butter if you get the right beef — you only need butter if you buy sirloin which doesn’t have much fat in it. The point is that all is contained in this pastry case, nothing is lost, and you don’t need to supplement these 3 root vegetables and the beef with other ingredients or improve upon a country dish which like French and Italian ones can’t be beat, and take some time to prepare and cook so they are not typically available in restaurants except in their own regions.



Divide the pie dough into 6 equal portions, press each into a flat disc, then stack them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Vermont Views: Make the dough and put the whole thing into the fridge for an hour to relax the glutens — a damp dish towel is better than plastic wrap.


Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Vermont Views: Skip the parchment paper and get a couple of old baking sheets out, grease their surfaces with a stick of marg.


Combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl (be liberal with the salt and pepper) and mix well.

Vermont Views: Never combine all ingredients to homogenize them, instead roll out your dough and place layers of ingredients on it, salt and pepper it then.


Roll out each dough disc into a 9-inch circle and brush edges with water. Place about 1/6 of meat-vegetable mixture off-center on each circle, topping each with 1/6 of the butter. Fold the large side of the dough over the filling, then crimp the edges to seal. Place on the prepared pan and cut several slits in the tops.

Vermont Views: Cut your dough into how many segments you want to make pasties of, 2.5 cups flour is approx 4 pasties, roll out a quarter of dough, place a dinner plate downside up on rolled out dough and cut an inch beyond the plate for a sizable pasty.


Bake about 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake (20 to 30 minutes) until the tip is golden brown. Serve with plenty of ketchup.

Vermont Views: A 350F oven is fine for the whole shebang. Bake about 50 minutes and trust your nose. On no circumstance serve with ketchup, which is a mixture of tomatoes, salt, sugar and hi dextrose corn syrup — what are you trying to do, make this a hamburger? Traditionally the pasty is ate ‘in the hand’ rather than plated, so you will need a paper bag or a kitchen towel to hold it, or the juices will scald you. If you made it like I suggest substantial juice will have collected on the blunt end and the bag or towel is necessary to prevent leaks. Also, in the first bites, it should be too hot. The steam emerging from the pastry case should alert you to take it very easy. Same at end, go slow. Instead of ketchup traditional is sugary tea. The heel of the pasty is loaded with hot juices which can scald your tongue, so this is not fast food in any sense of preparation or of eating. This is great food to share when you need some soul food, and in English weather, whether you are down a tin mine, on deck in a herring bus, or chez nous on a winter’s night.

But for heaven’s sake, don’t make it a children’s food as reported here with ersatz ingredients with sugary things slopped onto it.

This lake effect food is not quite the same as the real thing with the force of the entire Atlantic ocean present at your doorstep. The author of the NY Times article never eat a real pasty on a wild Cornish night. I recommend him both.


Phil Innes

It was such a good deal! 28 lbs of organic tomatoes for $15 since the vendor wanted to leave the market before the storm came on. I made half a dozen things to freeze with the the first 14 lbs yesterday, from general advice on Facebook, and today am working with the Heirloom plums. Making sauces is a good idea for those January days when there is no fresh anything, so combining fresh basil, dried Italian herbs, garlic and onions, here goes another afternoon in the kitchen.  Update: Day 3; I received help from one of our cats who wanted to demonstrate the speed-technique of how to remove tomato skins after first extracting them from a water bath. The cat is currently banned from the kitchen. Today is the last day of tomatoes and I am making a frittata and a sort of tomato pie, plus tomato tartar...

Sliders (with venison)

Mark Lee

"Sliders are a small, yeasty bun with a greasy meat....well, I've improved upon the southern delicacy...with a delicate venison back strip, which hunters swear is the tenderloin....I made my marinade with red wine vinegar, EVO, oregano, and some salt and pepper. A few other things thrown in to suit me. I heated the venison strip in an iron skillet, then broiled it for a few minutes in the same iron do cook in iron up there don't ye Ser Phillip? I then took the medium rare meat and thinly sliced its tender lean goodness upon the buns and fed it to my hungry brood." Mark Lee

Susan Wagner’s Curried Fish Soup

Tara Innes

"And recipe (which I'm sure Phil knows, but just in case): Saute 1 chopped onion in 4 TBS butter (i reduce the butter) add 4 TBS flour, 1 TBS curry powder, 1/2 tsp salt Add 6 cups stock (original says veggie but i use chicken) Add a can of stewed tomatoes (this has canned whole plum tomatoes i think, couldn't find stewed ones. you can also add some chili if you like. I also added some aberrant potato here. This is the point at which I took the photo.) Cook for a half hour Add a lb of thick/heavy white fish (and/or shrimp, scallops, etc)(i'm not really sure visually how much a pound is, so i just throw seafood in until it looks right...) Cook 5 mins Add 1 cup cream (you can reduce this for a less rich soup) and a can of corn and heat till warm. (original recipe has you put rozdali in it at the end, which is great if you're going to eat ALL of it immediately, and it's a significant amount of soup, but if you don't eat it soon the rozdali swells up and you get curried-fish-chowder-glutinous-matter which is not so good. hence my experimenting with potato.) Serve with bread. This is one of my favorite soups. Great for feeding a large group of people, or for cool nights when you want something to warm you up. Acquired originally from Susan Wagner, who I don't remember very well, aside from the fact that I was always super happy to get soup at her house since her kitchen was perpetually frigid."

Farro with seared balsamic mushrooms

Paula Melton

You cook the farro like rice, with a little salt but more water, ~2.5 cups to a cup of farro. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer ~30 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice crimini mushrooms and sautee them aggressively on medium-high heat with a pinch of salt until they cook down and sear; add 2 tsp. or so of dried thyme while the water is still coming out of them. Once they're seared, turn the heat down, add a little more oil, a chopped onion, and a little salt to sweat the onion in. Cover and let the onion soften and get sweet and golden for a few minutes. Crush a couple cloves of garlic into the pan and then add a little more salt. Turn heat down to medium-low and pour ~1/4 cup balsamic vinegar over the top. Cover and simmer till the pan is almost dry. 

Fluff the farro (drain if necessary) and add a little olive oil. 

That's pretty much it! (I think.) Serve the mushrooms and the farro together. We also had some kale on the side.

Two Wonderful Contributions by

Thelma O’Brien

Cranberry clafoutis


1 tbs butter for dish

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs granulated sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

2 large eggs. lightly beaten

1 cup cold heavy cream 3/4 cup whole milk

2 tsp finely grated orange zest 1/.5 cups cranberries, coarsely chopped

confectioner's sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees


Butter a flattish, one-quart non-metal baking dish

Sprinkle 2 tbs sugar over bottom of dish.

Sift remaining sugar, flour and salt into bowl

Gradually whisk in eggs, 3/4 cup cream, the milk and the zest

Scatter cranberries into dish

Pour batter over top

Bake until puffed, slightly set and brown around edges, 32 to 34 minutes (it will sink)   

Whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream until slightly thickened


Serve with the whipped cream



And now, just because we're on cranberries, here's a bonus. 

This simple dish is really good - a little fresh lemon or lime  juice might be nice.


Pork chops with cranberry, port and rosemary


4 one-inch pork chops (or thinner, whatever)

3 tsp minced fresh rosemary

2 tbs butter

3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth

3/4 cup port

1 cup homemade cranberry sauce


Sprinkle chops with salt, pepper and half the rosemary

Heat butter in large skillet over moderate heat

Add pork chops and cook until nicely browned on both sides, about four minutes a side

Transfer chops to a warm plate and loosely cover

Add broth, port and remaining rosemary

Boil until liquid is slightly thickened, about 5 mins

Add cranberry sauce and simmer until thickened, about 5/6 minutes

Season with salt and pepper

Spoon sauce over pork

Waffles, Home Made Cream

Mark Lee

As you know, equally as important as the selection of the beef or pork roast is to allow it to come to room temperature before roasting and letting that sucker rest after roasting; also, I'm a big advocate of the searing or hot oven start with a turned down slow roast. Works every time!

Came in at 11 lbs. olive oil, salt & pepper and Emeril rub. Popped into a 450 oven and then immediately lowered to 350. Roasted about 3 hours. After a 20 minute rest, she carved beautifully and was tender and moist to boot

Waffles, Home Made Cream

Bill Fletcher

With strawberries, and sausages

Cornish Pasty

(or a proper tattie oggie)
Phil Innes

First make your pastry much like a pie crust (recommended equal butter to vegetable shortening), rest in fridge for an hour, meanwhile prepare the 4 ingredients; chipped potatoes and turnip (rutabaga type) chopped onion, and not over-lean beef. Roll out the pastry on floured board, cut a circle using a dinner plate, add ingredients to center, season, fold and pinch-seal the edges, vent center top of pasty, place on baking tray, center oven for 350F for about an hour. Eat hot.

Traditionally a pasty is never eaten from a plate, but in the hand, and hold it in a bag or tea-towel since the juices inside are very hot, plus first bites at the sharp end of the pasty should be tentative other-wise the steam can do a number on your mouth!

Cranberry Clafoutis
Thelma Obrien

A pie-shape dessert made with what amounts to rich pancake batter and fruit, the clafoutis originated in France and was almost always made with cherries. But this one, made with cranberries and nuts, seems to me not only akin to the original but a perfect dish for the season.

Cranberry Clafoutis

Yield At least 6 servings

Time 1 hour

Like all clafoutis, this is delicious served warm or at room temperature, but it won't keep for more than a day.


1 tablespoon butter (for greasing pan)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup flour

1 cup half-and-half or whole milk

Pinch salt

2 cups cranberries

Scant cup walnuts



1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a deep 9- or 10-inch pie plate or a gratin dish of similar size. Sprinkle it with a tablespoon or so of sugar, then swirl dish to coat evenly. Invert to remove excess.

2. Beat eggs well, then add remaining sugar. Beat until smooth. Add flour, and beat again until smooth. Add the half-and-half or milk and salt, and whisk until smooth.

3. Coarsely chop cranberries and walnuts. If using a food processor, do not overprocess -- just pulse until chopped. (It's very fast.) Put cranberry mixture in pie plate, and pour batter over it.

  1. 4.Bake for about 30 minutes, or until clafoutis is nicely browned on top and a knife inserted into it comes out clean. Sift some confectioners' sugar over it, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Scarecrow Inn Salad
Mark Lee

I seriously encourage you to make this for your Thanksgiving Table, or at some point during the holiday...Enjoy!

Scarecrow Inn Salad
Mix together: 24 oz chopped broccoli; 1 1/2 C Dry Roasted Peanuts; 1 1/2 C raisins; 1/8 C minced white onion; and 8 slices of bacon cooked and chopped. Pour1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar over broccoli mix and toss; add 1C mayonnaise and 1/3 C sugar then toss with broccoli mixture until well blended. Serve or cover and refrigerate till served.
This recipe was taken from the menu of the Old Scarecrow Inn, Cookeville, Tennessee, which has been closed now for several years.

Cooking Sunfish and Bream
Rob Mitchell

To Fillet Fish:

Cut behind the gill, from back down to flank.

Holding the fish firmly, slice forward from the tail fin to the vent (about 1-2 inches), making . a clean cut down to the bone.

Working from the top, slice along the skeleton, connecting from head to tail. Follow

downward, cutting the meat away from the ribs.

.Rinse the fish and place on ice immediately.

Pan Fried Sunfish


.8-12 fillets or 4-6 whole fish
.1 large egg, beaten
.1/2 cup milk
.1/2 cup flour
.1/2 cup cooking oil
.salt and pepper to taste


1. Rinse and drain fillets.

2. Soak fillets in a mixture of egg and milk.

3. Using a zipper bag, shake fillets in flour, salt and pepper.

  1. 4.Fry in oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Soup

Mark Lee

Stir 15 oz can pure pumpkin, 1 1/2 Cups chicken broth, 1 tsp. sage, 2 oz of Gorgonzola crumbled (easy on the cheese), and 12 oz can of evaporated milk. Stir frequently and add a little black pepper and/ or sugar to taste! You can add a can of cheddar cheese soup if the gorgonzola is too much for you. Serve with a little fresh parsley.

Oct 23rd

10 pounds of blue fish and 7lbs of ‘porgie’ (bream)

A neighbor came by and gave us fresh 10lbs of blue fish and 7lbs of Porgie, both cleaned and filleted — I had to look up porgie since it’s not a European name, and it‘s a bream, a fish not sold in many supermarkets, but expensive. Best cooking advice seems to be fillet, then soak in lemon juice, then flour and fry. On-line sources are scarce for cooking the bream, but any advice appreciated on cooking either fish beyond adding lemon and flouring, etc..

Sat Oct 13th Frittata and Quiche

The quiche is straightforward, saute leeks, put into pre-baked crust, add custard mixture, sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Frittatas are usually also egg based in Italian cuisine, but I have chosen a Spanish variant; pre-bake the crust, add a layer of tomatoes then mushrooms, and saute italian squash, then add ricotta instead of an egg custard, arrange layer of par-boiled potatoes on top of this, then more ricotta and more tomato, dress top with grated Parmesan cheese, fresh black pepper. About 40 minutes at 375 should do it, but follow  your nose.

Eat both hot or cold.


A Visual Feast