Showing posts from 2011

Granny's Marmalade

Granny lived most of her adult life in Dundee and was famous for her Dundee Marmalade. She was making marmalade on the day that she died - the fruit and the sugar were all weighed out and the jars were ready.  The following day my Mum finished the marmalade in her honour and family members all received a jar at the funeral.  I have a copy of Granny's recipe in her handwriting and I use her old preserving pan.  Seville Oranges have a fairly short season so I adapted this recipe and substituted clementines for Christmas which worked just as well.

Preparation Time: 35m  Cooking Time 35 m (These were Granny's times, I think it takes longer!)

3lb seville oranges
3 lemons
3 sweet oranges
6 pints of water
6lb preserving sugar (but granulated sugar is fine)

Wash the fruit, put in a large preserving pan with the water and cover with a lid.  Bring to the boil and cook over a low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until the fruit presses easily.

Weigh the sugar…

Granny's Girdle comes into its own

My grandmother was a wonderful woman.  A midwife, a Dundee doctor's wife (and his dispenser), a powerhouse of energy and a model housewife who could clean something to within an inch of its life and remove any stain from anything.  She (Sadie) was one of 10 siblings and had sisters called Beldie, Katie, Maisie, Ovie and Flora.  Most of them lived well into their 90s (and Ovie is still going strong at 90+).  Katie was 102 when she finally popped out to the Chemist and popped her clogs. 

I an proud to have a few of my Granny's things  but two I treasure above the others - her preserving pan and her Girdle.  North of the border this is not a complicated item of underwear but the perfect receptacle for a batch of pancakes. The Girdle comes out on lazy Saturday mornings or days when we find ourselves with a little more time and the chance of a leisurely breakfast.

If you cook up a batch of these, spare a thought for Mrs. Sadie Duncan and the inspiration and love she brought to our…

An old fashioned pudding - my way

Once again today we enjoyed the company of our friend and neighbour, Mr Webley, for Sunday lunch.  Roast lamb, roast potoatoes, beans, baby carrots - and instead of redcurrant jelly we had Blackberry and Apple jelly which was delicious with the lamb (sorry to my veggie friends...)!

It was a drizzly day, perfect for an old fashioned pudding.  I have a bag of apples in the shed from my friend Kerry's garden and the store cupboard provided the rest:

Gluten and Dairy Free Apple Sponge Pudding

'Butter' a pudding dish with sunflower margarine and place a generous layer of apples (peeled and chopped) in the base.  Dot over a few teaspoons of jam or jelly - I used the end of a jar of Damson jam but anything would do.  Or, a generous tablespoon of Demerara sugar with a sprinkling of cinnamon would be good.  Not cinnamon and jam together though, I don't think that would work.

For the sponge, mix together with an electric mixer:

4 oz sunflower (or any diary free) margarine
4 oz ca…

I do like a challenge.... and I don't like cooking separately

After a spell in hospital last year and six months on high doses of steroids I was feeling lousy and very fat.  Determined to find a sustainable way to lose some weight and regain a sense of health and well-being I gave up gluten and dairy, following advice from several friends who had done so and never looked back.  Ten months on it has been the best decision I have made in a long time (along with giving up full-time work and getting a dog!)  I am 3 stone lighter, much fitter and not really missing much of what I used to eat (when I get the urge for a cheese sandwich some egg mayo on a gluten-free oatcake seems to do the trick!)

I'm not fanatical about it.  I don't think I am truly allergic to those substances - though probably intolerant.  However, if someone gives me a cup of tea with ordinary milk I drink it  - and I eat the bread in communion services!  Generally though, I avoid gluten and dairy where I can.

Tonight my daughter asked for Spaghetti Carbonara - one of her f…

Spicy Dairy-Free Mussels with sherry and soya cream

I love mussels but never cook them at home because no one else in the house is that keen.  In fact, before tonight I have never cooked mussels but have eaten them many times in restaurants and seen them cooked on TV and in my sister's kitchen on numerous occasions.

Lingering at the Morrison's fish counter this morning I wanted squid but there was none - then I spied the bag of mussels.  I didn't know what I would do with them but I knew I wanted them!

Tonight, with the rest of the family on a sporting sojourn at the far end of the county I browsed the BBC website for Mussel recipe ideas, then adapted them to create my own.  I have to say they were the BEST mussels I have ever eaten, so share the recipe for you to try for youself.

Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large pan with a lid.

Finely chop 1/2 large onion, 1 stick celery, 1 clove garlic and 1/2 red chilli and gently saute in the pan until soft.

Meanwhile, clean the mussels (not a difficult job).  Pull off any 'beards…

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

I often bake a cake on Sunday afternoons or Monday mornings for the Oasis Fairtrade Tearoom, open on a Monday from 2.30-4.30pm at Ditton Church Centre.  The tearoom is free and you get pretty bone china teacups and a cake fork, plus a warm welcome and a chance to catch up with friends and make new ones.  It coincides with school pick-up times - and being placed right next to 2 schools, a preschool and an Old People's Home it is wonderfully located.  You can sit outside when the weather's nice and there's a lovely garden for kids to play in.  If you haven't been there yet, go soon!  You can buy Kemp's Kitchen Homemade preserves there too...

Today, amongst other yummy delights, you will find a Rhubarb Crumble Cake - it's currently in the oven downstairs and will be dusted with icing sugar and delivered to the tea-room once it's cold.  Thanks to my neighbour Laura for the Rhubarb - the second generous donation this summer.  In case you don't get a chance t…

Alone but not lonely

We are studying 'The Prodigal Son' with our 15-21 youth group on Sunday evenings this term. Some of you will have studied the series before - it takes an unusual view on the familiar story, looking at each character in turn through a reflection on Rembrandt's painting on the same theme.

Last week we looked at the father and the nature of his unconditional love for his son.  Rembrandt painted this picture near the end of his life - and it seems he identifies himself with the father in the picture.  This week, however, we were examining the prodigal son himself.  As a young man Rembrandt had apparently followed a similar path - spending money foolishly and ending up penniless and dejected.  So he identifies with both characters.  We pondered on how lonely the son must have felt, feeling of no worth to anyone.  He was not alone - his father loved him unconditionally - but he had to make the brave journey home to experience that love once again.  There was much discussion abou…

Sausages with Boulangere Potatoes and Apples

Sitting in church, whilst (naturally) listening intently to the sermon, an image of meltingly delicious slow roasted pork shoulder with boulangere potatoes kept tantalising me.   I invited Mr Wobbly, our regular Sunday lunch companion, to join us at 5pm.  I had arranged to walk with a friend at 1pm, so planned a quick trip to the supermarket (not, of course that I go shopping on a Sunday as a matter of course...) and to put the joint into roast slowly in a moderate oven whilst we were out.

However, a search for my keys revealed that I had packed them in the neighbour's baby's suitcase when he stayed over last night.  The neighbours were out.. no trip to the supermarket for me.

So instead I searched for inspiration in the freezer.  Boil in the bag cod with Boulangere potatoes?  Perhaps not.  Chicken soup?  2 chops?  But there were 4 of us.  Ah - sausages.  Well, they're pork aren't they?

So here it is - Sausages with Boulangere Potatoes and Apples

In the food processor, …

Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup with Red Lentils

It's a welcome day off and, though I have been up since 6, I have spent the morning in PJs doing things around the house and chatting - to family, to friends on the phone, to the dog - and often to myself!  Over a breakfast chat, the daughter requested soup for supper tonight, so I waved her off at 7 and rummaged through the kitchen cupboards for inspiration.   I happened upon a butternut squash bought for £1 and then forgotten.  I chopped a bit and stirred a bit - and the result was so delicious I had 2 bowls for breakfast and the daughter may be getting sausages for tea instead...

Here is the recipe.  I hope you like it :)

Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup with Red Lentils

Boil the kettle.  Make a cup of tea, and keep the rest of the hot water to add to the soup.  Drink the tea whilst pottering in your kitchen (listening to Radio 4 is optional but recommended).

Melt 1-2 tbsp butter (or dairy-free margerine) in a heavy casserole or saucepan.  Add:
2 onions, chopped2 carrots, chopped…

Special Birth Centre Lemon Drizzle Cake

Last year I was part of the local birth centre planning group at the invitation of the local consultant midwife.  As chair of the local RCM I wanted to ensure the midwives wishes were being heard and that the new midwife-led service would serve the needs of local women.  As a midwifery lecturer I wanted to ensure it would be a supportive and nuturing environment for students.  As a midwife I wanted to work clinically there.  As a friend, I wanted to support Sarah, the consultant midwife, who felt like she was swimming in treacle trying to move the plans forward in the face of strong opposition.

Several unproductive meetings left us all disheartened - NHS red tape is well renowned.  Another meeting was scheduled and I felt some cake might be welcome.  I made Mary Berry's Lemon Drizzle Traybake and went along with my Tupperware box, a knife and some napkins.

I had COMPLETELY misjudged the occasion.  Unlike other meetings, this was a formal elite gathering in a remote trust office wi…

Rhubarb and Ginger Chutney

When we moved into this house, our good friend and neighbour Simon Webley (an elderly statesman of the village) gave us a Rhubarb plant that had been divided from one in his own magnificient kitchen garden.  The rhubarb has flourised in a reasonably sunny spot despite no attention whatsover (though I think the dog has fertilised it from time to time, it being placed relatively near the back door...)

I harvested some Rhubarb in the early summer and ate it lightly stewed with orange zest for breakfast with oats and yogurt.  Yum.  Today I had a pleasing second harvest of over 4lbs, so am cooking up a large batch of Rhubarb and Ginger chutney.

I share the recipe with you (I got it from an allottment website).

Rhubarb and Ginger Chutney

4 lb rhubarb, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
6 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
6 large onions, peeled and chopped (I used the processor)
1 head of garlic peeled and chopped with 1 large piece of peeled fresh ginger root (I do these…

Wild Plum Jam

Wild Plums make the most amazing jam.  I picked mine from an abandoned orchard behind the Wheatsheaf Pub in  Leybourne/West Malling  (ME19 5AT).  It's worth a visit as there are loads of apple and plum trees with the fruit just going to waste.  I think these are Mirabelles - though some pictures show Mirabelles as Yellow.  Whatever they are, they're delicious - and they make great Wild Plum Gin too!

Wash and weigh the fruit, removing any stalks, leaves or bruised fruit.  I leave the stones in and remove them during the cooking process - but you could take them out before if you like.

This picture shows 4lb plums.  Add about 1 pint water and bring to the boil, simmering slowly until the fruit is soft but not mushy.  As the plums get warm and slightly softer I remove the stones at this point - just with my bare hands, squashing the fruit and taking out the stone - but you could do it later if you like.  It's a pain in the neck but also therapeutic at the same time!

Once the…

Everyday Curry - Veggie, Fish or Chicken

This is not an authentic curry from any particular region.  It's a store cupboard and fridge curry that you can rustle up after work in the time it takes to cook the rice.  I make it quite mild as Hannah is more 'Korma' than 'Vindaloo' - but you can add more spice to taste!

Peel and chop 1 large or 2 small onions.  Sweat with some vegetable oil in a large-ish saute pan (or wok).  Add equal quantities of chopped fresh ginger and garlic, or just spoon some garlic ginger paste from a jar (I keep one in my fridge).  Add 1-2 tbsp of curry paste or curry powder (I used Madras curry powder as I didn't have any paste open).  Technically this is a South-Asian-ish curry so Indian curry paste would be good but I often use Thai and get away with it.  The point is that this is everyday curry - so it's made with what you have in the cupboards and the fridge so you don't have to go shopping.

Roughly chop some veg, whatever you have in the fridge, to bulk up the curry,…

Autumn Foraging

Well, it's my favourite time of year for foraging.  It's all begging to be picked, and I don't have enough time to gather what I need.  Small handfuls of blackberries have fortified my morning dog-walks for the past month - with the occasional doggy bag (literally!) full of berries brought home when I couldn't resist it.  But I have had a couple of serious foraging mornings, one in the quarry and one in Leybourne Woods that have yielded huge bags of apples and mirbelle plums, some bullaces, blackberries and rosehips.  I just love these 'me-times', soaking in the peace in the woods and  countryside and thinking about the happy hours I will spend pottering in the kitchen putting them to good use.

I was also given 3 tubs of Damsons by my neighbours - and various friends and neighbours have left empty jars on my doorstep over the past few months.  People are kind - and they always get a full jar in return!

Produce so far has included Damson Jam, Hedgerow Jam and Pi…

Slob's Cooking

Just in case you think it's all haute cuisine Chez Kemp, some recipes from this past weekend.

Chicken Provencale-ish

1 packet skinless, boneless chicken thighs (from the reduced shelf if you really want to to be true to my recipe)
1 jar of tomato-based spicy pasta sauce from your cupboard (I used a Lloyd Grossman 'Puttanesca' that had been languishing for about a year because I don't eat pasta anymore)

Put these 2 ingredients in a casserole dish (I used a small Le Creuset), put the lid on and bung it in the oven (180c) and forget about it for roughly 40 mins.

Eat it out of the pan in front of the TV - with some rice and a salad if you can be bothered (definitely a packet of microwave rice is called for here!)

Have the left-overs for Sunday lunch with some other strange dishes made from what you can find in the fridge.  Invite some un-fussy and lonely friends who will eat whatever you put on the table and be grateful for it.

Marrow ratatouille-ish (best served for Sunday …

Blackberry and Apple Cake

Picked a huge bag of blackberries this morning and some apples - they (apples) weren't quite ripe but fine in a cake - and free, that's the main thing!.

A cake is in the oven as I write, and will be taken in to work, still warm.  Must make sure the boss gets a big slice...

Preheat oven to 180c.  Grease and line a large brownie tin or medium roasting tin.

Mix with electric mixer:

6oz margerine
6 oz caster sugar
3 large free range eggs
6 oz self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder

Add several handfuls of freshly picked blackberries and about 3 medium apples, cored and chopped (I don't bother to peel them!)  Mix gently to combine.

Pour mixture into tin and sprinkle with demerara sugar, then bake for about 35-40 mins.

Enjoy - picture to follow!

Blackberry and Lime Drizzle Muffins

I was SUCH a donestic goddess this morning.  Not only did I bake muffins before taking them into work  but picked the Blackberries whilst out walking shortly after dawn before returning home and turning them into delicious offerings for my colleagues.  Sadly however, having extolled my own virtues to my boss she wandered along to the kitchen to discover all 14 of them had disappeared to those with quicker responses.  So now I am in the dog house, and it seems I will need to pick MORE blackberries and make MORE muffins be be assured of continued employment.

Here is the recipe for those who wish to try it (it's my own recipe but heavily influenced by my Granny's trusty Victoria Sponge recipe, Mary Berry's Lemon Drizzle Cake and the BBC's Lime and Blueberry Drizzle).

Preheat oven to 180c.  Line a muffin tin with paper cake cakes (Makes about 12-14 large muffins or more cupcakes).

In an electric mixer, combine the following and beat for 2 mins:

6 oz softened butter or ma…

Comfortable Shoes

I wear comfortable shoes.  I am comfortable with wearing comfortable shoes.  If you are uncomfortable with that, then I am sorry, but I will remain comfortable in my comfortable shoes.

I have always loved comfortable shoes.  However, I have not always been comfortable with the fact that I prefer comfortable shoes.  After all, can you be a real woman in comfortable shoes?  Are comfortable shoes not the preserve of those with hairy armpits (current body hair status undisclosed) or those of a different sexual persuasion (views undisclosed).

But in my comfortable middle years with uncomfortable middle-year knees I am comfortable with comfortable shoes.  And I was glad of my comfortable shoes yesterday when, due to middle-years forgetfulness, I arrived at the station without my car keys and had a much-extended journey home with 2 extra train rides and a walk from the station through rocky country footpaths.  I have observed many female commuters in uncomfortable shoes and wonder whether th…

Of Mice and Men

I love my husband.  No, I really love him.  You see I can't deal with mice.  Dead ones are just about OK as long as they are still whole and not dripping juices.  But live ones that jump about and run up your arm will reduce me to a screaming quivering wreck.  And our cats frequently deliver mice presents (sadly not nice presents) at 4am.  And they miaow loudly to let us know how generous they have been.  And my husband always gets out of bed without complaining and sorts it out.  He even talks to them.  Last night was one such night.  And he caught the invader with 2 wellie boots and a shopping bag.  And I didn't hear him swear once.  Unlike last week.  I had to ban his mobile phone for that - it was only fair as the same punishment had been meted out for our 11 year old the week before.

Another time I'll tell you about my screaming-on-the-sofa-because-the-cat-brought-in-a-mouse-only-it-was-only-a-half-eaten-burger-story but that will have to wait for another time.

I real…

Sunday Sermons and Salmon

Today is week two of four consecutive Sunday mornings on the woman at the well - John 4.  Just glad he's not doing 56 sermons on the same passage as Lloyd Jones apparently did in the 1960s! This morning we were challenged that our faith is more than religion, but a real experience of a living God.  Powerful stuff.  Enjoyed the songs too - though hoped no one noticed that I was playing 'All my days' by ear as I had brought the wrong song book with me. 'Love Divine' for the last hymn - pulled out all the stops on the organ (literally) for a rousing finish :)

An early Sunday lunch of Salmon Parcels with steamed rice:

Pre-heat oven to 200c. Cut generous squares of foil and butter the middle bit.  Allow 1 salmon fillet per person.  Place 1 fillet fish on each piece of foil then add finely chopped veg - today we had carrots, spring onions, brocolli, chicory and leeks - you can add anything you have in the fridge but it needs to be chopped fairly fine and all the same siz…

Foraging Forays!

Welcome to my 'Kemps Kronicles' blog!  I'm a singing, foraging, baking, preserving, vegetable-growing, lecturing, researching and  dog-walking midwife - so I can't guarantee a cohesive thread through the blog.

Last summer, due to a period of ill-health, I had time to forage through the Kentish country lanes and made mountains of preserves - selling them throughout the year for the local midwives' charity. I made quite a bit of money as it goes but wouldn't recommend it as a sole means of income - by my calculations I earned £1 an hour!  For Christmas my husband (Mr. Know-it-all [no really, he does!]) bought me a foraging day in Dorset with Mat Follas (winner of Masterchef 2009) and finally this week the long-awaited day came.  I was not disappointed - neither with what I learned in the lanes and hedgerows or with the 3 course lunch that followed.

Today I put what I had learned into practice.  Walking the dog through the local nature reserve (dis-used ragstone q…