Lemon Curd – Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy


Just made divine lemon curd with the girls in 1/2 an hour. It’s liquid gold and really easy to make, with a few ingredients stirred in a bowl over boiling water.

4 lemons, zest and juice
200g vanilla sugar
100g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 free-range eggs, plus 1 free-range egg yolk

Zest and juice the four lemons into a heat-proof glass bowl, then add the sugar and the butter.

Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Stir the mixture every now and again until all of the butter has melted.

Meanwhile, break the eggs and yolk into another bowl and whisk lightly, then stir them into the lemon mixture.

Whisk again until all of the ingredients are well combined, then leave to cook for anything from 10-20 minutes, stirring every so often, until the curd is creamy and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove the lemon curd from the heat and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally as it cools down.

Once cooled, resist drinking it straight from the bowl, and spoon the lemon curd into sterilised jars to eat later.

This delicious elixir is much richer and sharper than shop bought curd. We recommend it on toast, stirred into Greek yoghurt, poured on porridge or just eaten straight from the jar with a big spoon.

Keep the jars in the fridge. Makes Two 250g jars


Vongole! Vongole! Vongole! with Dartmouth Clams

imageDevon clams from the Dartmouth estuary can’t be beaten at this time of year, so good in fact, that we ate them on Christmas day, followed by a stupendous turbot.

This dish tastes of the sea and makes a superb supper dish in just 15 minutes.

Serves 4


1          kilo of small washed clams

4          cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

1          shallot sliced finely (optional)

3           tbls Virgin olive oil

1          a knob of butter

250 ml good, dry white wine

15 cherry tomatoes (small ones are tastier)

400g of spaghetti


1  handful of chopped fresh parsley

1 chopped fresh green chilli (optional)

Take a look at the packet instructions of your spaghetti and notice the recommended cooking time because you will need to know ( in this case,11 minutes). You will also need a timer.

Take a large pan and put it on the heat to boil.

imageMeanwhile sort through the clams and discard any that are open. Then peel and chop the garlic and shallot, measure out the wine and make sure the tomatoes, oil and butter are near at hand.

When the water is boiling, add the spaghetti with some salt, swirl it into the water and bring back to the boil. Start your timer. At the same time, place another empty pan on the stove to heat up.

With 5 minutes to go on your pasta (6 minutes into the cooking time for mine), add the olive oil and butter to the hot, empty pan. Throw in the garlic and chopped shallot, wait for a few seconds then tip in the clams and the wine. Shake them about. Place a lid on the pan, give it a last shake and replace on the heat. After 3 or four minutes the clams will start to open and release their juices so shake the pan to move them around.

When your timer rings, drain your spaghetti,

Remove the lid of the clam pot and check the clams are all open, then add the spaghetti and tomatoes.

Stir and toss for another minute or so to let the delicious juices become absorbed into the pasta.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve scattered with the parsley.



Vietnamese Roast Chicken with Nuoc Cham for Christmas

photoVietnamese Roast chicken

‘Oh!” The faces of my family fell as I brought a gleaming roast chicken with all the trimmings to the Sunday lunch table last week. There was a collective whine of disappointment. “We thought you were making Vietnamese roast chicken.”

I first went to Vietnam ten years ago, and brought back several recipes that have become much-loved in my repertoire. This chicken one involves pounding lemon grass, shallots, garlic, sugar and fish sauce into a paste which I stuff under the skin and rub all over the bird before roasting. I serve it quartered on a bed of rice with little dishes of tangy nuoc cham sauce. There are never any leftovers. This Sunday I’m cooking two.

4                                  stalks of lemon grass, finely chopped

6                                  large garlic cloves, crushed and chopped

4                                  large shallots, sliced finely

1 tablespoon                sugar

1/2 teaspoon                salt

2 tablespoons               Thai fish sauce

1 tablespoon                sunflower/vegetable oil

1.5 kilo                         chicken

½ teaspoon                  coursely ground black pepper


In a pestle and mortar, pound the lemon grass, garlic and shallots to a paste

Add the sugar, salt and fish sauce, stir into the paste. Add a little oil to the mix.

Rinse and dry chicken, loosen the skin with your fingers (I include a sub recipe below if you wish to look at a method for doing this) Take half the paste and push it under the skin over the breast and down the sides over the thighs.

Take the rest of the paste and rub it all over the chicken, and the inside cavity. Drizzle a little vegetable oil on top to moisten. Wash your hands. Grind the black pepper over the bird to finish.

Place chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan. PLACE FOIL OVER THE CHICKEN SKIN then REMOVE foil 15 minutes before end of cooking to crisp the skin.

Roast at (220degrees) for 15 minutes then lower oven to 190 degrees for approximately an hour and fifteen minutes depending on your oven and the size of the chicken. Check the chicken half way through, the sugar in the paste may start to burn.  Also add a little more water to the pan if it dries out. The chicken should be cooked well enough to break apart easily.

When ready let the chicken rest under foil for 15 minutes then break it into pieces. Place chicken pieces on a serving dish and pour over the juices that have collected in the roasting pan. Serve with rice, nuoc cham, greens and a chilli sauce.

Serve with Nouc Cham Sauce

This is a dipping sauce that has many variations. Some are sweeter or more sour than others. You have to find your own balance, but for this recipe the sharpness of the sauce is an important element to compliment the savoury chicken.

2                      small garlic cloves, crushed

1                      chilli split and seeded

1 teaspoon       of fine white sugar or more to taste, dissolve in hot water if necessary.

2                      limes juice of or juice of one big lemon (30ml)

60ml                rice vinegar or mild low acid vinegar like cider vinegar

60ml                fish sauce


Place all in a jar and shake about to blend the flavours.



Stuffing chicken under the skin is the very best way to get moist meat and the skin becomes particularly crispy when you separate it from the flesh as it cooks.

First place the bird on the chopping board with the legs pointing towards you.

Starting at back, insert your four fingers of one hand, palm side down into the cavity between the skin and the chicken breast meat GENTLY PULL THE SKIN TOWARDS YOU WITH THE OTHER HAND, trying not to tear the skin. Loosen the skin from breast and legs by gently pushing your hand under the skin and against the meat. Use your index finger to loosed the skin around the drumsticks. Remove your hand and turn the chicken around and repeat the process from the neck end also.

Take the stuffing paste and using your fingers, gently push it into the pockets under the skin. Remove your hands from the bird and massage the paste down. Take some more and repeat making sure you get some onto the tops of the drumsticks too. When you have used half the paste remove your hand, rub the rest all over the bird. Place the chicken on the roasting rack, in the roasting tin and tuck any loose neck skin under the bird. Wash your hands and the board.



Devon Fried Rabbit

imageI came back from running to find four rabbits left by Jim, our neighbour. It’s been a bumper year for rabbits. He had thoughtfully gutted the little beasts but I skinned them with difficulty, (tough bunnies) and decided to fry them. I used the legs and saddle and discarded the rest as the fore feet and ribs are too bony to bother with. To ensure tenderness simmer the pieces in a big pot of salted water with a couple of peeled onions, a stick of leafy celery, and three chopped carrots. After an hour and a half, take them off the heat, let the pot cool and drain the liquid for soup stock.   Rabbits have chunky thighs and the saddle falls from the spine in two meaty chunks so it is simple to de-bone them. Next,  marinate the pieces in –

250g                            Greek yoghurt

1 tablespoon                sweet paprika

1 tablespoons              onion salt

1 teaspoons                 oregano

3 cloves of                   crushed garlic

½ teaspoon                 chilli powder


Leave overnight in the fridge. image

The marinated pieces taste good before frying so if you are really hungry you could reheat them and serve with rice. However, we wanted a fry up.

When ready, prepare two bowls filled with –

3 beaten eggs

A mixture of 250g flour, a handful of rough breadcrumbs and 2 teaspoons of salt.

Using tongs, dredge the pieces, one at a time, in egg followed by breadcrumbs and place on a platter. When finished, wash the tongs to remove the gunk.

Heat a deep, heavy frying pan filled with an inch of vegetable oil until it smokes. Add the coated rabbit pieces with tongs to fill the pan with plenty of room between the pieces. I fried three batches. image

Fry for 1-2 minutes each side or until golden brown.imageRemove with tongs, drain on kitchen paper and keep warm until all the batches are done.
imageSprinkle the finished pieces with more paprika and season to your taste with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Serve with your favourite condiments (zingy yoghurt tzatzigi, green chilli sauce and ketchup, in our household) and a crisp green salad.


Apple Pressing Season


Our four apple trees had a bumper crop this year


Ten boxes, full, like this one and a few more still on the trees.10550991_10152372374521375_6065058142811030555_nYou wash ‘em, cut ‘em up and

13982_10152372374331375_1921477360589261322_nSCRAT ‘em. We don’t have an apple-scratter yet so we utilised our garden shredder which is more usually used to shred up hawthorn hedge cuttings. Uncle Peter is doing the scrunching in this photo and wrote us a wonderful letter thanking us for his ‘enslavement’ afterwards.



Then you press ‘em



Result! Delicious apple juice, and real Devon cider for the Summer. What fun a bit of fruit pressing can be. 10702066_10152372373586375_3479498821071662177_n


Apple juice ferments naturally with natural airborn yeast to make cider. To stop it fermenting, so you can keep your apple juice for a long time, you can add campden tablets which are available from brewery shops and some chemists.  We tend to drink it too quickly for that.

Pipers Farm Sunday Lunch

Three years from field to plateIMG_3055-1

And well worth the wait.


Farmers and butchers producing grass-fed meat through sustainable methods of farming in Devon. Isn’t it gratifying when you find the best butcher in town!
What’s more, they deliver http://www.pipersfarm.com/meat-boxes

Pipers Farm Butchers Shop, 57 Magdalen Road, Exeter, EX2 4TA


Saira Hamilton, Bengali MasterChef semi-finalist comes to Powderham Food Festival

??????????????????Saira appeared on TV’s MasterChef 2013, and reached the final four on the strength of her delicious Bengali-inspired food. She was praised for her gifts for spicing and packing flavour into every dish she made, both by John and Gregg and guest chefs such as Atul Kochhar during a day’s masterclass at his Benares restaurant.

At Powderham Food Festival she will be cooking paratha (unleavened flat bread) in the wood fired oven, roasting aubergines on the fire pits to make a smoky dip, and more. She will also be demonstrating her famously more-ish Masala lambs chops with fresh miint and coriander chutney. Yum, why don’t you try making them yourself? Just click on this link –Masala Chops for the recipe.

Saira has been cooking for as long as she can remember, mainly inspired by her mother, Nadira, who had the intuitive ability to take everyday ingredients and create an extraordinarily good meal. She has continued her mother’s traditions and uses the best of British produce combined with the spices and cooking techniques of her Bengali heritage to create fabulous fresh-tasting dishes which are achievable without specialist or hard-to-find ingredients. Her food philosophy is all about keeping it simple and is rooted in her love of good, home-cooked food which is made to be enjoyed and shared with friends and family. 

Meet her at Powderham Food Festival on 4th October at Powderham Castle, Kenton, nr Exeter, Devon.©Shine TV

BRONX Bar and Cue in Teignmouth coming to Powderham Food Festival

imagePatrick Fogarty visited twenty-one New York BBQ joints, the top hotdog hotspots and forty two craft beer and cocktail bars to sample their wares and learn their tricks before opening the Bronx Bar and Cue in Teignmouth. He and his wife, Dee Livingstone, already own another restaurant, The Lofty Turtle, in London but he has returned to his roots in Devon to create this little piece of BBQ and Smoke heaven in the seaside town.


Patrick is a trained Goldsmith, who worked for the Danish crown jewellers, Georg Jensen, and he now brings the same perfection and craftsmanship to his food. As we sat and ate the ‘Cue for Two”, he described the incredible processes that go into the brisket, which was just one of a cornucopia of BBQ specials laid out on a platter in front of us. Now, I think I’ve got this right. Firstly, the brisket is left overnight in a special rub, the next day it is injected with spices and a super reduced ‘jus’ made at the restaurant (a meat stock reduction that usually takes 2 days to produce) to keep it moist, then it’s cold smoked to lock in the smoky flavor, then basted with ‘mop’ sauce before another five hours in the smoker, and finally wrapped in baking parchment and cooked a low 100 degrees for 13 hours. Wow! I can attest that it tastes wonderful, melts in the mouth and zings with flavor that quietly turns to smokiness that lingers on the tongue. This is the result of real care and attention and it’s delicious.  From rubs- bastes -mother sauces- to slaws, beans and pickles and back to meat cooked long and slow with loads of smoke everything is prepared fresh at the Bronx to authentic BBQ recipes that have been rigorously tasted and tested. Even the buns are made to a special part-brioche mix by a local baker under the direction of Patrick.


‘Cue for Two” a great communal dining experience.

Fogarty grew up in Teignmouth and moved to London to study jewellery design at Central Saint Martins school of Art, while studying he paid his way by working as a cocktail bartender in Mayfair and Soho graduating to manage some of London’s best nightclubs and private members clubs. He helped rebrand and re-launch the Smollensky’s restaurant group in London and worked as a drinks consultant on beer and spirits brands. before opening his first venture with his wife Dee in East Sheen. Back in Teignmouth he has turned his hand to  interior designer too, and has created the entire decor of the Bronx restaurant himself from putting the floors in to upholstering the seating and choosing light bulbs that give a nostalgic retro glow. It’s cool and funky.


The Bronx Bar & ‘Cue takes its inspiration from New York’s latest (and London’s emerging) trend that returns to an era of good honest, not to mention flavoursome, home cooked American fare where drinks and food are served with modern-day finesse in a decidedly old-school environment. The bar, which should definitely be mentioned here, looked perfect, with all those little super-bar touches such as stocking interesting aromatic bitters and unusual hand selected spirits. Alas, I came at lunchtime and missed out on his famous cocktail making skills. Next time.


Patrick Fogarty

Meet Patrick at the Powderham Food Festival on October 4th where he will be demonstrating in the ‘Theatre of Fire ‘n Smoke” and holding a Q&A session with the audience. Don’t miss it or the brisket, or the ribs.


The Menu – October 2014 – Always innovating, watch out for smoked chicken liver and interesting takes on traditional fare this Christmas.


They show old movies on this wall in the evening and soon will open another room upstairs for parties and live music.

BRONX Bar & Cue, 10 Regent St, Teignmouth, TQ14 8SJ tel 01626 777909 info@thebronx.co.uk


Powderham Food Festival 2014 – 4th October at Powderham Castle

Best PowderhamFood-MattAustin-28

The Royal Marines are bringing their ‘Field Kitchen’ to Powderham Food Festival. Watch them demonstrate their superb cooking skills.

Saturday 4th October 10am-5pm
At Powderham Castle, Kenton, Exeter Devon EX6 8JQ http://www.powderhamfoodfestival.com/
Admission £6 Adults, £2 for children 4-16, family tickets available too.

This year Powderham Food Festival presents the “Theatre of Fire and Smoke” – everyone will be cooking over traditional fire – fire pits, BBQs, wood fired ovens . . . . searin’ and smokin’.

Bring out your inner caveman or woman! Feast your eyes on our theatre of Fire ‘n Smoke and then literally feast on chunks of beautifully char-grilled Devon meat washed down with fabulous West Country ales and cider. The sparks will fly as our pit-masters cook up a storm. Expect delicious outdoor kitchen fireworks and some amazing BBQ food to guzzle.

It’s Autumn: think fire, succulent barbecued meat, hot chestnuts, slow-cooked pulled pork, roasted pumpkins, fish baked in corn husks, clams scattered onto hot coals, sizzling mussels, ravishing ribs. Outdoor cooking over traditional fire all served up in the beautiful surroundings of Powderham Castle.

With four exciting cooking demo areas:

The Main marquee, our “Theatre of Fire and Smoke” – with fire pits, smokers, wood fired oven, Kamado BBQ – and even a smoking wheelbarrow!
Amazing line up of open fire experts performing great culinary acts transforming simple ingredients into searingly, succulent meaty masterpieces, vibrant vegetables and flaming fish.
Image 2 Area 2 – The Royal Marines from Lympstone Training Camp (subject of TV series right now) are also coming, bringing their Cooks Field Tent and Cook Van. They cook at any time anywhere in the world from the heat in Afghanistan to the cold of Norway, constantly raising their skills and team bonding while using limited rations and equipment. They have to think creatively while ensuring that they provide the nutritional content necessary to keep the guys going in the field. Watch our boys demonstrate their superior skills and drink a bottle of special chilli brewed Hunters Ale “Fire King” while raising money for the Marines C Group Charity with a donation from each bottle going to their fund inspiring business to support marines in need.Image 3

Area 3 is the sweet ’n pretty Garton King, AGA “Baking Perfection” marquee. Are your loaves leaden? Do you despair at your sagging sponges? Are your rock hard scones even rejected by the ducks? Help is at hand, here we’ll be serving up superb demos on how to faultlessly bake everything from the perfect meringue to the perfect pasty by a varied line up of expert cooks including AGA supremo chef, David Pengelly, who will be creating wonderful bread and cakes baked in the Dual control AGA, James Strawbridge cooking the Perfect Cornish Pasty and Saira Hamilton revealing Bengali baking secrets. Come along to see David and friends, ask lots of questions and get baking! And a new exciting news – ‘The Vanilla Queen’ is coming too. Image

Area 4 – ‘Fun Kitchen” at Powderham Food Festival. Learn the art of cooking with a series of short, free, hands-on children’s sessions, run all day at Powderham Castle. Fun Kitchen will show children how to have fun creating fresh traditional dishes from scratch. And not only will children be able to taste the fresh food difference in the finished product they take home, they’ll also know just what’s required to make fun wholesome dishes when they get home. Fun Kitchen quick workshops at the Powderham Food Festival are a great way to encourage children to learn more about food in a fun way!

BBQ cooking is taking Britain by storm – chefs all over UK are installing fire pits in their kitchens, giving customers a simple but delicious alternative to more complicated offerings. At Powderham Festival 2014 we are reflecting this in our dazzling line up of guest cooks. From fire-pits to charcoal filled wheel barrows, via flaming tandoori ovens, the festival provides a bonanza of barbecued and char-grilled meats including venison from Powderham parkland, fish and shellfish from Exe Estuary, superb grass fed Devon beef and pork from Pipers Farm.

We will be reveling in all things fiery and smoky with over 100 producers exhibiting in the castle and grounds, fascinating demonstrations, talks and tastings.

Heading the lineup –
Jane Baxter – ex head chef Riverford Field Kitchen Jane Baxter is a chef and food writer. She trained at the Carved Angel under Joyce Molyneux before moving to the River Café. After a stint travelling and cooking around the world, in 2005 she set up the acclaimed Riverford Field Kitchen in Devon. She is co-author of the Riverford Farm Cookbook and Recipes for Everyday and Sunday. Currently based in south Devon, her latest book, co-written with Henry Dimbleby, is Leon: Fast Vegetarian.

Magdalen Chapter Hotel – The core ethos of the Magdalen Chapter Hotel is to create simple, seasonal and classic dishes, with a focus on local produce. Ben Bulger, head chef at the hotel will be demonstrating dishes that have helped to gain the hotel a reputation for excellent food.

Peter Greig co-owner with wife Henrietta, of Pipers Farm, produces award winning grass fed free range meat. Peter began by working in his father’s industrial chicken unit but was keen to change direction to traditional, slow growing farming methods. Heading down to Devon and establishing Pipers Farm, Peter then travelled continental Europe to witness very different butchery methods, teaching himself to butcher. The prime focus is producing contented animals, slowly, on the land in small groups to minimise stress – and to produce fantastic tasting meat. Today Pipers a Farm embraces 25 family farms who use traditional, sustainable values to produce healthy food. Peter is a master at the fire pits, famous for his smoked BBQ beef brisket.Image 1

Zimbabwean-born chef, Kumbirai (Kumbi) Gundidza, has just launched a range of truly delicious sauces, Kumbites,  largely influenced by his African childhood. Growing up in Harare, Kumbi spent holidays with his grandmother on her smallholding outside the city where she grew many different varieties of fruit and vegetables. His aunt too was a caterer and he remembers being in Victoria Falls and eating crocodile tail cooked over an open fire pit. Now living in Dawlish, Kumbi delights in sea air and the glorious Devon countryside. He will be working with Peter Greig of Pipers Farm, prepping some of that superb meat with his African flavoured sauces spiked with different chillis and fragrant with warming spices.

Patrick Fogarty, Bronx Bar and ‘Cue in Teignmouth – London restaurant entrepreneur, Patrick Fogarty is a Devon lad returning to his roots to open Bronx BBQ restaurant and bar to add to the emerging and exciting Teignmouth restaurant scene. Committed to using best local meat, serving killer cocktails and Devon craft ales, Patrick will be serving up a fiery storm with his Head Pitmaster, at Powderham Castle Food Fest this October.

Saira Hamilton is known for her gifts of packing flavour into every dish of delicious Bengali-inspired food. Saira has an intuitive ability to take everyday ingredients and create an extraordinarily good meal. She uses the best of British produce combined with the spices and cooking techniques of her Bengali heritage to create delicious fresh-tasting dishes which are achievable without specialist or hard-to-find ingredients. Her food philosophy is all about keeping it simple and is rooted in her love of good, home-cooked food which is made to be enjoyed and shared with friends and family.

James Strawbridge, proprietor “Posh Pasty Company”, grower, poet, environmentalist, eco-technologist, TV presenter and cook, brings along his “BBQ Smokehouse” serving home-produced pastrami sandwiches. A “Hungry Sailor”, together with his Dad, Dick Strawbridge, he has sailed the coast of South West Britain making landfalls to find the best locally produced food and appeared on his own show. They also appeared together on “It’s not easy being green” and “Saturday Farm”.

Masterchef winner chef, Mat Follas regularly runs courses on foraging and wild plants which he turns into delicious recipes- think elderflower tempura and wild garlic arancini. He is a regular judge for BBC Masterchef and Mat’s recipes are published in a variety of magazines including Good Food, Olive and Delicious magazines.

Patricia Rain, The Vanilla Queen, will be demonstrating with Little Pod in the Perfection Tent. Patricia is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. The Vanilla Cookbook established her as an authority on this exotic rainforest product. Ms. Rain is the voice for small vanilla farmers worldwide, providing information on growing, curing, packaging and shipping vanilla to the world market, providing a forum for networking and representing their needs and concerns through writing and speaking engagements. Additionally, The Vanilla Company is actively working with individuals and groups in vanilla-growing countries to establish projects and to get medical and other needed supplies into rural areas.

And that’s not all. Powderham Forge will be adding fire and sparks ringing out into the Autumn air and woodland crafts people, Running Deer, will be making charcoal and cooking over campfires.

Helen Hayes, PR manager of Helpful Holidays, the key sponsor, is looking forward to the festival “We can’t wait to celebrate a third year sponsoring this event. Fabulous West Country food is very much a part of our guests’ self-catering holiday experience and we are happy to be involved again.”

Family fun, live music and an abundance of fabulous food & drink – don’t miss it.
Powderham Castle, Kenton, Exeter Devon EX6 8JQ http://www.powderhamfoodfestival.com/

Admission £6 Adults Kids £2 aged 4-16 Family tickets available.PowderhamFood-MattAustin-54

All photographs by Matt Austin.