Tuesday, 16 January 2018


Elderberries de-stemmed
Raw honey
Lemon/lime sliced (2 per Kg berries)
Ginger, cinnamon stick, cloves (optional)
Put elderberries, lemons, spices, into a pan and cover with water. Bring gently to simmering point, crushing and stirring frequently. Simmer for 15 minutes, then strain. Measure juice adds an equal amount of raw honey. Stir to dissolve, bottle into clean jars dried in the oven. Seal and process for   20 min in hot water bath/ vacola preserving pan.
The addition of the spices enhances the flavour. This can be used to make either hot or cold drinks.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Chestnuts and Porcinis (Boletus edulis)

These are perfect partners in nature and on the table. Nothing could be a better autumn celebration.
Some of our favorite recipes.

Patè of chestnuts and porcini mushrooms
This is a great dish for a lazy afternoon.. I want to ramble on about the thick, rich texture of chestnuts and how they are hearty and sweet yet deeply savoury at the same time, how well they go with  porcini mushrooms, after all they have a symbolic relationship and are available at the same time.
You can however use any kind of mushrooms for this recipe including ordinary cultivated ones. Serve at room temperature with pickled gherkins, onions, lots of nice toasted bread and a bottle of red. Spread thickly.
  • 100g fresh porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion finely diced
  • 250g Nirvana chestnut meal.
  • 25g butter
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 or 6 juniper berries (optional)
Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a damp cloth; never rinse mushrooms or they become soggy. Chop the mushrooms finely.

Porcini Mushroom Confit
500gm fresh Porcini mushrooms (Boletus edulis), cleaned.
1 teaspoons salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 cups extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1. Preheat oven to 135°C. Slice mushrooms into bite-sized pieces (smaller ones may be left whole). Place in colander set into large bowl, toss with, and let stand for 30 minutes to drain, stirring occasionally.
2. Transfer mushrooms to oven dish with lid, along with garlic cloves, thyme, rosemary, bay leave and black pepper, and toss to combine. Add oil, stir to combine, and transfer to oven.
3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Allow to cool. Discard herb stems and bay leaves. Pack mushrooms in jars, along with enough oil to cover.
4. Seal. Process using a valoca or similar. Take to 92°C over 60 minutes. Hold at that temp for 30min.remove from water bath, check seal, and allow cooling and storing in a cool place. Once opened store in refrigerator.  

Monday, 9 January 2017

Raspberries with labneh and watercress.

Original recipe from River Cottage Fruit Everyday Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

This salad is delicious as a starter or as a mezze-style dish. I have found the yield of labneh varies with the type of yoghurt you use. These amounts serves 4 but it works well halved or doubled.

500ml plain whole milk yoghurt
½ tsp s fine sea salt
2-3 handfuls watercress
200g raspberries
A good squeeze lemon juice or Raspberry vinegar
Sea salt, ground pepper
 Extra virgin olive oil, to trickle.
Make the labneh a couple days in advance. Mix yoghurt and salt and pour through a sieve lined with muslin. Flip the sides of the cloth over to cover and place it over a bowl. Leave in the fridge or other cool place for at least 4 hours until it is very thick. Transfer it into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
When you’re ready to serve spread the labneh in a thick swirly layer over the serving platter. Tear the watercress and scatter like an herb over the labneh. Then add the raspberries. Trickle over olive oil, lemon juice or raspberry vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and serve with warm flatbreads or pitta breads.

Thursday, 26 May 2016


250 g Nirvana chestnut meal*
100gm fresh porcini mushrooms
600 ml chicken or vegetable stock
15g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 stick celery chopped
1 medium onion finely chopped
1/2 to 1 cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste
A few sliced chestnuts or sliced porcinis lightly fried to garnish.
Heat oil and butter together, add onion, and cook until the onion is soft but not coloured .Add celery and sliced porcini cook till soft. Stir in chestnut meal and allow cooking for 2 minutes. Add stock; season to taste. Stir until boiling, simmer soup for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool slightly. Puree in blender or with stick blender until very smooth.
Return to pan and add cream.( optional) Warm gently and serve.
To serve float chestnuts or porcinis on top of soup .

Chestnut meal is par cooked and sieved fresh chestnuts prepared ready to create either savoury or sweet dishes.
Chestnut meal can be used to make chestnut puree which is the base for many recipes. It can be used to replace cooked chestnuts where they are then mashed or cooked in liquid. Chestnut meal can also replace chestnut flour in most recipes by adding less liquid.