Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Chilly weather eating

The view from Grange Farm, our head office in Levisham
Beautiful? Stunning! But very, very cold. Join us in eating for heating, and let salad leaves wait until the weather warms up a bit; here are a couple of our current favourite winter warmers.

Pudding. Not the type with custard - though we're very partial to those too - but a big, savoury pudding filled with something meaty and slow-cooked. Make double quantities of a stew, ragu or casserole, and use the cold leftovers to fill a savoury pud.

For a rich, pillowy suet pastry crust, mix together 350g plain flour, 175g beef suet (Atora is fine, though don't buy "light") and a good pinch of salt. Add enough water to make a smooth but firm dough - you shouldn't need more than 150ml, as once you've worked the suet in it starts to bind everything together. Grease a large (2lb) pudding basin with lard. Separate the pastry into two balls, one around 1/3 of the mix, one around 2/3. Roll each out, and use the large one to line the pudding basin; the pastry needs to be pressed lightly into the dish, and large enough to hang over the sides a little. Fill the pastry case with your cold filling, brush the pastry edges with water and press the pastry lid down on top. Cut a greaseproof paper disc to fit neatly over the top, then cover the basin tightly with foil, secured with string (tie it so that the string makes a cross over the top). Steam as you would a Christmas pudding for 1hr, let it sit for five minutes, dig in.

Pork. Okay, so that's a little broad, but we're not called the Ginger Pig for nothing. Cassoulet, sausage stews, slow roasted pork belly, pulled pork shoulder...you name it, we want to eat it. We're particularly fond of our garlic Toulouse sausages cooked for ages with lentils, butter beans, shallots and good quality tinned tomatoes; easy on the bank balance, and only one pot to wash up - yes!

Carbs. It's ages until salad season, and we're not giving up our potatoes, pasta or rice for anything while it's this cold. Bring on the risotto, ragu, and massive dishes of dauphinoise, we're diving in.

And if we ever prize farm dog Brisket away from it, we'll be keeping warm by the AGA. Not holding out much hope on this one...