We want to leave you before the holidays with a curiosity to stimulate the mind and two recipes to tickle your tastebuds.
Did you know the decline in British apple orchards is putting mistletoe under threat? Joanna Blythman in her excellent ‘What to Eat’, explains this parasite of apple trees nearly disappeared in recent years, with the disappointing consequence we now have to look far afield to supply everyone for the festive season. ‘Save the mistletoe’ initiatives have sprung up across the nation, to conserve the apple orchards that provide the creeper with its habitat.
You can support British apples and mistletoe by buying our Brambletye apples or, even better, sponsoring one of their trees here
And now for the recipes
This week we looked at the Guardian. In its Saturday magazine, the paper had a mouthwatering special of festive food from around the globe. And since we love things that are slightly different, we thought of including these two recipes (the first vegetarian, the second with fish) to break the holiday turkey boredom. Enjoy!
This recipe is from a favourite chef of ours, Ukrainian-born Olia Hercules. Here is a rich meat free version of borshch, which promises to warm up your soul and cleanse your body. 25g dried porcini, rehydrated in warm water 2 onions, peeled, 1 left whole, the other finely chopped 2 litres water 1 bay leaf Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 200g beetroot, peeled and cut into matchsticks 200g potatoes, peeled and chopped 2 tbsp sunflower oil 1 small carrot, peeled and roughly grated 2 fresh porcini, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped 1 tbsp tomato paste 1 beef tomato, roughly grated, skin discarded (or 200g tinned tomato) ½ small Savoy cabbage, shredded 1 tin red kidney beans, drained ½ bunch fresh dill, chopped
Put the drained dried mushrooms, whole onion, bay leaf and cold water in a large pan, season lightly and cook on a low heat for an hour. Add the beetroot, cook for 15 minutes, then add the potato and season well.Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chopped onion, carrot and fresh mushrooms, and cook, stirring, on a medium heat until the carrot is very soft and about to start caramelising. Add the red pepper and tomato paste, cook, stirring, for two minutes, then add the tomato. Stir, cook to reduce slightly, then tip into the broth pot. Add the cabbage and beans to the borshch and cook for seven minutes, to soften. Serve with loads of dill (or any other herb you love) and slices of fresh sourdough.
Photo credit: Rita Platts. Food stylist: Frankie Unsworth. Prop stylist: Louie Waller
This recipe is a lush squid ink crab linguine by the Angela Hartnett, a connoisseur of Italian flavours. You can make it without the squid ink if you can’t find it and it will still be delicious. 320g linguine 100g chorizo, chopped into small dice 100g breadcrumbs (panko or homemade) 6 tbsp olive oil 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped ½ tsp finely chopped fresh red chilli 300g picked fresh white crabmeat 25g sachet squid ink 50ml dry white wine 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 tbsp chopped basil Juice and grated zest of ½ lemon Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a saute pan, add the chorizo and fry on medium heat until it starts to break down and release its fat (if it doesn’t give off much fat, add a slug of oil). Spoon the chorizo into a bowl, add the breadcrumbs to the pan and fry gently, stirring, until they absorb the sausage oil. Tip into the bowl with the chorizo.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and cook the linguine for nine to 11 minutes, until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in the same sauté pan, then add the garlic and chilli, and fry gently without colouring for a minute. Stir in the crabmeat and squid ink, heat through for a minute, then add the wine and let it reduce down.
When the pasta is cooked, drain, add to the crab pan and toss to coat the linguine. Scatter over the herbs, lemon juice, zest, chorizo and breadcrumbs, toss again and season to taste. Serve immediately.
Photo credits: Rita Platts. Food stylist: Frankie Unsworth. Prop stylist: Louie Waller