Category Archives: recipes

Pear and blue cheese scones

As @LoveandGarbage wisely said:

Like many people during the referendum campaign when I am confronted by someone asking for my view on the great issue of the day I say, “It’s pronounced scone” and wander off in the opposite direction. However, it appears that this view is controversial with many campaigners arguing that I should not be in favour of “scone” but should prefer the pronunciation “scone” instead.

Pear and blue cheese scones

Ingredients: about 150g of soft blue cheese, about a cup of self-raising wholemeal flour, an egg, and a large brown Conference pear.

Quarter the pear and remove the core. (I didn’t peel it: in my general experience the peel of a soft ripe pear isn’t noticeable in baked goods.)

Work together the cheese and the flour to make soft crumbs.
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What is pizza?

You will find plenty of learned disagreement on this topic. Including what kind of cheese to use, what sort of sauce, what other toppings, and even the etymology of the word pizza. Naples may be the geographical source of pizza, but it was a peasant dish before it was a city food: and the pizza that we’re mostly used to eating is as much – or more – American as Italian.

The best pizza you can buy in Edinburgh is sold at Mamma’s in the Grassmarket.

But if you make your own bread, which I do, what is pizza becomes a much simpler question:
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Carrot, Buckwheat, and Honey Bread

I have no idea if this’ll work. It could be very embarrassing.

I got the idea when wondering what to do with a packet of buckwheat flakes almost at the expiry date. I’d made a lovely carrot-and-leek soup earlier in the week and still had a boxful of grated carrot in the fridge. Well, I thought: it should work: and if it doesn’t, what’s to lose?

I make bread using a sourdough starter which I’ve been keeping going for 10 years. The original starter kit came from San Francisco, so I named it Armistead. If you don’t use sourdough, you should substitute a heaping teaspoon of dried yeast for this recipe, made up in a pint of warm liquid. You can add the honey at the yeast-mixing stage

When I bake I use American-style measuring cups, because they allow me to add ingredients by bulk rather than by weight, which is more convenient and also in many ways better for baking.

Two cups of buckwheat flakes
Two cups of grated carrot
Two cups of strong wholemeal flour
Half a cup of ricotta
A tablespoon of honey
A cup of Armistead
Salt to taste

I mixed together the flakes, flour, and Armistead, with a little salt, and some hot water (mix boiling water out of the kettle with cold water out of the tap until it’s just hot enough you can bear to put your hand in it: if it’ll scald you it’ll kill the yeast). I was looking to make a very soft wet dough. Then I kneaded in the ricotta and the grated carrot and added a tablespoon of acacia honey (a very light sweet honey). The dough did not take much kneading at all. When it was a coherent lump in the bowl, I shaped it, oiled it (I use rapeseed oil) and left it to rise.

Carrot, buckwheat, and dough

I will let you know, this evening, if it’s worked. There will be photos.

Update – More photos under cut.
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Pea soup and Brie pie

I’ve been wondering for a while What Kind of Blog This Should Be (I believe all new blogfounders wonder this at some point).

It seems to have become a politics blog with a Sherlock Holmes flavour, and that’s really fine with me. But I meant it to be a general blog about Stuff I Like.

So would it be okay if once in a while I posted about food?
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Recipe: Festive Mushroom Roast

This is a big savoury roast dish, rich with mushrooms and cheese, the centrepiece of a big festive vegetarian dinner.


1 weight of mushrooms
1 weight of breadcrumb
1/2 weight of onions
1/2 weight of hard cheese, grated.
1 vegetable stock cube
1 egg (optional)
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1/2 bulb garlic (optional)
Butter or oil for frying.

Preparation Time: 1 hour – shortened with a foodprocessor for chopping: plus breadcrumb time.

Cooking Time: 60-90 minutes, depending on weight of mushrooms, breadcrumb, onions, and cheese.

Cooking Instructions, assuming 1 kilo of breadcrumb, 1 kilo of mushrooms, 500-700g onions, 500-700g of hard cheese.

If you don’t have a pan to cook the mushrooms and onions in that’s also big enough for the crumb, you’ll need a big mixing bowl for the crumb at step 7.

1. Make breadcrumb. This has not been included in the preparation time. You need a kilo of bread reduced to small crumbs. This can be done as much as 24 hours before you make the rest of the dish, if you need to take the time to do it by hand (store in a clean, dry, airtight container): or whizz slices of bread to dry crumbs in a foodprocessor in a few minutes. You can use gluten-free breadcrumb.

The oven should be pre-heated to 200 degrees.

2. Chop the onions and cook them slowly in butter to a savoury, soft pulp (with herbs and garlic). Stir frequently. Herbs: you can use a savoury herb mix, or your own preference with mushrooms and cheese.

3. While the onions are slowly cooking, chop the mushrooms.

4. Add the chopped mushrooms to the onions and keep under a low heat until mushrooms and onions are cooked together into a soft, moist, savoury-smelling pulp. Keep stirring, but carry out steps 5 and 6.

5. Make up about 200ml of vegetable stock.

6. Grate the cheese. A mix of two mature hard cheeses is best – suggested half a kilo of cheddar, 200g of parmesan.

7. Stir the breadcrumb into the onion/mushroom mixture. As you mix the crumb into the mushroom/onion pulp, keep adding vegetable stock – you want a fairly moist mixture.

8. When all the crumb is well mixed into the onion/mushroom, stir in grated cheese.

9. You can beat an egg and add it to the mix, to make the roast more cohesive. Optional.

10. Put the whole mixture in a deep, greased casserole dish and bake until it’s crusty on top.

This is a rich, glorious dish full of the flavour of cheeses and mushrooms. Labour-intensive, takes long cooking, but well worth it as the centre-piece of your festive meal.

This size of roast will take at least 60 minutes to bake. Instead of regular vegetable stock, you can use Marmite, a couple of teaspoonfuls in about 150ml of boiling water.

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