Country Traditions

October 21, 2012

Root Simple: Hay Boxes or Fireless Cookers

Filed under: family, wisdom — Tags: — dmacc502 @ 6:06 am

Root Simple: Hay Boxes or Fireless Cookers.Why would you want to build a fireless cooker?

  • To save time at the stove
  • To have food ready when you get up, or come home from work
  • To save energy, because you’re a do-gooder.
  • To save energy, because energy is expensive/unreliable where you live.
  • To learn this technology well so you’ll know how to use it in case of emergencies. (A fireless cooker combined with something that can boil water, like a camp stove or a rocket stove, would be a great combo for any emergency, long or short.)

via Root Simple: Hay Boxes or Fireless Cookers.

January 19, 2011

Black Pudding From Scratch (English) Recipe

Filed under: animals, farming, recipes — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 12:24 pm
Braised Pork Rillons, Black Pudding - Auction ...

Image by avlxyz via Flickr

� 1�1/4 �qt Fresh pig’s blood �

� 8�7/8 �oz Bread cut into cubes �

� 1�1/4 �qt Skim milk

� 1 �lb Cooked barley �

� 1 �lb Fresh beef suet

� 8 �oz Fine oatmeal �

� 1 �ts Salt �

� 2 �ts Ground black pepper

� 2 �ts Dried and crumbled mint �

Instructions

� 1. Put the bread cubes to soak in the milk in a warm oven. Do not heat the milk beyond blood temperature! Have the blood ready in a large bowl, and pour the warm milk and bread into it. Stir in the cooked barley. Grate the beef suet into the mixture and stir it up with the oatmeal. Season with the salt, pepper and mint.

� 2. Have ready 2 or three large roasting pans. Divide the mixture between them – they should not be more than 3/4 full. Bake in a moderate oven — 350 F – for about an hour or until the pudding is well cooked through. This makes a beautifully light pudding which will keep well in a cold larder.

� 3. Cut into squared and fry till heated through and the outside is crisp, in bacon fat or butter. Delicious for breakfast, or for supper with fried apples and mashed potato.

via Black Pudding From Scratch (English) Recipe.

January 15, 2011

Marmalade is way easier than it looks – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Filed under: canning, family, recipes, wisdom — Tags: , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 4:25 pm
Today I made marmalade......mmm!

Image via Wikipedia

The first step is to peel the fruit. We’ve made lemon, lemon-orange, and orange marmalade, but you can use pretty much any citrus fruit.

We looked around a bit and settled on this recipe primarily because of its simplicity. It scales well. For a large batch, just keep peeling and cutting fruit until the pot is full or your hands were tired. You can also scale down–grab a couple of oranges from the cafeteria and you’ll make a lot of friends in your dorm kitchen.

The peels need to be cut into little slivers for the appropriate texture in the marmalade. If you stack up the pieces, you can cut a bunch at once.
Marmalade 06

Many recipes recommend removing the white pith because it is bitter. Other recipes recommend removing the pith and reserving it, cooking it along with the fruit in a cheesecloth bundle and removing it at the end, presumably to allow extraction of the pectin. Many jam and jelly recipes call for pectin to be added, but it isn’t needed for marmalade because of the amount of pectin already present in the skin and pith of the citrus fruit.

Some recipes call for a blanching or soaking stage. The primary purpose of blanching is to remove the bitterness from the pith and peel. We like bitter marmalade, so we left in most of the pith and didn’t soak or blanch the peels or fruit. That also keeps the recipe simple– just slice up the fruit and throw it in the pot with the peel pieces.
Marmalade 08

The fruit and peel are cooked in water until they’re good and soft. It takes a while (about an hour), but once you’ve got a nice simmer going, you can ignore it pretty well.
Marmalade 12

The sugar goes in. Lots of sugar. The original recipe calls for 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar (with ten lemons). The 4 cups of water barely covered the raw fruit (in a saucepan with roughly equal depth and diameter). For scaling the recipe up or down, you can use that as a rough guide: pour in water a cup at a time until the fruit is almost covered, then once everything’s soft add as much sugar as you did water.
Marmalade 15

Stir in the sugar, and bring it up to a boil, stirring regularly.
Marmalade 28

The original recipe says to cook it until it’s 220 degrees fahrenheit. If you’re one of the few with a well-calibrated thermometer, congratulations. For the rest of us, put a spoonful of the proto-marmalade on a cool plate. If it’s still runny after cooling for a minute, keep simmering a little longer. It should show signs of jelling after cooking for 45 minutes to an hour.
Marmalade 19

That’s it. You’ve made marmalade!
Marmalade 20

But now you’re wondering what to do with it. We recommend spreading it on a freshly toasted english muffin. Or maybe a crumpet.

You can put the rest of it in a bowl, let it cool, then keep it in the fridge and use it. Or you can can it. Canning is not as scary as it sounds. You pour the warm marmalade into warm jars, wipe the rims clean, put a clean lid and rim on them and boil the jars covered with water for 15 minutes.

There are lots of kinds of canning setups but the simplest is a pot with a spacer to keep the jars off the bottom. While you can get dedicated canning kettles with jar racks inexpensively, you don’t really need any special equipment. Rules of thumb: your pot needs to be deeper than your jars so you can cover them with water, and the jars shouldn’t rest on the bottom of the pot, so as to avoid thermal stress. You can put a small wire cooling rack, a vegetable steamer, or an array of skewers tied together in the pot to keep the jars off the bottom.
Marmalade 21

After boiling the jars, you can ladle out some of the water and lift your jars out with an oven mitt. However, a set of jar lifting tongs doesn’t cost much and makes that step easier. A wide mouthed funnel is nice since it keeps stuff of the rims of the jars, but is also not necessary, especially if you get wide mouthed jars.

The folks who make Ball jars have some nice overviews of canning techniques.
Marmalade 30

You may recognize our technique as one common in mathematics. We have reduced a difficult problem (what to do with 75 pounds of citrus) into a problem whose solution is well known: what to do with many jars of marmalade.

 

via Marmalade is way easier than it looks – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

Lady marmalade: learning to make citrus preserves – Telegraph

Filed under: canning, family, recipes — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 4:22 pm
Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...
Image via Wikipedia

Lady marmalade: learning to make citrus preserves – Telegraph.You can either use whole fruit (simmering before shredding), which gives a darker, less bright-tasting preserve, or you can shred the peel before cooking, which gives a lighter, fresher preserve. As Nick cuts the rind from a kilo of blood oranges, he tells me that it must be cooked until absolutely soft before the sugar is added. Not doing this properly will result in hard bits of rind (it doesn’t soften further once the sugar is added) and a poor set (the pectin you need for a good set is extracted during this stage).

Other key points are to use granulated sugar – caster just sinks to the bottom of the pan – and to warm it in a low oven first (this helps it dissolve). Once the marmalade is made let it sit for 12 minutes before potting as the peel will distribute better. All the other technical stuff you need to know is in Nick’s recipes opposite. Start by making one type then go with your imagination. I fancy lime with a slosh of rum, and blood orange with rosemary. Anyone for shredding?

 

January 9, 2011

Pheasant recipes: A pot full of deliciousness – Telegraph

Filed under: animals, family, herbs, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 9:19 am

 

Pheasant recipes: A pot full of deliciousness – Telegraph.

 

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December 9, 2010

For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press

Filed under: canning, gardening, Vinegar — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 6:50 pm
Inside a canned food factory. Engraving by Poy...
Image via Wikipedia

What can I can?

Fruits (including tomatoes) are the most popular, along with preserves like jams, jellies, pickles and relishes. Fresh veggies, and things like meat, fish and poultry are also possible.

What’s the deal with acid?

Canning foods are either deemed high or low-acid. Low-acid foods are things like meat, fresh veggies (except tomatoes) or milk, and high-acid foods include fruits, pickles, and jams. The amount of acid affects what method you should use to can safely — pressure canning for low-acid foods, boiling-water canning for high-acid.

What do I need?

Proper jars, a jar lifter or rack, a small spatula to deal with air bubbles, a wide-mouth funnel, a boiling water or pressure canner, and a well-tested recipe. Remember that some methods, like ‘open kettle’ canning or the use of paraffin wax, aren’t agreed upon as safe by all experts.

How long should jars be boiled?

That depends on factors including the type of canning, jar size, type of food and even altitude — which is why it’s important to stick to the recipe.

How long will it keep?

Home canned food should be eaten within a year.

via For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press.

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For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press

Filed under: canning, gardening, Vinegar — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 6:49 pm
Inside a canned food factory. Engraving by Poy...
Image via Wikipedia

What can I can?

Fruits (including tomatoes) are the most popular, along with preserves like jams, jellies, pickles and relishes. Fresh veggies, and things like meat, fish and poultry are also possible.

What’s the deal with acid?

Canning foods are either deemed high or low-acid. Low-acid foods are things like meat, fresh veggies (except tomatoes) or milk, and high-acid foods include fruits, pickles, and jams. The amount of acid affects what method you should use to can safely — pressure canning for low-acid foods, boiling-water canning for high-acid.

What do I need?

Proper jars, a jar lifter or rack, a small spatula to deal with air bubbles, a wide-mouth funnel, a boiling water or pressure canner, and a well-tested recipe. Remember that some methods, like ‘open kettle’ canning or the use of paraffin wax, aren’t agreed upon as safe by all experts.

How long should jars be boiled?

That depends on factors including the type of canning, jar size, type of food and even altitude — which is why it’s important to stick to the recipe.

How long will it keep?

Home canned food should be eaten within a year.

via For those who can – Winnipeg Free Press.

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November 2, 2010

How to make your own haggis | Life and style | guardian.co.uk

Filed under: family, farming, herbs, recipes, wisdom — Tags: , , , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 8:07 am
Haggis

Image via Wikipedia

How to make your own haggis | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.

via How to make your own haggis | Life and style | guardian.co.uk. step by step slideshow.

Wash the pluck and simmer it gently in unsalted water until it’s tender – usually about and hour and a half. Let it cool overnight in its own cooking liquid. Chop the heart and lungs finely – I used a mezzaluna but a food processor will do the job if pulsed gently. Remember that you’re looking for a gravelly texture, not pate. Grate the liver – a weird and strangely satisfying sensation.

Toast the oatmeal for a few minutes in a medium oven while chopping the onions. Season the meat with salt, coarse ground white pepper, sage, thyme, rosemary and savory. There’s no need to go overboard here – particularly with the pepper. This isn’t, after all, an English sausage. Add the onions, the oatmeal, the suet and a pint or so of the liquid in which the pluck was poached. The mix should be moist but not enough to hold together as a single mass.

The ox bung will have been thoroughly cleaned and salted so rinse it inside and out with clear water and pat it dry with a kitchen towel. Spooning the stuffing into the bung until it’s half full; I wanted to make two so I stopped early and cut off the bung short. Expel any air left in the casing, tie the opening tightly with several turns of butcher’s string and work the filling back out into the full length of the casing. The stuffing will expand in cooking as the oatmeal absorbs the fat and meat juices. The most important trick is to allow space for this expansion whilst preventing any air bubbles which might turn the entire thing into a meat-based Hindenberg disaster.

Lower the haggis into gently simmering water. The casing will contract and the stuffing will swell. Use a skewer to pierce and release any trapped air. Remember that cooking time is based on thickness not mass; the long sausage shape of the bung means that this one took just over an hour and a half to cook. Lift out onto a plate and pat dry.

What’s the best British sausage?

After an upsetting childhood experience, Jeremy Lee of theBlueprint Café could never find unalloyed joy in British bangers. Is there a sausage which might restore his faith?

• Jeremy Lee’s favourite sausages

5 types of sausageFive types of British sausage. Photograph: Alamy

Ah, the British banger. Growing up with sausages that gave my brother and me severe headaches means I still struggle to enjoy the things today. On occasion my parents cooked that shame of convenience, mini skinless sausages. My brother and I, in a rare moment of bonding, wept at the prospect of eating these abominations, both craving a proper sausage. We were ignored until a radio programme exposed the hideous reality that some cheap sausages were pumped so full of unsavoury preservatives and additives they were likely to upset your stomach and give you a headache. Our parents saw the light; we never saw the dreadful wee things again.

My father restored our faith in the banger now and again by making a fine sausage stew accompanied by a great heap of mashed potato and a healthy dollop of Dijon mustard. It was delicious and there was no suspicion of a little white polystyrene tray stuffed in the bin. But the earlier memories, made at a formative time, have never really left me.

I know it is unfair to damn an entire business on one little episode in a generally very happily nurtured childhood but my feelings on the subject are strong enough to have got me into trouble once or twice. I was once asked to sit on a judging panel for sausages. Within minutes I was teetering on the verge of banishment for being disruptive and, well, downright rude. Eminent fellow panellists shuffled their feet as I poured vitriol on the defenceless sausages, but so many of the offerings masquerading as the very best of this mythical food, the British Banger, are just terrible. It upsets me. It is a sadness that when craving a sausage or two nowadays, I rarely set off in search because I have found most of what is on offer fairly duff, annoyingly cheap, and tasting so.

The singular addition of glamour such as exotic or surprising ingredients to jazz up a sausage is only makes for more unpleasant eating. Why is there such a dazzling array of new flavours of sausage? Bad enough the chicken tikka masala pizza, but in a sausage? Likewise, ham and pineapple, beef and sweet chilli, Jamaican jerk and chicken and sun-dried tomato – abominations all. Who among us eats these?

The recipe for a great sausage could not be more simple. Coarsely ground pork, salt and pepper and scrupulously cleaned intestine. Perhaps a few little pieces of chopped back fat for the trencherman. A sausage as God intended will cook beautifully, eating well unaccompanied; will braise beautifully in a pan of lentils; will happily tackle a great pot of borlotti or haricot beans enlivened with a pinch of chilli; it will revel in a good roll with a smear of mustard. Should the use of herbs be required, a small and judicious pinch of thyme could well be a benefit to a dish lacking that last little something. But the holus bolus piling in of cheap dried herbs into the sausage itself which repeat on you for days afterwards leaves me bewildered. Keep it simple. The dread introduction of inventive jolly and cheer is most unwelcome. Dour is the order of the day.

So I still remain bothered and unconvinced by the banger to this day. I can think of no more appealing sight than a butcher behind a great tray of sausages in proper casings made from pigs raised by a farmer he knows well, but these need seeking out. Richard Vaughan of Pedigree Meats makes a pleasant chipolata. I am fortunate indeed to have The Ginger Pig, who sell a Toulouse sausage, just round the corner in Victoria Park, and there are other sausages worth tracking down. But where to find the British banger to equal? You need Sherlock Holmes for that game.

 

November 1, 2010

In pictures: How to press apples | Life and style | guardian.co.uk

Filed under: family, farming, gardening, recipes, wisdom — Tags: , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 8:32 am
American-style apple cider, left; Apple juice,...

Image via Wikipedia

In pictures: How to press apples | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.

via In pictures: How to press apples | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.Choose your apples. I like a fairly tart juice. Here I’m using almost all Bramleys. That’s fine at the end of October, when the sugars have built up. But pure Bramley juice made in mid-September would be too sour, and you’d need to blend them with dessert apples. Unless you have a sweet tooth, you’ll probably want at least a few cookers in the mix, or a perhaps a handful of the less acidic cider apple varieties. Experiment with different varieties and proportions until you find the blend that suits you best. Wash them.

Cut them up. You’ll need to do this only if you’re using a drill-bit scratter (or pulper) like mine or a kitchen juicer. If you’re lucky enough to have a hand-cranked scratter you can feed them in whole. But in any case, cut out all rotten or wormy flesh: if this goes into the press, it will make the juice taste musty. Recent bruising won’t hurt, however: in fact it tends to make the juice sweeter. You don’t need to remove the cores.

Here I’m using the cheap scratter I don’t like very much. It’s a drill bit, threaded through a tough plastic lid, with which you cover a bucket containing the chopped apples. The first time I used it, it wasn’t properly secured and the bit went straight through the side of the bucket. To prevent that from happening, you need someone else to put their foot on the other side of the lid (in this photo it’s just my foot, so you can see it more clearly. But don’t do this alone). If you’ve got a variable-speed drill, turn it down (to about 3/10). Once the lid is on securely, pull the trigger and raise and lower the drill for around 20 seconds

October 12, 2010

How to make butter

Filed under: Churning butter, herbs, recipes — Tags: , , — dmacc502 @ 10:48 am
Butter making woman

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Homemade butterhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/feb/24/how-to-make-butter?intcmp=239Homemade butter from Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cooking. Photograph: Peter Cassidy

One morning at the Cookery School, one of the students was whipping cream for pudding. She left it to whip merrily in the food mixer while she went off to put the finishing touches to the rest of her meal. Suddenly there was a sloshing sound. The cream had overwhipped and she was astonished to see what was essentially butter and whey in the bowl. She was just about to dump it when I came around the corner, and just managed to save it before it went into the hens’ bucket. I gathered the other students around and showed them the miracle of how cream turns into butter. Their amazement and delight made me realise that over half the group didn’t know that butter comes from cream, or how easy it is to make butter at home without any special equipment. This is definitely a forgotten skill.

  1. Forgotten Skills of Cooking
  2. by Darina Allen
  3. 600pp,
  4. Kyle Cathie,
  5. £27.00
  1. Buy Forgotten Skills of Cooking at the Guardian bookshop

When I was a child, butter was part of everyday life on dairy farms, and I learned the simple art of making it from my great-aunt Lil, who lived in County Tipperary. Every farm had a churn, but you don’t need a churn or any specific equipment to make butter; in fact, if you over-whip cream, like my student did, you can quite easily make butter by accident. (I’ve done it on many occasions!) Then all you have to do is drain and wash it several times, knead it until the water runs clear, and then add some salt to preserve it. A food mixer is an advantage, though not essential. You can also turn cream to butter by shaking the cream in a jam jar, though it begins to be hard work.

I’m very fortunate to live in a country renowned for its wonderful butter. In Ireland we grow grass like nowhere else in the world, because our climate is ideal for it – all that lovely soft rain. The Cork Butter Market, which opened in the 1770s and continued to trade for 150 years, was the biggest in the world and exported Irish butter as far as the Caribbean. The butter was packed in hardwood casks called firkins and brought by horsedrawn cart from Kerry and West Cork which are still known today as butter roads.

Originally home buttermakers didn’t understand the science of buttermaking, but were well aware that it sometimes inexplicably could go wrong, so many piseogs (superstitions) prevailed. Butter luck required following all sorts of rituals, like placing a horseshoe below the churn or sprinkling primroses on the threshold of the churning room, though only if they’d been picked before sunrise. In County Mayo, using a dead man’s hand to stir the churn was highly recommended!

Nowadays, butter has to compete with a bewildering variety of spreads. I prefer good, honest butter. We know where it comes from and it has no additives, nor does it require any complicated processing.

Butter stamps

Butter stamps were a traditional way of marking butter. People often used a flower or plant motif etched into a wooden stamp. They would dip the stamp in cold water then press it onto little butter pats to make their butter completely unique.

Making butter

You don’t absolutely need butter bats to make butter, but they do make it much easier to shape the butter into blocks. They’re more widely available than you might think, considering buttermaking is certainly an alternative enterprise, but keep an eye out in antique shops and if you find some, snap them up. A good pair will bring you butter luck.

Unsalted butter should be eaten within a few days, but the addition of salt will preserve it for two to three weeks. Also, you can make butter with any quantity of cream but the amount used in the recipe below will keep you going for a week or so and give you enough to share with friends (though not in my house!).

Remember, sunlight taints butter (and milk) in a short time, so if you are serving butter outdoors, keep it covered.

Makes about 1kg (2¼lb) butter and 1 litre (1¾ pints) buttermilk

2.4 litres (4 pints) unpasteurised or pasteurised double cream at room temperature
2 teaspoons dairy salt (optional)
Pair of butter bats (also called ‘butter hands’)

Soak the wooden butter bats or hands in iced water for about 30 minutes so they do not stick to the butter.

How to make butter 1Whisk the cream at a medium speed in a food mixer until it is thick. Photograph: Peter Cassidy

Pour the double cream into a cold, sterilised mixing bowl. If it’s homogenised, it will still whip, but not as well. If you’re using raw cream and want a more traditional taste, leave it to ripen in a cool place, where the temperature is about 8°C (46°F), for up to 48 hours.

Whisk the cream at a medium speed in a food mixer until it is thick. First it will be softly whipped, then stiffly whipped. Continue until the whipped cream collapses and separates into butterfat globules. The buttermilk will separate from the butter and slosh around the bowl.

How to make butter 2Turn the mixture into a cold, spotlessly clean sieve and drain well. Photograph: Peter Cassidy

Turn the mixture into a cold, spotlessly clean sieve and drain well. The butter remains in the sieve while the buttermilk drains into the bowl. The buttermilk can be used to make soda bread or as a thirst-quenching drink (it will not taste sour). Put the butter back into a clean bowl and beat with the whisk for a further 30 seconds to 1 minute to expel more buttermilk. Remove and sieve as before.

How to make butter 3Knead the butter to force out as much buttermilk as possible. Photograph: Peter Cassidy

Fill the bowl containing the butter with very cold water. Use the butter bats or your clean hands to knead the butter to force out as much buttermilk as possible. This is important, as any buttermilk left in the butter will sour and the butter will go off quickly. If you handle the butter too much with warm hands, it will liquefy.

Drain the water, cover and wash twice more, until the water is totally clear.

Weigh the butter into 110g (4oz), 225g (8oz) or 450g (1lb) slabs. Pat into shape with the wet butter hands or bats. Make sure the butter hands or bats have been soaked in ice-cold water for at least 30 minutes before using to stop the butter sticking to the ridges. Wrap in greaseproof or waxed paper and keep chilled in a fridge. The butter also freezes well.

Variations

Salted butter
If you wish to add salt you will need ¼ teaspoon of plain dairy salt for every 110g (4oz) of butter. Before shaping the butter, spread it out in a thin layer and sprinkle evenly with dairy salt. Mix thoroughly using the butter pats, then weigh into slabs as before.

Spreadable butter
I much prefer unadulterated butter, rather than butters with additives that change the texture. So if you want to be able to spread butter easily, simply leave it out of the fridge for a few hours in a covered container.

Butter ballsButter balls or pats. Photograph: Peter Cassidy

Butter balls or ‘pats’
This is a traditional way of serving butter for the table and at Ballymaloe House, staff members make butter balls every day and butter is still served in this way. Put the butter bats or hands into a deep container of iced water for about 30 minutes. Cut the cold butter into dice. Pick up a piece with the butter bats. Hold one bat flat with the ridged side upwards and the knob of butter on top, then roll the other bat around over the butter to form a ball. Drop each into a bowl of iced water.

Clarified butter
Clarified butter is excellent for cooking because it can withstand a higher temperature when the salt and milk particles are removed. Butter starts to burn at 177°C (350°F), whereas clarified butter can withstand temperatures of up to 252°C (485°F). Use clarified butter for recipes where you want the flavour of butter without the risk of burning, like in a French omelette, when cooking fish à la meunière, frying eggs and so on.

To make clarified butter, melt butter gently in a saucepan or in a Pyrex measure in a very low oven, at 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. Leave it to stand for a few minutes, then spoon the crusty white layer of salt particles off the top. Underneath this crust there will be a clear liquid butter – the clarified butter. The milky liquid at the bottom can be used in a white sauce.

Ghee
Ghee is clarified butter from India, usually slightly soured and made from either cow’s or water buffalo’s milk. It cooks longer, hence it keeps longer, and has a lovely nutty flavour.

To make ghee, melt butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat for about 45–60 minutes, by which time the sediment will have settled on the bottom of the pan. Strain through a cheesecloth into a sterilised tin or jar, cover and store in a fridge.

Maitre d’hotel butter
This is one of the oldest classic flavoured butters, I remember it as a child at the Clarence Hotel in Dublin. People add all kinds of ingredients to butter nowadays, but originally it was served this way. It is good served with a piece of pan-grilled fish or steak.

110g (4oz) butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Cream the butter, then add in the parsley and a few drops of lemon juice at a time.

Roll into butter pats or form into a roll and wrap in greaseproof paper or tin foil, screwing each end so that it looks like a cracker. Refrigerate to harden.

Variations

Watercress butter
Substitute watercress for parsley in the above recipe. Serve with Pan-Grilled Fish using 8 x 175g (6oz) fresh john dory fillets.

Wild garlic butter
Substitute wild garlic for the parsley in the recipe above. Serve with pan-grilled fish or meat.

Fresh herb butter
Substitute a mixture of chopped fresh herbs, e.g. parsley, chives, thyme, fennel or another herb for the parsley. Serve with pangrilled fish.

Mint or rosemary butter
Substitute 2 tablespoons of finely chopped mint or 1–2 tablespoons of rosemary for the parsley and serve with pan-grilled lamb chops.

Dill or fennel butter
Substitute dill or fennel for the parsley. Serve with fish.

Mustard and parsley butter
Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard to the basic recipe. Serve with herrings.

Nasturtium butter
Substitute 3 tablespoons of chopped nasturtium flowers (red, yellow and orange) for the parsley. Serve with pan-grilled fish.

Garlic butter
Add 3–5 cloves of crushed garlic. Slather over bruschetta or toast. Also great with pan-grilled fish, meat or vegetables.

Anchovy butter
Add six anchovy fillets and mash them in. Serve with pan-grilled fish or fresh radishes.

Brandy or rum butter
If you have a food-processor, use it for this recipe and you will get a wonderfully light and fluffy butter.

75g (3oz) unsalted butter
75g (3oz) icing sugar
2 tablespoons brandy or Jamaican rum, or more to taste

Cream the butter until it is very light. Add the icing sugar and beat again. Then beat in the brandy or rum, drop by drop. Serve with plum pudding or mince pies.

• This method and recipes are taken from Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen (Kyle Cathie, £30) with photography by Peter Cassidy

 

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