Netherton Foundry Shropshire

Netherton Foundry Shropshire
Classic cookware, made in England

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Salami inspired burgers

Some time ago, we were asked by one of our trade customers to suggest a burger recipe to help them promote items from our outdoor cooking range.
Now you make think that outdoor cooking is a summer thing, dragging the barbecue out of the garage, chilling the beers and inviting all the neighbours round and there is nothing wrong with that.  But there is more to outdoor eating than that and our range includes some great compact outdoor cooking items that are practical to use in the great outdoors or in the back yard all year long.

We decided to come up with a totally new recipe on this occasion and we have yet to see it published anywhere else, so wanted to share it with you here.  These are inspired by the flavours of Italian salamis, perked up with the aniseedy waft of fennel seeds and warmed with paprika.  These have been served up on one of our baking and serving trays

Unfortunately rain stopped play on the day these were created, so the photos are taken using the griddle plate on the indoor hob, rather than over fire on its chapa legs, but you get the idea..... and you also get to see how versatile the chapa griddle is.

500g belly pork, ask your butcher to mince it for you
250g smoked streaky bacon
7 fennel flower heads or 1 dessertspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram 
Black pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika 

 If the butcher hasn't minced the pork for you, chuck it in a food processor and give it a quick blitz, or if you are lucky enough to own a Spong mincer or a fancy attachment for your your food mixer (several brands are available and as none of them have offered us money or free samples to endorse them, we will name no names), mince it yourself.  
Finely chop the bacon, the fennel flowers (if using) and the marjoram.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl - start with a wooden spoon, but then get in there with your hands, it's the best way to bring the mixture together.
Shape in to 6 equal sized burgers and set aside while you heat your barbecue, outdoor hob, chapa, griddle plate or frying pan

As soon as the cooking surface is hot, slide in your burgers.  You shouldn't need any oil, as there is a fair amount of fat in the pork and bacon.  This is not only great for cooking, but adds flavour and juiciness to your burger.

Cook for 6 minutes on each side - do NOT be tempted to keep prodding and turning them, they will end up sticking and/or falling apart, let the heat do the work.

Serve in ciabatta rolls with a tart apple sauce for a Britalian fusion burger.

Netherton Foundry Shropshire 2017 ©

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Ginger pick me up

Earlier this year, we had a great time at the first Ginger and Spice Festival in Market Drayton.  This Shropshire town is most notable for its association with Clive of India, but less well known for the far more palatable Billington's gingerbread; a spicy delight that has been baked by artisan bakers in this historic market town since 1817
Traditionally this crunchy biscuit is dunked in port, which seems like an admirable idea to me, biscuit and booze, what more could you ask for?
But it struck me that this notion of dunking these biscuits is akin to the dunking of Savoiardi biscuits in a classic tiramisu, so why not have a go at a Shropshire ginger pick me up, the English translation of tiramisu.
So here we are.....

12 Billington's gingerbread fingers
2 eggs
50g sugar
15g cornflour
250ml double cream
80g 70% dark chocolate
175g Mascarpone
50g icing sugar
1 sachet powdered gelatine
40g stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped
50ml, more or less, ginger wine, port, rum or brandy

Lightly oil a 1lb/ 0.5kg loaf tin.
Crush 4 of the gingerbread biscuits into crumbs and spread evenly in the bottom of the loaf tin.

Put the chocolate and cream into a saucepan and heat gently until the chocolate has melted.
Whilst that is heating, separate the eggs and mix the yolks with the cornflour and sugar.
Pour the hot chocolate cream into the egg mix and mix thoroughly.  Return this mixture to the pan and cook over a low heat, stirring continuously until the custard coats the back of the spoon.
Carefully pour half of the custard over the crumbs and put the tin in the fridge.

Dissolve the gelatine in 80ml of hot, but not boiling water (read the instructions on the packet).
Beat together the Mascarpone, icing sugar, chopped ginger and the dissolved gelatine.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and the gently fold into the Mascarpone mix.
Remove the tin from the fridge, by now the custard layer should have set.
Briefly dip 4 of the gingerbread fingers in the alcohol of your choice and lay them on top of the chocolate custard.

Cover these with the Mascarpone mix and return the tin to the fridge.
Once the Mascarpone layer has set, remove from the fridge.
Dip the remaining gingerbread fingers in the last of the alcohol, topping up if necessary, and place them on top of the set Mascarpone.

If, by chance any alcohol is left, tip it into the remaining chocolate custard and give it a stir.
Pour the chocolate custard over the gingerbread fingers and put back in the fridge to set.

To serve, briefly stand the tin in a dish of hot water to loosen the dessert and then invert on to a serving dish.  
Serve with additional gingerbread fingers, if desired.
Serves 8

Head over to the Billington's website to buy their goodies

Netherton Foundry Shropshire 2017 ©

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Banana banter

A bunch  of browning bananas sulkily staring at me from the fruit bowl, recriminating, challenging - you should have eaten us, what are you going to do with us, bet you won't let us go to waste?

You didn't know bananas could talk, did you, but listen carefully and the riper they get, the more incessant their chatter.
But I am in no mood to be lectured by a bunch of fruit, or, to be more precise, a hand of herbs, especially as I cannot get my head round the fact that a banana is a herb.
Two of them are unceremoniously dumped in a jug, drowned with cold milk and quickly turned into milkshake.
Thus leaves another four, their brown freckles joining up before my eyes and shouting now, "eat us, eat us or you will have to throw us on the compost." I am confronted in my imagination with a vision of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall waving an accusatory index finger and sorrowfully shaking his head, whilst wearing a t-shirt psychedelically emblazoned with #waronwaste
Note to self, perhaps a few less coffees?

The immediate thought is banana bread, and I'll wager a considerable sum that that is the first thought of many of you.  Of course, they could have been added to ice cream, frittered, turned into a banana Tarte Tatin, banoffee pie, or if my Dad were visiting, I would slice and fry them and stick them into a bacon sarnie for him - don't knock it 'til you've tried it.  But banana bread is always top of the list and there are so many variations.  We love Nigella Lawson's banana breakfast bread, with cardamom and cocoa nibs from Simply Nigella and we are also fond of one with chopped chocolate and peanut butter mixed in, but it was time for something new.

This is heavy, sticky, gooey and none the worse for that.  It's the banana equivalent of a Soreen malt loaf and given that they make over a million loaves a week, according to their website  that can be no bad thing.
Stick one in your rucksack on that next winter walk.

120g butter
120g brown sugar
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas
60g dates
20g pumpkin seeds
1tsp mixed spice or cinnamon
handful of chopped nuts
1 dessertspoon runny honey

Pre heat the oven to 170ºC
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add 2 of the bananas and mix until smooth.... If you are mixing by hand, mash the bananas first.
Thoroughly beat in the eggs, but don't worry too much if the mixture looks curdled at this stage.
Carefully fold in the flour, spice, seeds and dates.
Spoon the mixture in to a greased 2lb loaf tin.
Slice the remaining bananas lengthways and arrange on top of the cake. Sprinkle over the chopped nuts, I used almonds for this one, but hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, walnuts or Brazils nuts would be just as good.
Drizzle the honey over the top and put the tin in the oven.

Bake for 50 minutes.  Check that it is cooked through by poking it with a skewer and if the skewer comes out clean,  the cake is cooked.  If there is mixture clinging to the skewer, return it to the oven for another 10 minutes and check again.

Leave to cool in the tin, then run a palette knife around each side of the cake, invert the tin and turn out the cake.
Store in the fridge otherwise the bananas will go off quicker than you can admonish them, but remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving for maximum enjoyment.  In this case, revenge on the talking bananas is best served at room temperature.

Netherton Foundry Shropshire 2017 ©

Monday, 20 November 2017

An update on school dinners

Not all of you will be as old as us and may not recall the sort of school dinners dished up in our youth. Lots of mince, lumpy mashed potato and for "afters" luke warm custard, made with custard powder and hot water.
Among our memories of these horrors are 2 pineapple dishes - the first is pineapple rice pudding, the juice from the tinned pineapple doing unnerving things to the milk of the rice pudding. An altogether more appetising version of this can be found on our blog:…/pondering-pineapp…
The other is pineapple upside down cake; stodgy sponge, topped with tinned pineapple rings and glacé cherries smothered in the aforementioned luminous yellow custard.
I hope you find the following recipe altogether more appetising.

Caramel sauce
50g butter
100g sugar
100ml double cream
Grated zest of an orange
Put the butter into a saucepan and place over a low heat. As soon as the butter has melted, add the sugar and continue cooking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has turned a deep golden brown. Add the orange zest and cream - be careful, the mixture will bubble up alarmingly - stir vigorously until it all comes together into a smooth sauce.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
120g butter
120g sugar
2 eggs
120g self raising flour
Juice of an orange
Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC
Beat the butter and sugar until light in colour and fluffy - by hand (great for the arm muscles), with a hand mixer or in a food mixer/processor. Add the eggs and orange juice and mix well. Sift in the flour and gently bring the mixture together.
You will need half a pineapple, peeled, hard core removed and chopped into chunks.
If you are feeling creative, use the other half and the skin to make pineapple tepache - just Google it.
Lightly grease a savarin ring or a cake tin.
Spread a layer of caramel sauce over the base - you may not need it all, just put the rest in the fridge where it will keep for at least a week.....apparently!
Pile the pineapple chunks evenly over the sauce.

 and then spread the cake mix on top.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the mix comes out clean.

Leave to stand until the tin is cool enough to handle and then invert on to a serving plate.

Netherton Foundry Shropshire 2017 ©

Monday, 13 November 2017

Butternut squash bread

Sometime around the turn of the millenium, an innocuous orange vegetable began to assert itself on the nation's consciousness and inveigled its way into every middle class vegetable rack in the land, often arriving unannounced in an organic veg box delivery.

Smaller than a pumpkin and better looking than a turnip, the butternut squash rapidly established itself in our affections.  Possessing all the starchy benefits of a potato, with the added bonus of counting as one of our 5-a-day, its versatility is one of its key attributes.
You can roast it, mash it, sauté it, turn it into soup, chuck it in a risotto/curry/stew or toss it atop a pizza and, while you decide, it will happily sit there for weeks on end and not go wrinkly, mouldy or flaccid.
Its sweetness and bold colour appeals to younger palates, making it a great baby food.
But it is also a great foil for stronger flavours such as the salty tang of blue cheese or smoked bacon, the pungent thwack of sage and chilli.  If you want a bit more texture, pair it with roasted hazelnuts or walnuts; in fact a warm salad of roasted squash, blue cheese, walnuts and a chilli oil dressing sounds like a recipe in its own right.  And boy, can it absorb a lot of butter!

If you start googling squash recipes, you may be gone for some time.  There are hundreds, probably thousands of them, so it was with some trepidation that I set out to create yet another one.
They have been arriving in our veg box in pairs for about 3 weeks now and I have to admit, the more they stacked up, the blanker my mind became - a sort of squash blindness.
It was only when I was researching potato scones that the thought occurred to me that I could incorporate these into a bread recipe.  I set to, more in hope than expectation, but was absolutely thrilled with the result.
These rolls were flavoursome and light in texture and, against the odds, lasted 3 days without detriment.

8 oz butternut squash (peeled weight)
12 oz strong white bread flour
1 tblsp rapeseed oil
½tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried yeast
5 fl oz of the squash cooking water

Cut the squash into chunks, place in a saucepan and cover with water.
Bring to the boil and simmer until soft. Drain the squash, reserving the coking liquid. Set the squash aside to drain completely and cool.
Mash or process the squash to a smooth purée.
Either place the purée with all the other ingredients into a food processor and mix thoroughly for 30 seconds or place them all in a bowl, bring together with a wooden spoon, then turn out on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
Cover with a damp tea towel or greased cling film and leave for 2 hours to double in size.
Turn out on to a floured surface and cut the dough into 8 equal sized pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth roll and place on a baking sheet.  If, as I did, you are using one of our heavy duty baking sheets, that we developed with Val Stones, you don't even need to grease it.
Cover once more and leave until well risen.
Heat the oven to 200ºC and place the baking sheet in the centre of the oven.
Cook for 15 - 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer the rolls to a cooling rack.

Delicious served warm, with lots of butter and a bowl of home made soup or a chunk of good cheese.

Netherton Foundry Shropshire 2017 ©

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Nose to Tail

You will have heard us go on (and on) about not wasting food, about our rejection of the throw away society, our ethos of buy well, buy once.  It is an undercurrent that runs through our daily lives, sometimes a studied and analytical approach to a particular issue, but mostly just the humdrum everyday acts of composting the tea leaves, putting the bean tin in the recycling box and only running the washing machine with a full load.

Any of you have bought something from us will know that we extend this to our packaging; we do not use polystyrene foam and plastic bags. You can re-use or recycle the paper and card in which your Netherton purchase arrives.  We are told that the slow cooker boxes make excellent cats' toys.

When Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall  launched his War on Waste campaign, we signed up straightaway, his words an echo of our own mantra, his voice so much louder than ours.

Naturally, we try and minimise food waste and any leftovers here at Netherton towers get added to next day's menu in some guise or another.  The kids grew up on bot-bot soup; a Bit Of This-Bit Of That, any uneaten veg, pulses etc, whizzed up with some additional stock and frequently garnished with the grated rind of an old piece of Parmesan.
As a child, I grew up eating every bit of the animals slaughtered for our culinary pleasure.  Amongst the liver and onions and steak and kidney pies, we would savour brawn and pork pies made from long boiled pig's head (to be honest the reek of boiled pig's head resides in the darker, murkier recesses of my childhood memories, even though the end result was delicious), marrow bone on toast, boiled and pressed ox tongue and hearts, both lamb and ox.
In the late seventies, I discovered the delights of lambs' tongues and chicken livers, a taste of luxury and exoticism, attainable on a student grant.

In more recent times, these cheaper, less "sexy" cuts of meat have become harder to come by. With the rise of British gastronomy, the homely and earthy gave way to a different approach, mostly ludicrously epitomised at the height of the nouvelle cuisine wave, whose jus spattered breakers broke across the large white plates of the London cognoscenti.  In an era of excesses, nouvelle cuisine came to symbolise the absurdity of it all.  Five peas and a smear of purée being the Emperor's new clothes made from vegetable matter.

The financial crash, which reverberates to this day, put paid to that particular fad.  Simultaneously, there was a growing awareness of our impact on the planet and a new perspective on all aspects of our lives.

From within this new wave of thinking emerged Fergus Henderson, one of the leading proponents of Nose to Tail eating.  

He showed us what our parents and grandparents had known all along, summed up in his own words:  It would be disingenuous to the animal not to make the most of the whole beast; there is a set of delights, textural and flavoursome, which lie beyond the fillet.

To be honest, it's not always easy to get hold of some offal, you certainly won't find it on the smaller supermarket shelves and not all butchers will stock it either.  We come round to the Catch22 position of their not stocking it because there is "no demand" and customers not asking for it because they know they won't have it.
No doubt a lot of the offal by products from the abattoirs go to the animal food processing plants and I have it on good authority that hearts are used to make cheap mince "redder".  Equally I suspect that a lot of these organs are simply  thrown away.

Which brings us to this recipe; stuffed lambs' hearts, gently braised in the slow cooker to bring out their rich flavour and to reduce them to tenderness.
If you can get hold of them, these hearts are amazingly good value at about 50p each and cooking them in the slow cooker is both time and energy efficient, so you can feel justifiably smug when you serve these.

4 lambs hearts
1 leek
100g breadcrumbs
4 sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon oil, we use Bennett and Dunn rapeseed oil
250ml stock
2 tsp redcurrant jelly
Salt and pepper

Trim any excess fat from the heart and any residual sinews.
Finely chop the white part of the leek and put into a mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs, rosemary, and tomatoes. Stir well and bind together with the beaten egg.

Stuff this mixture equally into the cavities of the hearts; don't worry if you have some left over. Secure the tops of the heart parcels with cocktail sticks.
Slice the green part of the leek and set aside.
Place the slow cooker casserole on the hob and add the oil.  Warm over a medium heat and then add the hearts.  Brown on all sides.
Transfer the casserole to the slow cooker heater base and add the stock, jelly, green leek and any remaining stuffing mix.  Pour in the stock and season.  You may want to add only the pepper at this stage and check for saltiness when it's cooked, this will depend to a large extent on your stock.
Put on the lid and cook on the HIGH setting for 5 - 6 hours or on LOW for 8 hours.
Serve with mashed potato or sloppy polenta and a leafy green vegetable, such as Savoy cabboabge, spinach or cavolo nero

Netherton Foundry Shropshire  ©

Monday, 23 October 2017

Apple and ginger cake

There is already a recipe for Ginger Apple Topsy, way back when, on this blog, so my love of this particular combination is already on record.
This recipe however, will work just as well without the ginger, if you are not a fan.

When Storm Brian had blasted his way through our apple trees, I collected all the windfalls and, as many of them were somewhat bruised by their encounter with bully Brian, I needed to use them up quite quickly.
A significant number of them were simply washed and chopped and thrown into my largest pan, covered with water and simmered until really soft.
I then passed the whole sloppy panful through a cheesecloth and we enjoyed some deliciously fresh and fruity juice, leaving  behind a bowl full of apple pulp, along with some disconnected skins.
Normally, I would push this through a sieve, collecting any pips, cores and skins and creating the smoothest of smooth apple smoothiness... ie purée, not unlike Heinz baby food to be honest.
On this occasion, I didn't bother. I simply discarded any pips and blitzed the skin during the cake mixing process.  HOWEVER, if you are planning on making this cake by hand, rather than in a processor, I strongly recommend some sieve action or a quick blitz with a stick blender before you use the fruit pulp.

120g butter
120g brown sugar
120g apple pulp or purée
25g crystallised ginger, optional
1 dessertspoon golden syrup
2 eggs
120g rye flour

Pre-heat the oven to 175ºC
Chop the crystallised ginger into pretty small pieces and put into a food processor with the butter, brown sugar and syrup.  Mix until much lighter in colour and thoroughly well blended.
Add the eggs and mix well.
Add the flour and process until just incorporated into the mix - do not over beat at this stage.
Grease a 9" Savarin ring and dust with flour.  Tip out any excess.
Spoon the mixture into the ring and spread out evenly.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes.n  the cake is ready when it springs back to the touch or a skewer inserted into the centre of the mix comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.
We ate this "au naturel", but I reckon that a drizzle of lemon glacé icing might make a nice finishing touch, if you're showing off.

Netherton Foundry Shropshire 2017 ©