A dank and dirty February is torment to kitchen gardeners. Seed catalogues have been thumbed, greenhouses scrubbed and all are itching to get planting for the new season. But instead of carefully nurturing a small army of seed trays, most, me included are stuck inside watching potatoes chitting on a rain-spattered windowsill.

There’s only one solution: comfort food.

And with little to sustain us in the veg garden, I turn to the lovely and local Ross and Ross Food.  Very kindly, they sent me some of their preserved goodies to sample in return for writing a guest spot on their blog. And no, no one paid for any coverage or kind words – how vulgar. It was no chore at all to trough through their terrines and chutneys. Better that than chasing the empty seed trays that are blowing around the allotment.

You can see my guest spot on the Ross & Ross blog here. And the recipes are also here below:

Ham hock terrine with a crispy soft boiled egg

ross ham hock

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 handful breadcrumbs (Panko if you can find them)
  • 1 Ross and Ross ham hock terrine
  • A few salad leaves
  • Around 500ml flavourless oil for frying

Boil 1 egg in salted water for 6 minutes exactly before plunging into a bowl of cold water to stop it cooking. Once cool enough to handle, peel the egg. Beware! It will be soft so peel with the gentle fingers of an angel or it’ll crack. I find doing this underwater helps as well.

Next, prepare 3 bowls in a line: the first with the flour in it; second with the other egg, lightly beaten and third, the breadcrumbs. Coat the peeled egg in flour, then in beaten egg, then in breadcrumbs to create a crust. Again, think gentle thoughts, this is delicate work.

In a pan, or deep fat fryer, heat the oil to 160oC and pop the coated egg in to cook for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown. Take care, hot oil is nasty stuff so take all necessary precautions.

Once golden, drain the egg on kitchen paper before slicing in half and serving with a slab of ham hock terrine.

Cockles warmed.

Un-Welsh apple rarebit with apple chutney

ross rarebit chutney

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 50-100ml medium dry cider
  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ tsp English mustard
  • ½ apple, finely chopped
  • 1 slice bread

Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the plain flour and combine to make a roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes stirring all the while. Slowly add the cider to the roux bit by bit until you have a smooth, thick paste. Turn the heat down and add the cheese, mustard and season to taste.

Once the cheese has melted, remove the mix from the heat and stir in some chopped apple.

Smear the mix on a slice of bread. Don’t be shy, really load it on. Then grill until golden and serve with a dollop of apple chutney on the side.

Pure comfort.