I know. I need a virtual slap on the wrist, don’t I? I’ve been more than pitiful in my blogging of late. And for that I am sorry. But I have a terrific excuse. No the dog didn’t eat my laptop (though he is sat a my feet as we speak with his feed-me-you-never-feed-me-it’s-suppertime-feed-me face so it’s not inconceivable). The excuse is this: I’ve written a book. A BOOK! I KNOW! I’m a bit excited about it all.

It’s called The Gluts & Gluttony Cookbook and Growing Guide and is all about how to grow your very own gluts and what to cook with them once you have. For each glut (there are 12 in total, 3 for each season) I explain how to grow it and then suggest 3 recipes for using it up. Sound familiar? Well it will. Some of the recipes are from this blog, but many are new. I’m delighted to share two of them with you now.

But before that, a very brief and discreet plug (sound the self-promotion klaxon): the book is out now. It’s an ideal stocking filler but it also comes in time for the start of the growing season. You can buy it on this page of our website or from independent book stores local to the Cotswolds such as Jaffe & Neale, Madhatter Bookshop in Buford and Soho Farmhouse. Tell all your friends! Thank you. Ok – sound the all clear, plug over.

Right, back to the recipes:

Comfort Pie

The rich flavours of this pie belie the simplicity of ingredients. Sure you can tart it up with some tarragon, but I adore the straightforward nursery school flavours.

  • 1 chicken
  • Glug sunflower oil
  • 8 rashers unsmoked back bacon, diced
  • 3 leeks
  • 30g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • Salt & pepper
  • 640g (2 packets) of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Joint the chicken, de-bone and skin it then chop it into chunks. Drizzle a glug of sunflower oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken over a high heat.

Once browned, add the bacon and fry for 2-3 minutes whilst you chop the leeks. Now turn the heat down, add the chopped leeks and sweat for 5 minutes until soft.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and, when it starts fizzing, add the flour. Allow to bubble for a minute or so before pouring in the milk little by little, stirring all the time, to create a thick sauce. Season well, bring to the boil then remove from the heat.

Tip the chicken mixture into the sauce, stir well and check the seasoning. Filling done.

Lay one sheet of pastry on a baking tray. Pile the filling on top leaving an inch gap at the edges. Brush the edges with the beaten egg then lay the second sheet of pastry on top, pressing the seams together with a fork. Egg wash the whole lot, poke a little hole in the top and bake at 200°C for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and golden brown.

Best eaten in pyjamas.

Celeriac and Ham Hock Hash

Hangover-curing brunch or comforting supper, this recipe calls for roaring fires, muddy wellies and Christmas trees.

  • 2 old potatoes (about 300g)
  • 1/2 celeriac (about 400g)
  • 30g butter
  • 2 shallots
  • 1/4 savoy cabbage (about 125g)
  • 125g cooked ham hock, shredded
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • A little oil for frying
  • Brown sauce to serve

Peel the celeriac and potatoes and chop into large chunks. Boil them separately in salty water until cooked through (usually 15 and 20 minutes respectively). Drain and leave to steam dry briefly. In a large bowl, mash the celeriac, then add the potatoes and mash once again. (Celeriac needs more welly than potatoes so if you mash them together you can end up with lumpy mash – shocker.)

Melt the butter in a large, non-stick frying pan then finely slice the shallots and sweat them gently in the butter for 5 minutes. Shred the cabbage very finely then add that to the pan and sweat for 10 minutes more.

To the mash, add the shallots, cabbage and ham hock and season well. Shape the mix into 4 patties and coat in flour. Heat a slug of oil in a frying pan and fry the patties for 5-6 minutes on each side or until golden. Serve with brown sauce, homemade of course…