Down The Hatch Recipes #4 – Warm Spiced Cider.

What better way to end this gastronomical guide than with seasonally fortified booze? Yep, the last mug friendly recipe from the Down The Hatch series is a luxurious spiced cider. And don’t wait for Christmas to make this either, make it into an annual Bonfire night staple too.

brown sugar
all spice berries
star anise
1 x apple
1 x pear
1 x orange

Thinly slice the fruit and mix all of the above into the largest pot you might own. Set it to the lowest heat and allow all the ingredients to heat gently and mingle. Add extra sugar to taste and serve into your enamel mugs with a ladle. Merry Christmas you sorts.


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Homemade Chocolate Biscotti.

An amazing seasonal gift courtesy of my former landlady Cat. Loving the presentation. Wishing the Horlock clan all the best this Christmas.x


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Post Impact Asteroid Beer Bread

Here at SFS we love seeing local businesses collaborating with each other, even more so when it’s something you can eat. So when the baking might of Elm Grove’s Bread Addiction came together with the brewing potency of Portsmouth’s Staggeringly Good, a doughy asteroid was born. Asteroid Beer Bread is a sourdough style barley loaf, made with the seasonal stout Post Impact Winter Darkness. You can land yourself one of these bad boys by heading down to Bread Addiction and / or the Palmerston Road Christmas market this weekend. Serving suggestions: with Bread Addiction’s utterly moreish Tunworth cheese. It will make your mouth taste like a foot for 24 hours, but in a really good way. Enjoy.

beer breadlabelbreadbeercheesetunworthipalogo

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Down The Hatch Recipes # 3 – Crème Brûlée.

Continuing on our mug based culinary commission is one for the sweet toothed amongst you, the french classic: crème brûlée. Voodoo Lady! Alongside this, the in-season pomegranate fruit will provide a welcome sharpness to contrast with this rich offering. Each mug serves two.

500ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
100g caster sugar
6 medium egg yolks
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 pomegranate

Preheat the oven to 150°C/ 300°F /gas mark 2. Pour the cream into a saucepan. Slit the vanilla pod open lengthways and scrape out the seeds into the cream with the tip of a sharp knife, then add the pod to the pan too. Scald the cream by bringing to just below boiling point, then taking off the heat. Leave for a few minutes to infuse with the vanilla.
Whisk the caster sugar and egg yolks together in a bowl, then slowly whisk in the hot, vanilla-infused cream. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug.
Pour the custard into six ramekins or your Strong Island enamel mugs. Stand the receptacles in a roasting dish and surround with enough hot water to come halfway up their sides. Bake for about 40 minutes until the custards are just set; they should still wobble a bit if you shake the dish gently. Lift out of the roasting dish and leave to cool, then chill thoroughly for 4 hours or overnight.
Sprinkle a very thin, even layer of soft brown sugar over each custard and put them under a very hot grill until the sugar melts and bubbles (or use a cook’s blowtorch, if you have one). Leave to cool, return the mugs to the fridge until the sugar is hard – just 15 minutes or so should do it – then serve with fresh pomegranate for a little added sharpness.

ingredientsdouble cremevanillaegg yolkscremebain mariepomegranateseedsdone

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Down The Hatch Recipes #2 – Ultimate Mac’n Cheese.

Next up on the Down The Hatch recipe series is the ultimate comfort food: mac’n cheese. Albeit a slightly punchier version guaranteed to send you to a cheesy nirvana of sorts. This dish goes awesome with a glass of chilled Chardonnay and will be elevated to epic with a couple of squirts of Sriracha sauce.

340g macaroni
100g breadcrumbs
For the cheese sauce
40g butter
40g plain flour
1 tsp English mustard powder
200ml milk
285ml double cream
200g dolcelatte or gorgonzola cheese
115g parmesan, grated
115g mature cheddar, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Cook the macaroni in a large pan of boiling salted water, for 8-10 minutes, or until just cooked. (It needs to be just undercooked as the pasta will be cooked again in the oven.) Drain, return to the pan and set aside.
For the sauce, put the butter, flour and mustard in a small pan set over a medium heat and cook until the butter has melted. Mix the milk and cream together in a jug and add a little to the flour and butter in the pan, stirring well. Keep adding the milk mixture, bit by bit, stirring well each time.
Once all the milk has been added, turn up the heat and boil for a minute or two. The sauce will thicken considerably, then remove the pan from the heat. Add two-thirds of the dolcelatte (or gorgonzola), cheddar and parmesan to the sauce while it is still hot and stir together until well combined. It may be a bit lumpy, but that is fine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the sauce to the pasta mixture and stir everything together. Spoon the mixture into a shallow casserole dish or your individual Strong Island enamel mugs.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs over the top and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble and the topping is golden-brown.

ingredientsbreadcheese saucedone

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Down The Hatch Recipes #1 – Lamb Harira Soup.

Allow me to welcome you to episode #1 of the Down The Hatch recipe series. With the winter months truly upon us and the new batch of Strong Island enamel mugs now released, we shall be unveiling a weekly range of winter busting recipes to warm the cockles of your heart. Kicking off this mug friendly series is a simple and spicy North African soup which is guaranteed to keep the cold at bay: Lamb Harira soup. Ya salam!

3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
Cubed lamb on or off the bone
1 leek, washed and finely sliced
4 fat celery sticks, chopped into small pieces
3 large carrots, chopped into small pieces
Coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves reserved to serve
1 tbsp cumin seed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp harissa
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
85g raw green lentils
2 veg stock cubes, crumbled
zest and juice 1 lemon
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 cloves of garlic

Heat half the oil in a cast iron pot, season the lamb and brown really well on all sides. Using the same pot add the remaining oil, the vegetables and coriander stalks. Gently cook until the veg is softened – about 5 mins. Stir in the spices, turn up the heat, and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the harissa (have always loved the classic colonial design on the packaging), followed by the tomatoes, garlic, lamb and lentils. Add 500ml of stock water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 mins. Add the lemon juice and season to taste. Ladle into your enamel mugs and add extra coriander and olive oil. This hearty soup also lends itself beautifully to a sauce mopping sourdough from Bread Addiction.

ingredientsspicesvegcoriander stalksharrissadone

All ingredients bought from the Mediterranean Supermarket on Elm Grove.

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Cream Of Jerusalem Artichoke Soup.

A number of days ago my uncle Greg kindly knocked on my door bearing gifts from the allotment: Jerusalem artichokes. Bit of a first for me here, but not wanting to waste them I jumped on an internet enabled laptop and found this corker for a recipe courtesy of HFW. The only thing I have changed is the oil topping. In his recipe Hugh makes a chestnut and parsley pesto, which on this rainy Sunday morning felt more effort than it was worth. Instead I used what I had around me: olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, white wine vinegar, parmesan reggiano and basil. The zestiness cuts through this rich soup beautifuly. Just as good if not better I dare say.

50g salted butter
1kg Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cubed
350g leeks, washed and finely sliced
100g potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.6 litres chicken or vegetable stock
100ml double cream
Salt and pepper
Basil oil, to finish (optional, but advised)

In large, heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat, then gently sweat all the vegetables until soft – about 20 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the artichokes can be easily mashed against the side of the pan with the back of a wooden spoon. Leave to cool slightly.

Liquidise the soup until smooth (you may need to do this in batches), then return to the pot. Warm over a medium heat, add the cream and season generously. Serve in warmed bowls, topped with a spoonful of the basil oil and enjoy with some crusty bread.

oiloilJerusalem artichokesvegdone

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