Friday, February 26, 2010

I wanted... I bought.... I made

Food chain weekend so it needs to be simple on the homefront. Complicated plans for Sunday night invariably come to nought. So - I'm thinking more pork balls Saturday night as I have some water chestnuts to use and some cabbage that will make a nice side dish only balls as we had a snack at St John about 5.30, high tea if you like, so not specially hungry, Sunday a roast, easy and fabulous more balls! . Monday vegetable curry I think roast chicken, and all the trimmings, Tuesday we're out, Wednesday steamed chicken and ginger carrot salad and steamed aubergine and ginger rhubarb fool for dessert as the lovely Vicki was round, Thursday pasta with mushrooms steamed savoury custard, spicy cabbage and rice, as I have a little hankering, Friday steamed eggs steamed leek and bacon pudding as the hankering will be assauged on the weekend I'm thinking!

At the Ginger Pig I bought a chicken roasted Monday night and cold in lunchboxes for a few days while the sun was shining and it looked set to be a lovely day. Paid £13.70

At Booths I bought steaming potatoes with the chicken then the rest in salad for lunches, blood oranges to recreate a treat from Anchor & Hope juiced and mixed with campari and soda, brussel sprouts and a butternut squash roast dinner hot and cold in lunches for £3,80

At Monmouth I bought coffee - £10.50

From Wild Beef I bought eggs - £1.50

From the Fresh Olive Company bought a melange in a medium pot - £3.50

At Gastronomica I bought a great piece of toma - £7 - and emerged into the pouring rain to run across the road.

At Neals Yard I bought milk and yoghurt - £8.90

At Flour Power I bought a toast loaf - £1.10

At Elsey & Bent I bought a tub of mandarins - £2 - despite liking their name I don't often buy much here and it turned out the mandarins were too hard to peel so, though they were meant for lunches they ended up as juice so it will be another long time till I'm shopping there again

From Teds Veg I bought rhubarb bought loads so have a tub in the freezer, had it for breakfast with yoghurt and made a fool Wednesday night, leeks pudding and peppers still to be used - £10.80

Spent £62.80. Still raining as we ran across the road for the bus. Perhaps this winter means to last forever.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Let's do Lunch!

This week was not as I had planned it, partly because I made lots of fabulous food Saturday night as a Chinese banquet, one of the upsides of which was having an easy peasy Sunday and the delight of the last of the tofu, aubergine, peppers and rice for lunch Monday already packed into boxes

Monday night I made a leek bread pudding that was even better than I was expecting, like a deeply luxurious Sunday lunch without the roast and it was seriously good for us for lunch from Tuesday till Thursday, and the man had clementines and cold steamed pudding as well for nutrition and sweet treats! Packed the night before, I got ten minutes more in bed and the man got to make coffee!

Oh dear - come Friday and the lunchbox was bare! So I shall take myself down to Whitecross Street for a hot chorizo roll and the man will take himself to Wasabi for a little sushi.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Steamed Ginger Syrup Pudding

One of the things I've been contemplating making since the arrival of the Miele steam oven is steamed pudding of the sweet variety. Used to eat them as a kid for 'special' dessert after Sunday lunch - always the full roast sitting at the dining - as opposed to the kitchen - table, pretty much the only time it was used unless there were guests. It was part of the whole magic of Sunday, growing up, using chrystal wine glasses and silver cutlery, all of it kept separate to the every day stuff. Always the event of the week!

When I told my friend David about the trial his instant reaction was oooh, puddings! Charlie at the Ginger Pig thought it would be the best use for the oven too! The man, of course, loves sweet things and trad Brit things and so, with David joining us for dinner Saturday night it was definitely time to take the plunge. I planned an asian menu - lots of steaming, lots of flavours, and the best dessert I could imagine was ginger syrup steamed pudding. With custard. Actually, when I thought it up I planned to use dollops of thick cream but on informing the man he looked a bit askance. 'Oh' he said. 'That might work. I've only ever had it with custard'. Being as he's much more of an expert than I in such matters, custard it was, St Delia's recipe producing a delightfully rich golden confection and peace was restored to the world.

Ginger syrup steamed pudding

175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
50g stem ginger from a jar, chopped plus 2 tbsp of the ginger syrup
2 tbsp golden syrup,
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
175g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
2 tbsp milk

Generously butter a large pudding bowl and line the base with a circle of baking paper.

Scatter the chopped ginger over the base of the pudding bowl, drizzle with both the golden and the ginger syrup. Set aside.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter, sugar, eggs and milk and mix with electric beaters until smooth. Spoon into the basin and level the top.

Butter a large sheet of foil then fold 2 pleats in the centre. Place, buttered-side down, on top of the pudding basin and secure with string around the rim. Trim off any excess foil.

Place the pudding into the steam oven and cook at 100C for about 2 hours.

Remove the foil, loosen the sides of the pudding with a knife and carefully turn out onto a plate.

Serve with custard! The guys both loved it, proclaiming it utterly, correctly, perfectly British.

The man had leftovers as a cakey treat with his lunch for a couple of days.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I wanted...I bought...I made

You know the signs outside Pizza Express saying Francesco Mazzei is making the pizza? It's true - here he is making mine Tuesday night!

Saturday night David is coming over for dinner to admire the steam oven and is hoping for sweet things. I do so hate to disappoint so steamed ginger syrup pudding is on the menu to follow a chinese feast with some steamed little spiky balls and silken tofu and grilled lamb made vast amounts of food though the lamb ended up as a barley stew later in the week but there was also a very fine steamed eggplant as a centrepiece. Sunday I want to try a leek bread pudding steamed a second lot of pork balls and some of the leftovers from Saturday night, Monday the last giant pork chop with steamed potatoes leek bread pudding baked!, Tuesday I'm out learning the secrets of Francesco Mazzei's pizza's so the man might like a hot pie, Wednesday steamed chicken with stir fry peppers steamed lamb and barley stew with steamed potatoes which was intensely savoury and I shall post about it next week, Thursday eggs en cocotte with mushrooms the lamb was so good we had it again! and Friday I'm out and the man will probably go for fish and chips!

After being so cold last week at Borough I wrapped up warm in my lovely fake fur coat, furry boots and knitted gloves. Bit Michelin Man but cosy as pie. At Ginger Pig Charlie was looking seriously cold and suggested I lend him the coat... I gave him a challenge instead, asking him about beef tendons, as we had some in a restaurant and they were amazing and then, by chance, I found a recipe. He showed me where they were on a beef shin and promised he'll try and have some for me next week. In the meantime I bought lamb neck chops, thinking of one thing but he said Ooooh making a stew which set me off on another track. Also bought pork mince lots of balls and chicken for the freezer and spent £25.64

Then to Teds Veg for a change. Bought leeks pudding to die for!, peppers, cabbage and aubergine various stir fries and steamings - £8.30

From Booths I bought potatoes for steaming, carrots, a cucumber and some clementines for £3.90

Eggs from Wild Beef, a bargain £1.50

A pie for the man, steak & kidney of course - £2.50

At Neals Yard bought milk and cream and bread for £9.30

A large loaf from Flour Power this week though not for toast! £2.20

So spent £53.34

And here's one I made, after stellar instruction

Last week's lunches

We had a very nice collection of lunches last week, most of them packed into tubs the night before for extra speed. Actually the real reason I like having them in the fridge overnight is that I get to spend an extra ten minutes in bed and the man has to make the coffee!

Mondays lunch, and the same for Tuesday was slices of cold roast beef from Sunday's dinner, with leek pudding and cold roasted heritage carrots that were really sweet and deeply flavoured. Packed the night before on both days, so very quick in the morning!
Wednesday's lunch was the last of the roast beef. I used the leftover rice from Tuesday's dinner to make a little salad with some raw carrots and celery and dressed with a splash of olive oil, which took me about 5 minutes. Added clementines.

Thursdays lunch was the other half of Wednesday's dinner which was seasoned pork steamed for 10 minutes then eggs added at the same time as a dish of spiced shredded cabbage for the last 5 minutes, served with rice. It was lovely hot and equally so cold. Packed the night before so no time needed in the morning.

Friday's lunch was parma ham in granary baguette - very yum. I'd bought the ham the day before to line the moulds for my steamed eggs and picked up two baguettes at Paul, one to go with dinner and one to make lunch. Took me a couple of minutes to put together.

Slow cooked ham & eggs

This simple and lovely supper was a delight. I wanted to steam whole eggs, not a custard, like the traditional en cocotte but not baked - obviously. And they had to be runny yolks if at all possible. I am gaining in confidence with the steam oven and fancied seeing if I could make this work.

Perused various bits of the web and discovered that egg yolks set at 65C and yolks at 63C and the alchemist chefs like Joel Rubuchon cook them at these kind of temperatures for 20-30 minutes, or more. I'm loving this idea - slow cooked egg. I'd been out and bought some parma ham at lunch time, thinking it would make a good lining for the ramekins. I had a little cream left from making the leek pudding and could see how that would be good. But it needed something to make it meld in my imagination. Checked the fridge and spied a block of Parmesan. The man cut me some curls using the vegetable peeler and I was good to go.

The Miele steam oven can be set at different temperatures, in increments of 5C. So I started with 65C - hoping it would err on the side of 63C - and set the clock for 15 minutes. The buzzer went and, oooh, not good. Warm but still an entirely liquid egg. Another 12 minutes, same temperature. The buzzer went and, oooh, still not good. Still warm but still liquid. So, with a decisive stroke, the temperature went up to 100C and the clock to a mere 2 minutes. Voila! Creamy whites, liquid gold yolks. Utterly perfect.

Slow cooked ham & eggs
4 slices parma ham
4 teaspoons thick cream
the leaves from a sprig of thyme
4 curls of Parmesan
4 fresh eggs
Black pepper

Set out 4 ramekins. Line each one with a thin slice parma ham, top it with a spoon of cream. sprinkle that with the thyme leaves, add a curl of Parmesan and a grind of pepper and then break an egg into each dish. Cover each ramekin with a sheet of clingfilm to stop the tops going rubbery.

Heat the steam oven to 65C, cook the ramekins for 25 minutes. Increase the heat to 100C and cook for 2 more minutes.

Eat with a teaspoon!

We had 2 each, with a simple fennel salad and crusty bread on the side and it was perfect. Would also make a great lunch for ladies!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Steamed Leek Pudding

Still very winter in London so craving comfort food as February plods on. Seriously fancied roast beef Sunday with all the trimmings. Found a recipe from HFW in the Guardian for a steamed leek pudding and I was intrigued. Actually it would be fair to say I was utterly intent on making one because a) I love leeks and smoked bacon b) most of Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall's recipes work out a treat and c) I am undeniably a greedy cow and I could imagine how wonderful it might be!

According to ham and pease pudding leek puddings are the traditional accompaniment to stewed meat in the north east. It makes perfect sense for anyone who's ever seen the intensity with which leeks are cultivated, the care lavished daily, the night time vigils to prevent skulduggery, all determined to be the prize winner in local shows. All that attention produces ENORMOUS leeks, the big beasts of the vegetable world, but probably not entirely naturally. Obviously a leek that is over 8cm in diameter would be so tough and stringy it will be inedible, steamed or otherwise. For eating, smaller is sweeter.

I have certainly never made a steamed pudding before and I'm not convinced I have ever eaten from one either. If I have it wasn't memorable. I loved the idea of making suet pastry having previously fallen in love, in winter, with suet dumplings. Suet makes for such a silky mouthful it is irresistable though possibly not entirely good for you.

I am thoroughly enjoying playing with the steam oven from Miele and have used it nearly every day since it arrived. Have mostly made Chinese dishes, it being a cuisine that has a lot of time for steaming but there is a strong tradition too in Britain for steamed puddings, mostly sweet but occasionally savoury too.

The recipe is very simple but I would double the quantities for the filling next time or at the very least use bigger leeks, especially if I was planning to serve it to six. It had a great flavour but there could have been a lot more of it. See c) above.

Leek pudding
HFW sasys 'A north country favourite. Serve it alongside a roast, so the ­tender ­pastry can soak up the meat juices. Serves six as a side dish'.

200g self-raising flour
100g shredded suet (beef or vegetable)
1 tsp English mustard powder (I omitted the mustard as I don't like it)
Salt and pepper
50g butter, plus more for greasing
6 slices unsmoked bacon, cut into 2cm pieces - use 12
3 leeks, white and pale green part only, washed and finely chopped - use 6
70ml double cream - double that to 140ml

Mix the flour and suet with the ­mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper. Combine with just enough water – about 140ml or so – to make a ­stiffish dough.

Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the bacon until just golden. ­Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same pan, gently sauté the leeks in the same fat until soft, move the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.

Roll out the dough into a large ­circle. Cut a quarter out of the circle. Generously butter a one-and-a-half-litre pudding basin and line it by dropping the larger piece of pastry into it, drawing together the cut sides to make a firm join. I didn't know this trick but it worked flawlessly!

Fill with alternating layers of leeks and ­bacon.

Roll out the remaining ­quarter of pastry into a circle and lay it on top. Press together the edges of the pastry lid and casing to seal. Put a double layer of ­buttered, pleated foil over the top and tie in place with string.

Put a large pan of water on to boil (fill the pan with enough water to come a ­little more than halfway up the side of the basin), and place a pan lid or upturned tart tin in the bottom to act as a trivet. Lower the pudding on to the makeshift trivet, cover the pot and leave bubbling away for two hours. If the water gets low, top up with boiling water. I obviously used the steam oven which simply heats to 100C then cooks, with no requirement for more water, for the requisite two hours but if I am to make it again these instructions will come in handy.

Once cooked, remove the foil, run a knife around the edge of the pudding, turn out on to a plate and serve hot.

Sadly this was not great next day cold - the filling remained toothsome but once cold the pastry reverts, like the ugly sisters after the ball, to undesirable stodge.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

B I Y Pork Pie

Last week Ian from Mrs Elizabeth Kings Pork Pie brought a fozen pie to market. For me! It came with instructions on how to bake it and a separate little pouch of jelly. He assured me I was the first person in London to ever have a pie to bake myself. So delighted!

I had read about the company making frozen pies and selling the separate elements so that people could have pork pie whenever they fancied. Asked about it, he told me it had been his grandfathers idea and dubbed them BIY - it was when the fad for DIY was just taking off. This is much better than that though. Instead of ending up with a shoddy shelf you Bake It Yourself and end up with the absolute freshest version of pork pie possible.

Can't begin to tell you how fabulous the smell was that filled the flat as it baked for an hour.

Once it was cooked I served it up hot, as suggested, with lots of steamed veg and the jelly warmed through and spooned on like gravy.

Utterly lovely.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I wanted...I bought...I made

Still spectacularly cold most of the time so wintry things are high on my list, with plenty of steaming continuing. Saturday I am making steamed pork hock and have already ordered one from Charlie at the Ginger Pig. It will be the centrepiece of another Chinese dinner with rice and some veg which turned out to be less than successful - made a stirfry of courgettes with salted duck egg yolks - they looked so pretty in the picture! - but they were oddly grainy and not great. Sunday I am back to trad Brit with rare roast beef and steamed leek pudding, which I am seriously looking forward to fabulous it was too with steamed courgettes and roast potatoes and carrots as the guy at Booths told me they were great cooked that way and he is a man who knows his veg. Monday I think steamed aubergines made a fabulous noodle soup with the stock from cooking the hock some dried noodles, green, the whites from the duck eggs and the last of the meat shredded through it, Tuesday the forecast is for sleet so I'm thinking time for soup steamed smoked bacon and smoked trout in a bowl, a rich and complex for such a simple thing, with rice and a coriander salad, Wednesday steamed eggs again steamed pork with eggs and rice and greens, Thursday tofu steamed eggs en cocotte with fennel salad and crusty bread and Friday we are out.

Cold and busy at Borough early Saturday. Quite a queue at Ginger Pig but a cheerful John was happy to bone out a pork hock dinner Saturday with leftovers for lunch Sunday that Charlie had put aside for me earlier in the week. Sharp knife and talent meant the hock stayed in one piece - would take me a million years to do it myself. Also bought a piece of topside roast Sunday then lunches for a few days and some smoked bacon leek pudding- £17.70

The smoked salmon stall was there and I was delighted to discover they also sell smoked trout dinner Tuesday steamed with smoked bacon from the freezer. Bought half for £7

At Booths I bought potaotes, cabbage, clementines, leeks, garlic and carrots, heritage ones that are deep purple halfway through to their core - £7.50
At Wild Beef I bought eggs and porridge oats - winter is with us for a while yet it seems - £3.50

Had a wander round that section of the market but couldn't find the tofu people - am wondering if they've left
From Gastronomica - who now, finally, have a large corner stall in the centre of the market with a fine display of meats and cheeses I bought a sheet of parma ham meant for steamed eggs but ended up as sandwiches for lunch Saturday - £5

By this point I was seriously cold - my fingers felt like frost bite was setting in despite being encased in leather gloves so made a quick dash to Neals Yard for cream and milk - £7.40

Had bought bread at St John Friday so that was plenty for the weekend so it was back on the bus for home having spent £48.10. Later that day I went to Chinatown and spent another £20 on staples, including a jar of fabulous chilli sauce made crunchy with szechwan peppercorns

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Steamed Pork and Blackbeans

There is a whole series of recipes, mostly in various Chinese cookbooks that I love the sound of but have never made simply because they rely on steaming as the main method of cooking. I have a largish saucepan with a steamer that sits on the top that I have used sporadically but the steamer section is not very big and so works for, say, fish fillets but not much else. So when I am riffling through I tend to stop and think, mmmmm that sounds good and then I turn the page till I find something I can stirfry or simmer on the hob. I'm aware I'm missing out but till now I've not realised quite how much.

Miele very kindly offered to let me trial their steam oven for a couple of weeks and suddenly I had the opportunity to try some of these recipes. I am already a serious fan of Fuschia Dunlop and cook regularly from her books. The steamed recipes probably make close to a fifth of her work so I was expecting good results but, in the same way that following her instructions I finally learned how to make tofu great, trying out the first few steamed recipes have shown me the delight of steaming.

The major discovery for me has been the way steaming creates an extraordinary delicacy of flavour and a new succulent texture, just a complete wow! in every mouthful. Crisp veg stays crispier and the pork in this dish took juicy to a new level. And all so very simple.

Steamed Pork and Blackbeans

500g pork spare rib chops, diced into large cubes
2 tspn light soy sauce
1 tbspn shaoxing wine
2 tspns finely chopped ginger
2 tbspn blackbeans, rinsed
1/2 tspn chilli flakes
2 tspn lard - optional

Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the pork for a minute. Drain.

Put the meat into a heat proof bowl and mix with the soy, shaioxing and ginger. Top with the black beans, chilli and lard if using (I did and it added a lovely mouth feel to the final dish).

Steam any which way for about 40 minutes.

I served it simply with basmati rice and steamed cabbage with ginger for a bowl of food that was richly flavoured and very light at the same time.

Seriously good.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Parsley Butter

A very quick one - just wanted to share. Saturday night I'd been planning to make a steamed marinated salmon dish but when I looked more closely at the recipe - after having bought the ingredients, obviously - I realised it involved marinating the fish for 24 hours in citrus juice which would probably ruin the fish. Would certainly 'cook' it before it came anywhere near heat. So I opted for ultra simple instead. Pan fried the fish skin side down for a crisp crust, then finished it for a couple of minutes in the oven. Steamed broccoli and potatoes to go with and made a simple parsley butter to make the plate special.

The trick with this is that you really want to end up with parsley flecked with butter rather than the other way round for a really intense fresh burst of flavour.

Parsley butter

2 tablespoons roughly choppped flat leaf parsley
20g unsalted butter
Dash lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Put the parsley, butter and seasoning into a pestle bowl and grind till you have a bright green emulsion. Add about half a teaspoon of lemon juice and mix again till it is incorporated.

That's it. Brilliant with the fish would also work a treat with steak or lentils or even melted atop a plain omelette.

Friday, February 05, 2010

I wanted...I bought...I made

A bunch of love from Interflora

We have nothing on through the week this week but I have a new toy for a couple of weeks, as Miele have given me a steam oven to play with. After one simple meal of chinese steamed pork and eggs Thursday night I am smitten. Expect lots of steamy posts in the lead up to Valentines!

I am cooking for Food Chain Sunday so simple Saturday night, fish perhaps pan fried salmon with parsley butter and steamed veg seriously elegant right up to the point where I decided to pick up the pan that had just come out of 200c oven without benefit of potholder, hence no photo of fish with butter as too busy clasping ice. Sunday ultra simple, lentils perhaps as I have been hankering for them of late had a little pork and beans left over from Food Chain so reheated them in the steam oven. Monday I fancy steaming last weeks pork ribs with black bean and chilli had lentils with chorizo and morcilla and made rice pudding in the steam oven for my man, Tuesday will try smoked bacon and tofu wonderful steamed pork, steamed cabbage and rice, Wednesday pasta with purple broccoli cooked the old fashioned way I went to Anchor & Hope and the man got to stay home with fish & chips! Thursday I may well be seduced back to the steam oven as I'd like to try silken tofu and egg omelette steamed eggs, stirfired peppers and rice , Friday sausage sarnies biy pork pie with steamed veg!

This weeks lunches were a bit higgledy piggledy. With nothing leftover from Sunday we both bought lunch Monday variations on Japanese depending on what we get locally, but Tuesday there was lovely leftover lentil that I'd packed into tubs the night before and, for the man, a pot of rich rice pudding which delights him but which for me is redolent of nothing so much as sick in a bowl. I loathed it as a child and a single spoonful was enough to bring that repulsion flooding back. Wednesday there was leftover pork and rice, again already packed and waiting along with the single tub of rice pudding. Thursday there was only fruit and rice pudding for the man, I get to buy hot chorizo roll from Whitecross Street so not exactly a hardship, Friday leftover egg, rice and peppers. With what we spent Monday I could have bought a little chicken, roasted it and served it for the days lunch was missing but sometimes it's nice to shop for lunch at the caff ...
Saturday at Borough was cold. After what felt like the balmy heights of 8C Friday it was a bit of a shock. At least it seems possible now that spring will come.
Ginger Pig was busy already. Bought some pork mince, smoked bacon and a pigs trotter for a good array of piggy treats for a mere £7.35
Then to Monmouth who had an enormous queue for hot coffee and no-one buying beans so I snuck in there and bought beans - £10

Booths sell a huge variety of potatoes - common ones like maris piper and king edwards and lots of ones I know almost nothing about. Wanted to steam some so asked which would be best and was recommended an old fashioned Scottish type so bought those as well as broccoli some oranges and clementines, shining brightly against the gloom, spent £4.30

Eggs from Wild Beef - £1.50

Sustainably farmed salmon from Furness - £6.70

Searched briefly in the Green Market but couldn't find the tofu seller and didn't have time to try harder

Bought onions and parsley from Ted's veg but no cauliflower as they lost their crop to the frost, turned to black slime sadly - £1.60

Heading back out stopped for a quick chat with Ian at Mrs Elizabeth King's pork pie stall and he greeted us with an enormous grin and told us he had something for us. For ages now he's been promising to bring me one of their frozen pork pies that you cook yourself and then add the jelly, which is the bit that really appeals to me! But each week he forgets so it has become a running joke between us. He promised last time that he'd write it on the back of his hand. Must have done as he proudly presented me with a pie he'd stored in the freezer at Silfield next to his stand
and told me we are the first in London to be able to bake our own pork pie fromt their shop. Yay! And then he was charming enough to tell me there was no cost as we'd been so patient. So it seems patience really is rewarded sometimes.

At Neals Yard they had short dated sheep yoghurt which I love so grabbed a tub as well as milk and cream - £9.70

That was all for the week as I had a frozen loaf of bread from last week for toast so spent a mere £41.15

Monday, February 01, 2010

Rhubarb and Kings Ginger Fool

Found this recipe in the Independent last weekend when we'd taken ourselves out to The Bear for Sunday lunch and a peruse of the pile of papers that are always available. I'm taken with the notion of a fool as a name for dessert. A while ago I read about them in an article extolling their simplicity and lushness but it was not till now that I actually got around to understanding what they are and getting together the very simple ingredients needed to make one. A precursor of trifle, they are in essence a means of showcasing fruit, and rhubarb (though a vegetable) is one of my favourite things in the world.

The clincher for me actually making this one though was the use of The King's Ginger. It sounded so delightfully exotic and turns out to be a preparation made by Berry Bros and Rudd for King Edward VII when, at the request of the King's doctor, it was produced as a warming drink for His Majesty to take after winter morning rides in his new horseless carriage. Made to Berrys' own recipe, The King's Ginger Liqueur is an ideal winter drink, and the label promises it is most suitable for bon viveurs and high spirited ladies. How could I resist?

Rhubarb & Kings Ginger Fool

For the rhubarb compote
300g rhubarb, trimmed, washed and chopped into rough 1cm chunks
100g caster sugar

For the fool
100-120ml Kings Ginger Liqueur
The juice of half a lemon
50g caster sugar
300ml double cream

First, make the rhubarb compote. Put the rhubarb and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and cook on a low heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring every so often until the rhubarb is tender. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then refrigerate for an hour.

For the fool, mix the lemon juice and sugar together. Then add the cream and whip the mixture slowly with an electric whisk or by hand until thick; then add the Kings Ginger and continue mixing until it thickens again. Then taste and add a little more of the liqueur if you wish.

Carefully fold half of the compote into the cream mixture and spoon into individual glasses or a serving dish and chill for at least an hour.

Serve with the rest of the compote on top of the fool.

Really easy, really fabulous.