Favourite Five Mustard Recipes

Spadeforkspoon Favourite FiveMustard is a great ingredient offering piquancy to many a dish. It is a member of the Brassica family of plants which has tiny round edible seeds as well as tasty leaves. Its English name, mustard, comes from a contraction of the Latin mustum ardens meaning burning must. This refers to the spicy heat of the crushed mustard seeds and the French practice of mixing the ground seeds with must, the young, unfermented juice of wine grapes. Although mustard was considered a medicinal plant initially, it has become a staple of many food cultures. Prepared mustard dates back thousands of years to the early Romans, who used to grind mustard seeds and combine them with wine to form a paste not much different from the prepared mustards we have today. It’s a store cupboard essential and here are my favourite five uses of mustard.

Mustard Soup  – This is a delicious soup which I first tasted in Amsterdam. It combines the piquancy and texture of wholegrain mustard with a silky smooth creme fraiche based liquor. Simple to make and a great winter warmer.

Cheese and Mustard Scones – Cheese scones are one of life’s little pleasures; especially so when served warm and the butter melted slightly on top. The addition of a little grain mustard really brings out the cheesiness, and gives them a slightly more sophisticated flavour. My son has recently been diagnosed as coeliac, so this recipe is for gluten free scones, but the addition of mustard to your usual cheese scone recipe would work. Combine 275g gf plain flour, 50g ground almonds, 3tsp baking powder, 2 tsp xanthum gum and 1 tsp salt in bowl and rub 100g butter into the dry mix to make breadcrumbs. Add 100g of whatever cheese you have around (generally cheddar and Parmesan in our case). Combine 2 eggs with a tbsp wholegrain mustard and 125ml yoghurt. Pour this into breadcrumb mix and bring the ingredients together with a fork. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and flatten to 3cm thick, before cutting out into scone shapes. Transfer onto a baking sheet, brush the tops with a little milk and grate a little more cheese on top. Cook for 10 minutes at 220 °C. Leave to cool slightly before eating.

Piccalilli – This has been my food revelation of the year. For years I’ve seen the yellow pots of Piccalilli on sale and thought they looked over processed and not too tempting. Then early in 2013 I had a dish in Bridport which had a delicious Piccalilli accompanying pig’s head croquettes. It just worked so well. So, when I had a glut of veg at the plot, I made some of my own and it’s been in constant use ever since. As well as vegetables from the plot, it uses a combination of English mustard powder and mustard seeds to make a simple punchy preserve.

Mustard mash – A simple use of wholegrain mustard to give the humble mash a bit of a twist. Boil, drain and mash your potatoes, before adding a knob of butter and a spoonful of wholegrain mustard. It goes brilliantly with sausages, but would work with other meats too.

Mustard and Honey Dressing – This is our ‘go-to’ dressing. Throughout most of the year we have a jar of this in the fridge. It’s speedy to make, lasts a few days, and really compliments a range of salad leaves. To make, just add the following to a jar with a screw-top lid: 3tbsp olive oil, 1tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 clove of garlic crushed, 1/2 tbsp honey, pinch of salt and sugar and a few twists of black pepper. Cap and shake vigorously to emulsify. It can be easily upsized for the summer months, when there isn’t a day that goes by without salad featuring on our plates.

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What ways do you use mustard in your cooking?

 

 

 

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Marmalade Memories

Foods can be amazing at recalling memories; the smell of certain ingredients, or the taste of others can take you back to a different time or place. Whenever I have marmalade on crispy thick cut white toast, it takes me into my grandparents’ kitchen and sharing breakfast with my Grandpa. I love the dark and slightly bitter taste of good marmalade, its a real treat in the morning.

You will need (makes 5-6 450ml jars)

1kg Seville Oranges
75ml Lemon Juice
2kg Demerara Sugar

20140202-091847.jpgGive the oranges a good clean and remove the buttons at the top of the fruit, then cut in half. Squeeze out the juice and keep it to one side. I’ve found that the seville oranges need to have some of the pith from inside the skin removed, which I do using a spoon and scraping away the thicker parts. Using a sharp knife, slice the peel, pith and all, into shreds, according to your preference. Put the sliced peel into a bowl with the juice of the oranges and cover with 2.5 litres of water. Leave to soak overnight.marmalde making

Pour the whole mixture into a preserving pan and simmer until the fruit is tender (about 2 hours), before adding the sugar and the lemon juice. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Boil rapidly until setting point is reached, about 20-25 minutes. Take off the heat. Leave to cool for 8-10 minutes to help the chunks to be distributed evenly. Pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Over the years I have eaten three-fruit, fine-shred, lime, even ginger infused marmalade; but chunky classic marmalade has always taken me back to my Grandpa’s kitchen. What are your marmalade memories?

Piccalilli from the Plot

The allotment is still producing large amounts of cucumbers and courgettes, and there are still the last few green beans too. This reminded me that some of this produce should be preserved in order to keep the plot providing into the autumn and winter. I’m a fan of chutneys and pickles. They are both a great way of using up a glut at the plot, and a delicious (and vital) component to any cheese and cold meat dish. The Festive Period is not the same without a chutney or pickle.

During a mini break in April, my wife and I stayed at the fantastic Bull Hotel in Bridport and enjoyed some amazing pigs head croquettes, accompanied by piccalilli. It was a delicious dish and I’d like to recreate some time. I can’t very easily get hold of a pigs head, but the crop of cucurbits at the allotment have provided me worth the ingredients for an allotment piccalilli.

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the word piccalilli to the middle of the 18th century when, in 1758, Hannah Glasse described how “to make Paco-Lilla, or India Pickle”. The use of spices like cumin, coriander and turmeric give the pickle an Indian feel and vibrant colour, but it is an archetypal English preserve.

As a fan of Pam Corbin’s River Cottage Handbook: Preserves; I based my own piccalilli on her recipe, using a combination of courgettes, cucumbers and dwarf green beans as the vegetable content.

What you will need
1kg washed/peeled crunchy veg
50g fine salt
30g cornflour
10g ground turmeric
10g English mustard powder
15g mustard seeds
1tsp crushed cumin seeds
1tsp crushed coriander seeds
600ml cider vinegar
150g granulated sugar
50g honey

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Cut the vegetables into even bite sized pieces. As I said, I used courgettes, cucumber and dwarf beans (but you could use pretty much anything). Sprinkle with salt, mix well, cover and leave in a cool place for 24 hours. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and drain to remove as much water as possible.

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Blend spices and cornflour to a smooth pasted with some of the vinegar. Put the rest of the vinegar, sugar and honey in a pan and bring to the boil. Pour some of the hot vinegar over the spicy paste, stir well and return to the pan. Bring gently to the boil for 3-4 minutes to thicken and flavour the sauce.

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Remove the pan from the heat and carefully fold the vegetables into the hot, spicy sauce. Pack the pickle into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately. Pam Corbin recommends leaving the piccalilli for 4-6 weeks before eating (to allow the flavours to mature), but that was too long to wait, so a week later I opened the deliciously fragrant and crunchy pickle to accompany a nice ham sandwich.

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