Seasonal South Leigh Recipes

Sticky Apple Sauce Cake with Whisky Caramel Sauce (Serves 8 - 10)

For the apple sauce:
300g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
a knob of butter
50g caster sugar
For the cake:
100g butter
175g light soft brown sugar
3 tblsp golden syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the sauce:
100g dark soft brown sugar
100g butter
2 tblsps whisky (rum, calvados or brandy)
200ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 190ºC / Gas 5. Grease and line a 23cm spring-sided cake tin. Prepare the apple sauce: place the apples, a knob of butter and the caster sugar in a saucepan. Add 50ml water, cover and cook over a gentle heat until they are soft and fluffy, stirring frequently to prevent the apples catching! Beat well to make a smooth apple sauce.

To make the cake, beat the butter and soft brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the golden syrup, eggs and vanilla extract and mix well. Don't worry if it is a little bit curdled at this point. Carefully fold the self-raising flour into the mixture.

Next, the alchemy! Add the bicarbonate of soda to the apple sauce which will cause the sauce to bubble up. Whilst this is happening, quickly mix the sauce into the cake mixture. Pour into the cake tin and bake for approx. 30 minutes or until the cake is dark golden-brown and springy to the touch.

To make the whiskey caramel sauce, place the dark soft brown sugar and butter into a saucepan and cook gently until the sugar has melted. Pour in the cream and whisky (or other spirit) and simmer gently for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly. Serve the cake and sauce slightly warm.
Smoked Haddock, Bean & Leek Soup (Serves 4-6)

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 leeks, trimmed, rinsed and sliced
olive oil
1 litre fish or vegetable stock (not too salty)
400g can cannellini or butter beans
350g undyed smoked haddock, skinned, de-boned and cut into 2cm chunks
100g French beans, cut into 4cm lengths
black pepper
freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
freshly chopped parsley

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion and leeks until soft but not brown. Heat the stock to boiling point in a medium-sized saucepan and add the French beans. Simmer for 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add half the canned beans and their liquid to the pan and mash roughly. Add the remaining canned beans and their liquid together with the cooked onions and leeks. Cover and cook for another few minutes.
When nearly ready to serve, add the fish and cook gently until the flesh becomes white. Season with plenty of black pepper - you probably won't need salt as the fish is salty - and a squeeze or two of lemon juice, to taste. Return the French beans to the soup and sprinkle in the chopped parsley. Serve in warmed bowls.
Fresh Tomato and Lemongrass Soup (Serves 4-6)

500g firm, fresh tomatoes
1 lemongrass stalk
1 red chilli
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 slices fresh ginger
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
1-2 tsps fish sauce
a squeeze of lemon juice, if needed
fresh coriander, to serve

Roughly chop the fresh tomatoes. Bash the lemongrass stalk with a rolling pin or hammer and cut into pieces. Slice the chilli in two, lengthways, removing some of the seeds - leaving some seeds will give the soup a pleasant kick. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Add all the prepared ingredients and simmer gently for 10 minutes. When the tomatoes have softened, mash them gently with a potato masher.
Pour the soup into a large sieve, over a second saucepan or bowl, and gently push through with a wooden spoon, leaving all the tomato skins and seed etc. in the sieve.
Taste the soup - it should be light and fragrant. Season with fish sauce and add a squeeze of lemon juice, if needed. Serve hot or chilled with chopped coriander.