South Leigh Seasonal Recipes

There are so many good things to eat from the garden in these last few weeks of summer and early autumn that it's hard to keep up with it all. I'm still picking raspberries and made these muffins with some of the fruit that didn't make it as far as the freezer - needless to say, the muffins didn't make it into the freezer either but then they are particularly delicious when they are still warm from the oven!

I recently read that the sale of potatoes has been falling over the last few years in favour of rice and noodles! So, in support of the humble (but in my opinion, magnificent) potato I have included a favourite potato dish that is perfect for an autumnal evening and can be rustled up in no time. E.L.
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Smoked Mackerel and Potato Gratin

1 kg floury potatoes, such as King Edward’s or Maris Piper, peeled
1 onion, peeled and sliced
300ml full cream milk
300ml double cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp salt
freshly chopped parsley
300g peppered smoked mackerel fillets, skin removed

Cut the potatoes into thick slices and place in a large pan with the onion, milk, cream, garlic and salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until the potatoes are just tender. Arrange half the potato and onion mixture over the base of an ovenproof dish. Break the mackerel into chunks and arrange on top of the potatoes, sprinkle with parsley, then top with the remaining potatoes. When ready to cook, heat the oven to 200ºC / Gas 6 and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until bubbly and browned. Leave in a warm place for 5 - 10 minutes before serving.
Raspberry and Vanilla Muffins (Makes 6 large muffins)

For the muffins:
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
125g caster sugar
100g butter, melted
150ml full fat milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g fresh or frozen raspberries (do not defrost)

For the topping:
50g butter, cubed
50g plain flour
30g dark muscovado sugar
pinch salt

Heat the oven to 190ºC / Gas 5. Line a deep muffin pan with 6 large paper muffin cups.

To make the topping: Place the butter, flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and quickly rub in the butter. You could do this with a fork as you do not want to overwork the mixture – it should remain quite lumpy.

To make the muffins: Combine the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and caster sugar until they are light and fluffy then gradually stir in the melted butter, milk and vanilla essence. Fold this mixture into the dry flour - being careful not to over mix - then finally stir in the raspberries.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cases - the cases should be quite full - then sprinkle about a tablespoon of the crumble mix over each.

Bake for 30 -35 mins until they are well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean.

Note: for speed, ease or fewer calories, you can skip the crumble topping but taste tests confirm that it does make the muffins exceedingly yummy.