For those among you who don't possess a deep-fry, but long for chips, these potatoes are perfect. The scrubbed potatoes are left unpeeled and cut into large wedge-shaped chips, with each wedge having some of the skin attached. The skin on each piece of potato is important as it prevents them from sticking to the roasting tray and, of course, also has a delicious crispy flavour. When buying potatoes, if possible, buy them unwashed as the soil will keep in the flavour and nutrients. Serve the potatoes with roast and grilled meat, poultry or fish. They are a great accompaniment to a warm salad, and you can ring the changes with the use of different herbs.
These cucumbers are immensely popular. Serve with cold meats, pates and terrines, smoked fish, sandwiches, spiced beef and with a sharp and mature cheddar cheese. The pickle keeps well in the fridge, though it does lose its bright green colour. I like to slice the cucumbers and onions really thinly for a more melting and tender result. There will be some of the pickling liquid left after the cucumbers are eaten. I like to save this and use it for sprinkling on thinly sliced onions for an instant pickle.
Many people believe that preparing and cooking beetroot is a long and wearisome process. Not the case here, where the beets are simply peeled in their raw state, grated and dressed and then ready to eat. I use an Irish goat's cheese such as St Tola or Ardsallagh in this salad. A few rocket leaves and/or mint leaves could also be added to this salad for a fresh green twist.
These thin, crisp and delicious biscuits have many different uses. The original recipe comes from Chez Panisse in Berkeley in California. I was lucky enough to spend a month in the kitchens there a few years ago. I tasted these biscuits there and have adjusted the recipe slightly to suit our measurements and ingredients in this part of the world. They can be served with tea and coffee. They are good with ice cream and sorbets. They are fine enough to be served as a petit four. I also serve them with a Blackberry and Apple Fool in the autumn and Mango Fool in winter. They are very handy as the slab of uncooked biscuit keeps in the freezer and you slice off thin sheets and cook them as needed.
This is one of those recipes that somehow is greater than the sum of its parts. Raspberries, sugar and cream - three easy to source ingredients that produce a rich and luscious result. When available and in season, I use fresh raspberries. However this is excellent made with frozen berries and I have not quite decided yet if it is not actually better made with the frozen fruit. Soft fruit becomes tarter when frozen and this seems to accentuate the flavour when the fool is made with the frozen berries. Serve vanilla shortbread biscuit with the fool. If you have some of the fool left over, freeze it and serve as a raspberry ice.
I like to give myself every chance of success and when I know that I have the correct amount of ingredients in my bowl that is already a good start. Biscuits and pastries are much less forgiving than, say, a slow-cooked stew, so cooking times are also crucial. Here the rules and guidelines really matter and because I think this is such a marvellous recipe, I would really like it to work properly for you so that it might become a most useful part of your repertoire. This biscuit punches above its weight in terms of texture and flavour. It is a classic example of the value of using butter and, where possible, the value of eating a buttery biscuit or pastry on the day it is made. If you make this biscuit with salted butter it will taste like an Irish or English delight, if you use unsalted butter, it tastes more of France or Italy. There may be better biscuit recipes than this but there are few that are so straightforward, and reward so generously for such a small amount of effort.