Langoustine and Tomato Tagliatelle!

The allotment is knocking out some great produce at the moment, especially tomatoes. So I thought I’d try a Marcus Wareing recipe. Langoustine from our local fish monger, well I say local, 7ish miles away, can you believe we live on the east coast of Durham and there’s one fish monger of I know. Anyway I digress, tomatoes, shallots, basil, chili and garlic from our allotment. Tell ya what, it was bluming gorgeous!

Chop a good handful of cherry (sized) tomatoes in half.

Chop up a couple cloves of garlic.

Chop a chilli into small pieces, leave in seeds if you want a bit of heat.

Chop a shallot up into small bits.

Finely slice 2 Basil leaves.

Ok, drop a couple of nests of Tagliatelle into boiling water. Fry the garlic and shallots in a frying pan with a splash olive oil. After a couple of minutes put in the tomatoes for a few minutes while you cook your Langoustines separately. Add the cooked Langoustine, then the basil and chilli. When Tagliatelle is al-dente, drain off water and add to the sauce. Mix in the pasta and serve.

Homegrown Roasted Tomato Soup

It’s started – the polytunnel is producing fruit. As usual, we planted too many tomato plants. We got Shirley’s, Beef, Money Makers, the purple cherry etc. However, Mrs Hiker isn’t a big lover of them so we have a couple of months of lots of tomatoes. So, I have come up with a basic recipe for a soup. Here goes:


A good handful of assorted tomatoes.

A glug of olive oil

Sea salt, ground pepper, mixed dried herbs

A vegetable stock pot

You’ll probably see I’ve thrown a green pepper and a courgette in for good measure too

All I do is get a roasting pan and pour some olive oil on the bottom. Chop the tomatoes etc in half and space out evenly. Season with the salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Whack in the oven for half hour on 180°c. Boil 500ml of water and make the stock. Once fruit is roasted blitz with the stock. Jobs a good ‘un!

Serve with rosemary focaccia which I’m sure I’ve blogged before!

Homegrown Cabbage Soup

One of our first harvests has been cabbage this year at our allotment. But, due to their size pulling one means we have to come up with a good few recipes to make the most of the whole head. Some of the outer leaves get thrown in the chicken cree and they enjoy them enormously.  As well as using a good few leaves for our Sunday Dinner I searched for a decent cabbage soup online.  Ingredients:

2 small onions
2 chicken stock pots
Large cabbage (not white)
Tin chopped tomatoes
Tsp cinnamon
2 Tsp ground cummin
2 tsp ground corridor
Tsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper

Sweat down onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil while you chop the cabbage. Add cabbage to reduce for 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, puree and spices along with the 2 stock pots in a litre of water and summer for 20-30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

I reckon this would be spot on for all cabbages apart from white cabbage.  Hope you enjoy  it, and…apparently its good for you digestion!👍

Rosemary and Parmesan Focaccia

Obviously this isn’t my own personal recipe but one borrowed from a decent northern chef!

Anyway, back to some cooking.

Get your ingredients sorted:

375g strong white bread flour 

7g of yeast

About 225ml lukewarm water 

40ml olive oil, maybe a bit more to tart it up at the end.

50g Parmesan cheese.

Slack hand full of Rosemary leaves and keep your sea salt handy.

Putting it all together:

Put flour into mixing bowl, put the yeast on one side and some salt on’t other (they don’t mix raw).  Make a well in the middle and add a bit of the water and oil and mix it up. Add the rest of the water and oil and make a stretchy dough. Kneed it on a floured surface till your arms ache a bit (15 mins) . You can use a mixer if you are a lazy git. 

When it’s nice and stretchy and your hands an’t got any of the mix stuck to them. Put some oil in a bowl and put the dough in, brush some oil on’t top with a fancy brush like I bought owa lass for Christmas. Put some cling film on’t top and let it prove for what seems ages, but about an hour!

When it’s got about twice as big, put it on an oiled baking tray, make it onto a rectangle sort of shape, flattening it a bit. Brush some more olive oil on and cover again for about half hour, till it’s got about twice as big!

Pre heat stove on about 200°c.

After a bit, give the dough a good old prod and sprinkle the Rosemary leaves on top and grate the cheese on it. Seems like there’s loads of cheese but bear with me. Put it all on and some more salt. I didn’t say it was healthy did I!?

Whack in’t stove for about 20-25mins or until golden brown.  

If you want, drizzle a bit more olive oil on when you take it out.

I’ve got some chilli olive oil to dip it in or some marinated feta cheese with chili, garlic and basil oil to dip it in! Find the recipe here

Roast Pepper and Tomato Soup

Found this recipe on line but it looks quite healthy, uses up peppers and tomatoes that are on’t turn.

800 grams tomatoes (preferrably left to ripen in a sunny kitchen and then halved or quartered depending on the size, or left whole if cherry tomatoes)

1 large onion (cut into chunky slices)

2 red peppers (deseeded and cut into chunky pieces)

6 cloves garlic (left whole in skins)

olive oil (a generous drizzle)

sea salt

black pepper

500 millilitres vegetable stock 

tabasco (a few dashes, to taste)


Preheat the oven to 200C
Add the tomatoes, red peppers, onion and garlic to a baking tray, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil. Mix it all around with your hands.

Bake for about 30-45 minutes until the veg are sweet and just slighly charred

Bring the stock to the boil and add the Worcestershire and tabasco sauces

Pick out the garlic from the roasted vegetables and squeeze the juicy garlic flesh out into the stock, discarding the skinsAdd the rest of the vegetables

Puree using a hand blender, but not too smooth – a bit of texture is very nice here.

Thrifty Chicken Noodle Soup

I think almost everyone is being thrifty with everything they do in life now, perhaps more so with food than anything else.  So when it comes to Sunday dinner we generally look for seasonal veg the day before that have been ‘woopsied’ and cheap as chips (forgive the pun).chicken-stock-3-method-4.jpg


We do however go to the local butcher for our meat.  I can hear people saying “the butchers are well expensive!” and I do agree, however I am a firm believer of keeping local shops busy and open.  The other reason we use our very local butcher (100 metres away from Casa De Hyde) is the quality is loads better.  Take a chicken for example, we strip the bird down to the very bare bone, making use of everything, giblets included.  The amount of meat we get off a butcher bought chicken nearly doubles the meat from a supermarket, I promise.  The meat does us about 3 or 4 different meals with a few bits that I use for the following meal.20140929-chicken-stock-vicky-wasik-13.jpg

After the chicken is stripped down, the carcass goes straight into a pan of boiling water and left to simmer for about an hour.  Sieve the contents of the pan and you can freeze the stock for another day or use straight away.

I whacked the stock into a large pan and added boiling water.  A half-used bag of egg noodles took the plunge at this point and some red pepper and spring onion from the freezer was added.  I stole some of the prepped veg from the planned Sunday dinner and put in the pan.  We picked some early wild garlic the day before so I chopped that up and threw that in too.  A frozen green chili was chopped up into very small pieces and went in too.  My other half is not partial to chicken leg meat (I know she’s a bit weird) so seeing as this pot is for me only, shredded everything but breast meat went in with seasoning to taste.  Boiled until the noodles were cooked and the jobs a good ‘un!



As you see by the pictures I got 4 takeaway sized portions from this pot which I use for my baits at work.  While most of my work mates are forking our £3-£4 a meal from the local eatery, I’ve spent about 70 pence on the noodles, plus the leftovers probably costing about 50 pence a tub.  Plus, you know exactly where all the food is from as its been cooked from scratch.


Smoked Trout and Horseradish Pate

A month or so ago a close friend gave me a nice Rainbow Trout he’d bagged in Lunedale in the season, I had it in the freezer until we got some decent weather to smoke it. I looked at the weather and saw it was going to be relatively dry but a tad windy. I left the trout to defrost overnight and got stuck in today.

I put together my curing mix, using salt and brown sugar, roughly equal parts then cracked some pepper into the mix and a dash of Paprika. The mix was rubbed into the cleaned trout making sure to cover every inch and put it into a Tupperware box and in the fridge to cure while we took Alfie (Springer Spaniel) out for a nice breezy walk and a quick food shop.

I’m still a curing novice but I’m fine tuning my technique as I don’t want the fish to be too salty, so after about 4 hours curing I washed the mix off the trout off and dried it off.

The smoker was set away which proved bloody hard in the wind but I managed to get a log burning away and left it to break down and smoulder. After a short while the log was starting to lose its flame and the smoker was getting nice and hot, ready for me to sprinkle some Oak wood chippings over and pop the trout in on the grid above. I closed the inlet grill and the chimney and watched the smoker do its job. The smell is gorgeous and I just stand there and inhale the smoke that is quite powerful, it’s like walking through a small village full of old houses with real fires.

25 minutes later a quick peek reveals a nicely smoked fish which was brought in and it was my job to pick the lovely smoky creamy flakes off the bone. It is a bit time consuming but worth it.

With the fish stripped down, Alfie did manage to get a few bits that fell in the ‘drop zone’, the next step is all down to taste. On this occasion, I used soured cream (I’ve used cream cheese before which works well) a jar of creamy horse radish and a squeeze of lemon. Whacked in a food processor adding a little of the cream and horse radish, a crack of pepper and sea salt and the jobs a good ‘un.20170225_150530.jpg

My tip is sometimes recipes say cure overnight, however when I did, the fish came out too salty, but it’s all down to taste.