All in due season

05 October 2018

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SLOWLY, the temperature is falling, and autumnal colours come through. Bountiful harvest produce is available, and our meals get more substantial. The other day, I made Taramasalata with some smoked roes, as I wanted them to be a little more than mashed on to brown toast. Any roes can be used.

250g (9 oz) smoked cod roe
3 shallots
1 small clove of garlic
½ teaspoon ground fenugreek (optional)
90g (3 oz) ground almonds
1 tablespoon sparkling water
200ml (7 fl. oz) virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
flat-leaf parsley
ground black pepper
 

Place the roe, shallots, and garlic into a food processor and run the motor at the slowest speed to form them into a paste. (Alternatively, you can mash the solid ingredients together, then use a balloon whisk.)

Incorporate the fenugreek and almonds, then the water to loosen it. Now, as if making mayonnaise and with the motor running (or you whisking), drizzle in the olive oil as slowly as you can. Once it appears to have substance, stop, and taste. Mix in a little of the lemon juice, and add more depending on how sharp you want the flavour to be. This should be a balance of the salty fish, sweetness from the shallot and almond, and the lemon to bring it all together.

By hand, stir in the lemon zest and a few twists of black pepper, tasting for balance again.

Roughly chop some parsley and scatter over the top. Serve with warm brown toast.

The Jewish New Year feast of Rosh Hashanah fell last month, and is a happy celebration of autumn. Honey Cake often features, and, as I notice a certain royal grocer on Piccadilly is running a honey promotion at the moment, it seems to call for a recipe. This also makes a great pudding with Greek yogurt and a few figs.
 

250g (9 oz) butter (unsalted)
450g (1 lb) (whole jar) runny honey
450g (1 lb) plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
200g (7 oz) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons mixed spice
300ml (10 fl. oz) milk
2 eggs
100g (3½ oz) pecan nuts
 

Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5; grease and line a 25cm (10-inch) (round) tin.

Heat the butter and honey together in a saucepan on a gentle heat.

Mix together the flour, powders, sugar, and spice in a large mixing bowl. Once happily melted and combined, remove the butter/honey mixture from the heat; cool a little then add the milk.

Beat the eggs and add to the dry ingredients with the syrup mixture. Whisk together until smooth, stir through the pecans, and pour everything into the greased, lined tin.

Cook for between 1¼ and 1½ hours. The cake will rise during cooking but fall as it cools; you also want the middle to be a bit sticky. Cool in the tin completely then remove, and enjoy.

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