The Russians are coming…

A collection of photos of things going on here in the last couple of weeks, not quite an In  My Kitchen but almost, seedlings on windowsills, shopping expedition to Bristol Sweet Mart, suggestions for my purchases welcome, particularly what to do with that apricot paste! 

New table mats from John Lewis and a couple of little rolling pins sourced in Bristol Sweet Mart; fennel seed comfits, a tiny hit of sugar surrounding wonderful fennel seeds.  An attempt at the Light Spelt Rough Puff Pastry recipe (used Swiss Dark not spelt as had none)  from Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard –  squares topped with roast butternut squash, red peppers, tarragon, asparagus and mozzarella. I forgot the egg glaze to the top but they were scoffed down in seconds anyway.

Ridiculously red Yorkshire rhubarb which was turned into a crumble; a giant Pomelo fruit; slice of everyone’s favourite Nigel Slater Marmalade cake and a bowl of lurid South American (home grown) purple potatoes, seed potatoes another gift from Niptininthebud (she’s a bit busy at the moment, have a peek at her blog!)  labneh draining in muslin which ended up being mixed into a divine avocado dip.

The Russians?  My tomato seeds, some very early varieties from The Real Seed Catalogue with smallish fruits that are very early, hoping to beat the blight this year. It’s fun to try different things. I have root parsley to grow, oca tubers from Rhizowen and Carl Legge to try out, so kind of them to share,  and Cherokee beans and all sorts, the only question for me is where to fit them in…. Click on any of the thumbnails to see the photos bigger.

Edit : Ha! Too funny! I was just looking at The Real Seed Catalogue and one of the Russian tomatoes is in fact from Moscow, Idaho; the Latah one, the other one is Siberian – Urbikany – Have a read here . Have a lovely Sunday everyone !

35 thoughts on “The Russians are coming…

  1. Suelle

    Lovely photos! You have been busy!

    What did you think of the spelt rough puff? I’ve been looking at that pastry since we tried the basic rough puff just before Christmas. did the spelt add much to the flavour?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Suelle! I refer to it as the spelt pastry otherwise it gets confusing, [I’ve amended the post] but I used Swiss dark (the light wholemeal from Shipton) as my spelt flour had gone rancid. I didn’t notice particularly that it added that much. I used tarragon for the green herb on the top, so there were a lot of strong flavoured elements going on. I am not a big spelt user usually as I never seem to get through a bag quickly enough. I suppose I should find space in the freezer for these flours but my freezer is crowded!

      1. Suelle

        I think i misread your original post – I’m sure you would have made it clear that you didn’t use spelt! ;)

        1. Joanna Post author

          You didn’t :) I gave the recipe’s name, rather than detail what I did here, as this was just a magazine sort of post rather than a specific baking post. I haven’t written a post about making this rough puff, I’ve had one go at this one and I did the sausage roll pastry which I think was similar back at Christmas.

          I don’t think the spelt defines the pastry though, Dan says you can use spelt or wholemeal flour which is what I did and gives lots of suggestions for toppings and how to use it which are very useful.

  2. heidi

    It is a magazine sort of In My Kitchen post. Very smart looking and quite enjoyable.
    I make a very sweet roll dough, roll it into a large rectangle,cut the edges into parallel strips, load the center with apricot paste and almonds, then lattice the strips from the sides over the middle and bake up a breakfast roll. A light glaze of confectionery sugar and water drizzled on top and it is quite pretty and delicious.
    And I love your purple potatoes and am excited about the Russian tomatoes.
    Thanks- this was fun!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Heidi! I just described your apricot roll to Brian and he grinned hopefully, so I think that I will give it a go. He would love apricot almond bars for breakfast ( or lunch!). I am very excited about the tomatoes, one of them is a type called centiflor (not sure if that is one of the Russians, the Russians are the bush sort) and has lots of little tomatoes on one stem apparently, so I am cosseting them along on the windowsill. I need to put the remainder of the seeds into plugs now I have seen that these ones germinated so well. The purple potatoes were so vivid, that’s them after being boiled and peeled, but very very dry in texture and we found they were best boiled and then fried. I will draw a discreet veil over my attempt to make gnocchi with them :(

  3. sallybr

    Loved this post, and the glimpse on your kitchen and recent adventures….

    the rye pastry dough got my interest, of course – as well as the fennel confit, I love anything fennel, although licorice is one of my least favorite things, I cannot stomach it. Go figure ;-)

    have a lovely Sunday!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I love liquorice and fennel, but fennel is definitely a more refined taste Sally :) Hope you’re having a lovely birthday xx

  4. C

    Lots of lovely, interesting things in your kitchen at the moment. I think I have accepted that for the moment I am one of life’s buyers rather than growers, but I look forward to hearing how you get on with your tomatoes :-) Particularly love those purple potatoes – do they keep their colour after being cooked?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi C! Yes they do keep their colour, that is them after I have boiled and peeled them ! Aren’t they amazing?

  5. gillthepainter

    Is it your birthday today, Sally. Happy birthday to you.

    Fabulous spring-in-your-step fottos, Joanna.
    I’ve never heard of fennel comfits before, but like you both I adore aniseed flavours.

    We’re having lemon thyme chicken and fennel for our supper this evening.

    1. Joanna Post author

      The little comfits ( I don’t know their Asian name) are often on the table in Indian restaurants to eat at the end of the meal to sweeten your breath I think. Supper sounds delicious Gill :)

  6. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Lovely photos, Jo! You’ve got so much going on in your kitchen at the moment! I used the apricot paste in a danish, but apparently it’s normally used to make a beverage. There’s a photo at the bottom of this post:

    Here’s what I found courtesy of google re using it in a drink:

    Apricot paste may also be dried into a thin, leathery sheet, which is known as ameerdine, kem-reddine or qamar el-deen in the Middle East. Dissolved in boiling water, it makes a fruit drink that is often served before and after the day-long fast during Ramadan.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hee hee,, I can see my comments on your post and my desire for your Danish too…. Thank goodness for your good memory, mine is rubbish these days. Not sure about the drink though… it would be very sweet, but I guess that is what you crave if you have been fasting. Now… what about that date molasses ? I am sure I have seen that on your blog, I will go and have a look once I have had supper xx

        1. Joanna Post author

          Thank you! I look forward to reading more datey posts and will keep my jar closed till then ;)

  7. cityhippyfarmgirl

    They are the two that caught my eye too. The apricot paste and date molasses… sweet and incredibly delicious I would think!
    …and Iike the sounds of the almond apricot bar, big chunky bits of toasted almonds with the soft and the sweet of the apricot, and a little pastry to hold it all together…mmmmm.

    Have a lovely week Joanna. xxx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Brydie – you see the subliminal power of the figgyjammy blog at work in my shopping choices here ;) Apricot almond bars, apricot custard danish… maybe even worked in to one of Dan’s latest Rough Puff Danishes. (Yesterday’s Guardian)

      Have a lovely week you too xx

          1. cityhippyfarmgirl

            damn they look good… probably more time committment than I can manage at the moment, but how much would the boys love me bringing them out of the oven :-) Will you make them?

  8. chocveg

    Hi Jo, have you made any leathers? There is a recipe for blackberry and apple leather in River Cottage Preserves which looks unassuming, and I made it last year, it was delicious and kept well! perhaps a use for apricot paste, mixed with some apples? That reminds me I have a large packet of date paste lurking in the cupboard…!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I have admired leathers, and chewed on the odd one, met the campaigning Tristram Stuart in Cheltenham once at an Bank Holiday Street Event and he was full of leathers. I have a packet of tamarind paste too but haven’t got date paste, that would be delicious. Makes note to look for some :)

  9. bizzylizzycooks

    Ah, you are a cook after my own heart! Love all the fresh produce in your kitchen. That rhubarb is beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing your kitchen treasures.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks jane! I think it was a crow (it was down in the local woodland) but it could have been a jackdaw, hard to tell from underneath. We have jackdaws visiting the garden which are nesting on our neighbour’s roofs in these vents

      jackdaw roost site

  10. The Wild Wood

    Just love all your images.
    Moro the cookbook has a a gorgeous looking apricot and chocolate tart; uses apricot paste, lemon juice and 70% dark chocolate.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thank you Elaine! I don’t have that cookbook but I do like the sound of that tart… very tempting :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks for including me in the round up. I am so out of synch with the challenge, but did enjoy reading all the lovely blog posts about making the pastry and your round up post too. I still need to work on flakiness and layers, maybe quicker rolling out, on reading your round up, I thought that my butter did smear a bit, so that means it’s got too warm? So useful to read about others’ experiences. Thanks :)

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