Thursday, January 28, 2010


I was just about ready to retire "thecelticcook". Inspiration for creating meals, and indeed something interesting to blog about, seemed to have deserted me, but here I am back to the printed page ready to share once again my kitchen endeavours and culinary experiences with anyone willing to listen.

What has caused this sudden reawakening in all things foodie? Simple the delivery of my first seasonal fruit and veg box from a company called Abel & Cole. It arrived full of seasonal produce, fresh and dirty as nature intended. I had also ordered some cod and fresh scallops. The scallops were picked only the day before and came with the bright orange coral still intact.
Suddenly I was excited again about what I could produce with the given ingredients. I had in front of me, onions, leeks, parsnips, carrots, cabbage, potatoes and blood oranges. I had included in my order organic eggs, Seville oranges and lemons so any day now I will be happily stirring my my marmalade into a nice sticky slightly bitter consistency. I look forward to the first breakfast where I spread it onto nice hot buttered toast and enjoy the fruits of my labours. Will keep you updated on that one.

Today I spent going through books and magazines, hunting seasonal recipes, my creative juices were flowing. Leek and potato soup would be a must, a tasty leek and potato frittata might also fit the bill. Parsnip soup? A recipe for duck with Seville orange and savoy cabbage gave me food for thought. Then I remembered a recipe for a carrot and orange cake which I hadn't cooked for a long time. That seemed a great place to start.

I decided I would serve the cod for supper. Served on a bubble and squeak cake. For any of you who do not know what that is, it is, in it's simplest form, a way to use up leftover vegetables from Sunday lunch. Always mashed potato and the whatever else you have. Today I cooked a little bacon and fried a leek until soft in the bacon fat, stirred in the shredded cabbage, mixed with the mashed potatoes, seasoned with salt and pepper and when cool enough to handle I made into little cakes. Bacon is always good with cabbage and a perfect accompaniment for fish. Then it would be fried in a little oil and the roasted cod was placed on top. I did wonder if I might put a poached egg on top. I would wait and decide later.

So in one meal I would have used several of the ingredients which had been delivered to the door early this morning. Also I would be busy thinking of what to do next. It made a change from knowing what I am cooking and then going out to buy the produce needed, certainly made me think about our supper tonight, and for the rest of the week. Thank you Abel & Cole for reawakening my interest in cooking. My husband was a very happy man tonight.

Here is the recipe for the carrot and orange cake.

175g (6oz) light muscovado sugar
175ml (6oz) sunflower oil
3 large eggs lightly beaten
140g (5oz) grated carrots
100g (40z) raisins
grated zest of one large orange
175g (6oz) self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 180c (375f). Oil and line the base of a 18cm (9") square tin.
Put sugar, oil and eggs into a bowl and lightly mix with a wooden spoon. Add carrots, raisins and orange zest.
Mix flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices, then sift them into the mix. Gently mix. The mixture will be loose.
Pour into the baking tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, until it springs back when you press the centre.
Cool in tin for 10 minutes then put on to a wire rack to cool completely.


175g (6oz) icing sugar
1-2 tbsps orange juice.

Mix together until smooth and drizzle over the cooled cake.

My icing has a pink tinge as I used blood oranges in the cake. These are one of my favourite fruits and I am always sorry that the season is so short.


Sallie said...

So glad you are back to blogging Jacqui! You have given me such good tips and so many great ideas....I think of you every time I make a nice Sweet Potato or Squash Soup! I am looking forward to continue being an avid reader of "The Celtic Cook!"

Coby said...

Phew, thank goodness you've decided to keep on blogging Jacqui:) I love to visit and see what you're cooking:) I think it's fab that you are letting your ingredients guide you into what to cook:) What delicious things too:) I'm with you on the blood oranges season, but that makes them all that much more special - so few ingredients these days are truly seasonal are they?