Category: Recipes

Fruit Leather

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Gooseberry and blackcurrant Leather ready for the fridge

Having made our own dehydrator, we have successfully made some fruit leather. Started with blackcurrant as these ripened first. Not a difficult decision.

So took some fruit and added some lemon juice. This is to help keep the colour apparently. put that in a saucepan and simmer until soft. Blitz that with a stick blender removing any big lumps. Taste and add honey if you want to. Spread this out thinly on a parchment lined baking tray and whack it in the dehydrator in the sun.

Leave it until it is no longer tacky to touch then remove it. Take it off the parchment, cut it up, roll it into, well, rolls, and put in the fridge.

Great hill food to accompany a sandwich and the internet seems to suggest it will keep for up to a month.

Incidently, we measured the temperature inside the solar dehydrator to be 55 degrees centigrade. Not sure whether that is good or not but it seems to work well.

Solar Dehydrator

Solar Dehydrator

With the fruit bushes laden and plenty of jam already in the cupboard for the winter season in Chamonix we decided to make a dehydrator. It is basically a box with a glass pane and some vents. There are a couple of shelves inside to put produce on. Pop it in the sun and the air in the box warms up. An air current takes the moisture out of the box and the things inside dry up.

Commercial versions use power and have knobs on with different settings. Ours is compact and made of scrap.

  • Wood is from the back of the van which we took apart last year
  • Hinges were salvaged from a caravan
  • The handle was on a door salvaged from Chamonix
  • Double glazed unit salvaged years ago from somewhere
  • Shelves salvaged from an old oven at the tip
  • Fly mesh for the vents, left over from making window fly meshes

First test was with some small tomatoes which needed using up. Within a day sat on the front terrace we had sun dried tomatoes. Next is blackcurrants unless the mushrooms start appearing first.

Categories: Recipes, Summer 2023 Tags: Tags:

Gooseberry and Elderflower Jam


The last time we made gooseberry jam it came out more like some industrial adhesive suitable for use underwater for repairing oil rigs. Though there may have been a market for it we had insufficient sully to meet the probable demand.

This time we think we have a winner (on the edible front without removing teeth).

Gooseberries generally are high in pectin and come in two basic types. One is green and hard and generally stays that way and the other ripens later to a purple colour and sweetens and is great for tarts and fruit salads. For jam use the former and pick at the same time as the elderflowers are out.

  • 1.35kg gooseberries
  • 1.35kg sugar
  • 500ml water
  • 6-8 heads of elderflowers

Clean, top and tail the gooseberries and put in a jam pan with the water. Bring to the boil and stir occasionally for about 20-30 minutes until softened. Meanwhile cut the stems off the flowers and place in a muslin bag. Once soft add the sugar and the muslin bag, boil the mix while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil hard until setting point is reached at 104 – 105 degrees. It may have a tendency to burn as the fruit settles out so stir occasionally. Once ready pour into warmed jars and seal for storage.

Rhubarb and berry flavoured Gin

Last year we found about 8 litres of Gin in the barn. Some we gave away and some we drank but we still hd 2 litres this summer. So we have masserated a litre with rhubarb and berries.

  • 300g of berries – strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
  • 200g rhubarb, roughly chopped
  • 150g sugar
  • 750ml or 1litre Gin

Chop up the berries and the rhubarb and add to sterilised preserving jars with the sugar. Pour over the Gin and seal. Give a shake and store in a dark cool place. Give them a little shake daily and repeat for at least 5 days and up to 3 weeks for a stronger flavour. Once masserated strain through a large sieve lined with muslin or coffee filters and bottle. Either in sterilised bottles or back in the Gin bottle.

Drink either neat or with soda water and ice for a long summer drink.

Categories: Recipes, Summer 2017



I don’t know why we do it but just as we are getting ready to leave our beautiful abode in the Pyrenees we realise that we have been hermits and not seen anyone. Tis the time to wine and dine friends. Tis also an opportunity to try out new recipes and get feedback with a view to increasing the winter repetoir in the Chalet in Chamonix.

We have had great fun adapting some Spanish recipes courtesy of Mr Stein and also a trio of lovely deserts.


New pudding tests

Testing out new puddings


Other visitors were uninvited.

Sweet Chilli Chicken

A great marinated chicken for the BBQ. This is enough for about 4 people.

Prepare the marinate with –

  • A fresh chilli chopped
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 4 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp lime juice

We prepared the marinate to day before and marinated the chicken for a couple of hours before cooking. You can either use boneless chicken thighs or with the bone but then scissoring the meat up to the bone.

Peter & Alison

The social theme continues as Peter and Alison are coming to lunch with Alison’s parents.

Another mad morning of making salads, dressings and marinating chicken for the BBQ. Great marinate by the way.

Ginger Soy chicken

Can use chicken breasts slashed or chicken legs/thighs scissored. A great way to do it is putting everything in a ziplock bag with the meat and giving it all a good massage. Then place in the fridge for up to 2 hours before cooking.

  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp sesame oil (toasted if you have it)
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry or port
  • 8 tbsp soy sauce

This time lunch was prepared to be had on the side terrace as access is easier and it is not so far to fall off.

Another great day with good company only slightly marred when a big gust of wind snapped the parasol. Mendable I think, just add it to the list.

Another evening where we did not need to eat. Instead we settled by the fire and watched and old Clint Eastwood film with an oragutan.

BBQ Marinaded Sword Fish

This is a recipe I snaffled off Anne Swan (great friends of Mum and Dad’s) and a superb cook. It is really delicious. Make sure you use chunky swordfish steaks. We had lots of fresh herbs from the garden so it was truly scrummy and we will be doing again for sure.


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

Serving Sauce

  • 1 lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • S&P
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 sprig mint roughly sliced
  • 1 sprig oregano roughly sliced
Categories: Fish, Recipes

Leeks A La Greque

John and Shirley gave me a lovely cook book last year “The Contented Cook” and I found this recipe in it. We both loved it, very simple and went perfectly with all our home grown veg and the lamb chops we had for dinner.

Leeks cut into 5 inch lengths and steamed.

Make a dressing

1tbps red wine vinegar

1tbsp grain mustard

1tbsp dijon mustard

5tbsp olive oil


Chopped parsley to garnish.

Once leeks are steamed, cut in half and arrange on serving dish.

Pour dressing over it and then sprinkle with chopped parsley.


Rhubarb and Almond Cake

This is dairy and wheat free so I had to give it a whirl and result was FAB. Al loved it.

  • 200g rhubarb
  • 140g sugar
  • zest and juice of half an orange
  • 165g powdered almonds
  • 4 eggs
  • 25g flaked almonds

Purée the rhubarb with 2 tbsp water, orange zest and juice and 2 tbsp of sugar from the 140g. Leave to cool.

Mix powdered almonds, eggs and sugar together and mix in cooled rhubarb mixture. Pour into cake tin and top with flaked almonds and bake at gas 5 ish for around 30 mins.

Serve with some stewed rhubarb, goats yoghurt, creme fraiche or a compote of rhubarb and strawberry (another new recipe) also delicious even if it did not set!


Categories: Recipes, Sweet things