Chowder

My own ancestral link to chowder would have to be the hard tack eaten by sailors. These days there seems to be a lot of cream in chowder, but I don't think cream would have survived for long out on the Grand Banks. More likely a mush of hard tack and water. I imagine the cod fisherman eating saltfish chowder on the outbound journey and fresh cod chowder on the return ...

Basic ravioli and mezzelune

I started making mezzelune when teaching English through cooking. Thought I had invented the name, and then saw some in Tesco's a week later. These are finished in the oven - I think it makes for a more delicate mouthful. It's best to choose only a few ingredients, as on a pizza. But here I am suggesting two different fillings and a sauce. If you think making the ravioli is too fiddly, just roll out the dough in thin rectangles and make lasagne instead.

Cognac fig jam, Aspa

If, like me, you’re lucky enough to have an established fig tree in your garden (ours is at least 8 years old), you’ll enjoy picking ripe figs from mid summer into the autumn. 2020 as strange a year as it has been, has produced a bumper crop of figs even in England. We ate and gave plenty away as they came off the tree, enjoying their honey sweet taste for almost three months. I always peel them, though I know some people will wash them and eat them with the skin on.

Happy Birthday brownies – revisited

This recipe comes from one of my favourite books, Cooking Texas Style by Cindy Wagner and Sandra Marquez. My copy was purchased at the Alamo in 1991. I have been making the brownies ever since. Some years I get confused about cups and ounces and am still not totally sure what a cup of butter is but have done my best to translate the recipe into metric units. I’ve made some changes - halving the sugar...