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Archive for December, 2012

Christmas Break

We are still enjoying our Christmas break and our kitchen and the cafe are having a rest too, but we will be back shortly.

The cafe will re-open this Friday, 4th January, at 10am as usual.  The food sessions will start again next week, from 11th January. Come then and tell us about your Christmas and what delicious things you have eaten or let us know what kind of food you’d like to see in the cafe in the New Year.

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Mulled wine

Last weekend’s Christingles event was a great success.  We were lucky with the weather during the Christmas market but when Southwark Concert Band started their phenomenal performance, the rain came down! Luckily there was plenty of mulled wine in the cafe to keep people warm. We will now have to wait another year for festive fun at Myatt’s but meanwhile you can treat yourself to some mulled wine using our recipe:

Ingredients:

1 orange
1 apple
1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine
2 tablespoons sugar
4 whole cloves
2 whole juniper berries
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 whole star anise
1 nutmeg
1 lemon

Instructions for four servings

Using a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, cut peel from orange, apples, lemons  in wide strips, avoiding white pith.

In a large pot, combine orange peel, wine, sugar, cloves, juniper berries, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, bay leaf and star anise. Bring to a bare simmer (do not let simmer or boil) over medium-low heat; cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and serve hot.

If you missed it, some lovely people posted photos and a video on our Twitter account @myattsfields.

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Christingles

Here’s a food-related curiosity – Christingles. I have been asked many times in the last few weeks, if this was actually a word and what it means. Wikipedia can give you a quick introduction to this, I found out that christingle means ‘Christ light’ and is a symbolic object that consists of an orange representing the world, a red ribbon around it representing the blood of Christ, dried fruits or sweets skewered on cocktail sticks pushed into the orange, representing the fruits of the earth and the four seasons, a lit candle pushed into the centre of the orange, representing Jesus Christ as the light of the world.

I am proud to say that our christingles last year looked a lot better than those presented on Wikipedia! Sooo pretty:

Christingles in Myatt's Fields Park, 2011. Photo by Jessica Mason

Come and join us making christingles on 16th December 4-5pm. We will also have a small Christmas market 2-4pm, mulled wine and cakes sold throughout the evening and carol singing 5-6pm. Myatt’s Fields Park, SE5 9RA.

ALL FREE AND EVERYBODY WELCOME!

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We are slowly going through all the Jerusalem artichoke tubers we have harvested this year in our garden. They were beautiful tall plants earlier in the autumn, now they are sadly looking dead stems reminding us of winter.

Jerusalem Artichoke (1)

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Believe it or not, it’s a species of sunflower. Apparently, in Germany it is used to make a liquor called Topinambur. Well, we weren’t adventurous enough to go down that route but we made some soup for the retired people’s lunch club…Delicious!

Jerusalem artichoke and carrot soup

Ingredients

1 lb (450 g) carrots
1 lb 8 oz (700 g) Jerusalem artichokes (weight before peeling)
3 oz (75 g) butter
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1.5 litres (2½ pints) hot vegetable stock made with Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder
salt and freshly milled black pepper
6-8 level teaspoons crème fraîche
fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

Start by peeling and de-knobbling the artichokes and, as you peel them, cut them into rough chunks and place them in a bowl of cold salted water to prevent them from discolouring. Then, scrape the carrots and slice them into largish chunks.

Now, in a large saucepan, melt the butter and soften the onion and celery in it for 5 minutes, keeping the heat fairly low. Next, drain the artichokes and add them to the pan, along with the carrots. Add some salt and, keeping the heat very low, put a lid on and let the vegetables sweat for 10 minutes to release their juices.

After that, pour in the hot stock, stir well, put the lid back on and simmer, very gently, for a further 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Now liquidise the soup in two batches, then return it to the pan, taste to check the seasoning and reheat very gently until it just comes to simmering point.

Serve in hot soup bowls, each garnished with a swirl of crème fraîche and a few leaves of the parsley.

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