Clive Downs, Porlock

Black pudding with calvados-flamed apples

We got some terrific black pudding last weekend from one of my favourite butchers – Clive Downs. His delightful shop is in a pretty village called Porlock that is well worth seeking out for anyone on their hols down Exmoor way. Clive and his team make their mince and sausages etc, and source the best local meats.

The car home was loaded up with some belly of pork, lamb loin, sausages and then this black pudding which became a very lovely late supper with apples cooked in the black pudding fat, flamed with calvados and then finished with a grating of nutmeg.

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Summer Pudding

Summer Pudding

Summer Pudding tastes rather better than it sounds. The uninitiated could be forgiven for not knocking people over in their rush to try a mixture of currants and berries in a pudding basin that’s lined with bread and then refrigerated. But what they’d be failing to understand is that the fruits are heated with just enough sugar to burst into life, release their flavours and create an incredible sweet-yet-not-sweet juiciness that seeps into the bread casing. The engorged bread is so transformed with lightness and flavour that by the time you’re pouring over the cream it’s barely recognisable as the white loaf that began the day.

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lavender-garlic

Lavender & Garlic Roast Lamb

The lavender bushes near me have been taking a bit of a beating from last week’s remarkable heat and sunshine. I was just about thinking that my summer of cooking with fresh lavender was over – until I went to see my sister in Cheshire. Round there it’s still lavender a-plenty.

For the past few months I’ve been using these flavoursome flowers in all kinds of recipes where rosemary would usually go. Particularly successfully in this joint of lamb with a paste of lavender and garlic rubbed into it.

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Rhubarb-and-Rosemary

Rhubarb and Rosemary Coupe

Rhubarb may be edging towards the end of its season but there’s plenty of summer left. So before the rhubarb finishes entirely I’ll be making bottles of cordial for later-summer mixing with sparkling water or wine.

And I’ll be indulging in this ice-cream sundae treat which marries the rhubarb with another great British classic – rosemary.

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