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Seasonal Recipe from Erikas Kitchen

Erika Adler shares her love of cooking and eating good food, much in the way that the late lamented Valerie Hedgethorne, one of her former teachers, did with her monthly recipes. Erika worked as a cook and caterer for many years before becoming a cookery teacher to adults and young people. She developed and ran the Community Cookery Project for the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, training future cookery leaders and passing on her passion for fresh, simple and delicious food to groups and individuals of all ages.



CELERIAC SOUP

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Feb 01, 2023

It’s the time of year for warming soups, especially those made with root vegetables. Celeriac lends itself very well to this purpose, with its distinctive yet delicate flavour, and its ability to soften and thicken the texture of the soup. Choose one that is heavy for its size, as they are sometimes hollow in the middle. Scrub well and use a large knife to cut it in half – this make it easier to peel.

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WAFFLES

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Jan 01, 2023

Waffles are a great vehicle for both sweet and savoury toppings such as crispy bacon drizzled, US-style, with maple syrup, fresh berries or fruit compote, cream or yoghurt with honey, or they can simply be sprinkled with lemon juice and sugar.

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Potato Latkes

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Dec 01, 2022

Latkes are typical of the fried foods that are traditionally served during the festival of Chanukah which falls this month. My grandmother made the most delicious latkes, served in the German style with chilled stewed apple and a sharp cucumber salad on the side. Here is her recipe.

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STRATA

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Nov 01, 2022

This recipe is a sort of savoury bread and butter pudding, which has Italian/American origins, and is both delicious and inexpensive. It can be served either as a brunch, lunch or supper dish. Although I have given fairly simple ingredients, feel free to make your strata more luxurious by including some of the following if you wish: cream or crème fraiche, chopped anchovies, fresh or smoked salmon pieces, ham, cooked sausage or bacon pieces, olives or capers. Any crusty bread can be used – French sticks, bagels, rolls or sourdough - but it must be dry rather than fresh, otherwise it will not soak up the liquid. You will need a deep oven dish.

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DANISH PEASANT GIRL WITH VEIL

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Oct 01, 2022

I found this unusual dessert recipe in an old cookbook years ago, and was charmed by its curious name. It instantly became a hit with my family and friends. The combination of flavours - tartness, burnt sugar and bitter chocolate – with the contrasting soft and crunchy textures is both unexpected and irresistible. Bramley apples are in season at the moment, although you could make it at any time of the year. For a more interesting texture, stop cooking the apples before they have completely collapsed into a mash, so that there are some soft lumps. It's also a good way of using up stale bread. If you have a food processor, use it to grind stale bread into crumbs (cut off any hard crusts first); they keep very well in the freezer. The original recipe specified rye breadcrumbs, but brown or wholemeal work just as well. Best served chilled.

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CHEESY CARROT SQUARES

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Sep 01, 2022

It can be quite a challenge to produce snacks that are healthy, simple to make and most importantly, good to eat. I chose this month’s recipe with the new school term in mind; these savoury flapjacks make a nourishing and satisfying snack for packed lunches, and can be customised to suit your taste, by varying the type of cheese you use. You could also flavour them with paprika, chilli, caraway seeds or dried herbs.

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BAKED PEACHES

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Aug 01, 2022

Here is a very simple dessert, ideal for this time of year when fresh peaches are in the shops. Baking them intensifies their delicious flavour; however, be sure to choose ripe fruit which yield when gently squeezed. Hard, underripe peaches will not soften properly in the oven, and have none of the sweetness or beautiful aroma that makes this dish so special. It’s fine to use ready ground nuts, although when I have time, I chop them at home in my food processor, as I like the coarser texture. You can bake them in advance and refrigerate until needed, but the peaches will taste better if you serve them at room temperature. Any leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.

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FRENCH ONION TART

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Jul 01, 2022

For this month I have chosen a savoury tart from the Alsace, which has been a firm favourite for many years. It’s well suited to the summer weather - either as a lunch or supper dish accompanied by a crisp green salad, or as a part of a buffet or a picnic. You could serve it warm or at room temperature. I grew up with imperial measurements, and found the original recipe easy to remember - 2lb onions, 2 oz butter, 2 oz cheese and 2 eggs - but I have converted it to metric for the benefit of younger cooks. It does seem like an awful lot of onions when you start off, but you will find that they collapse into a much smaller volume once they have cooked down. If possible, try and prevent them from browning, as this will affect both the look and the flavour of the finished product. The slow stewing in butter creates a sweetness and a melting texture, which is complemented by the aromatic tang of the Gruyère cheese. It is definitely worth making your own pastry, (in advance is fine) as the result will be incomparably better. However, to save time you could use ready-made pastry. You will need a flan dish or tin measuring about 22 – 24 cm (9”) across.

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AUSTRIAN CHEESECAKE

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Jun 01, 2022

The recipe for this cheesecake came from my dad, whose Viennese heritage and love of cooking helped to shape my culinary path through life. It is very light and soft, and would make a lovely summer dessert as well as an afternoon treat at any time of the year. Curd cheese is not so easy to find in the shop, but the own-label soft cream cheese sold in many supermarkets works very well.

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SUMMER VEGETABLE SALAD

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on May 01, 2022

This salad is a lovely way of celebrating the new season’s home-grown produce, with its uniquely fresh flavour and texture. However as most vegetables are shipped in from abroad all the year round, you could make it at any time.

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CHOCOLATE MACAROONS

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Apr 01, 2022

As Easter and Passover fall in April , this delicious recipe comes to you with both festivals in mind. Chocolate eggs are a traditional favourite at Easter time, and macaroons are enjoyed during Passover, as they contain no flour. And it is one of those recipes where you can safely vary both the quantity of sugar and the type of nut, according to your taste.

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Crunchy Granola

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Mar 01, 2022

Granola has a healthy reputation, which is strange as most brands are highly sweetened. If, like me, you’re trying to reduce the amount of sugar you eat, this recipe provides a delicious alternative, and is very easy to make. It is one of those recipes that you can play around with, by choosing which flaked grains to use, which oil, which nuts and seeds and what kind of syrup you would prefer to sweeten it.

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SPINACH FRITTERS

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Feb 01, 2022

These fritters are popular with almost everyone I have met, even those who say they hate green leafy vegetables. The main ingredient, chickpea or gram flour, is high in protein, making the fritters very nourishing as well as delicious, and ideal for both vegans and people on a gluten free diet. They are quite rich, so I usually serve them with a bowl of cucumber raita (a mixture of plain yoghurt and finely diced cucumber); its sharpness and crunch make a lovely contrast. Tomato salsa or your favourite pickles or chutney would also work well as an accompaniment.

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FISH SOUP

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Jan 01, 2022

The cold weather has well and truly arrived, so this month I thought I’d offer a warming soup that is quick and easy to prepare. One of the great things about making soup is that you can use up oddments of ingredients that would not go very far on their own. This recipe can be adjusted according to what you may have lurking in your fridge or freezer.

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Brown Biscuits

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Dec 01, 2021

The recipe for these delicious little biscuits came from my daughter in law, via her Danish grandmother.

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