Stratta blog

Smoky Spanish pot-roast chicken

  • 8 good quality chicken thighs (with their skin and bones intact)
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons or diced pancetta
  • stratta smokey Moroccan olive oil
  • 2 onions finely sliced
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and washed
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • handful thyme sprigs
  • 250ml white wine
  • 230g roasted red peppers – a quick option is a jar of roasted piquillo peppers, drained and sliced
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 75ml single cream
  • 25g flat leaf parsley, chopped

Heat a large heavy bottomed saucepan or casserole, season the chicken and sear in a little stratta Smokey Moroccan oil for around 5 minutes skin side down until golden; set aside.

Add the bacon to the pan, cook for around 5 minutes then add the onion, chickpeas, garlic, bay leaves and thyme; sweat gently for 5 minutes.

Pour in the wine, add the peppers and return the chicken to the pan.  Cover, bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 15 minutes.  Uncover and cook for a further 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Just before serving season, stir through the paprika, cream and parsley.


Rooting around!

Baby tromboncini – Tuesday’s was their daddy!

Mary has done so well in the garden this year with fruits and vegetables and herbs all making their tasty way into our kitchen. There can be no surprise (from seeing our last blog) that when time came to create supper on Tuesday, a couple of black radish, the size of tennis balls, scrubbed up well.

Three dainty beetroot, a curly squash (tromboncini) and a handful of late green beans also wandered in along with a sprig of thyme. Chopping the root veg into orange segment sized pieces, adding the coarsely chopped onion and beetroot stems and fine diced garlic, I dressed the mix with rosemary infused oil, chilli salt and fresh thyme leaves.

Sliced ready.

Into a hot oven for 20 minutes before adding the sliced tromboncini (and a Romano pepper that sat looking at me forlornly, desirous of being included in the party!) that I had sprinkled with orange infused olive oil and sumac.

The colourful roast

A further 10 minutes should be enough to keep the crunch and texture of the various elements.

We had the result with fresh picked chard sliced with the best of the beetroot tops and a bowl of cous-cous. Ahah – cous-cous – now there is the subject for another blog!


Its black radish season!

A dish of the beauties.

I read a piece not long ago that was extremely disparaging about these autumn vegetables – how in Paris the market stalls are heaped with them at this time of year and how the good people of Paris have run out of ideas for their use! Perhaps they are better viewed as a friendly turnip rather than an unfriendly radish. Taken in that way, the uses become rather interesting. We have used them grated on salads, diced into casseroles and roasted as wedges. Generally they do not need to be peeled, simply scrubbed well with a vegetable brush thus retaining that fab colour contrast.

Thickly sliced

The choice today was to slice them in thick slices, brush them with aromatic olive oil, sprinkle with black pepper and chilli salt and then roast in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes. A grating of parmesan topped them and then back in the oven for 5 more minutes. They retained a goodly crunch and offered a fine texture contrast alongside our veal escalopes with sage and lemon.

Stratta blog

Pork belly with quince, baby pumpkins and medlar vinegar

Digging deep into our freezer and finding a wonderful piece of pork belly from a Gloucester Old Spot, we then raided the vegetable rack for suitable items to roast alongside it.

It’s another way we can use up the immature pumpkins we gleaned while clearing the garden of the invasive mass of leaves and stalk!

  • Rare breed pork belly, boned and the fat scored (the thick end of the belly from the middle of the pig has more meat on and is great for this recipe)
  • stratta medlar vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cornish sea salt
  • 4 small parsnip, pealed and cut lengthways
  • 6 thin carrots, pealed and chunked
  • 4 end-of-season immature pumpkins, topped and tailed and cut in half
  • Onion, chopped
  • Handful of small garlic cloves
  • 2 quince, cored and chopped
  • 1 pint chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Lay the pork skin side down in a dish and rub the meat with the medlar vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and black pepper.  Turn it over and rub the skin with salt and olive oil.  Place in the fridge while you prepare the vegetables.

Line a deep roasting tray with all of the vegetables, add the chicken stock and top with the pork, skin side up.  Add any of the marinade left to the dish.

Roast for 15 minutes; turn the heat down to 140°C and cook for at least a further 3 hours.  Check every hour and if the skin is browning too quickly, loosely cover with a sheet of tin foil.


Soused mackerel fillets in medlar vinegar, ginger, rhubarb and Eva’s organic Cumbrian apple juice

I was inspired whilst browsing Stuart Ovenden’s ‘Orchard Cook’ book, but lacking some of the ingredients I went a little off piste! I started with wonderfully fresh mackerel from the fish man at Kendal’s Wednesday market and, in the scheme of things, I didn’t need anything other than sizzling hot butter and lemon juice. However it was John’s birthday so something slightly out of the norm was required. The liquor was a mix of Eva’s organic Cumbrian apple juice and our medlar vinegar making about 400ml, sufficient for the 6 fillets to steep in. A couple of finely sliced shallots and peeled fresh root ginger, tablespoon of golden caster sugar, teaspoon of sea salt crystals and a good shake of nutmeg lobbed in next, brought to the boil and simmered for a couple of minutes to begin softening the shallots.

Medlar time!

I loved Stuart’s idea of adding rhubarb giving texture and an extra gentle layer of acidity, so I chopped up a couple of sticks and popped them in, bringing the mix back to a simmer. Finally I laid the stars of the show, skin side up, on the liquor mix, again bringing it back to heat and simmering for a further couple of minutes, covering and cooling before putting the dish in the fridge to continue steeping. This will happily steep for at least a day but tastes just as scrummy served after only a few hours with thin slices of fruity, rye Donka bread from Hazelmere Bakery in Grange used, not only to accompany the fish, but also to soak up the juices!


“It was beetroot what started it!”

Beware – the beetroot juice may attempt an escape!

That along with the big and bold marrow that was dangling from our left hand compost bay! Some lamb mince, fresh young rosemary tips, blackcurrant vinegar, onion, garlic, aromatic olive oil, a goodly twist of sea salt with lemon chilli from the Mini Jar Company – it all began to make sense. A couple of beetroot, freshly pulled, were scrubbed and topped and tailed and quartered and popped in the microwave with a good splash of blackcurrant vinegar. Just a few minutes will make them cooked to the point you can push a skewer through with some welcome resistance.

With the oven on, and waiting patiently at 180 degrees, the marrow (only to be peeled if the skin is too tough for enjoyment) was split down the centre, the seeds scooped out and placed into a suitable roasting tray (deep enough to retain the shape and the juices!). The onion and garlic were started off gently in a fry pan with some aromatic oil to soften then the heat built so that the lamb could be added to brown a touch and then simmer gently for a few minutes until the juices run clear. At this stage let loose your creativity. I added finely chopped rosemary tips and a goodly twist of that special salt. Dice the cooled beetroot and combine with the mince concoction then fill the marrow boats with the mix. Brush the edges with some more aromatic or rosemary olive oil. Into the oven for 35 – 40 minutes. The topping should have a touch of good colour and just hint of crunch. We served in large pasta bowls, as the whole should be rather juicy, along with some new potatoes.

Roasted marrow boats

As marrows and courgettes and beetroot and apples are all rather vigorous at present, I wouldn’t be surprised if more dishes appear soon!!


Pontack sauce

It’s that prolific time of year again when the elderberries are beginning to hang in glorious, rich, deep purple, almost black, bunches, unusually ready to use before many of the blackberries. The sharp richness of the berries is a perfect foil for game, so why not try our take on the 17th century Pontack Sauce, created and served at the Pontack’s Head Tavern in Lombard Street by Monsieur Pontack himself.

We sweat 2 finely diced shallots in a teaspoonful of butter, add a couple of cloves (or none if you’re like me), 4 allspice berries, 2 pieces of mace blade (or a good half teaspoonful of ground mace), half an inch of grated root ginger, a teaspoonful of cracked black peppercorns and a good pinch of salt. Finally splash in 250ml of our elderberry vinegar (or 125ml each of our elderberry vinegar and red wine), bring to the boil and immediately reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and transfer to a non-metal lidded container to steep for at least 2 days before filtering and bottling. You can thicken with a little arrowroot or reduce it by half to concentrate the flavour when you come to use it.

Stratta blog

Is it imagination or just a figment?



One of our lovely customers, Nina, came up with some fabulous ideas for using our fig paste.  Have just completed our latest batch so we can now try them all out…

fig paste jars


Melba Toast with melon and prosciutto

Spread a little stratta fig paste onto melba toast and top with melon and prosciotto.  Alternatively top with a full flavoured cheese, especially good with goats cheese.


Ice cream

Finish a bowl of ice cream with a thin ginger snap delicately spread with fig paste.



Line your favourite trifle with langue de chat biscuits spread with fig paste.






Stratta blog

Grilled partridge with baked swede and blackcurrant sauce



Heading into the autumn we are all seeking a little depth of flavour to warm the cockles, and the sauce in this partridge recipe certainly does that.  A little greenery and roast potatoes are welcome additions to this classic combination.

blackcurrant vinegar aromatic oil swede


  • 4 oven-ready spatchcocked partridge (or 8 partridge breasts)
  • stratta aromatic oil for brushing
  • 1 large swede, peeled and chopped into chunks around 4cm

For the sauce

  • 2 shallots peeled and finely chopped
  • Knob of butter
  • 2tsp flour
  • ½ tsp tomato purée
  • 30ml stratta blackcurrant vinegar
  • 60ml port (and a glass for the chef)
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 40-50g fresh or frozen blackcurrants


Place the swede in an oven dish, season, brush with butter and bake in a 200ºC oven for around an hour.  Turn every so often and add more butter if needed.

To make the sauce melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan and add the shallots, cook until lightly coloured.

Add the flour and tomato puree and stir over a low heat for a minute.

Gradually add the port while stirring to avoid lumps.  Then add the chicken stock and vinegar, bring to the boil and simmer gently for around 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about two-thirds.  Whisk occasionally.

Add the blackcurrants and keep warm.

Season and cook the partridge in a griddle pan with a little aromatic oil (or under a hot grill) for around 7-8 minutes on each side (slightly less for breasts) until cooked.

Serve and enjoy.





Stratta blog

Cucumber and kiwi salad



Still time in the September sun to enjoy the fresh flavours in this cucumber and kiwi salad.  Thank you to our Cumbrian contingent Paul and Katharine for passing this one on…


Cucumber and kiwi salad


  • Cucumber, sliced finely
  • stratta kiwi vinegar
  • 200ml sour cream
  • Garlic clove – crushed
  • Cucumber slices, smoked paprika and chives to garnish

Slice the cucumber finely and marinade in stratta kiwi vinegar for about an hour.

Crush the garlic into the sour cream.

Drain the cucumber and add into the sour cream.

Put back into the fridge until ready to use.

Sprinkle with smoked paprika and chives to serve.