Monday, 26 December 2011

Secret Garden Club: shortest day garlic and onions

White Glogg
French Onion Soup
Garlic bread
Poireaux vinaigrette
Black Garlic chocolate cookies
Cheaty mince pies

During our shortest day 'All about alliums' gardening workshop taught by Zia Mays in the dim frosty light, I was inside preparing a garlic, leek and onion menu for my chilly guests. I took pity on them outside and from time to time, they were topped up with mugs of White Glogg to warm their hands and, of course, their insides. To find out more about planting onions, garlic, leeks please read this fascinating post on our Secret Garden Club blog. I've tried to plant onions and garlic before and never succeeded so this was a useful skill to learn. We also learnt about Walla Walla onions which are supposed to be so sweet you can eat them like an apple!

White Glogg Recipe:
1 bottle of white wine
1 bottle of apple juice
A few slugs of vodka.
2 Cloves
10 All spice berries
A stick or two of Mexican cinnamon
400g of sugar.
1 apple, cored and sliced.
Pale green sultanas.
(I also threw in a couple of rosehips, gathered in the autumn, to bump up the Vitamin C).

Put all of the ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to the boil then turn down to simmer. I normally keep my glogg on the Aga hot plate where it reduces and I keep topping it up with new alcohol everytime I have a new batch of guests.
The French onion soup recipe is in my book. Garlic bread, well I'm sure you all know how to do that. Don't you?

I was recently sent some black garlic cloves by a PR. These fermented cloves taste caramelised, almost sweet and balsamic. I thought they'd work well with chocolate as I was looking for an unusual onion, shallot or garlic dessert recipe for this 'tea'.

Black Garlic Chocolate cookies
220g unsalted butter
100g brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla essence
325g flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda
A pinch of salt
50-75g of Macadamia nuts, chopped
12 cloves of Black garlic, finely chopped
350g of dark chocolate, cut up small or chocolate chips
75g of maple syrup

Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla essence.
Sieve the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt into a bowl.
Add the nuts, garlic and chocolate to the flour then stir all of the ingredients together adding the maple syrup.
Put a tablespoon of mixture onto a silpat or silicone paper on a baking tray, spacing the cooking 2 inches apart.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 190C. (Bottom shelf baking oven of the Aga).

Really cheaty mince pies.
I ran out of time and felt somehow obliged, it coming up to Christmas, to serve mince pies. Found a pack of feuilles de brick in the fridge (very similar to filo pastry which could be a replacement)  et voila! Fifteen minutes for a mince pie, very pretty to look at and light to eat.

1 pack of circular feuilles de brick.
1 jar of very good quality mincemeat.
a knob of butter
A few strands of home made candied peel
A few pine nuts or other nuts

Plop a little mince meat in the middle of the circle of the feuille de Brick.
Add butter, nuts, candied peel.
Tie together with kitchen twine.
Place all of them on a baking tray and bake at 200C for 15 minutes or so.
Take them out and cut off the twine.
Dust with icing sugar using a tea strainer.
Serve warm.
At the end of this I was so proud of myself, what a genius I am, what wonderful ideas I manage to come up with...etc etc...then a few days later, idly googling feuilles de brick, where to buy them in the UK, and to my disappointment, I saw Delia did exactly the same thing. But like four years ago. I swear to God I never saw her recipe.
 Guests were sent home with a pot of chives and some 'sets' of plantable garlic and shallots.


  1. great idea with the mincemeat! Definitely a time saver for sure. I am sure the cookies were delicious too, love garlic and I would have loved a garlic to plant :)

  2. That cookies are delicious! I have just made them and I love them! :D


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