Monday, April 30, 2007

great big veg challenge


Whilst sitting in the sun on Saturday, reading the papers I came across an article about a mother and her fussy non vegetable eating son. After endless mealtime battles with her 10 year old , Mum (Charlotte) decided to start a blog. The diary documents meals containing vegetables, and because they are being blogged, he feels motivated to test and taste and he gives marks out of ten once he has tried a new dish/veg.

The family are working their way through the alphabet of fruits and vegetables, they are currently on 'C'. I believe readers and followers of the blog from all over the world are sending in recipes for them to try. It looks like it could be a good recipe resource even if you aren't trying to disguise veg.

It got me thinking about starting a blog which could help Evie, our fidgit-knickered 3 year old to sit still and eat a whole mouthful of
food with out being distracted in any way and feeling compelled to leap from her chair. I'm not quite sure how one would work, but it's got me thinking.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007



I know it's not everyones cup of tea, but I love the heady, honeyed fragrance of the Rape flower that is currently floating through the countryside. My Grandpa use to keep bees and the smell brings back lovely, childhood memories of visiting his bee shed.

Every year, I see more and more fields of Rape plants around Norfolk and I'm always grateful I'm not a hay fever sufferer. Rapeseed oil is used for both human and animal consumption as well as for biodiesel. I believe that virgin pressed Rapeseed oil tastes great and is also an excellent source of Omega 3 oils and vitamin E.

I've been looking in local Delis to buy a bottle as I'm curious about it's flavour but I haven't come across any yet. Having just done a google search, I've discovered Waitrose stock Farrington's Mello Yellow oil.

Monday, April 23, 2007

6 grams of salt


Stu started his day flicking through the excellent book The Savvy Shopper by Rose Prince. It covers all the good and bad things about what we eat.  Rose explains what's in the food, where it's sourced and lists information about quality producers.

The first thing Stu saw having just read the piece in the book about cereals, was Matilda picking her way through a scattering of unpleasant Cheerios, which as we all know are full of sugar and salt.

Carrying on with his moment of food awareness, Stu weighed out an
adults daily allowance of salt. Our RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is
6 grams, that's 3 heaped teaspoons which I thought was quite a lot and
probably more than we eat in day which made me quite feel virtuous.
It's ready meals which are the biggest carriers of salt, some meals
contain up to 98% of your daily salt allowance.

Salt is often being discussed in the media for it's negative effects on health but it is something I do have a taste for. Since having the girls, I don't cook food adding much salt which now makes me feel better about rubbing hearty pinches of crunchy Maldon Sea Salt over my meals. My view is that if you're going to add salt, you've got to make sure it's pure sea salt, you need less as the flavour is so good and it won't be full of that anti-caking crap table salt contains. Yuck.

chewy almond macaroons


I baked this batch but over cooked them making them less chewy than I like.
Never-the-less, I ate most of them as I didn't want anyone else to risk dental troubles. scoff scoff.

This recipe is taken from Nigella Lawson's Feast.

  • 200g ground almonds

  • 200g caster sugar

  • 2 egg whites

  • 2 tablespoons of rose water

  • 12 whole blanched almonds, halved.

Mix together all the dry ingredients, then mix in the egg whites stirring well to combine everything.
Wet hands with rose water and take teaspoons of the mixture and roll into balls and place on baking parchment set apart by 3 cm.
Flatten, then place half an almond on each macaroon.
Bake in oven set at 150ยบ for 10-12 mins.
Resist from peeling off paper until cool as you may end up leaving some biscuit stuck to the paper.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

celery, fennel and herb salad


Here's what I did with a few of the gigantic stalks of the celery tree. It's a healthy, crunchy delicious salad which Ali Yetman use to make at her restaurant in the summer months.

I always use a potato peeler to get rid of the irritating stringy bits on celery stalks before chopping and slicing. For me flossing should be done with tape in the privacy of  my bathroom, not at the dinner table.

  • 1 head of fennel, sliced finely

  • 1/2 red onion, very finely chopped

  • 2 - 3 stalks of celery, finely chopped

  • 1 avocado

  • handful each of chopped dill, parsley and chives

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • hearty lug of fruity extra virgin olive oil

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Just throw it all together in a bowl and mix well. Best eaten immediately as the fennel goes soft.
Delicious eaten with fish, chicken and new potatoes.

Friday, April 13, 2007



When I buy food, I like to buy good quality produce and where possible I like it to be value for money.

Now,  I know these two don't always go hand in hand, take this celery for example.

How much do you think this majestic, 60cm head cost?

A whopping £2.74!

Knowing that Stu dislikes celery quite a lot, I'm thinking what an earth I can create making the most of this fringed beast. Any ideas?

chocolate bunnies


I came across this the other day.

From now on, I'll always eat my Lindt bunnies and reindeer with a caption in mind...!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

gretna love birds...


I've often wondered WHO gets married at Gretna Green and then I get a call from my big brother Matt telling me he's just got hitched there!

Congratulations Matt & Claire, we wish you a wonderful, happy healthy and loved filled life together.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

off on an egg hunt...


Evie, on her third birthday.



I visited a friends new (but very old) house today. It's beautiful, full of character, space, grandeur, elegance and Englishness. Most of the house has been redecorated by Judy in the past few months as I believe the previous owners who lived there for around seventy years, lived in past styles. That said, I came across some great wallpapers, the one above really reminded me of Marimekko designs.

I'm rather keen on this frames paper for a wall in Evie and Matilda's room, it goes against me shouting "Do Not Draw On The Walls" but I like the idea.


root remoulade


I was making a hearty root vegetable soup this morning with some chicken bits I had boiled the previous day, so whilst chopping veg into cubes for the soup I also sliced some into matchsticks for the remoulade recipe which I'd seen in a Sunday magazine a few weeks back. It consisted of celariac, swede and mooli all mixed together with mustard, dill and mayonnaise.

  • half a celariac

  • half a mooli

  • half medium sized swede

  • 1 bunch dill, sliced

  • 1 dtsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 dtsp wholegrain mustard

  • 1 dtsp mayonnaise

  • glug of sunflower and olive oil

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • salt and pepper

How to make:

Slice all the root veg into thin strips. I wish I had a Good Grips Mandoline Slicer (but at £49 I'll have to keep dreaming) but slicing with a good knife and steady hand adds to the length of time spent in the kitchen (often a good thing).

Mix all the other in a bowl and then mix into the raw vegetables.

We ate it with the veg soup and fresh spelt bread but last week Stu and I ate it with jarred herrings bought back from an Ikea trip which was a far nicer combination.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Fifi wears Evie


Ah sweet Evie. She was three yesterday and as I mentioned in a previous post, a few weeks back I commissioned artist aka Fifi to draw an illustration of Fifi Lapin dressed in her latest fashion style to give to her for her birthday. For those of you who know Evie will know that this picture is her to a tea - to the toes of her little red patterned boots.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

crewel work


...the crewel puns keep going through my head but I'm going to resist from using them.

Crewel embroidery has been around for over a thousand years. It's a technique that's involves wrapping wool over stitches to form a decorative relief on the surface of fabrics.  More often than not,  the patterns stitched are of flowers and are used to add adornment to womens clothing.

I'm a fan of most embroidery techniques and really like some this one. I have two cardigans which have crewel work on them; one is from the 1940's/50's (above) and one from the 60's which was purchase at the weekend, coincidentally found hours after I had tried the stitching technique at home.

My attempt was quick and fairly crude (pink bud) and I was thinking how  felted
crewel embroidery would look so I may try adding some samples to a
machine wash to see how they come out.