Friday, June 26, 2009

River Stiffkey


Fathers Day at Fi's took us on a improtu paddle down the River Stiffkey. The river is just a 2 minute stroll up from Fi's house.

I got the giggles because I couldn't steer and then a herd of huge cows descended upon us - well almost. I finally got the hang of the steering which was a relief to Stu as he's been eagerly ebaying Canadian canoes and Kayaks. Sadly this red canoe was just borrowed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lovage and Pancetta Arancini


I made these savory rice balls in May when the lovage leaves were young and tender. The Arancini recipe is taken from Hugh FW's weekly column in the Guardian, but I swapped a few ingredients around, adding the lovage and lemon and pancetta.

Lovage, used as both odour eaters in the Middle Ages and as an aphrodisiac in the 16th Century, has an intense celery like aroma and flavour. It's fabulous stuffed inside a chicken prior to roasting and also great when a small amount of leaves are added to pea and ham soup.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Broad Beans


We've just eaten the first broad beans of the year freshly picked from the our back veggie patch. Damn tasty but the yield seems even lower than usual. Next year I'm taking a leaf out of David Barker's (Wolterton Hall's organic) growing methods and planting the plants close together. My method of generous spacing just makes the low yield even more frustrating as I could have been growing something else in it's place.

Alphonso Mangoes

I recently bumped into a friend in one of the Asian food stores on Magdalen street. She was stuffing two boxes of Alphonso mangoes into the back of her son's buggy. With each box containing approx 12 fruit I wish I had asked her what she was going to do with them. I also bought a box of the delicious fragrant, deep orange coloured juicy mangoes and have eaten them just as they then sucking the stone ending up with a orange mustache no one told me about. Thanks kids.

Alphonso's are so different from the all year round mangoes, like the ones that never ripen which I buy in bulk from Lidls when they are 35p. They are great for mango chutney but truly disappointing eaten on their own when compared to an Alphonso.

The last time I bought a box (a grate) of mangoes was when I lived on Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef - the fruit is grown nearby on the mainland. They were so tasty, so perfectly ripe that I couldn't manage to eat all the fruit and that's the only trouble with buying in bulk, you have to eat a lot of fruit or make something out of them. There I had no cooking facilities but Skye Gyngell has included a few recipes in her recent column for The Independent.

The Alphoso season is short, perhaps only available for the next week if that. I'm going to try and buy another box today and make a sorbet or ice-cream using the clever Play and Freeze which I was given last summer although Skye's jam recipes sounds just up my street.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Nostalgic Chocolate Chip Biscuits


These biscuits taste just like ones my Mum use to make when we were younger. They are light and crunchy with a buttery taste.

Chocolate + Nut Biscuits

  • 70g caster sugar

  • 70 demerara sugar

  • 125g unsalted butter

Cream together the above ingredients in a bowl.

Add to the creamed ingredients -

  • 1 beaten egg

  • 60g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

  • 60g white chocolate, roughly chopped

  • 60g chopped hazelnuts

Mix in -

  • 140g plain flour, sieved

  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, sieved

Either roll into sausage, wrap in cling film and fridge or place teaspoons of mixture on to baking tray.
Bake at 170Âșc for 10 - 12 mins.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shove Tuesday

Pancake stuff

I have a glitch in my router. I have discovered that Typepad doesn't like me blogging unless I reset the router. Weird and irritating, but at least I have now worked out the ferocious blogging deterrent that is just an irritating bit of router weirdness. Yesterday I was all ready to set up on Blogger, in fact I did, only I never got round to writing anything. Somethings never change.

As you can see from the egg and flour set up above, I tried to post a blog on pancake day. I had been hyping myself all day for the mess and fighting that would occur once the jug, whisk, egg and flour would be visible. My girls love to argue and cause a bit of competitive rumpus shoving and even more so when cooking is involved. Where as I like nothing more than to hear them get on and be kind to each other.

I seem to remember my Mum feeling a little beaten by Pancake Day, they were more a bi-anual tradition than an annual one. If Pancake Day could be Shrove Sunday, not Shove Tuesday it would be a lot more fun for me.


Saturday, February 14, 2009


I started
writing this on Monday and it's now Saturday. Some people blog
effortlessly but my attempts are always thwarted by something or other.
I have images stacked up in iPhoto, of subjects I want to eulogize
about... one day I'll write about them.

We drove to London on Sunday to visit Simon & Angie at the very successful, 'St Judes in the City' exhibition held at the Bankside Gallery
over the past 10 days. Before we hit the river bank, we took a trip to
Spitalfields to visit the girls Auntie Miranda at her clothes stall in
the market. Just next to Miranda's stall is one of the Leon Restaurants,
a chain of eaterys set up by Allegra McEvedy, Henry Dimbleby and John
Vincent in 2004.  The food is simple, seasonal, inexpensive, wholesome
and tasty and perfect for family outings.

I've been cooking from
the Leon book since Christmas when I received it as I gift. The
Moroccan Meatballs have been eaten a few times, they're good and dead
simple to make.

Here's a quick recipe how to make Meat Balls similar to Leon's:

500g minced lamb
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
lots for freshly ground pepper and sea salt
1 handful of both chopped mint and parsley
1 pitta torn up and soaked in milk
1 good pinch of dried oregano

1. Squeeze the excess milk from the pitta bread and add to a bowl with all of the other ingredients.
2. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients together until well combined.
3. Roll into balls and either char grill as they do at Leon's, fry or bake on silicone sheet in hot oven for 15 minutes.

eat ours with either a homemade spicy tomato sauce made from: two tins
of whole plum tomatoes added to a pan which contains browned sliced
garlic cooked in olive oil. Add a cinnamon stick, a pinch of chili
flakes, a pinch of sugar, oregano, salt and black pepper. Reduce until

Alternatively, serve with rocket leaves, tzakiki, houmous, pitta bread and baked sliced aubergine.

Meat balls

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Boxing day Stu and Mati 

Boxing day

I can see I'm going to be spending some time converting some of my snaps into Polodroids - a free download that turns your photos into images that look like Polaroids. Polaroid is a recent discovery which I blogged about on the St Jude's weblog, All Things Considered earlier this week.

The above photos were taken on Boxing Day in the woods next to Wells beach, carrying a poorly Matilda on an hour long walk. I guess we shouldn't have taken her, but we thought the fresh air would wake her not send her to sleep in Stu's arms.

Below is the original of the above. Can you see why I love Poladroid - it even crops my head.

The original 1