Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wiveton Cafe

Matilda with Badger

Evie with Rabbit

Asparagus hut

The girls and I headed to Wiveton Cafe earlier in the week to give birthday wishes to Ali. I found Ali with her head in the freezers sorting out all sorts of familiar foods from my Yetman's Restaurant days; pots of lobster coral mixed with butter, eggs whites in large containers, cakes, ice-creams and much more.

This winter the cafe has been extended. The seating capacity inside has doubled and they have fitted windows so you can now look over the marsh and out to sea making the best of the fabulous scenic situation the cafe is set. The kitchens have been also been extended again - a new wash-up area and additional cooking room and the outside has been landscaped to look the same as last year. You'd hardly know t was different.

Whilst we were there I bought freshly cut asparagus from the old shed with and the girls chased guinea fowl and played in the field with their fake-furry friends.

The cafe re-opens on Monday 18th April.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Duck eggs

Six duck eggs about to be beaten and made into an artichoke and Parmesan frittata.

With just picked wild garlic adding the flowers to the salad for maximum ponce value.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


The ice-cream season has started

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dear Blank Please Blank

Saw a link to these funny letterpress cards from Fubiz on Twitter. More letters here.

Submit your own or read more of other peoples Dear Blank Please Blank submissions by clicking on DBDB.

Buy the cards at Sapling Press Etsy shop.

Pink Blancmange

The girls made blancmange yesterday. A weird tasting, very sweet raspberry blancmange which I remember making as child too. As expected, they didn't really enjoy the eating part but loved the wobble and the patterns the old glass mould made. 

The picture's be given a bit of 70's look courtesy of

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Birthday blanket

Frantically trying to find time to complete a blanket for Evie's birthday next week.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thick pancakes

Thick pancakes are a Sunday staple. The girls love them rolled up and eaten without holding back on the toppings; nutella, cinnamon sugar, apples, strawberries, bananas. You name it, they pile it on, roll them up and eat it them until they can eat no more.

I prefer them with rum soaked Chilean flame raisins mixed in the batter, topped with butter cinnamon sugar and thinly sliced crunchy apples. Poncy I know but somehow but dead tasty, like a breakfast bread and butter pudding.

The recipe I use varies weekly. They are really buttermilk pancakes but I rarely have buttermilk in my fridge so I either use cheap runny natural yogurt or curdle some milk by squeezing half a lemon in it and leaving for 10 mins.

Buttermilk Pancakes
  • 230g self raising flour 
  • 2 tsp baking flour
  • 50g castor sugar
  • 175g buttermilk/yogurt/milk with lemon juice
  • 175g milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g melted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of vanilla extract
  1. Add flour, sugar, salt and baking powder to a bowl and mix together with balloon whisk to remove lumps. (Less messy than sieving).
  2. Add eggs, buttermilk and milk and whisk until the lumps have gone. 
  3. Melt butter in pan and add to mixture.
  4. Cook on a medium heat for 3 mins then turn. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Long stemmed anemones - beautifully colourful and looking very pretty in our sunny spring house this week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sparrow & Co

Sparrow & Co sells beautiful homewares. Samuel Sparrow's photography is great too.

"Inspired by traditional crafting skills the collection will have an emphasis on unique, handmade products from countries including Morocco, Uzbekistan, Asia, Central America and of course Scotland."

Mollie Makes

I've just bought a subscription to Mollie Makes. Tag line 'Living and Loving the Handmade'. The first edition goes on sale on 12th May.

"Mollie Makes is not just a traditional craft project-book, but a magazine which celebrates craft as a part of life; curating the best contemporary craft content from around the world into a beautiful, collectable, unique and totally irresistible magazine".

A website is about to be launched but in the meantime you can follow Mollie Makes on Twitter and Jane Toft's blog.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A week of no TV

The girls and I made a pact last week. The deal was that they could not watch TV until Friday to raise money for Comic Relief. If they succeeded, they would both get £5 to give to their school Comic Relief fund.

Monday we gardened, Tuesday we made biscuits, Wednesday Pasta. They loved it. I loved it. No TV is the way forward; far less strops, better moods and less arguments.

My girls

The smurker

and the singer

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Window Coffee Shop

'Is making bread an art form?' asks Michele Roux to a Hackney baker. Yes Yes Yes.
As if by request, Michele Roux has made a programme all about bread. Not only do I love making bread but he's presenting it. You can't knock M.R. Jnr.

Hackney Wild Bread's sourdough looks wonderful. Big plump proved rounds of dough. Yep. I'm letting mine prove too long (or so I think).

Like baking bread, coffee making and brewing is also an art form. I finally went to The Window Coffee on Wensum Street today - The Worlds Smallest Coffee Shop - which coincidentally was a feature on Future Radio this evening. Hayley the owner, has entered herself into the Barista Championships - it sounds fun and with her passion, skill and taste buds, she'll do really well. I only drink decaf these days but the decaf she served was the best I've had in the three years I've deprived myself caffeine.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spiced grilled mackerel

The seasons are changing and so are my taste buds. We're eating less meat, eating smaller portions and trying new dishes. 'Plenty' by Ottolenghi is proving a a great source of inspiration so are the Asian food shops around Norwich. This weekend we ate mackerel fillets marinaded in Indian spices. Last night okra with paneer cheese and tonight soba noodles with aubergine and mango which I think would be great alongside some chargrilled chicken or squid.

Firm tofu is another rediscovered ingredient. Bland as toenails on it's own but cooked with another one of Ottolenghi winning recipes; black pepper tofu, it tastes fabulous.


I'm a sourdough bore. I will not give up until the loaf looks perfect and I've mastered the 'slash'. I've a loaf in the oven as I type this, today I snipped the top with a pair of very sharp pointy scissors. My attempts with the lame was rubbish and looking at the scissor snips on the loaf cooking in the oven, it looks that I need to snip deeper and perhaps I'm slashing the loaf too late in the proving process.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Banneton & Lame

The sieves lined with a heavily dusted tea-towel suck to the sticky dough ripping the thick sourdough skin. This has happened twice now, perhaps it wouldn't if I'd used a piece of linen instead of a cotton towel. I've still not managed to work out how to slash the loaf properly, I think the cut needs to be severe but the skin drags when I cut it.

Bakery Bits and their alluring baking gear enticed me to buy a cane banneton (proving basket) and a lame (slashing blade). Not so sure if the blade was a necessary purchase, I've since seen images and video clips of bakers using a Wilkinson's razor blade attached to a wooden coffee stirrer.

This site is proving to be a great source of information - a community of baking enthusiasts packed with info and images of their baked goods.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Just getting to grips with making sourdough again after Angie gave me a pot of starter a few weeks back. Baking this bread is fast becoming an obsession like it did a few years ago. The loaves always taste good but always look wrong. Sometimes they come out of the oven looking like patty-pan squash, others more like round wooden chopping board (very flat). The trouble is, if I make a bad looking loaf (or loaves) on Monday, I have to try and make a better loaf on Tuesday leaving is over run with Sourdough. We eat it for breakfast lunch and supper and snacks in between too. Our favourite topping this week is Sunwheel's Pear & Prune Pure Fruit Spread - a very concentrated jam that looks like Marmite.

Granny squares

I started making these squares before Christmas (2010) and it will be finished by Christmas 2011. That's my challenge.