Thursday, 8 July 2010

Pick Your Own..... Make your own.....

I am thinking that this blog post needs little, if any, commentary??
What in the world can come close to the joy of Picking Ones Own soft fruit? - Look at that face of pure excitement? Children are really good at this job....
Mummy's little Scarecrow all ready for the challenge of the Raspberry Rows. We took a friend each so we could have a good ole natter whilst picking. I am equally as happy to pick my own, alone... so to speak. But it is good to have company too.

These years are, so far, small... but there were plenty left to come back to in a week or so.
I was disappointed my local farm has stopped the PYO strawberries but every year they were less and less successful.

I only had to tell my Little One off 3 times for eating punnets of these fruits - it would have been more if they'd been strawbs i feel....

Joy of fruit.
Joy of being outdoors. and being active.
Joy at the excitement and the *potential*......
COME ON people..... what do you take me for??? i didn't *only* make Raspberry Gin and Raspberry Vodka. Shame on your low opinion of me.
There were a couple left to make Rasberry Vinegar for later pickles and i froze some to make ice-cream with... to eat with my vodka.....
JOY i tell you.
Pure Joy x

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Thankyou Little Blossom

Such a perfect little thing! So English, so Summery, so prolific! It is weighing the hedgerows down! I watched it swoosh past the train on Sunday and just wanted to jump off and start gathering!

So on to the tale of the Elderflower!

I always miss it....always! I talk about it endlessly and then never quite get there! Well Mr B and I had a bit of a where we didn't make up before sleep....grrrrrr! He left very early for work (5am) so it was not till I opened the door at 6pm did I see him again! There he was all green with pollen, random bits of shrubbery sticking out of his beard, a big satisfied grin on his face and a plastic bag held outright! Full of Elderflowers!
Now that, that is L.O.V.E. x

So I followed Hugh F.W.'s recipe for Elderflower Champagne!

Makes about 6 litres


  • 4 litres hot water
  • 700g sugar
  • Juice and zest of four lemons
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • About 15 elderflower heads, in full bloom
  • A pinch of dried yeast (you may not need this) I did...perhaps this is due to when it was picked as I think that does affect natural yeasts that are needed to get the fermentation going?
It is not a classy process and if like me you had it in the kitchen, it is a little unsightly......however look at what we have now!
Bottles of flowery, sprightly, Summery Bubbles! Pop one in your basket, with a punnet of fat June strawberries, a loaf of lemon cake and your tartan blanket! Picnic Bliss!


M&S have lovely vintage style, nostalgic 'Pop' bottles! Save these up and they are just perfectly pretty labelled up with your Vintage in!
Cheers, MrB x

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

First.... French Onion Soup...

I did, indeed, promise you Molly's "Bouchon Au Thon".... i have it ready to talk about. But i wanted to mention the French Onion Soup i made for dinner. The French Onion Soup was great as a Summer Supper. The weather was so hot here today. I had made the soup in the afternoon, prior to going out for a few hours. This proved a good idea as it only needed heating through and finishing off on our return. It was also 'hearty' to have soup but being 'French Onion' - it was light and quite refreshing.
I used Sophie Dahls recipe. Which was 'okay', but.... it needed all sorts adding to it that wasn't suggested by my friend (my friend being Sophie - ya know.....) I'd never made this soup before but i remember it clearly from my pre-vegetarian days from hoilday restaurants. It is something i have wanted to make for ages.

I won't repeat the recipe, i'm sure you have her book / can google it, whatever you want.
The important things i wanted to share was that it was very quick and easy and satisfying. My daughter loved it too which is always a bonus.
I added Marmite to it (yes, Marmite, for those who are dubious to the intentions of Marmite during cooking) and SoySauce too. It didn't have the great depth of deep deep flavour that i wanted - so if anyone has other suggestions to add, i am listening....

The other GREAT thing i did was, that i toasted quartered slices of the Foccacia bread that was left over from yesterdays menu. I floated a large piece on top of each soup bowl, and i scattered the cheese on top of that. It was a great finish to, an otherwise average looking, bowl of soup.
Also, i had no Gruyere cheese left as i scoffed it all yesterday, so i substituted that for a bit of strong Cheddar. It worked well - so something to bear in mind if needs must? I was hungry, so forgot to photograph the soup.... but this last photo was amusing. SmallFish feeding the dog half of her Breadstick.... using her mouth.
Aaaaahhh, it's all fun and games here. We eat well but hygiene might slip down the list of priorities on occasion.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Forgive me THIGHS for i have sinned....

See her.... that woman there.... the one stuffing her face with freshly baked Brioche and homemade chocolate spread.....? That's me that is.
Forgive me Thighs, Stomach, Bottom = for today i ate like a King! In terms of food, i have a great deal to talk about. Mainly in conjunction with my new love of Molly *swoon* (see previous post) but rather than overwhelm with you my full days menu - i'll spoon feed you the MACAROONS for now and spare you the gluttony i indulged in.
These babies:::::::>>>> are Coconut Macaroons! Baking in the oven. Oh yum.... And i don't even 'like' coconut. Well, i didn't until today.
I was up early today and had a Brioche loaf baking by 6am - (ready in 3 hours or so) so i started my day with Tea and Fresh Pineapple whilst standing idle over the stove and the beginnings of the Macaroons.
By fortuity (or great sense of smell) by parents happend to be passing my home at 8.30am and wanted breakfast! luckily there were 5 egg yolks looking for a home as i had just used the 5 egg whites in my Macaroons. So they were treated to Scrambled Egg on toast. (i am slowly feeling smug and self satisfied at my domestic economics)
By 10am, my parents long gone, the Brioche was ready. And, like the pig that i am, i ate great slabs of it smothered in Chocolate Ganache that was left over from covering the Macaroons. Honestly, i almost turned into a French Native, it was such an extravagant breakfast.
Then i needed to taste the amazing Macaroons. They were a joy! and i love a recipe that i can adapt. As i was making these this morning i had a few different variations forming in my head. They didn't need the chocolate in my opinion. So my next batch will omit the Ganache topping and i am going to add finely chopped dried Cranberries or dried Sour Cherries.... great for kids snack packs.... the ideas are endless.....
Later, i ate "Bouchons au Thon" also courtesy of Molly Wizenberg with a salad of toasted Brioche croutons, blue cheese and masses of chopped tomatos, all on a bed of Rocket leaves.
Forgive me nothing my friends - who wants to be skinny when you can eat like this!?
And, if you are nice to me, i will share the recipe for the Bouchons x

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Salivating over Molly's Book...

I think it would be fair to say, i have "treated" myself of late. 2010 has, so far, proven to be a pretty nasty year in all. It is only May however and there might be a few months yet to reprieve. I have indulged, with a ting of guilt, in a few treats for myself in attempt to keep spirits from divebombing.......
I bought this book on whim - A HOMEMADE LIFE by Molly Wizenberg. It developed from a blog ORANGETTE (which i have yet to check out myself)
I bought the book thinking it was pricey at £11.99 - but with the hope that it would be filled with glorious photographs and crafty ideas..... that anticipation was so far from what i received.
But what i did discover was an entire book of magical new recipes and engaging writing. Quite honestly, i am HOOKED on Molly. This book is pure joy.
I am falling into bed at present, sooooo tired from what each day is launching at me, and i reach for Molly and slowly read a chapter before sleep. I don't do this with other books - i race through them all in one sitting. Not Molly's Book. It needs savouring....

The above recipe, i did actually buy the ingredients for today. I am hoping to make these tomorrow morning but i'll see how i get on with getting up and dressed first! There are so many great recipes in here and i can't wait to try these out.

AAaaaahh, there she is - Molly. On the back page of her book. She looks quite slim huh? How does that happen when you eat such great food all the time? (Note to self: Cook well, Eat well, Move more)
In the absence of having something good to cook and eat right at this moment, i shall lick the book. I am so needy right now, it's pathetic - but at least i can come back to cookery. The nurturing, soothing, comfort of Making, Baking and Eating xxx
Buy the book - or better still, order it from the library. It is so good!

Friday, 30 April 2010

Sugar Rush... Cinnamon Bagel Doughnut!

Everybody needs a breakfast like this, once in a while....?
Now, i admit - i haven't posted much on our glorious food blog of late and i apologise.
I am on a small-ish diet (although you wouldn't know it from this) and i have huge plans to tell you about the yummy recipes i've been trying.
THIS was a treat for my Girl and Me, who needed a sugar rush for a late Brunch.
Chop the bagels in half.
Whisk up 2 eggs with some milk - soak the bagels in the eggy mix for about 5 mins each side.
Fry them up in a bit of butter.
When they are gently cooked on both sides - pop them on a plate that is covered in sugar and cinnamon (add what you like really)

Sugar, Cinnamon, comfort rush - ahhhh, the joy - accompanied with a large pot of tea!
You can do the above with eggs and cheese to have an eggy cheesy bagel doughnut - just OMIT the sugar stage!!
*note to self* share my new recipes for Sweet Potato Pancakes & Potato-less Fish Cakes.
.....somebody peel me off the wall, iam ZINGING!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

I am an Addict!

Oh my goodness....

Mr B will vouch for this! I am addicted to....Asparagus!Last year, it was almost a daily treat, like a pregnancy craving for a whole month! I was known to send Mr B out on special spears expeditions! Go, Man, hunt/gather the pointy green stuff!

Asparagus, Asparagus, Asparagus!

It seems a bit early but there is British, seasonal Asparagus in the shops now! In this case the lovely M&S again! 2 packets of the lovely stuff for £3!

I say once more, it is not that I have squillions of most homes with small children we live on one salary....but I reason in my head:

Asparagus OR Marie Claire?

Hmmmmmmmmmm.....well I don't if this is a sad admission, but asparagus wins every time!

This was my lunch time bliss today!Grab a steamer or a pan of water (you can boil them together), get water boiling.Note time.Place room temperature egg in water, pop on steamer, chuck in your asparagus (fibrous ends snapped off....if you are a glutton like me, you eat those too, raw!).Time it! 4minutes!Egg soft boiled to perfection, al dente asparagus (drop in a knob of butter and shake about in the steamer top)Kitchen surface to your tummy in under five minutes!Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

NigellApp....Quick Recipe Collection

A lovely friend of mine, who is waiting patiently for a long over due letter from me (.....I promise it is on its way!) sent me an email link to this fabulous bit of kit!

Now it does unfortunately rely on you having an iphone! Perhaps you were debating upgrading to one, or were 'shall I, shan't I' -ing about one and another phone! Well if you are, in anyway as in love with Nigella, as I am, then this could be the post that sways you!

Nigella has a new App, that she is terming the NigellApp! It contains a collection of quick recipes, videos (brilliant, what can be better than Nigella in your pocket?!) and a shopping list option connected to all the recipes. It is a joy!

It is like having one of her cookery books in your bag/ pocket! It is just as pretty, retro, homey but elegant. Not only is it gorgeous to look at but the recipes are wonderful too. I was watching the videos while waiting for parents meeting and debating what to make as a late supper for me and MrB. Genius!

When alone yesterday, smallest B napping, I had a to make a quick lunch before getting back to work. I choose another fabulous, super quick recipe - Mushroom Steak Sandwich!

Marks and Spencers currently have huge Portobello Mushrooms, picked daily, on offer! They are mahoosive and of course, delicious!

Place your mushroom in a roasting tin, dot with butter, sprinkle on a little handful of fresh parsley and a finely chopped garlic clove. Roast in a hot oven (200c). This doesn't take long, for it to soften and start oozing black juices.Split a ciabatta roll, place face down in the roasting tin to soak up any of the juice, smooth on a layer of Dijon mustard. Place your mushroom on top, scatter some salt on top and a squeeze of lemon juice. I then stuffed mine with some baby spinach! A simply perfect interlude to the day! Warm buttery, garlicy sustenance, in under 20 mins + trashy magazine + silent house = lunchtime bliss


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

A Little Tradition on Your Breakfast Table

We are all interested in shopping local, to have food that has traveled the smallest distance to reach our tables. It is not all convenience and cheapness anymore. Food and how we buy it has a connection to our communities, our families as well as to our traditions and memories.This is an easy, convenient, only pennies more, simply joyous way of doing this.

Get yourself a milkman!Such simple pleasure to be had in opening the door and finding your fresh milk on the doorstep. Such convenience in a new swizzy email supported ordering can change your delivery right up to nine o'clock the night before! Such variety....milk, eggs, juice, fruit boxes and even pet food! Such a sense of tradition, a pride in supporting millkman and not the local GIANT!

Recycle the last of your plastic bottles and have a peep at these lovely folks website

I am loving it!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Still loving "Miss Dahl"...

So.... i bought her book.
You expected it of me, right? she is now my new best best friend, in my head. The book was worth it to me, just for reading all the personal stories of her life. I can believe it to be true - the travel, the modelling, the weight debate....
Mostly i love her book as it really is close to how i eat. Miss Dahl is a vegetarian and a food lover, like my good self. But she also appreciates (and cooks) good quality meat for those that she loves. So the recipes were all how i would cook.
MOST-est and BEST-est of all though, Sophie Dahl completely understands food in all its goodness:
Have you EVER cried when reading a cookbook? (not you MrsB, it is inevitable you have my gorgeous, soft hearted Love) imagine me in bed last night, reading this:
" and eating can be so simple, yet both can be a far reaching expression of love and humanity that is universal....
...The last supper, conjured after someone has died or left, that you play over again in your head: What did we talk about? What did we eat? How could we not have known that this was going to be it? Grasping the bones of the mundane and holding them close and dear"
"Grasping the bones of the mundane" writes Miss Dahl, "and holding them close and dear" this is exactly what cookery does for me. She says it so much better than I. And, when i find myself in a horrible dark place, that comes and goes - cookery is that precious mundanity that helps anchor me.
This morning i found myself alone and in need, so i made a batch of Easter Marzipan Cakes (from the wonderfully Motherly Nigella) and, for breakfast, some of Sophie's "Indian sweet potato Pancakes" pg.30 of the book

Some of you may squint at the idea of something curry-ish for breakfast, but i am made of hearty stuff! and i like the thought of a challenge...
I made these this morning and only deviated 'slightly' from the recipe by adding crushed corriander seeds - my dads voice in my head "why can't you follow the recipe as it is? why go adding bits it might not need?" well, it's not as if corriander is so far off the Indian / Asian Palette is it?

They were fresh and tasty - good for you and low in fats etc... as i am beginning to expect of Miss Dahl. But, you know me. They were a little bit too healthy so i added a generous soft slope of Cambozola blue brie on the side....
Taste = heaven!!
With a breakfast like that under my belt, i am either:
a) set up for a good couple of well fuelled hours...... or .....
b) salivating over what's for lunch!
I shall be watching her, tonight, 8.30pm, BBC2 (and Holby City on i-player later)