Tuesday 24 July 2007


Our kitchen is a frustrating place to be at the moment, I have been trying to take pictures but it is impossible. I normally rely on our bright under cupboard lights and cooker hood lights to light the worktop properly as our main lights are completely pathetic. However, a while ago one of our under cupboard lights went on the blink, literally. It flickered on and off before deciding whether to grace us with its presence while we prepared dinner and now it is just off and if we even try to switch it on in the hope that it will show a sign of life it interferes with our radio reception, and as BBC Radio 2 is our usual dinner accompaniment this is not good. Now, as if this wasn't annoying enough, our whole cooker hood has stopped working, no extractor fans and no lights. So we are in gloom and, as I'm sure you all know, gloom and digital cameras do not mix. Without photos I am never very inspired to post but after my recent long absence I decided that this lack of photos could not put me off.

On Saturday it was cold here, in a way that shouldn't happen at the end of July, with all the flooding in England recently I can't really complain but I do still feel pretty hard done by this summer. We went for a walk in town and got wet before deciding to go for a drink while we decided what to do about dinner and somehow found ourselves back at the old standby of lamb burgers in pitta bread but this time the burgers were flavoured with zahtar and the pittas were spread with baked feta for a salty taste of Greece. I have touched on baked feta once before but it deserves a place in the spotlight.


1 block of feta cheese
1/2 red onion finely chopped
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Drizzle of olive oil

Place the feta in a large square of tin foil and top with the onion, lemon juice and oil. Seal the foil parcel and sit it on a baking tray. Place in a hot oven (a precise temperature doesn't matter here as we're talking cheese softening not precise cookery so any medium/hot setting will do) and leave for 20 minutes before unwrapping and devouring. It is good as a dip or as a sandwich in pitta bread with salad. This is best eaten straight from the oven as it does harden up again eventually.

Wednesday 18 July 2007


...and I'm finally writing again. Is anyone still there, are you still looking? I'm sorry. I've been writing and rewriting this post for a week now wanting to make up for my slovenly approach to blogging but all I have is this, a brief summary and a promise of better things to come.

Our holiday in the Lake District was just what we wanted and needed, some sunshine, a little too much local ale, and a gorgeous cottage. But since then life has taken a turn for the worse. We've had too much to think about and on top of it all have barely seen summer.

I was starting to feel exhausted coming to work in a procession of soggy shoes, the bottom of my jeans wrecked from soaking up the endless rain, and giving the local takeaways way too much business (I'll introduce you to our favourites one of these days). But, last week, things started to look up. I found bargain flights for our trip to Chicago and New York in September (and am already dreaming about sitting in Madison Square Park with a Shake Shack burger), we went out for a great dinner and drank cocktails until 3am, we made brunch and went for a walk in the Botanics, and then last Wednesday I turned 28.

I don't believe in working on my birthday so we woke up a little late and the sun was finally shining. Chris went to pick up my birthday cake along with some croissants and pain au chocolat from our local bakery. We slowly got ourselves ready, booked a three night trip to London to coincide with a one day festival, and headed out to eat lunch on the terrace at Oloroso. One relaxed lunch, one and a bit bottles of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, two sale tops, one new bottle of Marc Jacobs cucumber eau de toilette, a lip gloss, and a few cocktails later and all was looking a bit rosier in our world. We drank some more, ate some cake, enjoyed the day and on Thursday woke up to more rain.

Still, all was well and I had a birthday party to plan. On Saturday Chris and I went to buy mojito ingredients (mojitos three times in one week is possibly a little excessive no matter how much you kid yourself that all that mint and lime goodness cancels out the rum) and food. Having spent an age trying to decide what to make we eventually spent Saturday afternoon preparing courgette fritters, pea and garlic crostini, caponata topped crostini, cheesy feet shaped biscuits, houmous, baba ganoush, and some cocktail sausages from Crombies. We cooked our food, drank with our friends, and saw the sun come up at 5am. Needless to say Sunday was a painful experience with the one bright point of a very juicy cheeseburger.