Monday 31 May 2010


After a long and fun weekend of birthday celebrations involving swimming in the sea (not a wise decision considering the water temperature), eating the towering lemon cake (recipe from Romantic Cakes by Peggy Porschen), and drinking lots of prosecco we were ready for a quiet week.

Unfortunately the quiet week of our dreams turned into a busy work week but, thankfully, that busy work week culminated in a three day weekend.

Following a rained off picnic on Saturday and a Sunday burger and beers, I was happy to spend Monday reading and resting, baking and cooking.

I think I've mentioned before that I'm susceptible to recommendations. So, when a lot of my favourite bloggers started cooking from Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain I knew I had to get a copy. Never having baked with whole-grain flours before I wanted to start gently, ease myself in, and when I read the recipe for a spelt olive oil cake with chocolate and rosemary I knew where to begin. The cake was a doddle to make and the taste, well, the spelt adds a biscuity flavour and crumble, the rosemary is aromatically present but not overpowering, and the chocolate, well, I'm sure I don't need to sell you on nubs of dark chocolate in a cake?

The recipe is here so now there is nothing to do but add my voice to the clamour of recommendations. This is a great book. Original, mouthwatering, interesting.

Now, what next?

Figgy buckwheat scones, granola bars, quinoa and beet pancakes, sweet potato muffins...

Tuesday 25 May 2010





Happy Birthday Mum x

Monday 17 May 2010


I've been fantasising lately.

About dining tables.

About kitchens with bookshelves.

About the sun shining.

About sitting out and enjoying it with scotch eggs to eat and elderflower cordial to drink.

About restaurants to revisit.

About new ones to discover.

About books to buy, jewellery to admire, and walls that one day may be adorned with this, and this, and this, and this, and this.

About holidays.

About holidays.

About holidays.

About holidays.

But until then, when Monday comes, I will go to work.

I will make dinner plans (tonight - pork, mustard seed and herb sausages with mashed sweet potato to be eaten alongside Glee and Australia's Next Top Model, making me happy and Chris, well, not so much).

I will go out.

I will look forward to a long weekend or two.

I will make plans for the months to come.

I will read new books.

I will listen to favourite songs.

I will continue to fantasise, continue to dream, continue to imagine.

Saturday 15 May 2010


A friend at work had her leaving drinks last night. Cue too many vodka tonics and not enough, or any, food. Surprisingly I woke up sleepy but otherwise unaffected and more than ready for a quiet day of doing very little at all. Last week felt long. But it's over now and I can sit and relax and read and eat and finally, because I felt rude reading but not participating, join Twitter. Yes, I have succumbed and, so far, I like it.

I'm here.

And after succumbing to the lure of the tweet I took my new Makr bag for its first outing to the market. It coped admirably well with new season carrots, spring garlic, dried mushrooms, parsley, asparagus, lamb mince, sausages, prosecco, elderflower cordial, The Guardian, Bon Appetit, and Elle.

From there to home and to a lunchtime frittata thanks to Shauna. Asparagus, eggs, spring garlic, semi-hard goats cheese, paprika. A glass of elderflower cordial. A smile.

And now?

Now I have important birthday business to be getting on with. My Mum turns 60 next week and at the weekend we will be heading to Sussex to have a small party in the garden, weather permitting, with good food, prosecco, and cake. That's my part. I know I'm making the cake but, so far, don't know what it will be.

I'm thinking a lemon layer cake with soft yellow buttercream and lemon curd. I might buy some sugar daisies to decorate the top. That's the easy part. First I have to read my baking books. Narrow down the choices. Find a recipe.

Any suggestions?

ASPARAGUS FRITTATA (with thanks to Shauna)
Serve 1 for lunch on its own or 2 with salad and bread on the side

1 bunch of asparagus
1 stalk of spring garlic
1 teaspoon of butter or olive oil
3 eggs
About 20g of grated semi hard goats cheese (or parmesan)
sea salt and black pepper
a pinch of smoked paprika

Snap the woody ends off your asparagus, just bend and it will break at the natural point. Chop the asparagus into one inch pieces. Slice the pale end of your stalk of spring garlic finely.

Now beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper and turn on the oven to around 180° C, if you're using a pan with an ovenproof handle, or the grill to medium, if, like me, you aren't.

Heat the butter or oil in a small frying pan and when it is hot add the asparagus and garlic. Move them about in the pan until the asparagus turns bright green and then pour over the eggs. As the eggs start to set around the edges lift the side of the frittata using a spatula to let the uncooked egg run underneath to set. When the top of the frittata is no longer runny sprinkle with the cheese and paprika and place either in the oven or under the grill for five minutes until the frittata is firm and cooked through.

Tip onto a plate and serve, either on its own as a meal for one or with salad and bread on the side so that you can split it between two.

Tuesday 4 May 2010


Edwin Morgan turned 90 last week so I'll just leave you with this for now...


There were never strawberries
like the ones we had
that sultry afternoon
sitting on the step
of the open french window
facing each other
your knees held in mine
the blue plates in our laps
the strawberries glistening
in the hot sunlight
we dipped them in sugar
looking at each other
not hurrying the feast
for one to come
the empty plates laid on the stone together
with the two forks crossed
and I bent towards you
sweet in that air
in my arms
abandoned like a child
from your eager mouth
the taste of strawberries
in my memory
lean back again
let me love you

let the sun beat
on our forgetfulness
one hour of all
the heat intense
and summer lightning
on the Kilpatrick hills

let the storm wash the plates

(from New Selected Poems, Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2000)