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Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts

A modern way to eat...

About 3 weeks ago I watched a programme on TV - Horizon.  A documentary about the health and environmental benefits to eating less meat - especially red & processed meat.  After watching it, Dan and I decided to eliminate meat from our daily diet (with exception to a Roast Chicken we shall still enjoy as a family).

So that's it, a veggie of sorts, but how do I find good, delicious, inspiring meals that will replace my usual meat based dishes.  So I asked fellow veggies Jen and Lia what they used, and they both recommended this book - 'A modern way to eat' by Anna Jones.  They were not wrong.  It is THE best recipe book I have ever read.

The style of book makes it easy to use, Anna suggests recipes for different types of meals, from breakfasts to dinner with friends, all written in a friendly way, with ideas on how to make the recipes your own.  There are also pages colour coded in green, on how you can go it alone and make beautiful dishes using key ingredients.

It has been three weeks since I have eaten meat (Dan has joined the boys with Spag Bol and Chicken goujons) but me - I am a fully fledged veggie.  Anna's book has made that happen, I have enjoyed eating Kale with tahini dressing, Lemony Lentil soup, Oat & banana pancakes and so on.  And I am pleased to say that I don't miss meat.

If you are wishing to try some vegetarian recipes, change your diet or looking for some inspiration in the kitchen, then this is the book for you.

have a great weekend...

Image via Darling Magazine.
So it's Friday... hands up who is happy about the weekend?
Sun is shining through my window - although April is behaving as it should and giving us short sharp showers between bright light.  It's not as warm as it looks - but I am being brave and wearing my sandals regardless!!  (yes I do have cold toes, but pretty feet).

This weekend we are planning:
* dig some more at the allotment
* go shopping for summer clothes
* picnic with friends
* make this fruit cup recipe
* Chill it....

Yes this weekend is being spent pottering, relaxing and being a family.  We have busy few weekends coming up.. including a trip to the most awesome campsite Coldatnight and off down to Cornwall to stay at this beautiful Barn at half term.  Partying to celebrate a 40th Birthday too.  HALF TERM! Where does the time go, surely it was only Easter last week?

Whatever you are planning this weekend... enjoy.

whole food living...

Image via here
I've been feeling so ill this week.  Listless, splitting sinus headaches, holding my body in a bad way, and not having an ounce of energy to give to anyone.  I can't hug - or be hugged.  Now that's bad!  It's a virus, I know, and hopefully this weekend it will come to an end... I just need some rest.  But feeling this way it has made me think about my diet, and what I am giving my body to help restore my bounce.  And beyond.

For Lent I have given up bread.  I am not a deeply religious person and have never given anything up for Lent before, but this year I felt like I needed to change the way I eat.  For decades I have reached for the loaf for a comforting marmite on toast after the school run, or pick at the crust whilst cooking, or grab a quick sandwich in between working and kids.  No more - it had to stop.
I think I was addicted to bread.  It made me bloat, put on weight and feel sluggish, but I just couldn't stop.

Until now - STOP EATING IT, LOU!

Ahhh that's better.  So it's been just over a week and although I feel poorly (could it be withdrawl symptoms?) my stomach has gone down and I am getting over that need for snacking.

I've been looking at some amazing blogs with recipes for Wholefood.  This blog My New Roots is giving me a great source of inspiration.  I am starting to change my old habits and turn over a new dietary leaf.  Today I am making my own Granola, this recipe looks delicious and super easy.  It is going to be long journey and one that I hope will become a way of life.  I want to equip my children with a better understanding of food and change their tastes too.  Goodbye Mr Waffle and Mr Fish Finger!!!

Have you come across a good whole food recipe blog, can you let me know?
Do you eat whole?  Have you kicked bread or sugar in to touch?
Let me know... I need some help!
Also I will start to post some recipes here too.

Have a lovely weekend!

Cornish Holiday Part 4 - Beach Food

As a family, time spent on the beach is so precious... it is only a handful of days a year that we manage to spend by the ocean.  In the past we have had typical British weather ... rain.  But this holiday we were so fortunate with days of glorious heat and sunshine... that we didn't want to be anywhere else.

Days were spent getting up early, and heading to the beach before breakfast, staying until just after lunch.  Then heading off to a cooling garden somewhere and then back to the beach for a BBQ and sundowners.

Eating inside was not an option. So this meant carefully planning of our daily menu and thinking of quick and simple meals to feed starving children and evening suppers that was worthy of such a glorious setting.

Breakfast.  We took our small gas burner, a frying pan and fried bacon for butties... using soft rolls and lots of ketchup.  The smell of it cooking wafting across the waves bought many an envious look from ravenous surfers! Dan took his Kelly Kettle to the beach, so within minutes we had hot boiling water and a good cup of tea... perfect.

Lunch.  A packed affair.  Ham and tomato rolls, cheese and cucumber sandwiches. Crisps and fruit. Ice cold  water. All kept cool in our cool box with many frozen ice packs for company.  I prefer to use a hard sided cool box as it's easier to clean, stays upright (no sloppy spillage into the sand) and the lid can be used as a table.

Dinner.  A BBQ whilst watching the sunset.  We opted for using disposable BBQ's purely because it's lighter to carry along the beach... and with all the other stuff we have to carry (food, wine, body boards, buckets & spades) a small, light BBQ was the best option.

So what did we eat...

Asparagus spears wrapped in pancetta
Thick slices of Haloumi
Chipolata sausages
Corn on the cob
Salmon foil parcels
Beefy tomatoes
Side salad
Hummus dip & carrot sticks

Cold beers, crisp rose wine & apple juice for the boys.

Salmon Parcels (one per person)

Salmon Fillet pieces
Slice of Lemon
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Cut foil into squares and drizzle with olive oil (to prevent the salmon from sticking).
Place salmon onto the square. Place slice of lemon on top. Season.
Scrunch the foil around the salmon so it forms a little bag.  This allows the fish to steam.
Place on to BBQ and let it cook for 15 mins.. or until the fish is cooked through.

I found that quick simple food that needed little preparation time was the best.  In the morning before I left for the beach, I quickly made the lunch and prepped the evening meal and left it in the fridge so all we had to do was to swing by the cottage and pick it up on route back to the beach.

We absolutely loved cooking on the beach. Do you? What recipes do you use?  I would love to know.  If the sunshine returns I am sure we will head to the coast, as I want to do this all over again!

beet cake...

beet cake from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

A gorgeous little film.
Beautifully shot.
And deliciously yum - can't wait to try some.

Spicy courgette pickles...

Image via Etsy - Kimberley Hasselbrink

If, like me, you have a bit of a courgette glut at the moment, this might be of interest.
The Etsy Blog have put up in a recent post Spicy Zucchini Pickle (courgette's if you are from these parts!).
Looks so delicious I might give this one a go later this week.
Have a lovely week, what ever you are doing.
Me?  Work, Allotment, Play Dates and camping... 
Speak soon.

A subtle whiff of orange....

There a satisfying whiff of Orange in my kitchen.  It must mean it is Marmalade season.

One of my most favourite things to do at this time of year is pot up glowing jars of thick golden orangey goodness and have it on hot buttered toast in the morning.  I use this recipe from the River Cottage Preserves book, my preserving bible... it's brilliant, so much so that my mum requested a copy for christmas.

The Seville Orange season is only for about a month mid Jan to mid Feb... so hurry and make some quick! 

Oooo I cannot wait for Breakfast tomorrow!

And yes, Rufus was wearing an appropriately coloured top for the occasion!


Elving part deux

Four weeks ago I bottled 2 pounds of frozen plums (from the boys Great Grandfathers plum tree) into a large kilner jar. 

Added 200g of Caster Sugar and topped it up with good quality Brandy.

Every few days I gave the jar a shake to dissolve the sugar and macerate the plums.

Today (4 weeks later), I poured the plum brandy into little glass bottles as gifts for family this Christmas.

Hurry up Father Christmas!

I can't maintain a level of normality in the house anymore!


Clementine Curd Recipe ~ Homemade Christmas Gift Inspiration

I've been trying to think of things to make for Christmas gifts.

Last year I made Christmas chutney, knitted hot water bottle covers, made crystalised ginger chocs.

So this year, I wanted to make something really different.

I found this really simple recipe by Jamie Oliver, so easy to do, just don't read your emails whilst cooking it as it can scramble the eggs (I got a few white lumps... ughh).


6 x Clementines
2 x Lemons
4 x eggs (well beaten)
2 x yolks
350gr Caster Sugar
100gr Unsalted Butter (diced)

In a large saucepan put the zest & juice of the fruit, eggs, & sugar.
Place on a very low heat and then add the butter.
Stir constantly, otherwise it may scramble. 
 Keep scraping the edges and sides to prevent scrambling.
Once the liquid thickens and coats the back of the wooden spoon.
Pour into sterlised jars.

Use within a month.

This recipe made only 3 jars... I am going to double up the quantities next time.

Tastes delicious, Charlie can't get enough of it.


Halloween Preparation

This afternoon was a hive of activity in the Taylor household.  We were whipping up a spooky storm in the kitchen.

Pumpkins were carved, biscuits & muffins made and seeds were toasted.

Dan was chief carver of the pumpkins (a job he absolutely loves doing), and helped the boys create the most amazing scary lanterns.

These have to be the best he has done yet.

(Thanks to Uncle Jonathan for bringing over the most amazing pumpkin carving kit from Canada, on his recent visit, it really helped).

Charlie made some creepy looking Bat Biscuits.

I love this one!  Smiling faced bat.

The concentration and attention he gave them. He couldn't wait to taste them, secretly nibbling away when I wasn't looking.

I also used the pumpkin innards to make pumpkin & choc chip muffins using a pumpkin shaped silicon muffin tray from Sainsbury's. These didn't turn out too great, as they got a bit stuck inside their cases.  I don't think I buttered the cases enough.

I also had a go at making Spicy Pumpkin Seeds a recipe by Alys Fowler in her book the Edible Garden.

Basically, I rinsed the seeds of all the gloop, the spread them out on a baking tray.  Gave them a good drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled them with sea salt, chilli powder and cumin powder  Mixed them all up until they were really coated.  Then popped them in the oven for 15 mins til puffed up and toasted.

Totally yum!  I've had to put them away, as I couldn't stop stuffing my face.  These will perfect to nibble on Bonfire Night with a glass of real ale.

Hope you are ready for tomorrow's shenanigans.


Alys Fowler's Apple Rings

We all know of my girl crush on Miss Fowler, I have posted of it before.  After watching her series the Edible Garden, I was given her book on the series for my birthday.

I have made many a recipe from here, including my courgette cake, and they have turned out great.  One of the recipes she made on her series was for homemade apple rings.  It looked so simple, yet delicious, I couldn't wait to have a go.

Last week, my mum gave us a bag full of apples from her ancient apple tree, mainly windfalls as most of the tree hangs in next doors garden now.  I decided to have a go at making the apple rings.

Alys Fowler's Apple Rings Recipe:

Wash the apples thoroughly, discarding any that are too damaged or insect eaten.

Core the apples and slice them into 5mm (1/4 inch thick).

Soak the slices for 10 minutes in a lemon juice solution (she says citric acid, but lemon juice will do) made with a juice of lemon and 400ml (3/4 pint) of water.  This stops the apple rings from becoming discoloured.

I put my rings onto wire racks and put them into a low oven (around 100 degrees) for 3 hours.

Alys dried hers on bamboo poles held over a radiator for a few days (I was too impatient).

The dried apple ring should feel a bit like a chamoix leather and springy to touch, once dried.

Store in an air tight container.

A low-fat moreish snack!

These Apple rings were destined for Charlie's lunch box, but he doesn't like them! 

Oh well, just as well I do!



Rosehip Syrup

A couple of weekends ago, we went hedgerow foraging, we found several Dogrose bushes laden with ripe rosie hips.  We knew exactly what to make with them, Rosehip Syrup.

During the Second World War, the Ministry of Defence had a team of volunteers gather Rosehips to make into syrup.  They were paid just 3d (just over 1p) for each pound they collected and the syrup was fed to the nations children.  

Rosehips are naturally packed full of Vitamin A and C, which was in short supply during the War.

Last year we were struck down with Swine Flu.  I don't think I have ever felt so ill and I don't ever want to have the flu like that again, so fingers crossed, having a spoonful of this a day will keep nasty bugs away and boost our immune system.

The recipe I used was from the River Cottage Handbook No 2 - Preserves:

500g Rosehips
650g Graulated Sugar

Pick over the rosehips, removing the stalks, and rinse in cold water.

Put 800ml water in a pan and bring to the boil.  Meanwhile, mince the rosehips in a food processor. (I used the coffee grinder attachment on my liquidiser).

Add this mash to the pan of boiling water, cover and bring back to the boil.  Take off the heat and allow to stand for 15 minutes.

Pour through a scalded jelly bag or muslin and leave to drip for an hour or so.

Set aside the strained juice.  Bring another 800ml water to the boil, add the rosehip pulp, and repeat the boiling process again.  Tip the mixture back into the jelly bag or muslin and this time leave to drip overnight.

The next day, combine both lots of strained juice (discard the pulp).  Measure the juice (you should have about 1 litre) and pour into a saucepan.  Add the sugar and heat, stirring until dissolved.  Boil for 2-3 minutes, then immediately pour into warm, sterilised bottles and secure with a screw cap or cork.

Use within 4 months.

It tastes very sweet (lots of sugar in the recipe!), but also fragrant yet spicy.  Really rather delicious and the best thing is, the boys love it!

I have some hips left over.  I could go out and pick some more to make more syrup or I might make these, which I totally fell in love with (get it heart?!), ahem.  I like the idea of starting to make some Christmas decorations out of natural things.

Glutney - Plot 30

This week I have been a busy little bee in the kitchen.  We are over run with Courgettes, Runner Beans and after my blight scare last week, where I cut off the offending blackened stems, I was left with lots of unripened tomatotes.  (Thankfully I dont think I have blight, but that's another post!).

We have a wonderful book on preserves which my lovely sister in law, Helen, bought Dan for a birthday present.  It's a River Cottage Handbook and is written by Pam Corbin, the jam expert.

The book has great recipes for all types of Jams, Jellies, Chutneys, Pickles, Drinks etc.  The Glutney recipe is brilliant, you can through any vegetable glut in and (fingers crossed) it will turn out tasty.


1kg overgrown courgettes, unpeeled but cut into dice no bigger than 1cm (discard seeds from really large marrows)
1kg red or green tomatoes, scalded, skinned and roughly chopped
1kg cooking peeled and diced
500g onions, peeled and diced (I used 250g)
500g sultanas or raisins (I used 250g)
500g light brown sugar (I used granulated sugar)
750ml white wine or cider vinegar, made up to 1 litre with water (I used half of each)
1–3 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp salt

for the spice bag

1 thumb-sized nugget of fresh or dried ginger, roughly chopped
12 cloves (I used 12 all spice berries)
12 black peppercorns
1 generous tsp coriander seeds
a few blades of mace
(1 dried chilli whole)

Put the vegetables and fruit in a large, heavy-based pan with the sultanas or raisins, sugar, vinegar and water, chilli flakes and salt.

Make up the spice bag by tying all the spices in a square of muslin or cotton. Add the spice bag to the pan, pushing it into the middle.

Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 2–3 hours, uncovered, stirring regularly to ensure it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. The chutney is ready when it is rich, thick and reduced, and parts to reveal the base of the pan when a wooden spoon is dragged through it. If it starts to dry out before this stage is reached, add a little boiling water.

Pot up the chutney while still warm (but not boiling hot) in sterilised jars with plastic-coated screw-top lids (essential to stop the vinegar interacting with the metal). Leave to mature for at least 2 weeks – ideally 2 months – before serving.

Very excited!
Last week, Charley over at Flora and Purl Blog posted about her Chutney, so we have decided to do a little allotment chutney swap!  I love Charley's blog, her photography and her lovely family.  So it will be great to receive a jar of hers, maybe we will be swapping jars of our produce in years to come.

Courgette Cake

If you are like me and have so many courgettes you are bored of them, I suggest you try this brilliant recipe by the quite fantastic Alys Fowler in her book The Edible Garden.

It simply uses courgettes in the place of carrots, and my sons just think it's cake, which is also a great way to get some veggies into them.

So here's the recipe...

1 Medium courgette or 2 small ones, topped, tailed and shredded - it's best to leave them for a day so that they lose a bit of their moisture.
100g (4oz) softened butter
150g (5oz) soft brown sugar
2 eggs
200g (7oz) flour
3 tsps baking powder

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat as hard as you can.  Add the flour and baking powder.  Mix together, then add the courgettes.
I cook it in a bread tin because I like the utilitarian look of cake made this way.  Pre-grease whatever tin you use and cook for about 40-45 minutes at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for a normal oven or 160 (350) for a fan oven.  You can make them into cupcakes, cooked for about 10-12 minutes, but keep an eye on them.

Perfect with a coffee.

I think next time, I will try the cupcakes and ice them with blackberry icing... yum. x 

Strawberry picking & Jam making

One of the joys of summer is to pick fresh juicy strawberries and munch them straight from the plant.

I haven't picked my own strawberries for years, and most of the farms in our area have stopped doing Pick your own, either due to financial reasons or lack of interest.  Well, I decided we as a family need to do this, it's important isn't it?

There is only one farm near Bristol that is still doing this, Chosen Hill Farm over looking the gorgeous Chew Valley Lake, so off we went to pick strawberries for Jam.

View from the farm with Chew Valley Lake in the distance.

We were not disappointed, such a beautiful farm and fields of strawberries, black currants, peas and broad beans as far as the eye could see, ripe for the picking.

Soon our baskets were filled with the best looking and best tasting strawberries I have ever seen.  These little plump babies were destined for the jam pot.

Somebody ate more than he picked, but hey that's cool, aren't 2 years old supposed to do this?

Once home I wasted no time in capturing that fresh strawberry taste and turned these into the sweetest strawberry jam.

Unfortunately, no tasting these until the depths of winter.  When it's cold and gloomy outside, I will bring out these little pots of sunshine and we will remember this glorious sunny day and look forward to summer next year.

Are you doing any jamming (strawberry or Bob Marley)?!  Yes, this song was going round my head whilst I was stirring the pot... mad how the mind works!

Have a great weekend!

Happy Fathers Day & Chocolate Chip Berry Pancakes

Happy Father's Day to my Dad and to my fantastic partner Dan my boys Daddy... to celebrate this morning for breakfast I made these delicious Chocolate Chip Berry Pancakes.

Pancakes because Dan loves them, the boys love them and I just wanted to try this awesome recipe out!

I discovered this lovely recipe over at Earth Mama, who has the most wonderful blog and life! The pancakes looked so delicious I thought I would give it a go...

Chocolate Chip Berry Pancakes
2 1/4 Cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
as much chocolate chips as you want
2 bananas mashed
fresh chopped berries of your choosing (I used strawberries)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and mix to incorporate.
Mash bananas in smaller bowl with potato masher or fork.
Add the rest of the ingredients to bananas and mix.
Pour liquid mix into dry mix and stir.
Ladle a small amount into a hot frying pan with a little olive oil.
Cook until golden on oneside, flip and cook the other.


Dan was super pleased with his special day treat.  The boys also got him a book on Mountain Bike Trail Centres in the UK and made this fantastic card and drawing of Daddy on his bike under a rainbow (Charlie draws rainbows in most of his pictures!).

We are now off for a family picnic at Ashton Court to celebrate Father's Day with the Taylor clan.
Have a great Sunday, hope the Dad's in your lives are having a super days too.

New recipes for all

I have been feeling in the need for some culinary inspiration.  As we have only just started harvesting and more importantly eating our allotment produce, a definite overhaul of my cooking repertoire was needed!

I love to cook, but the same old recipes I feel won't do the fruits of our hard labour any justice.  Also how will I deal with gluts of Broad Beans or Runner Beans?  I need more ideas, how to preserve, pickle and store these goodies for months to come.

So I treated myself to this....

I love this book!

Amazon have been selling their cookbooks for half price just lately, there was many to choose from.  I nearly went for Alys Fowler's Edible Garden or Nigel Slater's Tender Vol 1 but it was something about the brightly coloured cover and the gorgeous photography that won me over, plus it had a great write up.

It arrived yesterday, I eagerly flipped through pages.  Such gorgeous recipes with about 8 recipes for each vegetable and in a month by month season, perfect for the home grower like me.

So yesterday I picked some Broad Beans (finger sized and used them in the pods like runner beans) and made this for last nights supper:

Taglionlini with broad bean and buerre blanc

Well, to be honest, I didn't have half the ingredients, and totally improvised with the Buerre Blanc (which I hadn't made before), but the finished results was Delicious! (yes, with a capital D!).

Recipe, for 4:

250g broad beans (shelled weight)
350g tagliolini or any pasta
75g fried pancetta
2 tablespoons finely chopped summer savoury or thyme to serve
Grated Parmesan to serve

For the buerre blanc:
4 tablespoons white wine
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped shallots
salt and pepper
175g unsalted butter, cold & diced

1. To make the buerre blanc, reduce the wine, vinegar, shallots, salt & pepper in a small saucepan until you have only a tablespoon of liquid left.
2. Whisk in the cold butter bit by bit over a very low heat til thick and creamy. Set aside, keeping it warm.
3. In boiling water cook the beans for 4 minutes.  Reserve some of the cooking water.  Cool them quickly in a sieve under cold running water, to keep the greenness.
4. Pop some of the bright green beans out of their skin by pinching them with you thumb and forefinger; this adds a wonderful colour.  Puree half of the beans with a tablespoon of the cooking water.
5. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just al dente. leaving a tablespoon of the cooking liquid in the pan. 
6. Add the bean puree, pancetta, and the buerre blanc and stir.  Season.
7. Lastly throw in the remaining beans and stir.
8. Serve with the herbs and grated Parmesan.


My version of the recipe!

Well, not blowing my own trumpet or anything... but I thought it was the best thing I have cooked in ages.  Total YUM!

The Boys are not so interested in the Broad Beans yet, sadly, they find them quite disgusting.  But I did at their age, Broad Beans I think are definitely an adult taste!

So the boys set to work making their own pizza's instead.




2x Sainsbury's basic pizza bases
Tomato puree
Salami slices
Goats cheese grated

Easy... perfect for hungry boys.

What recipes are you trying with your produce?  Would love to hear and try... I am always thinking of my stomach!