Saturday, 24 January 2015

It's January, but spring is not far away....

Hopefully,spring is on its way but not close enough yet to be spending much time on the allotment.
Instead, I find the cold, damp weather is more conducive to some indoor 'gardening', snuggled up cosily, flicking through seed catalogues or browsing the web.

I am slowly making lists and plans of what to grow this coming season.
One thing definitely on the list will be more squash.

Last year the butternut squash were one of the highlights on the lottie and we are just finishing the last few stored in the garage.

I find roasting the squash one of the best ways to cook it, ensuring a delicious concentrated flavour and nicely chewy texture.

Mixed with some cooked brown rice, (seasoned with a little olive oil and lemon juice) and topped with steamed broccoli, it made a delicious supper served with hot pepper sauce and cooling yoghurt.

If you would like to try making the hot pepper sauce, the recipe is as follows:

Chop 2 red peppers and 1 red onion, mix with hot smoked paprika to taste ( I used about 1/4 teaspoon)  about 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds, salt and pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil.
Roast in a very hot oven (200 c) until golden brown - about 30 minutes.
Drain a 400g tin of tomatoes, reserving the juice and add to the roasted vegetables with a crushed clove of garlic.
Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Then puree in a blender, adding a splash of balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar.
Adjust the seasoning and consistency adding more of the reserved juice if necessary.

The recipe makes a generous amount, but it keeps well in the fridge or can be frozen.
I also found it made a good accompaniment to some brown rice or lentils topped with stir fried vegetables ( in this case, leeks, red pepper, sprouting broccoli and garlic) and slices of grilled Halloumi cheese.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

reasons to be cheerful...

January can be a gloomy time of year; short dark days, cold weather, grey skies.

So here are a few little highlights from the last few days ... reasons to be cheerful!

The last of the Christmas goodies enjoyed with a cup of tea.

A beautiful rosy grapefruit. Its zingy taste a welcome wake up call in the mornings.

A pop of sunny yellow. I always have lemons in the kitchen; their juice so useful for lifting flavour in any number of dishes.

Eggy bread or if you are feeling posh, French toast or pain perdu.
When lovely daughters were little,a savoury version of eggy bread was a favourite, often spread with Marmite.
 I had forgotten how delicious it is. 
This is my sweet version:
a slice of bread, one egg, a teaspoon of sugar, a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon, a knob of butter.
Fry till golden. 
Which just proves simple is often best!

And finally,
British tulips, grown locally in the Lincolnshire fens and saved from the reduced section of the supermarket!

Hoping you all have a cheerful weekend.

Saturday, 10 January 2015


It is, of course, a man-made constraint which makes us all start re-evaluating our lives as soon as the clock strikes midnight on the 31st December; without the magical New Year tag, January 1st would pass like any other day.

 But, nevertheless, January seems a good time for a little stocktaking. 


1. reappraisal of a situation, a person, or one's own position or prospects.
2. The act or process of inventorying merchandise or the supplies on hand.

(source: )

I am not one for new year's resolutions, but I quite like the idea of choosing a word to represent the coming year as several other 'bloggy' friends are doing.
And the word I have chosen is 'relax'.
My intention, is to take time over and find pleasure in things, even the seemingly mundane tasks, which form much of the fabric of life, instead of rushing along frantically crossing items off an imaginary list.

A little cerebral stocktaking always clears the mind!

But a little physical stocktaking is also useful after the Christmas festivities, starting with a kitchen cupboard clear out.

And in doing so the other day, I found a couple of large bags of dried prunes. The result of one of those enticing-at-the-time bogofs.
But .... there is a limit to how many prunes that can be eaten with breakfast cereal....

so the answer seemed to be cake!

Not the most photogenic cake it has to be said.

But a squishy,moist chocolate cake, using no butter or flour, but with a squidgy filling of prunes soaked in brandy.

The recipe is from Delia's chocolate collection and can be found here.

Enjoyed with a lovely cup of tea ..... and relax!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

I'm a little late....

on this very cold and misty day...

across the fens

to wish you all a happy new year.

Hoping that 2015 brings you health, peace and happiness.

(photos taken on mr digandweed's iphone)