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Category Archives: Recipes

Haw he haw he haw, Soupe a l’oignon!

French onion soup with melted cheese toasts

It must be at least four years now during which my sister has been nagging me to write her a cook book or at least give her menu plans for the daily slog of feeding her family. It’s not that she’s an unenthusiastic eater, or cook for that matter, in fact as long as she’s not had too much wine Sarah can be very excitable in the kitchen! After that though things can go downhill and usually at a dinner party at their house someone will have to take over the cooking, because following a lovely starter of (if you’re lucky) her delicious crab tart, she’ll have forgotten all about the sautéed potatoes blackening on the aga, and you can kiss goodbye to any hope of the toffee sauce for the sticky pudding – unless a gallant guest steps in you may as well just thank your lucky stars you cleverly had seconds of that tart, give up hope of any further solid sustenance, and join her in dancing round the table as a backing singer, screeching ‘Bat out of Hell’ into a wine bottle microphone. Read the rest of this entry

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What to do with the pumpkin?

My 1-week-to-go pumpkin carving – room for improvement!

Right. It seems my personal Halloween circumstances have changed in very recent years. Having spent almost all of them since 2000 with my best mate, in either of our London flats, decked out in pyjamas, rooms lit only by flickering tea lights and scary pumpkins, Caribbean Chicken Stew bubbling away on the hob, red wine flowing, and horror movie at the ready, I now find myself living in the middle of the countryside far away from Kate. And to make matters worse this year, it seems I will be alone on Halloween Read the rest of this entry

Quick Sweetcorn Fritters

Sweetcorn fritters, bacon and maple syrup

When I was about 17 I got a job in a sandwich shop in Slough. I know, not very glamorous I hear you say, but this was not just any sandwich shop; it was a yuppy sandwich shop! In the era of ‘The Sloane’ we offered masses of different sandwiches, Read the rest of this entry

Smoky Chipotle Beef

Smoky Chipotle Beef

Due to the arctic conditions of the last few days I’ve already accidentally moved on to a new way of cooking. Not that there’s been much of the summery sort this year; when I wasn’t working or away it was either freezing, piddling down, or for some inexplicable reason, dark already. It’s been an amazing summer I know, but let’s face it, if it’s remembered for its weather it won’t be in a good way!

So without realising what was happening I found myself drawn to a recipe for a beef chilli in a recent edition of Donna Hay Magazine and before I knew it sticky meat was slow-braising in my oven. Read the rest of this entry

Pavlova and Panzanella

Panzanella Paradise

Well the pavlova turned out awesomely though I do say so myself. It didn’t go chewy in the middle like my mum’s but was really light and marshmallowy so I’m half way there; I’ll ask for her tips on chewyness at my next attempt. I pimped some of the berries with edible silver spray too just for a bit of extra Jubilee bling and well, as you can see, the result was IMMENSE!

My first ever Pavlova, complete with silver raspberries!

Ruby’s patriotic triple-decker chocolate and raspberry cake

A Jubilee Porker! (and I’m not referring to myself on this occasion ok!)

Anyway it got polished off along with Ruby’s chocolate cake by the villagers once the pig roast had well and truly done itself justice. God, the crackling was outrageous – it just exploded into airy, crunchy, porky heaven in your mouth. Totally lush.

We were asked to take salads and in my parallel life I’m an Italian ‘mamma’, spending my days in my vegetable garden overgrowing with mediterranean plants, burnt and freckled shoulders Read the rest of this entry

Spring Lamb

Aw de cute liddle lammykins. Yum yum come to mummy!

Spring Lamb!

Obviously with all my dieting shenanigans of late, lamb is off the menu for me for a little longer at least. Instead I am getting my fix by taking my 20 minute daily ‘dukan dawdle’ (as I have fondly named it) through the fields next to my house, currently home to one of the scruffiest herds of sheep you’ve ever seen. They’re black and white, covered in mud and always completely bedraggled, but still so cute. Read the rest of this entry

Skye Gyngell. What a Woman.

Skye's 'Dorset crab, fennel and radicchio' at Petersham Nurseries

It is nothing more than poetic coincidence that today, the day I feel compelled to write this post, is International Women’s Day.

Yesterday I learned, with genuine dismay, that one of my favourite chefs, at one of my all time favourite restaurants, recently decided to leave her position as head chef at Petersham Nurseries Cafe and now, with a heavy heart, I know that those few fabulous times I spent there will never be repeated. It is the end of an era. A short, but exceedingly sweet era. Read the rest of this entry