Salad Days

With an almost unheard of two months of solid sunshine, I just haven’t been eating hot food recently. It’s just too hot for my regular stir fry dinner, so it’s been salad for lunch….and salad for dinner. Continue reading “Salad Days”

What to do with all those….strawberries

So, you may have started growing in your garden/allotment, only to be surprised at how much you’ve ended up with! Or maybe you’re just thinking, ‘Oh, X is in season…but what do I do with it?’. Well, in our second allotment year, and with 12 weeks at Ballymaloe Cookery School behind me, I’d want to know what to do with all those delicious raw ingredients. Follow me through the seasons to find out. Continue reading “What to do with all those….strawberries”

A Bear’s Life

Sometimes, things don’t go quite as you planned.  It was  a quiet day at the allotment, Francis was sunning himself in a bucket, while his neglectful parents went for ‘a turn about the garden’ and got held up helping a bird trapped in netting.

On returning, no Francis. Following further sleuthing by Mr. WB, one guilty dog and rescue operation later…. so hospital admission for poor Francis. He’s still smiling though!

Stirring it up

Some things are just deceptively simple.  I had a very lazy ‘cooking afternoon’ last Wednesday,  but still turned out plates of both crackers and florentines. Both recipes involved little more than weigh, stir and spread before baking.

The Swedish Seed Crackers are somewhat addictive (might be my love all things edibly seed-y, or the little bit of added salt). Continue reading “Stirring it up”

Vanity Fair-William Thackeray

‘ Are there not little chapters in everybody’s life, that seem to be nothing, and yet affect all the rest of the history?’

Indeed Mr. Thackeray, indeed.

‘Vanity Fair’ is the best known of Thackeray’s works, none of which I had previously read.  The book follows the fate of two friends, privileged Amelia Sedley, and Rebecca Sharp, of more humble origins, as they graduate from  Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for Young Ladies to make their way in the world. Or rather, to have the world and their futures arranged for them, as was more the custom in the 1830s. Continue reading “Vanity Fair-William Thackeray”

Oh boy oh bagel

I can’t remember the first time I ate a bagel. I probably felt very exotic & American! I had ample opportunity to indulge in ‘proper’ bagels during my J1 summer in Boston, but since becoming a coeliac, it hasn’t been quite the same.

Perhaps I should just accept that you can’t replicate everything in gluten-free form, and look at all the things I can eat instead of focusing on my restrictions. However, learning to make oodles of different breads at Ballymaloe made me rather stubborn and determined that anything you can eat, I can bake and eat without gluten. Continue reading “Oh boy oh bagel”

A little bit of baking..

It seems that my baking has all been destined for mouths other than mine lately. While I can comment on how lovely the end result looks, I haven’t had a chance to taste either of these recipes!
My first is from Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh’s book ‘Sweet’: blackberry and star anise friands (or just blackberry friands if you don’t have any star anise).

Being the bit of a nerd that I am,  I was rather excited about a new method of baking- browning the butter first, then adding it to the combined dry ingredients and slightly frothed egg whites.  It all worked very nicely, and I had fun with the purple-y blackberry icing. There’s only 60g flour in the recipe, and it worked fine with gluten-free flour. I may not have tasted them myself, but they did get a professional chef’s approval!


Meanwhile, getting my work colleagues’ approval was the Happy Pear’s chocolate mousse cake. It was filled with butter (the boys use margarine), sugar and chocolate, so no wonder! Ground almonds in this, so another one to make the coeliacs happy.


Just have to start baking some cakes for myself now (says the girl who still has Christmas cake & pudding in the freezer….)