The Sacrifice (and raspberry ripple muffins)

donkey bee.jpg
Photo: whatsthatbug.com

I’ve just spent a fascinating five minutes watching another giant hornet (or it might be the same one – brown head, brown wings, yellow striped jumper, six engines…) trying to take off with a cat biscuit that one of our mob left in their dish outside on the terrace. Our cat biscuits are about the size of a British penny, so that gives you an idea just how big these pesky beasts are. The locals call them donkey bees – not sure why that is – maybe because of their penchant for carrying things around. Anyway, he was having trouble getting enough lift, so he solved this by nibbling all around the edges of the biscuit to make it a bit smaller – hey presto, we have lift off. He’s probably got a very fully tummy though, so I’m not sure whether he’ll make it safely to his destination with his prize. Continue reading “The Sacrifice (and raspberry ripple muffins)”

Summer fruit crumble

IMG_1113 (Medium).JPGWe are in blackberry heaven at the moment. There are wild brambles growing along the canal towpath and at the sides of all of the footpaths around here. A neighbour also has the most prolifically-fruiting blackberry bramble, which handily hangs over the fence behind our house, at perfect picking height.

Robin has been out picking blackberries today while I went across to what we used to call the ‘bottle bank’ but now seems to be known by the euphemism ‘mixed recycling’. I’m confused about this new term. There’s never anything very mixed about our recycling apart from the fact that the beer bottles are mixed up with the wine bottles and occasionally there’s the excitement of a stray mini Prosecco bottle – does that count or do we have to have cardboard and stuff as well? I keep expecting some kind of recycling official to come over and tut about the lack of variety in my offerings. Continue reading “Summer fruit crumble”

Bread and butter pudding: back to basics

B&B pudding finished.jpgWhen I opened the editor to add this new post, I noticed it is 18 days since I last wrote something. Appalling behaviour – I WILL do better.

We’ve been on holiday for a week to the very south-west tip of Turkey, hoping to find some cooling west coast breezes. What actually happened was that it was a good deal hotter there than here – over 40 degrees for several consecutive days. That wouldn’t be unusual later in July or during August, but it’s very worrying to have those temperatures as early as June. Thankfully it has now dropped back to the mid 30s, which is a little more manageable. Continue reading “Bread and butter pudding: back to basics”

Portuguese custard tarts (Pastéis de nata)

IMG_0977 (600 x 450)Before we came to live in Turkey, when I had a proper grown-up job, I was working on a major project just outside Lisbon in Portugal.

One morning, after a particularly lively night out in Lisbon with some members of the British press, we asked a taxi driver to take us to wherever was his favourite place to have breakfast. It was a life-changing moment – and one from which my figure may never recover. The place the taxi driver took us to was Pastéis de Belém – a famous pastry shop in the Belém district of Lisbon, right on the bank of the River Tagus. Continue reading “Portuguese custard tarts (Pastéis de nata)”