It has to be faced up to – summer has arrived. This morning it was 33 degrees by 9am, so I dread to think what it will be by midday, and we’re only just into June. We’ve avoided the air conditioning during the night so far, but I was sorely tempted at about 3am when both of us, and at least two cats, were practically fighting over the optimum position on the bed for maximum overhead-fan benefit. Some years, when we were still naive enough to be here during July and August, and the electricity has gone off during the night, I have slept on a lilo in the pool – I figured I would wake up if I fell off. Last night, I could have gone for that option if it hadn’t meant blowing up a lilo at 3am and Gorgeous Gordon the feline lilo-killer hadn’t been prowling around looking for potential latex victims. Continue reading “Pretty views from my kitchen (and simple scones)”
Robin’s favourite favourite is fish pie. Closely followed by fish pie. It is not mine, on several counts: a) I find it a bit on the mushy, school-dinner, nursery-fare, side; b) it doesn’t look very appetising once it’s slumped onto the plate; and c) it is a right faff to make, what with having to pre-cook the fish, cook and mash the potatoes and then make a bechamel sauce with the cooking liquid. You feel as though you need to start thinking about dinner roughly five minutes after you’ve put the cornflake bowls in the dishwasher, and you’ll need more pots and pans than Jamie Oliver.
But help is at hand. I was idly watching a Mary Berry programme back in the summer and she made a fish and cauliflower gratin – a kind of fish pie by any other name. Now, I am not overly keen on cauliflower and I certainly don’t think it goes with fish – it’s just about OK if it’s been swathed in a particularly Cheddary-mustardy sauce and baked to a golden crisp in the oven, as a bit of a mid-week tea, but as a component of a fish pie, well, yuk. However, I decided Mary definitely could be on to something with her idea for a more simplified method and, with a few judicious tweaks in the ingredients department, I came up with a yummy alternative. Continue reading “No-faff fish pie”
It’s been an eventful few days. Never mind the John Le Carré-style Salisbury poisonings, the Tillerson firing and the prospect of Kim and ‘The Donald’ planning a love-in, we are much too busy in Cornwall being up to our withers in ‘Cream-Tea-Gate’ to worry about any of that malarkey.
If you’re not already up to speed with the news story of the week, the National Trust managed to completely outrage the entire county of Cornwall over the weekend with an advert for its Mother’s Day cream teas at the Lanhydrock Estate. Continue reading “Jenny’s cake (blackberry & apple teacake)”
I can never decide whether these should be called cookies or biscuits. Referring to them as biscuits runs the risk of American followers thinking they are going to get something that resembles what we call a scone, and I’d hate to think of them racing out to the nearest shop to buy clotted cream and jam, in anticipation of a Cornish-style cream tea, then realising they’re stuck with a cookie. And these do spread like an American-style cookie while baking, so I think we will stick with that. Continue reading “Chocolate, pecan & cardamom cookies (vegan, egg/dairy free)”
‘Greetings from snowy Cornwall’ is not a phrase that is uttered very often – we don’t get a great deal of snow around these parts, what with our southerly latitude and the Gulf Stream being just slightly to the west of our garden. Unfortunately the warming influences of the North Atlantic Drift are being ever so slightly outdone by Storm Emma at the moment, and we are stranded at the top of a lethal sheet-ice hill, surrounded by several inches of snow.
Last week, we were cheerfully going about our daily walks without coats or gloves, admiring the primroses and camelias, and smugly congratulating ourselves on living in the part of the country where Spring arrives in February. No doubt the current Siberian conditions being experienced by pretty much all of Britain are our due punishment – sorry everyone. Continue reading “Roasted sweet potato & butternut squash soup (vegan)”
Look at that. No blog posts for a month, then two come along at once.
Yesterday, it hoofed down with rain, so there was absolutely no possibility of a walk. With no plans for the day and a full complement of building team downstairs, it seemed an ideal opportunity to try out my (hopefully) final version of an egg-free, dairy-free (and ergo vegan) sponge cake. Particularly ideal because the said large quantity of blokes meant nothing lying around to scupper my diet later in the day.
Before you all go ‘ugh, vegan,’ I promise you this cake is nothing short of delicious. It has a really nice crumbly texture and a crisp top (it would have been even crisper if I had not forgotten to scatter some sugar on the top before I put it in the oven – it had already started to rise when I thought of it, so I left it naked). And it is filled with lemon and lime ‘buttercream’ with fresh raspberries and blueberries – who could turn their nose up at that? Continue reading “Lemon berry celebration sponge (egg-free, dairy-free, vegan)”
On to Round Two of December’s ‘Cookery Calendar Challenge‘. I can see the obvious flaw in that statement – yes it is January, but Christmas happened and so I ran out of time. In actual fact, I cooked this on New Year’s Eve, so I can probably still legitimately claim to have fulfilled the challenge – the problem was, what with having mates here to stay, Prosecco may have been taken and we’d eaten it all before I even thought of getting out the camera.
On the upside, this salmon dish from Rachel Allen’s ‘Recipes from my Mother’ was absolutely delicious and so ridiculously easy that we’ve eaten it again since, even though we are only a week further on. I’ve even managed to make it look quite nice for the photo, which is an improvement – perhaps 2018 will be the year I conquer this photography lark a little more. Continue reading “Fillet of salmon with capers, fennel & Dijon butter (Rachel Allen)”
Happy new year to everyone – it is so hard to believe that we are already half way through the first week of 2018, yet it seems like only last week that we left Turkey and returned to the mayhem that is our house in Cornwall.
We’ve had a couple of weeks off from our lovely builders, who will be here with their boots shined (and coffee mugs at the ready) towards the end of next week, ready to start on Phase 2. This involves knocking down a wall (eek) and installing a new RSJ (not necessarily in that order, I realise, no need to write in to let me know that my house is about to fall down). I shall be glad to avoid the accompanying mess by being away in the Midlands, visiting friends and family, and cat-sitting for the same trio of Greek cats that we looked after back in the summer. In return for providing Claridges-style five-star catering and door-opening services for the Grecian trio of whiskered musketeers, we get to stay in Rosie’s lovely home in a pretty village on the Warwicks/Northants border, which handily means we are minutes away from our family and friends. Continue reading “Steak & ale hotpot”
Christmas appears to be almost upon us, though it will be a quiet event in our household this year. Last year we went to Prague, having spent much of 2016 to-ing and fro-ing to various distant bits of the world, so we promised ourselves a much quieter year in 2017. That didn’t exactly go to plan, what with buying and renovating a house in Cornwall and going backwards and forwards between here and Turkey, so we shall be very grateful not to have to shop for – and entertain – legions of guests, or to be cooking (or eating) mountains of rich food. We have friends coming for the new year, but we’re looking forward to spending the next few days builder-free, not doing chores and generally chilling out by the fire with a book. Continue reading “Oxtail & pearl barley soup, and The Cookery Calendar Challenge”
We had our friend’s dog Izzy to stay for a few days over the last week while her owner, Linda, went to Istanbul for a short break. Izzy has stayed with us several times before, and visits every Sunday, but seems to have a certain amount of learning difficulty when it comes to our cats. Continue reading “Pear & almond friands”