Italian-style tuna and bean stew (with optional mussels)

IMG_2192 croppedStill  no kitchen, but things are moving along. Today, the carpenters magically constructed our built-in seating area, which is exactly as I had pictured it in my head. I showed them a photo of the kind of thing I wanted and they built it to fit the space – the seats even lift up so that we can store our outside cushions beneath them. When it comes to anything that involves a drill or a screwdriver, shall we just say that it’s better if I just stick to making the coffee, and it always amazes me that people can just knock up something like this from some apparently random pieces of wood in the space of a few hours. Continue reading “Italian-style tuna and bean stew (with optional mussels)”

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Smoked haddock & sweetcorn chowder

IMG_2179I realise I have been somewhat remiss at posting recipes of late, but there haven’t been too many exciting things coming out of my cooking cupboard – and certainly nothing remotely photogenic. My challenge is to cook things using no more than two pans, as I only have a two-ring electric camping hob at my disposal. Unfortunately, the choice of temperature seems to be ‘nuclear hot’ or ‘off’. No simmering then – I could kick myself for not remembering to bring our rarely-used slow-cooker over from Turkey. Continue reading “Smoked haddock & sweetcorn chowder”

A view from my cupboard (and spicy tomato, kale and bean soup)

IMG_2117After weeks of raking around the UK, house-sitting for various moggies and doggies, and catching up with friends and families, we have finally moved in to our new house in Cornwall. I use the term ‘moved in’ very loosely. Our stuff has been delivered from storage and we are camping on the ground floor while the upper floor is gutted and made beautiful again. We hope so, anyway. Continue reading “A view from my cupboard (and spicy tomato, kale and bean soup)”

Spring vegetable soup

IMG_1973.jpgWho remembers spring vegetable soup? It was a mainstay of the 1970s – I remember it being served at practically every wedding we attended, presumably because its delicate nature meant it wouldn’t offend some long-lost great aunt’s fussy palate (or mine – I was a complete nightmare to feed when I was younger – something that many people would find hard to believe now). Unfortunately, most of the time it was straight out of a tin, so tasted of a mixture of metal, dried herbs and fake stock. Continue reading “Spring vegetable soup”

Smoky Puy lentil and bean soup (vegan)

WisteriaI feel that spring is springing. The wisteria on our south-facing fence is out in full bloom, the bougainvillea is in bud and we had a pair of Cretzschmar’s buntings passing through the garden yesterday. I’ve never seen them before – they were so pretty in their rather eye-catching salmon pink and pale blue liveries – I had to pore for ages over the photos in our Mediterranean bird book to identify them. Any day we should be receiving visits from hoopoes and bee eaters, then we’ll know that summer is truly on its way. We had our first giant wasp in the kitchen this morning – no doubt house hunting, so I hope he eventually decided on a different neighbourhood. Continue reading “Smoky Puy lentil and bean soup (vegan)”

Goulash soup with caraway dumplings

img_1756When we were in Prague over Christmas, we had goulash in various forms. It was served in pretty much every bar and restaurant and was the perfect winter warmer after walking around the city in the freezing cold. In some establishments, it was more of a stew, but most versions were much more soup-like than we are used to.

Regardless of style, it was all completely delicious and I have been meaning to have a go at replicating my favourite since our return, but then Veganuary got in the way (not really conducive to testing beefy soup), closely followed by a trip to the UK and then a dose of the particularly pesky virus that seems to be circulating the British Isles this winter. Continue reading “Goulash soup with caraway dumplings”

Pea, courgette & mint soup (vegan)

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Spring seems to have sprung in our neck of the woods, so last night I thought we would have something light and slightly summery for our 5:2 day soup.

After two weeks in the UK, eating all kinds of things we wouldn’t normally go near (Cornish pasties in St Ives, custard tarts from the Portuguese bakery near our house in Warwick, bacon sandwiches, English Cheddar, Cadbury’s chocolate – the list is long and very distinguished), we are definitely feeling the need to get back on track! Continue reading “Pea, courgette & mint soup (vegan)”

Creamy cauliflower & leek soup (vegan)

IMG_1683.jpgHot news – it’s snowing. That may not be exciting to those of you who live in northern climes, but this is only the third time we’ve seen snow here in 13 years – one of those being just a couple of weeks ago. It isn’t going to settle, but it’s enough to provide us with the amusing spectacle of Toast and Marmalade chasing the flakes as they blow around.

It is definitely sitting-by-the-fire weather. Our trusty stove chunters on throughout the night if we feed it enough before we go to bed – this morning, the living room was warm and toasty, and it only took a couple of sticks and a new log to send it bursting back into action. We had planned a long walk today, but Linda is coming up here to eat her portion of the packed lunch I’d made for us all, in the warm in the kitchen, instead of sitting on a cold rock in the wind! Continue reading “Creamy cauliflower & leek soup (vegan)”

Vegetable ‘Harira’ (vegan)

IMG_1581.jpgWe’ve just about recovered from our horrible Monday dinner experience, so Veganuary is back on track for now. We ate out with some friends last night and I managed to cobble together enough vegan-friendly items from the menu to form a very presentable meal. I may  yet make it to the end of the month without giving in – at the moment, the only thing I am really craving is cheese. Luckily, the cheese choice here is not exactly exciting, so that’s helping my cause – if I were within a stone’s throw of Neal’s Yard Dairy or Paxton & Whitfield, it would be quite another story and very likely that I would be found face down in the nearest wheel of Brie.
Continue reading “Vegetable ‘Harira’ (vegan)”

Preparing for Veganuary

DSC00026.jpgI’ve been very poor at blog posting for the last month – we went to the UK for a couple of weeks on a house-hunting expedition in Devon and Cornwall (of which more later), and a quick catch-up with our respective families in Warwickshire. Sadly, while we were in the UK, a very old friend of ours died, so I returned to Turkey for a few days, only to execute a quick turnaround to go back for the funeral.

I am now back for a short stay before we head off to Prague next weekend for the Christmas holiday. We won’t be home until new year’s eve, and are planning to take part in Veganuary for the month of January, so I am getting ahead with a few things for the freezer, so that my resolve is not too severely tested on Day One! Continue reading “Preparing for Veganuary”