Skink in the bedroom (and Thai peanut, ginger and lime salad)

IMG_2029I’ve been on holiday for the last week or so. My very old friend Sally came to stay, so we had a few days away before heading back here, and managed to cram in shopping, walking, sunbathing, swimming, a day trip to Greece and quite a lot of news ‘downloading’.

Thankfully, the weather was kind to us, but has since taken its usual May direction – showers, storms and high winds, interspersed with patches of hot sunshine. Up here on our high ridge above the sea, we are still having cold evenings and nights, so although we’ve put the log baskets away for another year, we’re well and truly snuggled up under the duvet with at least two cats on the bed, just in case the temperature plummets. Continue reading “Skink in the bedroom (and Thai peanut, ginger and lime salad)”

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”

Salted almond & cranberry granola

IMG_1938 (600 x 450).jpgI’ve just noticed that it’s been nine days since I last posted anything on this blog – really must do better. I have thought about it several times – I’ve even taken photos of things I’m cooking, with the intention of posting them. Unfortunately, things conspire against me – either the dish I had great hopes for turns out to be mediocre or it tastes nice but looks like a dog’s breakfast once it’s on the plate. More often, I get half way through cooking something, the phone rings or someone calls round, then I get distracted and remember about photographing the rest of the process about five minutes after we’ve finished eating the evidence. Continue reading “Salted almond & cranberry granola”

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)”

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)”

My favourite vegan snack

img_1711-600-x-450With Veganuary declared well and truly over in this household, we suddenly find ourselves faced with a huge variety of ‘new’ foods to eat. While I did enjoy my roast chicken last night, we only had a really small amount and I can’t say I am desperate for more meat any time soon. I cut the chicken in two and only roasted half of it – this was tons for the three of us, with a bit leftover for the felines. Continue reading “My favourite vegan snack”

Chocolate banana marble cake

img_1706We have declared Veganuary¬† over for the year. I know we have two more days of January to go, but we decided that today would be a good opportunity to celebrate the approach of February with a roast dinner. It’s Sunday, it’s raining, it’s cold and miserable – what could be more appropriate? We’re breaking ourselves in gently and going for slow-roast chicken, rather than the more traditional beef, which we hardly ever eat, mainly because the quality here is so unreliable. Continue reading “Chocolate banana marble cake”

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)”

Pumpkin and spinach coconut curry (vegan)

IMG_1679.jpgJust for a moment, we thought Spring had sprung, but we’re back in front of the fire after being lulled into a false sense of security by a couple of days of warm sunshine. Now we are back to rain and hailstones with winds from Russia and Bulgaria, which are by no means tropical even before they’ve swept down over our very snowy mountains. Continue reading “Pumpkin and spinach coconut curry (vegan)”

Wickedly sticky pumpkin ginger cake (vegan)

img_1644-600-x-450This is certainly a year of unpredictable weather. Last week, most of Turkey’s airports were snowed to a standstill, we were hardly visible under our many layers of clothing and competing with the cats for space by the stove. This week we’ve felt more like ducks – paddling around in huge puddles and acres of mud, dodging the storms and trying to park our car under cover, where it won’t be hit by the golf-ball-sized hailstones. Eeek. Continue reading “Wickedly sticky pumpkin ginger cake (vegan)”