Pomegranates – crimson globes, living ornaments adorning heavy-boughed trees. Symbol of life, fertility and marriage; a healing drink, sumptuous pudding, refreshing salad, vibrant gift of autumn piled high on earthenware plates. Strike the thick leather – really strike it – to reveal tumbles of ruby lozenges. Catch the tart-sweet juice; burst each glittering jewel between your teeth. Scatter, press, fold, savour.
They look nothing special on the outside, do pomegranates. Scratching and sniffing one reveals not a clue to what is contained inside. Likewise pressing one tells you nothing about its ripeness, its readiness to eat.
Confusingly, red doesn’t always mean ripe, and yellow almost never means sour. The seeds too are a contradiction: pale pink often denotes a sweetly flavoured fruit, whilst beads of deepest crimson red, a red that threatens to leap out and attack anything white just for the hell of it, well, these are often more tart than sweet. Continue Reading
This post is geared towards food bloggers wanting to grow their readership, but it should also be useful to non-bloggers and non-food bloggers who want to use Pinterest more effectively to find and share interesting, visually-based content across the Internet. Don’t know what Pinterest is? Go here to Pinterest HQ and find out what the fuss is about. Also, over and above everything I write here, pin for the love of it. If you don’t enjoy Pinterest, consider cultivating another sharing platform to grow your blog traffic. For everyone else, go grab a big mug of tea and settle down for a long read. :-)
This isn’t one of my usual posts with a rambling preface before I get to what you really came for, the recipe. Well it is rambling (very), and it is a recipe of sorts. A recipe to grow your blog through the visual bookmarking tool that is Pinterest. At the end of this post I hope you will be able to have as much confidence in using Pinterest as you do whipping up your favourite recipe.
The reason for writing this is that I was lucky enough to be invited to a Pinterest workshop earlier this year. I was initially very excited about sharing everything I learned with you. My cute little Pinterest-branded pen and notebook were poised and ready for action. But I got shy. Not because what I learned wasn’t valuable to me, but because I hadn’t been practising what I was going to be preaching. I would have felt like a fraud.
Even now I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an expert at Pinterest. I’m not an expert at anything except perhaps procrastinating. But Pinterest is something that I have passively benefited from for some time now, and I want to become better at it. And I want you to become better at it too. If you want to. Continue Reading
Apologies for non-UK readers. I’m going to gush a bit about something you won’t have seen. Recipe below! Plus SPOILER ALERT!!
‘I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say “I can’t do it”. I’m never gonna say “maybe”. I’m never gonna say “I don’t think I can”. I can and I will.’ Nadiya Hussein’s rousing response to winning the 2015 Great British Bake Off
Over 12 million people tuned in to see Nadiya storm the GBBO final in her usual soft yet steely fashion. But the creme de la creme (or the “creme pat”, if you will) was her astonishing response. Astonishing in a good way. It was the best acceptance speech I’ve ever heard (take note Hollywood: the city, not the grumpy, silver-fox GBBO judge). Continue Reading
You know those crunchy, breadcrumb-coated morsels sold as scampi? The sweet, affordable and delectable fried bites dunked in tartare sauce, or squirted with lemon and always served with a pile of salty chips? Well, scampi are actually langoustines. Yes, these golden-red mini-lobsters, their spiky, forbidding shells holding succulent, sweet meat, are indeed child-friendly scampi. A fancy-named seafood disguised as a pub food. Continue Reading
This post is in support of the Waitrose #AutumnWarmers campaign. Details below.
Have you ever had an idea that pesters you until you make it a reality? You go about your daily tasks, head down in work, or beetling about ferrying kids hither and yonder, but still the thought doesn’t leave you. It drifts into your mind as you fall into a deep slumber. And then you wake to it, this chirpy, invisible bird sitting on your shoulder. Such ideas are not infrequent with me. Not always good ideas, I should add (the less said about my “brilliant” idea for a gridded floor with interchangeable floor tiles the better). Unsurprisingly they are mostly concerning food and, as I am that old, experience lets me know whether they are worth pursuing.
But I really wasn’t sure about this one. I’m not indulging in false modesty either. I genuinely wasn’t sure. Continue Reading
I am a lucky bunny, I am. Everyday I get to not only do what I truly love, but sometimes others want to pay me for it, or give me stuff. ;-)
Being a food blogger I am frequently offered products for review. As I am more about the recipes, I tend to turn down most of what comes into my inbox. Sometimes I have to laugh – as with one of today’s messages: would I like to review a butcher’s pack of meat? (??!!) Or, recently, would I not absolutely jump at the chance of ploughing my way through a giant box of chocolates? Actually “yes” to the latter but a) it doesn’t fit with my blog, b) it takes me two weeks to eat a modest bar of chocolate… Continue Reading
One of the things I love most about autumn is the fact that I can legitimately enjoy soup. Of course, one can enjoy soup at any time, but as I hail from a hot climate the idea of soup in the summer jars. Badly. To me it feels like wearing a wool coat and Uggs to the pool. Just wrong.
For work, I make soup pretty much year-round (Scots expect it, as it is quite cool year-round, save that one Tuesday in July that catches you out). Sometimes gazpacho or this beetroot, fennel and cumin soup, or a kind of soup stew hybrid that doesn’t mind being served at room temperature. Even if the thermometer barely troubles the high-teens Celsius, I would never think of ordering soup at a cafe until sometime deep into September. Not until the nighttime temperatures plunge and the daytime is hallmarked by a golden light not seen since last year will I even contemplate something to be supped with a spoon.
I am willing to bet that you haven’t had a lasagne like this. Open lasagne, yes, perhaps. One made with lacy-edged chickpea pancakes (farinata/socca), cut into strips? Probably not.
This unusual take on an Italian classic was inspired by gazing lustfully and hungrily at an image of Donna Hay’s courgette and ricotta summer lasagne, as published in a recent Times Saturday supplement magazine. Although I have yet to make any of her recipes I do enjoy riffling through the soothingly photographed, stylish images by Australia’s food-styling doyenne – whether in her eponymous magazine, or in The Times.
Donna’s recipe called for bought lasagne, bought pesto, and was somewhat of an assembly-job – which is often attractive on a weekday. Who doesn’t need and deserve a little convenience now and again?
I had just that day been experimenting with socca recipes for a client and, in a lightbulb moment, I just thought, this will work. Not quite running to the kitchen, I did jot down notes and let it stew in my head overnight. In the morning I set about gathering the vegetables from the garden and mixing my batter. Before I knew it what you see on this page took shape. Continue Reading
I am a bit behind this week in my posting. This should have appeared yesterday but I had an unexpected – and very happy – experience on Wednesday that has thrown me off course a bit. You will hear/read much more about it later in the year but, in case you didn’t catch my Instagram or Facebook posts, I spent three hours in the company of one of the world’s most famous chefs, Jamie Oliver.
For his upcoming third series of Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast with his mate, farmer Jimmy Doherty (Jimmy’s Farm), Jamie has deliberately eschewed the formal media and got some of us food bloggers and vloggers onside, to not only participate in the show, but also to get the word out about it. I will leave the rest for another post (with exclusive Jamie recipes!), but meantime here is a link to Jamie’s Facebook page, with a short, cheeky, behind-the-scenes video about the filming day. You can just see me in a “blink and you will miss it” shot at about the one-minute mark.
The three hours filming will be cut to fit into a much broader show on Scottish langoustines. But even if I end up on the cutting room floor, it was an unforgettable experience – but more about that later. I hope you are intrigued!Continue Reading
Growing up in Florida there wasn’t much opportunity for blackberry picking – too warm you see. Even in cooler Tennessee, where I was born and where my grandparents lived, I never managed to head up to the tree-covered hills just over the road – hills no doubt smothered with wild berries and mushrooms during the late summer and early fall.
Bears. Or rather, tales of bears put paid to intrepid trips with baskets and thick cotton gloves.
We did however have natural, free-ranging adventures during our extended summer visits. On my grandparent’s sprawling farm ran a pebble-studded creek (like a wide burn, if you are Scottish and reading this). At the time it was thrilling to explore, but thinking about it now I realise how uniquely blessed my sister and I were to be able to tramp nearly half a mile though high grass, around the fishing pond, skirt the well house, through a herd of cows, say hello to the bull in his field, and clamber down a steep, red clay bank to jump into freezing cold clear water. Would that happen today? I don’t think so. Continue Reading