Nearly everyone and everything says that autumn has arrived: my flame-red Virginia Creeper climbing up the garage; the carpet of crispy oak leaves on my sad excuse for a lawn; excitable foodies on Twitter going pumpkin latte-mad; pull-out newspaper supplements with food porn shots of, yup, pumpkins.
I am ready, finger poised to flip my figurative calendar over to October, but Edinburgh has not got the memo. It is in point of fact warmer and drier this past week than it has been most of the summer. I nearly put on shorts but hadn’t had the foresight to make sure my legs were fit for public viewing (ahem).
So, here I am, outside in a loose t-shirt, squinting into a lowering retina-searing sun, writing about hot soup. Continue Reading
This time of year – despite the falling temperatures and falling leaves – is a favourite time for me as a cook, and glutton. And figs are one reason why.
Beautiful, black Turkish figs – with their soft, edible dusky-leather jackets, and their tiny crunchy seeds – are my favourite fruit of autumn. I know this sounds a bit poncey, but eating one transports me back to the garden of a house we stayed at in southern France. It was a beautiful, sprawling house, isolated from the rest of humankind and overlooking a heat-hazed valley, checkered with fertile plots and poky wee villages. The best thing about this house – other than the bracingly cold pool – was the overhanging fig trees, with fruit so ripe we would find them smashed on the path each morning; useless to us but bliss for the birds. We managed to snaffle a few before they dropped, but even just the scent as we passed under the heavily-burdened boughs was heavenly. Since then I have greedily bought up ripe figs when in season trying to briefly experience a glimpse of that wonderful family holiday. And then it rains…
This weekend we found ourselves in the big, blue box that is Ikea, returning some unneeded items (and not picking up meatballs, before you ask). I was initially surprised at the snaking queues, and the depressed-looking teens trailing after nearly-as depressed-looking parents; their carts piled high with bright rugs, huge frames and angle poise lights. Then I twigged: these kids were getting sorted for the start of the English universities. And you can’t start uni without the obligatory shuffle around the cavernous temple to flat-pack. Continue Reading
Corn is contentious. Not the sweetcorn that we eat – and the only corn crop grown in the UK – but the corn that has infiltrated our lives in some very non-food and non-nutritious ways.
In the US, where it is by far the most-grown and most renumerative crop, field corn is used in manners various and sundry: as fuel in the form of ethanol; to hold food as plastic bags, plastic spoons and forks; to fatten livestock and thicken food. Because it is less sweet, field corn is also used to make tortilla chips and cornmeal.
One of the joys of visiting America is breakfast. Or rather, going out for breakfast.
Every city, town, speck on the map, boasts a place that opens at silly o’clock for the first meal of the day. The UK has a go, and has got better, but to really do breakfast out you must visit the US. Top tip: eat a light dinner the night before. And don’t plan on eating for the rest of the day. Continue Reading
It has taken me awhile to getting around to posting a review of my Froothie Optimum 9400 blender. Not because I haven’t been using it – far from it. I have been using it most every day for one thing and another – smoothies (of course), dips and spreads, soups, desserts, nut milks, nut flours, sprouted grain/seed flours, nut butters, and even ice cream (well, frozen yogurt). So, yes it has been getting a bit of a work out.
Being a fairly methodical person I really wanted to make sure that I had run it through its paces before I passed on my assessment. And I wanted to do a couple of side by side challenges against my Vitamix to see how my two machines compared. Continue Reading
All I can say is, “wow!” After hovering around the front door for a couple of days – occasionally having dark thoughts of neighbours signing for my special delivery and not handing it over – it arrived. My Foodie Penpal delivery. Continue Reading
You may find this hard to fathom but about half of these photos are from 2012. Yes, I have waited that long to post this recipe. And I don’t quite know why, as it is a good one. Easy, seasonal, thrifty and really quite luscious for a food to glow pudding. It won’t be luscious compared to a Nigella or Mary Berry recipe – what with the lower sugar, fat, and blatant lack of icing. But if your tastes run to the healthy then this might seem quite a treat. I know it does for me. But then again, I don’t get out much. Continue Reading