My intention was to make a rather elegant autumn dish that could be at home with a bowl of soup, constructed into pretty piles for a starter, eaten with a fork whilst balancing a laptop and avoiding a napping lap cat (my default lunch position), or popped alongside a piece of grilled fish/marinated tofu. I think I got this right, except for the elegant.
Oh, I can’t do elegant if you threatened me with a court summons. Or dental drill.
But if I squint at the images I think I can claim that it looks like an autumnal pile of leaves. One of those gastronomical tricks, like edible soil or bacon and eggs ice cream – but easy and, um, normal. Continue Reading
By the looks of these images you can probably tell I have been sitting on this awhile. No sparse concrete background to set off the dish, just a narrow floor tile and a crumpled piece of paper. But regardless of the dubious aesthetic I really wanted to share this recipe. Continue Reading
This time of year – despite the falling temperatures and falling leaves – is a favourite time for me as a homecook, and glutton. And figs are one reason why.
Beautiful, black bursa 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 an old 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 when we grazed from markets, drank local wine, and skinny-dipped with impunity. Continue Reading
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.