Hands up who has OD’ed on Easter eggs. Easter eggs that are not even your own. Most of you? Ah, thought so. You can put your hands down. Maybe not into that bag of choccy mini eggs… Continue reading
I was almost going to call this A Nearly Store Cupboard Shakshuka, but I realised that might be a tad presumptuous. I have had plenty of times in my life when the cupboards contained barely a tin of soup, let alone the fixings for a whole meal, so I can’t assume that the likes of marinated artichoke hearts are going to be sitting idle in your pantry. Tinned tomatoes, I hope, but perhaps not the ‘chokes or the roasted peppers. The point is that these aren’t fresh, and you don’t have to do anything but chop them and thrown them in the sauce. And they are optional anyway. So it’s just plain old Easy Shakshuka. I digress… Continue reading
We are having a cracking day in Edinburgh. Actually the past week has been about as perfect as autumn days get around here. Leaves are bursting into crimson, burnt umbre and magenta flames before falling under foot; the sun is beautifully low and soft in the sky, while the breeze is almost non-existent. And of course there is the frost. Not quite nipping at our noses, but necessitating digging out hidden away gloves and scarves. Being from Florida I still get a wee thrill when cool temperatures combine with clear, crisp air. Just now my Miss R (a keen sunset watcher) dragged my away from my computer to stand in awe at yet another heather-pink sunset, all molten and oozing across the horizon. You can take your summer with its ice cream cones and flirty skirts. I’ll happily slip on an over-sized woollen sweater and pad about in my dog-eared moccasins, thank you very much. Continue reading
quote from Sumayya Jamil, speaking at Food Blogger Connect, London 2012
Last Friday saw me quite literally stumbling onto the 7.15 Edinburgh-London train. I am not the most co-ordinated of people (I can fall off a pair of flipflops), but my flawed proprioception couldn’t be blamed on this occasion. As I attempted to board the train a sudden shift in the ever-present wind blew hair into my eyes, and I had a heart-pounding, and nearly electrifying, experience as my foot slipped between the step up and the clearly marked walkway. Still clutching my bags and cup of tea I just managed to lurch forward into the carriage, my body tingling with adrenalin that you get from a proper near-miss. Yowz.
The reason I mention this seemingly random incident is that I also experienced the same all-body tingle later that day. But not due to clumsiness or wind-whipped hair. When I pushed through the imposing blue doors into a sea of people at Food Blogger Connect I had that overwhelming ‘new girl’ feeling. You know, the heart-pumping anxiety you get when you walk into a room where everyone seems to know each other and you only have one shot at making a decent impression? I was that girl, but with fictional spots, greasy hair and a selection of slide rules and leaky pens poking out of my pocket. Yup, that nervous. Continue reading
Yesterday was Mothers’ Day in the UK – or Mothering Sunday, if you prefer not to pander to the Hallmark hijacking of celebrations. Although Andrew and Rachel were away on the train to Newcastle for the football – with my blessing I should add – I managed to have a special day with Andrew’s mum Ann, and great-aunt Trudy. We had thought we would splash out on a slap-up restaurant lunch, or indulge in a fancy afternoon tea at one of the hotels, but I just couldn’t bring myself to book a table. Although I like being waited on hand and foot as much as anyone else, what I wanted – and what I knew Ann wanted too – was to chill out with some nice food, a bottle of something bubbly and just relax. For us going out to a restaurant is a treat and not a weekly occurrence, but sometimes you just want to take your time, not worry about getting crumbs on your face and, for us, watch the hens take sun baths in the hard-baked ground. Simple pleasures. Continue reading
Before the festive eating binge begins I thought I would share a few healthy kale-based treats with you. And yes, I do mean treats: some crisps, a pasta, and a mildly spiced frittata. Other than the kale, it should nearly be store cupboard stuff, so easy and economical: a bonus at this wallet-bleeding time of year.
I don’t know about you, but we are having quite a few pantry and freezer-based meals (and chucking out a not inconsiderable amount of freezer burned mystery-meat type packages), which is kind of fun in a frugal, Little House on the Prairie kind of way. Not quite grinding my own flour but definitely heading in that direction. This is partly to make way for dishes that I am preparing in advance and squirrelling away, but also to make January less painful. For example, tonight I am using black beans from the freezer to make black bean chilli, and this weekend some leftover vegetables will be paired with a dauntingly large frozen haunch of venison to make a ginormous slow-cooked casserole. Even some frozen leftover wine will get added in (I know, who keeps leftover wine in their freezer). My inner pioneer has been unleashed. As I write we are under a severe storm watch (gusts around 130 mph for the next several hours), thus reinforcing my can-do-in-the-kitchen attitude. If you are reading this that means the electricity is still on! Continue reading