Monday, April 25, 2011



This is Toby, he's a Blue British Shorthair and we drove up to Glasgow to pick him up on Saturday. He's coming out of his shell more and more every hour (the first morning we spent with him he was so jumpy and scared of us, his toys, cars going past outside, everything!) It's lovely watching him getting more and more confident - now he's clambering over the sofas and using his scratching post as a launch pad to reach the window seat. He also comes to us for tickles and cuddles and last night we all fell asleep on the sofa together. I'm looking forward to sharing more Toby related news soon!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Great British Book of Baking

I have been meaning to give this book a mention for a while: The Great British Book Of Baking.
Based on the recent BBC TV series The Great British Bake Off, it's full of classic British recipes for things like Bakewell Tarts, Crumpets, Cornish Pasties and Maids of Honour. I love the way it is organised - loosely divided into categories like bread, pies, cakes and classics with tidbits of history about the recipes and the region it came from.

I especially like the creepy looking Stargazy Pie which is baked in the village of Mousehole in Cornwall to celebrate Tom Bawcock's eve. Legend has it that after a stormy winter where the sea was so rough that no ships could leave the town's harbour, the villagers were facing starvation as Christmas approached. Then on the 23rd December Tom Bawcock bravely took to the seas in his fishing boat and returned with a huge catch. The Ship Inn (the only pub in Mousehole) baked the fish into a huge pie with their heads poking out of the top, saving the village of starvation. The pie is still baked in the same pub on the 23rd December every year to celebrate Tom Bawcock's bravery.

I haven't tried my hand at Stargazy Pie yet but I have made...


Irish Brown Soda Bread - This is easy (especially if you use a mixer) the dough is mixed together, kneaded and in the oven in less than 5 minutes. The wheatgerm and bran give the bread a lovely rich taste, especially when it's toasted.

OK these are hot crossed buns...minus some of the crosses. They're really hard! The paste for the crosses is really stiff and sticky and hard to work with. I think you would actually need to use an icing bag to get it looking profesh.

Sausage Rolls - not the best photo here, but let me tell you these bad boys are the nuts. I've had so many requests (from Ciaran) for these since. Sometimes I bake them and we just eat the lot on their own for dinner (with some Ketchup and some Lingham's Sauce of course).

Now we're at the beginning of two four day Bank Holiday weekends! How will you be celebrating? I know lots of people are planning street parties for the Royal Wedding, maybe they'll be baking some of the things in this book. I will be at a wedding too and am looking forward to having lots of lovely pictures to share.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's Occurring?...

Love is in the air again as two more of our friends tie the knot! This time at the beautiful Great Fosters in Surrey.

The blossom is in full bloom on our road - it's a shame it only lasts for a short time.

I've planted herbs in pots all along our kitchen window ledge and they're thriving in the sun (except the chives, they're turning yellow). Look at this little chili plant...

He's got a long way to go but I hope he will yeild lots of tasty and hot Jalapeno's over the summer. Check out this basil...

The corriander, oregano, thyme, mint and chili plant are from Garsons Farm in Esher. They were like £1.99 each? Billy bargain. The dying chives are from my Mums garden and the Basil is from Waitrose. Seriously, you can go ahead and re-pot supermarket herbs as much as you want, knock yourself out they always thrive.

What's this? Could it be the pitter patter of tiny, fury feet? Stay tuned to find out.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This is how we roll

Just a quick update with a few pretty photos today! This past weekend I was lucky enough to be a guest at a Hen party. There was not an 'L' plate or penis balloon in sight mind you, it was a very classy affair with afternoon tea at The Sanderson followed by cocktails and dancing at The Bathhouse.

The afternoon tea had a 'Mat Hatter's Tea Party' theme with sandwiches made from multi coloured bread (dyed with vegetables), 'Drink Me' potions, 'Eat Me' cakes and lollipops. If I had one criticism it would be that I could have done with a few more sandwiches and a few less cakes (especially as it had to sustain me through a whole night of dancing). It was a fantastic afternoon though and the tea and fizz kept flowing.

The Sanderson is a funny building, it doesn't look like much on the outside at all (a bit like an office block actually) but inside the design is incredible, especially the chairs in the lobby. Here's a photo from their website...

The Bathhouse is a lovely little club/bar in the City. It really is an old Turkish Bathhouse and the building that you first enter through is tiny! Once inside you go down the stairs into a little underground cavern decorated with colourful glazed tiles and eclectic paintings. It's got a lovely intimate feel  but still has plenty of room for dancing to a great mixture of swing, soul and Prince. The crowd was well heeled and I even spotted the fab Fleur De Guerre looking amazing as usual. All in all a fantastic day/night, I can't wait until the wedding!

I've got a very busy month ahead of me (exciting!) and will have lots of nice things to share. Happy April everyone!