Monday, January 29, 2007


Who's is this postcard? Where is it going? Who's mine from? Find out soon on Whats for lunch, Honey?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Winter walk at Wisley

A beautiful day amongst the scented plants and flowers at RHS Wisley on the fragrance and frost trail.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Burns night

Tonight I had round, what can only be described as, a haggis appreciation society - my friends that already love haggis came to share this years take on Burns night with a few more for their first outing to a haggis event! I actually made my own haggis this year mixing together a recipe from the vegetarian society with a suggestion I found for a gluten free haggis. To start we had my favourite soup - jerusalem artichoke and carrot - and then haggis, neeps with carrots, and mashed tatties before finally raspberries and ice cream. We had so much haggis (I over catered) that I even sent folk home with boxes of it!

Gluten free haggis for 10 people
400g onions
60ml olive oil
200g carrots finely chopped
140g mushrooms, finely chopped
200g red lentils
2.5L vegetable gluten free stock
100g roughly mashed black eyed beans - from a tin of beans
140g hazelnuts roughly chopped
100g pine nuts roughly chopped
120ml gluten free soy sauce
60ml lemon juice
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp rosemary
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp mixed spice
800g quinoa

Saute the onion in the oil until translucent in a very large oven proof pan and then add the carrots and mushrooms. Cook for 5min and then stir in the lentils and 3/4 of the stock. Add the mashed beans, nuts, soy sauce, lemon juice and herbs and spices. Mix everything together, and simmer for 10 to 15min. Then add the quinoa and the rest of the stock and simmer for 20min. Then put the entire covered pan into a preheated 190°C oven and cook for 30min or until the quinoa is cooked through. If you want to cook it in advance you can put the haggis in the freezer before it goes in the oven, making sure that it is completely defrosted before cooking in the oven. Check that if it needs extra liquid adding before going in the oven.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Banana over Texas?

Whilst recently reading the latest installment from the lovely people over at innocent I found this rather intriguing website - in August 2008 there is a plan to install a 300m giant banana blimp over texas as a piece of art ....... do we think this is real or just a rather jolly jape?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This morning I walked to work in that golden winter light that belies that its absolutely freezing, the cold gently snapping at my face thinking of Siberia. This may sound a little odd but last night I finished the second book about traveling in Siberia in as many months. The first was by the ever brilliant Dervla Murphy - in Siberia by Accident, which returned to the captivating writing I remember from the first of her books. It may be that it was my frame of mind that had returned but it made me feel inspired to get out into the wilds! The second, last night's finisher, was Paul Grogan's Barbed Wire and Babushkas. He tells the tale of traveling down the Amur river from source to sea with friend Richard in a most amusing manner. So this morning it only seems fitting that I started on my last of the Siberian stock - Dervla Murphy's Silverland. I can hardly wait to get stuck into it (I only managed the first two pages on the train). The stories from Siberia remind me of the kindness of strangers and I encourage everyone to read them!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Blog Party#18: Black & White

Over at Dispensing Happiness the Happy Sorceress is having a party in black and white! Its the first time I have joined in but any excuse for a cocktail on a Sunday afternoon with something to nibble on too. I took the theme on a tangent and decided that using my white currant gin to make a white currant martini and some Blacksticks cheese to make some cheesy bites would be great. I actually rang my Dad for inspiration from his Savoy Cocktail book and was very tempted with a white cargo cocktail (1 part gin to 1 part ice cream) but decided I needed something a bit less after dinner. The matrini was 1 part white currant gin (500g white currants with 250g sugar and 700ml gin in a jar for at least a month) and 1 part vermouth shaken with a little ice and then garnished with a strip of lemon peel. The Blacksticks cheese and Cranberry bites recipe was taken from the Blacksticks website - and very tasty they were too. The blue cheese foiled the slightly sweet martini perfectly! Happy partying!!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Tonight saw my return to the Rush Hour Blues at the Symphony Hall. The Destroyers were brilliant, though I'm not so sure of their name - they played fantastic eastern sounding music - lots of flute/recorder and intruiging crank driven instruments along with bass and violin. I couldn't stay long as my stomach was grumbling louder and louder, so I gave up my chair half way through. The chap who took it said - I can't resist asking if you're too tired? - which made me giggle all the way home as I had my two new bicycle tyres slung over my shoulder!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My kitchen

It may be small but at least its mine!! (And so it dosen't matter if I don't do the washing up....immediately). At just about 2m wide and 3m long with doors at both ends my kitchen is some what lacking in space, not that this has stopped me from trying to be creative in it. The only things lacking are a fridge and my crockery which are both found in the space under the stairs. Though the cooker took about 6months to install too as the space available was rather an odd shape and I had to find an oven that I could actually open! But all was sorted and I have had the joys of a gas hob and an electirc fan oven for the last 2 years. Other space saving comes from cups hung on walls and a shelf above the hob for my pans. And though I might dream of knocking down walls and reclaiming part of the garden for more space - 'it ain't gonna happen' but a girl can always dream. So thats it so to speak in a nutshell - small but just what I need!
To see other bloggers kitchens check out Ilva's site - Lucullian delights
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