Sunday, 19 September 2010


vintage typewriter and letter press necklackes. to see more click here

Saturday, 18 September 2010

warm beetroot and quinoa tabouleh

i have wanted to make this salad ever since i ate it at canteen. i used this recipe and was very happy with the results. i did use red onion but i only washed the quinoa once.

we had it with cold roast chicken broad bean salad - very pleasing indeed.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

the most delicious bite-sized salad

the other week i made this salad using fresh broad beans, feta, mint and olive oil. i usually cook with frozen ones and leave the skins on (which are also very tasty) but i wanted to create a visually stunning salad and i just love the green of the shelled beans.

what i forgot, however, is how many pods you need to use to produce a decent amount of salad. so this many beans, once shelled, produced, quite literally, a bite-sized salad.


it tasted so, so good and was so simple that i made it again for my parents. i used 4 huge bags of fresh beans from the supermarket and was asked at the checkout to confirm i really wanted to buy this many beans.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

nancy knits now in french connection!

oh, if only...

i like this jumper though and am very tempted to own one (or one in each colour). will wait for the sales...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

plastic life

when i saw the silhouettes created out of toilet rolls, it reminded me of other lives in miniature.

you can see the whole set of plastic life here

Saturday, 11 September 2010

chocolate fork biscuits

someone asked me the other day what my favourite biscuits are to make. and inspired by the great british bake-off biscuit week, i decided to make them again. delicious but dangerously moorish.

while back at my parents' i dug out this cook book (which i'd left in my old bedroom) for the recipe and then realised it was written by mary berry! (great british bake-off judge).

the mixture made enough for 48 biscuits although the final round (only 11) burned! perhaps because there was only one tray rather than two in the oven?

two biscuits and an espresso was a perfect writing pick-me-up the other afternoon.

rhubarb and ginger crumble

i added ginger (powdered which worked just fine but perhaps grated fresh is best) to the stewed rhubarb. i also added oats and cinnamon to the basic crumble mixture.

although i can't stand gordon ramsey, i did take his advice in caramelising the rhubarb by following these instructions but the sugar started to burn so i added water to turn it into stewed rhubarb after all. but it still retained a certain stickiness which was lovely. i also added some orange zest.

i made one for the freezer and a small one to eat fresh from the oven.

it made a really spicy pudding - perfect for the end of summer.

Friday, 10 September 2010

laura lombardi

A Cup of Jo is one of my favourite blogs and i often see things i'd like on it (see previous post). a few weeks ago i spotted laura lombardi's jewellery on the blog and added this necklace to my wishlist.
my parents gave it to me for my birthday ♥


alexa chung for madewell

i  love these dresses and i love alexa chung (even though her arms are as thin as pencils)
as spotted here

Thursday, 9 September 2010

carrot purée with caraway and halloumi

this is a moro recipe (from their second book). i love these books and sam and sam clarke's restaurant in clerkenwell is well worth a visit too.


750g carrots
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
sea salt & pepper
1 level tbsp caraway seeds, roughly ground
2 tbsp roughly chopped mint
100g feta

i used half the amounts specified in the recipe, which are enough for a starter for 4. i also replaced feta with halloumi because another salad on the table used feta. the sweetness of the carrot and the saltiness of the halloumi (as would be with feta) was delicious. i would be tempted to leave it overnight for the caraway and mint to intensify but we gobbled it up so there was none to experiment with. i also think cumin and coriander seeds (often seen in carrot recipes) might be a better compliment, even though i do love caraway seeds.

roast chopped carrots (covered in olive oil, salt & pepper) at 200°C for 45 mins or until tender. cool and mash by hand or in a food processor. stir in the caraway seeds, half of the mint, 2tbsps of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. spread the purée on a plate, crumble feta in the middle, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with mint.

the moro recipe suggests serving it with crispbreads made out of cut up triangles of pitta drizzled in butter before grilling. i served it with thinly sliced, toasted ciabatta but mainly because i wanted that for the roast garlic purée. in fact, we ate it on the slices of halloumi which was a lovely way to have it.

roast garlic purée

i've always loved eating whole cloves of roast garlic. so soft, sweet and nutty. but i've never had it as a purée. this was very simple but a little time consuming. you can roast whole bulbs by just chopping the tops off but i decided to separate the cloves as i didn't wan to cut into the garlic at all - but this was what took up more time.

i roasted the cloves (with skins still on) at 180°C for about 15 minutes - until tender and the tops were slightly caramelised. i then gently squeezed the cloves out of their skins, removed the brown root and mashed to a purée using a pestle and mortar. (you can use a food processor if you have a larger quantity).

we had it spread neat on toasted ciabatta and i also mixed some with cream cheese - both were lovely but i couldn't make my mind up which i preferred. at the last taste, neat, i think.

nigel slater says purée can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge with a thin layer of olive oil covering the surface and that this should last a week or two (i bet it would last longer). i've bought some more garlic so will make a pot and see...

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

re-ignited love: recipes

i have been so inspired to do much more cooking recently. partly because i read wonderful tales of what people are making on twitter or on food blogs and partly from tv programmes like masterchef and the great british bake off. however, until recently, i felt overwhelmed by the choice that my cookery books, together with online recipes, offered. when i house sat for my parents' over the past few weeks, i reacquainted myself with their collection and decided to make full use of the kitchen.

i have had a huge amount of academic writing to do for a looming PhD chapter deadline and normally i turn to knitting as a complete switch off (when i'm not out with friends). but this time i just wanted to cook and bake and roast and, most importantly, try out new (relatively simple) recipes. i spent coffee breaks browsing recipes but then something happened that i have heard lots of 'foodies' speak of, i ended up taking my cookery books to bed with me. instead of taking the paper, my laptop or iphone to bed (ok, my iphone was next to me at all times), i took 2 or 3 books and just read recipes until i fell asleep. cooking (especially in my parents' great kitchen) was more absorbing and relaxing than i'd found it in ages and i spent evenings in the kitchen rather than stuck in front of the tv (which i would normally do after a hard day's writing). i did much less knitting but i enjoy it when different hobbies come into play at different times of the week or month.

as well as professional chefs and food writers, the people on twitter and food blogs who have particularly inspired me include:
  • dan (@EssexEating) who is a food blogger and lives with elly - together they cook up wonderful treats 
  • cambridge-based @bunnybanter who regularly posts about her seriously delicious concoctions and foodie trips to london
  • catrin @papadeli who often comments about what cakes are sitting on the counter. if you live in bristol and you haven't yet been, you must go to this wonderful deli. i am hoping they will bring out a cook book at some point as all the food i have ever eaten there (savoury & sweet) has been inspiring and utterly divine
  •  lia (@lialeendertz), linda (@goodshoeday) and jules (@Domestic_jules) who regularly tweet and blog about what wonderful things they're making with their home-grown produce
  • fiona beckett (@foodwriter) who has many strings to her foodie bow including providing good advice about how to cook frugally and is also part of the @StudentsCanCook team who source recipes and give further tips on cooking on a budget.
  • and finally (!), my most recent discoveries - edd kimber (@TheBoyWhoBakes) and ruth clemens (@thepinkwhisk) - my favourite great british bake off contestants whose blogs have so many cakes and biscuits that i've added to my 'to bake' list.
(see my blogroll for these and many more great foodie blogs)

so, as well as all these recipes i have access to for free, i still love leafing through books. a very generous friend gave me lots of fabulous birthday gifts. one of which was this:

i can't wait to try something from it soon. and last week i popped into oxfam on cotham hill and bought myself these

over the next few days i'll post things i've made recently. but, for now, i'm off to plan my next meal...

Monday, 6 September 2010


this has been doing the rounds on the internet so i'm sure many of you will already have seen this. but just in case... this is a gorgeous pregnancy video shot entirely using stills with a DSLR!

dancers in motion

taken by bill wadman, i spotted these amazing images here

baby giraffe

another reason to learn to crochet. as spotted here

lily peach starts school

today hundreds of children will have started school for the first time. i've seen lots of pictures and comments on twitter and blogs but this one is my favourite. as seen here

brain pain

so, apparently, the images transferred from my posterous blog don't look so good when viewed on a mac or using certain browsers. when i have time, i'll get round to sorting that out but not right now as technology glitches hurt my brain.

speaking of brains. here, have a knitted one -

designed and knitted (and completely anatomically correct!) by karen norberg

hmong love

i love this post from veronica (see her wonderful blog here)

In Vietnam, the Hmong represent the primary ethnic group in mountainous regions. And, within this group, several subcultures exist. I am so inspired by their use of colour - how can you not smile whilst looking at these beautiful photos?

pics via here

and here