Saturday, 13 November 2021

Fried courgette flowers with lavender honey

 Deep-fried courgette flowers are a treat at the best of times, but cooked this way they’re a real luxury

Fried courgette flowers with lavender honey
Yotam Ottolenghi’s fried courgette flowers with lavender honey: Go on, treat yourself.

Fried courgette flowers with lavender honey (V)

I am more than happy just dipping courgette flowers in egg, shallow frying them and serving with lemon, but on special occasions I make this luxurious variation. Serves four.

125g soft goat's cheese
30g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), finely grated
2 tbsp chopped chives
1 tsp chopped thyme
Salt and black pepper
8 female courgette flowers with the baby courgette attached
100g plain flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
120g panko breadcrumbs
350ml sunflower oil, for frying
About 1 tbsp lavender honey

Thursday, 4 November 2021


 Today in the allotment I noticed that the row of yacon was affected by the frost. The leaves turned from a vibrant green to a shrivelled black. Not long then before we can harvest the yacon!

Here are a few recipe ideas

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Raspberry vinegar

 With so much apple cider vinegar and an abundance of raspberries, I made he base for the balsamic vinegar on 3/10 and left it with the raspberries for one month. Today I strained out the berries and was left with a beautifully red vinegar. I added 3/4 sugar to 1 part of vinegar and ended up with 3 lovely bottles of raspberry balsamic vinegar. MMM what a treat for the winter.

Some benefits of raspberry vinegar (without the sugar)

Monday, 1 November 2021

A wonderful festive meal made in no time.

Last week Julie asked when we could make a festive meal. I was not planning to do this quite yet, but seeing the first red pepper and spinach in the allotment made me think of the vegetable loaf we made a few years ago and was put in my first cook book.

The carrots and the potatoes too came in handy as they were roasted whilst the puff pastry loaf was getting ready in the oven.

We made some vegannaise (using aquafaba) which was used in the loaf.

Later the chickpeas and broccoli from the allotment were turned into creamy broccoli and chickpea soup.

This time we had a full house with 8 adults and baby Tomo after the meal we walked to the allotment and harvested some raspberries and beetroot to take home.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Christmas vegetable loaf, lemon cheesecake mousse and biscotti

For our mains we made a vegetable loaf, tasty easy and a nice centre piece for a festive table.
We mixed 1/2 red pepper, 1 garlic clove, 1 lemon zest, 85g spinach, 35g pitted black olives, 55g feta cheese and 115g mozzarella cheese and 2tbsp mayonnaise.  Mix all together and put in a puff pastry loaf.

We had a busy but lovely day today.  Angeles and here nieces Sara and Irene came to help and were in charge of he

lemon cheese mousse with aqua faba Yumi worked hard to whip the aquafaba into peaks whilst Irene and Sara prepared the base for the cheesecake mousse.

We went to the garden and picked the last of the raspberries as topping of our dessert.

Asako and Sayaka made Vegannaise as we had aquafaba (chickpea brine) left  and we need some for the vegetable loaf.

3tbsp chickpea water
1 tsp mustard
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
 3/4 - 1cup rapeseed oil

Add the aquafaba, mustard, salt, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup to a jug. Blend on high with an hand blender until frothy.
Measure the oil in a liquid measuring cup and with the blender on its highest speed, slowly stream the oil in over 1-2minutes, moving the blender up and down to incorporate a little air towards the end.

If it ls looking to thin add a little more oil, the more oil you add, the creamier, thickener and denser the texture will become.  Taste and adjust flavour as needed.

As a lovely treat to go with a cuppa we made some Vegan Cranberry almond biscotti
Mairead was in charge and showed Irene and Sara how it is done.

After all this hard work, we set down and enjoyed a lovely festive meal.

this post was first published on 16/11/2018

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Quince Jelly, Pumpkin curry and flat bread

Yesterday I went to Paola to help her pick her amazing quinces. Just on time as over night we had lots of wind and rain and decided to make some jelly and pectin.  When I looked back when I last made some was exactly 3 years ago (31/10/2018) so funny how nature look so unpredictable but always seems to have a similar time to harvest. 

So here is the post from 2018. Yesterday Tina Alexander offered me a large bag of quinces so this morning, it was time to turn them into some amazing quince jelly.

By the time we had prepared our pumpkin curry with chickpeas, the jelly had set and we enjoyed a delicious meal with rice and flat bread

When we cut open the pumpkins it turned out they were the Akai Pumpkins, which meant that all the seeds we cut out, we can dry to eat raw without any husks

For the flat bread  the ingredients were.

2 cups of plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of milk
3 1/2 tbs butter

Warm the milk and melt the butter in it.
Add to the flour and salt and mix thoroughly and knead into a ball.
Leave to rest for 10 mins, then cut in 4 and roll out thinly
In a dry frying pan, put in the flat dough and leave it until it shows bubbles, then turn for another minute or so (make sure it does not burn). Et Voilà! Delicious flat bread to go with your curry

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

planting tomatoes

 planting tomatoes   aspirine

vertical gardening

 Here are some ideas on vertical gardening

This one for growing malibar spinach in bottles

This one for growing malibar spinach from supermarket stalks

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Rosehips harvested and in the dehydrator for winter tea

 Today I picked the rosehips in the allotment and prepared them for the winter to turn into rosehip tea.

Benefits or rosehip tea

Rosehips are rich in Vitamin C, tanning, pectin and thiamin[7]Tea has been used as a traditional medicine for hundreds of years. It has anti oxidative, antiinflammatory,[8] antimicrobial, anti-diabetic and anticancer effects[9]. Rosehips are a great source of Vitamin C, and “phenolic compounds, carotenoids, tocopherol, bioflavonoids, tannins, volatile oils and pectins.[10]“ The amount of vitamins and other compounds will ultimately depend on the cultivar, terroir and harvesting time, same as with real tea[11]. Interestingly, rosehips may have a higher anti oxidative activity than most of the popular berries–blueberries, chokeberry, blackcurrant, rowan berry and hawthorn[12].

Rosehips may be beneficial in treating some cancers, such as colon or lung cancer, but should be avoided in oestrogen-dependent tumours“ as they may cause an opposite effect[13]. Research showed that rosehip powder may help reduce the pain in patients with osteoarthritis[14]and rheumatoid artritis[15] and may be beneficial for weight loss too.[16]

While most of these studies are related to rosehips from Rosa canina, other types have many benefits too. Research showed that for treating Alzheimer’s diseases, rosehips from Rosa damascena may be the most beneficial ones[17]

Rosehip oil is one of the most precious oils in the beauty industry. Studies showed that it may be very beneficial as a skin-lightening product, while the powder may help with other aging related problems[18].

Easy Rosehip Tea Recipe

You can use both fresh or dried rose hips for making a rose hip tea tea. Use about 1-2 teaspoons of dried rosehips per one cup of water, depending if you are using crushed or whole fruits. You can either steep it or boil it. In a small saucepan bring water to boil and add dried rosehips to a boiling water. Let it boil over low fire for about 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, bring fresh water to a boil and let the rose hips steep for 10-15 minutes in a covered teapot or a mug. Strain and serve. If you feel creative, blend rose hip with other fruits or flowers. For example, rose hips and green tea or rose hips and rooibos tea make a wonderful cold brew or iced tea.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Autumn 2021 in our garden

 Today we picked our last grapes. They have been delicious and gave us  sweet (but small) fruit for more than a month. The blueberries finished about a month ago, but thankfully there was an abundance this year and froze a whole tub and they too finished this morning for breakfast.

The raspberries are still going but suspect that this week's crop is for snacking rather than fruit salads.

The apples have been amazing too, still some left for a daily Vitamin boost.

Pears were beautiful (finished the last one today) large and sweet but not many of them, we had to supplement them with pears from the shop.

Strawberries we abundant in June and we had a second flurry in the last few weeks. Just one or two a day, so a real treat.

All in all a great year of fruit in our small little garden, for which we are truly grateful.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Using the last of the autumn sun rays to plant garlic and broadbeans

This was first posted on 30/10/2019

The sun is out and with a quick tidying of the beds we managed to harvest the butternut squashes for the butternut squash and coconut milk curry as well as sow the broad
beans and plant the garlic for the year ahead.

We made some more 'Lazy dough' as Li called it. to turn into butter, garlic and coriander naan bread.

The food was quick to make and very tasty. For those of you who have pumpkins for halloween, you can use the flesh instead of the butternut squash

The recipe for the curry:

Cut a butternut squash into cubes.
use 1 diced onion and 4 garlic cloves, and fry in oil until soft.
Add 3 tablespoons of yellow curry paste together with a tin of chopped tomatoes.
Add the squash and mix it all so it is coated. Cook for a minute or so and add a can of full fat coco nut milk as well as 1 stock cube (dissolved in a little  boiling water)
Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes until the butternut is soft.

Boil the rice in the mean time and made the naan bread.

In a pan, roast 200gr of cashew nuts (or peanuts) in a little oil, sprinkle with salt and smoked paprika.
Keep a close eye at it as it burns very easily.

Serve  curry on a bed of rice, topped with cashew nuts and a bit of chopped coriander.
Lovey with the garlicky bread.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Puy lentil dish with a refreshing carrot salad

This post was first made on 26 April 2020

Today's from Spade to Plate zoom session, we even ventured outside! We had a little walk through the garden where we saw the cherry, apple, pear, and strawberries in blossom. The coriander and mint were used in the carrot salad and the Purple Sprouting Broccoli leaves were used instead of Kale in the Lentil , lentil and goat's cheese dish

Instead of the goats cheese curd, I mixed cream with goats cheese to pour over the lentils. (Big success)

What is left of this curd, will be used up in the beetroot soup tonight.

As we had 1/2 a preserved lemon left I used this in the Carrot Salad as well. 

All in all a delicious meal

Stepover apple in blossom

Cherry and stepover apple in blossom

Blueberry  in blossom and grape showing first leaves

Strawberries in vertical garden in blossom

Broadbean in flower

Monday, 13 September 2021

Ciabatta bread with a fig and Goat's cheese topping

 We made ciabatta bread which went down a storm. 

As the fig harvest is so good, we used the ciabatta as a base and the figs and goat's cheese with a balsamic vinegar and rocket topping. 

Instead of the balsamic vinegar we used the blackberry balsamic vinegar that was made a month or so ago.

As we had some waiting time, I showed how I normally make yoghurt. The yoghurt has just come out of the tea cozy and has set well. It will be in the fridge overnight. I will then put it through a muslin cloth to get a thicker greek style yoghurt and the whey will be just for scone making. As my old school friend Franka and her husband will be coming for tea and they love to try a real English scone (Alice's recipe)

Alice's scones


225g plain flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoon salt

50g frozen butter 

1 small egg 

125ml plain yoghurt

150g crumbled feta cheese

2 spring onions, chopped, or herbs or chilli flakes (optional)

A little milk to glaze


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  3. With your fingers, rub in the grated frozen butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the crumbled cheese and chopped spring onion.
  5. Whisk the egg into the yoghurt with a fork. Make a well in the flour mixture, add the liquid and stir again with a fork, making a soft dough.
  6. Gather the dough in well-floured hands and knead very lightly. On a floured surface, press out the dough with a rolling pin to not less than 1.25cm thick.
  7. Using a 5cm glass or ring cutter, firmly cut out the scones. Gather up the scraps, kneading them together to more scones. 
  8. Transfer the scones to a well greased baking sheet. With a pastry brush wipe the tops of the scones with milk mixture.
  9. Cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until well-risen and golden brown.
  10. Makes 6-8 scones depending on the size of cutter.
We also made some yoghurt. I normally do this using milk delivered in  returnable glass bottles so that we reduce plastic containers

How I make yoghurt 


2 cups  whole milk

2 tablespoons plain greek yoghurt


  1. In a saucepan, over low heat bring the milk to a simmer. It will take around 15-20 minutes. The freshest milk will yield you better yogurt.
  2. Once it starts to bubble turn off the heat and set aside. You notice a skin has formed on your milk, that is normal.
  3. Let it cool down to 120 degree F. 
  4. Once cooled whisk in the yogurt.
  5. Pour into a sterilized jar and tightly close the lid.  Line a deep bowl with a thick tea towel and place in the jar of yogurt. Wrap the jar up well in the towel and let it sit out in a warm part of your kitchen over night.  (you can also use a thermous flask
  6. After this time, pop the jar in the fridge and let it get cold, roughly 2-3 hours. Once chilled your yogurt will be firm and thick in texture. (you could drain this through a muslin bag to get a greek style yoghurt, keep the whey for baking)
  7. Before you add anything, keep a couple of spoonfuls aside for the next batch. At this point you can add sugar, sweetener, honey, fruit and vanilla.
  8. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.