Thursday, July 30, 2009


I am going to say FAREWELL, TOOTLES, TA RA, GOODBYE, as I am heading west from the Wight Isle to the Emerald Isle for a week for a fun filled holiday of diabolical surfing, puddle jumping and rolling down sand dunes. YIPPEEEE.

Until I return, enjoy the end of July, gobble up the remaining strawberries and bring in August with a sun dance, sipping on some deliciously sweet and sour lemon presse' - a must-drink for getting in the summer mood, even if it's raining!

2 lemons, sliced thinly,
150g caster sugar,
dash of elderflower cordial,
1 litre sparkling water,

handful of mint leaves to serve

Pop the first 3 ingredients into a blender, until the lemons have pureed. Add the sparkling water with the lemon/sugar mix into a large glass jug. Stir and add mint leaves.

If far too sour or too sweet, add more sugar or lemon juice.

Et voila! The sun is shining again...isn't it??

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


There are many many things about the summer months that I look forward to. BBQs, all day beaching, french cricket, greedy picnics, late orange sunsets and early morning sunrise.

Bizarrely, the best things about summer all seem to begin with the letter F:

Festivals (yes, I have just splashed out on my 5th Bestival ticket...ouch),
Fetes ( Brook Green on the Isle of Wight holds a delightful get-together with steam train rides, willow hut weaving, fresh strawbs and Irish jigs),
Feet (BARE is best),
and rather essentially: FOOD.

Just last week, I was lucky enough to indulge in my first cream tea of the summer. When I say indulge, I mean it...

Two large scones, a pot of tea, a larger than life dollop of
clotted cream,
fresh strawberries and delicious jam.

Sounds rather like something out of Mary Poppins...

It was all so twee being presented with pretty cakes and colourful pottery, that the celestial sounds of birdsong and the tinkle tinkle feet of Morris dancers drowned out the vicious grumbles blasting out from the over-stuffed stomach below. Only until the second to last sip of tea did I realise that getting off my seat might become a bit of an issue.

On the roll home, luckily all downhill, I thought to myself, perhaps I shouldn't have given in to such a large scone? With one round cream and jam filled loveliness sat in front of you, it is so easy to gobble it in one go, rather than taking your time over lots of little bites...

I know it is awful to say but maybe they would be easier to digest if just a fraction smaller?

SACRILEGE, I hear you cry?

Well, I certainly found it difficult to finish scone number one, let alone start on numero dos. But, truthfully, who wants just one scone? We would feel so much lighter if we were to eat the same amount but in smaller portions, non? And with the same amount of dough you can get more for your money. Bite-sized deliciousness, and endless fun spreading layer after layer of cream then jam then strawberry. Into the mouth they go, with no effort at all!
Here goes...

ALL PURPOSE SMALL SCONES ( the normal recipe for large but with 3cm scone cutter)

200g/8oz self raising flour
1/2 level teaspoon salt
50g/2oz butter
125ml/1/4 pint milk
Extra milk for brushing.

1. Sift flour and salt into bowl
2. Rub in butter finely
3. Add milk all at once. Mix to soft , but not sticky, dough with knife
4.Turn onto lightly flowered bowl. Knead quickly until smooth
5. Roll out to about 1cm/1/2 in thick.
6. Cut into around 20 rounds with 2cm biscuit cutter (serrated edge)
7. Transfer to butter baking tray and brush the tops with milk
8. Bake towards top of hot oven (230 degrees C/ 450 degrees F/ Gas mark 8) for 7 mins (or until well risen and golden brown)
9. Cool on wire rack.
10. Gobble. Share if you must.

Serve with delicious strawberry jam - for homemade recipes try Jo Pratt's version - but for laziness you can't beat Bonne Maman, bursting with fruit and with such beautiful packaging (Watch this space for blog on jam recipes soon!). Clotted cream is best but you can whip up some double cream which is just as satisfying, and more fluffy if that's your kind of cream tea. Fresh strawberries are at their best at the moment, and a scone without these is no scone at all.

A pot of tea and dainty little tea cups (egg cups if you want to carry on down the miniature route) and a cliche red gingham table cloth will do the trick.

Afterwards, why not take a dip in the river to cool off from the summer heatwave? Spiffing!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Unable to go to Weymouth Seafood festival last weekend, I have been on a mission for fish. Instead of standing in the rain under cover of fish markets and devouring the fresh flavours of the Dorset coast, I have been rummaging in the freezer at home - just as wet and cold, but without the wellies.

A recipe I managed to whip up by scavenging from larders, fridges and freezers - all ingredients dangerously near the sell-by-date (nothing like building up the immune system)- SEARED SCALLOPS, ROASTED BABY PLUM TOMATOES AND SMOKED HAM, WITH GARLIC AND CHILLI MASH. Quite a catch for a Sunday night supper for one...

Serves 2 (more polite and less greedy this way)
Cooking time: 24 mins

8 frozen scallops, de-frosted.
10 baby plum tomatoes, halved
3 leftover slices of smoked ham, cut into strips.
3 large potatoes.
Spoonful of English Provendor Co. Very Lazy Red Chillies
1 large garlic clove finely chopped.
Large pinch of Oregano.
2 glugs of Olive Oil.

First, defrost the scallops if frozen.
Put the tomatoes and ham into a baking tray. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with Oregano. Place in the oven at 190 degrees C for about 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and juicy and the ham is crisp.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes, until soft.
When the potatoes are done, the tomatoes should be too. Leave them to rest a bit in their baking tray.
Place the rest of the olive oil in a frying pan, and carefully drop in the scallops, giving them two minutes on each side, so they have a golden glaze. While you are watching the scallops -no need to touch them while they are cooking, unless to turn them - mash the potatoes until smooth, and add the garlic and chilli.

Serve the scallops on top of the tomatoes and ham - their juices should be the perfect marinade/sauce for the scallops and potatoes.

Need I say more?

Yes. YUM