Suits You


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

First tooth
First steps
First day at school
First suit

That went fast.

Tonight is prom night for my elder son George.
I had to make do with a leavers' disco in the school hall. I went to a girls' school so as you can imagine it was not a memorable night.
These days schools throw elaborate events where everyone dresses up to the nines and serious money is spent. We got off quite lightly. George already had shoes and a shirt so we bought him the suit and tie and his ticket. Charlie has driven him to the hotel which has saved us a considerable amount of cash. A lot of kids arrive in limousines, vintage cars, carriages and even helicopters.
 I know, don't get me started.

We have begun saving for Katie's prom in five years time.
 Girls apparently require; the dress, the shoes, the jewellery, the hair, the nails and the spray tan and I can't see her being content with a lift from dad.

And the bag, I forgot the bag.

A Summer Supper


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Having failed to watch the weather forecast for today my meal planning left something to be desired.
A traditional roast lunch is not what you want in this heat but the joint of pork had to be eaten.
I made a better job of it for our evening meal though.

Summer Spaghetti
Instant Raspberry Ice

I warmed some olive oil in a small pan to which I had added two crushed cloves of garlic and some crushed chillies. I tossed the cooked spaghetti in this garlicky oil and threw in some halved cherry tomatoes and some basil. I finished it off with plenty of parmesan.

For the raspberry ice I put frozen raspberries (from my garden), sugar, a couple of big dollops of yogurt and a splash of crème de framboise (not essential) in the food processor. 

This sort of ice does not refreeze as it just gets really hard. Make it just before serving and eat immediately. It's really quick and very impressive.
Use this method to make other ices. You must use frozen fruit. All berries work well but chunks of frozen fruit like mango or banana are good too.
 The yogurt isn't essential but it makes it more like ice cream and less like a sorbet.
The original idea for instant ices is from the low-fat cookery writer Sue Kreitzman.

I spent a little time making a menu plan for the coming week. 

I just need to buy fish and lots of fresh fruit and veg.
I will endeavour to take some photos of this week's meals to post later.



Saturday, 25 June 2011

Two things causing me to (momentarily) lose the power of speech.

Number one.
Most of my daughter's class were confirmed last week. We aren't catholic which is a blessing, as it has saved us hundreds of pounds in clothing and presents for first holy communions and confirmations. 
Now what would you consider appropriate for an 11 year old to wear to a religious ceremony?
 This is what one of my daughter's classmates wore - 'a really short skirt, a tiara and high heels, and ..........she came in a limousine' 

Number two.
My husband has been cutting down the ivy and other plants that are growing over our shared fence. He is no gardener, a fact he spectacularly demonstrated when he pointed to this plant....

.....and said 'Is this a bramble?'

Today is the 25th -the day I show you pictures of The Quince Tree.
Here she is this June.

Leafy and green.
If you look closely you can spot Charlie to the left of the tree -he's bending over cutting down raspberries.

There are plenty of fruit quietly swelling among those big leaves.

Charlie found a nest among the ivy. Fortunately not in use.

Friday To Do List


Friday, 24 June 2011

I have so much to do today. How will I ever get it all done?

1) Walk in the sunshine.
 My thinking time. Making me fitter and stronger with every step.

2) Finally eat one of these.
 Bought rock-like on Monday. Today their scent fills the kitchen. time to eat.

3) Start filling in my new Moleskine Passions journals
The Wellness Journal and the Book Journal. I already love my Recipe Journal.

4) Drink some chilled wine.

5) Get into a freshly laundered bed.

6) Read another chapter of North and South.

Iron my bed linen? Don't be silly, I have all this other stuff to do.

Today's post was inspired by this post  from Domesticali. Ali's blog is one of my favourites. She writes about everyday life, creativity and family. Her posts are always thoughtful, her writing considered and her photographs beautiful.

Midsummer's Day


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The summer solstice is here. From today the days will start getting shorter. The wheel turns again.
but do not despair, I have roses, cake and Shakespeare for you.

First a snippet from A Midsummer Night's Dream

Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough briar,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats, spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In their freckles live our savours.
I must go seek some dew-drops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits, I'll be gone;
My queen and all her elves come here anon!

Act II: Sc i

Next a cake. A birthday cake for my midsummer man, indeed 'A proper man, as one shall see in a summer’s day', so says Quince in Act I: Sc ii.

It is the same cake I made him last year. With different berries.

A merry Midsummer to you all.

And Now For Something Completely Different


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Sorry, no flowers or cake or crochet today.
Military aircraft instead.
 The Cotswold Airshow is our favourite airshow, RIAT is more spectacular but this one is less crowded and you can get really close to the aircraft.
Last year I forgot the suncream and went home with a face like a tomato. This year I remembered the suncream. It rained.

It was very windy too.

'Hi, just jumped out of a plane'

Professional planespotter

RAF pilots are cool

 They have cool planes.

Flight Lieutenant Jules Fleming is the coolest though.
She's sitting on the wing of her Hawk. 

There were some serious lenses around.

Pretty big lollies too.

The Dakota in its D-Day colours. These were the planes from which paratroopers jumped into Normandy.

The skies were very black. There were some heavy showers. We got wet.
But the sun appeared in time for the main attraction.

Hard to believe its first flight was in 1953.

Unfortunately the Spitfire didn't display today so we made do with a liquid form.

Roses All the Way


Wednesday, 15 June 2011





in the hedgerow on my morning walk.
Wish I'd had my big camera with me.


Yesterday I went to the hairdresser's. 
 When I arrived  this man was standing just a little way from the salon singing Ave Maria. As I was early the ladies at the salon gave me coffee at a little table outside so that I could listen. The sun was warm, the girls at Lush next door were blowing giant bubbles (don't know why) and there was a lovely man with a beautiful voice singing. Inside the salon they were all of a flutter and had turned off Britney Spears so that they could listen too. He was raising money for Help For Heroes and I emptied my purse into the collection bucket.

Inside the hairdresser's I said I wanted a pixie cut (unfortunate name when you are no pixie).
I said something between this

and this

pointing out that I was in fact nearer to Emma Watson in age than to Dame Judi .

Well, I suppose Dawn my lovely hairdresser delivered. But, I couldn't help thinking, as I looked in the mirror, why has my mother got herself a crewcut?

Random Deliciousness


Sunday, 12 June 2011

'There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.'*
The rain has been 'so penetrating' today that I have been unable to take my walk. It is showing no sign of stopping. A shame because I have established a walking habit managing to get my 10 000 steps in every day and feeling great as a result. I was going to show you the honeysuckle that is flowering in the hedgerows making my walks very fragrant.
Never mind I have food to show you instead. 

Below is a salad of feta cheese, broad beans, soya beans and peas with a minty dressing.

This is  a chicken cashew lettuce wrap with added mushrooms.
Particularly good with crunchy romaine lettuce.

Next we have Chocolate Orange loaf cake from Nigella Lawson's Kitchen. This cake was so good I made three. It has a fabulous texture, damp but light and incredibly moreish. I think it was better than the Devil's Food Cake I made last week.

Strawberry ice cream.
A bit improvised this one. A pound of sliced strawberries, about 12 oz sugar, 8 fl oz double cream and the same of yogurt all blended in the food processor. I poured it into my ice cream maker and churned it until firmish and then put it in the freezer. I had to do it in two batches, luckily I have a spare bowl for my machine but you could easily make half this quantity.

This is a lunchbox salad I made this morning for the next few days' lunches. 
Risoni pasta, lentils, crisp bacon, tomatoes and cucumber with a pesto-like dressing made from sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, garlic, basil and olive oil.

For lunch today I made smoked salmon paté. I used smoked salmon trimmings (about 100g), half a tub of cream cheese (150g), a dollop of yogurt, some lemon juice and black pepper.
Lovely on oatcakes.

Let's hope the weather is better tomorrow.

* The opening line of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, but you knew that :o)

Flowers, Food and Fowl


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Flowers from my garden

Crustless Pizza from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson.
Not really a pizza. More of a flat Yorkshire pudding with cheese. But none the worse for that.
To make one 8 inch pizza (which I don't recommend if you have a family to feed, I made two) you beat together an egg, 100g of plain flour and a little salt with 250ml of milk.
 Throw in a handful of grated cheese, pour into a greased pie plate or oven proof dish and bake at 200°c for 30 mins.
 Then pull it out of the oven add some pepperoni/chorizo/ham/ tomato slices and some more cheese and pop it back in the oven for a few more minutes.
Next time I might add some sweetcorn to the batter, or stir in a little pesto. Bacon is another possibility
We ate ours with watercress salad and sliced tomatoes.
I will be making this again often but next time I will triple the recipe (remember I have teenage boys) and bake it in a lasagne dish.
Edit: This idea didn't work -much too doughy. Best to make several small ones.
Frugal, easy, versatile and I always have flour, milk, eggs and cheese to hand.

I spent yesterday afternoon duck hunting.
A mother duck and her ducklings had turned up in our neighbour's garden. He had managed to catch the mother and some of the ducklings and take them up the road to a little pond. But three of the ducklings had escaped into our garden.
 At one point it looked like I was going to catch them all in my laundry basket but it wasn't to be.
 I caught two. My daughter and I took them up to the pond where there was a very touching reunion between mother and babies.
Unfortunately we couldn't find the third. 
We fear it was caught by Elvis, a deeply unpleasant cat belonging to one of our neighbours.

My daughter wanted to call it Dorothy Duck.
She did not approve of my suggestion of Crispy Duck.

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