Just Now I Am.....


Sunday, 30 June 2013

The last few days of June find me

Enjoying the lovely summery weather

Making more elderflower cordial before the flowers fade

Picking gooseberries (ouch! ouch! ouch!)

Making coconut ice cream

Picking a birthday gift of flowers

Making more almond muffins -recipe to come soon

Putting together a June sampler

Watching the tennis (though not today, today's a rest day, today I am watching the MotoGP)

Looking forward to watching Andy and Laura play tomorrow

Drinking chilled Spanish white wine. Lots of it.

The Colour Collaborative : June ~ Purest Green


Thursday, 27 June 2013

'What's your favourite colour?' children ask. Charlie always used to say without hesitation 'purple'. It isn't, he hasn't got a favourite colour, but it's an answer that satisfies small children, daddy's favourite colour is purple, no arguments. Actually to Charlie purple can be any colour from damson to claret to raspberry. 
My favourite colour? It's damson, claret, raspberry, lemon, toffee, cream, salmon, coffee, gooseberry, toast, butter, chocolate, quince, pea, pomegranate, burnt sausage. It's whatever colour I'm eating or drinking. For me cooking is as visually creative as painting a picture. I play with colours as much as any artist.
Of course with cooking it's much more than colour, there is texture, smell and taste to consider too, and while I think artist is a perfectly valid description of someone who creates in the kitchen I think alchemist is a better one.

I too have made Purest Green.

A soup of green ingredients. Lettuce, spinach, mint and frozen peas.
I cooked some onion gently in butter first and then added the lettuce which wilted fast and turned brown. I threw in the spinach, mint and peas and stirred them around a bit to get soft and buttery before adding some homemade stock (chicken or ham -can't remember which).

Next, the fun bit, blending the ingredients and seeing exactly what shade of green I'd made. A deep, dark velvety green. I presented my family with bowls of Purest Green. They weren't that keen to be honest. I shouldn't have told them there was spinach in it. But never mind them, take it from me Purest Green tastes delicious.

I love the frozen pea. There are fresh English peas in the pod available at the moment but unless they are actually growing in your back garden I think the frozen variety is better. So useful, so well-liked, so convenient, so very green.

I use them to make this main dish salad based on an American recipe for 'greens 'n peas 'n cheese salad'.

Composing a salad is as much fun as blending a soup. This time however you are arranging colours rather than mixing them. Layers of torn salad greens and cooked peas are alternated with sliced white spring onions (scallions) and grated cheese. The original recipe also has a layer of mayonnaise spread over the greens but I prefer less of it and served on the side. To finish off the layers of green and yellow-white stripes I add a generous sprinkle of crisp bacon. The bacon provides a contrast in colour, texture and taste, also my children eat anything that has bacon in it. Toasted seeds or nuts can stand in for bacon if you don't eat meat.

Sometimes blending or contrasting colours is unnecessary. Sometimes simple is best.

Local broad beans (frozen are good too) and asparagus.

Boiled until tender, tossed together with a handful of cooked frozen peas and dressed with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.

A salad of Purest Green.

What is The Colour Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they do that as individuals but what happens when they work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too.
We're starting small, with just five members for now, each offering their own monthly take on a colour related theme. And we're hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways. That's why we're each recommending that our readers visit the other Colour Collaborative's posts, we think you'll like what you find there.

Annie at Knitsofacto is the brains behind The Colour Collaborative. She has made our logos and done clever stuff with HTML code. Many thanks to her for doing all of that.
Here we all are, click on the logo to visit.

Midsummer Random


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Not the location of a dastardly crime, just some stuff.

Small batch jamming. Three jars of rhubarb and strawberry. Much less bother than making my usual dozen or so jars.

Crusty white loaves. Homemade jam needs homemade bread.

Tom has a new drumkit. I love hearing Tom drum.

Katie and Charlie go off to school and work each morning. The rest of us loll around the house all day watching Wimbledon and drinking elderflower cordial.

I have a new favourite biscuit recipe. These ones have white and dark chocolate chips and toasted pecans.

I can't stop making almond muffins. This is my third batch and have rhubarb in them.

George has decided not to go to university this autumn but to stay at home for a year. Doing what exactly is unclear.

Sweet Little Buttercup


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Not a country meadow but a corner of what I laughingly call 'my lawn'.

The buttercups are enjoying a spectacular year.

When the sun shines on them they positively incandesce.

My roses are dismal but I don't mind when I have golden buttercups.



Monday, 17 June 2013

A superfluity of egg whites in my freezer led me to coconut macaroons. Not to be confused with the annoyingly pretty French macaron. I cannot be doing with anything that has to be perfect. I want simple and tasty.

I used this recipe and tripled it -I had a lot of egg whites. I found they needed an extra 10 minutes in the oven but this may have been because I made them pretty big (about the diameter of a digestive).

Moist and delicious with chewy edges. Definitely one for my recipe box.

By the way I feel macaroon must be said with a Scottish accent if that's ok with Scots. We're all macarooooned.

Comment box news

Yes, I have been messing about with the comment box again. It seems that Blogger's word verification has recently become much easier to decipher.

 Currently you are presented with a two words one of which is an actual word and very easy to read, the other is a wobbly nonsense word but its individual letters are fairly easy to identify.

 I have therefore decided to enable word verification on my blog and to open comments to anonymous commenters again.

I will see how it goes for a few weeks and whether any spam gets through before making a final decision.

To whoever leaves genuine comments -thank you! I appreciate them all. Truly.

Scraggy Magpies, Crumby Fish and Random Activity


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Charlie is tracking ships.
George is watching Amélie because he has an exam on it tomorrow.
Katie is making a Janoskians birthday card for her friend's birthday.
Tom is not revising for his maths exam tomorrow.
I am feeding the scraggy magpie.

Feathers only a mother could love.
The other magpies attack it. I think they are responsible for the raw patch on its back. I suspect a cat is responsible for his lack of tail.
He's got a gammy (oh shut up spellcheck) leg too.
I gave him a crust of bread but the pigeons nabbed most of it.

I used the rest of the bread to make some tasty crumbs to go on top of some cod.
Into the food processor with a chunk of Parmesan, some sun-dried tomatoes and a little of their oil.
Spread some mayonnaise on the fish (keeps it lovely and moist) and top with the crumbs .
Into a hot oven for 20 minutes.

Yumminess Everywhere


Saturday, 8 June 2013

Spellcheck says that yumminess is not a word and that what I really mean is gumminess, crumminess or chumminess. Well I don't, I mean yumminess, or rather Tom does as 'yumminess everywhere' was what he said after supper this evening.

I slow-roasted two small pork shoulder joints.

I pulled off the crackling and broke it into pieces. I shredded the meat with two forks. This is a bit like pulled pork which is popular in the US. I didn't consult a recipe so it is in no way authentic.

We ate it stuffed into rolls with coleslaw and barbecue sauce. Crackling on the side.

Then we moved on to ice cream yumminess. Malteser ice cream.

Malteser Ice Cream
This is a doddle to make as it involves no cooking. I adapted it slightly from the basic ice cream recipe in  Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book .

In a large jug* beat 2 eggs adding 6oz  (170g) sugar (I used vanilla sugar) a little at a time until well blended -about 2 mins.
Add a 16 fl oz of double cream and 8 fl oz of milk. Blend well and refrigerate for several hours so that it is really cold before you pour it into an ice cream maker.
Churn the ice cream for 30-40 minutes. Just before it is ready pour in a 135g packet of Maltesers which you have crushed.
I transfer the ice cream to a plastic container and freeze for a couple of hours as I like my ice cream quite firm.
* Using a jug makes it easier to pour the mixture into the ice cream maker.

Crushed Crunchie bars and Dime bars are also on my list of things to add to ice cream.
I wonder if there is enough left for me to have a sneaky scoop later...

June Posy


Thursday, 6 June 2013

In truth my garden is probably about eighty percent weeds. I quite like my weeds though, and when they are as dazzling as these yellow buttercups why wouldn't I?

About ten percent of my garden is fruit. Currants, raspberries, apples and of course quinces.
I am pleased and relieved to report that my quinces are safe this year. Phew.

And there are more to come as there are still plenty of flowers opening.

The remaining ten percent of my garden is proper garden flowers.  This year it's all about columbines/aquilegias/granny's sunbonnets. None of my doing, they are promiscuous flowers and have let themselves go with abandon. Here they are combined in a posy with some London pride.

They brighten up the view from my kitchen window as they catch the late afternoon sun.

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