Monday, October 29

cheap 'n' cheerful foodie post

I've got an absolute passion for both beetroot and hummus
so how better to satisfy both cravings than a BIG bowl of. . .
beetroot hummus!
My culinary skills are a bit haphazard so if you need exact quantities
you'll have to Google your own recipe,
but this is how it works for me. . .
I soak and cook dried chickpeas cos I have the Rayburn running 24/7
so for me it's much cheaper than tinned,
 and I use about the same amount as in one tin
which I put in the food processor along with
one clove of garlic peeled and squashed
one big cooked beetroot quartered
a large tablespoon tahini
a glug of good olive oil (my one weakness is GOOD oil in hummus)
a few grinds of ground black pepper
a decent pinch of sea salt
and as much natural yoghurt as you need to make
the consistency you require.
Blitz to your hearts content, scraping the sides down
to get it all into the blades.
If you don't have a processor, a hand blender works
but chop the garlic first.
In the photo below I omitted the beetroot and instead added
a handful of stoned olives and a generous squirt of tomato puree
to make olive and tomato hummus to go with the
honey and walnut soda  bread. . .
Walnut & Honey Soda Bread
 best eaten on the day baked but delicious toasted if you have leftovers!
about 100g walnuts
100g honey
250g flour- white or wholemeal, your preference
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/ gas mark 6 and flour OR oil a baking sheet.
Put half walnuts into a food processor and crush to a coarse powder.
Break the remainder into rough chunks.
Put the honey in a pan with 130ml water and heat gently until dissolved.
Put flour, baking powder, salt and all the walnuts in a large bowl and mix.
Pour in the honey water and mix to a soft dough.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface,
shape it into a rough, round loaf and place on the baking tray.
Slice a deep cross into the top,
going almost right the way through to the baking tray.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until risen and golden
(tap it underneath,it should sound "hollow")
Cool and eat,

we had it with the vegetable and barley soup below. . .

chop a red onion or two and soften in a pan with a glug of olive oil,
add teaspoon dried oregano
diced carrots and celery and as many chili flakes as suit your taste,
pop the lid on the pan and soften for 5 minutes or so.
Add a jug of stock (I save the water from boiling potatoes
but you could use proper stock, or a cube/powder- whatever you have to hand)
half a cupful of pearl barley,
 bring to the boil and simmer 20 mins or so until the barley is cooked.
Add another jug of liquid (I find this depends on how much
the barley has absorbed and how fluid you like your soup)
a handful of frozen peas
2 tablespoons tomato puree
tin of chopped tomatoes
any other leftover veg
season to taste.
This soup is best left overnight to steep the flavours
but if you want a quick cook-&-eat soup and don't have
an Important Meeting next day (as they do live up to their culinary reputation)
then Jerusalem Artichokes are great. . .

sweat a red onion in a glug of oil until soft but not brown
add a few chopped sticks of celery
half a dozen chopped carrots
a good pinch of dried coriander or a handful of leaves
about 1lb of peeled artichokes
and soften in the oil for 10 minutes or so.
Add a jug of stock
simmer til soft and blitz or blend
adjust the seasoning to your liking
but don't overpower as the artichokes have quite a delicate taste.
A dollop of yoghurt or a scattering of whatever takes your fancy
is good to serve
adapt, experiment, eat and enjoy!

Saturday, October 27

now how good was that!

what a FABULOUS fair you made once again!
Loads of wonderful stalls, so much to see (and buy!)
gorgeous cakes and reviving cuppas
and 100's of great customers-
what more could a stallholder possibly want?
Yes, it is a faff getting everything sorted priced and packed,
yes confidence does flicker a little
". . .is it the right price. . .will people like it. . ."
and yes, it is a precarious way to earn a living,
(over the past 30-odd years [oh no, is it REALLY that long!!]
I've done more stalls than I care to mention)
but when you have people like this organising a fair
you just KNOW everything possible has been done
to ensure a good day and I feel really honoured to be
included in some small part of it.
Lovely to have a catch-up with friends but alas no time
for a full-on goss, and great to meet new people
and put faces to blogs.
My feet are KILLING me, I'm gonna have a large
glass of wine in the bath and then slob out in front of the TV
with a supermarket Chindian takeaway-
Chinese starters and Indian mains.
it was a great day!

Tuesday, October 23

I'm selling on Saturday at Trull near Taunton!

After the overwhelming success of the last
run by Lizzie and Claire from The Vintage Bazaar
I couldn't wait to have another stall!

on Saturday 27th October the fair is being held once again
and I've been madly sorting through heaps of linens,
vintage clothes and textiles, boxes & baskets, beads & buttons,
sewing cabinets, projects-in-waiting and household wants.

I'm not best suited to an artfully arranged stall as my selling technique
has always been pile-it-high-and-sell-it-cheap,
so I feel no need to apologise for doing just that!
Having recently finished clearing the entire contents of a large house
and attics for someone drastically down-sizing 
I've got more stock than I have houseroom (or shedroom!)
so this is a great chance to grab a bargain and enable
my sitting room and guest bedroom to be
just that once again, hopefully in time for Christmas! 

It will be really great to meet up with old friends and customers again
and meet some new ones

so if you can fight your way thru the chaos that will undoubtedly be me,
please come and say hello
The location is

Look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, October 15

little voice

ok, so picture the scene. . .

our doctors surgery is undergoing a total refurb.

The attached, small Boots Chemist is metamorphosing into a bigger Boots Chemist,
the waiting room is having a facelift (and new magazines?)
and the treatment rooms are all being re-jigged.

At the same time they've installed a new computer system
so you can't book anything online or request repeat prescriptions
or arrive without seeing a receptionist.

The entrance has been moved round the side
so you have to negotiate a series of makeshift doorways
ramps and temporary walkways,
there's no parking
and the doctors are holding consultations in portacabins,
arranged like a wagon train round the car park.

Last week, due to brick dust, the "waiting room"
was al-fresco under a gazebo
(which eventually collapsed in the rain).

And needless to completion date is well overdue.

So the reception and dispensary are amalgamated in the waiting room
with queues for each snaking around seated people awaiting appointments
and there's a bit of a wartime spirit because everyone is pretty much
in everyone else's face.
With an attempt at wry humour there's a huge skeleton in the centre,
wearing a fluoro jacket proclaiming the benefits of flu jabs.

I was at the back of the prescription queue and had been for some time.
I chatted to the lady behind me who told me about
spending 2 hours waiting for bananas during the war,
but her stamina waned this time and she went home.

I practised my Pilate's posture and spent a few minutes
feeling worthy by doing pelvic floor exercises, as you do.

Then the man at the front lost his rag.
He'd waited patiently, they'd lost his prescription, the doctor was "out"
and they asked him to pop back in 20 minutes.

I could sort of see where he was coming from as he had his rant.
With a a humdinger of a tantrum gaining momentum
he told the dispensary staff they were all absolutely disgraceful,
totally incompetent and completely hopeless
and with an all-encompassing flourish
turned to the long line of people zig-zagging around the room
and said
"and all these people agree with me"

I heard
a little voice
speak up
and say

I don't agree with you"

And then there was silence.

"I don't agree with you", I said again, a bit louder.
"They're doing their best,
and the longer you shout at them
the longer we all have to wait
so just GET OVER it".

Then someone started clapping
and I went bright red
and the man stalked off in a huff
and we all got on with our day
like nothing had happened.

And I'm still not quite sure where that little voice came from
but sometimes,
just sometimes
you have to say it don't you

Thursday, October 11

oh what a lucky girl am I!

oh what a lucky girl am I!

I entered Carla's giveaway at Favourite Vintage Finds because I sooooo loved
the look of this gorgeous Vintage Fashion Journal

and keeping EVERYTHING crossed for a week definitely did the trick

Thankyou so much Carla, thankyou Publishers. . .
on a grey rainy morning, a postie bearing a padded envelope
is DEFINITELY a sight for sore eyes!

Friday, October 5

yummmmmmmmmmmmm. . .the easiest cake in the world!

I wanted to take the pic just after it came out of the oven, but I left it to cool
and one slice went. . .and then another. . .and. . .
Just a plain but totally delish loaf cake and probably the easiest
recipe to follow and bake. I had the food processor out ready for
blitzing soup, so I processed the whole lot and it took longer
to weigh out the ingredients than it did to prepare!
Orange Marmalade Loaf Cake
200g / 8 oz plain flour (I used SR cos its all I had in the larder)
3 teaspoons baking powder
100g / 4 oz butter - softened (I don't eat butter so I used margarine)
50g / 2 oz light brown sugar
1/2 orange zest (all I had was 2 satsumas so I grated them)
2 eggs - medium to large
3 tablespoons orange marmalade (I used 4 heaped!)
3 tablespoons milk
  • Sift the flour twice with the baking powder
  • Rub in the diced butter (like making pastry)
  • Mix in the sugar and zest
  • Beat in the eggs, marmalade and milk to form a batter
  • Spoon in to a greased 1lb loaf tin or other suitable ovenproof dish/ tin
  • Bake in a preheated oven gas 4 / 180c / 350f for 1 & 1/4 - 1 & 1/2 hours
  • or until cooked in the middle (I covered the top for the last 10 mins) 

    eat and enjoy! xx
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