Thursday, March 31, 2011


He's been my love for quite some years now. We've seen each other through our 20's, our 30's and now into both our 40's. He is a quiet man, but not shy. He is a loving man, but not demonstrative. He is supportive of me, but doesn't take any shit. He doesn't like to argue, but is no pushover. He is the father to two girls as opinionated as their mother. He has a lot to contend with at times, but always does it with a generous spirit and a loving heart.

Happy birthday my love, one lifetime will never be enough.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Reading Jo's blog today I think perhaps I'll give this a try.

I certainly think circumstance forces you to be careful, although certainly doesn't make it easy. We spend more on groceries than I'd like, we're with everyone on that, but we're fortunate enough that we can cope with that expenditure. I think when you have to you do, but that's no reason not to be better.

I do try and shop to a menu on the weekend for the coming week, sometimes it works, other weeks I find the process particularly torturous. I have also had to ween myself out of the habit of what do I fancy tonight thinking, which I am want to do. I would definitely work best, in terms of my culinary output, living in France and shopping daily. Tough on the wallet maybe, but my oh my what delights I'd produce.

This week isn't the ideal time to begin as we've got birthday treats in there on a number of days, but I'll get into the swing and then from next week I'll report back on how I'm doing.

Tonight we'll use a bag of mixed peppers that I picked up from the farm shop near my parents. I'll make a pepporanata with those, tomatoes mum's given me and garlic from my brother in the NE. Geoff and I will happily eat that with cous cous and lots of herbs from the garden. The girls, unfortunately won't eat that, we'll fudge on that part of the day.

The dish above was part of last night's roast chicken. It's a potato, wilted greens and cheese gratin. Thinly sliced layered potatoe at the bottom. A layer of greens (the recipe asked for cavolo nero but I used spinach) sauteed briefly with finely chopped shallots, garlic and lots of nutmeg and pepper. Top layer cheesey bechamel. Bake in the oven till brown and bubbling. Reheat the leftovers and eat for lunch - I just did!


More birthday crafting.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Some secret daddy's birthday activities. The girls and I had a wonderful idea to mark his 40 years, quite some time ago now, but as is often the case with these things, the flurry of activity is happening very last minute. It's also not so easy crafting in secret, not in our house at least.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Something about this very simple, quite pure action makes me very emotional. The hope, the goodwill, it makes me happy tearful.

Happy Earth Hour to you all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I think we all realise how quickly the days pass, but having a little place like this really measures what we've been doing with our time.

I know it must appear that I do little else aside from bake and eat bread, cake and biscuits but it's really not true. I do bake a lot, but try not to consume too many, whilst also doing other things.

Life with all its activities is in full swing and no sooner do I feel I'm making headway with something and it's time to return to my paid job again. I do enjoy the balance, am certainly fortunate in that it's the lesser part of my week, but still it seems that there's less time for everything else.

We've been away a bit, socialising a lot and preparing for more of it. My darling husband joins me in the 40's age bracket next week - yes, I married a younger man, albeit by only 18 months. We have three weekends of festivities planned, all requiring quite a bit of organisation - which I'm all too happy to do, but it extends the to do list even more and of course I've had ideas for a long time, but action is only happening now.

So all's well with us, if without great news. Now off to attack the cookie tower!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Peach and raspberry teacakes. A recipe from this gang. Geoff bought me one of their recipe books for Christmas - completely my way of cooking and eating.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Summer's last hoorah. Lunch with friends in the back yard. Autumnal dates, but summer setting.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


One dozen hot cross buns and a dozen bagels out of the oven by 10:10, not bad. Breakfast was late, as a result.

I often wonder, when I think about my "One day Cafe", how I will manage to get everything exactly as I'd like it to be. The focus for me is spread between the cooking, which I'll want to do myself, and the service, which I'll also want to do! Being sure that everyone who walks in is acknowledged with a smile and the same of their departure, that someone is there to say thank, please come again. There's nothing I hate more than having to fight to get someone's attention to pay, it sullies everything that came before, for me at least.
How will I manage to cook the bagels for breakfast each morning AND be sure that every cup of coffee is just as I'd like it myself? Perhaps I need to look for premises with only 12 seats. Honestly, that would really suit me, something tiny, tiny but perfectly mine. I don't want to conquer the world, I don't want to be rich, I just want to colour the little corner of it that is totally and completely my own.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


I discovered these via Jo using a recipe from here.

I'm not a choc chip girl myself, I'm one of a rare few who looks for the ones with less choc and more sugar biscuit. The demerera makes all the difference in that regard, a lovely crunch that you would otherwise not have. I reduced the chocolate a little (in a half batch only two blocks of lindt one dark and one milk choc - rather than 3) and they were/are perfect.

We packaged a little batch to thank some friends for a lovely play date, but otherwise I know there will be lack of takers here. The salt too, really surprisingly a lovely foil to the sweetness.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Are you a fan of the Oliver + S patterns? If so, check these out - I'm excited. I love everything in their new range, fabrics included. I think I'll try the dress pictured first. Fingers crossed I can do it justice!