Posts Tagged ‘Food and Drink’

Signs of Autumn in the kitchen

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Autumn’s arrival is making itself known in our house.  The fire has been lit on more than one occasion, wooly jumpers and scarves are out, the garden has seen a flurry of activity, soups are on the menu and, the Breville sandwich toaster is out. I must clarify though, that this is not one of those fancy panini grills but the real  mc coy sandwich toaster that ‘cuts and seals’ your toastie.

There has been a Breville sandwich toaster in my family cupboard for as long as I can remember. Fillings were, and still are usually average, consisting of various combinations of ham, cheese, pickle (mind, that one burns if you’re not careful!) and marmite. My all time favourite, and slight guilty pleasure, is macaroni cheese. Lovely.  I wonder what other toastie makers like in theirs?

Ali xox


Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Nigel Slater’s newest book Tender Volume 2 was released this week and I managed to get my hands on a copy.  I already own and love reading and cooking from Volume 1 along with most of Nigel’s other books, so I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this one…

As always, Nigel’s writing is beautiful. The photography (by the brilliant Jonathon Lovekin) is just as lovely and is not overly styled. Nigel’s recipes sound delicious. I’m looking forward to ‘A casserole of parsnips, chestnuts and mushrooms’,’A Sunday roast of pork, perry and pears’,’A casserole of apple and rabbit’ (although I might just replace the rabbit with chicken!) and ‘Wholemeal apple and marmalade cake’


Apologies for the quality of the photos, they were taken on my phone, with the book balanced on my lap, in a bookshop in town. My copy is coming from Amazon but alas, has not arrived yet.

Ali xox

Slow food

Friday, September 10th, 2010

I have a new(ish) gadget lurking in my  kitchen cupboard. Can you guess what it is?

Oh yes! a slow cooker!

Now, up until about 2 months ago I had no interest in slow cookers and regarded them as something from the seventies that ought to stay there.  Hmm… Then I had my road to damascus conversion.  Or rather I had ‘roast’ chicken from a slow cooker.   Oh it was good. Very good.  Not as good looking as a traditional oven roast bird however, and lacking in the crispy skin that I love, but nonetheless the most delicious and moist chicken I have ever had.  I subsequently grilled my friend about recipes – roast chicken, bolognaise, chilli and pork and olive stew are her family’s favourites.

This tale gets better.  After mentioning this to my mum, she disappeared into her loft and  lo and behold, emerged with a slow cooker! ” You didn’t want this when you got married so I saved it!” she said (yep, ’till I came to my senses you mean). I then hot-footed it off to my favourite cook book store (The Library) to get myself a slow cooker cookbook. And this week we have had chilli! And yes it was good.

Ali xox

Two went Sloe-ing

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Last week-end, Small girl and I went to do  one of my very favourite things – Sloe picking. Although not that keen on Gin generally, I love Sloe Gin and look forward to autumn when there are bottles of Gin and Sloes gently infusing in the cupboard.

We both dressed for the occasion boots, trousers and zippy tops to avoid nettle stings on exposed parts and so we could fight our way through the hedgerows to get to our golden, or rather purple prize. This was her first trip Sloe picking and she was rather excited about it – especially dressing for much nippier weather on what was a lovely late summer afternoon.

We bought bread at the nearby mill before setting off on our Sloe hunt.

This was the lovely view across the Hertfordshire countryside  from the top of our climb.

Small girl turned out to be an excellent assistant – she gleaned the lower branches while I reached the higher ones. she was also rather good at spotting the bushes and their fruit.

Part of our haul.  It is now sitting washed, weighed and bagged in the freezer awaiting my return from Sainsbury’s laden with bottles of Gin. I try not to think what the till assistant will think of me with 3 litres of gin in my shopping basket, and think rather of the lovely Sloe Gin and Tonic I shall be enjoying just in time for Christmas.

Ali xox

Nigel Slater Tender

Friday, September 25th, 2009

After much anticipation, Nigel Slater’s new book Tender arrived this week, and with over 500 pages, is rather hefty. However, Nigel’s beautiful writing never fails to inspire, his recipes are a joy to read and cook and it is likely to remain at the top of my bedside reading pile for weeks to come. Another triumph to add to my already groaning cookbook shelf.