When I was a child, the Christmas holiday period was the gift that kept on giving. The overwhelming excitement of Christmas eve with it’s rituals such as new pyjamas (or indeed a highly flammable pink nylon nightie) and ham and eggs for tea from the gammon mum would be cooking in readiness for boxing day. Morecambe and Wise would be on the telly and just the distant jangling of sleigh bells in the distance? Continue reading 3rd day stew – family, friends and food
The thing I like, in particular, about shopping at markets is that you are confronted by seasonality. I don’t mean just British produce, but rather the time of year in the UK when the offer changes and the Mangoes arrive from far away or at Christmas time when it used to be traditional for the citrus fruits and pineapples to be ‘shipped’ in.
In supermarkets, it seems to me, very little respect is paid and the proposition remains more or less the same throughout the year. Continue reading Moody Fruits
It’s been a bit of strange week, returning from an extended trip in France. On our return, my Uncle Little D suffered stroke although thanks to swift action by my aunt, Little P, a miracle stroke drug administered at an early stage and some stonking NHS care he is doing well and is already back home with few ill effects…..amazing.
The working week ended on a high note as Rocket’s boss, had kindly arranged for us to have a meal out in town as his birthday gift for this year so last night was elected as a fine time to dine out at Cafe Murano. http://www.cafemurano.co.uk/ Continue reading Friday date night
Aitch, as well as standing for our family name, is also for ‘hundred’ and this will be my hundredth post so a few weeks ago when Number One called to ask if we thought a family barbecue would be a good celebration for her birthday and also for Rocket’s, I resolved that this would be a fitting subject for my next and ‘special’ post.
Further plotting and planning took place as Number One wanted a lazy, long afternoon and evening with some good food. The second requirement of many that were to develop was breakfast ‘out’ somewhere the next day. So the plan was hatched and we embellished it as we went along, as we tend to do… Continue reading The Aitch Team
“Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,”
For me, there is so much enjoyment to be derived from having friends or family around to share a meal. I enjoy the process from inception, the seed of any idea…who might come over? Then what shall we eat and drink, shall it be outdoors or in….which plates or platter shall we use and so on. There are times when you do all this planning to a lesser or greater degree, it’s always lovely to see people and ‘break bread’ but sometimes it is exactly what you hope….and that really is satisfying. Continue reading Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Wild Sea Bass Baked in a Salt Crust
We had some family over for Easter Sunday lunch and had been pondering on what to make. Karl-Heinz and The Minx don’t eat meat and fish is always nice at Easter so we settled on that.
Going out with a vague idea of a large Turbot, as we would be seven in total, it was only after visiting a few purveyors of fine fish and finding a limited selection did it dawn on us how awful the weather conditions had been this week – with raging winds and storms at sea….so we had a bit of a re-think. Continue reading Sea Bass, Sam Cooke and Sunday…
I got married to the widow next door
She’s been married seven times before
And every one was an Henry
She wouldn’t have a Willy or a Sam
I’m her VIII old man, I’m Henry
Henry, the VIII, I am
It ain’t nothing but I a family thang…
Continue reading I’m Henery the eighth I am, Henery the eighth I am I am…
This is a quick and delicious Sunday roast or mid week supper, it involves only some chopping and assembly then the oven does the rest. Continue reading Oven Roast Cod with Prosciutto
Blessed are the cheese makers, and many, many others….
The Kennington farmer’s market in south London is a hive of activity on a Saturday (I am pleased to report) and when wandering through Rocket happened upon some delicious cheese.
Continue reading Scone, but not forgotten
It was the week before Christmas….
Rocket and I do not get much ‘us’ time over the Christmas period, not a complaint but a statement of fact.
This year our nephew, Scouse, was to be married to the delightful Miss Brody right before Christmas (meaning things were even more hectic than usual) still we managed to create one evening in all the madness of Christmas and weddings to have a meal together. Continue reading Lobsterissamas
On the first day of Christmas my Rocket said to me…. “I am making a game pie” – he sweated buckets over it and it was a little jewel, served on Boxing day. We have had a busy time and I have started a new job meaning that my time for blog world has been limited…. but in the way of new years resolutions, I feel a need to get back to it. Continue reading A Partridge in a Pie Crust….
Rocket’s death cell supper was consolidated on our trip to Thailand last year. He had been hankering after this oyster omelette of which he had heard tell, and he had spoken about it to us all at length.
When, one evening whilst in Bangkok, the opportunity to go and eat in China town presented it self he soon had us all rounded up. Continue reading French Produce, Thai Style…
Gascony, is a very ducky area. Typical dishes such as Cassoulet, and Confit Canard are synonymous with the area. Friends and neighbours here make their confit, which has been used as a way of preserving food for hundreds of years.
Continue reading The Gascon Paradox
A Cep Platter maybe, but this was the wholesome, honest and good kind…….no connection to the other bloke…!
Walking around the market this week we came across the mushroom man and being the correct time of year he was purveying an array of ceps. We had already sorted dinner that night but found ourselves diverted by the fragrant ceps along with some gorgeous golden Girolle purchased from a little old lady who collects them herself and then sells them on in the market place. Continue reading Cep Platter
When we arrived at the shack in France on Sunday, we were aghast at the way the place had become overgrown with weeds. An exceedingly wet spring and early summer have meant that things had got completely out of control.
I’d be the first to say there are pros and cons to having a home overseas, and when all is well there is a huge sense of satisfaction and well being that comes from emersion in another culture and all that brings along with it – but a gardener I am NOT. This coupled with the usual arrival issues, like creepy crawlies everywhere and a distinct lack of hot water, can detract from the experience if you let them.
We have been working now in baking heat since we arrived on Sunday to get the place habitable, and we have just about got to a manageable level, we have storms and rain predicted for tomorrow but that won’t dampen our mood. So this is the moment when I look around and the home is cosy, the outdoor areas are useable, and this is when it’s all worth it. We sat out on the terrace tonight and had the most delightful supper of pan fried whiting (Merlan in French) with some green beans and garlic roast potatoes. Whiting is a great sustainable fish – it has a beautifully clean flavour and makes an excellent alternative to sole or plaice.
Awkward and City arrive with us tomorrow and we will chew the cud over a few beers and enjoy our time together.
I write this blog as an escape, so I write truthfully and from the heart, but that means that I don’t focus on the less great things in life – on purpose. For that reason, it probably sounds at times as if I’m constantly out and about and don’t have a care in the world! I just wanted to say that I love my friends and family very much, and value them beyond measure – all of them, never more so than when they are having difficult times.
Having the place in France has meant we have had an opportunity to spend quality time with those we care about, laugh, drink and laugh some more, a bit of cooking thrown in. So, for all the weeding and bugs to contend with, right here, right now, it has been worth the journey.
We’ve had a hectic few weeks for a range of reasons, and some serious celebrating for the family wedding of our nephew deeps and his delightful new wife Queenie. Along with Rocket’s special birthday and a manic work schedule we have had little time to stand and stare.
Before heading off in a different direction, let me tell you about a few things that have happened.
The first thing was a Jools Holland concert, featuring Marc Almond, Nell Bryden and Ruby Turner to name a just a few where myself and a group of our friends revealed to Rocket that we are taking him to Marrakesh in October…. Great excitement.
The group had also very generously bought Rocket his heart’s desire in the form of sous vide, so brace yourselves for some slooooow cooking. All in all he was a very lucky boy with some absolutely fantastic and generous gifts, he thanked all concerned with a BBQ at ours on Saturday.
We are now on the countdown to our trip to France, and really can’t wait – my contract at the local authority ends soon so goodness knows what the future holds – I have a small possibility of a teeny tiny deli but more about that next week as I dare not hope- one thing is for sure, some browsing of produce markets and lazy lunches in the Pyrenees are just what we need.
Who knew that my death cell pudding, favourite all time dessert follows the route the Tour De France just took? I suppose the Kent part is pushing it a bit and it didn’t go to Scotland this time…but they probably travelled through Kent to get to the next stage, and there is a strong alliance between Scotland and France – okay that is tenuous at best… Continue reading Yorkshire Puddings, Kent Strawberries, London Syrup, Scottish Ice Cream…
I am in the middle of the city on a cool, grey and damp summer’s day…the sounds of sirens, car horns, buses, penetrating my peace. I’m taking myself to the beach…. Continue reading Mind Games
My cousin Petal, her husband The Banker and their lovely kids are visiting us from the States. They have been out and about doing their thang and we have been away at a wedding so last night we had a relaxing meal at home together. Continue reading Simple Salmon met a Pie Man…