A Few Summer Flowers

Summer flowers are coming into their own finally. These are the result of the re-landscaping we did last year. There are lots of new plants, blossoms bursting with colour, busy bees, happy birds, and the garden really is completely new and fresh. I plan to keep some of those sunflower seeds – some for the birds and some for next year’s garden.

What little gems are appearing in your garden this summer?

In My Kitchen: July 2014

In My Kitchen: July 2014

We are just returned from a relaxing holiday on Bornholm, which is a small Danish island in the middle of the Baltic Sea off the coast of Sweden. Lots of fresh air, long walks, gorgeous food and endless hours of daylight. It truly is the land of the midnight sun in June!

In my kitchen is a very unusual vase that I bought on Bornholm. We watched the glass-blower create it while we waited. It’s three small beakers held together with a leather strap. The flowers are from my garden.


In my kitchen is our favourite comfort food: Toad in the hole. This is Claire’s recipe. You’ll find it at Promenade Plantings.   I highly recommend her version, and hope she’ll forgive my using little-piggy-pork sausages rather than the vegetarian sort. I served it with buckets of onion gravy.


In my kitchen are fresh cherries from the neighbour’s tree. I gave her a ziploc bag of fresh herbs in exchange.


In my kitchen is a bowl of berry-cherry compote made from the last of 2013’s frozen blackberries, raspberries, some of those cherries I mentioned above, plus a big container of blueberries with a marked-down price at the supermarket. I added a bit of arrow root to thicken the compote as Splenda doesn’t cooperate with the natural pectin in the berries, which is minimal at best anyway. I used a splash of cider vinegar as the acid to balance the sweetness of the Splenda, which to be honest I’m not keen on flavour-wise but it’s what we do when there’s a diabetic who likes compote with morning yoghurt also.


What’s in your kitchen this month? Join the fun by posting to Celia’s  Fig Jam and Lime Cordial blog

p.s. All photos in this month’s In My Kitchen were taken with my iPhone 4s and are NOT retouched or fiddled about with. I’m very impressed!

The Writers’ Blog Tour: My Writing Process

Originally posted on The Chalk Hills Journal:

The Writers’ Blog Tour: A Look Behind the Writing Process at The Chalk Hills Journal

My darling friend, Cecilia, at the Kitchens Garden, asked me to join the Writers’ Blog Tour. I greatly admire the photography, gentle humour, and back-to-basics content on her blog. She writes daily of her life on an American Midwest farm. If you’re not familiar with her blog, I recommend it highly. I’m honoured to be included in this project.

So to the questions about my writing and poetry.

1. What am I working on:

I am working on a project that’s quite excited me. It involves a constricted form of poetry called Oulipo or Found Poetry, where words and phrases from a pre-existing text are used and remixed to create a new body of work. I am using “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll as the source text, and I’ll ‘borrow’ found words…

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How-to Use Up Leftover Rice


Spicy Fried Rice with Prawns

I love the challenge of clearing out the fridge of leftovers. Veg that’s seen better days, tomatoes that are ready to go squishy,  saffron rice from last night, a handful of frozen prawns, and red chillies. This tossed-together-quicky lunch turned out surprisingly delicious … according to Peder. I can’t disagree.

I oiled up my old steel wok, sautéed the onion, garlic and asparagus, fried off the rice, added some red Thai curry paste, and just before everything was nearly finished, I poured a beaten egg along the inside edge of the wok so it set fast as a blink against the seering heat of the pan. And then folded the egg into the rice. Serve before the egg sets hard if you like it a bit moist, or if you like it a bit more crunchy and crisp let it fry for a few minutes more.

Now if I can only remember how I did this when the fridge is bulging with leftovers again.

How about you: any favourites that you stir-up with leftovers?

How To Make Mustard Butter


This is without doubt the best flavoured butter I’ve *ever* made.

When it comes to steak, I like a knob of garlic butter to melt and spread like high-tide across the charred surface. But sometimes I don’t want garlic. Like last night. So I found a recipe that David Lebovitz claims as his own. In truth, I recall tasting something very similar on a steak in Paris last year, so I don’t think it’s his invention.

There’s not much to it, really. Soften a couple tablespoons of salted or unsalted butter at room temperature for a while, smoosh it a bit with a fork, and then add 2 teaspoons (or so) of dry mustard powder (like Colman’s English mustard powder) with one teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Mix it up well with your fork, and then scrap the yellow jewel on to cling film/plastic wrap. Gently, roll into a log … and then toss it into the fridge to return to a solid, sliceable consistency.

It’s delicious!


So, for anyone who didn’t want to read the above opinionated blather:


2T butter, softened at room temperature
2 teas mustard powder
1 teas Dijon mustard.

Mix with a fork. Roll into a log. Refrigerate until solid. Slice.

Ref: http://www.davidlebovitz.com

In My Kitchen: May 2014


At the start of every month, Celia hosts In My Kitchen where friends share a few items of interest in their kitchen. To join in the fun, which has gone global,  just pop over to her very popular blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and show everyone read/comment on other people’s posts.

In my kitchen this month is my new Spanish pottery water jug. I was at a local farm shop, browsing for early fresh veg in season. I didn’t find any veg that caught my eye but I fell in love with this happy-coloured little jug. I’ve been looking for something cheery to hold water for a meal, and I smile every time I use this little charming piece of pottery.

Tell me what’s in your kitchen – is something interesting cooking?

In My Garden: April

Here’s a little snapshot of things happening this past week in the garden.

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The early daffodils are finished now but the tulips are still putting on a strong display. The weather is with us lately, so I’ve enjoyed a morning coffee on the patio surrounded by the scents of flowers and green leaves. I do wear a big jumper; it’s not summer yet. We are also very happy with the alpine rock garden that we created last summer. It’s filled in nicely, and although we lost a few plants to winter, most are thriving and spreading across the open ground as we’d hoped. One of the cox apple trees is just on the verge of blooming, and when it does I’ll snap a few photos. Always so pretty when fruit trees bloom, I think. We’ll hope the weather holds so the bees pollinate as Mother Nature wants them to do.

What’s happening in your garden right now? I’d love to hear from you!