TWO – I’ve just finished reading a book! An entire book! The first book I’ve read in over four months and it feels like a huge and wonderful achievement given how difficult trying to find time to read anything has been lately. (If you’re interested, the book was Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman which I bought on Emily Cooks Vegan‘s recommendation months ago…and I’m so glad I did – the book is laugh out loud funny and smart and I loved it – thanks Emily!)
And THREE – After nearly four years I’ve managed to find a breakfast that my boyfriend prefers to Weetabix! Before I met my boyfriend, I would have struggled to believe that anyone could happily eat Weetabix every. single. day. I find it hard enough trying to understand why anyone would want to eat the exact same breakfast every day, let alone Weetabix. Continue reading →
At close glance, those of you familiar with my train journey down to the south west might think I was somewhere a little past Exeter, looking out over the sea.
But no… that is a field. See the tree? That’s a real bit of flooding going on there!
Thanks to the flooding, it meant having to get a coach for the second half of my journey. Normally, this kind of thing – extending my three hour journey home to a seven hour one – would put me in a bit of a mood. Continue reading →
I’ve just been reading Shira’s latest post on her blog ‘in pursuit of more’. I love the way she sprinkles her blog posts with a dusting of beautiful, inspiring quotes. One of today’s quotes is from Frederick Beuchner: ‘Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things happen. Don’t be afraid.’ It felt particularly apt for me today.
Because today is full of two terrible things. Ok, maybe ‘terrible’ is a bit severe, but two fairly depressing things none the less.
‘Terrible’ thing number one is that diggers have moved in to turn the field directly adjoining our house into a netball court. It may always have been a primary school playing field, but it was still a beautiful, green field all the same. And now it’s about to become tarmac. Even the word’s ugly.
I don’t consider myself an innately angry person, but watching those diggers churn up all the grass into mud made me mad, absolutely fuming inside. And this little, inner, angry Fleur, residing somewhere in my stomach, wanted to shout and Continue reading →
I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m nothing but grumpy and miserable about the cold. But right now – while it’s still tolerably cold – I’m loving autumn (apart from the rain). I love the autumn light, when the sun’s a little lower and all the colours appear golden and glowy. And then there’s that crispness in the air and the damp, earthy smell after rain.
What’s also exciting me is all the produce coming into season, with butternut squash being top of the list. It is definitely way up there with my all-time favourite vegetables. Roasted, simmered in a stew, a curry or a tagine, tossed in a salad with goat’s cheese and parma ham, alongside roast chicken or sausages, with some blue cheese and pasta, or sage and risotto, puréed into soup or even puréed with milk and lots of cheddar to make a sauce for macaroni cheese (I really hope to post about this recipe soon!) Butternut squash is the ultimate autumn food, sweet, comforting and cheery coloured to brighten those rubbishy grey days. Continue reading →
Slightly sweet, milky-creamy, a teeny touch eggy. For me, custard can lift all but the worst of moods.
It stressed me a bit at first, making custard. I think it was the fear that if I messed up and over-cooked it, that would be an entire box of eggs wasted and no eggs left in the fridge for a second attempt.
I’m just about over that fear now.
Whereas I normally quite like to experiment and play around with classics, when it comes to custard, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. Custard should be vanilla flavour…it just works. It works brilliantly. Why mess with something brilliant?
I do, however, quite like ginger, love ginger, even. And so, last weekend, I made an exception and made ginger custard.
Now ginger custard doesn’t top vanilla custard, because that would be impossible and ridiculous. But ginger custard is still very, very good. (It is still custard after all!)
Don’t you just love that feeling when something you bake turns out right, and I mean really right, almost, dare I say it, perfect? I know I posted a few months back about searching for my favourite cookie recipe. And the one I found was pretty impressive. But last week I decided it was time for further research. First I turned to Nigella Lawson, who, in her little (who am I kidding, this is Nigella) in her extensive introduction to her chocolate chip cookie recipe, claims to have undertaken extensive research to come up with the recipe for the ‘perfect’ chocolate chip cookie. Well, Mrs Lawson, either your recipe failed me, (or I failed at it), or we have very different ideas regarding the ‘perfect’ cookie. These cookies just didn’t cut it for me. Warm from the oven they were almost verging towards cakey textured. Once they’d cooled down they were better, crisp outer, slightly soft biscuity inner, but not a great deal of chew. And I think, for me, I want that chew! I want that slightly undercooked doughy, chewy inner (warm and gooey when it’s still warm from the oven) and a crispy outer. Nigella’s outer was perhaps more of a crunch than a crisp. Continue reading →