Saturday 12 Apr


pie-butter-breadLast night I had a “ploughmans lunch” for supper. Boring I know, but let me tell you about the meal.

The bread, the pie, and the butter are homemade, by me surprisingly (I bet you don’t believe a grumpy old git like me could cook did you?).

I have just bought a blender/mixer thingy so to try it out I made a veggie smoothie. Then I made some butter. It took a long time, longer that I expected, but the result was worth it; it’s really yummy! I kept the left-over buttermilk to make some Irish soda bread today. Some of the resulting butter is in the dish, which I duly spread on the bread. I added a tomato (grown at a nursery in heated tunnels just 4 miles away), some coleslaw, Leicester cheese, pickled onions and pickled gherkins.

The bread I made to a recipe from Betsy’s blog, but strangely it turned out nothing like her version. Maybe the flour in England is different to the all-purpose flour in the USA. Normally I make my bread to my own secret recipe that I have used for years. I NEVER buy supermarket bread, I don’t know how it’s made but I do know it’s not proper bread like my Grandma used to make.

The pie was made using the first lovage of the year, together with finely chopped onion and chunks of chicken. I won’t give the details here, but if you go to my previous post about the virtues of lovage just here you will find a recipe and a description of the plant.

If you are one of the unfortunate people who have never tasted lovage then you are missing out on on of the most fabulous tastes ever! The taste of it is nothing like you have experienced before, it’s a whole new taste sensation, there is nothing else on this earth that tastes like it. I have introduced it a lot of my friends and neighbours over the years, and the look on their faces when they had their first taste of it was a picture! Last year I grew about 60 plants from the seed of my mother plant and everybody had one, plus I divided my mother plant into several pieces (it is a prolific grower) and gave those to people.

lovage-biscuitsEvery body loves it in pies, putting it on the Sunday roast instead of the usual rosemary, and one local lady makes savoury biscuits with finely chopped lovage in them and sells them every week at the Women’s Institute fairs in the local church during the summer months. She can’t make enough of them, they all go straight away! Even I buy some from her, they are lovely with a bit of Leicester cheese. If you are interested in making some of these little bits of heaven then go ye to this site, from whence cometh the recipe she useth. (She’s a Quaker). Just here, or click on the picture.

The downside of lovage is that:
a) It dies back in the late Autumn and does show again until April,
b) It doesn’t dry very well and it tends to lose a lot of it’s flavour, and
c) Not being a well known herb it is difficult to source. You might find it under it’s popular name of Sea Parsley.


Monday 24 Feb


My Grandma’s Cheesy Scones



scones-krs8oz self-raising flour
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper (important!)
1 tsp baking powder
2oz butter, cut into cubes
2oz mature Cheddar cheese, grated
3fl oz milk


1. Sift together the flour, salt, cayenne pepper and baking powder. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture (or do this in a food processor like wot I do).

2. Mix through the grated cheese.

3. Add the milk a little at a time (you may not need all of it) and mix with a flat-bladed knife until the dough starts to come together.

4. Once you have formed a smooth dough, press it into a ball with your fingers. Pat or roll it out until it’s around ¾in thick. Cut into rounds with a 2½in cutter.

5. Arrange on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 10-15 mins at 400°F, gas mark 6 until risen and golden.

Saturday 18 Jan

Yesterday I was reading about obesity in this country, it seems that most cases of obesity are caused by a person eating more calories than they burn off, and the unused calories being turned into fat. Apparently modern lifestyles do not help, as there is now easy access to cheap, high energy food that is often marketed aggressively, just look at the adverts from McDonalds, Burger King etc. Well, it saves slaving over a hot stove and cooking something doesn’t it? The nice takeaway delivery man brings your whopping great pizza right to your door, so all you have to do is sit on the couch and stuff your face whilst watching the Jeremy Kyle Show or whatever.

Jobs are much less active than in the past, most people now work in offices and sit at computers all day, or even working from home where it is easy to sit watching television, playing video games and just browsing the Internet.

People drive around or use public transport and tend to walk a lot less than they used to. I used to walk a lot, rather than get the car out for journeys of less that two miles. I never used public transport because the fares always seemed exorbitant to me. I would walk to the local supermarket (2 miles) and catch the bus home only because of carrying the heavy bags of booze groceries.

I can’t walk far now due to arthritis, but I do try to walk as much as possible because I think it is essential to keep moving for as long as I can.

Anyway, I digress. Several weeks ago I found a page, see here, which gave tips on how to reduce your food intake. Pay particular attention to the video on the left hand side of their page. They suggested using a smaller plate for your meals; assuming of course that you still know how to cook ‘like what I do’.

dinner-platesSeveral years ago I bought a modern dining set which included dinner plates, side plate, cups and saucers and I have used it ever since, thinking nothing of just filling the dinner plate with loads of my super-delicious home cooked food. In fact the plates are so big that if I put one in them in the microwave slightly off centre it catches on the sides and back.

When I read about the size of modern plates I remembered that I had some dinner plates stored in the outhouse under my workbench. They were in a box of stuff I had salvaged from my mothers house when she died. I thought that the things might come in useful one day, but they have lain forgotten since 1998.

When I retrieved them I was surprised at their size compared to modern dinner plates. I remembered eating of those plates in the 1940’s and early 1950’s. Since retrieving them I use them all the time now, not because of nostalgia but I find that I do eat less because those plates always look full, but with less food on them. I suppose it’s physiological really, but I do feel satisfied by eating less.

What’s more, the gravy doesn’t spill over the edge of these old plates onto the carpet when you pick them up!