Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Cookery challenge February -choosing a cookery book

Another month draws towards an end and as usual it's time for the cookery challenge again. Lucent who has organised the challenge has come up with a Year-Long Challenge instead of a monthly one. This is to choose a recipe book and try and cook as many recipes out of it as you can during the year!

My first challenge was to decide which book to use. My kitchen cupboard is quite full of cookery books already and I have probably only cooked a fraction of the recipes they contain - are you like this too?
My husband has recently converted to a dairy free diet and initially I was going to choose the book Eating for better health that has inspired the dairy free diet and contains many delicious recipes.

My son knew of these dietary changes and decided to give me River Cottage Veg for my birthday. As I looked though the delicious recipes I thought that this book would fit better to the challenge, as there wasn't a recipe that I didn't want to try! Although we are not vegetarians we don't eat very much meat. Hugh is one of my favourite cookery writers/chef/ campaigners and I have followed his adventures since his first TV programmes in 1998 when he moved into a cottage in the Dorset countryside and set out to achieve of form of rural self efficiency in Escape to River Cottage.  I have followed all his TV programmes, have two of his books and have also met him twice and been to days out at River Cottage and attended Sarah Raven courses there. I can confirm that he is just as friendly and natural as he appears on the TV! The 'Growing cutting flowers course' was held at the first River Cottage HQ and I think Hugh was more involved in the courses in those days. He met Sarah Raven when they were both training as doctors and they have remained good friends as their careers have taken different directions!

These pictures are taken at River Cottage back in 2007 when they were undertaking work of restoring the original farm building - the kitchen garden was already looking magnificent.

Sorry I slightly side-tracked - getting back to the cookery challenge ! I have only had my cookery book for a week and have already tried out a few recipes with great success!

 Aubergine parmigiana,  cauliflower and chickpea curry and pea and parsley soup.

Although these recipes were good, our favourite so far was the Aubergine see recipe here. Those with a keen eye may have noticed the grated cheese - this was a soya version I wouldn't recommend it to eat on it's own, but it is quite acceptable in cooking. We have been quite impressed with the soya and dairy-free products we have tried and I am rapidly converting and experimenting with my favourite recipes to make them dairy-free. Does anyone else have special diets they have to follow, or any tips for a dairy-free diet?
What is your favourite cookery book?

The other participants  in the cookery challenge are:-

  If you are interested in joining, please contact Lucent- you can start at any time.


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Brixham -a fishing village in Devon

I was overwhelmed by all your birthday wishes in the last post, thank you so much. My husband who is approaching his mid 50's was quite miserable as he approached his 50th. It hasn't been a concern to me at all, maybe it is helped by both him and my siblings and some of my friends being older than me! If I hadn't reached this milestone, I wouldn't have visited Brixham for a night away....

Brixham is a fishing port in Devon and has one of the largest fishing fleets in the UK with around 100 fishing boats operating out of here. We walked along the breakwater which is about 1/2 a mile in length.

One of the fishing boats was returning to harbour and was very popular with the sea gulls! The sky was crowded with them as we stood by the lighthouse watching the boats' progress to shore.

Brixham is famous as the landing place of William of Orange and his Dutch army in 1688 - he was later to become King William III of Great Britain and Ireland.
The mineral ochre was also found in Brixham and the sails of the fishing boats were painted red to protect them from the sea salt. I have always thought these red sails were unusual without realising the reason behind them.
It was also here that they discovered a paint using the ochre to stop cast iron from rusting and it was manufactured in the port from the mid 1800's until the 1960's. There was sadly no red sails in evidence during our visit although the boats were moored by the harbour.

We stayed in a wonderful bed and breakfast overlooking the harbour- it was a former fisherman's cottage from the 18th century. It had such character and our hosts were so welcoming. My mother's ancestors were sailors here in the 1800's travelling as far as Australia and Prince Edward Island in Canada. It must have been quite a journey in those days.

It was fantastic to wake up to this view outside of our bedroom window the following morning the colours of this were not adjusted at all....

Don't you think the candy coloured cottages look so pretty hugging the hill-side and the harbour looks so different to those in Dorset and Cornwall.  We took a walk along the cliffs tops before heading home.

Since coming home I have been trying to catch up with reading everyone's blogs - the blogging community can be so supportive and caring in times of need.  Many wonderful crafters/artists have donated some amazing prizes for a raffle for Gretel for more information see here.

Sarah x

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A milestone birthday

This week I have turned 50 .....

 We have had a few celebrations to mark the occasion and I have been very spoilt. My work colleagues and I we went out to a Thai restaurant and they gave me a huge bunch of flowers and a money gift card.

Both of the children came home for the weekend and we had a lovely time together, going out for a meal and taking a walk by the sea!  My daughter made me this wonderful cake and carried it back on 2 crowded trains from Portsmouth it arrived back safely all in one piece!

My son gave me a book (more of this in a future post) and local wine and fudge from Devon.
My daughter knowing have always wanted a VW camper van saw this  kit and had to buy it for me, I have already started making it.......

I recently won Maria's "give-away" at  Rosey tinted spectacles and these wonderful sewing items arrived on my birthday too!

Having reached the grand old age of 50 and trying to reduce and simplify things most of my presents were money to put towards doing memorable things during the year - one of these was a night away down by the sea in Brixham.

I was born 50 years ago, in 1963 - the coldest winter on record in the United Kingdom since 1740. The cold spell started on Boxing Day 1962 and lasted until March 1963. There were snowdrifts up to 6 foot and temperatures were so low the sea froze over.  Lucky the weather didn't cause any hazards on the night I was born and the weather 50 years later was so much better!

 Sarah x

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The fall and rise of the sea

There is nothing quite like walking along a deserted beach and your feet and the dog's paws leaving the first footprints in the fresh sand.This is at Ringstead Bay a few miles/Kms outside Weymouth where I live.

I captured this on video too, so hopefully this will roll you forward into a relaxing weekend.

See you soon.
Sarah x

Friday, 8 February 2013

On the way to work

We take the country road to work, but over the past few months with all the rain we have been having it has been liable to flood, and we have had to take the main road instead.

When it has been passable the views from the car when the sun has shone have been quite spectacular so on my day off I had to come back and capture them!

                           The chalk stream, known locally as a Winterbourne is generally dry in summer but has now flooded the neighbouring meadows too.

 This lake is not usually quite this large -the coloured dogwoods always look good against the water.

I spotted the first winter aconites coming into bud and also snowdrops.

 Do you have a regular journey that has some highlights along the way?

Welcome to my new followers Animal Print Gal from ATiger in your engine , Julie, Jennifer, Olympia and Christine thank you for joining me.
Thank you also for your concerns expressed in my last post about the "oiled" seabirds they have discovered the substance was an additive used to improve the performance of oil. Despite identifying the shipping that was in the area at the time they have been unable to find the culprit.

Wishing you a good weekend.
Sarah x

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Birds at sea

The weekend before last the weather was wonderful and it was fantastic down at the water's edge ....

The tide was far out, and the sea calm and the bird life was making the most of these conditions.

Black-headed gull

Black-headed gull in its winter plumage
Cormorant - there were 2 one dived as the picture was taken!

 Grey Heron

Unfortunately, towards the end of last week the scene close to this area was completely different as hundreds of birds- mostly guillemots were washed up on Portland and along the south coast covered in a white sticky substance. Although 200 birds are been currently treated in animal rescue centres another 200 have been found dead see here.
 There are now concerns that this could effect other wildlife such as dolphins, sharks and seals. It is thought that the substance came from a rogue ship illegally clearing out its tanks out at sea, what a dreadful impact man's action cans sometimes have on wildlife. What a contrast this is to the pictures above.

Sarah x



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