Happy Weekend

An explosion in the Scottish baby population is requiring me to embark on a whirlwind tour of Scotland this weekend. 

Back sometime next week.

Have a great weekend.  🙂


Berry Ice-Cream on a Rainy Day

It’s raining.  Hard.  And I’m feeling rather ambivilant about it.

You see, on one hand  I should be happy.  My poor, poor garden has been without rain for weeks now.  Weeks!  That’s not very Scottish at all.  Plants here expect copious amounts of moisture.  In fact, I think it’s in their contract.   I also don’t have anything outdoorsy planned for this evening.  Why should I give a monkey’s if the skies have opened? 

Well, I care because D is up in Sutherland right now wild camping with some of our pupils.  If it’s raining here, it’s more than likely raining there and the thought of him and the kids in damp clothes heating up their tins of beans with the wind whipping around them breaks my heart. 

Yet here I am.  Perched on my window sill, cosy and warm, watching the rain and thinking about them and, all the while, ever so slowly relishing every bite of my home-made berry ice-cream.  Which I didn’t even slave over. 

It’s shameful. 

Berry Ice Cream

(Serves 2)

200g frozen berries (any kind. I used mixed fruits of the forest – raspberries, blackberrys, red and black currants)

50 – 100 g fromage frais (that’s what I used, anyhow.  Yogurt would probably work and double cream would undoubtably be heavenly)

  • Tip both ingredients into a blender and whizz until combined and smooth. 
  • Serve immediately.

I adored the tartness of this dessert but some might prefer a little more sweetness.  Add some honey or sugar if this is you.

Posh Fish Fingers

Last year, when Christina admitted to a love of corn dogs I breathed a tiny sigh of relief.  Perhaps I wasn’t such a freak in the food blogging world.  Yes, the vast majority of food I eat is prepared with fresh ingredients and yes, they are usually well balanced, healthy meals.  But I have to tell you this: I’m more than partial to the odd fish finger sandwich. 

White bread, grilled cod fish fingers, a light smearing of butter and a generous splodge of tomato sauce.  It’s the kind of lunch that I crave whilst watching CSI (Las Vegas, of course) DVDs on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  Or the kind of dinner I desire on an essay swamped Tuesday evening.  I’ve even been know to hanker after one on a hazy Saturday morning.

It was a lack of fish fingers in the freezer one evening that led me to make my own.  They were so very, very good though that sandwichising them didn’t seem appropriate.  Instead I steamed a pile of greens and created a light dip from whatever I could find.  The following was the result and it was fab.  Been making them ever since.  Not constantly, you understand.  That would be weird.

Hoki Goujons with Dill Dip

(serves 2)

150g hoki fillet (or firm white fish – go for MSC approved where possible)

2 tblspn flour, seasoned

1 egg, beaten

50g white breadcrumbs

1 tblspn finely chopped parsley

Rape seed oil (or other light vegetable oil)

For the dip:

4 tblspn fromage frais

1 tspn white wine vinegar

1 tblspn chopped dill

  • For the dip: mix the fromage frais, dill and vinegar together.  Chill until ready to serve.
  • Lay out the seasoned flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs mixed with parsley on three seperate plates.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat.
  • Dip the fish strips in the flour then the egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs.  Add to the hot oil and fry for two minutes on each side until golden.
  • Remove fish from the oil and blot dry on kitchen paper before serving with the dill sauce and lots of steamed greens.

My Dog

Regular readers of this blog will know how I feel about dogs.  I love them.  I mean, I really really really love them.  They make me incredibly happy with their snuffling and padding, licking and pawing, stretching and bounding.  Though I’ve been lucky to have lots of dogs in my life –  Rosie, Rufus, Winston, Tammy and Mac – I haven’t had a dog of my own since I was a teenager. 

Except now I do. 

Pick him up on the first day of the summer holidays.  Pick him up in 33 days, 22 hours and 18 minutes.

How am I going to get to sleep until then??  🙂

Sweet Potato Chips

Exciting things are afoot and I’m unable to concentrate properly on anything much.  Can’t think of a single thing to say about the below meal except that it consisted of Silvana Franco’s lamb and bulgar burgers (recipe here) and oven baked sweet potato chips; it’s far lower in fat and calories than your average burger and chips; and it was delicious. 

That’ll have to do for today! 

Sweet Potato Chips

1 medium sweet potato per greedy person

Olive Oil

Smoked Paprika

Salt and pepper

  • Pre-heat oven to 220oC.
  • Peel sweet potatoes and cut into thick batons.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the paprika and seasoning.  Toss well to coat.
  • Roast in the oven for 30 minutes turning occasionally.

In The Beginning…

Bed 1

  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Courgette
  • Squash
  • Corn

Bed 2

  • More raspberrries
  • Broadbeans
  • Peas

Bed 3

  • Blueberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Flat-leafed parsley
  • Chervil
  • Rocket
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Rainbow chard

Elsewhere – Apples, plums, quince, thyme, sage (green and purple) , chives, rosemary, mint, curly parsley, oregano and marjoram.

Plans – Erect a little greenhouse and grow tomatoes.

Garden Plans and Chunky Tomato Salsa


I’m highly excited about the forthcoming weekend.  For the last few months there has been a possibility floating around that I would be moving to a different house this summer and so I held off from planting my vegetables: it would have been terrible to sow them and then abandon the seedlings.  Yesterday I found out for certain that I’m staying put.  Thought I’d be rather upset if this were to be the outcome as the house I was hoping to move to is in a spectacular location but, after so much waiting and uncertainty, my  overwhelming feeling is one of relief and contentment.  I do, after all, love my current wee house.  It’s wonderfully cosy and I’m more than a little proud of my vegetable patch. 

So, this weekend I’m going to get all grubby and get planting.  Hooray!  Having been weeded and fertilized and repeatedly forked, the soil is more than ready to host some seeds and young plants.  I may even erect a proper greenhouse this year.  Last year, the wee plastic contraption I bought was so flimsy it flew away in the gales, leaving behing lettuce, basil and tomato carnage. 

Lots of tomatoes would be lovely this year.   Not least so that I can make this salsa with fresh, sun-warmed tomatoes.  🙂

Chunky Tomato Salsa

(serves 4)

300g cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded

1 red onion, chopped finely

1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 green chilli, finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Handful of coriander or parsley, chopped


  • Simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and leave to marinate for an hour (or overnight in the fridge). 

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burrito

I’ve just finished eating the following dish and am now lounging on the sofa in a rather pleasant food coma.  Rather greedily, I ate two when one would have been entirely sufficient.  Feel like a slob.  In my defence, I am (rather pathetically) still recovering from the weekend and feel in need of nourishment. 

Plus, these were amazingly delicious.  Resistance was futile.  🙂

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burrito

(adapted from The Moosewood Low Fat Cookbook – makes 4 large burritos)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

Vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 green chilli, finely chopped

2 tspn coriander powder

2 tspn cumin

Pinch of cayenne

Tin of black beans, drained and rinsed

Handful of coriander

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 tspn salt

Flour tortillas

Grated cheddar cheese (optional)

  • Add the sweet potato to a pan of salted water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the sweet potato is tender.  Drain.
  • Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan.  Add the onion, garlic and chilli and cook gently until the onions have softened. Add the spices and cook for a further minute.
  • Add the sweet potato, onion, chilli, garlic, beans, coriander, lemon juice and salt to a food processor.  Blend for 20-30 seconds until smooth-ish.
  • Pre-heat oven to 170oC and lightly oil a baking dish. 
  • Spoon the sweet potato mixture into the middle of each burrito and roll into a cigar shape.  Place burritos into the snug-fitting baking dish and cover with foil.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Optional – After baking, remove tin foil and sprinkle cheese over the burritos.   Place under the grill until the cheese bubbles.

I served this with chunky cherry tomato salsa.  Recipe to come.  🙂

The Wedding (cake)

After a whole week of brilliant sunshine and high temperatures, the heavens opened on Genna’s wedding day.  It rained and thundered throughout the entire wedding!  But no-one cared a jot.  The day could not have been more beautiful. 

Way too tired to give details.  The pictures say everything.  🙂




An enormous thank you to the owner and staff of Aswanley for making Gen and Keith’s day so incredibly special.  🙂

Pg. 123


It’s the wedding weekend.  I’ve pressed my dress, painted my nails and charged the batteries in my camera.  Most importantly, I’ve made the cake.  It’s sitting on the kitchen work surface as I type, anxiously awaiting  Saturday afternoon and its fifteen minutes of fame and glory. 

I will, of course, post photos of the finished cake once the day is over.  For today’s post, though, I’ve accepted a tag from  Holler and Pat.   They asked me to pick up the nearest book, open to page 123, count five sentences down and then write down the following three sentences.

Ok doke.

I’m re-reading Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon at the moment.  It’s a book that is often studied in Scottish high schools but I never have nor never will teach it.  I love it too much.  Selfish?  Maybe.  I just don’t think I could bare anyone scoffing at Chris or Euan or Rob of the Mill or any of the other characters I know so well. 

Anyhoo, here are the lines.  They say a lot about the heroine, I think.


 “Then he rose and shook hands, Well, well, it’s Miss Guthrie come up; you’ve been thinking of the will no doubt?

She told him, Yes, just that; and that she was going to live on at Blawearie a while, not roup the gear out at once, could he see to that with the factor?

He stared at her with his mouth fallen open, But you can’t live there alone!”