And The Winner is…

…Lysy of the adorably titled Munchkin Mail!  Hooray! 

The winner was selected randomly by my dog, Marco.  He was presented with a bowl full of paper scraps.  Each one had the name of a contestant on it and was folded well so that he could not read the notes.  The first (and only) note eaten was the winner.

Wish I’d taken a photo of the process but I forgot.  Here’s a weird photo of a cow I took this weekend instead.  🙂


Store Cupboard Challenge

The lovely Kathryn of Limes and Lycopene certainly does enjoy challenging her readers.  Last month she blogged daily on 31 Ways To Improve Your Diet encouraging us to change or think about just one area of our diet each day in order to (in many cases) completely overhaul our bad eating habits.  And now this month she has introduced the Store Cupboard Challenge asking us to come up with complete meals using only the following store cupboard staples:

  1. Olive oil
  2. Tinned tomatoes
  3. Tinned legumes or beans
  4. Soy sauce
  5. Frozen vegetables
  6. Flour
  7. Pasta
  8. Tinned fish
  9. Eggs
  10. Rice
  11. Bread
  12. Vinegar
  13. Fresh onions
  14. One spice or spice mix
  15. One dried herb or herb mix

At first I was utterly flummoxed.  Having a fairly productive herb and vegetable garden has spoilt me: I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have fresh produce at hand.  Plus there are always lemons and garlic in my kitchen, not to mention sausages in my freezer.  But rules are rules and Miss Kathryn was quite clear on this:

You don’t have to use all the ingredients but your recipes must only use these foods. No tweaking the list and no adding in extra sneaky ingredients. The point is for us to come up with a diversity of dishes from the same list.

So, no cheating then.  🙂 

After some thought I realised that all the ingredients were there for a pasta dish that I have been making for years: pasta e ceci AKA pasta and chickpeas.  This meal was introduced to me by an Austrian-Italian friend, Annalisa when I was just beginning to take an interest in cooking.  Couldn’t believe that something so simple could taste so very, very good. 

Pasta e Ceci

(serves 3 to 4)

1 tblspn olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

1 tspn oregano

1/4 tspn chilli flakes

400g tin of chickpeas

2 x 400g tin of tomatoes

300g pasta (I like wholewheat penne)

  • Gently fry the onion in the oil until beginning to soften. 
  • Add the oregano and chilli and fry for a minute more.
  • Add the chickpeas and tomatoes.  Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water. 
  • Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce.  Season to taste.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature.

The Fridge Doors

My eyes have been opened.  Not everyone, it seems, plasters their fridge doors with postcards and magnets and recipes.  Some prefer the sleek, clean, pure look of a bare fridge.  Other poor souls do not even have the option of adorning their doors, their fridges being non-metallic or elegantly disguised as cupboards. 

To all of you who weren’t able to join in the competition, I promise the next competition will be more inclusive.

Now before I share the fridges with you, let me point to towards my Flickr Fridge Set where where we can   ooooh and aaaahh and puzzle over the finer details of the fridges individually.  Wonderful idea, Lucy.  🙂

On to the doors!

Zoe – Progressive Dinner Party

Canberra, Australia

Love that Zoe’s 4 year old son’s to do list includes “Woch Woms anD Goit” i.e. watch Wallace and Grommit.  A boy with his priorities in the right place.

KathrynLimes and Lycopene

Sydney, Australia

There’s that diet character from Little Britain!  I hate her so much she’s great!

Lucy – Nourish Me

 Melbourne, Australia

The woman who can make anything look beautiful does it again.

ChelseaFigs and Twigs

West Virginia, USA

This fridge is actually a washing machine – see, I am inclusive!


Hawaii, USA 

Jess doesn’t have a blog but she does have an AMAZING Flickr site which makes me want to move to Hawaii.  Now.


DebDeb’s Key West Wine and Gardening

Key West, USA

Come back soon, Deb!  The blogsphere misses you!




Kelsie Travels With My Fork

Glasgow, Scotland 

Kelsie sent me no less than three fridge pictures.  A true fridge door lover.

BevB Baking


Bev’s blog is new to me.  Gorgeous pictures of gorgeous cakes.  🙂

Christina  – A Thinking Stomach

Pasadena, California 

Christina has just moved into her dream home (and mine) but managed to snap this picture of her old fridge before she packed up.  Love the big brown eyes top-right.

Sylvie  – A Pot of Tea and a Biscuit

Manchester, UK

Dinosaurs!  Fantastic.


RachelCoconut and Lime

Baltimore, USA

There’s a pug on this fridge.  A sign of good taste, in my humble opinion.  🙂

RosaRosa Jackson’s Edible Adventures

Nice, France

Rosa’s son Sam is the artist.  I’m in love with that pink bug.  Absolutely in love.


Kintore, Scotland

My best friend Gen’s fridge.  Her spaniel Rufus wrote the message to Marco.  🙂

LysyMunchkin Mail

Warwickshire, England

So much do I love the quotations on Lysy’s fridge, I’m going to put them on my own!

Cindy – Where’s the Beef?

Melbourne, Australia

I’m trying to figure out where that postcard is from…  Hmmm….

JohannaGourmet Green Giraffe

Melbourne, Australia

A definite giraffe theme going on here.  🙂

Mary – Shazam In The Kitchen

Ohio, USA

Two pictures as Mary uses two sides of her fridge.  Just as well – look how much is on here!!!


Marco will randomly select a winner tomorrow.  🙂


Another entry!

Nathalie – Spaced Lawyer

Rome, Italy

A late entry.  Just couldn’t say no to the one sleek fridge sent to me.  🙂

Pistachio, Dill and Broadbean Rice

Can’t stop.  My boiler is broken, there’s an alarming amount of marking in my livingroom and Marco is demanding to be walked.  I have just enough time to share with you this divine rice dish inspired by a recipe from Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness (great name) and to tell you that it is my made-it-by-the-skin-of-my-teeth-entry for Susan’s event My Legume Love Affair hosted by the lovely Lucy (who is also writing here this Autumn… um, Spring…). 

Pistachio, Dill and Broadbean Rice

(serves 2 – 4)

1 cup brown rice

1 cup frozen baby broadbeans

1/2 cup pistachio nuts

2 tblspn chopped dill


  • Boil the rice in plenty of (unsalted) water until just tender.  Drain and run under cold water to stop the rice cooking further.  Leave to drain.
  • Boil the broadbeans in salted water for 4 minutes until just cooked.  Again, drain and run under cold water.
  • Use your hands to combine the rice, broadbeans, dill and pistachios in a large bowl and season carefully with salt.

Victoria Plum Jam


I have two things I’d like to share with you this evening.

The first is to tell you that on my way to work this morning I saw lots of lounging seals (as per usual), a skipping roe deer, a scampering baby red squirrel and a beautiful wee weasel.  Do you get a better start to a day?

And the second is the following jam.  It’s lovely and sticky and sweet and it helped me use up the ridiculous amount of plums my still young fruit tree bore this month.  It’s also my entry to the lovely Antonia‘s British Food Fortnight Challenge.

Victoria Plum Jam

1.5kg Victoria plums

Cup of water

1.25kg caster sugar

Juice of one lemon

  • Put the whole plums and the water in a large stainless steel pan and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat slightly and bubble away for 30 minutes. 
  • Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir well.  Continue to bubble for another 20 minutes or until setting point.
  • Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the stones and pour into sterilized jars. 

P.S. There’s still some time for you to join in the fridge competition!

Raspberry and Poppyseed Muffins

Think I must have bought some kind of super-hybrid raspberry bushes as, two months on from the very first berries, they are still producing super-sized sized fruit. 

Growing high on tall, prickly branches, these berries have been safe from the jaws of my berry loving pup meaning that I have been able to feast on them rather than him.  As always, the majority of the berries have been picked and eaten there and then amongst the shrubs but last week I managed to restrain myself just enough to collect a small punnet for the following muffins.  Ever so glad I did.  These are ridiculously good.

Moist, creamy and beautifully speckled, the only negative thing I have to say about these cakes is that they don’t freeze very well.  So you’ve got to eat them all in a couple of days.  Ah, the hardship…  😉

Raspberry and Poppyseed Muffins (adapted from Tom Aitkens’ Cooking)

(makes 12)

60g butter

100g caster sugar

2 large eggs, yolks and whites seperated

1 tspn vanilla essence

100ml buttermilk

3 tblspn poppyseeds

150g plain flour

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

100g raspberries, left whole

  • Cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the egg yolks gradually and stir well to combine.  Add the buttermilk, vanilla essence and poppy seeds and set aside.
  • In a seperate bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff whites form.  Fold this into the former mixture carefully.
  • Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt into the bowl along with the raspberries and fold until just combined.
  • Spoon into a buttered muffin tray and baked at 180oCfor 20 minutes or until golden.

P.S. Don’t forget to join in the Fridge Door Competition for a chance to win one of my two favourite cookbooks.  🙂

The Fridge Door Competition

A picture on Lucy‘s Flickr page at the weekend reminded me how much I love to nosey at other people’s fridge doors.  I adore the photos and post-its and recipes and silly magnets that crowd together or stand alone telling me more than I knew before about the fridge’s owner. 

My own door (above) doesn’t have quite enough silly magnets and as a result the pictures and paper that I have stuck to the fridge don’t always stay stuck and on many a day I can be heard swearing as I pick them up off the floor yet again.  But I always put them back on.

So here’s what I’d like you to do: email me a picture of your fridge door along with your name and location before Saturday, 27th September 2008.  If you have a blog then you might want to post it on there too and link back here.  Then again you might not.  

On Sunday, 28th September, 2008 I will post all of the photos on this site and select a winner at random.    The prize will be a copy of either the wonderful Ottolenghi Cookbook or the equally fabulous Greens Cookbook.  Your choice.  🙂

Email your entries to: wjharrison77 (at) aol (dot) com

Marco Pics

Enjoying the weekend and my new Ottolenghi cookbook.  Will post something substantial tomorrow.  Until then, here’s a few of my my favourite recent Marco photos.  

He’s a dog of many faces, I think.