Bella’s Kitchen


I’ve had salads on my mind lately. We had an extraordinarily cheesy chicory gratin for dinner a few days ago. We made it with a mix of both white and red chicons and cooked it up using this, which cheeses up most things, the vegan way, suprisingly well actually, to be in powder form. And then we topped it with my favourite smoked cheddar Bute Island “sheese” for good measure, hence it became a tad heavy. But enter the humble green salad and as if by magic the meal felt just right.

This particular salad was a very leafy one coming from my hands as usually I’m more of a chunky-salad-person but for this meal it was just perfect. We used frisée lettuce and little bits of wild pink radicchio, seasoning, basil oil and really good balsamic vinegar. I’m on the hunt for some (for me) new interesting ingredients to add to my salads and I just bought some agretti which I am looking forward to try in my next one.

I hope you’ve had a satisfying week so far. I’m off to watch some indulgingly pointless evening television.

So Long, my little darjeelings, see you soon!

Try this Finnish mustard if you want to add some oomph to the christmas table. It has to be said, it’s quite hot and quite sweet, but if you prefer you can make it milder/less sweet by upping the cream a little. This recipe is easy to make and adapted from “Falling Cloudberries” by lovely Greek-Cypriot-Finnish food fairy Tessa Kiros. Here goes:

20g (2tbsp) Hot English Mustard Powder

50g (1/4cup) Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt

125ml (1/2cup) Vegan Pouring Cream

1tbsp Olive Oil

1tbsp Good Vinegar

Juice of half  Lemon

Mix mustard powder, sugar, salt in a bowl, squashing out any lumpy bits with a wooden spoon. Put the mixture in a small saucepan over a low heat with the cream, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 7-8 mins, stirring often and then remove from the heat once it darkens and thickens a little bit. Presto!

This keeps in the fridge for a few weeks which means it can be made in advance and leave time for other more important things nearer to Christmas. Have a lovely week!

It may appear as such, but I assure you I have not been resting as of late. I and my little helpers here at the flavour factory (furry, feathered and bare alike) have been very busy bees indeed; kitchening and planting, scheeming and crafting…

Wreath making with the Baronesse

The Baronesse was out of her radiator bed for several hours in order to help out with the wreaths that we made from assorted forest and allotment acquisitions. One for our door and one for the hen pen. I have made mincemeat and mince pies with hazelnuts, brandy, cranberries and my favourite Russet apples that are so wonderfully coarse, sweet and aromatic. I have brought out forced bulbs of all shapes and sizes; crocus to amaryllis, hyacinth to narcissus, that we had kept up in the attic until now.

Winter clearing the last tomato plants

The last of the summer vegetables are safe indoors. Some days ago I cleared the last tomato plants and a few days later Johan cleared the tomatillo patch, bringing in our huge colander brimful. We have made several large bottles of mulled wine on the delicious blackberry wine that J made earlier this year. Perfect to alternate with my ordinary chai tea when stranded in the sofa, mulling and crafting, these stormy evenings we’ve had lately in Old Blighty. I also recently made a batch of failed kumquat marmelade that got far too runny. Fortunately I discovered it is absolutely delicious as a sauce with sponge and chocolate cakes, so the very difficult to eat Mr. Kumquat Marmelade has now obediently had its name changed reappearing as the exceedingly successful Mr Kumquat Sauce!

Holiday Shop Update!

Oh, and I will be stocking up the shop for the holiday season during the following three days. There will be many an original that I have not been able to bear to part with until now, as well as recycled bowls, new embroideries and of course, pillowcases and tea towels etc etc and I am making sure that the SALE section shall be very well stocked this year. Have a good day!

orangepoppymuffins1

J has lifted off for cinnamon bun land again and I am still enjoying the quiet that has spread itself like a blanket over the house since. I have always had a little loner bunny living inside of me you know (but even loner bunnies fall in love sometimes). Before he left I made us some orange poppy muffins to have for breakfast; a thoroughly nice change from our normally silly-sturdy nordic breakfasts which usually include both sandwiches and cereal/porridge etc etc.

orangepoppymuffins

I have a gazillion of things planned for doing whilst he’s gone. Some are things that just never seem to get done when he’s around and others are Christmas related secrety things, as I have promised myself to start early this year as a nice contrast to my usual very late-birdy me. Well, I’ld better commence. I hope you are all having a good start to the week! Cheerio!

A slightly belated rain season has finally started here. The days are damp and somber, which is both romantic and subduing, but also lightly melancholic, why any nature of cheering up is cherished.

artisanbread

There are not many things in the world that I find more comforting on a late autumn afternoon than a loaf of freshly baked bread; the flavour, the warmth, the smell…

artisanbread2

Coincidentally, there are not many things that Johan would rather spend a chilly autumn afternoon doing than patiently assembling one of these loaf creations, so we’re a perfect match and I am so lucky to have my own artisan-breadmaker-in-residence!

artisanbread3

Good Wednesday!

montezuma1

The occurance of the Royal Mail strike makes my packages come in bundles these days. That is; I don’t receive any for a while, then suddenly I get a pile big enough to make it feel a bit like Christmas Day. Today was one of those days and in the pile was this box of truffles from Montezuma’s. It seems my sweet tooth is growing longer along with the days getting shorter so this was a very suitable arrival.

Montezuma’s has a good selection of vegan treats; just type in ‘vegan’ in their search box and you get many a handful of delicious options, such as this truffle collection. The Kirsch Cherries, Moondance pralines and chocolate dipped Orange Slices also look exceptionally intriguing and shall all have to be trialled one of these chilling October days.

montezuma3

Until then this rich, chocolate-y, but not-too-sweet ‘Sunrise’ spicy orange flavoured truffle shall do very fine thank you.

Have a sweet weekend my dears!

littleharriet

I am still here you lovelies. It is just that I have had another sickling to take care of and not much time to spare for those leisurely activities such as blogging. This time it was Harriet, our smallest, who caught the bug, but thankfully she seems to have pulled through, after visits to the vet, twice-a-day medications, a week of sleeping indoors and lots of love and fuss. Here are some other recent mementos:

seeds

Autumn is here with all its seeds. We have been seed saving, both for sowing next year and for using in eventual spontaneous crafty projects.

cinnamonbuns

I’ve been baking/eating cinnamon buns sprinkled with nuts and sugar. Have a fancy rest of Wednesday!

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