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!

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Goodday to y’all. I hope the new year is treating you alright. Some christmas tables and food.

Our kindest of hens, Ada, has been critically ill and has spent the last three days in a veterinary surgery; not fun. But on happier notes, she is now safely home with us again and we are hoping that she will recover soon. If you want to take advantage of some specific flavour sale goodness hop over here. The January Sale has started!

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!

greenshoes2

greenshoes1

I am currently coveting these His ‘n’ Hers crazy-beautiful vegan shoes from the charming made-to-order shoe company of greenshoes.

mallardskirt

And even in my dreams I couldn’t get very much closer to autumnal perfection than this! The mallard (yes, mallard!) skirt can be acquired here from allencompanyinc at etsy, isn’t it just lovely?

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knitting

Plus this year’s (scarf) knitting fest has begun chez moi. I am no whiz when it comes to knitting but scarves are just so foolproof. Repeat row after row, continue for as long as you want and get something useable at the end of it and you can compose eternal variations all to your own taste. Above: autumn’s first two scarf projects. I’m into stripes right now; brown-turquoise and peppermint-red.

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.

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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!

squirrelina

Sorry for being astray for awhile. We’ve had another far-away visit. Johan’s brother and his partner have been staying and a lot of the time has been spent roaming around out of doors, on picnics, shopping tours, bbqs and meeting wildlife such as the above quite worryingly tame squirrel.

ducksanddrakes

One of the leasurely activities we got the time to enjoy was playing ducks and drakes (skimming/skipping stones). It must be the greatest sport in the world, where half of the fun obviously is searching for the perfect stone! I adopted such a peculiar style I now go by my ducks-and-drakes-name when playing; mesdames et mesieurs, meet The Beach Angler!

picnic

Later we had a picnic in the park with flat bread from our local Turkish corner shop supreme (I do not know how we managed before it was there) artichoke & olive oil purée, couscous salad with tarragon and crisps and more…

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including conjoined twin cherries…

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and carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and little crystallised rose petal toppings.

pineconebeachball

The boys played beach ball whilst us girls dosed off on the blanket.

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All in all a very refreshing day out.

Good Bye and see you soon again; have a wonderful rest of the weekend!

yoghurt

This was my breakfast a couple of days back when we had an amazinly summery day.

sandwich

Later we went down to the allotments accompanied by a picnic:

ciabatta including ciabatta sandwiches

litchisand litchis

leek

This gentle giant was to become the last of the leeks for the season; except for the ones we’ll leave to flower because I think they’re just so absurdly nice in bloom and we’ll get to look forward to the extra treat of lovely baby leek clusters next winter/spring. I don’t know why not more growers practise this little “perennialising” trick, but I guess I might have other priorities since I’m a bit spoilt for space.

seedtassel

When we went home the ground was covered with these “seed tassels” looking (in my mind) very much like the hand of an eight fingered giant.

whitepath

They had coloured the whole path was white.

I’m sorry for being so quiet recently. Don’t really know why. Will be back with more soon! xo Bella