Friday, 31 December 2010

what recipe book is that from?

Cooked my way through a few recipes today, the husband clearly doesn't get it yet, he asked twice "what book is that from." he'll learn.
I cooked salsify, a root vegetable, apparently traditional but little known(the greengrocer boy wants me to go back and tell him what you do with it). Elizabeth David said to scrub all the black off, "a considerable trouble", stuff that, I peeled it, and it's ok, Hugh says you can peel. I plunged it into acidulated water, water with lemon it, does that count? Into boiling water for 20 mins, then drain fry in butter add parsley. Yum, flavour surprisingly mild, just ate as a snack: roars of laughter from family as they see us growing to the size of a house.
Today I threw together beetroot and celery salad; cooked beetroot, celery, garlic, wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and parsley. Great with my Mother in Laws turkey pie.

lessons I have learnt

We have seen the New Year in and whilst still raw and tender, what lies ahead on the horizon? It's almost nine weeks since I commited to exclusively shopping locally. This has been an enriching experience and one to not turn my back on. It has raised some questions of ethics over local, but I think my prime concern has to be "use it don't loose it". 
I have survived without supermarket butter and got through a whole lot of Chads butter.  It was only last week that I realised his packs are smaller, 200g, which maybe explains why I got through over 30 packs.  My great love of butter continues.  I really enjoyed cooking the meals of an era in line with Turn Back Time, I loved trying out recipes and cooking new things. This has given me the desire to improve my cooking and improve my techniques and repertoire. 
For me 2011 holds a new challenge, inspired by the film Julia and Julie, I will cook my way through the classic, Elizabeth David, French provincial cooking(417 recipes).  I have always wanted the book and have been given a copy for Christmas.  It's got recipes in that I have always wanted to cook, for example, epaule d'agneau boulangere and a suckling pig.  Now I have no excuse. Lots of the recipes are seasonal so I need to be organised to cook through the seasons, from chestnuts now to quinces in September. So my challenge is to cook the whole book by the time the quinces are ready on our tree. I will endeavour to grow some of the ingredients and of course source the rest  locally.  My brother in law opens a butchery this week he will be running, eventually as Hobbs House, it is what was Nelsons in Chipping Sodbury,  I will become his worst customer with requests for wild boar, bone marrow, fats to render, bones for stock to teal. I look forward to feeding this to my four children, hopefully not growing in girth, and seeing whether this way of cooking is sustainable for todays families.  
My children will continue with Little Chef Friday, where they can choose and cook what they want, a little light relief for them.
I will be blogging regularly about the recipes.

Steadily but not at a gallop

So before I enter into this Elizabeth David malarkey I figured I should try out a recipe or two. I started with a soup, simple, Potage Bonne Femme.
Melt some butter in a pan, add the finely sliced 2 leeks* and 3 diced carrots. "Let them get thoroughly hot and saturated with the butter", add 1lb of potatoes diced, 2 and a bit more pints of water, salt and tsp of sugar. "Cook steadily but not as a gallop" (fave line so far. Sieve through a mouli, I have a personal fear of sieves or moulis, but the result was worth it. Add a bit of cream and parsley.
Delicous good first attempt, well done. Pleased not to rely on bouillon and for the flavor to be better without.
*revolutionary new way of washing leeks, remove outer leaves, cut off root end and cut cross in bottom, run under cold tap, then rest cut side down in jug of cold water whilst preparing other veg(or 30 mins), result=clean leeks.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010


It was a good one, a truly local one, the presents went down well. Tom loved his "dead mans tie", and was so enamoured with his clock tower clothing pants he showed his brothers!! Much to our amusement we wrapped the boys Lego in a shipton mill flour bag, therefore he was especially thrilled/relieved when he opened it. We were saved by Brutons on Christmas eve, as Tom was about to head to Travis Perkins for a christmas present drill, he found a fantastic Bosch.
As for the food we ate like kings, I made it through the list, minus the hot nuts. Nigella's Domestic Godess brownies with mixed nuts were lush, as were her cheese stars. I bought a cooked leg of ham from Country Quality which I glazed myself in Quince jelly, recommended. We had this with egg and chips, yes, the community shop sells MCcains.
Christmas day started rather too early, but breakfast of the secret family recipe: mare field pie and rockness apple juice sorted that out. For the champagne picnic I wrapped membrillo and taleggio in Parma ham and baked. Alongside chipolatas in mustard and honey, the cheese stars and brownie washed down with some fizz, 30 near and dear ones and a christmas day sledge, perfect. I then hang up the apron (after getting grease over the new dress) and headed to my parents for dinner.
We hosted the boxing day extravaganza. It started with a turkey soup,(stock cooked overnight), a mushroom and tarragon broth (Leon recipe). Then for dinner we had the beetroot gravalax with pickled cucumber and creamy dill horseradish, followed by sausage hotpot(Leon again) savoy cabbage with Chilli and lemony green beans. For pud I made Nigellas awesome cranberry bake well tart, delias famed sunken choc and prune soufflé and Christmas pudding jelly. The jelly didn't work, collapsed and tasted rank, very disappointed bompas and parr, no great jelly successes yet. The trewothans cheese rocked, divine goats cheese and stichelton we forgot to eat with the Christmas cake.
The Christmas cake is lush and moist but the royal icing requires a hack saw, not yet willing to handover to fondant.
So now it's all about the leftovers. Turkey curry including the leftover lemony green beans sufficed for the impromptu dinner for 13 last night. There was a stray Hobbs house Christmas pudding in our bedroom, perfect pud with brandy butter and cream. The sausage hotpot is going to make a third dinner, I can hear the kids groans already, and the ham is still going strong. Eating far more than necessary in attempt to make it through and cook again.
I received Elizabeth Davids French provincial cooking and the film Julia and Julie. That's a lot what the new year is going to look like for me. Watch this space xx

Tuesday, 28 December 2010


Hello all,
Merry Christmas, a very brief catch up. I cooked it all , we are eating it all, the waste bands expanding, I haven't been to a supermarket or strayed from my locals, I am getting ready with the next challenge,
Over and out, roger

Monday, 20 December 2010

christmas shopping and eating plan

Things I would like to make,  brownies, shortbread (ginger and plain), gravalax, chocolate truffles, brandy butter, ice cake
Food plan,
Ham glazed with quince jelly, egg and chips
Christmas day breakfast,
Marefield pie
Christmas day picnic,
Hot nuts, sausage rolls, chipolatas in mustard and honey, membrillo in parma ham?, cheese stars
Boxing day,
Turkey soup- broth, mushroom, tarragon, pearl barley,
Hot nuts
Sausage hot pot, french bean casserole, chilli savoy cabbage.
Christmas pudding jelly, Delia sunken chocolate souffle with prunes, Bakewell tart
Taleggio or is it manchego and membrillo

Shopping list, proof of local,
Horsley community shop,
ground almonds
Tinned tomatoes
Icing sugar
loo roll

The Little People Co
Present for Sebastian

emergency wine rations

Brutons hardware

savoy cabbage,
juicing oranges,

Shiny goodness/green spirit
Glace cherries

Stem ginger
Creme fraiche
350g prunes
parma ham
talleggio/ manchego

thursday collect ham and chipolatas,

Thursday farmers market,

Christmas eve collect Bakery order, milk, sausage rolls and mince pies

If you make it to the bottom, well done, could of put it into a spread sheet, that would of been even more anal.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


Perfect day,
Yesterday we woke to the snow so thought the best start was to head to Nailsworth for breakfast.  We wrapped up warm and headed down the hill.  The kids sledged down, so magical watching them pile on down the footpath.  We bought another sledge from Brutons, always an exhilarating feeling to buy a sledge on  a snowy day.  A hearty breakfast,  a first for all of us to have a Hobbs House breakfast together.  We then got our supplies for the wasailers and headed up the hill, with one sledge designated the cider sledge.
Then home to a blissful afternoon in the kitchen, I baked a cake and filled it with some cranberry jam I had made and buttercream.  In the evening we were joined by lots of friends and neighbors, where we drunk mulled cider and shared curry.  Once past the nafness of a bring and share curry evening it's an amazing delicious way to feed the masses.  I just had to cook far too much rice.  Then the wasailers came singing and we fed them  the amazing trethowans dairy toasties and mince pies. (

Last SNJ column

As I stomp through the snow into what is the last week of my local shopping challenge, my reflections have been about the highs, with few lows.  As a consequence, my life feels no more hectic, but less distracted and enriched with experience and conversation, and some great finds.
There have been no great surprises. There is only one thing I can swear I couldn’t find in a local independent: dummies.  This was our only cheat, after the last one was chewed by the dog we refreshed the stock at a Bristol independent.  I have not found anywhere to buy DVDs, but I was really impressed that you can hire them from the library for just 50p a night, it’s just a pity they always take me a week and a half to return.
The main question on everyone’s lips is the cost.  And yes, in the first weeks I did spend more, but I have learnt well and adjusted to spending less than before.  The benefit of not being tempted by offers and just buying what we need presents a definite saving, as does buying in bulk from Horsley Community shop.   Butter has cost more, and I seem incapable of using less(I can confirm we have got through over 30 packets), so no I haven’t lost weight due to starvation.  Eggs and lemons have cost me less.  Some of you have been concerned about loo roll, I have just been buying this in packs of four from the village shop once a week, a little more expensive, but less bulky.
The only food we’ve thrown away in 7 weeks was two parsnips (and they went straight into the compost).  By buying little and often we have achieved zero food waste.  I have also become the queen of leftovers, this week I used up the last of some cream to make chocolate truffles, and an amazing minestrone soup using tiny bits of vegetables hanging about in the fridge, with some ham stock.
Shopping for myself has fallen by the wayside with Christmas shopping taking priority, although I have eyed an excessive number of clothes and boots I would have liked, and I’m looking forward to trying out some organic brands of make up from Stroud.  
So what does the future hold; I won’t be in Morrisons on boxing day, in fact I would like never to use a supermarket again.  I will continue to support my locals, and will try not to be tempted by winter sales offers.  There is one hiccup in my quest, in the New Year my brother-in-law is taking on a butchery in Chipping Sodbury, so my loyalty will be torn.  
So, I encourage you to join me on this, use your independents, we are so privileged to be surrounded by them, they make our towns amazing and vibrant, places worth visiting. They’ll prosper if we use them. It’s a lifestyle choice that I won't be turning back on.   

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

14th december

Emails received trying to persuade me to buy things; 3, consistently less now,
Things bought, Village Shop, honey and spring onions, Country Quality, cheese, Bakery, Concertina, milk, marzipan and mince pies for the teachers, Bramleys, fruit and mushrooms, Starshine, birthday present and final present for JP.  Green spirit after school snack fill and a selection of spices, no kaffir lime leaves.
Things cooked, cakes for Jp christmas playgroup party, minestrone soup, chicken pesto pasta for the kids,honey and mustard chicken salad.
I love using up leftovers, I made minestrone soup today using up all the odd leftover bits in the fridge, a loose recipe,

red pepper 
celery end

Tin of tomatoes
Ham stock
Red and savoy cabbage
Add in order of ingredient list, cook until cabbage and pasta tender, serve with grated cheese on top.
JP called it pigs brains soup, thanks Henry the chef for sharing those with her. The red cabbage did give it a wonderful pinkish purple hue.
Made the salad of our first years of marriage today, he still loves it, leftover chicken fried off with wholegrain mustard, honey and sesame served on green salad.
I made my first lot of chocolate truffles yesterday, loved it, loved them.  Let the fun begin, can't wait to revisit and play with flavors.
Infact I think we should finish them up now (before the children scoff them) with coffee, a film and the christmas cards.
Over and out, Roger.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

broken promise

It's happened I have let you down, for the first time since November 3rd I have bought something outside Gloucestershire.  The dummies got the better of us and Tom dived into, a fantastic Bristol independent and bought the smallest some dummies, 4 to keep us going.
Forgiveness please?1
Today I couldn't find anywhere that sells DVD's and they didn't even have it in Stroud library, so if anyone wants to buy me something for christmas the inspirational Julie and Julia please.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Nailsworth 10/12/10

Did you spot us in Nailsworth today?  I was the one with four really excited children, 1 on a scooter, 2 balloons rampaging round the shops.  Haircuts and refreshments at  Followed by pizza toppings, chicken and banter in Williams Kitchen.  B let her helium balloon rise up to the high ceiling in Williams, but we retrieved it by her standing on my shoulders, the extraordinary herbert circus family.  Then for fresh ground Illy Coffee at the bakery, so the husband can function over the weekend.  Then to Pulp to collect the christmas cards they have lovingly printed, cut and fold for us.  We then completed the riot in Bramleys, poking christmas trees, helping ourselves to french beans and 3 coconuts better off.  Then the husband says were you in Nailsworth today, 'did you buy my aloe vera?'  NO.

cooking and shopping

shopping and cooking, a happy place to be.
It's been all about food today, food for the cupboard, food to eat, food for the weekend and food for christmas.
Started off early with a basics shop at Horsley Community shop, then home to, the very local hero who removed Tom's shirt stiffeners from the washing machine and got it going, the naughty dog who ate the vital bit of the espresso maker, and the lovely neighbour who walked the naughty dog.  Anyway it was all fine by the time I had coffee with friends at Hobbs.
Today I cooked, some oaty biscuits from Delia's Frugal Food, crumbly and yummy and made a new batch of granola.  The kids made pizzas for their dinner, they made the bases last night and chose toppings from Williams today.  We had friends for dinner.  I cooked from Skye Gyngell, A Year in my Kitchen,  I have been loving that book.  I cooked lamb, chilli and prune stew with pureed sweet potato.  Really delicious, I thought I had over chiillied again but mellowed with the addition of prunes, maple syrup and tamari.  I then bought some new season pink rhubarb from Bramleys, I roasted this and added it to the leftover meringues and cream.  Suitably replete. Goodnight.

Thursday, 9 December 2010


Eating Hobbs House Bakery Bistro rillettes, on Wild White, yum yum yum, but will be typing with the non eating hand.
I haven't bought any food for two days, unheard of I know, but the frugal food has done us so well we are on the third day of consumption.
Don't worry for my health and welfare though I have replaced food shopping with Christmas shopping, and due to all you wonderful independents we are almost there.  And oh yes it has all been achieved local, there will not be one internet parcel sneaking in through the back door.  Yesterday there was a book from, bought for the husband to be used by me, scented drawer liners and the last of the stocking fillers.  I revisited Heritage in Stroud for the boy, an amazing perfect Lego truck, quad towing thing in a suitably large box to thrill, all using the 10% off from the SNJ.  I then embarrased myself by being suitably thrilled and excited in to find one of the last requests from a make called Electric Sheep.
The local haircut has washed well and I don't look like an 'Electric Sheep'

frugal food

This week to mark the last of Turn Back Time I cooked a 70s meal for 20 of our closest friends and family to share.  So I dug deep in my Mum’s cupboard and found the infamous Delia Smith classic Frugal Food and the Readers Digest the Cookery year. I decided no 70s meal was complete without a selection of dips to start all labelled with flags made by our seven year old daughter. I made a smoked mackerel pate with both fish and recipe from David Felce and daughters at the farmers market, tasting great with a roasted beetroot purée. Tom had swapped some bread for crab which I devilled, this was a clear winner. There was also a cheese and chutney dip, I couldn't find cream cheese anywhere locally and I wasn't convinced that the tofu alternative really worked. Then their was an avocado and nut salad looking like the finest 70s bathroom suite. These were all served with baguettes, cucumber and the obligatory celery. I then followed this with a vegetarian goulash, perfect for a freezing cold evening,  particularly with the edition of the tiniest bit of smokin’ chilli sauce to give it a warming kick.  For pudding I used up some leftover frozen chocolate cake to make Nigella’s chocolate trifle. In true Nigella style this used volumes of cream, which I did get in bulk from the bakery so as to not go for broke, and 8 egg yolks. This meant I was left with whites to make little meringues of my childhood partnered together with cream. Baked apples of course were on the menu too, like my Mother when I was a child I continue to work my way through the bumper crop, but full of butter, sugar, cherries and brandy they were a whole lot better than I remembered.
It was such fun to take this nostalgic walk through the food of my childhood and see it wasn't just about cream and curry powder. We have also been left with two more meals worth, goulash with leftover meat, goulash with rice and goulash for the dog. As for the puddings we are eating our way through the baked apples and the meringues will go into an eton mess with the first of the seasons rhubarb I spotted this week. 

lost blog

Wrote a beautiful blog last night on the i phone, just one touch of a button and it was gone, any one now how to retrieve, where do you find saved drafts?

Monday, 6 December 2010

6.12.10, stocking up

Been a bit of a shopping day today, made slightly trickier by outside being an ice rink. Great finds today, as follows
Whomfee (bea's spelling) cushion little people company
Tomatoes and peppers to make soup 60p in bramleys overs box.
A single amaryllis from jacaranda
Gherkins in Williams.
Couldn't find cream cheese shiny goodness had a tofu alternative, eek.
Couldn't find morello cherries but bramleys still have fresh for 49p
Got lots of other food shopping for tomorrows finale of Turn Back Time, if only I had cleaned the house I could get cooking.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, 5 December 2010


Hair cut and sunday times bought in nailsworth.
I found myself looking forward to Roast dinner at 11 o'clock this morning.  Worth it, cooked brisket, roast potatoes and parsnips, cauliflower cheese and yorkshire puddings, followed by apple cake.  Now just planning a seventies feast for the last of Turn Back Time on Tuesday.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

4th december

Hello Blog, I just remembered you, havn't been thinking about you today.
Today I went to the shops and  I bought 10 packs of butter.
In the farmers market I bought, Chad's yoghurt, cream and butter, savoy cabbage onions, Jessies milk and Hobbs House bread.
In Stroud I bought a few stocking fillers, a jag for the boy and toothbrushes for the girls.  Relieved to find toothbrushes from father christmas in Sunshine, although they do normally get electric ones.  Some lovely birthday presents from the chikdrens bookshop.  Tom got the girls some gorgeous pocket dolls from the Ruskin mill fair.
I made a delicious Leon sausage hotpot for our friends with six kids then off out to a Popstar party tonight, just call me Florence.

Friday, 3 December 2010


1; Father Christmas always buys toothbrushes, where from this year no one knows
2; Dummies, we are down to the last broken one, where can I buy them from or is it time to stop, baby, aged 20 months suffers from Mother, aged 31, shopping locally,
3; Popstar party tomorrow night, who oh who?

Thursday, 2 December 2010

2nd december

Only the 2nd day of advent and the 4 year old has ate everyones chocolates for day 19.
Emails received trying to persuade me to buy things; 5
Things bought, Village Shop, more biscuits, milk, sweeties and picked up right size nappies, Country Quality, sausages, brisket and eggs, Bakery, 2 loaves and mince pies, Bramleys, fruit, Little people Company, stocking fillers and present JP.  Christmas presents from fayre at Carmella's house and more presents from Clock Tower Clothing. (Watch out Clemmie)
Things cancelled, 2
Things eaten, Finished up Brocolli soup, finished up pie this time with gravy, celeriac and potato mash and gravy.  
The dog ate my mince pie.
I had a fun time today going shopping with Radio Gloucestershire, interviewed by lovely lovely girl Xenia.  We started off with a cappucino in Hobbs and then buying some bread. We then went to the Little people company where I got great stocking fillers for the kids and dolls house people including a baby for JP.   We then headed to the butchers and Bramleys.  I am really enjoying chatting to people about my plight and trying to answer questions like "do you want to see the supermarkets shut down" and confessing my greatest challenge of keeping my Mother from going to John Lewis this christmas.  
I then headed home to finish up the soup with Mum and the kids and returned to Nailsworth for some more Christmas Shopping.  We headed to the Fletcher household where they were selling gifts, lovely Alice bits and delicious mince pies and mulled cider.  I got a wind up radio for the boy and accidently bought everything else for me or loose presents that were irresistible and will do for someone.  We then headed to Clock Tower clothing where we got something for Pa, Granny of 87, an umbrella for B's stocking as requested, and some tights for me black and mushroom (hopefully not looking like dodgy tan tights).
We watched B's brilliant ballet show tonight in Stroud, so fantastic, don't think I'll ever let her leave.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

1st december

Emails received trying to persuade me to buy things; 7, Toast and Cath Kidston are turning into Johnny
Things bought, Village Shop, cereal, lemons, oranges, 4 loo roll, milk, coconut milk.  Treatment essentially you.
Things cancelled, 1, sorry Cath you had to go, I'm feeling stalked
Things cooked, Brocolli soup, Chicken and ham pie and my favourite ginger cake. Medlar and geranium jelly on the boil.
Lovely chilly day of alpine like walks and good food.  I think I love food too much, literally jumped for joy when I had my pie and cake lined up fresh out of the oven.  The food was all about the leftovers hot tip from Henry the Chef to use purple sprouting off cuts for soup, so used them with ham broth and served with bacon, blue cheese and leftover roasted almonds on top.  Then made a pie with the leftover chicken, ham and chicken stock, eaten with leftover coleslaw and salad.  The ginger cake was made from fresh and served with Chads cream. Yum Yum YUmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Some serious dedication from Mr Tom, found himself in a large DIY shop, (that he hates), he had just lined up his purchases when he remembered he wasn't local, put back his items and returned home empty handed.