Monday, April 29, 2013

Dinner, 29/4/13: Pasta bake

Not new or different, but we love it. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dinner, 28/4/13: Roast Pork Belly with cabbage and red potatoes

Forgot to photograph with the gravy. Oh well.

Morning visitors

They didn't stay long, but it was nice to see these greenfinches. I only saw two of them, although sometimes they travel in larger groups. I'm hoping they'll come back through soon...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dinner, 27/4/13: Leek, artichoke and blue cheese wellington

We've had this before, and had a note on it that the sundried tomatoes were a little strong, so this time I used sun-blush tomatoes instead, and didn't put a lot in. It was just right. This would be an excellent dish for a vegetarian dinner party (as long as you used a vegetarian blue cheese). It looks quite impressive, but it's not very hard to make - and it works really well served with a number of side dishes, which you could either make yourself, or do as I did yesterday and allow Mr Marks & Mr Spencer to make...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dinner, 26/4/13: Tikka Salmon

This recipe originally came from Woman & Home magazine, but I can't find it online (as usual, though, I am happy to send it to you by email if anyone is desperate for it!) It's very simple, and pretty healthy as it has lots of veg and a bit of salmon. And it's tasty, too, of course. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dinner, 25/4/13: Greek Island Salad

Sarah's night to cook - this, admittedly, is more of an assembly job than actually cooking. But as it was one of the few nights recently when the weather was lovely, salad seemed in order, and indeed, they just about managed to eat outside on the patio, by the expedient of eating early.  I bought pre-cooked chicken, so it was even simpler to assemble - avocado, feta cheese, chicken, olives, salad, tomatoes and so on. With a dressing, of course. It's a recipe from BBC Good Food (we used mixed salad leaves this time instead of cos lettuce, which is what we usually use). 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dinner, 23/4/13: Linguine with sausage and rocket

Sarah actually cooked this (mostly), but at least there is a photo...  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dinner 22/4/13: Spinach, lentil and fresh spring herb soup

This was full of herbs, perhaps not surprising given the name. It's from my goto soup book, the New Covent Garden Soup Company's A Soup for Everyday. I've tried lots of recipes from this, all pretty much winners, though I do often have to increase quantities to feed us - even when the recipe says feeds 6. Perhaps we are just greedy!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dinner, 21/4/13: Chicken with black bean sauce; stir-fried veg

The chicken is a Ken Hom recipe that I've used many times before.  And the stir fried veg is just that - nothing complicated. A little soy sauce in near the end...

An excess of bananas

When I have overripe, mushy bananas, I chuck them in the freezer and eventually make banana cake, muffins, bread, whatever. I'm not fond of bananas usually, but I do like them this way. Today, I was tidying the freezer a little and decided there were way too many bananas in there, so out they came, and got made into banana muffins. I put in more bananas than I usually do, and actually, the muffins are even better than usual - more moist. I'll be doing that again!


Not sure why, but we've had a jay or two visiting our garden recently - they aren't common in our garden, though we've had them occasionally before. This chap was here yesterday,

and this morning, we had two at once (one is on the feeder). I wonder if they are a nesting pair?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dinner, 17/4/13: Potato-Carrot Tart

This is a recipe that someone (can't remember who now - let me know if you!) who reads and comments here recommended to me - and it's lovely. The potatos made a great crust - good way to have a tart which is not quite so high in fat (though it does have cheese in it, of course). I made more than the recipe says because I knew we'd eat more, and even so, it was only just enough for us (and Sarah wasn't home for dinner) - next time I'll make it even bigger...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dinner, 16/4/13: Courgette & Lemon Linguine

Very simple and tasty. The courgette isn't cooked, just grated, so it just wilts a bit when it meets the hot pasta & dressing, which means it retains a bit of crunch. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dinner, 14/4/13: Slow-cooked ham, oven potatoes, carrots

...and leftovers for dinner tomorrow as well!

Juniper Top

Apparently, spring has finally sprung in our neck of the woods - it took long enough! So we took advantage of lovely weather on a weekend and headed to one of our favourite places, Juniper Top (near Box Hill, but less crowded).  We often have a picnic - given that it was quite windy and that the ground might still be fairly wet, we opted simply for a nice walk up the hill and in the woods at the top.

There is an excellent bluebell wood at the top of Juniper Top, but unfortunately, with the cold weather, it's a few weeks too early - all this green is the start of the bluebells, though - soon it will be teeming with blue!

At the moment, the most interesting things on the ground are the remains of autumn - pinecones, 

chestnut shells, and so on. 

But it was a lovely sunny day for a walk in the woods, 

and Alex and Olivia indulged in a spot of tree-climbing (Sarah wasn't there  - she and her friends headed off elsewhere to picnic).

Alex and Olivia enjoyed meeting a dog on Juniper Top and chatting with the owner; they threw the ball a number of times before the dog was ready to move on...

Blood orange

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dinner, 13/4/13: Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie

This is a Hairy Bikers' Recipe - I do love their pie book - all the pies I've cooked from it have been excellent. I think I've made this one before (yep, just checked the blog) - but that's no reason not to make it again!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dinner, 12/4/13: Pesto, Prosciutto & Artichoke Pizza

I chose this pizza because my mom is still with us, and she can't eat a heavy tomato sauce - this one only has a little chopped fresh tomato on it. It was lovely. (There were actually two of them, but they looked pretty much the same,so I only photographed one...)

Rural Life Centre

Because Alex's tennis camp was finished Thursday, and because the weather didn't look too dire for the day, he and Grandma and I headed out to the Rural Life Centre for the day. 

The kids and I have been there before - it's a funny old place, full of buildings salvaged from various (mostly local) locations, old items and loads and loads of farm machinery. The idea is to have a museum of different aspects of rural life in the past - and it's a great place for gentle, low-key, poking around, especially if you are into old things.   The top photo is a granary, and this is a little non-conformist chapel.  

There are lots of other buildings, including a shepherd's hut, a post-war pre-fab house, a gypsy caravan (these two photos both from the caravan, which, unfortunately, you can only view the outside of), a cricket pavillion, a Victorian schoolhouse (interior) and so on. And lots of other exhibits as well.

I like looking at all the old items in the various exhibits - for instance a coffee grinder in the pre-fab kitchen, 

 a shelf full of keys

or a basket of old clothes pegs.

There are various activities for the kids to do as well - like helping to hook this rag rug 

or making a rubbing from various plates and signs.

The outsides of the buildings are often as interesting as the insides...

and there's the occasional bonus exhibit - though we didn't see any birds actually using this nest, so I don't know if it's new to this spring or not...

I think this was my favourite thing I saw, though - I love the idea of an egg vending machine!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dinner, 10/4/13: Massaman style vegetable curry

Some day I must really learn to take better photos of food - main problem is, I just want to eat it straight away!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

A little V&A

We went up to the V&A to check out the David Bowie exhibit (except my mother, who doesn't care about David Bowie, but loves the V&A anyway) - and while I can't share any photos from the exhibit (none allowed) we also spent a little time browsing some other bits of the museum.  I've been to the V&A many times, and try hard to resist the temptation to always end up in the same areas, so this time, we headed for an area I haven't been in too many times - the rooms which comprise the Britian 1500-1760 part of the collection.  It's hard to photograph things behind glass, I think, though I did take some photos anyway, but I loved this layout, with the bust admiring itself in the mirror while the little cherubs looked on...

We also checked out the recently redeveloped fashion gallery and saw some of the oriental art in the long corridor which leads to it from the information desk. I liked these little guys - reminded me of Hare Krishnas. 

This was a nice jeweled ornament.

And this chap managed to be friendly and impressive at the same time. I have dozens more photos, but I'll spare you the bulk of them - most are small details of things I like - some of them even in focus!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Dinner, 8/4/13: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad; Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil

Heading around to a friend's house shortly for a birthday pot-luck dinner - this is a salad which we all love (and which is easy and vegetarian, which will suit another friend who is also coming).  And just because I was at the Farmers' Market this weekend and picked up some excellent tomatoes, I also made the easiest dish in the world - tomato, mozzarella and basil salad. A little slicing, a little arranging and hey presto: summer on a plate. Now if only the weather would start living up to this dish...

Spring onion, cheshire cheese and mustard scone wedges

A little mid-afternoon holiday baking. Just as things should be.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Dinner, 7/4/13: Spring Feast

We had friends around to lunch today, so there was feasting. Rack of lamb from the farmers' market (forgot to photograph before I carved it) 

which was lovely, as usual. 

Creamy garlicy potatoes,

slow-cooked leeks in wine and butter,

Chantenay carrots 

and peas and lettuce (looks like they are swimming in cream - it's mainly stock, only a little cream in the dish - not quite as indulgent as it seems!).

There was also a key lime pie for dessert, but I forgot to take a photo of that. Oh well!