Put A Spring In Your Step With A Spring Frittata Recipe

Asparagus is in ample supply at the moment which is splendid as it’s so delicious! Inspired by this joyous arrival of asparagus and the need to use up some eggs we were kindly given I have come up with the … Continue reading

A Long Lost Time Influences Our Designs Today.

I have always been hugely interested and inspired by studio pottery, the likes of Lucie Rie and Hans Coper. This interest has developed with a love of Scandinavian ceramics and textile design particularly those influential in the Mid-century  Modern period. As a vintage dealer I am always … Continue reading

An Edible Bloom

I have just clambered out of the pile of courgettes our garden has produced, it’s amazing there are more and more everyday, it’s all very exciting! I especially love the vibrant orangy, yellow flowers, they are quite striking! and of course edible, which is wonderful news, living on a shoe string budget at the moment makes any food we can grow ourselves very pleasing and so very helpful.

After reading up on some delicious sounding recipes for some inspiration on how to make a scrummy dinner out of these fabulous blooms, I came up with the following, adapting some of the recipes slightly to fit what we had in the fridge:

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Makes a great starter or lovely as an accompaniment to fish, serves 2:

Ingredients:

6 to 8 courgette flowers (depends how hungry you are, in our house we tend to always eat lots!)

4 0z soft Goats cheese

Good handful of a mixture of fresh herbs (depending on what you have, but the following are great, basil, mint, oregano, thyme or parsley)

1 egg

100g plain flour

Salt and pepper

5 tbsp Olive oil (you may need more, this is for frying, if the frying pan becomes dry just add more oil)

Method:

  1. Pick your selection of flowers, then just open them up gently and remove the stamen and any rogue bug that might be hiding in there.
  2. Chop up your selection of herbs nice and finely and then in a bowl mash up the cheese and mix in the herbs, so you have a paste.
  3. Then gently open up the flowers and fill each one with the cheese mixture then just twist the top of them closed.
  4. In a separate bowl crack in the egg and whisk up, then stir in the flour and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Dip each flower into the egg and flour mixture and then heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.
  6. Once the oil is piping hot, just throw in your flowers and keep turning them over coating them in the olive oil and until each side is a golden brown and lovely and crispy. Then dig in whilst still nice and warm.

I hope you get a chance to try this out and hope you enjoy it, bon appetit!

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Blooms, Stripes And A Harvest – The World Of The London Escape Artist

Summer is here, although that is a dubious concept with all the April type showers we are having, it can be very confusing when you go out in shorts in the morning to bright sunshine and two hours later you are desperately trying to find shelter from a torrential down pour, I can’t say I am enjoying the unpredictability, but I can say our new garden is enjoying every minute, and has come on a storm.

When we left London to move to Harwich I was determined to get stuck into the garden and try to grow some of our own food to help with our cost of living abit. So one of the first things I started to do when we moved in, in March was to start sussing out what seeds I could set about planting. We are abit limited on space so I decided to go for a select few fruit and vegetables for this year to see how we get on. Broad beans, carrots, courgettes, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries and a nice selection of herbs made the list.

A few were hardy enough to plant straight into the ground – so the broad beans and carrots went straight into the soil in the garden in late March, whilst the courgettes and tomatoes were planted up in the sheds to keep warm until some warmer weather ensued. I waited with baited breath, checking every day in the hope of a sign of a youthful shoot, it took a few weeks when finally there were signs of life as excitingly the seeds started sprouting and our vegetable garden dream was beginning to become a reality.

A Broad bean sprouting…..

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Once the tomatoes and courgettes were of a fairly substantial size and able to hopefully withstand any bouts of cold or slug and snail attacks (seaweed by the way is a great way to keep away slugs and snails, just put it around the base of the plant as in the above picture) I put these outside in their designated spots. They are coming on a storm and we have had our first few harvests of lettuce, courgettes and broad beans, a joyous moment indeed and it’s great thinking up recipes to make the most of all this fresh veg.

Courgette flowers in full bloom…..

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Lettuce and broad beans in all their glory…

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Our first harvest of broad beans and courgettes, love the colours….

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A Spanish inspired tomato salad with fresh oregano and thyme from the garden…..

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Oodles of oregano and our thyme in full bloom….for all time…

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And a fresh salad with our delicious fresh lettuce from the garden…..

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Strawberries making an appearance just in time for Wimbledon….

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I also decided we needed to introduce some splashes of colour into the garden with some blooms and some stripes. Some of my favourite flowers are poppies and sweet peas so I planted handfuls of seeds and waited excitedly for them to start to bloom; and was over the moon when they all started to come out….

Poppies in bloom…..

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Sweet peas in bloom….

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A bouquet of blooms…..

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Inspired by the beach huts on our nearby beach I thought it only fair to give our little sheds a bit of a revamp, armed with a paint brush they were adorned with green and white stripes. Much to The Woodfashioner’s amusement I think I actually covered myself in more of the paint.

Shed transformation…..

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Here they are with their stripes…

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I am still waiting on our garlic and carrots to ripen ready for harvest, exciting times still ahead. I have many more ideas for next year and am so looking forward to coming up with some new recipes to try out our fresh vegetables and fruit which I will be sure to share with you. But for now, with all this rain there is some weeding to do, so bye for now and see you all again soon….. have a great weekend!

Blowing Away The Cobwebs And Grayson Perry’s House

Last weekend with a house full of dear friends from my old job we decided to explore the local area around Harwich, and despite a rather heavy night fueled with Prosecco and red wine we embarked on an 8 mile walk from Harwich to Wrabness, in the hope that the fresh sea air would blow away the cobwebs (that it did). We had heard great things about Wrabness and were very excited by the prospect that it was home to Grayson Perry’s illustrious house, so what better carrot to have dangled in front of us as we set about the challenge ahead.

We started off in Old Harwich…

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where we quickly stumbled across this lovely old book shop, at this rate this walk could take a while!

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Distraction over, the walk then takes you along the seafront along to Dovercourt Beach, a white sand, blue flag beach, with pretty beach huts lining the way – much of the time was spent picking out our favourite, a hard choice let me tell you.

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These two we my favourite after lots of thought…

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The course then takes a more wild route across marsh land reminiscent of the beautiful Norfolk broads.

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The Essex Way as it’s called, which was swapped around many a time along the route to the well known phrase “The Only Way Is Essex” then steers you up across farmland and fields, at this time of year awash with startling splashes of yellow from the crops of rape seed along with pretty dandelion clocks. Occasionally we were met by a friendly horse bounding over in the hope of a free snack.

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You are then met with the pretty village of Ramsey complete with pub The Castle, but after our rather heavy night it was unanimous a pub could not be stomached at this point in time and we must crack on with the promise of fish and chips at the end.

The path then creeps up from Ramsey until you find yourself in field land peering back over Ramsey windmill. Through fields of wild flowers, lined with hedgerows that promise great blackberry harvests in the Autumn you then meet Wrabness wood. A welcome contrast from the openness and head wind and we found ourselves in an enchanted enclave, filled with carpets of bluebells and snow drops.

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As you meander through the wood you suddenly become aware you are alongside the Stour Estuary, idyllic for all kinds of bird and nature watching.

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With sore feet and the start of rumbling tummies we were elated to catch a glimpse of the top of Grayson Perry’s house.

As we finished the last few steps along the estuary the path then takes a sharp left and leads you up the hill to Black Boy Lane and the location of Grayson Perry’s House.

Where you are met with this…..

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A House For Essex was designed by Grayson Perry (one of the UK’s leading contemporary artists, winning the Turner Prize in 2003) and FAT Architecture It is both an artwork in itself and the setting for a number of works by Grayson Perry exploring the special character and unique qualities of Essex. The building has been designed to evoke a tradition of wayside and pilgrimage chapels. It belongs to a history of follies, whilst also being deeply of its own time. The house itself doesn’t attempt to blend in with or copy local buildings in the village of Wrabness, instead it stands alone as a unique addition to the countryside. However it remains sympathetic to the site and the area’s sense of remoteness. For example, hand-made tiles relate tonally to the landscape while the building’s simple pitched roof forms echo simple agricultural buildings and farmhouses.

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According to Chelmsford born Perry the house is ‘inspired by follies, eccentric homes, shrines and fairy tales. More precisely, though, it’s inspired by a woman called Julie. Born in Canvey Island in 1953, she married refinery worker Dave in her youth and had two children by him before an affair ended their marriage. She subsequently wed Rob, who commissioned this ornate house in her memory after she was knocked down and killed by a curry delivery driver in Colchester.’ It really is quite extraordinary and finished off our beautiful walk nicely along with the promise of fish and chips after the train ride back to Harwich, it was unanimous there would be no round walking trip back!

Our Feathered Friend – Arthur

Yesterday was spent selling at Spitalfields Market, which is always a great day out, but yesterday was particularly special as I found our new addition to the home, a feathered friend. I have always wanted to own a piece of taxidermy and yesterday I  met Phil – Spitalfields Taxidermy who made it all possible. The Woodfashioner (my boyfriend Alf) is a little sceptical and not such a fan as I of this creative art form, but I have felt for a while I home was in need of just a small piece, so when I saw this fella yesterday I couldn’t resist, he was coming home with me.

We have named him Arthur, and here is our first piece of taxidermy and our latest vintage addition to our new home…..

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and here’s Arthur in situ, he’s definitely going to make me smile every morning….

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Be sure to check out Phil’s website and instagram page, so many wonderful things, I also fell in love with the peacock, so stunning! But for now Arthur is just fine.

FINGER LINKIN CHICKEN SALAD. A RECIPE IDEA ON A SHOE STRING BUDGET

With our new life in Harwich and my new vintage dealer “full time status,” life can be a little frugal at times. It’s a wonderful way of life but the belt buckles have to be tightened and we are having to get more creative with our recipe ideas to make food go further. This is great fun and very satisfying when you create something delicious yet on a shoe string budget.

This week my new recipe idea is ‘Finger Linkin Chicken Salad’ which I thought I would share with you. This is great as you can get two meals out of one, we managed to pick up a reduced chicken which we roasted on Sunday for lunch along with some roast potatoes and a green salad with lettuce picked from our garden so was a nice cheap, yet scrummy meal. We always have some chicken left over from a whole one as there is only two of us, so this is where ‘Finger Linkin Chicken Salad’ comes into its own.

Finger Linkin Chicken Salad:

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Serves 4:

Ingredients:

4-6 handfuls of roast chicken meat and the wings if you didn’t devour them first time round

3 cloves of garlic

salt

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

A tablespoon of tomato ketchup

A tablespoon of grain mustard or smooth is fine too

2 cm piece of ginger finely chopped

Back pepper to season

Drizzle of olive oil

For The Salad:

4 handfuls Rocket leaves or lettuce (either is fine)

1 orange

1 grapefruit

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  2. Strip the cooked meat from the chicken.

  3. Peel the garlic and add to a pestle and mortar along with a generous pinch of salt. Grind down until almost a paste, tip into an oven proof bowl and stir in the honey, soy sauce, chilli sauce, ketchup, mustard and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with some black pepper, then add the chicken  meat. Toss gently then bake for 20 minutes, or until the meat is glistening.

  4. While it’s cooking away you can make the salad. Peel the oranges and grapefruit, then slice thinly. Toss into a salad bowl with the rocket or lettuce leaves.

  5. To serve, pile the hot chicken onto the salad and serve.

If you give it a try I hope you enjoy it. It’s perfect for a light summer dinner or if you want to make it a little more substantial it’s lovely served on top of rice all the juices soak into the rice, delicious!

Bon Appétit!

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