Saturday, 29 September 2012

Green tomatoes, room re-jigs and more cake

Summer is well and truly gone.  Me and the kiddos picked every last green tom from our two sun starved plants.  Even the tiny wee hard green acorn sized ones! We then made some green tomato chutney- loosely based on Nigel Slater's recipe- which you can find here.  I added a teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, turmeric and 3 teaspoons of nigella seeds- oh and one of my Dads very hot red chillies that I have stowed away in the freezer.  It came out really well and as my beloved Laurie says chutney is 'practically foolproof, it is always good and hard to ruin'.  Mine yielded two and a half good sized jars and is more akin to mango chutney with the spicing I added.  It made us feel really good to make something out of our unripe and destined for the compost heap crop.

Change around up stairs with the single bed moved from its storage place in the wee ones room to the boys room- his small wooden bed put away until the bubba moves out her cot.  She is quite taken with having some room to play and there are a lot of tea parties both real and imaginary going on in this little space.

The final of four family birthdays that happen for us in September- my husband's and after a busy, busy week that raced by at break neck speed this amazingly easy but super tasty chocolate cake saved my life- find it below;

Karen Edward's version of Buttermilk Cocoa Cake

1. Preheat oven to 350f and butter and flour a 9 by 2 inch round cake pan (or a heart one is like me you bought one specifically to make Nigella's heart cake.....)
2. Mix together 1 3/4 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
3. To these dry ingredients add 1 cup of buttermilk, 1/2 cup rapeseed oil or melted butter and two teaspoons of vanilla. Mix together.
4. Turn batter into cake pan and bake in middle of oven for 30 mins until a tester comes out clean.

(this is take from the essay Three Chocolate Cakes' in More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin. I used the American cup measure and it worked perfectly)

Sunday, 23 September 2012


Really thankful for a night out in the capital city with friends, and a much needed bit of time on our own as well.  Being, well, being just us.  We ended the night here in Sofi's.  For years now I have pressed my nose against the bus window going to and from work, looking at this cool, and totally unexpected little place in Leith.

So a nightcap last night of a beautiful glass of chilled NZ Sauv Blanc, with this playing in the background was pretty perfect.  After 15 years together there is still no-one I would rather sit and have a drink with than my other half.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Kate's Pie

This post is for my friend Kate- she has a brilliant food blog- West End Maw.  Kate is indeed a maw of two wee boys and a pretty incredible woman.  Not least she is a great writer, and her cooking and recipe choice is making me really happy these days.  Her most recent post is a hearty chilli to warm these first days of Autumn- check it out.

This recipe came to me via my Mum who copied it out of a magazine for me because it had everything in it my often fussy kiddos like to eat- mince, sweetcorn, hard boiled eggs, white sauce and puff pastry.  The magazine gave no clue to the origin of this recipe and after a bit of googling I found out it was from a little book published in the 80's by Josceline Dimbleby for Sainsburys called 'Marvellous Meals with Mince'. I sourced it on Ebay and was delighted to see the original recipe and read its full provenance.  I know it sounds a  little odd but it is damn tasty and my little ones devoured it!

Here it is reproduced from the book- Kate's Pie for Kate- only slight changes by me.

Kate's Pie- Marvellous Meals with Mince by Josceline Dimbleby

My youngest Kate always loved pies. For weeks I had been working on recipes for this book and every evening her suppers had been made up of rather exotic experiments. 'I just want a pie' she begged. So I made her this one, a sort of Southern pie; beef with a slight bite of chilli mixed with eggs and sweetcorn, topped with a fresh parley sauce and puff pastry.  She liked it, so did her friends and so did the 'grown ups'.

A little Olive oil for frying
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder ( I also add 1/2 teaspoon of thyme often used in Southern cooking, Gumbos etc)
450 g minced beef/chicken/turkey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 oz frozen or tinned sweetcorn
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2 oz butter
1 oz plain flour
1 pint of milk
handful of fresh parsley chopped
sheet of ready rolled reduced fat puff pastry
milk for glazing

gas mark 7, 220c

Add oil to frying pan then fry garlic, add minced meat and chilli powder.  Break up mince with a wooden spoon until meat has separated and browned slightly.  Add tomato puree and season to taste.  Add the sweetcorn and chopped eggs and add to a shallow over dish.

Melt butter, stir in flour to make roux, slowly add the milk, bring to the boil, stirring to stop lumps. Remove from heat and season to taste and add parsley. Pour over the mince- leave to cool.

Unroll the pastry and put over the pie- closing the edges with a fork or pinch with your fingers.  Brush over milk as a glaze and cook the pie just above the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Phewwww busy round here this last wee while.  My two bundles have birthdays just 90 minutes apart so we can still get away with joint celebrations.  This year we started off with a lovely family party with lots of yummy food and cake. The Hansel and Gretel cake was a big hit with big and small people.  It has always been, although admittedly a wee bit scary, a fairytale I like.  Big up the kids for getting rid of the witch, and unusually its the girl that triumphs over evil (Gretel sees of the witch)! Anyway that is all besides the point for the kiddos- the point being lashings of butter-cream and, well tons of sweets.  No harm done for a days celebration.  A small soft play party for their friends on Sunday rounded the celebrations off nicely and the best bit no clearing up afterwards!

Back to a bit regular posting soon, Jo xx

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Retro China Fix

Its been too long right? A good friend surprised me with the cups and jug a few weeks ago. Great finds and a very much appreciated gift.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Loch Lomond

This was last weekend- my folks were staying at this lodge at Loch Lomond. The most Amazing setting, right on the lochside. Breathtakingly beautiful.  We were all tired, grumpy and some of us with cold but the loch worked its magic.

We started the week just a little bit more refreshed. Jxx

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Our Table

Finally I got our table.  When we moved into this wreck of a house 8 years ago we opted for a sleek glass, wood and chrome affair.  Always, always in the back of my mind was the thought that it wasn't us, or the family we would become.  I dressed it up with oilcloth for the wee ones but they banged their heads on glass corners that were invisible to toddlers, they bashed toys and forks into its unforgiving glossiness- meanwhile I coveted big, bashed up farmhouse tables.

11 for Christmas made us act and now in all its trashed glory, which we love, our wooden dining table is here.  It has already seen a family grow up around it and here it is in our home to observe another.