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This is a fantastic new website with a map tool to help you find ‘real bread’ and locally produced flour near you. Just pop in your postcode and it shows you places nearby that sell high quality bread and local flour.
Here’s my map (click on it for a larger version):
There’s some places I’ve not heard of before that I’d like to go, and there’s some places that I knew baked their own bread, but I didn’t know how good they were at sourcing local ingredients. This website gives you a series of ‘ticks’ for most places next to each of their loaves of bread.
The Smokehouse near us looks like this (click on it for a larger version)…
Spend two and a half minutes watching this short film about how community vegetable gardening is helping those caught up in the Balkan wars. Read about it here on the Ecologist website.
Isn’t this miniature food ring so cute?! I love this one with its tiny cup of tea and mini chocolate chip scone – so sweet. You can find them here at the SouZouCreations shop on Etsy.
Dinner tonight was in a hurry – thankfully just the making part, the eating was a little more relaxed. We made a trout, pea and chive pasta with a silky coating of creme fraiche.
First I steamed the trout fillets and then used the pan of water to cook the pasta and peas together. The pasta we used was a small-ish tube cross shell – perfect for scooping up the peas!
Once the pasta was cooked and drained, I used some of the reserved cooking water to thin out the creme fraiche into a nice sauce. Into this went the chopped chives, then the peas and pasta. The final step was to season with salt and pepper and stir through the flakes of trout.
It tasted even better than I hoped, definitely one to make again. Is anyone else suffering from work and life overload and struggling to feed themselves well? I feel like I’m living on bread and dairy at the moment, and I long for the salads and fresh dinners of summer sat on the patio.
Perhaps I am averse to change or becoming a bit of a fuddy-duddy, but I didn’t like the new version of Masterchef that hit our screens last night. It might not be fair of me to pass judgement when I switched off after the first contestant was handed his apron – so you’ll see I’ve hardly watched any of it, but I just didn’t enjoy those first 5 minutes.
Did anyone else feel the same? The first thing that turned me off was the new sleek kitchen – the dark finish, clinical feel, and row after row of kitchen stations – it felt so unfriendly!
And where has the good old fashioned invention test gone? In the few minutes I saw John and Greg, who I think are great, seemed very staged…”One minute,” says Greg, “this decision has to be unanimous.”
It felt like X-Factor for food. I miss the old friendly, bright white kitchen, the invention test with, those embarrassing moments when someone has come up with something truly awful and had you shouting at the telly, “How did they get through the auditions?!”
The ‘new’ Masterchef feels unfamiliar and for me less enjoyable. It seems they have created a new TV cookery competition, but called it Masterchef, when it really isn’t.
What do you think? Did it get better after the first 5 minutes? Should I make myself sit down and push through everything I hate about it to get to the good stuff? Or do you share in my sadness?
We are spending the weekend in the Cotswolds with my family, and popped into The Organic Farm Shop. On the road in there is a wooden area with a lovely family of piggies rooting about beneath the trees.
After calling to them, two little piglets trotted over to investigate – they reminded me of the two pigs in Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Pigling Bland.
They were so gorgeous with their pink snouts smudged with rust coloured earth, their cheerful grunting and inquisitive eyes.
But they soon got bored and pottered off to find good patches of soil to snuffle in.
These two were sat in a dip, one sprawled out, the other on its haunches, enjoying the afternoon sun and licking each other – how I wish I had a better zoom at times like these!
A last parting picture of one of these lovely piggies…
When it comes to pasta bakes, I’m usually pretty unadventurous – favouring a simple tomato sauce and lumps of fresh mozzarella or the grated version. Cooked until the cheese top is golden and crisp.
Last night I decided we needed a bit of a shake up. Still featuring lots of cheese, of course, I made a cheesy broccoli pasta bake. So simple, and yet it tasted nicer than I thought it would.
Heat your oven up to about 180 – 200°C. Cut the broccoli up into bite-sized pieces. Pop a pan of water onto boil and add your pasta.
You want to just undercook the pasta (it carries on cooking in the oven), and add the broccoli for the last few minutes to cook a little. Drain the pasta and the broccoli.
While the pasta is cooking, make a cheese sauce. I use equal amounts of butter and flour to make a roux, then add hot milk a bit at a time, and stir like mad with a whisk to keep it smooth. Bring to the boil and keep whisking – this was my job when I was growing up.
Add lots of grated mature Cheddar to the sauce and stir in until melted. Pour the cheese sauce over the drained pasta and broccoli and mix together.
Put the whole lot into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over an extra bit of grated cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden and bubbling.
I would pop this firmly in the category of ‘Comfort Food’. Good for cold wintery nights or when you’re feeling low. This is food that hugs you.