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Kefir berry smoothie

So, my kefir making is going well – yey!  I haven’t killed it off!  I was worried that I wasn’t going to do well with it as it requires a little bit of love each day, but I actually enjoy taking care of it.

You might have seen my first post when I received my kefir grains in the post, well since then I’ve been nurturing each evening and this is what it looks like…

Kefir before straining

Each evening when I come to open my jar of grains and milk it looks something like the above.  I think because the weather has been so warm it’s been splitting more than normal, but I just ignore its looks and get on with it.

You might imagine that raw milk that’s been sat in a jar on the counter top for 24 hours would smell pretty rank – but it doesn’t.  I’ve even had some raw milk out on the side for a few days to make it sour (great for making soda bread I’ve read) and I was convinced there would be that terrible ‘gone-off’ milk smell I’m sure we’re all familiar with – but no, barely a smell at all, just a hint of sourness.

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We are busy picking platefuls of raspberries, loganberries and strawberries from our garden.  The first of the raspberries appeared at the end of June, which seemed really early to me – anyone else finding that their raspberries are out earlier this year?

For all the cursing I do during the year about the raspberry canes that pop up in all the wrong places (like the middle of my raised veg beds!), and all the promises I make to pull out all of them over the winter, I can’t help but leave them when we get such a bounty during the summer.

The strawberries have all but disappeared from their original location (overtaken by the raspberries) but have sprung up in unlikely places.  If you pull back their parasol shaped leaves you discover lots of very sweet fruits – a wonderful surprise.

The loganberries are prolific growing over an archway, but I find if I don’t pick them in time many of them that still look ok have yucky little white maggot/caterpillas inside them – those ones go on the bird table.

We have too many raspberries and loganberries at the moment to eat, so I bung them in the freezer until a time when we have enough to maybe make some jam.  The strawberries are fewer so those we are eating.

I have had a thumping headache all day, so feeling sorry for myself.  Thought I’d try and cheer myself up and share with you another of my favourite foodie website. 


Image: Design Sponge

Design Sponge may not immediately seem like a haven for fantastic recipes, but they do a great feature called ‘in the kitchen with…’ and as a result have a fab and varied selection of recipes. 

This recipe for Homemade crumpets with fruit curd from Rachel Khoo just sound divine – I have always wanted to try making homemade crumpets and seeing this recipe at Design Sponge has reminded me that I must make time to have a go.

These are the last of the berries from my garden: blackcurrants, raspberries and loganberries.  Although there are a few loganberries still ripening, the raspberries and blackcurrants are all but finished. 

We’re heading off to Yorkshire this weekend to visit Mr Rigg’s family and be joined by my parents.  A restful few days awaits and someone else to do the cooking – and very good cooking it is. 

I will pop this small bowlful of berries into the freezer, and cook with them over the coming weeks (at least that’s the plan!). 

Whilst picking the berries I was dreaming up different ideas of what I could do with them, and my favourite idea so far is a sort of late summer berry crumble or pie

I have spotted blackberries turning deep purple in the hedgerows, so think supplemented with a few of these a crumble or pie would be lovely.  Plus we have a tub of homemade clotted cream ice cream to finish.

Is anyone else starting to feel that summer is waning and autumn is approaching?  Maybe it’s just the warm, wet and windy weather we have had recently in our part of England that has awakened a longing for stews and pies.

Have a lovely weekend and I hope to be back afresh next week to catch up on all that I’ve promised to post – this week has been unnaturally busy and I’ve barely had a chance to breathe.

This is what my vegetable patch is looking like at the moment.  All a bit overgrown and jungle-like. 

Last week Mr Rigg and I cleared out some of the raised beds – a row of flowering radish, pea plants that had finished podding, some gangly borage plants growing from the pathways, and lettuce that was beginning to go to seed. 

You can see in the back corner my raspberry bushes…from the photo they look like a huge sagging mess.  Well they are, but they are laden with huge juicy raspberries so I’m not complaing too much – not even about their suckers that are coming up everywhere!

I also had to show off a couple of pictures of my ‘loganberry arch’.  Mr Rigg’s parents have a gorgeous loganberry plant growing over a pergola – so I copied them, just on a smaller scale.  Loganberries are a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry and grow very vigorously. 

Mine is growing up over the arch from our garden into the vegetable patch.  I’m also growing a purple clematis up the otherside – you can see the first flower in the picture below – so exciting!

With my head full of thoughts of food for the week ahead, I thought I would start with a quick weekend round-up. 

Friday saw more of Mr Rigg’s incredibly good homemade pizza topped with buffalo mozzarella, Serrano ham and rocket.  An unbeatable favourite.

On Saturday we spent lunchtime collecting a HUGE tub of homegrown raspberries at the bottom of the garden.  I am amazed by how many there were – and there are still lots more to come that are ripening.

Mr Rigg and I made some of our delicious homemade granola – I will definitely post more on this as it’s a staple in our house and best enjoyed on a base of plain yoghurt and fruit purée (even the purée was homemade this time!).

Last night we ate an omelette with eggs from Abbey Leys filled with grated yellow courgette, baby plum tomatoes and shredded roast ham.

Packed lunches for this week include bitter lettuce and pea soup - an excellent (if slightly grassy tasting) way to use up the garden lettuce that is beginning to go to flower.   Toasted pitta bread with lashings of goat’s butter is needed in my opinion to help this soup go down…!

Tonight we made a Nigel Slater inspired grilled tomato pasta sauce with roasted tomatoes, garlic and a dash of cream.  He is a genius.

We must also use up the gorgeous local gooseberries we bought to make gooseberry fool.  They are blushed a claret red so should make a deep coloured fool.

And for the week ahead – maybe a chicken tagine with fennel and preserved lemon and homemade blackcurrant cordial.  A plan is needed and some shopping doing.

So following on from my weekend (last week) with my family and then the little sister, this is what we got up to when she came to stay…

We made French toast or eggy bread.  The little sister had hers with cinnamon sugar and I added some crushed (and homegrown!) raspberries to mine…

We made ‘cheats’ wraps – seed flecked tortilla wraps filled with Moroccan style hummous, sweet potato falafel and homegrown lettuce.  Sadly only the salad was homegrown…

We also had a delicious girlie lunch at Tampopo (the little sister’s favourite) – we shared Vietnamese goi cuon, she ate yaki udon noodles and I ate pad Thai.  Sadly we ate it all too quickly and there are no photos to show for these delicious dishes.

However, we also grabbed some lunch from Selfridges which I did snap a few quick photos of before we devoured it.  A selection of Indian delights and a pesto, mushroom and cheese pretzel and a mango smoothie to share…

A vegetarian breakfast for a hungry sister – a fried egg, sunny-side up with diced vegetarian sausage…

As part of her final parting dinner we did a baked Camembert eaten with crusty white bread that we picked up at the Abbey Leys farmer’s market.  Recipe for how to bake Camembert (it’s really easy) here.

We also made to-die-for cookies.  These are Hugh’s 10 minute cookies from his River Cottage Everyday recipe book, and they are everything you want from a cookie.  They are moist in places but crispy in others, chewy, sweet, and bittersweet with dark chocolate…

And finally, just before we left to pop her on a train home, we whipped up a quick quesadilla.  Two tortillas pan fried in a little oil with grated cheddar cheese and chopped cherry tomatoes sandwiched in the middle…

I miss you little sister!

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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