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I am so happy to be back in my little blog home – it has been far too long and I have missed sharing my food adventures.

Since getting engaged back in September 2009, we have been steadily planning and preparing for our wedding.  As the date drew nearer – 21st May 2011 – I have just had little time to do much else (whilst juggling it along with my job and my website).

Here’s a picture of some of the cakes our family and friends made for our wedding – the big white one in the middle so beautiful decorated was made by my Granny!

To save me rambling on for too long, I’m going to do some bullets of what’s been going on in our lives for the past few months I’ve been missing from here, and then aim to follow with a nice post and recipe for a fab barbecue we had over the weekend:

  • Most importantly – we got married!  On 21st May 2011, I married Mr Rigg in my home village in Gloucestershire – we had a beautiful, rustic country wedding, with a party in my parent’s garden, lots of local cider and perry, AMAZING food (lots of it local) and just an all round fab day.  If you’re at all interested, photos and details will follow on my website.
  • We honeymooned in an incredible Canopy & Star’s hideaway for a week and took Buddy with us (more details and hopefully a couple of foodie posts on this to follow).
  • Sadly, Mr Rigg’s lovely Granny who was always so interested in what we were doing passed away.
  • After spending an exorbitant amount of time and effort getting our allotment covered in manure and getting rid of all the weeds over the winter…we have neglected it and it is now overrun with weeds – we are totally and utterly the worst looking allotment – gutted.
  • Although we haven’t got a lot growing (and the radishes all matured as we headed south for our wedding), we have got a couple of healthy pea plants, some small beetroot seedlings, potatoes growing (only just!) and quite a few courgette, squash and pumpkin plants.

I am just so happy to ‘be back’ and can’t wait to get growing and cooking some decent food – and to share it all!  I’ll leave you with a picture of my overgrown garden…

I so desperately want to have the time to write here again – I have a camera full of photos and lots I would love to share, I just don’t have the time.  I think I might pop!

We have, however, managed to plant some seeds last weekend – carrots, salad leaves, beetroot, radish, parsley, and peas…and today we spotted the first green pea shoots poking through!  So exciting!

Our Christmas day morning was spent munching on some of the best bought buttery croissants (from Waitrose) topped with generous spoonfuls of our homemade strawberry jam.  And if you’re me, an extra helping of butter.

Then we helped Buddy open his stocking – our first Christmas with him – and he was so funny.  He was so interested as Mr Rigg began to open the bag of goodies…

perhaps not so keen on the silly Father Christmas hat and scarf chosen by me…

…but he does love his new friend Mr Pheasant…

…especially when you squeeze him and he honks …

Ah, the joys of Christmas with animals!

For Christmas Eve dinner we like to eat a baked Camembert and nothing else.  It is pure indulgence and feels very wicked, but it is a tradition of our own making and it feels like something special.

We bake the Camembert in its box – just take the lid off and pull open the paper.  This time I scored the cheese with a cross, added a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a garlic clove, sliced in half and wedged into the cut cheese. 

After about 15-20 minutes it comes out as gooey liquid cheese encased in its rind – which is my favourite part of it.  It goes a bit crispy but chewy at the same time.

Usually we just have a bowl of rustic bread, roughly cut into hunks to dip into the cheese.  This year we also opened a jar of Real Ale chutney to go with it. 

Although I can be a purist when it comes to dishes like this, refusing to dilute the taste of hot runny cheese and bread, I must admit a dab of chutney with it was delicious.

We ate it in front of a cosy log fire…

Does anyone else have Christmas traditions they’ve created for themselves?

Mr Rigg is home from work, we’ve got the Christmas carol’s on, the Camembert is out of the fridge ready for tonight’s baked Camembert cheese fondue, and I am feeling tremendously Christmassy.

Our night before Christmas involves eating a lot of gooey cheese with chunks of sourdough bread and going to midnight mass at our favourite little village church in Dunham Massey.  And we have snow.

Wishing everyone a very happy night before Christmas!

Image: Pretty Little Green Things

If you ignore the peeling paint in the back of the room (our house is still very much a work in progress) our house is looking quite Christmassy. 

I have hung ivy and holly from most of the pictures, the staircase is wrapped in yet more ivy, the tree is decorated and sparkling, and the mantlepiece is twinkling with jam jars of tealights amongst fir branches.

Today I did the first part of my Christmas food shop – my bags were full of goodies…Morecambe Bay potted shrimp…herb encrusted salami…Wensleydale cheese studded with cranberries…and a few things I can’t mention as they’re for Mr Rigg’s stocking..ssh!

I love Christmas.

Today we have been trying to finish off our wedding invitations, but we also managed to go for a lovely long walk along the canal and lanes near our house.  It was pretty nippy but beautiful crisp blue skies.

Scenes from our walk…

A gorgeous horse caught in the sunlight…

The canal all frozen over…

A cute tiny cottage…

Seeds in the hedge twinkly with frost…

Now it’s time to huddle up by a cosy log fire and keep warm.  Hope everyone else has had a happy weekend.

My new camera makes the pretty things in my kitchen look much lovelier.  Our kitchen is a bit shabby around the edges (it’s a work in progress) and before now any pictures of the eclectic collection that fill my shelves have looked a bit blah.

Now my pretty collection of vintage finds can shine bit.  Here’s a short walk around my kitchen…

A small selection of jugs – I just love jugs…

Pretty metal jelly moulds, glass cake stands, and vintage crockery.  Plus an adorable stoneware pot adorned with a picture of a cute cow…

And possibly my favourite find of all…a set of incredibly beautiful French Parfait jars and bottles, illustrated with geese in the snow and pale blue lids…

I don’t know if anyone else finds this interesting…but am happy to continue snapping my carboot and junk shop treasures…I have quite a few littered around the house.  Does anyone else love collecting lovely old things?  Let me know what you think.

Last night we had the first fire of the season in our wood burning stove.  It was such a treat to bring the logs in and curl up on the sofa by the fire.

We also made a delicious dinner from one of my favourite recipe books (it must seem like I have a lot of favourites!) – the Complete Traditional Recipe Book from the National Trust.

It was a Hobbler’s Seafood Pie – a so simple fish pie with rich creamy sauce and mash potato topping.  Many of you readers will know that my camera’s broken, so I have included a photo of what it looks like in the recipe book – ours wasn’t far off!

Here’s my version with a couple of tweaks to the original recipe…

Hobbler’s Seafood Pie

Feeds 2 with enough leftovers for a light lunch

6 oz white fish (we used Coley)
2 oz prawns
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 oz butter
1 oz plain flour
150ml milk
150ml fish stock
salt and pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
mashed potato to cover (add grated cheese for added luxury!)

*Note: use the best fish stock you can – obviously the best would be homemade, but we used ready-made fish stock from Waitrose (not the stuff in the fridge, but in the cooking ingredients section) and it made a great rich tasting sauce.

Put your potatoes onto boil – once tender drain, mash and add some grated cheddar.

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Into your pie dish, cut the fish into largeish chunks.  Scatter over the prawns and parsley.

Now make your white sauce: heat the milk and fish stock until warm.  In a separate pan melt the butter, then stir in the flour.  Cook for about 3 minutes stirring all the time.  Stir in the warm milk mixture a little at a time, stirring all the while.  Beat your sauce and bring to the boil – I read that the harder you beat your sauce the smoother it will be.

Once your sauce has come to the boil, turn it down and cook it a little longer whilst beating it.  Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and grate in some nutmeg.

Pour the sauce over your fish and prawns, then top with the mashed potato – fluff up with a fork and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden on top.

Mr Rigg is nurturing a monster in our garden…

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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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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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