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Tonight we tried one of Hugh’s latest recipes – his version of pot noodle with spicy chorizo, spring onions and fennel seeds. 

It’s really simple.  In a bowl you pop dried egg noodles, chopped chorizo, sliced spring onions and crushed fennel seeds.  To make this less pot noodle lunchtime snack and more dinner for two, I lightly fried the chorizo and crushed fennel seeds, and half the spring onions.  Just to soften them a little.

The recipe then tells you to pour enough boiling water over the noodles, and stir in tomato passata that has been well seasoned with salt and pepper.  Then you leave it for 5-6 minutes.  We did this, but found that the noodles didn’t quite cook enough and the sauce was lukewarm by the time we came to eat it.

So we transferred everything to a pan and heated it up.  I added a good-sized spoonful of sundried tomato paste which gave a depth of flavour.  Lastly we stirred through some chopped flat leaf parsley from the garden.

All in all it was a pretty tasty and good dinner with a few little tweaks – really a delicious bowl of soupy noodles, spicy with chorizo and fragrant with fennel.

Spanish style chorizo and spring onion noodles

Feeds 2

2 nests of egg noodles
60g chorizo
8 spring onions
200ml tomato passata
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp sundried tomato paste
salt and pepper
handful of parsley or basil

Chop up the chorizo and spring onions, and crush the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Heat up a small frying pan and gently fry the chorizo, spring onions and fennel seeds for a few minutes.

Mix together the tomato passata, sundried tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste.

In a pan, place the egg noodles, chorizo, spring onions, fennel seeds and tomato passata.  Pour over just enough boiling water to cover.  Put over a medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is hot and the noodles are cooked.

Stir through some chopped parsley or basil and eat.

Today when Mr Rigg and I went to do some food shopping in Chorlton we discovered that the Manchester Markets were set up outside the library.  Of course, I couldn’t resist a quick snoop.

There were a couple of meat companies, a greengrocer, a sweetie stall, a bakery, and a number of cake stalls.  I bought a lovely moist piece of gingerbread from one stall (I think they were called Peach Pie…) and then my eyes fell upon a stall with large glass jars filled with multi-coloured macaroons.

Now I’ve seen the trend for these pretty sweets all over the internet – they seem especially popular in the US at the moment – dainty coloured macaroons sandwiched together with a thin layer of something scrummy in the middle.

The girl selling macaroons today is currently making them from home and has called her little business The English Rose Bakery – which I think is a lovely name.  Having never tasted these kinds of macaroons, I decided today would be my first taste.

I came away with a little tissue paper bundle of macaroons in chocolate, raspberry and salted caramel flavours.  We have devoured the chocolate and raspberry ones, with the salted caramel one left for later.  An after dinner sweet morsel – what a treat!

The two we’ve tried so far were delicious – the chocolate macaroon with a thin layer of chocolatey filling, and the raspberry one I think was spread with raspberry jam. 

If you live in Manchester and fancy a sweet treat for a party, as a gift, for your wedding, or just to indulge yourself, visit their website: www.englishrosebakery.co.uk


Above image: The English Rose Bakery 

I don’t really like to share to much of my personal life nor photos of me and my family that often, but today I felt I should.

My little sister, who’s nearly 17, has just started her first week of A-levels.  In the five days she’s been back at school, she’s had a miserable time of it with backstabbing friends and boyfriend mishaps.  Although the air is starting to clear now, she was very sad at the beginning of the week.

So, I did what every big sister would do.  I sent her a confidence-boosting email, reminding her not to get too down because of other people and their hurtful words or actions.  I reminded her who she is deep down inside, the confident and happy little four-year old care-free enough to dance on hotel poolsides and at firework parties. 

She is pretty and silly and funny and smart and one of the most genuine and nice people I know.  It’s hard living so far away from her, I just wanted to be there to give her a hug and sit and watch a girlie film or play Lego Indiana Jones on the X-Box (sounds silly, but we love it!).

Without the ability to make her a hot drink and snuggle up in a blanket, I did second best – I sent her a delicious packet of hot chocolate flakes from Cocoa Loco – it did the trick. 

Within almost 24 hours they’d delivered her the little gift and she could snuggle up with her luxurious hot chocolate and think of me and how much I believe in her.

If you want to show someone you love them, cheer someone up, or make up for missing their birthday I highly recommend sending them brownies (or other chocolatey gifts) from Cocoa Loco.  They make the best organic chocolate brownies and they deliver them by post – what could be better!


Image: Cocoa Loco

Today as part of our holiday at home, Mr Rigg, Buddy and I drove up into Lancashire for a day of walking and eating.  It was a fantastic sunny day (which is was a welcome surprise!) and we started with a long walk from Hurst Green.  We followed a Tolkien-inspired trail which can be downloaded here.

It was a lovely walk, which took us through lush fields of cows, past the turrets and observatory of Stoneyhurst College, down into damp woods with mossy streams, past fields of sweetcorn and rushing rivers. 

There were lots of cute calves like these ones…

And this sweet one!

Buddy – who it seems has never seen a stream before – slowly built up enough confidence to paddle. 

This walk takes you through a landscape that it said to have inspired Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books and you can definitely seem glimpses as you pass through this countryside.  I am a huge fan of the books so it was exciting to do this walk!

After our long hot walk we rewarded ourselves with lunch at The Three Fishes – one of Nigel Howarth’s country pub’s. 

We have eaten at The Highwayman Inn up near Kirkby Lonsdale which we really enjoyed – I had a ploughman’s platter with scrumptious piccalilli –  so it was easy to decide where to eat on our day out.  Plus there is a huge emphasis on local and seasonal food.

We sat at a table outside so that Buddy could sit with us.  I drank a cool chocolate milkshake and Mr Rigg a pint of ale whilst we waited for our food.  Chocolate milkshake takes me back to my childhood and I still love ordering it now. 

To start Mr Rigg had Three Fishes Fish Soup, Wicked Mayonnaise, Butlers Tasty Lancashire Cheese, and Garlic Croutons.

The soup was rich and fishy with a good kick of spice, the Lancashire cheese was crumbled and served in a tiny terracotta pot, and the ‘wicked mayonnaise’ was blushed red with flecks of fresh chilli.

I chose a dish from their seasonal menu which was a Salad of Cracked Wheat, Sweet & Sour Bank’s Tomatoes, Broad Beans, Garden Peas and a Yoghurt & Cucumber Dressing. 

I wish I could eat this salad everyday for lunch – it was so delicious.  The salad of cracked wheat, broad beans and garden peas was studded with fresh herbs and red onion, and topped with cherry tomatoes that had been cooked just until bursting.  Then drizzled round the edge was this cooling dressing of yoghurt and cucumber.

Mr Rigg’s main was from the seasonal menu – Gazegill Farm Organic Sandy Oxford Black Pork Faggots, Girolle Mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potato, Broad Beans and Garden Peas.

Neither of us had tried faggots before but Mr Rigg enjoyed them and the tiny morsel that I tried was delicious, but probably an acquired taste – very different in texture and flavour to something similar in shape like a meatball or burger.  Mr Rigg said it was coarser and a stronger flavour like that of liver.  It’s always nice to try something a bit different.

And for my main I pigged out with an Elmwood Platter of Local Seafood which included: Port of Lancaster Beech & Juniper Smoked Salmon, Lancaster Smoked Kipper, Hot Smoked Trout, Potted Morecambe Bay Shrimps, Smoked Mackerel Pâté, Picked Cucumber, Beetroot Relish, Horseradish Cream, and Homemade Bread. 

The smoked salmon with speckled with tiny capers and shreds of red onion, the potted shrimp fragrant and warm, the smoked trout went deliciously with the sweet earthy beetroot relish, and the pickled cucumber cut through all those flavours of fish. 

The smoked mackerel pâté was light like a mousse, a tiny mouthful on a toasted circle of bread, topped with micro herbs.

I have never tried kippers before, and although it is a very strong flavour and perhaps not something I would order on its own, as part of a platter like this it was delicious.

We had initially planned to stop eating here…but I was too tempted by Raspberry Jelly with Vanilla Ice Cream

…and Mr Rigg easily gave into the lure of homemade Milk Chocolate Chip and Marshmallow Ice Cream with chocolate sauce.  Not a good shot of the ice cream, Mr Rigg was very protective after I nabbed the first mouthful which got me in a lot of trouble…

Both were absolutely delicious.

Our lunch was finished off with a glimpse of Nigel Haworth himself who arrived at the pub just before we left.  If you’re in Lancashire, do make sure you stop at one of Nigel’s country pubs – we can certainly recommend the food from both The Three Fishes and The Highwayman!

I’m not one for putting photos of myself on here, but I love this picture of Buddy and I out on our walk…

Happy holidays!

Today we have been busy at the allotment enjoying this fabulous heatwave.  Covered in suncream we got about moving the ‘shed’ (it’s more storage than shed) forward about a foot so that we can get to the raspberries more easily.

Then we built a compost bin from old gates and a pallet.  We feel like proper allotment owners now.

Here’s the before…

And the after…

We stopped lots to eat delicious chunks of frosting coated chocolate brownie cake.

At lunch we sat on the grass in the shade of the car and devoured hunks of bread smeared with gooey camembert.

We cleared a sizeable patch of the allotment which I’m planning on turning into a herb garden with a small patch of grass where we can sit and picnic during the summer.

Then we filled out new compost bin with bits we had dug up and a well-rotted heap of rabbit droppings.

Our day finished with the first barbeque of the year and dinner outside. 

Sausages (from Little Heath Farm), lettuce, cherry tomatoes with basil and Parmesan, and bread.

It’s been one of the nicest, most relaxing and productive days we’ve had in a long time.  Rosy cheeks all round.

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Barcelona is one of my favourite cities in the world – at least, it’s probably my favourite out of all those I have visited.  It is somewhere that I would happily go back to over and over again.  I don’t really enjoy spending time in cities, having lived most of my life in the countryside I find them very claustrophobic, but Barcelona is different.  It has an underlying calmness that runs through it streets, despite the hustle and bustle of city life.  I would recommend it to anyone.

Peaceful park :: Barcelona ::

It has a fantastically rich food landscape, with beautiful cafes, tapas bars, patisseries and markets on every street.  There are small bakeries selling baguettes, simply filled with a smear of fresh tomato and Serrano ham, ideal for the weary tourist.  There are so many tapas bars to choose from that it’s hard to recommend one.  We found one we liked in the Barri Gothic area and went back more than once – it was nice to go in the second time and for the waitress to recognise us.  One of my favourite dishes were garlicky haricot beans. 

selection of tapas :: Barcelona ::

There are stalls at ‘La Boqueria’ market with tables piled high with exotic magenta pink fruits with a cluster of black seeds, halved and sold with a spoon for a healthy snack on the move. 

Fruit stall :: La Merchat Boqueria, Barcelona ::

Then there is the Christian Escriba Pastisseria on La Rambla. 

Christian Escriba Pastisseria :: La Rambla, Barcelona ::

 It is a stunning (much of Barcelona is stunning) small bakery – described on their website as a cake shop (www.escriba.es) – which has a small cafe, and tempting displays of pastries, cakes, chocolates, tarts, and other tasty things. 

chocolate display :: Christian Escriba Pastisseria, Barcelona ::

Last time we visited we had brekfast here everyday. 

Pastries and Spanish hot chocolate :: Christian Escriba Pastisseria ::

Should I ever live in Barcelona, my life would be happy but somewhat short lived if I breakfasted here everyday.

*I am going to try making my own Spanish style hot chocolate – I will post a recipe once it has been tried and tested!

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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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