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Family

Today my little (19) sister starts University.  I am feeling a mixture of trepidation for her, and reminiscing about my own first day of moving into my Uni room and starting a whole new chapter of my life.  I also worry that she will disappear off into the world and realise the very real possibility she could find a life far away, across oceans even, and I wonder how I would cope without her.

Me and Iz
As we both get older we seem to look more alike

Like many people, I have had ups and downs with family – those grumpy teenage years, moving away from home to go to University and the excitement and freedom it gave me, missing my parents and siblings, then starting my own life in my own home.

Fred

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Washing line at sunset

Whilst this blog was mainly started to share my love of food, I did enjoy it more when I shared snippets of our life as well as just what we’re eating.  In a brief return to that, here’s what we’ve been up to recently (it makes me realise perhaps I haven’t shared general life happenings as much because they’re a bit unglamorous)…

Messy garden

We don’t look at the bottom of the garden and what is supposed to be my vegetable beds – it is a jungle and a mess.  Misery making.  It never used to be like this, when did life get so complicated and busy that I couldn’t grow tasty things to eat?

Overgrown vegetable beds

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I can’t quite believe that my ‘little’ sister – Izzy – turned eighteen today.  Mr Rigg and I spent the weekend in Gloucestershire with my family celebrating her birthday.  My mom and I attempted to take her out on Saturday morning to her favourite local cafe for hot chocolate and brownies, but it was closed so I improvised…

Homemade hot chocolate – made by grating a bar of Cadbury’s into hot milk and topping with whipped cream (double cream whipped up) and mini marshmallows.  And a slice of Rocky Road from a local deli, customised with mini marshmallows – I used a dab of cream to get them to stay in place.

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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…

Where has the past week gone?  I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything for a week now – it seems to have flown past.  Mr Rigg and I have just spent the weekend with my family in Gloucestershire, which was lovely. 


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

Although very chilly we had bright blue skies and the autumn colours are started to appear.  On Friday I spent the day working at the National Trust head office in Swindon as part of my volunteer work for them.  I am the Sustainable Food Communication Officer working alongside the Local Food Co-ordinator, and I am really enjoying my work.

So after a great day’s work, my afternoon was made complete by meeting Valentine Warner – who did the fantastic tv show and books called What to Eat Now and What to Eat Now More Please! 

I loved his programmes and the recipe books, so to meet him was just incredible.  He seemed really down-to-earth and interested in the work the National Trust is doing.  What a great man!


Image: Valentine Warner

Saturday morning was spent getting measured for my wedding dress (aah!) which was both exciting and slightly surreal. 

I have already found my wedding dress in a beautiful boutique in Cheltenham but it needs some alterations.  My dress is handmade by an incredible lady who runs the boutique, and is made from 100 year-old handmade lace.  I can’t wait to wear it!


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

In the afternoon my little sister did a photo shoot of Mr Rigg and me picking blackberries – she is going to be taking photographs at our wedding and so she’s practising.  Mr Rigg and I aren’t that comfortable in front of the camera, but she managed to take some lovely shots.


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

Saturday evening we celebrated her 17th birthday with roasted vegetable lasagne and warm apple cake. 

 

Happy Birthday Iz Biz!

The weekend finished with a lovely autumnal walk on Sunday morning with my mom, dad and Alfie the deerhound.  We came across a pear tree that was overhanging the lane, so picked some pears to take home.  Then we discovered a walnut tree! 


Image: Izzy Burton Photography

We gathered pocketfuls of walnuts and once home opened some up to reveal the walnuts inside.  Mom popped one in the oven to roast it slightly and it was delicious!

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

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My little brother, who is 13, loves fishing.  He is lucky that we have friends with riverside houses who let him sit on their banks and fish for trout for free.  The weekend before last when N and I went home to visit them, the little brother went out fishing and brought me back a handsome trout for my birthday present.  What a treat!

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And what a beauty he caught!  I accepted the gift on the premise that the little brother would gut it and clean it for me.  He did so willingly.  I must add in here that only a year ago he was too squeamish to even touch raw chicken, so he has come a long way.

So the following day, having returned to our little house in Cheshire, N and I decided to cook the trout for my birthday tea.  The weather was scorching, so N prepared the barbeque and I faffed around trying to decide what to do to my trout.  In the end, we just bunged a couple of thin slices of lemon in its belly along with a handful of garden herbs.  We scored deep gashes into the flesh and poked in some slices of garlic, finishing it off with a drizzle of oil and salt and pepper.

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The trout was then wrapped in foil and popped straight onto the hot coals and took hardly any time at all to cook.

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In addition to the trout, we boiled up some Jersey Royals and tossed them with lots of butter and mint.  We picked a bowl of salad leaves from the garden and dried them off in our new kitchen toy – a salad spinner!

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I was so pleased with the way we cooked the trout, it was absolutely perfect, just cooked, still moist and a beautiful blush of coral pink.  If in doubt, just keep checking it.

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Next I painstakingly removed all the succulent flesh from the bones, which took a while, but as the kind of person who can easily be put off by chomping on a bone, I felt it was worthwhile.  This was all that was left of the fishy when I was done with it (avert your eyes or quickly scroll down if you’re squeamish – I must say I think there’s something rather beautiful about it):

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We were left with a big pile of gorgeous pink trout flecked with thyme leaves (we devoured the whole lot!):

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So there you have it – an incredibly simple, incredibly delicious and in fact incredibly cheap meal: baked trout, new potato salad and a pile of salad leaves. 

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We realised that ignoring the minor ingredients such a lemon, oil, salt and pepper that our meal had only cost the price of the potatoes.  The rest was free – a fish from a beautiful Cotswold river (the one below in fact), and homegrown salad and herbs from our garden.

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A big thanks to the little brother for catching us such a tasty tea!

My little sister is as I type getting on a train down south – her very first solo train journey (she’s only 15) – to come and stay with us for the week.  I can’t wait!  I am so excited.  Living about 3 hours from my family means that we don’t see them a great deal, well not as much as I’d like, and with a 15 year old sister I would very much like to spend more time with her.

I have been planning her week based around eating and shopping!  Hopefully I will have some yummy food to post about later this week, probably with an Asian twist (she’s dying for some sushi!) and most defintitely vegetarian.  I am also hoping that she will take some fab pictures of my garden and house as she is the talent behind the newly created TheGreenOrchard photography blog – make sure you take a look!

greenorchard

It’s been over two weeks since I’ve posted anything – which is terrible, and the opposite of what a blog should be.  I have been flat-out at work organising a big conference which starts in just over a week.  Co-ordinating 90 delegates and a further 40-50 contributors, not to mention the logistics of room allocations, menu choices, and who’s staying where, has quite literally sapped me of all my energy.  Coming home has involved a quick dinner then slumping in front of the TV in a bid to switch off from work.

Christmas seems so far away now.  The aftermath of Christmas dinner has faded…

aftermath of Christmas Day lunch

aftermath of Christmas Day lunch

Granny’s gluten-free mince pies are a distant memory…

homemade gluten-free mince pies

homemade gluten-free mince pies

Little sisters are back at school and studying hard…

my little sister

my little sister

And there’s not a crumb left of the turkey and cranberry Boxing Day bagels…

turkey and cranberry Boxing Day bagels

turkey and cranberry Boxing Day bagels

But, I have seen my first snowdrops and spring is on its way.

simple table decorating by mom :: Christmas at home ::

A quick post to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  It has been a whirlwind two weeks of Christmas and New Year celebrations, with lots of good food, family and friends, and a couple of illnesses thrown in for good measure.  Posts to come shortly with Christmas food and fun with the family.

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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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