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Tonight we had to make something quick as Mr Rigg was heading out for a bike ride with Buddy.  So I made our favourite scrambled eggs on delicious Campanou bread (a French country style loaf) from Barbakan.

I boiled some asparagus, fried mushrooms in butter and added some pretty pink thyme flowers, before lightly frying the asparagus in the mushroom pan to give it a bit of glisten!  All on top of the scrambled eggs and soft bread it was lovely.

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Perhaps an unconventional Christmas meal, but with only two of us to feed a turkey or goose would be too much, and with some exquisite stewing venison in the freezer from Dunham Massey it seemed only natural to have venison stew.

We bought our venison from Little Heath Farm a few weeks ago when they received a delivery from the National Trust property just down the road.  It is nice to know that the main ingredient in our Christmas meal came from within 5 miles and most likely had a lovely life roaming the parkland at Dunham Massey.

With a large part of my University days spent studying Native Americans both in the UK and Canada, it seemed only apt to follow the recipe for venison stew from Jamie’s America book.  Based on a Navajo stew, this recipe is incredibly delicious and is the second time we’ve made it.

My only addition was to make some parsley and suet dumpling, which I popped into the stew towards the end of cooking.  There is something very moreish about dumplings – I think I could eat a plateful drenched in a couple of spoonfuls of stew liqueur.

Mash potato was made with our allotment grown potatoes, which must be said have been a bit disastrous.  Whether it’s the variety, how we’ve grown them, or how we cook them, but the potatoes just disintegrate into soupy glue if not watched carefully. 

I have learnt that the trick with them is to watch them carefully in the water, looking for the moment when the outside starts to break down, but leaving them long enough to make sure they are almost cooked through. 

This time I put it through my wonderful French mouli that I picked up at the carboot – it was fantastic!  With the help of a little cream (maybe a lot…) and butter, and some seasoning, the mash turned out all right.

What did you eat for Christmas dinner?

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.

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 

As promised, my basic dressing recipe.  I’m not quite sure what makes a ‘French’ dressing, but this recipe include Dijon mustard, which is French.  A tip I picked up from Jamie Oliver is to use two types of ‘acid’ in a salad dressing – I can’t really remember the reason, but I do it, and I like it.

This salad dressing is easy to whip up – all you need is a jam jar and the ingredients – and is great simple tossed into salad leaves, or equally lovely with my recent Salad of Lettuce, Peas and Ham.

Homemade salad dressing

Dijon mustard
White wine vinegar
Lemon juice
Sea salt
Ground black pepper
Olive oil

In a jam jar (with lid) put a teaspoon or two of Dijon mustard.  Sprinkle in some salt (I used Maldon Sea Salt) and some black pepper. 

Add equal amounts of white wine vinegar and lemon juice.  Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

Add twice to four times as much olive oil as there is vinegar and lemon juice.  I do this all by eye, just looking to see where the liquid comes up to in the jar.  I also tend to use olive oil rather than extra virgin olive oil, as I find the extra virgin stuff can be too overpowering.

Screw on the lid and shake it vigorously.  Depending on the thickness of the dressing you want, add more oil to make it thinner. 

Taste it, adjust any of the seasonings as you wish.  Not punchy enough?  Add more mustard to give it a kick.  Needs more sharpness?  Add a dash more vinegar or lemon juice.  If you want more sweetness, you can always add runny honey, sugar, or Agave syrup, but too much can make it sickly.  I always make it a bit stronger as once you add it to a salad the flavour is diluted.

french tapas dinner

Hopefully I’m going to start getting back into posting.  I’ve been a bit useless really.  And I miss it.

Here are some snaps of our French antipasto style dinner – we were celebrating 6 years together!  We are trying to save for our wedding at the moment, so decided to stay at home and eat well rather than going out for dinner.

We had a selection of French saucisson sec (some encrusted with herbs)…

french saucisson

…tiny fragrant olives, gooey Reblochon, silky St Agur blue cheese…

french cheese and olives

…sun-dried tomatoes, organic chicken liver pate (a much tastier homemade version here), a bowl of delicate salad leaves topped with shavings of Parmesan…

salad with parmesan

…and all brought together with a bowl of crusty baguette.  Eaten in front of a roaring log fire…

french tapas log fire

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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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