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Tonight we are attempting to make gnocchi for a Jamie Oliver recipe with a stilton and pear sauce.  Jamie uses bought gnocchi but I’ve never found the supermarket stuff to be very good.  So I thought I’d give it a go – will let you know how it turns out.

Jamie suggests its best eaten in front of a movie, so with the wood burning stove on I think that’s what we’ll do.  Have a lovely evening whatever you’re eating.

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Last weekend we had the most lovely food all weekend – and, obviously, all meat-free.  We had Mr Rigg’s parents over for lunch on the Saturday so it was quite a challenge for us to come up with something we thought they would love, as they both really enjoy meat and fish.  We decided on a curry feast and some little nibbly bites to start.  Then on Sunday we seemed to eat well, or at least what I would consider to be eating well.  See what you think.

Saturday 28th January

beluga lentil goat cheese crostini

Beluga lentil crostini.  It’s always nice to do something a bit special when you have guests, so we made these little tiny nibbles, a lovely recipe I’ve been wanting to try from 101 Cookbooks.  They are small toasts topped with a goat cheese and herb mixture – utterly scrumptious!

Now the pictures get a bit less lovely as I was testing out my new phone and rushing to get everything out!

Jamie Oliver Rogan Josh vegetarian curry

We made Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals vegetarian Rogan Josh curry – it’s got butternut squash, cauliflower, spinach and chickpeas in it and is utterly delicious – one of our favourite meals to cook.  From the same meal in the book we also made the lemon pickle (I thought it was disgusting, but everyone else said it was quite nice in small amounts with everything else) and carrot salad (I leave out the almonds and don’t add much chilli).

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Yesterday I dug up my horseradish plant that’s been growing all year not having any idea on what to expect.  It certainly put up a fight trying to dig it out, with at least two long roots that disappeared into the depths of my raised bed and beyond.  In the end I had a good poke about, took a couple of long roots and put the main plant back in the soil – it’s got lots of new growth and hopefully it will continue to grow.  Only time with tell.

Mr Rigg made us Jamie Oliver’s meal for baby Yorkshire puds with a creamy smoked trout and horseradish pate.  The horseradish was for the smoke trout, and we just grated it in – the heat from the horseradish was incredible.  Along with a pile of green leaves it made a light and delicious dinner.  And very satisfying to use our own homegrown horseradish.

I’ve never had much luck with tomatoes, I don’t have a greenhouse and the English weather seems to be terrible to them.  Sometimes I get tomatoes, but then the never ripen, maybe I’ve just had the wrong variety or not cared for them enough.

It must be said, I like my plants (ornamental or edible) to not need a lot of care, I like them to get on with growing without having to be fussed over and tended to too often.  That being said, this year, one of my three tomatoes plants is doing really well.

I bought a set of three Jamie Oliver tomato plants, I really liked that they all came as different varieties – I chose a set that had a red variety called Tomatoberry (this is the one that’s doing well), a green and orange striped one called Green Zebra (a few tomatoes on that, none ripening yet), and a yellow variety that hasn’t done well at all.

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Last night we got in the car and headed north up the M6 at rush hour – I thought Mr Rigg had lost the plot, I am not a good passenger in traffic, especially motorway traffic.  I had been told we were going out for dinner, but where we were going I had no clue.  I thought it must be somewhere pretty damned good if Mr Rigg was brave enough to make me sit in motorway traffic for it.

By now it was clear we were going to Liverpool, but I couldn’t think of anywhere there I wanted to go for dinner.  Mr Rigg assured me 2 million percent that I wanted to go to this place – I thought he’d gone mad and clearly mis-heard a restaurant name and we were going to end up at some totally random place.  But 2 million percent is a lot to be sure by.

It turns out we were going to Jamie’s Italian – I must confess I didn’t know there was one in Liverpool – and I didn’t realise where we were going until we turned a corner and there it was.  Mr Rigg came through.

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Now this is how I like my meat – slow cooked, full of moisture and soft enough you can pull it apart with a fork.  But up until now we haven’t really cooked meat like this, but after spotting a rather good-looking piece of pork belly at Davenports Farm Shop this was the moment.

We followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Pork Belly Roast and it didn’t let us down – not that any Jamie recipe ever has, I don’t think.  On top there was a layer of golden, crispy crackling, and beneath the meat was flavourful and soft.

We ate it drenched in gravy, with a pile of fluffy and super buttery mashed potato, and peas and broad beans.  De-lish!  Definitely one to make for friends.

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?

So excited – treated myself to the new Jamie Oliver recipe book that was on deal in Waterstones!  It looks fantastic, loads of lovely meals and recipes, and I love his family-style sharing way of presenting food and eating it.

Can’t wait to try some out!  Anyone else made any of his 30-minute meal recipes?  Where should I start?

I love the sound of the kimchee slaw that goes with this green curry…

Or maybe his Swedish style fish cakes with zingy salsa…

Or this gorgeous platter of smoked salmon with beets and cottage cheese…

This was one of those cheats lunch that feels incredibly satisfying.  We went to the farmer’s market this morning and picked up a bag of onion and potato bhajis from one of the stalls, and from these our lunch was inspired using up some bits and pieces.

The other week we pulled up the last of the carrots from the garden – these were scrubbed, sliced into lengths and roasted in the oven tossed in a little olive oil. 

Once soft and starting to crisp at the edges, you take them out and mash them roughly with some ground cumin and dried oregano.  A final touch of crumbled feta cheese and fresh mint.

We warmed the onion bhajis up in the oven along with a couple of naans from the freezer – I used a new technique learnt from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals of scrunching up a piece of baking paper, wetting it then wrapping up your naans or tortilla wraps before putting them in the oven.  They come out beautifully soft.

In true Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals style we served everything on a wooden board, with a small bowl of Greek yoghurt and ate the lot with salad and much finger licking!

Still on the phone camera – new camera to come soon I hope!

Truly I am.  What has it been…a week since I last posted?  And it’s not for lack of eating nice things or doing nice things.  This week we have eaten … ugh, I forget without photos to document it!

We have eaten far too much Dunham Massey ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce that I do remember – but along with pizza making we leave chocolate sauce making to Mr Rigg.  My attempt resulted in a near disaster!

Tonight we are making Jamie’s lasagne – the sauce part is busy bubbling away in the oven with the fragrant scent of cinnamon filling the house.  This lasagne has a mixture of beef and pork mince, roasted butternut squash and flecks of crispy pancetta. 


Image: Jamie Oliver

We’ve also made slow cooked chilli con carne with leftovers for lunches – delicious with wraps, sour cream and grated cheese.  This one is worth a post sometime soon when I’ve reinstated a camera into our lives. 

I’ve bought locally grown quinces to make quince jelly after trying some on crumpets at work – yum!  Tomorrow night we have friends over for dinner and are planning a Moroccan chicken tagine with couscous – another Jamie recipe.


Image: Radish NYC

My week has also included a two-day headache (ugh!), an exciting time in the life of my website, lots of log fires, happiness that Mr Robin is back and singing in my garden,  and a visit to the dentist (I’ve had a numb cheek and face all afternoon).  Hoping for a less painful week next week. 

I also came across this lovely blog, a post from the same blog on an incredible looking gourmet shop in New York (wish there was somewhere like this near me!), and amazing lunchboxes.


Image: made by OOTS

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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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