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chocolate_mud_cake7

Along my journey to find better health I am always looking out for sweet treat recipes to try out.

I am acutely aware that I have this tiny person who is soon to embark on her own eating adventure and whilst I’m hopeful she won’t grow up on tons of processed crap I do want her to feel vaguely normal when it comes to things like having a cake for her birthday.

chocolate_mud_cake2

So I am doing my homework now trying to find recipes that taste as good as cakes made with standard ingredients such as white flour and white sugar, but contain more wholesome less bad ingredients such as coconut flour and honey or maple syrup for sweetness.

chocolate_mud_cake

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Fresh homemade tomato pasta sauce

Do you ever eat a meal you’ve cooked numerous times and think, “perhaps this is my favourite meal ever”?  I do.  I always seem to be wondering what my favourite food or meal is, that if I had one last dinner to enjoy what would I choose?

I’ve decided that this is perhaps mine.

Someone on Instagram mentioned they’d love a recipe for my tomato pasta after I shared a picture on our Wales holiday.  And although I almost don’t think it’s worthy of being called a ‘recipe’ or for me to tell anyone how to make something so simple, here it is.

Summery homemade tomato pasta

It is basically pasta with a tomato sauce made from fresh tomatoes, cooked very quickly.  I’m sure that I was inspired to first make this after watching a TV programme where an Italian chef on the Amalfi coast in a very posh hotel was making a tomato sauce for pasta this way.

Choosing Tomatoes

I’m pretty sure that the quality of your tomatoes matters in this dish, after all you’re hardly adding any other flavours and if you use out-of-season-wishy-washy pale looking tomatoes I think it would taste pretty miserable.  So finding good quality tomatoes, preferably in the summer months when they are at their ripest and in-season is essential.

I have used all kinds of tomatoes to make this sauce – larger ones cut up, cherry tomatoes left whole, cherry tomatoes cut in half, cherry tomatoes cut into quarters, multi-coloured tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, or a mixture of whatever I have to hand.

All you want to ensure is that they are roughly the same size so that they cook at the same rate.

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Summery gazpacho soup with Spanish ham and basil

Doesn’t food taste better when it looks pretty?  I certainly believe so.  I completely wrecked my fried egg the other day, had a complete tantrum about it and ended up literally flinging everything onto the plate – I was so mad about it looking crappy that I’m convinced I didn’t enjoy it as much.

Homemade gazpacho with Spanish ham

This homemade gazpacho is one of my favourite pretty looking dishes I’ve made in recent weeks – the colours are just so summery and inviting.  Plus it’s very tasty and with this current heat wave I could eat bowlfuls of this chilled soup.  There was some interest on my Instagram about the recipe for it, so here it is.

Summer gazpacho soup

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Scrambled eggs on toast with garden herbs

Sometimes it takes the simplest of meals to remind you what real, good food actually is.  I had this revelation last night as I tucked into my dinner for one of scrambled eggs on toast.

Mr Rigg was away for the night and my dinner choice was based on the fact that I really couldn’t be arsed to make anything more just for myself.  We have a lovely farm up the road who produce organic eggs, so I always have a large tray of their eggs on hand for quick meals.

Picking chives in the garden

This time I had treated myself to some of their white Leghorn eggs, which I scrambled in my own sweet fashion – melt a healthy amount of raw butter in a saucepan, crack the eggs directly into the hot butter without whisking prior (I had two whole eggs and an extra yolk).  Next I turn the heat down and let the eggs cook a little in the butter without touching them, then I use a spoon to break them up.  This way you end up a mixture of quite distinct ‘white’ and ‘yolk’ but also some standard pale yellow scramble as well.

I considered skimming some cream off the top of our raw milk to add to the pan of eggs, cream in scrambled eggs is divine – don’t bother with milk! Anyway, that seemed like too much effort, so I just seasoned with salt and pepper and added generous amounts of snipped mint and chives from the garden, plus some pretty purple chive flowers.

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Breakfast of homemade soaked granola and raw milk

Recently I’ve been trying to wean us off cereals – by wean, I mean I’ve just stopped buying it, which for poor Mr Rigg has meant going cold turkey on cereals at breakfast.

If you’re interested why I’m keen to steer away from cereals it’s because I’ve come to realise that there isn’t much good in them, despite what they like to tell us on their TV adverts.

Soaked granola with seeds, nuts and dried fruit

We had this lovely recipe for granola that we used to make, which was delicious both with milk and yoghurt.  The only problem is that I’ve also developed an interest in how grains were traditionally prepared, and how they used to be soaked before drying.

This is because things like grains and nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors in them, which unless soaked first, prevent us from absorbing all the goodness in them like vitamins and minerals.

Honey nut and seed granola

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Homemade burgers with spicy mayo

It must be admitted that I am not a burger person.  Before a few weeks ago I probably had only ever had two burgers ever in my whole life, and I’m not exaggerating.  I grew up in a family who didn’t eat meat, and even when I did start eating meat I never liked burgers.  I’ve had the odd bite of someone else’s to see whether I might like them, but no.

A couple of year’s ago we had a Uni reunion in Bath – a group of about 15 of us hired a house and spent the weekend there.  Mr Rigg and I were nominated to cook dinner one night, and so decided to do burgers – probably because Jamie Oliver’s America cookbook had just come out, with a recipe for burgers (and everything that man makes seems to taste delicious) and in theory it seemed like a good thing for a large amount of people.

Obviously I ate a burger that night, and I actually really enjoyed it.  They were really tasty burgers, and I love all the extras you stuff in a burger – in particular I love gerkins.  Fast forward a few years and recently I just really had an urge to make those burgers again – they were one of those food moments that stick with you as being a really delicious meal.

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Millet porridge

This morning I have attempted to make millet porridge using millet flakes and rice milk with a hint of vanilla.  I searched the internet to try and find out how to use the flakes to make porridge as most recipes I came across used the whole millet grain.  There wasn’t a lot of information but it seemed to suggest double the amount of milk/water to millet flakes, so I took the suck-it-and-see approach.

It took quite a while to bubble away – I’d read 15-20 minutes, but for my little pan for one I was worried about burning it dry.  Anyway, after adding a few more sloshes of the rice milk and a tiny drizzle of agave syrup for a little extra sweetness I gave up stirring and poured it into a bowl.

Millet porridge

It looks ok, although it reminds me of wallpaper paste.  It has a slightly bitter note in the middle of tasting which then disappears.  The texture I imagine is a bit like eating wallpaper paste, but then again I have no idea if I’ve cooked it correctly.  I’m not sure I’m a convert, but as my breakfast’s recently have consisted of a small carton of chocolate rice milk I thought I should attempt at some other breakfasts on this new way of eating I’m following.

I must say, the new way, which I will share more about one of these days, is doing wonders for me – body and skin – so I can’t diss it.  Anyone else make millet porridge with millet flakes?  Any tips or advice would be much appreciated as I now have a bag of the stuff!  Perhaps I’ll try quinoa next time as I know I already like it.

Oh, and as promised – I came across this picture of a mummy partridge and her babies that my parents took on my camera when I was staying with them last weekend – so cute!!

Baby partridges

Broad beans, peas and crispy ham on bread

Ok, so I’m trying really hard to get our French trip written up, but there’s so much I want to share that I’m still working on it when I have the time.  It will come, I promise.  With it very damp and grey outside (and on Midsummer!) I wanted to share our cheerful, warm, sunny evening meal last night which we made and ate on our allotment.

This is by far my favourite thing to do at the moment – cook and eat at the allotment.  I wish moments like that would never end.  We wanted to recreate a meal we made in France, which was broad beans and beans tossed with crispy ham and loaded onto slithers of fresh bread.

Broad beans and peas

I adore the repetitive but satisfying business of podding peas and broad beans – some might find it mind numbingly boring, but I love it.  After they’d all been podded, we blanched them in a pan of boiling water over the camping stove and then quickly cooled them down was cold water.  Next I spent ages more slipping the broad beans out of their silvery green coats.

Cooking at the allotment

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Green soup with edible flowers

We have spent the last week away in the Perigord/Dordogne region of France and had a lovely time, eating lots of good food and visiting a market every day to buy ingredients – I’ll be sharing photos as soon as I can set aside some time to pull them together.

Green soup with edible flowers

Last night we had soup for dinner, which I don’t often think is ‘enough’ to make an evening meal, which is silly really because we always enjoy it and never go hungry.  I made up a soup, knowing that I wanted a big hit of green vegetables, so I gently fried a red onion, two small bulbs of fennel, a couple of garlic cloves and then added chopped courgette.

Green soup with edible flowers

Once this had cooked a little I added 1 litre of vegetable stock and simmered before adding some peas.  Finally I added shredded spring greens and mint from the garden, then blitzed the whole thing before it went from that vibrant green to sludgy green.  We ate it sprinkled with a little finely sliced mint, a blob of herby garlic cheese and decorated with some edible flowers, and a sliced of toasted homemade bread drizzled with olive oil.

marmite grilled cheese crumpets

Why didn’t I ever try these before???  They are one of the most delicious things I’ve eaten in a long time, perhaps even ever!  A little while back I did a post asking you how you eat your crumpets, and a couple of people mentioned grilling cheese or marmite and cheese on top of them – to be honest, I thought the idea of a savoury crumpet sounded a bit weird.

marmite grilled cheese crumpets

But today, with not much else around and pretty bored at the idea of eating crumpets with golden syrup on for lunch, I thought it was about time I gave them a go.  I toasted my crumpets first – I am a bit particular about how I toast my crumpets, on my toaster I put them in on setting 6 first, then toast them again on setting 2 but on the bagel setting so only the tops get another toasting.

marmite grilled cheese crumpets

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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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