Monday, 21 July 2014

Weekend : Celebrations, revelations, a missing link and the bees knees :: Oh and pan fried sea bass with puy lentils

There aren't any pictures of windy lanes parting sheep inhabited hills and vales, even though we travelled them. But  there are lots of images of wattle and daub (I think) and timber and stone. My mind was on floors and walls this time, not the countryside...Oh, and of course the food...

It was A's last day at work before we move and my sister B and husband arrived Friday evening to help us celebrate...also to drive my little old car down with us to the new house. She'll wait for me until we move in car that is, not my sister. The oppressive heat gave way to rain, lovely heavy cooling rain but as we reached our little house after calming our rumbling tummies with a plougman's lunch  here, the rain had subdued and in true Incy-Wincy fashion the sun was shining brightly.

It was the first time we'd shown Corner House to anyone else. It was a bit like introducing a teenage boyfriend to your mates. You think he's the bees knees and don't notice the pimple or the whiskers on his chin. You've seen him (maybe only in your imagination) without either, and have more than a bit, of a crush on him. Even though it doesn't really matter if they love or hate him, you really, truly want everyone else to think he's the bees knees too...

Well I think they can see the attraction...

There was much climbing on things, other than ladders to inspect out of reach corners, banging of walls and pulling off bits of wallpaper to discover what secrets were lying beneath. Our lovely new neighbours and a stone mason friend joined in too. The air was thick with ideas, beams that could be exposed introducing light and space; and revelations, like lovely old wide wooden floorboards that had been hiding under 1970's carpets, possibilities of hidden fireplaces or stoves, and even more excitingly the potential missing link that may confirm definitively, that we share the footprint with our neighbours of a large medieval hall house, that is circa 1430-50. Photo's are going to be sent off to a historian who can hopefully verify this. 

Tons to do...but the infatuation continues...

We suppered here (great Indian food), passing this amazing shop and planned to return soon. 

After a very late Saturday night we woke to brilliant sunshine and fresh produce  and flea market shopping. Bargains were found by everyone including a studio pottery jug and copper coffee pan for the new kitchen. BBQ lunch thanks to A and a pottering afternoon.

Busy weekend...but oh so good...How was yours?

joining karen of pumpkin sunrise to share our weekend

Ps. This is my current favourite quick supper dish that I made Friday evening. I don't think I've shared the recipe before...

Pan fried sea bass with Puy lentils

Ingredients for four generous portions:

  • enough sea bass fillets for four people
  • two cups of uncooked puy lentils
  • six cups of stock or hot water
  • three medium sized sweet potatoes
  • two medium sized red onions
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • crushed chilli flakes
  • a little ground turmeric
  • a little ground coriander and cumin
  • a handful of swiss chard or spinach (optional) 
  • sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • olive and oil and butter 
  1. Peel and finely slice the onions. Cook them with a little olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan until caramelised.
  2. Meanwhile peel and cube the sweet potatoes.
  3. Peel and crush or finely chop the garlic cloves and add to the caramelised onions, cooking carefully so as to avoid burning.
  4. Add the spices and seasoning then cook for a couple of minutes, stirring well.
  5. Wash the lentils and drain. Add these to the pot too. Stir well and then add the water or stock. Bring up to the boil, add the sweet potatoes and reduce the heat. 
  6. Cook for about twenty minutes or so until the potatoes and lentils are both tender. 
  7. If using spinach or swiss chard add in the last few minutes to wilt.
  8. Turn off the heat and cover and then quickly pan fry the fish seasoned with a little salt in a  olive oil plus a generous nob of butter. Allow the oil and butter to heat up to a gentle sizzle sound but not burn, then add the fish skin side down. Cook for about two minutes. Turn over and then flash fry on the other side for a couple more minutes. 
  9. Drain the lentils and place in the centre of a dish and then place the fish skin side down on top to serve.
This is nice just like this or for a more substantial supper served with new potatoes and green salad or seasonal vegetables. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014


I feel as though I'm short changing you this week. The whole point of heather's meme in her words, is to:

 "post photos taken in your kitchen throughout the week." 

she goes on to say that:

"Words aren't necessary, your photos will tell the the story"

But I only have three, to post this week. So not much to tell. 

It began well with the pink roses on the kitchen counter top and H's birthday cake that she cut into early, so that we could celebrate with her boyfriend, who was also home from uni.  I kidded myself that it was part of a balanced menu. Shop bought  naughty sweetly fondant covered cake plus fresh berries and cherries. Surely the fruit would balance out all that  sugar?

Then there was the early morning snap of the kitchen before things got too untidy. But that's when my previously successful attempts to mend the camera with Sellotape failed and the whole thing seized up completely. 

So I couldn't share images of the newly picked potatoes and garlic that A gathered from the school garden, the roasted vegetable couscous or the Persian, lamb and herb stew. 

'A' has kindly offered to buy a new one on his way home from work, so hopefully next week there will be more to share. We're visiting the new house at the weekend so there maybe even be a few of that one too.

I'm joining with heather again for this week in my kitchen and it would be lovely if you would come too?

Summer supper at The fox

Beyond the woods at the end of the garden sits the road to old boars hill. If you stand by that road, in a break in the trees you can look down on a patchwork quilt of fields and hedges that roll down to the birthday cake dreaming spires. H suggested supper at the fox inn on boars hill on her birthday evening. 

It was a warm summer night and we sat outside on the garden terrace of that lovely old inn with it's ingle nook fire places and watched the air balloons sail by. Then ate a delicious supper of pan fried duck with sweet chilli noodles, the best ever mediterranean vegetable ravioli (really the thinnest and tastiest fresh pasta ever) or rump steak and pulled pork burger; followed by  scrumptious brambly apple pie with shortcrust (yey just like mother used to make and not, puff pastry) served with warm custard sauce....and no washing up...heavenly...The perfect way to spend a Tuesday evening.

...have you had any nice suppers out recently?


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

nice things...

last image via

I started making a small felted bag ages ago. Just big enough for essentials. I knitted it in soft grey, wash-filz-it wool with two contrasting random fairisle stripes in bright bubble gum pink, orange, burgundy, red and olive green; with a little overlapping flap to keep it closed. Then I washed it in the machine and it felted up nicely. It's hard for you to see the pattern because the sun was shining so brightly when I photographed it. 

I ran out of yarn and it sat in my little work room for ages waiting for me to make the handle, until this week. I was having major knitting withdrawal symptoms and almost everything else is packed away so I ordered one more ball of yarn and hey presto it came today for a small shot of knitting therapy.

I've been comfort reading this and now this. It's not that I consider murder to be comforting, just the location, the sleepy village and the food. How everyone gathers in front of a roaring fire at the deli for hot chocolate and fresh croissants on chilly mornings, or lunch of hot baguettes, or ciabatta filled with melting cheese and and other scrumptious ingredients. Not to mention the deserts and suppers. They aren't novels that would be recommended for their literary expertise, just for the quirky characters that you find there. 

And I'm excitedly awaiting the arrival of my first issue of Selvedge magazine. I subscribed yesterday using the special 17.90% discount code 'REVOLUTION' to celebrate bastille day in France on the 14th. I'm so pleased that it still worked yesterday. I have wanted to order it for ages but thought it a bit I have three copies coming for just over the price of two. 

what are you knitting and reading?  

I'm joining Ginny for yarn along...

Monday, 14 July 2014

...taking five...

Sometimes all you need to do is to sit under those wrinkly old  fruit laden limbs of the mulberry tree...Just for a few moments, in that cool green space made with the flat leaves that look like someone's cut them out with pinking shears
...And remind yourself, that it's ok to take five...

...So don't forget that it's when you think that you don't have time to do so, that you really should...

Take care of yourself