Cherry picking, pitting and er.. pieing?

Well I did have a rather lovely start to the weekend. Where I work there are several small farmers, nurseries and vegetable growers so every now and again something fabulously seasonal, local and yummy comes up food wise.

There is a chap who sells Asparagus in early May, the nursery next door has a fabulous selection of weird and wonderful squashes in the autumn and there is talk of raspberries in the summer from someone else.

This month it is cherries. I think amongst all the talk of Wimbledon and strawberries, cherries do get rather lost. They are just as great when in season and fresh, local cherries aren’t a patch on the rubbery supermarket types.

Driving into work last Thursday I saw a great big sign for ‘CHERRIES – 2MILES’ – hurrahing slightly to myself, I came prepared on Friday with change and flat shoes, with my sights set on cherry pie.

I picked a generous 1/2 kilo of during my cherries (£2! bargain!) during my lunch hour and returned to work just in time for a cuppa and a biscuit before the desk job continued – the kind of lunchbreak I like..

{stems on one side and pips arranged neatly on the other – weird?}

I found this recipe for Sweet Cherry Pie on my favourite food blog, Smitten Kitchen. I had a few pastry problems when preparing it, but we’ll gloss over that and I’ll show you this instead…

I’m going to go back at the end of the week with plans for a kind of black forest gateau. We also had cherries and pancakes on Saturday morning, which were fabulous, but I forgot to take a picture unfortunately for I am still a novice food blogger ;)


Kitchen cupboard cupcakes..

I got a lot done on the jewellery front this weekend, fuelled mainly by a batch of long awaited cupcakes.

I haven’t made cupcakes successfully* for about two years, since my cupcake tins were lost during a house move. I kept forgetting to buy new ones, but I finally picked up some at the weekend and realised just exactly what I had been missing!

In an old oven like ours, where cakes take an age to cook through, cupcakes are just the right thing, they cook quickly and properly in about 15minutes, perfect. There isn’t a recipe per se for these as I made it up as I went along!

I had a bit of cocoa, a bit of dark chocolate and some coffee in the cupboard that I wanted to use.

I used a standard Victoria sponge recipe, 100g each of butter, sugar and self raising flour and two eggs. It makes quite a thick mixture so it is ideal for adding things too without making the mixture too runny. I added three tablespoons of coffee (2 teaspoons of instant dissolved in a tiny bit of hot water), about 3 tablespoons of cocoa and some chunks of about 100g chocolate cut into pieces. Mixed it up and spooned about a tablespoon in to 12 cupcake cases, gas mark 5 for about 15minutes and they were all done!

I lacked ingredients for icing but they would be perfect with a bit of buttercream on top.

* My unsuccessful attempt involved me thinking that cupcake cases wedged closely together on a baking tray would be absolutely fine. Result – lots of cake batter spilling out of cake cases and onto my tin – not good! You need proper cupcake tins.


Of food!

I’ve not yet blogged about pizza, I don’t think, and I should because everyone should try making pizza at home. Since making it myself we’ve never ordered a pizza again.

I use this Jamie Oliver recipe. The ‘00‘ flour is a must, it makes a perfect pizza which cooks quickly and comes out beautifully crisp. If you can find semolina flour then use this too, it makes it even better.

I don’t like to put too many toppings on my pizza because it really doesn’t need it.
This time I went for a combo, homemade pesto (another thing you won’t ever buy again once you’ve made it yourself) and tomato sauce with mozarella on top and lots and lots of black pepper. I attempted to make it a bit healthier with some salad too, I try to do my bit in between the cheese and the dough.

On Saturday we went for a probably very unauthentic sushi at Itsu in London. We love the conveyor belt thing, as gimmicky as it is. Still, the fish was very fresh and I had my first taste of raw scallop. I didn’t eat the flower by the way!

A long day baking…

It has been rainy today, dull and grey – so a perfect day to spend time in a warm kitchen baking goodies!

I made hot cross buns (or hot non cross buns as I like to call them, we didn’t pipe crosses on to our buns, the recipe suggests Darwin fish but we couldn’t manage that!) from a recipe I found on Gastronomy Domine (my first food blog find!) and potato and sour cream bread from my newest blog find – The Knead to Bread.

I’ve never baked my own hot cross buns before, and I have been missing out all this time! They take a while to make, because you need two long proves but they are worth it at the end. The house smells amazing even now, and they are so much softer and fresher than the supermarket version.

We had potato and sour cream bread rolls with chili con carne tonight. The rolls were great, I though they would be stodgy like I imagine potato bread to be, but they are light and fluffy. Again, they take a long time to make but they are worth it in the end. We have 12 rolls and a loaf too!



Our lawn is filled with weeds here but I do love this pic, it is very spring like. We’ve been busy in the garden preparing our vegetable patch for the summer, we are hoping for less rain and more vegetables!


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