Blossom and Sunshine – New Blog!

Hello everybody,

I’ve taken the step of starting a new blog, mainly to allow myself to have a platform to let myself twirl and dance without feeling constrained as to whether I want to use this blog name in a more professional way in the future. 

I hope you like it,

I’ll still be keeping this blog and may even publish the same article on both at the same time, I am sure there will be overlaps in my life.  It will be interesting to see how they both develop.

Have fun,


Octopus Stew.

At the moment I have been living off the goodies locked in ice in the freezer, mostly hand made by me in family sized portions which have been divided up and popped in the freezer for times when I am busy. I cook up a storm during the break between terms and leave the goodies resting in the freezer for times of most need.
Recently I have been rotating between cottage pie, a chicken dinner,  green thai chicken curry, roast vegetable soup and mushroom and bacon ragu.  And I’ve been very grateful when I’ve pulled out of the freezer another mystery object (I really must label things properly – but I know I never will!) to be greeted by a familiar home cooked smell as the microwave has gone ping, the noodles, pasta or rice has been cooked and I’m ready for supper 15 minutes after coming home.  The most difficult thing being to remember to pull something out of the freezer the night before. 
But it was time for a change and so as a natural break came about in my work I toddled off to Borough Market to see what treats I could find. 
 I love these mushrooms,
 they are so pretty, but that is not what I was looking for today.
 I came across wet garlic which looked wonderful,
 and some lovely looking Octopus. 
I don’t know whether its because I live in landlocked Warwickshire, or because I clearly should have been brought up in a fishing village, but the lure of the fish stall has always fascinated me.  And in the last 30 odd years I’ve probably cooked everything on offer on this stall.  So I just wander up and down letting my senses guide me to the freshest and tastiest of offerings that day.  I often take a while and it probably took me a good twenty five minutes to decide what I was going to cook that night.  But its okay, the fishmongers like the banter, they understand the insight of a seasoned fish cook and we talked of many things.
 And I find the art of the fishmongers stall breathtaking.  The beautiful fishes, sparkling silvers mixed with coral’s and whites and dark blues.
 The way the fish are positioned in shoals to look like they are leaping out of the sea.
 Drift wood and razor clams,
 hand gathered cockles and cod placed to give ideas for tastes that go so well together on the plate.
 Herbs are bountiful,
 And so it is I bring my bounty home, fresh oregano, octopus, tomatos and wet garlic go together with good wine and olive oil, a little salt and fresh black pepper are all it will take along with a pinch of fresh thyme from the garden.
 The octopus is so beautifully fresh, its almost impossible to skin, but that’s okay as the skin is completely edible and renders down to much prized gelatinous quality within the stew.
Two and a half hours later, (with octopus or squid, you cook it long or very short)  I have a wonderful, smelling of the sea, meaty, sweet, gorgeous stew, it satisfies my hankering for a seafood meal and gives me plenty of supplies to hide in my frozen treasure chest.

Pancake day – 3 courses (well almost!)

I’ve been working hard for the last few days (hand ins over the next two weeks) and having woke up late decided that yes, it would be fun to take part of Shrove Tuesday.
When I first left home when I was just 17, I was extremely poor  and what money I did have spare was spent on clothes and nightclubs. Pancakes were a fun and cheap part of my everyday diet, the batter being made from egg, milk and flour (what do they put in the powdered pancake mixes!)  one could stretch some left over chilli con carne, or just add a little cheese and you had a savoury treat that was comforting and then leftover mix was yummy with lemon and sugar.  I’ve always been a lemon and sugar kind of girl but have been known to slide onto the slippery slope of Lyles Golden Syrup.
Thankfully the corner shop at the end of the street (in either direction from the house! – we have two corner shops!) is a London corner shop and sells wonderful things like fresh coriander and fresh parsley, ginger, lemons and other temptations…   <—- Nutella.
 Like most students I don’t have a full compliment of kitchenware, so this pan stands in for a mixing bowl.
 First pancake out of the pan, (you must heat the pan well to get the first one right)
 And some left over chicken curry with a trail of mango chutney makes a very tasty supper.
 This is the first time with Nutella, the boys always eat it, by the spoonful and I try to steer clear, but hey, studying does that to a girl, so one very big dollop of Nutella later
served on a plate with a lemon and caster sugar version and I am a happy girl. 
A very happy girl.