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So I was lucky enough to go to Iceland!

So I was lucky enough to go to Iceland!

Just a couple of weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Iceland for the first time. It was all very much a last minute alchemy of circumstances so I really had little time to prepare or research before I went. I kind of…

Lemon Polenta and Almond Cake

Lemon Polenta and Almond Cake

I seem to be posting quite a few sweet treats at the moment but we have been eating these lovely things over quite a decent amount of time to try and keep some semblance of a waistline! This cake is extremely moist and tasty a…

Sour cherry bread and butter pudding

Sour cherry bread and butter pudding

As promised yesterday on my instagram post of this delicious pudding here are the details! It won’t be an exact recipe as such as I just kind of threw it together. It all started with an extra crop of sour cherries from the tree in the garden. Plenty of cherry and coconut jam was made but then the jars ran out so we had to come up with another use for these red beauties.

For this recipe I used brown bread. Here in Germany you can get some really good dark gluten free bread which I’m not sure you would be able to get in the UK or elsewhere so go with whatever you can find. I generally find that white gluten free bread goes too gloopy in this recipe and I quite like some nutty bits to chew on. Below is my current favourite brown loaf I can get in Germany if you can find it get some its very tasty.

So first of all grease an oven proof tin or bowl and then butter some slices of bread. If you are using a square loaf cut the slices across the diagonal and line up your buttered pieces in your tin. Next stone your cherries I can highly recommend a stoner it makes everything so much quicker! Pop them in a pan with some sugar to your taste, I like then to still be quite tart but it is up to you. Bring them to the boil then stir thoroughly to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Next spoon the cherries over your bread making sure to drop some down in between each of the slices. Let it sit while you make the custard mix so the bread starts to soak up the juices. For the custard heat some milk in a pan with a splash of vanilla essence just until it is warmed through no need to boil. I used about a pint. In a separate bowl or jug whisk together three eggs and a couple of spoons of sugar again to your taste depending on how sweet your tooth is! Add the warmed milk and whisk constantly to combine the eggs. Pour all of this loveliness over the top of your bread and cherries. Using a folk gently press down each slice of bread so it soaks up the custard. Finally sprinkle over some sliced almonds and bake at a medium heat for about forty minutes, basically until the custard sets. If you notice the top catching and going too brown place some foil over the top for the rest of the cooking time.

Take out of the oven and leave for a few minutes as it will be like molten for a little while and no one wants to burn their mouths! Serve whilst still warm for the best results but I can confirm it is still rather good cold the next day as you can see below it is keeping me company whilst I write this!

I can say with confidence this is the BEST bread and butter pudding I have ever tasted. It is juicy and moist with a bit of a tang all rolled into one it feels very luxurious. I am sure if you don’t have a cherry tree you could easily buy a tin and go from there either way I highly recomend you have a go!

Comfort food – lemon polenta and almond bisuits

Comfort food – lemon polenta and almond bisuits

Since lockdown came into being people seem to have become obsessed with baking. I can’t tell you how many instagram pictures of sour dough bread, brownies and cup cakes I’ve seen. This is not a problem just an observation as I have always been a…

More lockdown food

More lockdown food

So ready for a few more recipe ideas? How about some quick flat breads (gluten free of course) and a couple of ideas of what to eat them with? They are great just on their own fresh from the pan but can become a dinner…

Lock down food

Lock down food

Hello all of you out there, or at least the couple of you that read this! I have neglected this blog for a little while, life has a way of taking over sometimes. During this strange time we all find ourselves in it seems to me that food has come to the for front for a lot of people. Either to pass the time by baking and creating or as a means to bring cheer or as a treat whatever it is food has been an invaluable friend. As I’ve been scrolling through my photos recently trying to sort them out I came across some lovely food pictures that I have never shared. So I decided now is as good a time as ever to share some recipes and food ideas for you to try whilst you maybe have some time on your hands.

First up a really simple salad. This was inspired by some time I spent in Spain last year where I ate the most delicious tomato salad. This captures some of the essence of that I hope. Slice some tomatoes, big ones still attached to a vine are the best but any tomatoes will do. A little tip – never keep tomatoes in the fridge as it sucks out their flavour and they become bland and tasteless. Spread the slices over a large plate in one layer then sprinkle over some oregano, salt and pepper and drizzle with a light and mild vinegar (I use cider) and some olive oil. Set this to one side so the tomatoes have time to soak up the flavours. In the mean time very finely chop a small red onion, the smaller the better. Sprinkle as much or as little as your personal taste desires over the tomato. Finally drain some mozzarella and tear over the top. Sprinkle a little more salt, pepper and oregano over the top and a final glug of olive oil…enjoy with some fresh bread or with a jacket potato.

A little twist to the tomato salad. Gently fry some cubes of spicy sausage, I have used a Turkish one but chorizo would work really well to. place on top of the mozzarella and drizzle over some of the hot spicy oil it has created in the pan. Finally toast a few seeds like sunflower or pumpkin and sprinkle over the top. This combination is a filling meal all by itself!

Next up are some very quick and easy savoury muffins. For these you will need a non stick muffin tin which needs to be thoroughly greased. If you are a meat eater you can then line the tins with a piece of bacon, ham or salami whatever you prefer. If you are not a meat eater then just leave this part out. Then fill each muffin cup up to two thirds with small pieces of some of the following mushrooms, peppers, onion, sweetcorn or fresh parsley.

Season well then crack an egg into the top of the cup and carefully move the bits underneath to allow the egg white to fill up any space, but be careful not to break the yolk. Finally add some cheese of your choice. Bake in a medium oven for about ten minutes until they just become firm. Either eat while hot or they work very well cold which ever you prefer. These muffins are great to make with kids and let them choose the fillings they would like.

Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake

This was the first Christmas that I have attempted a gluten free Christmas cake. Seeing other people making cakes inspired me to do the same plus Christmas cake is one of my favourites! I searched the internet for recipes and poured over many of them…

24 Hours in Liverpool

24 Hours in Liverpool

A few weeks ago I had a quick visit to Liverpool. I’m not really sure why but had never been before, so it was one of the cities on my list to become aquainted with. I stayed for one night in the Ibis Styles which…

24 Hours in Newcastle

24 Hours in Newcastle

Newcastle is one of those places I have always wanted to visit but never have. Sometimes it seems easier to put aside time for the big overseas trips than to venture a couple of hours up the road! So I have decided to rectify that by making time for some of my more local cities in the north of England. I went by train and if you book in advance you can get a ticket for as little as £10 from Sheffield, an absolute bargain and if you go midweek you can find a good hotel room from about £40.

As you pull into the station you can begin to get a feel for the grand victorian life that Newcastle once had which continues as you leave the station and walk up into town. The streets are lined with grandios architecture that towers overhead. My first feeling was that it was like Sheffield just grander! I had heard about the monument to Earl Grey and as an avid earl grey tea drinker I headed straight for that, which you can’t miss as it is an enourmous sandstone column right in front of you at the top of the road.

Once I’d dropped my stuff off it was back down to the river to explore the many bridges that cross the river Tyne. There are seven within a short length of the river each with a slightly different purpose.

If you walk back towards the station and veer off a little to your left you will come across the Castle (the castle in Newcastle!) and from there it is possible to access the foot bridge section of one of the higher bridges where you get a great view up the river and views back across the town. Turning left at the other end of the bridge takes you up the Gateshead side of the river towards the Baltic Gallery where even if art isn’t your thing there are amazing views to be had back down the river.

I AM interested in art and having never been to the Baltic before was interested to take a wander around. I discovered work by Ifeoma U. Anyaeji which was a delightful mix of found and recycled objects crafted into beautiful sculptures and reliefs. They make comment on environmental issues and also the question of value. Essentially she takes rubbish and creates something stunning, a girl after my own heart! The plastic is woven into braids using the Nigerian hair-styling technique of Ikpa Owu which is fast dying out combined with traditional basketry and weaving. The work celebrates traditional crafts that due to often misguided colonial notions of progress and the wider globalisation of our world are disappearing.

Next on the list was food! Having searched for ‘best gluten free place to eat’ the top choice was Kiln. It is about a 15 minute walk back across the river from the Baltic. You have to search it out as its a little bit hidden but very worth the trouble! Superb food totally delicious ‘Esti’s Middle Eastern Sharer’ usually comes with bread but once I said I was coeliac they provided a big bowl of spicy potatoes instead. This was one of the best meals I’ve had in ages. Plus they make all their own ceramics which you can see being made and buy if you want to take a little of their aesthetic home with you.

From here (needing to walk off some of that delightful food) it is a pleasant wander back through the culteral quater into town passing lots of quality graffiti as you go. On the way you can pop into The Biscuit Factory for a whole range of local art and crafts and very amusing signage on the ladies toilets – where else would you put the screws?

All that was left to do after a spot of shopping (for me this means searching out the charity shops) was to grab a cup of tea in Mason & Rye which can be found in the rather lovely food court of Fenwicks department store. I purchased some smokey earl grey leaves to take home with me which seemed fitting after starting the day with a visit to Mr Earl Grey himself!

After a little rest to let my legs recover it was back down to the river as the sun was setting to explore the castle area a bit more and then found myself drawn in by the warmth radiating from a little place built in the arches of one of the bridges The French Quarter. As I hadn’t booked it was a case of propping up the bar and getting some snacks (gluten free bread available) which was all I needed after the amazing lunch earlier in the day. Delicious food coupled with a large G&T was the perfect way to end a fabulous first trip and I will most definitly be back…I think I fell a little bit in love with this city.

Fig and cinnamon preserve

Fig and cinnamon preserve

Over the summer I had the joy of going to Andalucia Spain to look after these two beauties. They are Pippin (the ginger one) and Luna. They have beautiful natures and were such good company. Whilst there each day I walked past a row of…