Sunday, 21 June 2009


I've been reading several blogs for while now about people growing their own with a lot of envy. We are growing tomatoes, salad leaves and chillies in window boxes but its not quite enough. So when Hugh launched the Landshare website, I was hoping that we could get a piece of land.

Through the website we got in touch with Ann who had been given a plot at the Springburn allotments. The land and the task at hand was a bit much for her on her own. So on Saturday Andrew and I met up with Ann and Ben(someone else from landshare). This is what the land was like before we started, just long grass:

With just over an hours work we managed to make a mark on the grass and have left some plastic down to kill off the grass. So this is what it looks like now:

I have to say that when wandering around the allotments there seems to be a lot of empty/neglected plots. We have written several times to see if we could get our own which would be the best. So we will wait and see if we hear back. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Souvenirs from Northumberland

We had decided to go away for last weeks long weekend. We had planned two different weekends depending on what the weather was doing in Scotland. Our west coast plan was to go to Mull and our east coast plan was Arbroath. However, when we looked at the weather neither seemed appealing. So we decided to skip over the border to Wooler in Northumberland.

On the Friday we arrived at the campsite, pitched the tent the headed to the pub for a pie and a pint. On the Saturday we went to Kyloe out of the woods for a days climbing in the sunshine. We then went for a nice coastal drive and stopped off for fish and chips.

Sunday was spent the morning wandering around Berwick and then in the afternoon we went to Lindisfarne. Whilst there we purchased some Mead. I have to say I was very disappointed with the Lindisfarne mead shop. It was full of chutneys and preserves that had their name on but when you looked closely at the label they were produced in Scotland and some of the liqueurs were produced in France. I don't have a problem with the shop selling produce that they haven't made but they should be more upfront about where it is from!

Before we left on Monday we stopped off at the local butcher and bought a fantastic piece of beef for a roast dinner when we got back. I have to say that Wooler really impressed us both, there were a lot of local shops and we only spotted two national companies. We drove back via Craster to first of all buy some Craster Kippers. We also wanted to have lunch at the Jolly Fisherman Pub. The pub was heaving and we were lucky to get a table. We had a round of crab sandwiches, kipper pate and Melba toast and chips. The kipper pate was fantastic and I think I will be making it with some of the kippers we bought. The chips were also great, cooked in dripping, yum yum yum. After Craster we stopped off at Chain Bridge Honey Farm. Andrew loves his honey so we thought that we should pick up some supplies. We bought some honey comb and a jar of honey. There were loads of honey based products like lip balms and candles.

As I said we went back and I made a roast dinner. As you can see we had the beef very rare, just as we like it. The meat was lovely and I am sure that we will back to Northumberland very soon. But until then we have the mead, honey and kippers to remind us of a great weekend.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Pot Roasted Pheasant with Butterbeans and Chorizo

One of things we look forward to after Christmas is the beginning of the Six Nations Rugby, which starts in February. This usually means that our Saturdays are spent in front of the TV watching 2 or 3 matches. On these days I like to make a meal that doesn't require much prep or attention, things like stews and toad in hole. This means that I don't miss much of the action.

We had a pheasant in the freezer and I had remembered seeing a Hugh F-W recipe that I wanted to try. Its on the Guardian website here.

Its dead easy and goes in the oven for two hours which left me free to watch the England/Ireland game. Not that it was worth it in the end!

It tasted great and although we had it with a couple of jacket potatoes and carrots, it could be served with some bread instead. I used a tin of butterbeans instead soaking dried butterbean which worked fine.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

. . . And we're back!

I noticed the other day that I hadn't blogged for 4 months. The main reason for this is our PhDs. The blog had become a big distraction, a nice one but a still a distraction. Plus I started a new job and needed to concentrate on a different challenge.

Andrew had his viva (oral examination) on the 5th of November and passed. I was due to have my viva on this date as well, but the internal examiners pulled out. So I had to wait until the 30th of January for my viva, which I passed. The last few weeks have been spent making the corrections and getting it hard bound. On Friday I handed it in, which means that our PhD ordeal is over and I can start blogging again.

The graduations aren't till June, so I don't feel we can call ourselves Dr until then. But believe me that when we do that our names on our bank cards will be changed.

I saw this comic strip and can relate to this. It has been a struggle to get it finished but now I see our theses in their hard bound glory it does feel good.

Sunday, 23 November 2008


I love my bread books (Dough and Crust) and Andrew's favourite carb is bread, so they come in handy.

I made some Fougasse. These are pretty looking breads and dead easy to make. All you have to do is make a batch of white dough and divide into four pieces. You then flatten a piece of dough and make some slits opening them to form holes. These are baked @ 230 degree C for 10-12 min until golden brown.

Andrew thinks my Fougasse look like the Scream mask, which I suppose they do.

I am not sure they are supposed too but at least they taste good.

I have also made some rye flour breads. I made some olive breads to go with some pasta. They were dead simple to make, all you do is flatten the dough and spread some olive paste and fold the dough.

The last different bread I made was a cider bread. I made this to have with cheese and pickles. Again these breads were easy to make. Though quite involved (4-6hrs for the ferment, 1 and half hrs for resting, proving of 1 and half hrs and 45 minutes baking).

This was another rye bread and went very nice with the selection of cheese from the deli and homemade chutneys (rhubarb and raisin chutney and green tomato chutney).