Chunky root vegetable soup

A morning has been spent happily gathering and chopping carrots, swede, leeks, sweet potatoes, small turnips and butternut squash. 

Add a couple of handfuls of organic lentils and split peas. A tin of tomatoes, a top up of the pan with water, a splash of soy sauce, salt and pepper. Simmered for an hour, and the seasoning to adjusted to taste along with a handful of chopped fresh chives. 

This makes up a hearty, chunky soup, enough for several bowls, and it’s perfect with doorstops of crusty, seeded bread. Or perhaps, cheese scones to dunk. Simple food, and a hug in a bowl. 

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Chickpea, leek and red pepper patties

I love a good chickpea burger! 

Heavily laced with garlic, fresh coriander and seasonings, these patties do have a tendency to fall apart a bit with no eggs to bind them, but that’s a small price to pay for the sheer deliciousness of them.

Finely chopped onion, garlic, half a leek, a tin of chickpeas mashed down with a fork, half a red pepper, sumac and paprika. Molded into patties with floury hands and fried in olive oil for ten minutes until crispy. 

So useful to use up “bits” of remaining vegetables in the fridge, and a healthy, filling supper. As well as cheap to boot.

What’s not to love 😊

The Banana Bagels 

When I was a small child, a great treat of mine was a banana sliced on white, buttered bread. Mine was a family which didn’t have bananas in the house very often, and when the opportunity presented itself I would eat it in bliss, sprinkled with brown sugar if I could get it. 

Somehow, in this era of the exotic, the organic, the seeded and the wholegrain, this has remained in my memory as a simple comfort food. An antidote to the overly complex and the worthy. A balm to the breakfast soul.

This morning I split and generously buttered a white bagel and sliced my banana onto it. I experienced a strange frisson of nostalgia as the taste of the salty butter and sweet, soft banana sparked memories of being five again. 

Pure time travel.

Flatbread Friday

I’m having a bit of a baking day today in preparation for the weekend. Tomorrow evening we’ll be eating houmous amongst other things, and homemade flatbreads are so much nicer to dip than shop bought. The great thing is that the dough lasts a good few days uncooked in the fridge, so I’m able to get the prep out of the way we’ll in advance. 

Not that there’s much prep involved. These are yeast-free breads that make up in minutes. The only thing that takes any time is rolling them out. I like to add something to add a bit of pep, like cardamon or poppy seeds, but the beauty of these are their simplicity. 

The Salt & Pepper Pots of Joy

I’ve spent most of my adult life searching for salt and pepper mills that work brilliantly as well as looking the part. There’s nothing more frustrating for a cook to have mills that need constant refills, or that clog frequently, or that just refuse to spit out anything more than an irritating trickle of condiment. 

I’ve tried electric mills, manual mills, Peugout mills, ceramic, stainless steel and just about every type going. They all work after a fashion, but not brilliantly, and none were anything to write home about in terms of looks. 

Now these beauties may just have broken the jinx. Made by an artist in Wales, and hand carved and painted, they certainly look the part. Sort of spiky and fifty shades of grey in a culinary way…😊. But would they deliver?

I’ve just filled them and used them to season a huge pot of vegetable soup that I’m making, and I’m delighted to report that they grind both sea salt crystals and peppercorns wonderfully well. This may well be it… 💕

Flaked cod, chorizo, chickpea and rice 


I’m trying to eat more fish. It’s certainly easier to do this when you can source it locally, all sparklingly fresh and firm from the sea. The best I can manage in London (other than a four am raid on Billingsgate market which I’m just not brave enough to do) is the local supermarket, where it seems to sit rather uninspiringly filleted and wrapped in plastic.

Undeterred, I bought a couple of chunky cod loins and decided to pep them up a little. I love the chunky texture of cod, but the taste is a bit bland. 

A softly fried onion, garlic and chorizo served as a base, followed by a tin of chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, and a little salt and sugar. After about ten minutes of slow simmering and the flavours melding, I added the chunks of cod, covered the pan and simmered slowly for a further five minutes until the fish was just opaque. 

Served with rice it proved a surprisingly quick, punchy and delicious dinner. Another one for the fish files! 

Flaked cod, chorizo, chickpeas and rice 


I’m trying to eat more fish. It’s certainly easier to do this when you can source it locally, all sparklingly fresh and firm from the sea. The best I can manage in London (other than a four am raid on Billingsgate market which I’m just not brave enough to do) is the local supermarket, where it seems to sit rather uninspiringly filleted and wrapped in plastic.

Undeterred, I bought a couple of chunky cod loins and decided to pep them up a little. I love the chunky texture of cod, but the taste is a bit bland. 

A softly fried onion, garlic and chorizo served as a base, followed by a tin of chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, and a little salt and sugar. After about ten minutes of slow simmering and the flavours melding, I added the chunks of cod, covered the pan and simmered slowly for a further five minutes until the fish was just opaque. 

Served with rice it proved a surprisingly quick, punchy and delicious dinner. Another one for the fish files! 

The Knitting Novice


So, following a tutorial on YouTube,  I’ve worked out how to cast on, and learned the very basics of plain and purl. It’s coming gradually… although at first it feels totally alien. 

However…. I started with fifteen practice stitches, and I’ve now got over twenty…😝. They’re breeding! I’m not quite sure how that happened or how to stop it…aargh…

Enough to make me want to knit 

The recent visit to Skye culminated in a trip to Shilisdair, the yarn shop. 

Tucked down a narrowly winding, precipitous cart track ending in the sea, Shilisdair is based in a hut in the grounds of a crofters cottage on the shore of the  Waternish peninsula.

Inside it’s cozy and welcoming, with yarns of every hue lining the walls, and hand-knits hanging from the rafters ready for purchase. Everything is hand-dyed with plant based pigments such as madder, onions, meadowsweet and indigo. 

I couldn’t resist and bought several skeins. I guess the time has come to learn to knit, now! 

Luscious Lochbay langostine

Just back from a week on the Isle of Skye, and our old favourite restaurant, the Lochbay.

It’s just been awarded its first Michelin star, and although I’m thrilled for them, as it’s so well deserved, I know that this heralds the start of fame that may mean we need to book months in advance rather than just popping in…

It’s a tiny wee place, perhaps six tables at most. Cosy and low ceilinged, intimate and informal. The staff are all friendly and welcoming, and the food, mainly local seafood, is simply delicious.

This course was a piece of local hake from Mallaig, with a rich fish bisque sauce and langoustine from the bay. We also ate fresh oysters, oatmeal crumbled herring, and the most remarkable mixed fish soup, richly and heavily flavoured with aromatic dill.

Here’s hoping that this place doesn’t get so popular we’ll never get a table again!