Gimme Five! Reusable shopping bags

October 9th, 2015

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Selection of 5 reusable shopping bags

From this week, in England, you will have to pay 5p for each new plastic bag you use when you do your shopping at any of  the larger shops and supermarkets.

I’m really happy that England has finally brought in this legislation, single-use plastic bags cause a lot of litter and are harmful – even deadly – to wildlife both on land and in the world’s oceans & waterways.

I got into the habit many moons ago of having a few reusable shopping bags folded up and stuffed into most of my handbags. They’re not too bulky or heavy and are mostly cheap to buy or even make if you’re of the crafty persuasion. After just a couple of months of using reusable shopping bags, they’ll have paid for themselves!

  1. Canvas shopper bag: £4, Next
  2. Carrot shopping bag: £13, Etsy
  3. Hearts foldaway shopping bag: £8, Cath Kidston
  4. ASOS shopper bag: £20, ASOS
  5. Fairtrade recycled cement shopper bag by recycle-recycle: £15, notonthehighstreet

Cakes & Bakes: Honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart

October 8th, 2015

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Home-made honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart

We have some friends that live nearby who are having their kitchen renovated. For the next few weeks, all they’ll have to cook on is a single-burner camping stove.

Honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart ingredients

We’ve been in the exact same position in the past – it’s such a drag! We invited them round to ours for dinner tonight so we thought we’d cook them something that they can’t currently make at home.

Glazed figs before being put in the oven to roast

Justin’s making the main course – chicken breasts filled with a fennel, pastrami and chicken mousse with a spinach and pine nut lasagne – and I’m making the dessert.

Honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart before going into the oven

In keeping with the loosely Mediterranean theme, I’ve cooked a honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart. You can buy ready-made shortcrust pastry to make the base, but it’s really easy to make yourself at home – a 2-minute job… honest!

Honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart before going into the oven

I’ve not made this tart before – I hope it’s a hit tonight!

Honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart
Serves 4
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Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
  1. 500g/18oz pack shortcrust pastry at room temperature or make your own
  2. 4 ripe fresh figs, stalks trimmed
  3. 1tbs lemon juice
  4. 1 tbs clear honey
  5. 100g/3½oz softened butter
  6. 100g/3½oz golden caster sugar
  7. 100g3½oz ground almonds
  8. 1 medium egg yolk
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
  2. Grease a shallow, loose-bottomed 20cm flan tin
  3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly-floured work surface
  4. Line the tin, carefully pushing it into the base & sides and making sure the pastry comes above the rim. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
  5. In the meantime, halve the figs lengthways and put them cut side up on a roasting tray
  6. In a small measuring jug, combine the lemon juice and honey before pouring the liquid over the figs
  7. Roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes until just soft
  8. Drain off the juice (if any) and reserve
  9. Remove the pastry case from the fridge and prick the base all over with a fork, line with a circle of greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes
  10. Remove the paper & beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden
  11. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2 Leave the pastry case to cool slightly before filling
  12. In a food processor or using an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar until smooth & pale
  13. Add the ground almonds and whizz briefly to combine
  14. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp of the reserved fig juice and whizz again until smooth
  15. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the marzipan evenly over the pastry case base
  16. Gently press the figs, cut side up, into the almond mixture
  17. Bake for 1¼ hours or until the top turns golden all over
  18. Leave in the tin for 15 minutes before removing sides and transfer to a wire rack to cool
  19. Serve cool or cold with crème fraîche or clotted cream
Adapted from BBC Good Food Magazine
H is for Home Harbinger

Duckydora dinner party

October 6th, 2015

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Salad and garlic bread served on Duckydora 'Sienna' tableware with 'Florence' tea towel

We’ve just received some lovely Sienna patterned tableware from duckydora.

Duckydora logo on the underside of a 'Sienna' side plate

It was put straight to use that evening as we were having pasta with some garlic bread and salad. It was absolutely perfect for serving.

Slices of garlic bread served on a Duckydora 'Sienna' plate

This range is pared back, clean and simple with a modern, rustic feel. The bowl & plates are glazed terracotta in a lovely, soft baby blue shade – hand decorated with a repeating raindrop pattern. It’s photographed here with the complementing Florence tea towel which adds pretty stylised flowers to the scene.

'Sienna' salad bowl with 'Florence' teatowel

This Sienna tableware is just one of a range of products available at the duckydora website.