October 9th, 2015
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!
- Canvas shopper bag: £4, Next
- Carrot shopping bag: £13, Etsy
- Hearts foldaway shopping bag: £8, Cath Kidston
- ASOS shopper bag: £20, ASOS
- Fairtrade recycled cement shopper bag by recycle-recycle: £15, notonthehighstreet
October 8th, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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!
I’ve not made this tart before – I hope it’s a hit tonight!
Honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart
- 500g/18oz pack shortcrust pastry at room temperature or make your own
- 4 ripe fresh figs, stalks trimmed
- 1tbs lemon juice
- 1 tbs clear honey
- 100g/3½oz softened butter
- 100g/3½oz golden caster sugar
- 100g3½oz ground almonds
- 1 medium egg yolk
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
- Grease a shallow, loose-bottomed 20cm flan tin
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly-floured work surface
- Line the tin, carefully pushing it into the base & sides and making sure the pastry comes above the rim. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
- In the meantime, halve the figs lengthways and put them cut side up on a roasting tray
- In a small measuring jug, combine the lemon juice and honey before pouring the liquid over the figs
- Roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes until just soft
- Drain off the juice (if any) and reserve
- 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
- Remove the paper & beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden
- Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2 Leave the pastry case to cool slightly before filling
- In a food processor or using an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar until smooth & pale
- Add the ground almonds and whizz briefly to combine
- Add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp of the reserved fig juice and whizz again until smooth
- Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the marzipan evenly over the pastry case base
- Gently press the figs, cut side up, into the almond mixture
- Bake for 1¼ hours or until the top turns golden all over
- Leave in the tin for 15 minutes before removing sides and transfer to a wire rack to cool
- Serve cool or cold with crème fraîche or clotted cream
Adapted from BBC Good Food Magazine
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
October 6th, 2015
We’ve just received some lovely Sienna patterned tableware from duckydora.
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.
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.
This Sienna tableware is just one of a range of products available at the duckydora website.