Viva Vegetables

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Viva Vegetables medium tote bags

Win one of these gorgeous tote bags – they’re from the Viva Vegetables range, one of the new Spring 2015 collections from the folks at Talented.

Even if you’re a complete carnivore, you’ll love this quirky range of colourful canvas bags. They’re both attractive and versatile.

Talented is an eco-company based in Sheffield specialising in creatively driven, sustainable accessories and tote bags. The brand celebrates the bag as an art form and collaborates with upcoming British artists, designers and print makers on a seasonal rotation.

Viva Vegetables is designed by American crafter Leslie Astor who now lives here in the UK. Leslie’s four designs pay homage to a few of Britain’s favourite vegetables. Large-scale prints of broccoli, carrots, beetroot and asparagus adorn the colourfully dyed canvas tote bags. Viva Vegetables small tote bags

The collection is inspired by the farmers’ market at Grand Army Plaza in New York City. When Leslie lived in Brooklyn, she and her family would visit the market every Saturday.

Leslie said:

“A tote bag gets out and about and exposed to a lot of eyes in a lot of different contexts: the subway, the office, the grocery store, the park – maybe all of those places in a day. Given that fact, I wanted my series of totes to be conversation starters, and I think they are.”

Viva Vegetables are made and printed at a fair-trade certified factory in India and are available in 2 sizes – medium tote bag and mini tote bag. They’re available to buy from the doodle bag website.

For your chance to win one, just comment below telling us which size & design you’d like and how you’d use it. To carry your lunch to work? A school bag for your child? To pop to the shops? Something else entirely? 🙂

Viva Vegetables tote bag

Cakes & Bakes: Asparagus & Gruyère Tart

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Slice of home-made asparagus & gruyère tart on a plate with mixed salad | H is for Home
We love asparagus. It’s only around for a few weeks in late spring – the tinned stuff is awful – hence the relatively high price of the fresh spears. I saw a recipe on the Chez Foti blog for an asparagus & gruyère tart and thought it looked so delicious that I’d have to give it a try.

asparagus & gruyère tart

I think it turned out really well. We had it hot, straight out of the oven with some baby Jersey Royals and again the day after cold, with a bit of salad on the side. Here’s the recipe…

Asparagus & Gruyère Tart

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 portions

Asparagus & Gruyère Tart


  • For the pastry
  • 130g plain flour, plus a little extra for rolling
  • 65g butter, straight from the fridge, cut into small blocks, plus a little extra for greasing
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • 1 egg yolk & a little cold water
  • For the tart filling
  • 450g bunch asparagus, washed
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 200ml half fat crème fraîche
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard _(I used wholegrain mustard and it tasted fantastic!)_
  • 100g of Gruyère, grated
  • salt & pepper
  • 1tbs finely grated fresh Parmesan


  1. Start by making your pastry. It's easiest & quickest in a food processor, but can be made by hand too. If using a processor blitz the flour, salt, pepper and butter together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and blitz again. With the processor still on, add a little very cold water and continue to add until the mixture starts to come together in one piece. Remove from the processor, shape together, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using
  2. Alternatively, if you’re making by hand place the flour, salt, pepper and butter in a large bowl. Rub the fat into the flour with your finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg yolk and a little very cold water with your hands. Continue to add water until the mixture comes together in one piece. Shape together, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6
  4. Whilst the pastry’s resting, make your filling. Snap off the tougher ends of the asparagus and discard, slice the remaining ends into 1-2cm slices, retaining spheres approximately half the width of your tart or quiche case. Steam over boiling water for 3-5 minutes until almost tender. Immerse in cold water, drain and set aside
  5. Lightly beat the eggs then stir in the crème fraîche, Dijon mustard, grated Gruyère, and pinches of salt black pepper. Set aside
  6. Lightly grease your chosen flan case with butter
  7. The pastry should now be rested. Roll out on a floured surface into a round slightly bigger than your case. Transfer to the case. Hang any excess of pastry over the sides. Prick the base all over with a fork. Place a piece of greaseproof paper over and fill with baking beans to weight down the pastry. Bake for 20 minutes in the hot oven, remove the beans and bake for a further 5 minutes While still hot, trim the pastry around the top of the tart case to make a neat edge
  8. Place the small slices of asparagus in the bottom of the tart case. Pile on the crème fraîche filling Carefully arrange the asparagus spheres in a pretty ‘sunshine’ design on the top. Sprinkle over the Parmesan
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes until firm to touch and golden brown on top