Jul 312012

My Foodie Parcel from Anna

This is my first Foodie Penpal reveal. I joined the scheme after some of my twitter followers had started. It’s a lovely idea to allow people to spread foodie delights around to new friends and contacts.

This month, Anna from Nottinghamshire sent me a parcel and I sent one to Caitlin in Cornwall.

Anna was a good find for me as she is also a forager who makes the best of the free ingredients around her. In her note to me she said:

We love foraging and, with my assistants’ help, I make a lot of jams & preserves.

So the two jars you can see are of dandelion marmalade and blackberry & apple jelly. I am delighted with both and especially the dandelion marmalade. I had seen a number of people on Twitter had made it this year and never got round to make it myself. It’s a rich, fruity conserve, with marmalade bite and smooth sweetness. It went really well on some fresh wholemeal & spelt bread I made.

Wholemeal & wholemeal spelt yeasted loaves

The blackberry & apple has a lovely hedgerow flavour and colour with a delightful soft set. We’ve yet to try the Stilton cheese. I’ve just made some digestive biscuits which will go really well with it. We’re looking forward to that very much.

We were also fortunate that Anna loves smoked fish & charcuterie. Anna also has a smokehouse local to her. So we received some gorgeous locally made preserved goods.

The fennel sausage smells as good as it looks and was to die for in flavour. A treat indeed.

Also, Anna sent us some gorgeous smoked salmon pâté. I’m afraid it didn’t last for my collected picture of the parcel goodies, as we ate it. It was only once we were tucking in that I remembered to photograph it. So apologies for the dodgy iPhone picture of my plate.

Anna's smoked salmon pate on sourdough

All-in-all, I’m very glad I signed up for Foodie Penpals. I had a lot of fun putting together the parcel for my penpal. The goodies I received from Anna were a delight and gave me some tastes that I would not have otherwise had.

I recommend the scheme if you love food and would like to try new things. If you do, click the badge below to find out more…

 Posted by at 08:44
Jul 242012

Llŷn Peninsula Cloud Waves looking SW
We had a very nice cloud formation this morning. Air currents had formed these pretty waves in the lower cloud. Here seen above Mynydd Rhiw looking south-west from where we live.

Llŷn Peninsula Cloud Waves looking S
And here looking south in the direction of Abersoch.

Llŷn Peninsula Cloud Waves looking SW
And this slightly further west.

It’s a dull day light-wise but we have some good weather. One of the benefits for us to live on the side of a mountain is that we get a lot of sky to look at. Bendigedig!

 Posted by at 09:41
Jul 022012

Sourdough bread pudding
The rubbish ‘summer’ weather we’re having prompted a need for comfort food. I had a surfeit of bits & bobs of sourdough loaves in the bread bin, so bread pudding called to me.

Instead of just using the normal dried fruit, I wanted some sparkle in the pudding. The vibrant orange of apricots and red of cranberries were ideal for this. The fruit gives a lovely zing to the pudding to brighten up dull & wet days.

So if you fancy this, please read on for the recipe… Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:15
Jul 012012

Yesterday, Mel at Edible Things tweeted a link to a great idea for food bloggers and blog readers to get to know each other, by sending a lovely parcel in the mail every month. I re-tweeted the link to the US & UK schemes and soon got into a chat with Mel and Karen at Samphire Shop. Karen suggested that we should set up a similar scheme for seeds. It’s a brilliant idea and this blog post is about that.

In brief the Foodie scheme works like this:

  • Anyone that wants to take part signs up using a contact  form available on the host blog
  • Participants are then matched. It’s not a swap: so penpal A will send to penpal B; penpal B will send to penpal C.
  • Penpals send out thoughtful, food related parcels. The parcels can include home baked treats and/or shop bought treats (especially local or unusual things). The price limit for the boxes is £10.
  • Penpals open their boxes and rejoice!
  • At the end of the month, everyone blogs about their box, or writes a guest blog post if they are usually a blog reader and not writer. Everyone reads one another’s posts and rejoices some more. Posts are made available on the hosts’s blog.

The idea for the Seedy Penpals is that we do the same sort of thing with spare seeds. These could include you favourite commercial varieties, heirloom seeds and home-saved seeds. It’s a great way of discovering new things and making new friends.

We would like to see whether there are enough people interested in the idea to make it worthwhile. And we’d also like to find out how you think it should be run. So I’ve put together a little survey which we’d like you to complete. It’ll only take a couple of minutes, so please, please fill it in. There are 7 questions, so please scroll to the end.

UPDATE 9th July 2012:
I have closed the survey. We have had a great response. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond, share the link with friends and tweet a link to this post.  Mel & I will discuss the results later this week and work out how to take things forward. I’ll post more in the very near future about Seedy Penpals.

UPDATE 11th July 2012:
Mel & I have now had a long discussion. We think this is a great project and we have started to work to make it happen. If you’d like to be updated by email when we have more news, please fill in the form below. Make sure you don’t miss out!

UPDATE 25th July 2012 – Time to launch
We’ve done it! Seedy Penpals is now ready to go.

Let’s get Seedy!

Seedy Penpals Small Badge

 Posted by at 12:13
Jun 182012

Polyculture tarragon in polytunnel

My friend Emma has started Project Nosh to eat as many of the edible plants in her garden before she moves.

One of the plants Emma wants ideas for is French tarragon (artemisia dracunculus). The dracunculus in the Latin name means ‘Little Dragon’, perhaps referring to the teeth like shape of the leaves or its serpent like roots. I promised to blog a recipe for tarragon vinegar so that Emma could take the wonderful warm anise flavour with her.

To find out more about how we grow tarragon and for the recipe please read on. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 07:56
Jun 162012


Versatile Blogger Award

May seemed to be a good month here at Legge Towers for awards. Cath who blogs at For Bella and Will very kindly nominated me for this Versatile Blogger Award. So thanks very much to Cath for that. It’s also a nice opportunity to give some love to some blogs I read and to tell you some things about me that you may not know. My obligation to do this is clear from the Rules of Acceptance:

  • Thank the person who gave you this award
  • Include a link to their blog
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself
  • In the same post, include this set of rules
  • Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:00
Jun 152012

Apple custard cake Parisienne, sliced

You’ll love this cake. It has a crispy case;  firm, slightly spiced apple filling and an aromatic vanilla custard topping. What’s more, it’s ridiculously easy to make and you get to play with squidgy pastry.

I had a surfeit of apples in the fruit bowl that I wanted to use up and a need for custardy, cakey deliciousness. A quick google search soon delivered to me the inspiration for this cake. It’s remarkable how many web sites appear to have the same copy for the recipe…

I thought that the recipe(s) was (were) too sugar heavy. The four pounds of apples the recipes state I think is far too much to fit in the space available. I cut my apples first and measured their volume to work out what baking tin to use.

If you’d like to know how to make this cake, please read on… Continue reading »

 Posted by at 17:15
Mar 222012

Rye Vollkornbrot with Felin Ganol rye
In my goody box from Anne at the Felin Ganol Mill was some wholemeal rye flour and chopped rye berries. Along with some sunflower seeds, these are just what you need to make this delicious, hearty & earthy bread.

Rye Vollkornbrot with Sardo & DolcellateThe result was fantastic and we ate it with some very special cheese. The soaked rye chops help keep the bread wonderfully moist. Those and the sunflower seeds mean it also has a nutty texture.

The bread is easy to make as long as you do not expect the same feel and process as making bread with wheat flour. Rye doesn’t have the same gluten development as wheat, so you don’t get a big rise. The dough starts, and remains, sticky and so you have to handle it sparingly with wet hands.

It’s also best to ‘age’ the bread once it’s made for 24 hours or more so that the crumb can develop the proper characteristics.

If you would like to make this bread, read on… Continue reading »

 Posted by at 15:53
Mar 152012

Sourdough loaves with Felin Ganol Mill Tybalt flour

Romeo, the hate I bear thee can afford
No better term than this,—thou art a villain

Now why would you name a wheat after someone who would say that?

I think this Particular Tybalt, unlike Romeo’s assailant, is more fiery in name than in nature.

This is another test bake of one of the flours I received the the Felin Ganol Mill. This particular flour is a fine grained white flour. I decided to use is as part of my normal bake of 2.7kgs of sourdough along with some Felin Ganol wholemeal spelt. Anne & Andrew say on the packet that they recommend it is mixed with 30% strong white flour. What I did was replace some of my usual strong white bread flour with the Tybalt.

Here’s the formula I used… Continue reading »

 Posted by at 15:49
Mar 112012

I promised some more salad dressings when I wrote the Vinaigrette recipe the other day. I really looked forward to doing this post because mayonnaise this way is so simple and so spectacular. You’ll have great mayo in less than a minute. I hope once you have made this the first time, you will not feel the need to buy mayo ever again.

What’s more, it gave me an excuse to make a food-related video to show you how easy it all is. So it was lucky I needed some mayonnaise yesterday. It was to make into a wild garlic mayonnaise to go with some juicy prawns grilled with breadcrumbs and parmesan. I’m afraid there’s no picture of the finished dish because we ate it!

If you want to know how make this, wild garlic mayonnaise or tartar sauce, please read on… Continue reading »

 Posted by at 16:43
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