Apples in the garden

Apples      

The house is built on the orchard land of the Norwood Grove estate and White House just up the hill. We have two ancient apple trees in the back garden, one eating and one bramley. There are also numerous cherry and plum trees lining the nearby streets that are shedding their fruits on the pavement.

The recent departure of summer has left me feeling lethargic and despite baking and cooking I haven’t baked any new recipes that I can share with you. Between the drizzly weather and the impeding house move I seem to have temporarily lost my blogging mojo. Fingers crossed it will return soon before the upheaval of packing and moving really kicks in!

Apples

Movin’ to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches

BroadBeansSmall

I’ve had this song in my head for a while now. Some of you may remember I was kicked out of my home of 8 and a half years so that my landlord could sell it for double what he bought it for 11 years ago. Tomorrow I will be 8 weeks in on my own house purchase in the relative countryside of North Kent. 

I am having serious first time buyer wobbles. I don’t really want to leave my familiar leafy South West London surrounds but the rent is so high now and I certainly could never dream of buying in London anymore. The choice was a grotty studio flat in Croydon or a Victorian cottage in Gillingham, Kent. 

My little house is lovely, very well maintained with period features, a south facing garden and hard won after it was the fifth property I offered on in four months of looking and by far the best I had seen. I will also be 30 minutes away from my aunt, uncle and nan. 

So why the hesitation? By buying in Kent I will be reducing my outgoings whilst still being within commuting distance of London. This was my primary goal if I am to get my assisting career off the ground. On paper the plan seems perfect but why do I already feel like this house is a millstone round my neck shackling me to the 9-5 world that I hate, a job that has begun to make me feel ill and saps me of my energy.

Thoughts of growing my own veg, getting another cat, turning the house into a Farrow & Ball coloured dream home after renting forever and finally being able to buy commercial sized polyboards and blackout blinds to manipulate light in a way I’ve so far not been able to do in rented properties are countered by the fear of the unfamiliar, the burden of being a home owner and the mortgage company forcing me to sell the house 2 years from now should I dare to become a freelancer in the interim years of my fixed rate deal.

For now I shall bounce between fear and excitement as I wait to hear news of exchange and completion dates from my solicitor and make the most of photographing the contents of my housemates organic veg boxes. 

BroadBeansSmall

Dairy Free Chocolate Layer Cake

Our houseguest is off backpacking round Europe from Wednesday so I decided to bake her a dairy free chocolate cake this weekend to bid her bon voyage. I used my go to chocolate cake recipe but swapped the milk for goats milk as Amber is just cows milk intollerant but soy or nut milk can be used instead. If you don’t need a dairy free cake you can swap 240g unsalted butter back in rather than the dairy free alternatives I used.

IMG_0501Dairy Free Choc CakesmallContinue reading “Dairy Free Chocolate Layer Cake”

Nectarine & Almond Friands

I feel bad posting these nectarine and almond friands as we have a dairy intolerant houseguest at the moment and she is really struggling to have the willpower to resist.

These friands are so light and buttery and looked amazing as I was flicking through an old issue of Waitrose Weekend before relegating it to the recycling bin. The original recipe used plums but any stone fruit would work well. 

Nectarine and Almond FriandsContinue reading “Nectarine & Almond Friands”

Salmon and New Potato Tart

I had my eye on this M&S recipe for Salmon and Cornish new potato tart for a few weeks and a picnic was the perfect excuse to make it. This tart has a really nice fresh flavour thanks to the lemon zest and travelled well too.

I made my own pastry but you could use 300g ready-made shortcrust pastry as suggested in the original recipe.

Salmon and new Potato TartContinue reading “Salmon and New Potato Tart”

Marmite Sausage Rolls

On Saturday we had a Eurovision party and my entry for the UK was good old blighty favourites sausage rolls. 

I was lucky to get a days work experience with Waitrose Kitchen magazine at the end of last year and one of the recipes on the shoot were these amazing marmite sausage rolls by Sal Henley. I’m not normally a big fan of sausage rolls but these are delicious!Marmite Sausage RollsContinue reading “Marmite Sausage Rolls”

What a week!

Last Wednesday I went along to the private view and awards ceremony for the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Awards 2015 and just being on the walls of the Mall Galleries in London alongside many of the great food photographers was amazing. I was very pleased to be highly commended for my image bottom left.

 

You can view all the finalists and the very deserving overall winning image by David Griffen here

Spanakopita

Many months ago my friend Charlotte requested Spanakopita (Greek spinach and feta pie) for a blog post and finally the weather and veg box glut of spinach have aligned and her wish has come true. A while ago I saw a great post for Spanakopita on one of my favourite blogs Souvlaki for the Soul and mentally stored it away for later. I have cheated by buying filo pastry and also wilting the spinach in a pan.

Spanakopita Feta and spinach pie

Continue reading “Spanakopita”

Cheese Straws

I have found it really frustrating being off work and not being able to do much baking but I was really craving cheese straws and had some dried up cheddar in the fridge so thought I would put it to good use by grating it and drying it out a bit further as who likes soggy cheese straws?

If you don’t have dried and past its best extra mature cheddar lurking in the fridge you can use Parmesan cheese.

Cheese straws

Continue reading “Cheese Straws”

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