I live out in the sticks (slang for being surrounded by trees and narrow roads) in the Welsh valleys and not many friends, including family want to come out and see me as its often out of their way. It does sink my heart a little...
So I was delighted when a couple of friends accepted my invitation and I was able to cook a meal for them. I did not ask them to bring anything, but they came with gifts, firstly sunflowers.
These sunflowers are still standing tall and proud in a vase in what I call my conservatory, but really its an extension of the kitchen.
They have a hazelnut tree in their garden and gave me some a good stash of hazelnuts from it. Its a shame to shell and blitz them to a powder, but I am planning on making a cake with them soon. They also brought a bottle of good red wine and a fancy layered chocolate cake from M&S. All were appreciated. Thank you dear friends. I hope to extend the invitation again, if you want to come and you really don't have to bring anything with you, except your hungry bellies.
Well its Sourdough September. And this is my first ever homemade sourdough bread thanks to Kath who blogs over at The Ordinary Cook. Kath also runs cookery and bakery classes under Veg Patch Kitchen in Ironbridge, rural Shropshire. This weekend she was at Ludlow Food Festival. I am sorry I missed it, but I had already booked to go on a Fungi walk.
Although I have not had the opportunity to attend one of her classes yet, it is still thanks to her that I was able to make this sourdough bread at home, as I was sent some sourdough starter in the post. However, I have been terribly neglectful, and keep forgetting to feed it, but it is still thriving. I was quite pleased with my first attempt, Thank you Kath.- though my second loaf was not as good - practice, practice, practice.
These little red apples came from one of my neighbours (no not the newest one with the noisy grandchildren and constant barking dogs), but the long term ones with the Jack Russell, gave us a bag full of windfall red apples from their tree. They had given us some superb red apples before.
I have been taking a couple into work each day to eat. We have in return given our neighbours plums and tomatoes.
I made this Upside Down Plum and Raspberry Cake too. It was really good to eat with. I will blog about it soon.
The tomatoes from the greenhouse are coming on wonderfully this year, the hard work has paid off. The tomatoes are coming in all shapes and sizes. Every meal this week has been tomato based from Cherry Tomato 'Couscous Tarte Tatin; Tomato Date Feta Baklava and even tomato sandwiches for lunch!.
Oh I forgot to mention that the other newer neighbour with the Sheep dog and chickens, gave us some more eggs (not pictured). I recently made this Savoury Cherry Tomato Clafoutis. It was delightful.
I am vegetarian, so these spices recommended for poultry, seafood and meats may seem a bit strange to feature on my blog, but I have come across a number of vegan recipes recommending it as a flavour enhancer, so I got my husband to order me some Old Bay Seasoning off the web as its not something easily found in the UK.
I am familiar with Dunn's River and African Finest products in the UK, neither have meat stock in them, so I picked them up too to try, whether I do or not is a different question.
Finally, on my way to the dentist which is on the outskirts of a town I used to work in last year, I spotted a Eastern European supermarket. As I was a bit early for my dental appointment, I went in and picked up a few interesting bits: at the back white wine vinegar which was reasonable priced, some large rice cakes labelled at Wafelki, Ajvar which I do like and a jar of pickled patty pans. I was tempted by a few other things, but thought I'd get them on my next visit to the dentist which is in November.