Food in Barcelona

Just had the best coffee and bread yet in Barcelona. Non- UHT milk, flavoursome coffee and wonderful croissant and jamon sandwich. Also visited a wonderful Italian food shop selling everything from cheeses to pasta, from chocolate and parmigiana. Mike has made a delicious ragu a la Marcella Hazan and we bought pasta to match. What a talented cook he is and what great instincts for flavours and textures. Thanks Mike.

Plans for New Year’s Eve are capon, blood oranges, chocolate dipped shortbreads and carrot,celeriac mash and a yet to be decided green vegetable. We’ll check out the market first. I have some great photos but will have to wait tol

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Eating with friends before Christmas

Sausages baked in the oven doused in good quality red wine make a delicious wholesome meal. Delicious sausages from my local Canonbury butcher;apple and pork and duck and apricot. I served them with a mash of carrot,potato and swede, seasoned well and added milk and butter. Trying to keep it seasonal, I added a steaming dish of steamed leeks. Best sausages I’ve eaten in a long time. Pay the butcher a visit on the corner of Highbury Grove and St Pauls Road in N5.

I followed this with an apple tart from Nigella Lawson. I made the sweet pastry the day before (my best so far) and kept it covered in the fridge over night. Just before my guests arrived I melted:

60 gms of butter very gently with 60 gms of castor sugar, beat in an egg with a few drops of vanilla and then grated in a Bramley apple. I poured this into the baking case and baked in a hot oven for 12 mins, followed by 15 minute on 180 degrees. See the photo below.

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Busy baking night pre Christmas

Very busy and really enjoyable night of baking. chocolate truffles a la Nigel Slater from the Observer with a hazelnut variation, my first focaccia thanks to Mr Hollywood and pate sucree for tomorrow night’s apple tart a la Ms Lawson!! Have a look at the results. Focaccia needs more paw prints and my fan forced oven is too hot and it’s a little burnt at the edges but tastes yum. Truffles are for tomorrow night’s Secret Santa so we’ll have to wait. Will fill my pastry case tomorrow with apple and butter. Hope it’ll be ok in the fridge tonight.

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My weekly bread

Olive bread tonight. Bread’s just flour (strong white and mixed grain this time), dried yeast, olive oil, salt and olives of course.I think my best yet, just the right amount of oven time and moisture. Left it to rise a long time while I went swimming and gardening. The olives turned the white flour into a rather pleasant  dark grey colour. Here’s a picture. Shared it with my friend Louise. Will make a delicious lunch tomorrow.Image

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Apple Normandy and more bread

Spent a lovely day with friends celebrating Christmas and food. Last night I made this loaf and flavoured it with caraway seeds. I think next time I’ll try rye flour and make it taste really German. It took far too long to rise so not sure what I did differently. Anyway it tastes good so the baking continues.

Also cooked this Apple Normandy tart a la Paul Hollywood tonight. It’s frightening how much butter and sugar it has in it. Took a bit longer to cook as the tin I used is deeper than recommended.

More friends to dinner tomorrow and this hopefully will star. Time for bed.

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December 15th Classical Duet Concert

All welcome to our duet concert at Lauderdale House on December 15th at 7.30.

Phillida, David and I are preparing a sumptuous feast of music from Purcell to Quilter. There will be wine and homemade edible christmas fare available before and during the concert. Hope to see you there.

Winter Warming Concert

Vocal duets and solos


Soprano, Alto & Piano

Songs by Purcell, Mendelssohn, Chausson, Faure,Satie, Guridi & Quilter

Jenny Morgan – Soprano

Phillida Bannister – Contralto

David Harper – piano

Lauderdale House Waterlow Park Highgate Hill London N6 5HG 020 8348 8716

Thursday December 15 Bar opens at 7pm

Tickets £15 adults £8 conc.

Thursday December 15th 7.30pm

Bar opens at 7pm

Enquiries 07976 264604 Phillida Bannister 07943 301850

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Wholemeal loaf

This gallery contains 1 photo.

My first wholemeal loaf this afternoon and it seems to have been quite successful as per the picture. I used a combination of wholemeal flour and granary. I added a little more water on account of the flour. Baked it … Continue reading

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Spent a lovely half hour paddling around in this refurbished pool in clifton, Bristol. It’s beautifully done with luxurious individual showers, sauna, beauty suite and a restaurant overlooking the pool with very reasonably priced delicious food.  That’s it; food and swimming. You need to live locally and be a member to afford it. otherwise it costs £15 for a one off visit. And it’s not really a place to exercise properly,more a relaxing float although some were trying to do lengths!

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My weekly loaf

Make Olive bread today. Strong white flour, mixed grain, dried yeast, salt, olive oil and black olives. Kneading them in turned the flour a dark grey colour, very pleasant really. Came out of the oven at just the right time and was the perfect texture and softness. My best effort yet. Love the kneading. Shared it with my friend Louise and it’ll make a great lunch tomorrow.

my weekly loaf

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Walnut Farl

My latest bread baking effort. There’s something so therapeutic about making your own loaf. This loaf is my best to date as it’s moist, not too salty but still flavoursome. Added too much flour on the top to make the Farl shape on top.

I’m eating more bread however but somehow because I know exactly what’s in it, it feels healthier! I love the kneading part and how the bread takes on a life of its own, like something living and growing in your hands!

Walnut Farl

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