Thursday, 12 November 2009

I made you a beard

Love this shop: I made you a beard

Wish I'd known about it when hunting for my outfit for George's recent party, although I think the one I scored was pretty rad :)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Fire & Knives

Love the look of this new foodie mag Fire & Knives. A subscription would make a great present for Christmas (ahem!)

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

When in Flushing...

stop off here and have a beer. It's lovely.

ps - the food's pretty good too.

Monday, 9 November 2009

A good race and the best oysters known to humanity

or at least David and I at any rate. Last Thursday we took part in the final race of the season on board Moon (pictured above). I've been racing on her all summer, and can honestly say it's been a complete joy. God only knows what I'm going to do over the next 6 months until racing resumes.

Anyway, I digress... The last race is called the Silver Oyster race, and has two classes - one for the normal racing working boats, and the other for the actual dredging boats. I am happy to say that we won, although with only one other boat in our class and a super racing mastermind on-board it was a somewhat hollow victory. Racing commenced at 10 in the morning, and with this now out of the way we swiftly got on with the order of the day - drinking. Luckily empty stomachs were abated with a delivery of hot pasties and a cool box full of fresh Falmouth oysters, courtesy of Ranger.

I can honestly say (and I'm not alone here) that they were the best oysters I've ever eaten. Natives, rather than Pacific oysters are definitely my faves, and these did not disappoint. They tasted absolutely of the sea, and were a perfect accompaniment to the day's celebration. Please support Ranger by visiting his site. All oysters are dredged, cleaned and delivered all by him and his crew, from the last wild oyster beds in Cornwall.

Today I Saw

This is simply lovely.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Things I like 31.10.09

Badges designed by Shen Plum. Available here, via badge review.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Hoodies and Christmas

Have started making things for Christmas (am I allowed to say that word yet?). Anyway, have started with this little hooded jacket for Rita. It's using a Debbie Bliss pattern from this book and made with 'Rooster' from here. I definitely recommend starting out with knitting for little people if you're not used to patterns - makes it far less soul destroying when things go wrong, you have to unravel and start again!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Open season

Today is the first day of the oyster (dredging) season, hurrah. Pictured above are two of the Falmouth Working Boats; the only fleet of oyster dredgers allowed to use wind or manpower for dredging oysters.

Bring on the festival: 15 - 18 October 2009

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A little tip from me to you

Last night I had the most amazing roast lamb ever to pass my lips - the flavour was quite something, even surpassing that from my old butcher on Broadway market. So if you happen to live in the Falmouth area then lucky you! Said lamb comes from Nancarrow Organic Farm, situated halfway between Perranporth and Truro, but you can buy it from the farmers market ever Tuesday in Falmouth, and Saturday in Truro.

Nancarrow Farm

01872 540343

Friday, 25 September 2009

Sloe Gin

Oh yes.. I have been busy. Over the past couple of weeks I have spent a couple of days picking things in the local hedgerows. These mainly consisted of blackberries, which now seem to be coming to their end, wild rosehips, and of course, sloes. I have never attempted to make sloe gin before, and was slightly dismayed to learn that it's best enjoyed some 18 months after making. Still, I keep telling myself that if I make a couple of bottles, I'll be able to save one to sample next year.

If you are thinking of doing this and haven't before, let me first tell you in no uncertain terms that the blackthorn bush is a ferocious brute, that does not part easily with its wares. As long as you are aware of that, then fine, as it seems to have escaped everyone's mention wherever I looked for information. All bushes are covered in thorn over an inch long, you'll often find the best berries are sitting smugly right at the top of the bush, completely out of reach, and in my case, also perched on the edge of a precarious cliff top. My god this had better be worth it.

I have included a recipe below but would like to add one further point on my research. It seems that many people pick the sloes, then prick them all over with a fork before placing inside a large jar or bottle. Apparently, whilst this is an acceptable way of making sloe gin, it does not produce the best. Ideally you should wait for the first frost, helping to break the berries down (and also prevent the arse of going through the prep of pricking them). However, if this is not possible - as this year they are all out quite early - then place in the freezer overnight before making the gin as usual. Minus the pricking, of course.

Makes about 1 litre

450g sloes, frosted or pricked
450g sugar
600ml gin

Place the sloes into a large clean jar or bottle. Pour over the sugar, follwed by the gin. Close the container securely (and do not scrimp here, I have bought an inferior model it would seem, and now have gin all over my kitchen) and give a good shake to mix up the ingredients. Shake this daily for the following week - it helps incorporate the sugar and to release the sloe juice. After that shake once a week for 8-10 weeks.

Once the sloes have instilled their flavour in the gin pour through a fine sieve and bottle. I now double dare you to resist leaving one to enjoy in 18 months time. Others feel free to glug as soon as you get the Christmas mood.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

In my garden

In moving to Cornwall I have had the good luck of obtaining a garden. I like to call it (albeit affectionately) 'The Scrubland'. As you can guess from such a name, much of it is bare earth right now, with some plants, some herbs, and an on-going battle with the local weeds (of which there are a variety). It's been really exciting to get a relatively large patch for a new-comer such as myself, and of course, because we're only renting it's always hard to weigh up the cost and effort required to make it really nice with a wonder of how long we'll actually be there. But y'know, it's going well. It's blessed with amazing soil, as has been the local compost dumping ground for the surrounding flats for the past few years. Already I seem to have a few friends doing well, and I'm pleased to say that the bees seem just as keen as I am.

Already from this I have managed to make two batches of herb and ricotta ravioli, to remind me of sunnier times in the winter, plus we're now enjoying our own salads regularly. I'm hoping I might even get some fruit and jam out of it next summer. Wish us luck, I'll keep you updated.

(if all goes to plan, when this flowers next year it could be up to 15ft tall!)

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Organic Fortnight

Starts today. Get involved :)

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Blackberry Season

If you're in London then this isn't going to be news for you - but down here in Cornwall we're only just coming into the season now. Blackberries are brilliant, and what's better - they're free, and they're everywhere! Chock full of antioxidants and Vitamin C they are super good for you - I plan to go out and start collecting today... yum :)

Bramble Jelly Recipe

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

I'm a bit crap

After all... it's the summer holidays, I've not worked since mid-July and yet I've only managed a paltry two blog-posts. Still, to show what I have been doing I've included a pic of my mate's boat mid-race. We'd just over-taken him ;)

Sunday, 23 August 2009

The great Charlie Harper

I have only now discovered the work of the late Charlie Harper... and by a craft shop wouldn't you know? Check out some of the illustrator's awesome work here (you can get posters for about $50). Seeings as I don't have a job right now I'm having a hard time trying to justify such a purchase (I've got my eye on 'Harper, Harper, Harper'), but I'd definitely like to put one of these needlepoint kits on my Christmas list this year.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Wendy Brandon, I salute you

Your Greengage Jam is sublime.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Hmmm Ercol

Mmmm... I'm pining for this Ercol bench to go in my new flat. Better find a job first, hey?

Saturday, 18 July 2009

On the move...

Hmm... that's annoying. Didn't mean to include the shop's logo. Still, have just purchased one of these prints to go on the walls of our new flat in Falmouth... in the mist of packing with the cricket on in the background.

If you'd like one yourself you can purchase one here - surprise surprise, at twentytwentyone ;)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Biscuits are a girl's best friend

Oh yes indeedy - who needs silly old diamonds anyway? Now how to drop the hint to my class that I'd like to receive these lovely ones from Biscuiteers instead of a box of Roses at the end of term? Hmm...

tip off came from the lovely Greg

More on camping

I am totally obsessed with these tents at the moment. I want one, pure and simple. And I don't think I'll shut up about it until I've got one. Hmph.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Cold at night

I meant to post about this a week or so ago, but things have been a little odd lately, y'know how it is. Anyway, over half term we went for camping for a few days at Fforest, near to Cardigan in Wales - and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Tents are well spaced out (no more than 8 tipis in one field, spaced around the edge), and include a wood-burning stove - making it definitely not coldatnight, as their url suggests. Additionally you get your own kitchen area, there's a Cedar Barrel Sauna in the woods, films shown at night, fresh breakfast is included... I could go on.

Anyway, as it was (kind of) for my birthday I had the additional bonus of an Ottolenghi meringue (thanks Tash!) to tuck into when I arrived. How smug am I?

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Gooseberry & Elderflower Jam vs School Reports

Always good to get side-tracked productively, and with 28 school reports to write, who can blame me? I look forward to trying this jam later on :)

recipe available, if anyone's interested, let me know.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Doin' it for the kids

Ok Beddard, it's a while since you've had a rant, so here we go. Deep breath, I'm getting a good run up...

As a young child I was pretty interested in cooking. However. And it's a big however. My experience of cooking was this: making bread with a friend's mum (she volunteered) = awesome; designing a hot drink for 16 OAPs at 20p a head = big time suck; costing up my prize-winning brownies for a production line = bigger suck.

Why is it, that despite the whole 'obesity epidemic' the government just don't seem to get the fact that we're not educating kids to love and care about the food they eat. Somewhere along the line simple cooking turned into home economics, which then became 'food technology' in the 1990's.

If you supply kids with the following brief (as I was today in a teacher training session led by an LEA expert) all you will do is turn them off food for quite some time: Design a mid-day meal for 54 OAPs on a coach day-trip to Margate during a cold winter. It should be nutritious, and cost no more than 75p per head. There are no special dietary requirements.

Yipee. As an adult on the receiving end of this I could hardly even be bothered to work out the total budget, let alone argue the nutritional value of mash vs pasta. Is it just me, or is this exactly the kind of thing that puts you off cooking? I certainly received briefs like this during secondary school - and remember it shaping my attitude towards cooking and the food I ate. Until I was 18 and moved out of home, my entire cooking repertoire consisted of chocolate brownies and tuna pasta salad. Only, there isn't even any salad in TPS!

What's wrong with teaching kids how to cook? Things they like - for themselves! Surely you have to foster a love of cooking for themselves before you start worrying them with what a fucking coach-load of OAPs might want to eat for lunch, no?

Ok, big breath, rant over.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Big Outdoors

It's sad to learn that less than 10% of children get to play in natural places such as woodlands, as reported by the Field Studies Council.

I never got round to saying anything about it, but about a month ago I went on a school journey to stay at the Magdalen Project on the Dorset, Somerset border. It's an amazing place, "encouraging children and adults to learn new skills, enjoy new experiences and develop a greater understanding of the countryside and a more sustainable approach to life." Girls whom previously drew hearts on absolutely everything, suddenly became obsessed with jumping in 'squishy mud', preferably falling into it if at all possible. And many of them, I realised, had never experienced true darkness - something of an impossibility coming from inner London. It was a real eye-opener to say the least.

With all this in mind, I am more excited than ever to be moving back to Cornwall - where I'll get to camp out at the place pictured above as often as I like through the summer holidays. I hope that in my new school there will be ways to fit as much of the outdoors as possible into the National Curriculum. Fingers crossed.

Monday, 20 April 2009

How rad...?

Check out this cool book-making tutorial from the Small Object. I would be super excited to receive such a lovely box of books as a present - what a lucky nephew :)

Friday, 17 April 2009

A thing of beauty

I like this a lot - I love my stove. Just imagine how you'd feel if you'd built your own!
From Ben Lepley - check out the rest of the pics of his studio - awesome.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A busy day

Made today, in no particular order:
Soda Bread
Grilled mackerel with sweet potato pickle and mint yoghurt (from Ottoloenghi: The Cookbook)

And maybe some macaroons, if I can be bothered...

And things I have admired:
Mieke Willems
Present and Correct (have I blogged about them before? I can't remember)

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Escape from the city

I've been away here on a school journey. It was rad. Will report tomorrow when I can keep my eyes open.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Another knitting project, perhaps?

This is also rather nice... shame it looks as though spring has sprung! Still, there's always next year.

I heart Kaari

I have lately been obsessing about this jumper, which just seems to be popping up everywhere right now. I've been particularly dreaming about knitting it up in some lovely navy blue yarn, achieving a sort of 'fishing's-in-my-blood' kinda look. Strange, I know...

Anyway, if interested, it is unfortunately hard to get hold of here, however can be found in the ever-fabulous Loop, Islington - the only stockist in Europe, I'm told. You'll need one copy of Berroco's Norah Gaughan, vol. 1, Urban Layers.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Knitwit's optimistic mitts

I am seriously in love with this mittens - as knitted by the brilliant Knitwit on flickr.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Land ahoy

I love this idea. For those of us eager to grow but with no space, the thought of sitting on an allotment waiting list for 5 years can be frustrating.. so good to see that this new initiative seems to be gathering speed. Simply sign up (be you a land owner - or a land seeker) and the idea is that you'll be matched to something suitable - putting land to good use. nice.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Is it a bike?

Is it a bike? Is it some weird cross-trainer-type thing from the gym? Who knows...
Spotted on facehunter.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Tomato Update 7.3.09

My little nursery is coming along nicely under one of our skylights. In the top picture are some salad leaves I have growing (a mixture of Rocket, Red Russian Kale, Chervil, Mizuna and Tatsoi) and underneath are my three types of tomatoes. It's really time I invested in some more hanging baskets I think...

On a completely different note, this looks like a great recipe for a chocolate cake - Kladdkaka. Have any of my Swedish friends had this?

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Eat Local, Buy Local, Grow Local

I'm loving this poster designed by Christopher Silas Neal for Readymade magazine. Even better, you can download it here for free :)

Saturday, 21 February 2009


A top tip from me to you. Adding fresh coriander when making hummus makes it taste sooo good!

This is a proud moment for me. It's my first finished adult-sized jumper (alright, cardigan if you want to nit-pick). So far I've only been able to face baby-sized ones, so this is a proud, proud moment. I have to say, that if I'd been thinking straight I would have chosen something a little easier, with less bits to sew together, such as a sweater. Still... it's not a complete disaster, and I've worn it in public without being laughed at, so can't be that bad ;)

For this project I used Sirdar's Eco Wool DK and a pattern from this book.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Tomato Update 20.2.09

The first of the year... managed to get my toms sown today. Two 'Gardener's Delight' from last year's crop, two plums from our veg bag last year and also a new 'tumbling' variety which should suit growing in a hanging basket here. Have also sown some salad leaves too - am looking forward to seeing what comes up.

On another note, I was really lucky to go on a course about encouraging sustainability within the primary school before half term. Some really interesting and inspiring talks, especially from a chap called Gyles Morris of the Magdalen Project in Somerset, which I'll be visiting with my class on the school journey in just over a month's time. I'm really looking forward to it, and shall report back here...

Other highlights included Laura Farmer on the garden created at Poole's Park School in Islington, where each class have their own allotment growing fruit and veggies bound for the canteen; and the head of the WWF UK Education department, (whose name unfortunately has completely escaped me) on education for sustainable development, why it is important, and how it needs to be addressed by NGOs and the Government.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I shall be posting more things like this here in the future, as I try to encourage my class, if not school, to slowly but surely change its ways. We'll start small with some class tomatoes then..

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

So that's what they mean by a 'snow day'

Yes that's right, I'm one of those shameless teachers who's been off school for the past two days. In my defense I was told that school was closed as I was getting ready to set off so... y'know, I tried.

Anyway, what better way to spend the day than bake?

Makes 6 - 9 scones

225g self raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
55g unsalted butter
115g grated Cheddar cheese
150ml milk
1/4 tsp dry English mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten

1. Heat the oven to 220 C / 425 F / gas mark 7. Flour a baking sheet.
2. Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl. Rub the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the Cheddar cheese, cayenne pepper and dry English mustard, mixing all together.
3. Make a deep well in the flour, pour in the milk and mix into a soft, spongy dough with a knife.
4. On a floured surface, knead the dough very lightly until it is just smooth. Roll or press out to about 2.5cm / 1 inch thick and stamp into rounds with a small pastry cutter. Gather the scraps together and cut into more scones.
5. Brush the scones with beaten egg for a glossy crust.
6. Bake the scones at the top of the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until well risen and brown.

Spread with butter and eat as soon as humanly possible without burning your mouth!

Kittens are coming

Hallelujah, I think our cat has finally sloped off to give birth. Not a moment too soon as well - I've been nearly dying with excitement.

Pic above is from the last litter. And yes - this one really is the last.

ps - scratch that... she's just come back to have some lunch (sigh...)

Monday, 2 February 2009


Top: Paperwhites, inside
Bottom: Snow, outside (the most in 18 years -yay!)

Sunday, 1 February 2009

One can never have too many blankets

Especially when that one doesn't have central heating and it's 1 degree outside. I'm finding it hard to get going on the planning today... would much rather be making :(