Friday, 12 February 2010


I love jewellery - from chunky plastic and wood right through to diamonds and gold. But I like unusual pieces, something you don't see all the time. I came across Kabiri when browsing for peridot pieces - very difficult to find - and spotted this ring. It is not peridot but I do think it is very beautiful - and their site contains a wide range of styles from very reasonable prices (£40-15,000).

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Wall stickers - scandi living

Came across a company called Scandi Living who do wall stickers. I spotted the one below and thought it was cool - bright and simple.

Monday, 8 February 2010

amazing garlic bread

This recipe is 'borrowed' from a starter we had at the Sheriffmuir Inn - see my review for more on an excellent meal and restaurant. I love garlic and this brings out the sweetness of the garlic - there is no sharp hotness here - and with the cold tart tomatoes it really is the best garlic bread I have tasted.

ingredients - serves 4

4 garlic bulbs
16 cherry tomatoes
olive oil - 2 tbsp
splash of balsamic vinegar
3-4 leaves of basil
ciabatta bread - shop bought or, if you are feeling adventurous, home baked. I use Jamie Oliver's recipe.

Pop the whole garlic bulbs onto a baking sheet and roast in an oven for about 20-30 minutes.

Chop up the cherry tomatoes and mix in a bowl with the other ingredients and leave to sit while the garlic roasts.

Five minutes before the garlic is finished roasting, slice up the ciabatta, pop on a baking sheet and toast in the grill.

Take out the garlic and slice off the tops of the bulbs. Set a bulb on each plate with a slice or two of bread and a spoonful of tomatoe mixture on the side.

To eat, you just pop out the individual cloves and spread them onto the bread - they will be lovely and soft and spread like a good butter. Then scoop up a wee bit of tomatoe. The crunchy bread, soft, sweet and delicate garlic and sharp tomatoes is an amazing trio that together makes for a tasty morsel that whets the appetite perfectly for your main course.

I also think that if you want to make this into a more substantial lunch dish, serve it with a platter of cured meats, olives and some cheeses.

Sunday, 7 February 2010


I love Portmeirion - I have several pieces including a Totem coffee set - the coffee pot is beuatiful with its tall cylindrical pot and slender, gently curved spout. Well, this year is the 50th birthday of the company and to celebrate they have reproduced some of their most iconic designs including Totem, Magic City and Dolphin. It reminds you of how innovative the company was and is - from today's collections I do love 'crazy daisy' although I think I would mix it in with plain white crockery as it is very busy.

sausage rolls

There is nothing better than something hot in pastry to take the edge of winter chills. I made these over Christmas and we had them as a snack after our Christmas walk. They freeze really well and do taste better than shop bought - even though I cheat and use ready made puff pastry.

block of frozen puff pastry
sausage meat
handful of herbs e.g. sage, parsley, thyme
onion, finely chopped
some milk
an oven warmed to a mod/high heat - on my currently rubbish cooker it took gas mark 7 to get anywhere

Defrost the puff pastry as per the packet instructions

Chop up your selection of herbs - you can chop them up really finely if you like - I personally like mine a wee bit bigger

Empty your sausagemeat into a bowl - season with the pepper, mix, then add in your herbs and onion and mix again

Rest the sausage meat for about ten minutes

Roll out the pastry into a large rectangle - I make mine so that the length would make 3-4 rolls and the width two sets of rolls - this way you will get 6-8 each time and making the pastry not too big to handle but not so small you aren't making the best use of your time.

Remove your sausagemeat from the bowl and split into balls - 2-3 balls - and then roll a ball into a sausage shape that is the same length as your pastry. Lay on the pastry, take the outside edge of the length side, and fold over the meat. Make sure you leave a bit of overlap with the bottom layer of pastry to press together. Take your pastry brush, dip in teh milk, and run along the length edge and then score the bottom pastry layer to separate it from the rest of the pastry.

Press home the two length edges - I tuck them under then flip the roll and give it a wee press.

Cut your roll into 3 or 4 depending on how big you want your sausage rolls - then take a pair of scissors and snip along the tops to make sure there is an escape for any steam that builds up. I usually have 2-3 snips a roll.

Place on a warm baking tray and pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes - I find your eye is a better judge than timings on when they are ready. They should be golden and sizzling.