Monthly Archives: March 2011
Blossom! All the trees around here are starting to burst into joyful exuberant bloom and I just love it. Nothing evokes springtime, optimism and bright beginnings quite as well as nature cloaked in a mass of petals. The tulips, daffodils and other bulbs are all lovely, but for me, it’s the blossom that really gives life a lift. So beautiful, these delicate petals and colours, and so fleeting too. You just have to stop and enjoy them as they last. So, blessed with some gentle sunshine this week, we are taking our aperitifs to the garden!
If you are like me, you’ll enjoy a little savoury treat with your drink. And these little cheesy, nutty biscuits are just the thing. The problem is only that they are so tasty and moreish (that’s a word from my childhood!) that it’s hard to stop from eating too many. Never mind, I have a robust appetite and it’s not readily ruined. These biscuits are quick and simple to make, and you can even prepare the dough in advance, shape it into a cylinder and freeze it. Then when you wish to bake the sables, just allow it to barely defrost so you can slice the little rounds and bake.
In this recipe I used a strong, sharp cheddar and pecan nuts. But like most things I cook, it’s all variable! Try a version with gruyere or blue cheese and walnuts, or parmesan and sesame, poppy, caraway, onion seeds, paprika…
I wish it weren’t so, but we tend to hibernate a bit during the winter months in England. I feel much more inclined to socialise and entertain when the sun is shining. Living most of my life in sunny climates, I never noticed this – it’s one of those things that we are aware of with the distinct seasons we have in England. So here’s to Spring, Summer to come, warmer weather, friends and fun.
As always, thanks for visiting and please do leave me a comment if you wish. I love to get the links to your sites and blogs too. Or keep in touch on twitter!
More soon. P.
Glorious food, wonderful company, the breathtakingly beautiful Cotswold countryside and the ultra chic ambience that is Daylesford Organic? Yes it’s the perfect recipe for an amazing day out for a group of food writers, photographers and bloggers. I was lucky enough to join in on this recent lovely day, and came home brimming with inspiration and a sense of well being. Organised by the delightful and charming Silvana de Soissons (publisher of The Foodie Bugle), our day included an extensive tour of the farm shop, cafe, cookery school and gardens as well as cakes, pastries,and a superb lunch. Here are a few snaps I made on the day, I hope it gives you a flavour of the place. May I suggest that you visit The Foodie Bugle to read more about our day, as Silvana has written a wonderful account here.
Our day began with coffee and cakes in the cafe. This was tricky as I desperately wanted to be greedy and taste all the cakes but was too busy meeting and catching up with the rest of the gang. And it was lovely to chat with Rosie and Camilla from Daylesford. (Thanks again for looking after us so well.) Richard Smith, the farm manager chatted to us about the farming methods they are using at Daylesford, the seed stock and dairy breeds, all incredibly interesting. I’ll just have to go back soon to get some cakes!
Lunch was in the glasshouse overlooking the Chelsea award winning herb gardens. Bathed in early Spring sunshine, the setting is impeccable. But look at this magnificent spread of hams, salads, tarts. Delicicious eh? I keep thinking about those sausage rolls and I am going to try to make some as similar as possible later this week. I’ll post my recipe when I get it right!
The spa and garden shop are equally stylish. Calm, muted colours and a simple, natural mood. Lovely.
So there you have it. If you get a chance to visit the Cotswolds – and I really recommend that you do – don’t miss a stop at Daylesford. I’m sure most visitors to Extra-Relish love gorgeous food like I do, so I know you’ll enjoy it.
Daylesford Organic, Gloucestershire. www.daylesfordorganic.com
I am so excited about Spring. I’ve been out and about with my camera, and feeling much inspiration to cook, so lots of photographs and recipes coming soon. Px
Did you know that the official month of cherries (at least according to the cherry promoters in the lovely state of Michigan) is February? I know, it’s a bit surprising for all of us in the northern hemisphere, clad in the endless, dull vestiges of winter. Yes, the cherry – that gorgeous, vibrant little stone fruit that is so evocative of sunshine, of light dappled leafy trees – is feted with a national month in February. But why not? I thought about it and it makes sense. We need a hit of cherry, of brightness and delight at this time of year. It’s true it is not the time for home grown seasonal cherries, but cherries do preserve very well and a jar of cherry sauce made from summer fruit can deliver that vibrance right to our winter kitchens. Just when we need it most.
Our youngest child is always asking me to make (with his help, of course) two particular things in the kitchen. One is pasta. He’s crazy about that hand crank pasta machine. The other is ice cream. And it’s never too chilly for ice cream according to him. So why not use some cherries (cherry puree or sauce) to swirl in with a yummy soft frozen white chocolate cream – a semifreddo. Delicious.
Do you like these roses? Amazing colour. A strong peachy orange when I got them, they lasted for ages fading into lovely pinky shades. I actually found their faded petals most beautiful of all.
Since I began with the ice cream and these photographs, a few days have ticked us over into March. It feels like the green shoots of spring are all over and I am very excited about that. Little bulbs emerging, even some glowy sunlight today.
I’ll be back soon, with lots of springtime inspiration.
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