Category Archives: nature
I thought you might like to see a few pictures of my new garden workshop. It’s a log cabin – from Finland – built in our English village garden. As the house and garden we’ve taken on is quite a project, this studio seemed like a good place to start – a place to work and a place for retreat! And because I always like a little reminder of the West Indies, we gave it a Caribbean inspired splash of paint on the trim and a moat of tiny sea pebbles to lend a little mood of seaside. There are shelves and cupboards to keep all my bits of equipment and props, and lots of space to rest and think!
One of my plans for the garden is to grow some lovely edible flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables. I’ve planted up plenty of seeds and they are all happy (mostly) in their temporary seed tray beds. But it’s a long way off from here to harvest! The best prospect for instant rewards lies in the herb beds – so I’ve got busy planting an array of fragrant, and flowering herbs around my studio.
These herbs come in handy for a delightful mid morning snack of cheese and crusty bread. I used a local fresh salad cheese – a bit like a light feta cheese. I snipped and sprinkled over some chives, flowering thyme, and mint. Then a drizzle of honey – for a delicious salty sweet combination – and a few drops of golden rapeseed oil. Lastly, a bit of cracked black pepper and it’s soon ready. And yes, that is a nice cup of tea to go alongside!
I’ve been working on some still life projects in the studio. I’m getting used to the light, working on making the right effects and so on. I hope to post some of the results here sometime soon.
We have a lot happening here in Britain over the next few weeks. Our village is gearing up for big celebrations for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Then, of course, we have the London Olympics…very exciting! More soon.
Hope you like my shed (studio) – don’t hesitate to drop me a comment with any thoughts or ideas!
The frost and snow of the past few weeks tries to persuade us to keep indoors, warm and cosy by the open fire. But it’s worth refusing – and braving the icy weather, all bundled up – for a traipse through the lovely countryside as Mother Nature’s winter coat is beautiful to see. I particularly love getting out early, on a bright, clear day to admire the pinky golden glow over the icy fields. Look at the way this husk of a weed gently captures and holds the snow in little snowy balls…and the way the frost makes patterns on the windows of my workshop…
May I suggest the warmest of home-welcome with a delicious, bubbling hot bowl of rich onion soup laden with golden, molten cheese? It tastes extra wonderful after a long walk in the cold. I found these giant, sweet onions at the shop and thought they would be perfect for my soup – and they were!
Everyone’s tired – home time it is. Back to our garden, the trees laced with frost.
Time to start cooking. Sometimes those old classic dishes are just the thing, don’t you think? So comforting. In this soup I used a drop of Calvados as I didn’t have any brandy. The slightly sweet and aromatic hint of apple really enhanced the savoury broth. As for the cheese, I love the nutty flavour of a good, aged Gruyere. But you could use another rich melting cheese, perhaps a Comte? Any good rustic bread makes a lovely toasted bed for the cheese. I used a marvellous wholegrain and walnut bread. Magnificent with the cheese. Sadly, the soup is all gone as I write this – I must prepare it again soon!
Before I say goodbye, I’ll leave you with a couple of images from my walks around the frosty village. I stopped in the church and spotted this beautiful earthenware jug – so I quickly made its portrait. And the trees, my friends along the path, wearing their bleak winter wardrobe.
More soon. It will be Spring before we know it – and with this being our first year in our new home and garden, each season brings a bit of surprise. I’m getting some hints of spring bulbs with the emergence of some tiny shoots amidst the snow. This garden needs so much work, and the prospect of some inherited spring flowers makes me very happy. I’ll keep you posted.
Sometimes it’s only the old favourites that will do. Those wonderful, comforting dishes that nourish the body and make you feel happy. For me, leeks and potatoes are one of those glorious long standing marriages of pure comfort and deliciousness. Together in a simple soup they are real harmony. Recently, I’ve really been craving those nourishing foods so I’ve been enjoying lots of this lovely soup. I like to add other richly nutritious greens like watercress or spinach for an extra boost of goodness.
Do you remember last time I mentioned that my lovely husband has been doing a little more of the cooking lately? I’ve been been trying to teach him a bit as he goes along. Some people are not natural cooks are they? (It’s that good old diplomatic side of me speaking here!) I firmly believe that everyone can cook, it’s a matter of common sense and if nothing else you can always follow a decent recipe. But that real magic, that blend of art and chemistry that makes for the yummiest food, well it’s an instinctive thing isn’t it? I wouldn’t say that D is a natural cook. But given the chance – and he doesn’t get much chance with me in the way all the time – he does really well. In fact, he is now a master of this lovely soup. It’s actually even nicer because he’s made it for me, and that makes me feel very happy.
It has been a proper old winter, this one. Bitterly cold on many days, dull and gloomy at times too. It’s got a quiet beauty about it though, doesn’t it? I still love to go out walking even though I don’t really like being cold. There is always something interesting to see in the stark winter landscape and I love to see the horses, cows and piggies in the fields around our village. And then come home to a big warm bowl of nourishing, homemade soup.
If you feel like sharing any thoughts or ideas or sending me a link to your website/blog, please do leave a comment. It’s always wonderful to hear your thoughts.
Otherwise, until next time. With some more vibrant colours I think. P.