September Foodie Penpals

This is a very late post, it should have gone up on the 30th of September, but i have been unwell so I shall use that as my excuse.

For anyone who is unaware of the Foodie penpal rage then let me fill you in. Every month on the 5th day Carol Anne from Rock Salt sends us all a foodie match, the idea is to get in touch with the fellow lover of all things foodie, find out their likes and dislikes and then go about putting together a parcel filled with wonderful bits and pieces. Then at the end of the month everyone posts about their exciting gifts. What a great idea!

Now let me share the goodies that I sent all the way to Dublin, where Edith from ‘Just Eat It‘ received the package from her postman. After having a look at Edith’s blog I decided to send her a little collection of mostly savory and mostly healthy bits and bobs. I choose a Jamie Oliver stuffing mix, Harissa paste, whole black cardamon pods, and loose Chinese Oolong tea leaves. And then I choose to add some homemade Egyptian Dukkah and Lavender sugar.




I was extremely lucky with the fabulous parcel I received from Indre from Aberdeen. Check out her blog here . I was completely spoilt and sent a package of things that absolutely appeal to me and the type of cooking I enjoy.


Indre sent me, dried hibiscus flowers for tea, pomegranate powder, sesame powder, sumac, tamarind paste, and hot chilli sauce. She also sent me a bag of freshly dried apples from her grandmothers garden in Lithuania, how thoughtful and sweet is that! and they are sooo yummy, they sit in a big jar next to my kettle so I can nibble on them from time to time. Enclosed was also some star anise and cinnamon which made the package smell absolutely fabulous, such an excellent touch. And of course she wrote me a handwritten letter which rounded off this very generous and thoughtful package perfectly.  Thank you Indre.


So now I shall wait with excitement for my October match. As thrilling as always!


Filed under Ramblings

Lemon and Ginger Cordial

I loved making this cordial. Homemade cordials remind me of my Aunty Monica and fond memories of living with her while my parents built our house.  She lived in a farm house, with minimal heating, ghosts and lots of wonderful bohemian flare. x


Filed under Eats

Fabulous Semi Dried Tomatos

Im slowly deciding item by item which are the absolute pantry must haves, the items you ensure you keep replenished each time you go to the supermarket, semi dried tomatos is one of many. However I have decided that this is an item which I should be able to produce and keep on hand myself, of course I don’t have a garden so I have to rely on the markets for the ingredients but I can get the satisfaction out of producing the end product.

Now, semi dried tomatos have many a role is numerous dishes so your options for use are wide, and I love that after you have finished all the tasty tomatos you are left with a very fragrant and terribly tasty oil to cook with, two for one, bonus !


Fills a 385ml Preserving Jar

- Preserving Jar

-about 400-450g sweet tomatos

-Olive oil

-2 cloves garlic

-about 10 leaves of basil

-dried rosemary

-dried basil

-dried thyme

-salt and pepper


Start by preheating your oven to 70 degrees celcius. Quarter the tomatos and and remove the seeds and juice, keep the seeds and juice aside to use for something else to avoid waste. Place the tomato quarters on 2 oven trays flesh side up. Season with the salt and pepper and sprinkle the rosemary, thyme and dried basil over each piece.

Transfer the trays to the oven and leave for 3.5 hours. Depending on how large and fleshy your tomatos are will depend on the time they need to dry, but once they look shriveled and dried on the outside but still soft and tender to touch, they are ready.

Now your ready for the fun bit. Jarring it all up.

Firstly and most importantly you need to ensure your jar is sterilised. I boil mine for 10-15 mins. Then fill while still hot, close the lid tightly and thus creating a little vacume in the jar as it cools.  Remember to always wash the jar and lid in soapy water before boiling, careful of burning your fingers too, I’m particualy good at burning myself.

Start by roughly chopping the garlic cloves, tear your basil leaves and have the olive oil ready to hand. Layer the tomatos first, then some garlic and then basil, now the tomatos again, then garlic, then basil and so forth. Finish by filling the jar with oil, leaving about 1cm at the top. Screw the lid on tightly and place in the back of your pantry to let all the goodness infuse the oil. I’m leaving mine for about a month and then I will delight in many tomato indulged recipes.

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Foodie Penpals August

It’s foodie penpal time again! And I received another fabulous package this month from Isobel of  The Higley Kitchen, you should pop over and check out her yummy recipes.

If you don’t know about Foodie Penpals then let me fill you in. Every month on the 5th day Carol Anne from Rock Salt sends us all a foodie match, the idea is to get in touch with the fellow lover of all things foodie, find out their likes and dislikes and then go about putting together a parcel  filled with wonderful bits and pieces. Then at the end of the month everyone posts about their exciting gifts.  What a great idea!

I prepared a parcel for Lisa of Sweet 2 Eat . She told me she was mainly a lover of sweet baking, so I thought I would send her some ingredients and things that she wouldn’t usually buy or use. So into my parcel went some Vietnamese Galangal, Manuka Honey fudge, Rose tea bags, Mint and Lime Ayurvedic tea, Quince syrup and a bottle of my homemade cordial with a colour recipe card to match.

The following pics are of the parcel I received which included dried lemongrass, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. I was alao kindly sent some cacao nibs and a chicken piri piri rub. It was all packaged in a sweet little box with a kitch post card to accompany.

I’m loving the home made aspect of my cooking at the moment so the fact that the herbs I received were grown and dried by Isobel was a lovely personal touch. I also adored the lottle hand covered box it was all tightly packaged in.
How cute is the postcard!




Love it. Thank you so much Isobel.
I am looking forward to Septembers matches now, I may even have some items already in mind despite not yet knowing my foodie penpal.

Love mail, adore food mail! <3


Filed under Ramblings

Easy Peasy Blueberry Coconut Macaroons

These are scrumptuous and very, very easy and quick to make. Perfect for when you need something sweet with a cup of tea. I have made these ones with dried blueberries, but you could use cranberries, raspberries, or cherries. They consist of 5 simple ingredients and take only 10  mins to cook in the oven.  I think a macaroon needs to be moist and chewy on the inside and that’s just what these are.

ingredients :

Makes 18 biscuits

- 200g desiccated Coconut

-240mls Light Condensed Milk

-50g Dried Blueberries

-100g Dark Swiss Chocolate

-1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract



Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Combine the coconut and condensed milk. Add the vanilla extract. Now, if your mix is too wet, remembering that you need to make small balls for baking, add some more coconut and if too dry add a little further condensed milk.  Add the blueberries and mix well.

Make up 18 small balls and place onto a tray lined with baking paper. Leave space between each as they will spread and rise a little.  Ensure you get a few blueberries in each biscuit.

Bake for 10 mins or until the edges have browned, be careful not to cook for too long or you will end up with a hard, crunchy biscuit. The aim is to keep them soft and chewy on the inside. Once ready, remove and leave to cool. Once the biscuits have cooled sufficiently, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water and dip each bottom into the chocolate placing them back onto a non stick tray. Then take a spoon and drizzle the remaining chocolate over the tops of the biscuits as shown above.

Wait for the chocolate to set, left on the bench or in the fridge and then consume, with a cup of tea and a grumbling tummy.



Filed under Eats

Hopefully I can make you smile

Firstly, Thank you to everyone who follows my posts, everyone who stops by and for the ‘likes’ and comments, it’s appreciated and keeps me encouraged. And I am having such an enthusiastic burst that I have added another blog to my bow, it’s call My Small Delights. It’s not a foodie blog, it’s indulging some other aspects of what makes me, me. I would love you to stop by. x

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Filed under Ramblings

Fragrant Chicken Noodle Soup

A few weekends ago I boarded a train to Hackney in order to attend a very exciting day of Vietnamese cooking. When I arrived at said class I was greeted by a very friendly face, 2 gorgeous puppies and a punch of the yummiest most comforting aromas you could wish for. Leluu’s classes provide one of the few opportunities in London to learn about the art of Vietnamese cooking. I cannot recommend this class highly enough, it was like cooking in a friends kitchen, complete with mum.

Vietnamese cuisine is slowly growing in popularity here in London but its slow moving. Being from Melbourne I have always been exposed to Vietnamese flavours and dishes and it was quite a disappointment when I moved to London 5 years ago to discover that a Vietnamese restaurant was harder to find than a decent coffee. Alas 5 yeas later I now have some knowledge to try to produce these exciting dishes in my own kitchen.

Let me be clear that the following recipe is not a Vietnamese dish, but it is inspired by some of the ingredients from Leluu’s  Beef Pho.

When I think of a chicken noodle soup I think of comfort and fluffy blankets. A Pho is supposed to awaken you, it satisfy the yin and yang and as I have used some of the same ingredients this will now be my new comfort soup and healer of all colds and flu and if I’m really lucky it might even be a healer of man flu, imagine that!


Makes 2 Large serves

- 2 free range chicken legs

-1.5 Lts water

-2 small carrots chopped into quarters

-1/2 large charred onion

-2 chunks of charred ginger

-4 mushrooms

-2 sticks of celery chopped into quarters

-2 tsp of rock sugar (available in Vietnamese supermarkets, or just use ordinary sugar)

-3 star anise

-thumb length piece of cinnamon stick

-1 vegetable stock cube

-1 tbsp of good quality fish sauce (I have learnt that this makes a difference)

-1 clove of garlic

-Rice or Tapioca Flour noodles

-fresh coriander

-spring onions

-Bean sprouts


First start by charring the onion and ginger a little, you don’t want charcoal, just some colour to enhance the flavour. Now prepare your vegetables and spices. Boil the water and add the stock, throw all of the vegetables and spices in and let it boil for about 10 mins while you prepare your chicken.

Wash your chicken legs and remove the skin. Place into the boiling stock, replace lid, turn the heat down and leave to simmer for about 2 hours, checking the water level every now and then and skim any skum from the surface of the  broth.

After 2 hours, add the fish sauce. Leave for another 30 mins and then taste and season. You may find you need to balance the flavours a little with a dash more sugar or fish sauce.

After the broth has had 2.5 hours to infuse, turn off the heat, strain the broth and put the vegetables and spices aside, you can use these for something else or to make a further batch of stock.

Place the noodles into a large bowl of boiling water, cover with a teatowl and leave to soften for 15-20 mins.

While the noodles are softening remove the chicken from the bones. Once the noodles are ready, construct your soup. Place noodles into the bowl with a generous amount of chicken. Cover with the lovely clear broth and top with bean sprouts. Finish it off with finely chopped coriander and spring onions.



Filed under Eats, Reviews