Category Archives: Other bits

Good Food Show Winter

Last Saturday I made a flying visit to the BBC Good Food Show Winter in Birmingham; I was lucky enough to be given a press pass again this year and although I didn’t have much time, there were people I wanted to meet and products I wanted to see..

The place was packed! Soooooooo many people! Far too many people for my liking!! But great to see that the show was a success. I was very aware that a year ago I visited the Good Food Show in London with Selma, and I definitely missed her company and thought of her as I mooched around. 

I’ve learned from past experience that I don’t need to eat my weight in cheese samples at these things any more, so I happily came away not feeling quite so glutenous as on previous occasions. It does amaze me though just how much people taste and eat and drink! The companies at these shows make a serious investment when they take part!! 

So, the main reason I made the trip, was to meet these guys from Spice Kitchen UK.. 

Its a great family business and I love their products, their spices are so good, and I’ve been lucky enough to try so many of them 🙂 I’ve communicated with Sanjay (second from right) so often online so this was my chance to meet him. And what a lovely guy, so welcoming and so enthusiastic; and so proud of his Mum, for she and her cooking are the inspiration behind the business.  

 
The added bonus was also to meet Tom from the Nomadic Kitchen who has written a fabulous cookbook called Spices and Spandex..I highly recommend that you check it out. 

I, of course, didn’t come home empty handed, my haul included some lovely apple chutney and teas plus some mulled wine spice which is currently perfuming my kitchen from Spice Kitchen UK.. 

 
Plus these gorgeous bowls from Sytch Farm Studio, I am so in love with them I can’t bring myself to use them yet, I just keep looking at them.. 

  
  Each piece is finished with a signature ammonite. 

  
Above is Jon and Gill, the couple behind the business; Gill is the mega talented potter.

I also found some beetroot ketchup from the Foraging Fox, which I’ve been wanting to try.. 

 
Plus some new relishes from That Hungry Chef.. 

 
And these great blends of nut butters from Nut Blend…very tasty!  

 
So, a couple of hours well spent I’d say, don’t you agree? 

I’m glad I went, it’s always an education and interesting to see what’s on offer and what’s being created..and of course, what I’d do differently!! 

In My Kitchen..in memory..

This month’s ‘In My Kitchen’ blog sharing, hosted by the wonderful Celia, is honouring and remembering Selma; Selma was an avid supporter of IMK and had become a great friend of Celia’s, and it was Selma that brought me to the monthly event. Do visit Celia’s post and find lots of other people’s IMK posts in the comments and enjoy the community that Selma enjoyed and valued so much.

It was also Selma who brought sourdough bread baking into my life and my intention was to make a loaf in her memory for this month’s post, however, with the weather we’ve been having in the UK my starter is behaving erratically and I’m not yet competent enough to make a successful loaf with it!!! I will do so as soon as it gets cooler and less humid.

I have, however, been remembering my lovely friend, every single day, in so many ways, and missing her greatly. I have been enjoying making several of her recipes and will be continuing to work through her wonderful repertoire over the coming months and feeling that she is with me in my kitchen…so far, Selma’s sweet potato, courgette and paneer fritters, chermoula spiced aubergine wedges and romanesco, feta and za’atar cakes have been very very tasty.. 

 So, in my kitchen this month..
  Is this wonderful fruity green tea which I was sent from France by my lovely friend Laura from The Veggy Side of Me. It smells beautiful and has wonderful red currants in amongst the tea leaves.

It also gave me the perfect reason to buy this fabulous teapot. It’s a Japanese pot, made of cast iron (it’s really heavy) and keeps the tea warm for a long time. I’ve wanted a tea pot with an inbuilt strainer for a long time and I love this one.

In my kitchen is this antique blotter book; the front and back cover are wooden and it’s bound together with fabric. I love the pages with their blotted words, they create such interesting patterns, virtual stories..

  
   In my kitchen are these packs of fresh yeast from a Polish supermarket in my local town, it’s such an interesting shop. It was my first time visiting and won’t be my last. The yeast is great and has behaved well so far 🙂 

 In my kitchen is this selection of gorgeous African and Middle Eastern spices sent to me by the lovely people at Spice Kitchen UK. I can’t wait to try them, the parcel smelt amazing! 

Also in the parcel was these examples of their new handmade hand thrown pottery: a chai tea cup and a little chutney bowl..I just love the colours!

In my kitchen this month has been lots of hemp seeds; I’ve toasted them and made dressings out of them and butter and dips and dukkah…it’s been good fun.. 

   

I hope you’ve had a good month and are enjoying August so far 🙂 

In my kitchen…

Welcome to July…yes, JULY!!! Already! Not long until Christmas….;) 

So, onto this month’s fun in my kitchen, the fabulous blog link up hosted by Celia of Fig, Jam and Lime Cordial…check it out and have a glimpse into other blogger’s worlds..

In my kitchen…is my absolute favourite new thing…this stamped vintage teaspoon…

  Yes, it was made to order, I chose the wording, I also purchased one for my BFF’s 40th birthday. The delivery was fast and the quality is great. I just love my spoon!!! I got it from this website.

And of course, in my kitchen, is always LOTS of tahini to go with the spoon..

  
  In my kitchen…is a new batch of spices from the fabulous Persepolis..the south London shop and online store is run by Sally Butcher who has also written several great Persian/Middle Eastern cookbooks, of which I own each one! I know I make my own spice mixes, but sometimes it’s good to try out the experts’. 

  I also received this cool falafel making tool as part of the same order… 

    
 In my kitchen..is this vintage scoop from a local shop that I recently discovered. The shop is full of goodies, I’m sure you’ll be seeing more from there in the future..

  In my ktichen…is this picture frame based on the typical doors found at the entrance of locals’ homes in the UAE… 

  

 

 In my kitchen…this week has been the usual daily cooking, including lots of spices and flavours and fresh produce..I just love this photo, the aroma was as good as the image..
 
 …and of course, lots of COLOUR!!!!! 

 

Today I thought I’d bring my collection to this week’s Fiesta Friday too, hosted this week by the lovely Julie and Josette, I hope you all like my collection.

Have a great weekend, and if you celebrate, Happy 4th July for tomorrow 🙂 

In My Kitchen…

Every month I enjoy reading other bloggers’ ‘In My Kitchen’ posts and this month I am finally doing my own; In My Kitchen was created by the lovely, enigmatic, Celia from Fig, Jam and Lime Cordial and lots of bloggers share tours of their kitchen, giving us glimpses of their worlds and their cooking, so here goes…

In my kitchen..

IMG_7015..is this gorgeous little plate given to me by lovely Selma this weekend.

IMG_7019Perfect for presenting some of the lovely mahmoul goodies we bought in London on Saturday.

In my kitchen..

IMG_7016..are beautiful flowers from my gorgeous husband.

In my kitchen..

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IMG_7018..are always these copper bowls full of garlic and onions.

In my kitchen..

IMG_7021..are the china bunnies that I recently fell in love with and purchased from a local charity shop.

In my kitchen..

IMG_7022..are two Iranian mosaic tissue boxes – they’re a bit of a faff to fill but I love seeing them 🙂

In my kitchen..

IMG_7025..is always a big pan full of tasty vegetables.

In my kitchen..

IMG_7082..are two bowls of proving sourdough, made with ‘Star’, granddaughter of Celia’s starter, Priscilla, and daughter of Twinkle, Selma’s starter.

And right now…in my kitchen..

IMG_7069..is a bowl of just roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash in olive oil and za’atar – YUM!!!!!!

And last, but by no means least, ever, in my kitchen..

IMG_7083..are the wonderful caricatures painted for me by the lovely Emily Cooper.

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my favourite place in the world x

A day trip to the Middle East..

IMG_7006…well, almost…

In Shepherds Bush, West London there is about half a mile of road that is packed full of Middle Eastern shops, restaurants and businesses; it serves a local Middle Eastern community as well as providing a fab place to visit and shop for those of us with a love of everything Middle Eastern, which is what Selma and I did yesterday 🙂 🙂

IMG_7001I arrived before Selma and had a good walk around and quickly realised that I was in my version of paradise – I just love Middle Eastern designs, styles, aromas, flavours, the language, everything. By the time Selma arrived I was literally bouncing up the street, grinning from ear to ear – and pulling along my new and very necessary shopping trolley!!! I filled this thing by the end of the day with a whole heap of tasty goodies – and all at extremely good prices – I was very pleased to see that just because it is central London that the prices aren’t loaded up 🙂

IMG_7032We visited a couple of supermarkets as well as the fabulous ‘Nut Case’ and had lunch at a Lebanese restaurant, and I can tell you in all honesty, that when I was in each of these establishments I could very easily have been in Abu Dhabi. The layouts, the staff, the products are all the same as I would find when visiting my Mum..

IMG_7026This, and the photo at the top, is in ‘Nut Case’, a shop full of fresh coffee, fresh nuts, fresh mahmoul (biscuits with dates and nuts) & baklava, an array of sweets and chocolates, as well as a whole range of shisha pipes. I can tell you absolutely that this shop is virtually exactly the same as a shop in the Hamdan Centre in Abu Dhabi, down to the same wrapped sweets! I was literally there!!

IMG_6982I managed to buy just a few things…it would have been rude not to, of course!

IMG_7027In the supermarket, Al Dimashqi, Selma and I oohed and aahed our way round, getting in everyone’s way as we marvelled at the products and choices. I fell in love with an entire shelf of tahini and grabbed the chance to try cooked chickpeas in jars, which I’ve been told are better than using tinned.

IMG_7029I stocked up with arabic bread and various ingredients which you will no doubt see featured on here as time goes on. One tip we were given, was to add a few rose petals to a bowl of natural yoghurt and nuts – I’ll be trying that soon.

IMG_7028In the restaurant we indulged in our favourite dishes of homous, mutabal, tabouleh, foul medames and patatas harras. OMG! the flavours of heaven!!

How fabulous does my lunch companion look??

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I was in heaven, again!!

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IMG_6989When you eat in a Lebanese restaurant they bring you a little plate of baklava with your bill..

IMG_6986I am almost heartbroken that my tastes have changed so much that I could only manage a tiny piece 😦

We had such a great day, it was lovely to see Selma, we are in touch constantly, but nothing beats face to face. As we ate our lunch, we discussed all of our lovely blog friends that we wished were at the table with us…you were with us in spirit, my lovelies xx

Now for something COMPLETELY different…dog biscuits!

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When my lovely little Bob joined my household six weeks ago now (gratuitous photo of Bob at the bottom of the post!!), my darling Selma from Selma’s Table joked that I’d be making tahini dog biscuits next, I put tahini in everything else after all…!!! Following our joking about it, she then sent me a link with lots of fab dog biscuit recipes, so of course, I made some!!

These are basically peanut butter and parsley cookies, designed for dogs, the parsley is to aid fresh breath; they smell fab whilst they’re baking though, like any other cookies! They smelt so good (vastly better than the liver cake I made for Bob previously, now that was beyond hideous, in every which way, I can’t even bring myself to share that one!!) one of my builders tried one!! He literally downed it in one and stated that it needed more peanut butter!!! And yes, I did tell him what he was eating 😉

So here’s the recipe:

Dog biscuits


Preheat the oven to 150C or 140C fan oven.

Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets, or line them with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl add:

2 cups of whole wheat flour or plain wholemeal flour
1 cup of rolled oats, regular or quick
1 tablespoon dried parsley or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix it all together then add 2 large eggs and 1 cup of peanut butter, crunchy or plain.

Add 1/2 cup of water and mix all together to make a dough. You may need a little extra water, see how your dough feels/looks.

Roll the dough into balls in your hands and flatten to make biscuits of whatever size you want them.

I made them quite small for my little Bob, but still need to break them in half for him!

You can of course flatten the dough and use cookie cutters if you’d prefer.

You can place the biscuits close together on the prepared baking sheets. Since the biscuits don’t include any leavening (baking powder, yeast, etc.), they won’t spread much.

Bake the biscuits for about 20 to 60 minutes, baking the smaller cookies for the shorter amount of time, larger biscuits for the longer amount of time.

Keep checking as they bake, the first batch I made came out very hard and crunchy which would be fine for older, bigger dogs but too hard for Bob, so I made another batch of smaller cookies for Bob and baked them for a much shorter time to keep them a bit softer.

When finished, the biscuits will be dark golden brown. Store in an airtight tin.

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After I made them and shared them in Facebook, a lovely friend of mine also then made some for her gorgeous springer spaniels, Florence and Zebedee with great success…cool!!
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There’s got to be a photo of Bob in there too hasn’t there?? Any excuse!
“Check out my belly blogworld”
Bob + a stick + a freshly cut lawn = bliss ❤️

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