Fox and Hedgehog by Jane McGinley

Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Ensign Ful-Vue

Last weekend I had the most wonderful time in the West Country visiting my very best friend the Magpie. We spent an afternoon in the beautiful town of Bath, sampling the fine public houses and their ales and perving on the magnificent Regency architecture, and upon browsing in a little street market I came across this delight... the Ensign Ful-Vue.

Some time ago I watched a fascinating documentary about Vivian Maier, the American/French nanny/photographer who went about in the 1950's and 60's snapping New York and Chicago's streets and it's people with her Rolliflex. Ever since then, I've been keeping an eye out for a box camera with a viewfinder on the top and this baby was just the ticket. 

It's a very simple camera with a 1/30 shutter speed (note to self: keep a steady hand) and takes a medium format 120 film - an added bonus as I've just found a local photo shop in Hastings that sells and processes 120 film in-house! Woo! I'm going to load it on up and I can't wait to see what it produces!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Diani Mini

I developed the film in the Diana Mini! I particulary like the double exposures and the way the camera distorts the colour, you never know what you're going to get!

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Elderflower Cordial


We are lucky enough to have an elder tree in the Hastings garden - just outside the kitchen window - and today I made my first ever Elderflower cordial!

June is the best time to gather Elderflowers. Pick them early on a warm, dry morning when the flowers are heady with scent but be sure to leave some flowers for elderberry picking later in the year - I've got a mind to make elderberry liqueur!

This recipe is by Pam the Jam and can be found in The River Cottage Handbook No.2.

You will need:

About 25 elderflower heads
1 orange & 3 lemons, zest and juice
1kg sugar
1.5 litres water  

And here's how:

Inspect the elderflower heads carefully and remove any insects; there were lots of little green spiders in mine! Place the flower heads in a large bowl together with the orange and lemon zest. Bring 1.5 litres of water to the boil and pour over the elderflowers and citrus zest. Cover and leave overnight to infuse.

Strain the liquid through a piece of muslin and pour into a saucepan. Add the orange and lemon juice and sugar. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Hot Lemon Pickle

A couple of nights ago I sat down to a dinner of homemade lentil curry, unscrewed the lid of the hot lime pickle for to have on the side when to my alarm realised that it was the last spoonful of hot lime pickle! *Gasp* Once I'd happily devoured the lot (mmm delicious), I hastily added 'hot lime pickle' to the shopping list. Then I looked in the fruit bowl; there sat 4 lemons and 2 limes. I looked in the spice cupboard; well stocked. So I scrubbed out 'hot lime pickle' from the shopping list. I was going to make my own.

Simon brought me THIS South Indian cookbook for my birthday and there is a recipe for Hot Lemon Pickle in the chutneys and pickles section, so I decided now was the right time to give it a go. This is a really simple and quick recipe - some of the others I've come across, although incredibly delicious I am sure, require weeks of stirring, shaking and marinating in sunlight, the latter of which we are not having much of in England at the moment!

So here's what you will need;

Lemons, 6 (I used 4 lemons & 2 limes)
Water, enough to cover the lemons
Fenugreek seeds, 1 tsp
Asafoetida powder, 1/2 tsp
Sesame oil, 180ml
Brown mustard seeds, 1 tsp
Chilli powder, 4 tsps
Ground tumeric, 1/2 tsp
Green chillies, 6 chopped
Fresh ginger, 4cm piece, peeled and chopped
Salt, 6 tbsp (yes I know that's a lot, but I think it's worth it!)

And here's how to...

Dry-roast the fenugreek seeds and asafoetida powder for about 2-3 minutes. Grind into a fine powder. Set aside. 

Place the whole lemons/limes in a pan. Add enough water to cover them, and bring to the boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Allow to cool, cut into small pieces, be sure to remove all the pips, and set aside. Reserve the cooking water. 

In a large heavy bottomed pan, heat the sesame oil and add the mustard seeds. 

When the seeds start to pop, add the chilli powder, ground tumeric, ginger and green chillies. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add the lemons/limes and reserved cooking water. Now add the salt and the fenugreek/asafoetida mixture. 
Store in an airtight jar/bottle and refrigerate.

And enjoy on the side of a homemade lentil curry!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Dark Star

Last weekend I was taken on a tour of the Dark Star brewery - a much welcomed birthday surprise from Simon! Originating in the cellar of a Brighton pub, The Evening Star back in 1994, the Dark Star Brewing Company takes it's name from the strong dark strong bitter brewed by the young Rob Jones (Dark Star's head brewer) for Pitfield Brewery in London back in 1987 which was subsequently named after the song of the same name by The Grateful Dead.  

The brewery has since grown in size and relocated twice to where it is now; Partridge Green, West Sussex - a bus ride through the beautiful Sussexian Downs from Brighton. Upon arrival to their warehouse brewery we were greeted with a "please make your way over to the crates where the talk will take place and start drinking." Well OK if you insist..

The talk was very interesting, informative and we learned all about the history of the brewery and the brewing process..
Whilst sampling a great many of the delicious Dark Star ales on offer..
And for afters we had a table reserved at the brewery tap in the village, The Partridge for a lovely lunch in the sunshine..
And of course, we procured a couple of pints to take home!!