Sweet Peas, A Mellow Chilli and Other Yummy Things …

It seems to have rained for much of the time since we built our ‘shudio’, however, I did manage to get an hour or so out there this afternoon. I am attempting to grow some sweet peas, snapdragons, pansies and calendulas from seed. At the funeral of a close friend recently, every mourner was given a small envelope of seeds, I think it is a beautiful way for us to remember our friend – she was a real lover of flowers and all things green and growing. I’m really pleased that the seeds are actually growing as I’m not at all green fingered.

Here’s what my sweet peas will hopefully look like:

These are some of my sweet pea seedlings, I’ll be needing something longer than an old chopstick to support them very soon:

The tiny seedlings to the left in the photo above are my extremely slow growing chilli plants – I was given the seeds at Christmas and am determined to get these 3 survivors to the fruiting stage!

Below, you can see the tiniest Banoffee Pie in the world! They are delicious though and will be perfect on a cake stand with some other miniature desserts, perhaps as part of a celebration:

Patates Bravas is a new dish for me, I used the recipe from ‘What Katie Ate’ by Katie Quinn Davies although I did do a couple of things differently. I had to briefly shallow fry the parma ham as the grill on my oven no longer works (is this enough for me to justify buying a new oven?!) and I poached the eggs instead of frying them  because I’m not a huge fan of fried eggs. The end result was really tasty, a perfect saturday night tea:

Below is a real family favourite – poached salmon. It was wrapped in a parcel with white wine, a small knob of butter, lemon, basil and seasoning. It was then cooked for about 10-12 minutes and was served with basmati rice and carrot crisps.

It’s now obvious to me that I need to catch up a bit – these Hot Cross Buns were made in time for Easter weekend! I think I’ve only made them once before but these were sooo much tastier, being baked as they were, from Paul Hollywood’s book ‘Bake’. He recommended brushing hot apricot jam over the top but I didn’t have any, I did however have some preserving sugar which I melted and brushed over the tops, I then somewhat overdid the ‘sprinkling’ of the sugar!!It has been good fun trying out new recipes recently, the one below being a case in point. My 12 year old loves macaroni cheese (as do I), my husband and 10 year old however, dislike it intensely. When I saw this recipe in ‘What Kate Ate’, I had to give it a go. We had some delicious chorizo in the fridge and this recipe used some of it superbly. This incredibly aromatic meat permeated the whole of the dish, giving it a distinctly warm and earthy taste, the cherry tomatoes kept the dish moist. I have made this recipe since, using bacon instead of chorizo and it too passed the ‘appeals to the whole family test’.Tonight we had Heston Blumenthal’s Chilli, I wanted to see if the extra ingredients (star anise, spiced butter,paprika,tomato ketchup (?!), cumin, half a bottle of red wine) would make a difference. Obviously, it being a Heston recipe, they did. This was an unbelievably mellow chilli, despite the fresh chilli and chilli powder that were included. It took 3 hours to cook but only the first 40 minutes or so required me to be at the stove. It’s definitely a chilli that we will be having again soon:To finish off this week, here’s the view from my new ‘shudio’, the evening before the rains came:I hope to be out here painting much more over the coming weeks, hopefully enjoying some warmer weather at the same time.

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11 thoughts on “Sweet Peas, A Mellow Chilli and Other Yummy Things …

  1. love the idea of giving seeds as a beautiful memory – your friend sounds a special woman! All the food looks delicious too – wondering about giving a Heston book to my daughter …

    • She was very special – she would find my trials at growing things very amusing! As for the Heston book, I’ve got ‘Heston at Home’ which is great for home cooking, there are a couple of gadgets and ingredients which I don’t have but most of his recipes are easily followed at home. So far, all have tasted delicious.

  2. So pleased to see you are growing some seeds! Your sweet peas have reached the stage where they should be pinched out and then they will grow bushy instead of reaching for the sky! To pinch out, go down the stalk and cut just above where there is a leaf, I have done mine at the first leaves above the soil. New shoots will then grow where the leaves join the stalk.Good luck!

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