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Sunday 28 June 2015

An Interview with Chef Mark Greenaway and WIN tickets to the Foodies Festival, Edinburgh

If Mark Greenaway was a stick of rock, then written all the way through, it would say "Scottish Produce".  I had the pleasure of speaking with Mark and asking him a few questions about food and his style.

About Mark Greenaway
Mark Greenaway is an award-winning chef and restaurateur in Edinburgh, who received the coveted three AA Rosettes following the opening of his first signature restaurant; No.12 Picardy Place,  Edinburgh in 2011. He has continued his success at Restaurant Mark Greenaway in North Castle Street, and also appeared on The Great British Menu. Mark has received fantastic reviews across the board and been featured in some of the industry’s top publications and newspapers. With confident and assured cooking, using superb local produce, Mark’s menus are intriguing and his presentation is clean, modern and as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.

Restaurant Mark Greenaway

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your careers as a chef?
It has to be the produce that I use, seasonal produce in Scotland is so varied, from the first summer strawberries to Gartmorn Farm  duck.  When I get such good produce I just want to start experimenting.

What is your favourite Scottish ingredient and why?
Berries in the summer.  It's all about the quality and size of Scottish berries,  strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and brambles I use them all in my recipes,

What restaurant trends do you think will transfer to home cooking in the next couple of years?
I think the use of water baths will move into the home, they provide a level of consistency.  If you water bath a fillet of beef then caramelise it underneath you get a something really special.  The prices of water baths are coming down, so they will be more accessible for home cooks.

Do you think competitions like Masterchef have a positive or negative effect on the industry?
Masterchef, Great British Menu, (Mark has been a contestant in the Great British Menu)  all have a positive effect on dining out.  They allow people to see the standard that restaurants should be providing, many of them are simply not good enough.  Customers are becoming more discerning and looking for quality produce.  We need to support local producers like Natalie at Hebridean Sea Salt our Scottish products are as good if not better than others, as chefs we need to support locally sourced products, aim to cook with 100% Scottish produce.

If you were offered your own TV series, which country or countries would you like to visit and what kind of cuisine would you like to learn more about?
That's easy, I would make a series about Scotland, show people our amazing produce and learn more about Scottish produce.  I'd show the diver on the Isle of Skye who dives for scallops and Scotland's own chocolate company IQ Superfood Chocolate based in Stirling who supply chocolate to Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. Why shouldn't Scotland be a high quality chocolate producer? It's no further from the source of cocoa than Belgium or Switzerland!  We have to believe in our produce and promote it to the rest of the world.

Do you see what I mean? A champion of Scotland's larder through and through!  Mark Greenaway is just one of the top Chefs who will be at the Foodies Festival in Edinburgh, here's a little more information about the Festival and don't forget to enter the competition to win a pair of tickets.

The Foodies Festival Edinburgh
Inverleith Park 7, 8, 9th August

Foodies Festival’s flagship event returns to Edinburgh Inverleith Park 7,8,9th August, celebrating its 10th anniversary with a three-day showcase of Scotland’s finest culinary talents and regional produce as part of the Year of Food and Drink Scotland.

Following the success of last year’s Edinburgh Foodies Festival - which welcomed 34,000 foodies - organisers are expanding the festival site by 50%, making room for new food and drink theatres, an extended Producers Market and a huge selection of street food for visitors to feast on.

Bee Keeping, Oyster Shucking, Sushi Making and Foraging are just a few of the hands-on masterclasses festival-goers can try in the new Tasting Theatre. Chocolate addicts can get an instant hit of coco with ‘How to Sniff Chocolate like a Rockstar’ lessons from Coeur de Xocolat in the Cake and Bake Theatre, which also hosts local bakers offering 3D cake modelling, Chocolate Making and Sugar-Craft masterclasses.  A complementing Chocolate, Cake and Bake Village is a paradise for home bakers filled with the latest gadgets and baking essentials – a haven for Great British Bake Off fans.

A new Wine, Champagne and Craft Beer Theatre invites foodies to take food and drink matching masterclasses with experts Charles Metcalfe, Neil Phillips and beer expert Melissa Cole. Gin and Whisky masterclasses are also available, with a daily cocktail-making competition between local bars to find Edinburgh’s Best Mixologist.

Jamie Scott
The Aga Rangemaster Chefs Theatre welcomes Michelin-star, celebrity and top local chefs who will cook their favourite summer recipes, inspiring visitors to recreate these dishes at home and experiment with new flavours and ingredients. Chefs confirmed include:

Michelin-star Marcello Tully - Kinloch Lodge
Jamie Scott - MasterChef: The Professionals 2014 winner
Adam Handling - Adam Handling at Caxton voted Scotland’s Chef of the Year
Mark Greenaway – Restaurant Mark Greenaway and Bistro Moderne
Tony Singh - TV Chef and food Author
Paul Wedgwood – Wedgwoods
Neil Forbes – Cafe St Honore
Jian Wang - Chop Chop
Graeme Pallister – 63 Tay Street
Colin Findlay - Melville Castle
Kim Atcharahorn Kaewkraikhot - Chaophraya
Ian McAndrew - Blackaddie

In celebration of the Year of Food and Drink Scotland, the Producers Market has been extended to showcase Scotland’s natural larder and abundance of quality produce. With over 200 artisan producers selling award winning cheeses and condiments, jams and bakes, confectionery, cured meats and more, visitors will be spoilt for choice for what to buy to take home and enjoy.

An extended Street Food Avenue at the heart of the festival serves up a huge selection of hot and cold dishes from around the world. Japanese, Thai, Brazilian, Argentinian, Indian, Mexican, French and African are just some of the cuisines visitors can tuck into in the Feasting Tent.

The BBQ Arena is perfect for fans of outdoor cooking with daily ‘King of the Grill’ cook-offs. Or for those brave enough, the famous Chilli Eating Competition challenges entrants to try and break last year’s record of 14 varieties of chillies eaten without a drink to win the Chilli Eating Crown.

After a day of feasting and fun, foodies can relax with a spot on the grass and soak in the atmosphere with live music from the entertainment stage and a refreshing cocktail, glass of bubbly or a Pimm’s from the Giant Pimm’s Teapot and Galleon Mojito bars.

Little foodies can explore their taste buds and learn basic cooking skills with Picnic in the Park themed masterclasses in the Childrens Cookery Theatre, where Kiddy Cook will show them how to make finger sandwiches, jellies and chocolate bugs.

Tickets are on sale now at or by calling 0844 995 1111

Friday adult day ticket £10.00 (£8.00 concession)
Saturday or Sunday adult day ticket £13.00 (£11.00 concession)
3-day adult ticket £20.00 (£16.00 concession)

Friday VIP ticket £35.00
Saturday or Sunday VIP ticket £38.00
VIP tickets include a welcome glass of bubbly, access to the VIP tent with private bar and refreshments throughout the day, priority entry to food and drink masterclasses, a goody bag and a showguide.

All children aged 12 and under go free to all Foodies Festivals when accompanied by an adult.

Open times:
Friday 7th August: 11am – 7pm
Saturday 8th August: 10am – 8pm
Sunday 9th August: 10am – 7pm

Sponsors: Wines of Rioja, Baxters, Mackie’s of Scotland and Magnum Scotch Liqueur.

I have two pairs of tickets, with show guides, worth £19 to give away for entry to the Foodies Festival, Edinburgh. Simply follow the directions on the Rafflecopter to enter and remember if you don't win, you can use the code 'Foodies' to get a discount on tickets from Foodies Festival 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Foodies Festival:
Foodies Festivals launched in 2005 with a single event at an Edinburgh hotel after founder Sue Hitchen noticed a gap in the Edinburgh market for a food festival. Following its successful launch, which welcomed 5000 visitors, the festival expanded to Brighton and Hampton Court Palace in 2006 and continued to introduce festivals across the UK including Bristol, Tatton Park, Clapham Common, Battersea Park, Oxford, Marble Hill and Kenwood House. To date Foodies has welcomed over 2 million visitors and helped launch hundreds of new businesses and supported thousands of small producers.

2015 Foodies Festivals:
Brighton, Hove Lawns: May 2,3,4
Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park: May 15,16,17
London, Syon Park: May 23,24,25
Bristol, The Downs: June 26,27,28
London, Alexandra Palace: July 3,4,5
Cheshire, Tatton Park: July 17,18,19
London, Clapham Common: July 24,25,26
Edinburgh, Inverleith Park: August 7,8,9
Harrogate, Ripley Castle: August 21,22,23
Oxford, South Parks: August 29,30,31

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Friday 26 June 2015

Salmon, Coffee, a Lazy Arm and Golden Kiwis on my Kitchen Table

Big Fish Brand Salmon Fillets  are frozen salmon fillet marinated with a variety of fantastic flavours: Piri Piri, Lemon and Pepper, Sweet Chilli. Garden Mint, Eastern Thai, Sticky Maple, BBQ Sauce.  They come in packs of two fillets and cost £5,89 per pack.

We really enjoyed every single flavour, the fillets are ideal for a quick dinner to pull out of the freezer.  They have become a Friday night staple in our house and I will definitely be buying them in future.  I think the price point is right too, as two salmon fillets without any flavouring can be around £4.00.
Rating 10/10

Customised coffee machines are here - introducing the new Nespresso Pixie Clips
A new ‘capsule wardrobe’ for the Pixie range

Okay, I know this does sound rather pretentious!  a wardrobe for your coffee machine, but if you are one of those people who like everything in your kitchen to match, it's good to know that won't have to buy a new machine when you redecorate your kitchen you can change the side panels and voila your coffee machine looks like new and is totally co-ordinated for your look. 

Here's what the people at Nespresso say: 

This machine will be a popular choice for both coffee aficionados and style devotees as it features interchangeable side panels that can be adapted to suit any style or the latest kitchen design trends.

With an extensive range of colour contrasting side panels and a simple clipping system, changing the style of the machine to suit the occasion or mood, couldn’t be easier. This newest addition to the Pixie range will not only create the perfect coffee at the touch of a button, time and time again, it will also allow the user to reflect their individuality as they can change the colour to match their mood, their kitchen or even their favourite Grand Cru capsule.

Pixie Clips comes complete with two pairs of exchangeable side panels but the fun doesn’t stop there - 12 other pairs of clips will be available including Pop, Arty, Elegant or High-Tech making it easy and exciting to change the style – the possibilities are endless.

The Pixie machine features two programmable cup size buttons to deliver the perfect serving size of an espresso or lungo coffee. Furthermore, the foldable drip tray support accommodates differing cups for espresso and milk coffee lovers alike.  Purchasing an Aeroccino milk frother with the Pixie Clips machine ensures the perfect latté can also be created, time after time.

I was a bit of a sceptic about coffee pod machines so was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the coffee, however be careful which coffee pod machine you buy.  The Pixie will provide a great Espresso and stretch to a Lungo, but if you are a full on Americano girl like me, then you'll find you need three Espressos in your mug before you can top it up and have it strong enough.  There are lots of different Nespresso machines so sure to be one to meet your preferences. I still prefer a big jug of filter coffee and do have concerns about the use of pods in terms of the environment, but I appreciate that they are useful in certain situations and for particularly for an individuals. 

Priced at £139 (or £179 with an Aeroccino) the newest Pixie machine comes with two pairs of clips, additional decorative panels can be bought separately - prices range from £15 to £30 a pair, depending on the finish. Pixie Clips and panels are available from Nespresso boutiques, or online at

Rating 8/10
Ooh I love a gadget, have you noticed? The Lazy Arm is designed to give you a helping hand, it's a flexible Smartphone holder can be clipped onto most surfaces. Perfect for watching cooking techniques on YouTube, read online recipes from your favourite blogs or websites or simply listening to music and making hands free calls, 

The only thing negative thing I would say about the Lazy Arm is that you need to be strong to use the clip and the flexible arm has to be firm or it would fall down, but it does take a bit of manoeuvring into place.  However other than that it is a really useful gadget and I found that you can also use it to film yourself preparing food, so there may be some of that coming to Farmersgirl Kitchen in future.

The Lazy Arm is compatible with most Smartphones. To use, clip onto desired surface, attach your Smartphone and enjoy the comforts of The Lazy Arm!

The Lazy Arm is available from Genie Gadgets at £8.95 which is pretty reasonable. 

Rating 8/10 

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from these Zespri SunGold kiwifruit, billed as a new super-fruit packed with nutrients and high in Vitamin C (three times more than oranges!). However, I was really pleasantly surprised, they were super-delicious, way nicer than the green kiwis. Sweet and with a real flavour almost like a very sweet gooseberry, although they are said to have flavours of mango and melon.

There are lots of recipes on the Zespri website for juices and smoothies but I simply paired them with some Scottish raspberries and served them with greek yogurt.  I can highly recommend these golden kiwis and will be looking out for them in the shops.

Rating 9/10

I was provided with products to review and I was not paid for these reviews and all opinions are my own. 

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Friday 19 June 2015

Grow your own and a Rocket Gardens Salad

 Long ago and far away, in a land of shoulder pads and big hair (1984) we had an allotment.  I loved that allotment, we had been on the waiting list for so long that we only had one summer there before we moved from our flat to a house with it's own garden.  The garden was low on the priority list in our new home as we spent all our time on home improvements and a year later circumstances changed and we moved to the farm.

I also had a fairly extensive garden when we first moved to the farm and grew all sorts including celery and kohl rabi.  When I returned to full time work, I found the garden was difficult to manage and one Easter holiday, after spending all my time digging over the ground for potatoes and I decided that I'd had enough and we put in a lawn.  I've had a few pots or grow bags since then, mostly growing mange tout peas or courgettes.  Some years they are successful, other years not. The weather is the deciding factor as we get late frosts, rain and are exposed to strong south westerly winds, so it can be a bit soul destroying sometimes.

Recently, I've been thinking about creating some raised beds so that I can grow veg again, but with some control over the weeds and less digging! Family matters meant that didn't happen this year, but I was delighted to be contacted by Rocket Gardens to try out their neat concept of a garden in a box.

A Rocket Garden is a box full of baby plants already given the very best start in life, lovingly reared on a Cornish farm in a fully organic regime. They aren't sent to their new home until they are ready to flourish, saving time, effort and disappointment.

There are a range of different types of gardens so you can select a Rocket Garden that suits your requirements and once your delivery arrives, all you have to do is pop the plants in their new home and enjoy all the organic goodies they produce.

Here are some of the Rocket Garden options: 
Want to grow your own, but don’t know where to start? Try the Small Vegetable Garden (£39.99). There are enough plants in this garden to seriously cut down on your weekly food bills and keep you in fresh produce from spring though until the autumn. It can be grown in a veg patch or allotment, or even in pots and containers. 

Know what you want to grow but nervous about giving it a go? Take all the hassle out of a gourmet kitchen garden by selecting Gourmet Vegetables (From £3.99). The plants in the range were selected because they are tasty, unusual and hard to find in shops, including Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Pak Choi, Asparagus Peas, Chinese Kale and Minipop Sweetcorn.

Serious about living the good life, but want a complete solution? Try the Small Constant Garden (£199). You’ll receive a series of five deliveries during 2015 to ensure your garden is the envy of all your friends. Each delivery is packed full of organic plants that are raring to grow so you’ll have a constant supply of seasonal produce and enjoy living the good life all year long.

And what about my Rocket Garden?  I chose the Patio Container Garden  (£36.99) which contains the following baby plants:

Tomatoes  x 5 (I didn't get tomatoes but some extra Chard)
Courgettes x 4
Mixed lettuce x 30
Dwarf French Beans x 10
Runner Beans x 5
Mizuna x 20
Rainbow Chard x 5
Rocket x 20
Garden peas x 12
Strawberries x 6
Spinach x 10
You order your garden on the website, it's a pretty straightforward online shopping process, however it doesn't arrive until the plants are ready to be planted out.  I really liked that you get lots of warning via email and a definite arrival day too.  Unfortunately I had to be away from home when the plants arrived, this was a test for my husband who duly read the instructions, unpacked the plants and made sure they were well watered until I got home the next day.  He did, however, jumble up all the plants and there are a lot of them!  Fortunately, there is one of each plant variety labelled and  I used my own knowledge to sort them out.  I then planted them up in containers according to the comprehensive instructions provided with the plants, there were so many plants I had to go out and buy a few more containers.

After a couple of weeks the various salad leaves were starting to really grow.  The peas were happily climbing up the canes although the French Beans seemed to be in stasis!  The poor little courgettes were none too happy either, none of this had anything to do with the quality of the plants but due to the unseasonal weather we have been having in Scotland. Heavy rain and northerly winds do not a happy courgette make.

Fast forward another two weeks and the salad leaves are ready to pick, what a glorious selection of leaves which I combined with some edible flowers to create my first Rocket Gardens Salad.  It was  a lovely surprise when my strawberry plants arrived and I got them potted up into little troughs.

Rocket Gardens Salad (Serves 2)
60g mixed salad leaves
2 hard boiled eggs
2 large ripe tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
1/2 red pepper, seeds removed
3 chive flowers
1 Calendula (Pot Marigold) flower

1. Arrange the leaves on two large plates alternating the different leaves.
2. Cut the cucumber into long thin slices using a mandoline, roll and place around the edge of the plates.
3. Cut the tomatoes into 1/8ths and arrange inside the circle of cucumber.
4. Finely slice the pepper and scatter the pepper slices over the centre of each plate.
4. 1/4 the eggs and place over the pepper slices in the centre of the plates.
5. Scatter petals of the chives and marigold over the salad.

Serve with the dressing of your choice.

The Review

Who is it for? There are lots of different kinds of Rocket Gardens, so you can choose whatever is suitable for your garden.  In terms of level of gardening ability then I would say that a very keen beginner or a gardener with a little experience and no space or time to grow from seed.

Pros: The concept of receiving little plants in the post is not new, however Rocket Gardens have put together  some really nice packages and I was impressed by the care and attention paid to communicating with their customers and the excellent instructions.

Cons: With the plants being grown in the warmer climate of Cornwall, they got a bit of a shock coming to southern Scotland.  I have completely lost the runner beans, the wind battered them to death, some of the French Beans have also died and only one of the courgette plants has survived.  This has happened to me many times before, even when growing from seed, so I am not too surprised, but it might be a bit off putting to beginners.

The Verdict: I will be ordering a Rocket Garden next year for my garden. Which garden will depend on whether I've managed to make the raised bed I have promised myself or if I will be sticking to the patio garden.  I just love having all those vegetables on my doorstep, the salad leaves have done so well that we have been able to stop buying mixed leaves and they are so much fresher and taste better too. So Rocket Gardens are a definite hit with me.

I'll keep you posted as to how the other plants come along, the peas and strawberries have already begun to flower so I have high hopes for some more delicious fresh fruit and veg very soon.

I was provided with a Patio Container Garden from Rocket Gardens, I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own. 

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Saturday 13 June 2015

Sensational Strawberry Pavlova and 'How Baking Works' Review

I've been making pavlova for many years and didn't think I had much to learn about making this meringue based dessert. WRONG!  You see I've been reading How Baking Works (and what to do when it doesn't) by James Morton.  I'm sure you remember James Morton from the Great British Bake Off, this young medical student (now qualified) has taken his medical scientific mind and applied it to the science of baking.

So what is in the book?  It starts by telling us 'How This Works', James promises no flowery language everything simple and direct.  The book is designed to explain to you how to make the basics of baking, with some recipe suggestions but with the intention that, once mastered, you will go on to make your own variations.

Forebake is an excellent primer for baking well.  A list of ingredients with full explanation of their contribution to the bake and how best to use them.  There is also a list of essential equipment which won't scare you off as it really is pretty basic.

The Basics takes you through techniques and staples, reducing the fear factor of Creme Patissiere, Creme Anglaise,  Creme Brulee, Frangipane and Caramel, including how to save crystallised caramel.  Melting chocolate is demystified and chocolate ganache couldn't be easier.  Three different types of buttercream to fill those lovely cakes, marizpan, crumble topping and even jam and curd making.  Each one described carefully and simply with step by step instructions.

So now we are really ready to start baking each chapter starts with some basic instructions and lots of reasons why you need to do certain things, I do like to know why, don't you?
The detailed notes on the variations will help you make changes to your recipes without risking disaster.  If things still go wrong, James is ready with a list of troubleshooting tips.

This is the pattern for CAKE, SPONGE, BROWNIE, MUFFINS, TORTE, BISCUIT, SHORT, SWEET, CHOUX PUFF, MERINGUE and  MACARON. Following the whys and wherefores are the recipes.

And here are some of the recipes that took my fancy: Celeriac Cake with Strawberries and Cream, Wee Sponges with Passion Fruit Curd and Italian Meringue, Macadamia and Raspberry Blondies, Yoghurt Muffins, Squidgy Gingerbread Muffins, Torta Caprese, Chocolate Orange Cookies, Iced Rings, Mushroom and Thyme Tart with Poached Egg, Cherry Bakewell , Frangipane Fruit Tart, Choux Divorces, Eccles Cakes, Kiwi Pavlova (I made it with strawberry instead!) Mango, Raspberry and Pistachio Roulade and Caramel Macarons.

Who is it for? When I first started to read this book, I thought it was a book for baking geeks, who look at baking as a science rather than an art and who need to know every little detail before they start to bake. Well it would suit that type of baker, but to be honest, I think everyone who bakes would benefit from reading How Baking Works and I do mean READ.  It was only when I sat down to read the book that it all came together for me and I could see what James was trying to achieve.

Pros: One of the things I really liked about this book was just how clearly you could hear James' voice.  Perhaps that was easier because I watch GBBO avidly, however the style is informal, the language is quite clearly James' own.

Cons: There are less recipes than you usually get in a cook book this size, but as explained at the beginning that's because the real purpose is to teach you to understand how each type of bake works.

The Verdict:  This book should be on the shelf of every wannabe baker and also of those of us who have been baking successfully for years but didn't know quite why we were successful!  I will certainly branch out a little more using the knowledge I've gained from reading How Baking Works.

James Morton's Kiwi Pavlova 
and Janice's Strawberry Lemon Curd variation
makes one sizeable spectacle

4 medium egg whites
200g caster sugar
1 pint double cream
caster sugar and vanilla extract, to taste
6 kiwi fruits

1. First, preheat your oven to 120C/100C fan/Gas 1/2.
2. Into a large clean bowl (not plastic or silicone), place the egg whites.  They should be free of any trace of yolk - if there is any remaining, use a soon to coop it out and use a torch or the light on your phone to make sure there is none left.
3. Using an electric whisk or stand mixer on the highest speak available, whisk the whites until light, fluffy and stiff.  When they're not getting any bigger, start adding the caster sugar, a teaspoon at a time, still whisking on the highest speed.  When it's all incorporated, keep whisking for a bit longer before setting aside.
4. Use a wee touch of the meringue to stick a sheet of baking paper to a baking tray.  Then, scoop your meringue into one massive circular blob.  Try to make it thinner in the middle and thicker towards the edges.  A thicker crust is required because so much of the centre will become soggy when laden with cream.
5. Bake your meringue for approximately 2 hours - I like a bit of beige (even brown) on my Pavlova. Leave it to cool on the tray.

6. Whip the cream by hand in a cold bowl until just coagulated, adding sugar and vanilla to taste.  Peel and slice the kiwi fruits.
7. Scoop about the cream on top of the meringue disc and spread it around.  Add about a third of the kiwi fruits then cover completely with another layer of cream and top with the rest of the fruit.  Preferably in a big pile.  Keep in the fridge and serve over the course of the following day.

To make the strawberry variation use 1 punnet of strawberries, hull and half them. Mix 3 tbsp lemon curd into the whipped cream or use good quality Greek yogurt.  Put all the  cream or yogurt mixture onto the pavlova and place the strawberry halves on top in circles.  Dust with a little icing sugar.

I've always added cornflour and vinegar to my pavlova to create the marshmallowy texture inside the crisp shell, but this recipe did all that without any additives and was just fabulous and will be the ONLY way I will make pavlova in future.

As James would say of the pavlova of his childhood: " There would be an attempt to slice it, but then it would simply be scraped from it's tray and shovelled into a bowl, just as it should be"

How Baking Works by James Morton
Photography by Andy Sewell
Published by Ebury Press
RRP £20

Here are some other Pavlova variations you might like to try:
Mini Chocolate and Rhubarb Pavlovas - Tin and Thyme
Banana Pavlova with Chocolate Fudge Sauce - Farmersgirl Kitchen 
Chocolate Berry Pavlova - Farmersgirl Kitchen 
Strawberry and Creme Fraiche Pavlova -Lancashire Food
Diamond Jubilee Pavlova - Fab Food 4 All

I'm adding this to Dom's Simply Eggcellent Linky at Belleau Kitchen as there would be no pavlova without eggs!

Not forgetting Simple and in Season over at Ren Behan/Food for those wonderful seasonal strawberries.

And Bake of the Week, I'm not quite sure how Helen at Casa Costello manages to keep this weekly linky going, but she does and it's a source of lots of amazing bakes so please do visit.

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Sunday 7 June 2015

OXO Good Grips Complete Grate and Slice Set and a Giveaway

I have a new favourite toy!  It's the OXO Good Grips Complete Grate and Slice set.  It's a kind of mini mandoline and grater in one and it's just the best piece of kit I've reviewed for ages.
I have a big OXO Good Grips Mandoline which is fab for slicing lots of veg and you can set variable thicknesses, however it is a bit of a faff to take apart and clean, so I only use it if I'm doing a lot of slicing.  On the other hand I probably use the Grate and Slice every other day it's just so handy, let me show you.
You can see from the box that there are four different slicing blades in their own storage box, a safety grip to hold your veggies so you don't slice your fingers and the base box to catch all the processed vegetables.
So you have this nice tidy closed box with everything you need organised inside. I keep mine in the cupboard next to my work surface.
Open the lid and you can see you have your four slicing blades, a straight slice, julienne slice, large grater and fine grater.
The slicing blades fit onto the lid of the storage box which becomes a bowl to catch whatever you are processing.
Here I'm using the fine grater to grate some ginger.

The ginger I was grating was frozen and it still grated perfectly.

I also made a quick coleslaw using the straight slicing blade for the cabbage and the large grater for the carrots.  When it's this quick and easy, there's not a lot of point in buying coleslaw.

OXO Good Grips Complete Grate and Slice RRP £30

I have one OXO Good Grips Complete Grate and Slice set to giveway (UK only) please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below and you too can be slicing and grating with ease!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received the OXO Good Grips Complete Grate and Slice Set for review, I was not paid and all opinions are my own. 

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Thursday 4 June 2015

Peach and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

This cake was created as a result of a glut of rhubarb and those peaches you buy to ripen at home and then they all ripen at once and you have to use them quick before they get over-ripe! It's really moist and the perfect 'pudding cake' as it can be eaten as warm or cold as a dessert with cream, yogurt, custard or ice-cream.  It is also just as nice as a slice of cake with a cup of tea or coffee.

Peach and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

4 peaches or nectarines
1 large  or two medium stalks of rhubarb, thinly sliced
125g butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
125g soft brown sugar

125g softened butter
125g soft brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder

For the topping
  1. Melt the butter and mix with the soft brown sugar. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and spread the butter and sugar mixture in the base of the tin.
  2. Skin the peaches by placing in a bowl and covering with boiling water, leave for 2 minutes, then lift them out and the skin should slip off easily.  Slice the peaches into even slices and place on the sugar mixture in a pleasing pattern.
  3. Cover the peaches with the thinly sliced rhubarb.

For the cake
  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat well with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes until well blended.
  2. Spoon the mixture over the peaches and rhubarb and smooth the top.
  3. Bake at 190C/170C fan for 25 minutes or test with a skewer, the cake is done when the skewer, when placed into the centre of the cake, comes out clean.
  4. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove from the tin and either serve warm or cool on a cooling rack. 

As it is the season for peaches, here are a few more ideas for cooking, baking and preserving them :

Peach Coffee Cake - Little Sunny Kitchen
Cinnamon Peach and Ice Cream Waffles - Made With Pink
Peach and White Chocolate Cake - Tin and Thyme
Peach, Marzipan and Amaretto Crumble - Casa Costello
Peach and Apricot Jam - Fab Food 4 All
Peach and Ginger Compote - Natural Kitchen Adventures
Peach Upside Down Cake - Jen's Food

I'm adding this Peach and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake to the Midsummer Madness themed Love Cake Linky run at JibberJabber UK

This will also be my contribtuion to Bake of the Week over at Casa Costello

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Monday 1 June 2015

Recipe Clippings May Round up and June Linky

It's been a bit of a funny old month, I've been incredibly busy at work and also had some family matters that have taken up a lot of my time, so I've sadly neglected Recipe Clippings.

I have two recipes in the round up and I heartily thank Jane at Onions and Paper and Anukampa at A Pinch of Salt Make it all for joining me for Recipe Clippings this month.

Jane shared a very well used recipe clipping shared with her over 30 years ago by a Nepalese friend: Aludam, Nepalese Spiced Potatoes.  The recent earthquake in Nepal got Jane thinking about her friend and this recipe again.  Along with Jane I hope her friend was not hurt and did not lose any family in the earthquake.  This tasty recipe is definitely worth trying.

Anukampa has 'clipped' this recipe for Sweet and Savoury Pie from another blog and then altered this Russian recipe to suit the ingredients available in India, where she lives. The 'pies' are  made with a bread dough and stuffed either with vegetables or with a sweet mixture of sugar, coconut and raisins.  Both versions look delicious and were enjoyed by Anukampa's children.

It's an open theme for June - so any recipe clipping you have cooked up can be added to the Linky.

There are a number of different ways you can join in and cook up the recipes from your

Make a recipe from a magazine/newspaper clipping or note: 

  • post a photograph and the recipe, or a link to a recipe, on your blog and add to the InLinkz linky at the bottom of this post. Link to Farmersgirl Kitchen in your blog post and include the #RecipeClippings logo OR
  • post a photograph and description on Instagram tagging FarmersgirlCook and using #RecipeClippings OR
  • post a photograph and description on Twitter tagging @FarmersgirlCook and using #RecipeClippings OR
  • like and post a photograph and description on Farmersgirl Kitchen Facebook page using #RecipeClippings



  • You may post recipes you have clipped from magazines, newspapers or have written down from friends and family.Please credit the author of the recipe or ask permission.
  • Please say where the recipe came from.
  • Three entries per month.
  • I will re-share any posts and/or photos that are tagged
  • Recipes must be added to the linky by the 28th of each month.

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