Monday, 12 February 2018


It's Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day tomorrow.
I love this mini celebration which punctuates the months between Christmas and Easter and which reminds us that Spring is not that far away.
My all time favourite pancakes are those which are served with a drizzle of lemon juice and a sprinkling of crunchy sugar. They are the pancakes of my childhood, made by mum and devoured with delight by my sister and me.
But, I may have found a recipe to rival them!

These 'one cup' pancakes with grated pear are quick and easy. The recipe can be found here.
Served with a blob of yoghurt or creme fraiche  and a splash of maple syrup they were delicious.

The making and tossing of pancakes has a long tradition in this country;
' And every man and maide doe take their turne,
And tosse their pancakes up for feare they burne.'
Pasquil's Palin 1619

As do Pancake Day races. I'm a little disappointed there is no pancake day race in our little town!
However, there is a famous one which takes place each year in Olney Buckinghamshire, which is not that far from here. Participants must be women local to the area and are required to wear an apron and hat or headscarf.
What a great way to celebrate the humble yet delicious pancake!


Saturday, 27 January 2018

A new venture ....

At the beginning of the month, I mentioned an exciting new venture that I was starting and here it is.
 I can now reveal all!

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Fiona Cumberpatch, editor of Nene Living magazine , who asked if I would consider writing a monthly column for the magazine along the lines of my blog.
I first met Fiona as an online friend when she used to write her blog Streetcomber. 
I was thrilled and honoured by Fiona's request and
after a little thought, I accepted her offer with nervous excitement and here is the February edition with my very first column!

If you are local to the Peterborough and Oundle area, you can pick up a free copy in Queensgate shopping centre, Waitrose or John Lewis coffee shop.
Alternatively, it can be read online here.

One of the best things about January is the arrival in the shops of lots of beautiful citrus fruits.
My article for the magazine talks about Seville oranges and the joy of making marmalade.
 The other beautiful fruit around at the moment are blood (or blush) oranges.
They have a delicious sweet flavour and a distinctive red pigment.The pigment is due apparently to the sudden drop in temperature during the night after relatively warm Mediterranean winter days.

I love them just as they are and I can be caught slurping on them, juice dripping down my chin!
They provide such a delicious pop of colour at this time of year.

We are into the last week of January already and I have noticed that each day we get a few more minutes of daylight. Plus the snowdrops in our garden are just starting to bloom.
Signs of Spring!


Friday, 19 January 2018

An easy lunch ...

The Christmas goodies have all been eaten and we are craving simple, easy to prepare food here at fenland lottie.

This variation of shakshuka was just perfect for lunch the other day.

Shakshuka is a middle eastern dish of eggs lightly cooked in a spiced tomato and pepper sauce.
It's an easy and adaptable recipe. The sort of recipe to use up oddments from the fridge.
This was my version with lightly fried mushrooms instead of red peppers.

To softened onions and garlic, add a tin of chopped tomatoes and a teaspoon of smoked paprika (the mild, not really hot version). Simmer until slightly reduced, then add the lightly sauted mushrooms. 
Make an indentation in the sauce and carefully drop in an egg.
At this point, I put the dish into the oven until the egg was cooked.
However, this resulted in a yolk that was slightly overcooked.
I think a better method would be to cover the pan and continue cooking on the hob until the white is set and the yolk creamy.

Today has been a bright, sunny and cold day, so I seized the opportunity to go down to the allotment to check it over.
The sunny weather inspired me and within a few minutes I had seized a spade and dug up the raspberry canes!
I had been contemplating removing them for a while. They had turned into a thicket which was difficult to tame and were spreading into other parts of the plot.
So the deed is done!
 I may use part of the space to grow dahlias!


Saturday, 6 January 2018

January thoughts

January -
 is a much maligned month, so often dismissed as dismal, dreary; a month to be endured.
A month of anti-climax after the Christmas festivities.
But there are treasures to be found in January:

A brisk winter walk, to admire Nature laid bare.

The promise held within a bulb,

 maybe the fragile beauty of Paperwhite Narcissus or the dainty delight that is tete a tete,
or the heady scent of hyacinths.

January is an opportunity also to make plans for the garden and allotment.
A small brown envelope arrived this morning containing treasure in the form of seeds from The Real Seed Catalogue.
I am going to try a new ( to me) variety of winter squash Hokkaido, a summer squash Crookneck (instead of the ubiquitous courgette) and the beautifully named Cherokee Trail of Tears climbing bean.

In addition, January is my birthday month and also marks the start of an exciting new venture for me - but more of that in a week or two.

So lots to celebrate.
Hoping January and 2018 brings good things for you too.
Here's to a cheerful January!


Sunday, 24 December 2017

Happy Christmas!

The shopping is done, the cards have been written and the presents are wrapped.
 The cake is decorated too.
I seem to have gone a bit mad with marzipan stars this year.

Family are arriving later today, so it's time to relax, sit back and enjoy a festive time of family fun.

Wishing you a wonderful time this Christmas full of love and peace and joy.

Annie and Mr Digandweed

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Christmas countdown - week three...

We had snow.
But not as much as we were expecting.
This was the view last Sunday from dear daughter's flat in Nottingham.
There was just enough to magically transform but not enough to make travelling difficult.

And the mince pies have been made.
Some to eat now and some to pop into the freezer to be enjoyed when the Big Day arrives. one long tart .

That's one more thing crossed off the list!

Wishing you a good week ahead.


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Christmas countdown - week two

Home-made mincemeat is one of my absolute favourite things to make at this time of year.
A little chopping, mixing and stirring, preferably with a few Christmas Carols playing in the background, is the perfect antidote to the frenzy which can so often engulf us.
And as for the taste - well I could happily eat spoonfuls of the stuff straight from the jar!

This is the recipe which I have used for the last few years and which I think is delicious.
It is a recipe which I adapted from a Waitrose magazine and uses coconut oil instead of the more usual suet.

Here is the recipe again if you wish to try it.
Don't be put off by the amount of brandy. It soaks into the fruit overnight and makes the mixture deliciously boozy.
Since the mincemeat is not cooked or heated in any way, I keep it in the fridge and use it to make the mince pies within a few days.

Excitement for the Big Day is mounting here and this year Tiny Girlie is 3 and beginning to understand a little more about Father Christmas.
There have been a couple of Santa sightings so far.
Last week, when we were shopping in Cambridge, he popped his head around the door of the cafe we were in and gave everyone a cheery wave and earlier this week made an appearance along our road riding on something which resembled a fairground ride.
No sleigh or reindeer in sight!

And snow .... if the weather app is correct, we are fully expecting to wake up tomorrow morning to a world transformed by a blanket of pure white!