We seem to use several chillies a week in our cooking, but our local vegetable shop only really has two options: red ones or green ones. They are of an unspecified kind, and, while they do the job, I love the idea of trying out the fancier types of chilli when I cook. The South Devon Chilli Farm lets you buy fresh chillies online and have them sent to you in the post. Brilliant! And from the looks of things, the cost of postage is very small (as it should be, considering the weight of what you’re ordering), which makes the idea of ordering some chillies very appealing. Plus they sell all kinds of chilli-related goodies.
London calling July 29, 2007
Another little something to add to the list for my next visit to London: cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery. The pictures of their cupcakes and cookies are inspiring, and I’m very keen to try some Mississippi Mud Pie – mainly because I love the sound of it, but whenever I’ve tried to make it, it has not been a success. The website says they’ve just opened a store in South Kensington, which means it would be a great place to combine with a visit to the Natural History Museum…
Snowhome July 27, 2007
Another find in York: I have often whizzed past Snowhome whilst on a bus to visit family, but there’s always been a train to catch or some other obstacle that has prevented me from getting off the bus and going to take a look at this great shop.
We went the other day and I loved it – I’d like to go back soon and perhaps buy something. There seemed to be things to suit most budgets, ranging from pretty stationery and votive holders to furniture and oversized cuckoo clocks. The designers on sale included Tord Boontje, Philippe Starck, Lotta Jansdottir and Orla Kiely. We’ve recently had some new shelves put up, and so I would like to buy something pretty to put on them – I’ll save a few pennies up for my next visit…
What not to wear July 25, 2007
I was interested to read in the Times the other week that Trinny and Susannah have designed a range of clothing, which is being sold through Littlewoods. I thought it would be a good opportunity to find myself a good coat, and now that I’ve looked on the website, there are a few nice-ish ones. But what surprised me most about the Trinny and Susannah collection is that every single one of the items I’ve looked at is dry clean only. Littlewoods, as you may know, is a clothes catalogue that specialises in selling things to people who can’t afford to pay for them all in one go – typically payments are spread over one to two YEARS. Which means some bright spark in their design department thought that someone who has to pay for a pair of trousers costing £45 over 20 installments can afford to pay to have those same trousers dry cleaned every few weeks. Not likely.
Chocolate surprise pudding July 24, 2007
Over the weekend we had some friends round for pudding and board games. I made Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Surprise Pudding, and it turned out pretty well. I would suggest, however, that if you plan to make this, it is VERY rich and people can only eat a small portion of it. The book says it feeds six to eight, but I think you could stretch that a lot further. If I make it again I would also serve it with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream, to tone down the richness of the chocolate sauce a bit. I made this one with some of the dark chocolate I brought back from Switzerland – I still have a few bars left, so hope to make a few more chocolatey things in the near future.
It is an odd recipe to make – you mix up a sort of cake batter that forms the body of the pudding, and put that in a big dish. Then on top of that you sprinkle a significant amount of sugar and cocoa, and then pour on almost a pint of hot water. As it bakes, these three ingredients form a chocolatey sauce that covers the pudding.
The recipe is from How to Eat, and I like that in her family, she says they call it Lemon Surprise pudding – the surprise being that it’s chocolate.
Little bits and bobs July 22, 2007
The sun has come out! There’s more rain on the way though – I have been reading about the poor people affected, and looking at all the pictures. How can there be six feet of water in these places? On my last post where I mentioned the monsoon season we’re experiencing, Melissa left a comment – she lives on a boat on the Thames and so is somewhat better equipped to handle all this water. Go read her website about her boat, Hendrik, it’s fascinating.
Yesterday I was thrilled to find boxes of the Mudlark stationery I mentioned a while ago, for sale in House of Frazer. I’ve bought a box of notelets, and am tempted by the soaps and scented candles…
Finally, if you have lavender plants, it likely that they are in full bloom right now and so could stand a little cutting back. In the few hours of dry weather we had last weekend, my grandfather let me cut quite a bit of his lavender, and a friend at work also cut some for me, so now I have plenty of the stuff. It’s all hanging upside down like a bat in our airing cupboard, so when it’s dried out I can make some little lavender sachets to leave on our pillows. And one more thing – this picture of Angry Chicken’s cutting garden made me think it’s something we should have a go at planting next year, so that in the summer we have a supply of flowers to fill vases with.
Rain, followed by more rain July 20, 2007
If you’re in the UK, I suspect that in recent weeks your outdoor activities have been thwarted by the weather. Someone’s asked Metafilter what’s going on, and it’s interesting reading to see what people think the cause is.
The comments point out the hot weather we had in April – it didn’t rain for much of the month, and yet since then, that’s pretty much all it has done. Recently the North of England got hit, whereas today it’s mainly been the South. Here’s to hoping you are high and dry, wherever you are. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about building an ark?