Tag Archives: Cookery Books

Try Something New Every Week

Full Of Vitamins, Rocking Dog

Full Of Vitamins

It’s tempting to stick to tried and trusted favourite recipes, but I do like to try something new every week. Usually the Cook section from the Saturday “Guardian” provides one or two new recipes for the week ahead. The benefit of selecting recipes from the latest issue is that the recipes are seasonal and use produce at its cheapest and best.

Some recipes are relished and filed, whilst others are abandoned after  their first outing.

Recently I made two “Guardian” soups. One was a Thai inspired affair which included coconut milk, lemongrass, buckwheat noodles and tofu (but prawns would be a good substitute). The other soup was given the briefest of introductions to the hob, and utilised little gem lettuces, corn on the cob and fresh herbs. I felt as if i’d had my five a day in one bowl! Both were really quick to prepare and will make it to the recipe file.

I am gradually beginning to look at recipes online, but still favour my shelves of cookery books.

Although I consider myself a competant cook I am not someone who wants to spend a day slaving over one dish. In my days of running “Heaven’s Cake” I once did a consultation for a woman who wanted me to cook for a large party. It became very apparent she had been on rather too many swish cruises and wanted everything done in aspic and served on mirrors! To recover from this rather awkward appointment I took myself off to a garden centre with the cheery thought of buying a topiaried holly. Alas, with a price tag of about ¬£200 I decided that although I felt glum … the tree was a step too expensively far. I later fired off an e.mail to say I really didn’t think I was the right person for the job and hoped that she could find an ex-cruise liner chef (I didn’t really say that last bit). Oops! I then had to endure the most terrifying and balshy phone call from her. How very dare I not want to do her aspic’d party! How very right I was to go with my gut feeling of not wanting to work with this lady.

I cooked for some wonderful events and generally worked with some lovely people. However there are just a few jobs that are memorable for being led by bridezilla’s or clients with a touch of the “Upstairs Downstairs” mentality. I do not understand why fellow human beings cannot see that politeness and kindness mean that people will go that extra mile for them.

As for that arrogant bride’s father who whistled at me to get my attention…. don’t get me started!!!!

Yes, I have gone way off the beaten track with trying something new. Sorry. I hope you have a lovely weekend and hope that you put your toe in the water and try something new.

Love Rocking Dog x

Gathering The Harvest , Rocking Dog

Gathering The Harvest

Foodie Print, Rocking Dog

Foodie Print

Pretty Page, Rocking Dog

Pretty Page

The Quilt, Ready To Leave The Rocking Dog Kennel !

Coveted Cosy Cover, Rocking Dog

Coveted Cosy Cover

Yes finally, the very first quilt of 2016 is ready to leave the Rocking Dog kennel. Buttons sewn, edging attached and the quilt given its very own embroidered verse, this quilt will be hopefully soon adorning a bed in Plumstead.

I decided against adding the vintage braids, the quilt even by my eclectic standards was becoming too busy! How appropriate to be sewing the quilt with an episode of Little House On The Prairie! There was even a quilt hanging from a door in the Little House, not too disimilar from my folky number! When we did a holiday house exchange to Seattle we took a trip to Leavenworth, a town so totally unique and a MUST for lovers of Christmas. The town was struggling, and in 1962 the towns people came up with a cunning plan to reinvent itself as a Bavarian town. Christmas all the year round, and housing a Nutcracker Museum which boasts over 5,000 examples. It was all very surreal! Anyway, driving away from Leavenworth we drove through land which was so reminiscent of Little House on The Prairie. One day I would love to do a bit of an American road trip to better understand the hardships of those early pioneers driving from east to west. Until then, i’ll have to make do with Little House.. and The Waltons!

Back to the quilt, the hand embroidered verse came about after my daughter Sorrel was decrying the fact that she was going to have to seriously cull her books ready for a house move. Like me, she has amassed a sizeable collection of cookery tomes. I hope she won’t be too ruthless. I thought Flaubert’s quote summed up Sorrel’s love of books and penchant for pickles. I am sure Sorrel’s husband too will have to consider a cull of all his beloved cycling magazines, Incidently, he likes pickles too!

As expected I was a little over ambitious regarding how many little projects I was going to complete. Ticked off the list are the quilt and my velvet jacket to bling. So the lanterns to paint, and dog bed cover still to sew, await my attention… maybe this week.

I don’t know when the next wave of quilting bodgery will wash over me, but I think my sore fingers need a little rest from ALL those buttons!

Have an enjoyable week ahead. Love Rocking Dog x

Patchwork Stash, Rocking Dog

Patchwork Stash

Once Just Pieces, Rocking Dog

Once Just Pieces

Then It Was Sewn, Rocking Dog

Then It Was Sewn

Embroidered Quilt Quote For A Future Home, Rocking Dog

Embroidered Quilt Quote For A Future Home

Labelled & Somewhere To Go, Rocking Dog

Labelled & Somewhere To Go

Quilted Bale, Rocking Dog

Quilted Bale

Oops! The Pesky Things Have Escaped!

Hanging Around!, Rocking Dog

Hanging Around!

Indeed, some pesky things have escaped! I just couldn’t help myself, I bought one or two new Christmas decorations and couldn’t resist hanging them. Those empty cup hooks along my cookery book shelves proved all too tempting for my haul. Pretty!

When I am reading an interiors feature in a magazine I always love to scrutinise the home owners book shelves/ coffee table. My shelves display a plethora of Jamie O, Nigella, Delia, Ottolenghi and Skye Gyngell books. What I wonder does that say about me? I very rarely send cookery books off to the charity shop so there are remnants of my tentative first steps into culinarydom! That Hamlyn cookery book dating from 1973 started me off on my Pineapple Upside Down Cake odyssey. Sometime very soon a Jamie Oliver tome will be pulled from the shelf for his delicious Beetroot Gravadlax recipe.

Elsewhere in the Rocking Dog Kennel tangled fairy lights from my childhood tumble down Material Mountain. Alas no electrician seems to want to touch them – so unlit they’ll stay. Perhaps i’ll twirl some new lights around them to festoon them with light. I have such memories of my dad every year untangling the glittery chain, twiddling each bulb and exclaiming “God love a duck” when the lights refused to work. Eventually he’d manage to get the lights working. He’d then half heartedly but methodically swathe the tree with the lights before sinking into a chair with a tot of whisky and cigar. Mum and three tired kids would then set to work with boxes of oh so familiar tree ornaments, tinsel, lametta, and net skirted fairies. All the while Jim Reeves would be serenading our frouing.

Spanish Madonna has never gone away. A Christmas gift last year from Andyman, I could not bear to send her into the attic so soon after unwrapping her. In the workroom a jumbled jar of bottlebrush trees, cheery spotted mushrooms and ballerinas await cakes and parcels to adorn. Meanwhile a jar of old fairy light bulbs are hoping to be strung into a nostalgic garland if time allows.

I know, I am totally incorrigible regarding my love of Christmas decorations and you know who!

Cook Book Heaven, Rocking Dog

Cook Book Heaven

Strictly Come Dancing, Rocking Dog

Strictly Come Dancing

Oh Deer!, Rocking Dog

Oh Deer!

Heirloom Tangle, Rocking Dog

Heirloom Tangle

Spare Bulbs, Rocking Dog

Spare Bulbs

Mache Madonna, Rocking Dog

Mache Madonna