Truth compels us to assert our conviction of the superior wholesomeness of bread made in our own homes - Eliza Acton

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Friday 30th June


When one needs a break from complaining about the weather on this little island of ours, there's always a way, however convoluted, to twist it into an advantage. For instance, it might be very nice to live in a climate so warm and sunny that lunch in the garden was a daily occurence. But then a daily occurence is an everyday one, and that soon loses its charm, don't you think? What a shame to sit in the garden with the sun baking your shoulders and not think of it as a treat. Ok, it's a long shot, and given the opportunity I think I could probably exchange the thrill of the occasional garden lunch for the quieter pleasure of the regular one without a backward glance. But we must find our blessings where we can. This garden lunch consisted of some very tasty grilled sirloin steak (four minutes on each side produced a medium rareness that satisfied Mr Bloodthirsty whilst not scaring off our guests), with a beetroot salad from the trusty Nige. The beetroot, with lime juice, mustard seeds and ginger, was zingy but not quite kicky enough for me. These are the original quantities, which I'd play with a bit.

juice of two limes
spoonful of grated ginger
1 tsp black mustard seeds, toasted
250g beetroot (I think he means raw, but I couldn't get this week - so used beets that had been pre-cooked but with nothing added)
2 spring onions, finely sliced
a handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
2 tsp nam pla


Sunday 25th June

new potatoes

By the end of June one sometimes needs something a little different to do with new potatoes. So instead of serving them pure and simple, with butter, black pepper, mint, I tossed them with cubes of saucisson. The fat of the sausage melted slightly, thus lubricating the potatoes nicely, and the salty, porky flavour made this a really tasty side dish to some plain chicken.


Wednesday 7th June


As usual the picture doesn't do this justice: it was vivid and sparkly enough to please a six year old girl. Think Barbie-chic. Sadly it contains a good beaker full of dessert wine, so I won't be serving it at any children's birthday parties. Cunningly it is a secondary dessert: simply the syrup (half water, half wine, some sugar) in which I had poached some peaches, frozen and mashed.


Tuesday 6th June


Excuses, I've got a few. Who hasn't? Sometimes food just loses its glamour. Add to that the extreme lateness of spring in arriving (did it arrive? or did we go straight to summer?) and somehow my usual May buzz ('sparaguuuuuus!) just didn't happen. Just as it might have got going, I started practicing for France instead. (Where France = cooking for the Masterclass of 28 singers in a fab old house near Carcassonne, cf September last.) This pic is one of the new desserts: sweet, fresh goat's cheese with honey, thyme and walnuts. Interesting content resumes in a fortnight (hostage to fortune or what?)