Thursday, 28 May 2009

IRIS, my little beauty.....

Oh the joy!

The pure joy that is my lovely Iris.

Three long years, I've been waiting for this gorgeous, frilly flower to show me what it's made of.
Three years of gently feeling the leaves for that tell tale swelling that contains this decadent, over the top little number.

And finally, it has.

This is indeed the campest of all flowers, the pantomime dame of the gardening world.

I love little Miss Iris, and I do believe that if I can still get happiness through a flower showing me it's beauty, then all is right with the world.

Please click on the pictures to get a closer look.


On another note, stinky cat brought in another baby rabbit last night. My daughter and I were watching a bit of TV and in bounced the rabbit, shortly followed by The Woozle.
Woozle could see by the hysterical weeping that perhaps it was a bad move, so slunk out.
Daisy and I spent half an hour debating who was going to rescue the bunny that was now in the corner of the fire place.

With gardening gloves on, determination - and for some reason terror at the tiny bundle of fluff - I gently picked it up and popped it back down in the field at the end of the garden. Don't worry, it was uninjured.

We were then left with the Woozle problem.
She had to be bought back into the house, so the bunny had a chance.

A tin of tuna was the answer. The sound of the tin opener, the cries of 'Tuuuuunnnaa' and the smell was too much temptation for the killer cat to take.

In she trotted with an air of nonchalance.

Cat flap locked. Rabbit saved.


Friday, 22 May 2009

This feels a little strange, I know it's early, but.... are the dates for my Autumn and Christmas Demonstration Days.

Ta Da!

Wednesday 23rd September 2009 - Fabulous Fish Day

Wednesday 14th October 2009 - Comfort Food for Chilly Days

Wednesday 18th November 2009 -Comfort Food for Chilly Days

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 - Easy Christmas Entertaining

Wednesday 9th December 2009 - Easy Christmas Entertaining

The price is £100 per person for the day. This includes the demontration by me, all the yummy food, refreshments and the recipes.

The day is very relaxed, friendly and informal and limited to six at a time.

For more information please go to my website.
Please click on the picture above for a close up of my kitchen.

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Sunshine Cooking and Eating....

Take six lovely ladies and drop then in the English countryside.

Add a ray or two of sunshine and tempt them with a fairy cake...

Let them try your Home-made Sloe Gin and Elderflower Vodka. Hic!

Demonstrate simple summer food that is easily prepared and cooked.

Take them on a hunt for nettles and wild garlic. Convince them that once the nettles are cooked, there won't be need of dock leaves - or indeed Piriton!

Settle them in the sun, surrounded by roses and sweet rocket.
Throw in some wine and splosh in a sweet baby (not compulsory!).

And what you have is ... well I'll let you decide that from the pictures....

If you want to join me on one of my English Country Cookery Days, please email me for more details at

Menu for The Simply Summer Picnic:

Orange Fairy Cakes with Glitter Icing

Chicken Liver and Pork Terrine with Brandy
Chilli Jam
Lotte's Bread
Sorrel, Nettle and Wild Garlic Tart with Cheesey Pastry
Broad Bean and Mint Salad
English Herb and Flower Salad
Sloe Gin Summer Pudding with Sloe Gin Cream

White Chocolate, Cherry and Rum Raisin Nibbles with Coffee

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Lotte was last seen...... the back of an army truck with a bunch of squaddies. If you have seen her, perhaps you can email her cat, who is a little worried and hungry.

(Just been clearing out some old photos from my computer and found these. Taken five years ago with the fabulous British Army in Germany on a TV shoot.)

I just LOVE my job!

Friday, 15 May 2009


Or something.

You know I went to bed last night on such a high.
So often, the day can be irritating and the people in it, pains in the bum.

On occasion, I find that even though the work day has gone well with all the results expected, and clients or directors are pleased with what I've done, I still feel bugger all satisfaction!

Yesterday however I just the best time.

Okay, it was exciting because it was the first photography day for my book. A book I have been waiting years to write and a book that will eventually contain all the recipes I've been stuffing down my friends and family for years!

And of course the weather held out, my food behaved itself and my pimped up charity shop trolley looked great on camera. (although we did have wheel casualty a couple of times as we rolled it across the lawn!)

I really mustn't forget my fat cat Honey lying in the sun on cue, stretching a paw and looking direct to camera as cute as can be just as the shutter closed. A terrible media tart.

I really would however, like to forget my other wretched cat trotting through the garden from the field with a dead rabbit in her mouth, just when we were all admiring the early summer evening. (note to self - no need to feed The Woozle today)

Everything about the day was wonderful.
Matt, the Art Director from Absolute Press, Lara Holmes the photographer and I, all had the same vision and we worked together as though we had been doing so for many years.

I was chuffed to bits with the final set of pictures and knackered beyond belief.
But I went to bed on such a happiness high, with a huge feeling of satisfaction and that's something I will treasure for a very long time.

Enjoy my, not-quite-as-good photos of the day. (don't give up the day job Lotte!)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

March Plum Cake in May

I made this cake for the first time in March.

I know, I know, plums aren't in season in March, but I had a couple of them kicking around, looking a bit dodgy in the bottom of my fridge.

Some friends were popping by for tea,including the 2 year old twins from next door.
Whenever my name is mentioned to the twinnies, they say 'Lotte Cake'; so under considerable pressure to perform and be the cake queen/mistress/doyenne of the lane, I used the shriveled old fruit, crossed my fingers and March Plum Cake was born.

Tension was in the air as Olive and Alice picked up a slice of cake with their chubby fingers. A small bead of nervous sweat emanated from my brow as I watched them closely for their reaction. All eyes fell on their befuddled expressions as they bit into the dense almondy cake and got squidgy plums down their best dresses.

No pressure girls,

They didn't answer as, in a split second before any of us could react, they had buried their entire faces up to their necks in the rest of the cake.

I'll take that as a 'yes' then

(Apologies for gratuitous shot of my cat asleep amongst the chives, she just looked so sweet the other day!)

March Plum Cake
4 large plums – halved and stoned
8oz (225g) butter
8oz (225g) soft brown sugar
Grated zest of half an orange
4 large eggs
6oz (175g) self-raising flour
2oz (50g) ground almonds

Grease and line a 9 inch cake tin

Preheat the oven to 180c or Mk4

1. Place the plum halves skin side down on the bottom of your cake tin.
2. Cream the butter, sugar and orange zest together until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add 1 tsp of flour to the mixture between each addition.
4. Fold in the rest of the flour and the almonds and pour over the plums in the cake tin.
5. Spread evenly and place in the oven for 25 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 150c or Mk2 and cook until the cake is set in the middle and comes away from the edges. This may take another 40 minutes or so.
6. If it goes a little too brown, cover with some foil.
7. This is a lovely moist cake, so don’t over-cook it.

( This picture of March Plum Cake was made by friend Jacqueline when she came to me this week for her monthly cooking day. )

Monday, 4 May 2009

Happy Days...

Yesterday we celebrated the christening of my baby brother - Jamie.

Here are some photos from the day. The sun shined, he smiled (a lot) and we all had a fabulous time.

Surrounded by friends and family - it doesn't get much better than that.