Monday, 24 August 2009


What a plummy year it's been.
So many on two trees I didn't know I actually had.
My old plum tree had babies and I let them grow over the years, without realising they were there.

I just thought they were part of a shrubby area and a hedge. And this year? Well, they have cropped enormously and I am literally plummed out.
Plum jam is bubbling away,plum ketchup and jelly next on the list.
I recently made my plum and pistachio tart for the fire pit evening. We were doing some photography for my book. It went down a storm and my neighbour Robyn has twice made it since.

I've stripped the low branches of the trees and left the rest for the birdies and the insects.
I've got to work on the damsons, blackberries and elderberries next, along with the apples that keep falling from my other four trees. I've nearly been taken out a dozen times recently by low flying apples as I hang the washing out. It's a dangerous chore - who'd have thought I would dice with my life as I hung out my knickers!

I'm about to make some plum vodka. You might think that I spend a lot of time adding various fruits and cordials to vodka. And you might be right.
It's a little hobby - and after the plum vodka? Sloe Gin, Damson Gin and perhaps Blackberry liquer.


Plum Vodka

1lb/450g plums to 570ml/1 litre of vodka
4oz/110g caster sugar

Heat the plums and the caster sugar together with 2floz/55ml water. Place over a gentle heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the plums are tender.
Pour the vodka over the plums and stir. Transfer to a couple of wide mouthed kilner jars and steep in a dark place for 2 months. Strain and then bottle and drink ... it's lovely with tonic and a slice of lime or just neat.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Fancy a bit of Food and Wine...

If so, Marcia Waters and I are (due to popular demand!!) holding our Food and Wine Matching evening again.
I demonstrate the food, Marcia talks about the wine and how we match it - and you drink and eat!

Sounds pretty good!
In fact, it sounds so lovely you should book as soon as you can!

Friday October 23rd at 7.30pm
£50 per person (bit of a bargain)

Please email me to book.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Is that the sun?

I woke up today, pulled the curtains and I do believe I saw an old friend.
There he was - the prodigal sun.
About time too.
No, I won't kill the fatted calf and indulge you Sunny Jim, you should have been here for the last three weeks.

Please stay this time and ripen my tomatoes, sweeten my corn and plump my courgettes. I won't moan about the heat or complain about you ever again. If you'll just stay. Please.

The only good thing about the last few weeks of miserable weather is the fact that I've been less grumpy about all the work I've been doing. Often, just the thought of being office bound when the garden is beckoning is enough to turn a happy Lotte into a sour faced old bag!
I've been run off my feet, it's been great (I love working and being busy) and I've not missed out on the sun.

This is the reason I haven't blogged in ages - all my writing has been going in another direction - my cookery book.
It's being published in Spring 2010 by Absolute Press and I am so excited about it. I'm really enjoying the process and looking forward to the next photograpy day.
This will involve me, food, wine, a fire pit and lots of friends. It's happening next sunday - so I really am doing a sun dance in the hope that it is fine.
Fire pits don't usually stay alight for long in the rain!

I've also been to Dublin for a research trip and an amazing thirteith birthday party - with my wonderful, wonderful friends The Brownes. Always fun and usually messy! The research was for another project I'm working on - bit of a secret at the moment, but all will be revealed soon.

In the last few weeks I've also been writing recipes for Prestige (I do the recipes for their twice yearly customer magazine - Eat Drink Live!), and I did the food photograpy for it last friday.
I've recorded radio interviews with a lovely chap called John Clowes - gardening consultant for Miracle Gro.(see photograph) We spent a day locked in a recording booth together talking about the new website.
Brilliant for gardening tips.
Have to say, couldn't think of a nicer person to be locked into a booth with!

I also had a fabulous lunch at The Angel Restaurant.
The owner, the lovely Trevor Bosch asked me and Marcia Waters, (master of wine my friend to develop a lunch and wine menu (theme PINK, of course!) for some ladies. He regularly holds these Ladies Lunches and they are a great success.
Guess what - it absolutely poured with rain and crashed with thunder on the day, but it was great fun and the food and wine went down a treat. Pink wines with pink food.
(Apologies for the photo of this day - off my phone - forgot my proper camera - duh! I did have more of them, but managed to delete them - double duh!

In between the work I've dressed up as Doris Day, and attended a party escorted Wonder Woman where I cuddled Captain Scarlett. As you do.

So, rain aside - it's not actually been a bad few weeks. Hope you are enjoying your summer too.

Is that the sun?