Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spiced Sole with Seasonal Vegetables

As summer produce from your local farmers market or garden starts to wind down, be sure to enjoy this beautifully simple dish. I lightly pan fried sole with some Turkish spice mix or any desired spice blend would work, grilled some zucchini and squash and had a salad. Every season has its gifts as we look towards fall in our part of the world with wonderful pumpkins and winter citrus. Its fun to embrace seasonal eating as often produce is cheaper and more flavorful in season. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How to set up a square foot garden

I used to think gardening would be hard and tricky  to grow vegetables, I grew up seeing my wonderful Granddad carefully tend to his garden and enjoyed eating the tasty produce. After he passed away I really wanted to learn gardening as a way to keep his memory alive. Also as a dietitian and lover of food, I really wanted the kids to grow up with a garden and have a connection to how their food is grown.  I recently completed the Master Gardeners course and am now volunteering in local community gardens, school gardens and scenic gardens. I am learning lots  especially as you spend time with other more experienced folks and get your hands in the soil. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ickworth Hall

Ickworth hall is a National trust property in Suffolk England not far from where my sister in law lives. I simply adore visiting places like this they have amazing gardens, history, great architecture, walking trails and often tea and cake. What more could you ask for on a day out. 

Ickworth hall has a long history over 200 years it was built by the Earl of Bristol, the Hervey family built the Italianate Rotunda to house their treasures and the wonderful Italian style gardens, the property was a work of love. As a visitor you can enjoy the grounds, and the house my favorite part was the 1930's servants quarters and in fact the day we visited we were lucky enough to see volunteers cooking traditional recipes from that era in the kitchen. The smell of the breads was divine, sadly we couldn't sample any.

inside the gardens 
The family has quite the history and known to be eccentric and unique the latest Marquess didn't leave much and maybe unwise decisions lead the property going to the national trust. Another interesting fact about the house is that the west ring is really an empty shell built to give the property symmetry. The basement of the building is now used as a bat sanctuary. It must be interesting in the evenings. 

amazing carvings on the rotunda 

a peek into the workings of the 1935 kitchen

Saint Mary's church a pretty little church owned by the estate there has been a place of worship here for over 1000 years.

If your in this part of England I highly recommend a visit to Ickworth hall and be sure to enjoy the extensive walking trails through the woods, we were lucky in the summer and got to snack on wild blackberry and raspberries along the trail. The little cousins were enjoying and picking them with glee. 

  • Ickworth Hall 
  • Address:
    The Rotunda, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP29 5QE

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Blackcurrant Jam

While we were in Scotland we visited a couple of berry picking farms, Scotland has some wonderful fruits and in the summer it shines. You can find gooseberries a tart fruit that aren't allowed in North Carolina as it apparently carries a disease that infects the white pine. You can also find black currants, tart little berries that go into making Ribena a favorite British drink. In 1938 Ribena was invented taking its name from the Latin word for blackcurrants: Ribes Nigrum, it was given as a vitamin C supplement after world war two and still has the label rich in vitamin C.

The kids also enjoyed picking blackcurrant's in my brother and sister in laws Edinburgh back garden,  and we snacked on wild raspberries in the woods behind my parents house :-) 

British gooseberries 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Isle of Arran Photo Series

We recently visited the beautiful Isle of Arran off the West Coast of Scotland despite growing up in Scotland I had not yet managed to visit an Island. So we planned a wee two day visit to Arran, we choose Arran as its easy to get to and known to be great for food and scenery. 

It was fun taking the car ferry over from Ardrossan with the kids and exploring the little Island, it really is like Scotland in miniature with mountains, great beaches, cute little towns and villages, and a historic castle. 

Arran has a long history dating back as far as 7000 BC and has influences from many invaders and rulers over the centuries such as the Irish, the English, the Vikings and the Celts also various clans. It has always had a small population and it dwindled in the 1800's with the highland clearances and many set sail for America. Most of the folks on the Island are now are involved in Tourism and many are from other countries the locals often leave to find work in other places. The Dukes of Hamilton used the castle up until the 1950's and hunted on the island. With the introduction of a regular ferry service in the early 20th century it started to gain popularity as a holiday destination and it remains this way to this day. 

A farmer bringing the cows in for the day, just up the road from the creamery , home to the Worlds best cheddar, it recently won an international award for its aged cheddar 

Fishing boats Kildonan 

Whiting Bay 

Brodick Castle dating from 1588

The amazing castle gardens 

A beautiful mountain stream flowing into the sea 

mountains in the distance Brodick


Looking out over Holy Isle, you can take a ferry to this Island, where there is a Buddhist Monastery 

An old ship wreck 

pretty garden complete with palm trees the Island enjoys mild weather, although rainy as its in the gulf stream 

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