Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's All This About @Klout?

Here are my thoughts on @klout, kind of like a social media credit score what are yours?

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Asian Inspired Crab Cakes

I got some crab meat on sale at whole foods the other day, nice wild caught. I was going to make fried rice with it but then thought no crab cakes. So  googled some recipes and came up with Rebecca's Asian inspired crab cake and if I do say so they are so good :-)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lisa's Zucchini Bread

So our little one loves Zucchini bread and often has a slice with a glass of milk as an evening snack. I was thinking its high time I learnt how to make it so I posted a question on the facebook page and the sweet Lisa of bread wine and cheese sent me a recipe. I halved it to make just one loaf, but I think I didn't get enough moisture out of the zucchini and maybe I added a little too much blame the dietitian in me. It was decent but I am sure yours will be better here's the recipe, for you to get it perfect :-)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bratwurst and Vegetable Pizza from Scratch

I made my first pizza from scratch last week, with homemade half whole 
wheat dough all in all pretty easy,  super tasty and healthy.


  • 2 cups of bread flour
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon active yeast 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • about 1 1/2 cups of water enough to make a dough
  • 2 tablespoon of tomato paste 
  • freshly chopped oregano and basil about 1/2 a cup
  • 1/2 a zucchini sliced
  • 1/2 a yellow squash sliced
  • 5 mushrooms sliced 
  • 2 fresh tomatoes sliced 
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheeses of choice 
  • one cooked smoked bratwurst sliced

  1. Mix the flour with yeast and salt, keep a little back for kneading, then slowly mix in the water to make a dough
  2. let it sit for 5 minutes 
  3. knead it and let it rest another 45 minutes for the yeast to do its magic
  4. after the 45 minutes roll it out as flat as you can add flour to stop it sticking a pizza peel helps to transfer to and from oven
  5. top the pizza with tomato paste, fresh herbs, tomato, bratwurst and vegetables and the cheese
  6. also its wonderful to get a pizza stone and bake on this at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted
  7. serve and enjoy

 Has anyone else made pizza from scratch?

This recipe is going in the Chow and Chatter recipe app just a few away from adding 50 more recipes to the app :-)

and the sweet Kris of Behind the Metatron passed on this awards, she a sweet food blogger and does great blog design

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Saturday, June 25, 2011


Here's a fun little clip of me watching fireflies with our little Princess, one of the things I love about North Carolina - we don't have them in the UK and I learnt from the chow and chatter facebook page and twitter that they aren't in California either only certain parts of the US.

Stop once in a while and savor the small things in life :-), they're free :-)


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Meet Ann of Purple Patch Lavender New Zealand

While I was in the UK in May I visited The Norfolk lavender farm, and got some culinary lavender so far I have made lavender candy floss and madeleines

 Ann commented on the farm post - 

kiwi said...

Hubby and I have a small lavender farm here in New Zealand. When you cook with lavender make sure you use ONLY Angustifolia varieties - Hidcote, or in the US there is a variety called Provence which you can use even though it's not an angustifolia. Google lavender recipes - there are zillions online! Also go to where Kathy has a few recipes and also about her cookbook using lavender. Check out our website for shortbread and fudge(:

I promptly visited her site and dropped her an email asking for a guest post about her farm and some expert information about lavender from someone in the know and she kindly obliged. 

Purple Patch Lavender – we live in Amberley, a small town of about 4000 people, in North Canterbury of New Zealand, about 50 kms north of Christchurch, our nearest big city, which you may have heard of in recent months due to terrible earthquakes which have destroyed so much of the city and in the 22nd February one, killed 182 people.

Ever since our children were small I wanted to work at something that I could do from home – I’m a real home-body! But in the meantime I worked at a ‘proper’ job in a bank. I read an article in a magazine about growing lavender and thought that could be a possibility, so I joined the New Zealand Lavender Growers Association and began accumulating information.
Eleven years ago we bought our present property, a bare block of land of about 15 acres, built our house and decided to plant – olives!

Then we realised that everyone was growing olives so we changed tack and planted 8000 lavender plants – in early summer! Here in North Canterbury we get about 28 inches of rainfall annually. We now know we should have planted in autumn but fortunately we had a wet summer and the plants all survived! We planted three varieties for oil – Lavandin x intermedia Grosso, Lavandin x intermedia Impress Purple and Angustifolia Pacific Blue (a New Zealand bred one).

After 15 months we harvested and had our first oil – now what do we do with it!! So began the process of deciding on products, manufacturers, label and most importantly our name.
At first I was still working full time and going to markets in the summer. We spent every hour God sent us weeding by hand as we wanted to try to be spray free. But then Our 3 1/2 year old granddaughter, Claudia, was diagnosed with leukaemia and our world fell apart. We spent a lot of time in Auckland (where they live) in the first year of her illness and of course the weeds grew waist high. So after that summer we now spray for the weeds once a year. It doesn’t eliminate them but controls them to some extent, and we do it well before any flowers are developing.
About five years ago we decided to bite the bullet and applied to Transit New Zealand, who have the say over roadside signs, to have a sign on the highway directing to our farm and bought a small building and set up shop.

I LOVE being at home and probably waste a lot of time, but I get things done – eventually! We get visitors from all over the world stopping at our shop. We have a collection garden of about 63 different lavenders and four sheep – one of which is Bella, our daughter’s pet sheep. The visitors love to feed her some grass and have their photo taken!

I have tried cooking with lavender – muffins, shortbread and the most beautiful panne cotta – yummmmmyyyyy. Lavender is of the mint family and you can use it where you would use rosemary – BUT - you MUST use only angustifolia varieties. For example I use Pacific Blue (but you won’t get that outside New Zealand), Hidcote, Munstead and one called ‘Provence’, which isn’t an angustifolia but the late Sharon Shipley used it in all her recipes in her lavender cookbook so that is obviously a mild enough lavandin to use, and I know it is available in the US. Other recipes to try are lavender cocktails, syrup, lemonade and now we have icecream made for us. Mostly you use the dried lavender but for the panne cotta and the ice cream we use the oil. With the dried you can use quite a bit but with the oil you only need a drop or two. To make it ‘nicer’ to eat I put the dried rubbings through a coffee grinder – a tip given to me by a lavender friend, Sarah of Lavender Wind Farm on Whidbey Island ( Another good lavender cooking site is Kathy Gehrt ( )

Our website address is if you’d like to have a browse. If you use Facebook, search Purple Patch and ‘Like’ me – I’m trying to build up my following to have it’s own page!
Lavender is a fantastic healing herb, much under rated. So many think of it as a ‘granny’ herb but it is becoming more popular all the time – you just have to Google ‘lavender farms’ – there are so many in the US there is bound to be one near you, including Sequim WA three day lavender festival 3rd weekend in July – and now is the time to visit. Ours is all asleep for the winter but you have summer – so go find some and enjoy!

After chatting with Ann here is a video about her Granddaughter - she is slowly improving but its been a very hard journey, keep this wonderful family in your prayers

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Simple Indian Cabbage Dish

This is a simple Indian cabbage side dish, a great way to add some pizazz to your cabbage. Cabbage is a wonderful source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dancing Gorilla

Just for fun here's a clip of a break dancing gorilla at Calgary Zoo, we all need a smile :-)

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lemon Drizzle Cake

I made this cake recently it is super simple, you know me and cakes :-) and was eaten in no time always a good sign. I just adore lemon cakes so fresh and yet light at the same time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Grilled Vegetables in a Cherry Tomato Sauce

This is a wonderful pasta dish with sweet cherry tomatoes and grilled vegetables making it perfect for this time of year using seasonal squash, and zucchini. I was so lucky my kind neighbor just gave me some from her garden :-)


  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic 
  • 1/2 a red onion chopped
  • about 15 chopped cherry tomatoes
  • one small zucchini sliced
  • one small yellow squash sliced 
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil 
  • a teaspoon of Italian herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 8 sliced mushrooms 
  • a handful of frozen peas 
  • penne pasta 

  1. grill the squash, zucchini, mushrooms with a little salt and pepper and a little olive oil, I use an electric grill, but an outside one would be wonderful, keep to one side
  2. meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes
  3. add the cherry tomatoes, fresh chopped basil and herbs and simmer for 20 minutes on low to make a lovely sauce 
  4. add grilled vegetables and serve with al dente pasta of choice 

What is your favorite vegetable this time of year?

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Lavender Madeleines

Madeleines are my all time favorite cake, a simple to make French cake, that I bought almost daily last time I was in Paris. I have stuffed them with chocolate, added red currants to them and meyer lemon and made them traditionally. This time its a traditional recipe with a dusting of lavender ground with sugar :-) 

  • 2 eggs
  • 75g sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 90g flour (about a cup)
  • 3g of baking soda
  • 90g melted butter
  • one spoon of runny honey
  • a few drops of vanilla essence 
  • a pinch of lavender
  • 2 tablespoon of sugar 

  1. melt the butter and keep it to one side
  2. whip the eggs with sugar and salt then slowly add the sifted flour and baking powder and vanilla essence.
  3. Mix until smooth then add the melted butter and honey and leave to chill for 30 minutes or longer
  4. bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
  5. grind lavender and sugar together and sprinkle on madeleines don't use a lot of lavender while wonderful can be a little overwhelming 

Have a wonderful fathers day weekend, these are for you Dad, he is very partial to cake well he is my Grandma's son :-) 

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Interview with Regina from Acute Designs

It is with great pleasure to introduce Regina to you from Acute designs, I met her through her food blog taste, she is an amazing cook and talented designer. She is also super sweet and supportive of all my little endeavors. So I asked if I could interview and spotlight her ventures here ;-) be sure to check out her store simply beautiful items. 

1. Tell us a little about yourself.....

I had a huge fear of getting stuck in a 9-5 job that I felt served no purpose {other than a paycheck} so I decided to spend my down time at work focusing on what I loved - witting and creating.  First I started a food and cooking blog called Taste, then a lifestyle blog called Acute Designs, and eventually a small handmade accessories business {also called Acute Designs}.

I soon realized that I could write and sell my handmade accessories full time and seven months ago I was able to quit the horrible "day job" and I now work full time doing what I love.

My husband has been extremely supportive and without him I would not be able to spend my days working in my dream!

2. How long have you been making head wear and jewelry and what made you decide to sell it 

 I started Acute Designs a year and a half ago.  It was started as a hobby but a few weeks into it, I knew that this is what I wanted to do for a living.  I have always loved to create - through food, sewing, etc but never realized that I could make decent money selling my creations.

3. You also cook great recipes are working on healthy eating ebook and write what are plans for the future your dream job

My goal for the future is to support my family doing what I love.  I intend to do this by growing all parts of my business - cooking/writing recipes, writing/blogging, and designing.  I love to do all three of these things and want to continue to improve and make each a viable aspect of my business.

My immediate summer goals include: writing an ebook all about my food lovers healthy eating plan {which has enable me to lose 14 pounds and keep it off} and expanding my line of jewelry.

Regina Morrison
San Diego, CA
Free Newsletter -

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gnocchi with Sauteed Shrimp and Spinach

I made this simple yet delicious meal the other day, thats what chow and chatter is all about, it can be put together in no time at all, with a bag of gnocchi on hand, some frozen shrimp and a couple of other ingredients. We all enjoyed it and Jasmine even ate the spinach :-)


  • one pack of gnocchi
  • about a cup of frozen shrimp, I get wild caught 
  • one small bag of spinach or a bunch of fresh
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1/2 a red onion chopped
  • 15 chopped cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one teaspoon of Italian herbs
  • olive oil 
  • a pinch of crushed red chili pepper

  1. saute the onions and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes add the tomatoes and and let it reduce down 
  2. then add the herbs, chili pepper and shrimp with the spinach simmer for 15 minutes
  3. meanwhile boil the gnocchi in water until it floats 4-5 minutes drain and mix
  4. serve 

This is Jasmine's bowl as she also wanted me to take a picture of hers  :-)

What's your favorite gnocchi recipe?

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Review of iPad app - iCookBook

Overall decent cooking app 6/10 but needs improvement, more ethnic choices and healthier options.

If you would like one for free though leave a comment in a few days will select someone at random and you can see what you think of this app.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

My First eBook: 101 Social Media Tips

Big news I have just released my first ebook 101 Social media Tips, its actually quite amazing as I did it all in just a few days!, I came up with the idea, really my dream is to make it into an app with video's and screen tutorials embedded and daily tips. I thought I would start this way and its accessible to all very affordable and I can get feedback on the tips :-)

So you may be wondering how do you make an eBook?

  1. first come up with an idea come on we all have them, type up your text in word and edit to look the way you want it to
  2. convert the text to a PDF file
  3. use a site like lulu to upload it and start selling it, its free to do they just take commission
  4. I must confess I personally haven't downloaded an eBook before mine was the first !, super simple and can store on my computer or print it.
  5. You can also submit to the iBookstore apples store, but costs $99 for this, so for now I am holding of. 
My goal is to make an app, with more features and design better graphics :-)

I am thrilled to say its already been downloaded a few times and even has a review: 


Jun. 12, 2011
By vivisue

This is a great e-book! Simple, easy to understand and ALL of the tips are exactly what you need to know! Whether you are new to the social media game or just need a checklist to make sure you aren't missing anything, this is worth every penny! Easy to download, too! Don't miss it!

So go on friends what are you waiting for write a book :-)

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Help Pollinators

I was in whole foods this evening and found a great leaflet about pollinators and how we can help them. There's a great organization pollinators with a purpose, on reading I am amazed to find out that 1/3 of America's food supply depends on bee's. Foods and beverages produced with the help of pollinators include: apples, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, potatoes, pumpkins, vanilla, almonds, and tequila.
In the United States, pollination by honey bees, native bees, and other insects produces $40 billion worth of products annually - from pollinators with a purpose site.

Here's a link to a PBS documentary The Silence of Bee's 

So what can we do?
 Here are some tips:

1. Plant a bee garden - lavender, lemon balm, clover, poppy, mint, sunflowers and thyme
2. Plant native plants to attract native pollinators and help local agriculture
3. colorful gardens attract different pollinators
4. Don't pick the flowers
5. Teach kids to love butterflies and bee's and the importance of them
6. avoid using pesticides

Just some food for thought, I am going to keep buying flowers for the bee's and butterflies, have a buddleia lavender, thyme and others they seem to like ;-)

Did you know this was such an issue and do you ever consider pollinators when planting your gardens?

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