I love it when I have a book that I’m enjoying so much I resent all other activities that take me away from it .  Things like housework, cooking, sleeping… ugh… website work, long walks and lovely trips out with friends are still good 🙂 I did/do/will manipulate any conversation to a discussion about the books in question and the author though 😀

Halfway through the second title in the Millennium trilogy with the aspergian character Lisbeth Salander. Long term readers of the blog will know that I do like writers who are saying stuff that needs to be said. Exposing the rot in the hope of helping clear it away. Here we have institutional abuse, sadistic bullying, violence against women and children and the compliance and ignorance of those around the situations against a very thrilling murder plot with corruption and political comment aplenty. Wonderfully recognised individuals. So exciting, I have to go…

Wiki on author Stieg Larsson

cream of tomato soup and a cheese and onion pasty


2 tins of plum tomatoes
about a cup of water (rinse out tins with it)
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 or 2 handfuls of cashew nuts
seasalt to taste

Place the tomatoes and water in a pan and bring to the boil, adding the onion, sweet potato and garlic as it heats. Once it boils, turn down to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Place soup in a blender and add the cashew nuts. Blend and taste for seasoning, add salt as desired.

If your blender is not very strong, try soaking the cashews in water overnight to soften them before using.

Pasty made in a very similar manner to the basic pasties on frugal but using Kamut flour in the pastry and filled with chopped red onion, cubed potatoes and cheezly, all cooked in a little soya milk first, also very good 🙂


Scotch Broth


Autumn. Cold winds. Rain. Hail. Even a few moments of snow yesterday between bursts of hot sunshine. Walking on the South side of the hill in the woods it is suddenly no longer autumn but the end of summer. Off with jackets, faces to the sun then round the corner into the North and winter, now walking against horizontal hailstones. It is confusing… we need soup 🙂

Method: soak a cup of broth mix overnight, then cook up for an hour or so before adding chopped potato, carrot and onion. Cook until veg is tender, add some kale or other leafy greens and either a teaspoon of Vecon Concentrated Vegetable Stock or a few sloshes of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (like soy sauce but with less salt and all the protein).  Simmer a few minutes longer then dish up and garnish with parsley or chervil. Be warm.

Tomato, lentil and vegetable soup


1 cup of red lentils, rinsed
1 tin of plum tomatoes
1 onion, choppped
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 sweet potato (or carrot) diced
2 sticks of celery, chopped
a handful of pasta
10 fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 a teaspoon of dried)
1 teaspoon of Vecon Stock or other stock of choice
handful of greens, chopped (we used kale)
black pepper
salt to taste

Place the lentils in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and turn down to simmer. Prepare the vegetables and add to the pan with the tomatoes, pasta, stock and herbs – add more water if you need, if too thick. Cook at a low simmer until veg and pasta are tender, (probably about 20 minutes). Add the greens for the last couple of minutes of cooking time and season to taste.



What a bumper year it’s been for the currants – were having berried up green smoothies daily, there are lots in freezer which will extend the berry smoothie season and it’s looking to be a very abundant bramble year too. Last year we gathered quite a lot for the freezer as well as smoothie-ing them fresh. At least I thought we’d gathered a lot until I met a man in the woods with 3 huge bucket loads of them. He must have spent all day picking. Maybe for jam? I really want to try preserving in different ways this year so we can eat the home grown stuff in winter too. So we made strawberry jam as mentioned, and then moved onto redcurrant and rosemary jelly for savoury things.  Inspired by the home baked blog, this mixing of flavours is beautiful! I used Delia’s redcurrant jelly recipe with quite a few rosemary sprigs thrown in.


Cooking on the stove this morning is Apple and Ginger Chutney from the Cranks recipe book with the apples from the bike ride heavily supplemented with ones from our trees and our own onions in there too 🙂 Adapted recipe on the sauces page.

a blackcurrant smoothie

blackcurrant smoothie

Very blackcurranty and lovely, makes a big jug (about 3 and a half pints, good for 4 people, quantities very adjustable):

lots of blackcurrants, about a quarter blender jugful

lots of borage flowers (optional)

huge bunch of parsley

a handful of brazil nuts

1 banana

1 avocado

1 apple

1 litre of orange juice

Blitz it all in a blender…


More blender recipes here

fox in the snow


vegan recipes, books and festivities… Among the trees in Scotland.