Saturday, 2 January 2016

2016 - Return to Blogging

 I switched on my laptop to resume blogging today, and was shocked to see that my last post was at the beginning of August.

Treasure from the Beach


We had a wonderful summer here in Brittany and then it was back to Richmond for a busy few months.  I had great fun doing several courses, including an inspiring Pasta Course at Miranda Gore Browne's Kitchen School, led by the fabulous Valentina Harris.

An inspiring day at Miranda's enchanting cookery school


In early December I went to the Petersham Nurseries, where I learnt to make my own Christmas Wreath.  Again an inspirational course, and it was lovely to do something that wasn't food based!  More non food courses this year I think!

However the real highlight of the last few months for me was my holiday in Ontario with my daughter.  We had such fun.

We whooshed up the CN Tower.
The lift is incredibly fast!

Niagara Falls must be one of the most stunningly beautiful
natural places in the world,
it's worth visiting Ontario for this alone.


I will write more detailed posts on all three of these events, during the next couple of weeks.

Whilst taking a break from blogging, I have still been busy on Social Media, focusing on my Instagram account, you can find me there at jude_magee.  I have been posting several times a day, and am really enjoying the micro-blogging aspect of it; one photo and a few sentences, it's really great fun.

In the summer I joined a monthly hashtag  prompt list called #mystylephotochallenge.  It was a little outside my comfort zone, as it was style rather than food based, but I discovered it was great fun, and I 'met' many new and interesting IGers through it.

Because it was such fun I and several other bloggers decided a new foodie hashtag might be equally fun, and in September we launched #scrumptiouskitchen. (I wanted to include everyone, not just cooks, so the emphasis was on everything in the kitchen rather then simply fabulous cooking.)

It has been a huge success, today we just passed the 6,000 photo mark, and  there is now a warm, supportive, growing IG community regularly posting photos at #scrumptiouskitchen.

Of course,  I need to write a more detailed post specifically about #scrumptiouskitchen!  I do hope if you are on Instagram you'll consider joining in, and if you're not, well why not join both Instagram and #scrumptiouskitchen?


Our first month of #scrumptiouskitchen prompts

Wishing you a Very Happy New Year!  I am looking forward to writing here, on my little blog more often, over the next few months.  One of my aims for 2016, is to reduce refined sugar, both in my own diet and in my kitchen, whilst aiming to eat far more fruit and vegetables.  I'm sure many of you have already embraced this new way of eating, but I am excited to begin exploring it for myself and my family.

I will of course still bake family birthday cakes, make (healthy?) treats with my daughter.  There maybe some chocolate at Easter, and of course there will still be plenty of gorgeous local produce and seafood when we're here in Brittany.  After the success of our trip to Ontario last Autumn, my daughter and I are planning Paris for her 10th birthday and (hopefully) New York in October.

I'm looking forward to 2016, are you?  What plans do you have?

Take Care... until next week x



Happy New Year!










Sunday, 9 August 2015

Breton Lobster - a Sunday Lunch Tradition



I love Breton Lobster.  The first Sunday following our arrival  in Brittany we cycled to the local market, we  headed straight to the fish stall and bought a selection of Seafood.  Last Sunday we bought two Lobster, two Brown Crabs. We had a fabulous lunch.


I boiled the lobster, followed by the crabs . Once the lobster were boiled it was important to cool them down rapidly, I normally run them under a cold tap for a while, which works perfectly. I always marvel at the transformation from blue to red, there is something so amazing about this change.


For that first lunch we kept the lobster meal simple, eating it with a home baked, Buckwheat Soda Bread and salted Breton butter.  A teaspoon of mayonnaise,  a squeeze of lemon and  a twist of freshly ground pepper,  are  all that are required to bring out the delicately perfumed flavour of the locally caught lobster.  And don't forget a glass of Champagne!

To cook the Lobster you will need:

  • Large Pot of Boiling Water
  • 3 handfuls of Seasalt
  • 2 x 650-750g lobster
  • Brown Bread
  • Salted Butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lemon
  • Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. When you bring the lobsters into the house, from the market or foraging, place them in the fridge (this is a humane way to prepare them for the pot)
  2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil (Stock pot size)
  3. Add three largish handfuls of seasalt (the water needs to be as salty as the sea)
  4. When the water is fully boiling put the lobsters into the pot
  5. Place the lid on the pot, and watch for it to reboil
  6. Time your lobsters from this second boil
  7. Keep the water as close to boiling as you can, but watch that the pot does not overflow
  8. Be careful removing the cooked lobsters from the boiling water, I use two large slotted spoons
  9. Place them in a colander and run under cold water until cooled
  10. Remove the claws from the lobsters
  11. Remove the head
  12. Cut the shell off the lobster tail, I use strong kitchen scissors
  13. Cut the lobster tail in half and remove the black intestine, this is very obvious
  14. Serve the lobster with the Brown Bread and Salted Butter
  15. A squeeze of lemon, black pepper and mayonnaise are also great additions
  16. Seafood picks are useful to remove the meat from the legs and claws, if you don't have any then I suggest that the cook removes the meat by cutting the shells off before serving the food
We are fortunate that in addition to buying lobsters at the market, my husband sometimes finds them in his lobster pots.  His boat is registered locally and he pays for a mooring at a tiny little natural port, which entitles him to two lobster pots.  He and our daughter set sail and check the pots every couple of days, it's so exciting when they bring a lobster home.  (I'm also very happy with Mackerel which they often catch!)






Saturday, 6 June 2015

Recycling French Yoghurt Pots - an e-book

I often find myself wandering off into new areas (for me) of Social Media.  It's simply amazing how many varied platforms for sharing both your skills and interests there are!

Whilst we were having our new kitchen and pantry installed, (plus two bathrooms and a bedroom) I found Pinterest was a great distraction.  I had to spend hours at the Laundrette, as we couldn't use either the washing machine or the tumble drier.  Sitting exploring, pinning and making new boards was a great way to pass time and I moved from 300 followers to 13,000 which was a fabulous bonus, it's wonderful to have connected with so many people.

Once the house was reconfigured I  found I was too busy to devote the time needed to Pinterest and although I still love it and spend a few minutes every day there, my focus moved to Instagram, where  I am slowly trying to improve my skills.  At the same time I tried to move my blog to Wordpress, which took a great deal of energy, but simply didn't work for me,  for a few months I lost focus and concentration.


I still took photos, still had ideas, still wanted to be creative so I decided to explore self publishing, purely for myself.

Last summer I ordered a book from Blurb, which contained my favourite photos from my first year of Instagram.  It's a lovely little book, and a delightful record of a wonderful year.




 I was pleased with the quality of the paper and the photographs and thought that I would make myself a second book, with the challenge of incorporating some (small amount of) text.  Again this book was simply for myself, I wrote some text and collated photographs for a little book:  Glass Yoghurt Pots.


The book is a small collection of fun ideas for recycling the gorgeous glass yoghurt pots that are found in markets and supermarkets throughout  France.





 I'm delighted with this book and now I would really love to order a set to give to friends, but because it would be a print to order run, it would prove very costly, if not prohibitive.  Fortunately there is another option, I can give my friends a copy  as an e-book for free! At the moment it's only iPad compatible, but should you have an iPad and wish to download a copy please click on this link:









Do let me know if you enjoy it, and should you wish,  please feel free to share it with your friends. (if you really don't like it then simply delete - it's free after all!)



And start collecting those yoghurt pots next time you're in France.