Tag Archives: potatoes


In recent weeks, when I was feeling ‘under the weather’, on account of my cold/cough, my desire to eat and cook was as lacking as my tastebuds. Now that I am all better, my appetite and interest in cooking have returned and, yesterday, my meal seemed like a feast; it tasted so good!

First up, we had brown lentils and mushrooms in pasta sauce. This is a dish I  created using a combination of different ideas and recipes. It is an authentic mish mash rather than anything elegant with a specific and identifiable origin. Here is a small sample of the finished product.

As usual, my recipe  for this dish is fairly carefree and easy but, for those of you who are interested, here is an outline of the ingredients and cooking method:  Roughly chop one onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 celery stick and 1 carrot and place in the blender and blitz. Place a little olive oil in a large pan and add blitzed mixture to the pan. Cover and let mixture sweat for about 10 minutes. Add a half teaspoon of dried oregano, and about a half teaspoon of salt and a cup of canned, chopped tomatoes in thick juice. Stir and cook covered for a couple of minutes. Add one tin/can of drained and rinsed brown lentils (about 400gm) and stir. Then add one bottle of thick pasta sauce. I use Bertolli Five Brothers Pasta Sauce, large size, in the summer tomato and basil flavour.  Stir again and cover and simmer gently for a few more minutes. Lastly add about 200 gm of quartered, button mushrooms and 3  Tablespoons of bulghur wheat.  Cover and cook on low heat for another 15 minutes, or until the bulghur wheat is tender. Before serving add freshly ground pepper and 2 or 3 Tablespoons of cream to the pan.

The textures of the ingredients and the smooth richness of the sauce are wonderfully hearty  on a winter’s night. I served the sauce on creamy mashed potatoes with steamed carrots and steamed broccoli stalks. And ,because the recipe makes a large amount, we will be having the sauce again tonight, but this time with polenta.

To follow the main meal, I made a scrumptious fruit crumble, using an absolutely excellent crumble recipe from blogger Valerie Davies; excellent because it is  both delicious and makes a large amount (which means at least enough for two fruit crumbles in my house). For the fruit component of the dish, I used freshly sliced cooking apples and a good handful of less than perfect grapes which I blanched and peeled and sprinkled with lemon juice.  The results were so good that I had to restrain myself from taking a third helping. Thanks Valerie 🙂

If you would like the recipe take a look Here.

While you are there, check out her other delicious recipe for Convent Eggs. http://valeriedavies.com/2013/07/13/the-real-dalai-lama/ 

I am sure it was the Convent Eggs that finally set my tastebuds on the road to recovery. Food has been tasting superb, since the day I made those delicious eggs.

Finally, what’s a feast without something for the eyes as well. I am so thrilled to have these three lovely books on my table today. The two Virago books arrived by post this morning, via Amazon.  The  third  book, With Bold Needle and Thread by Rosemary Mcleod  is on loan from the library. It is subtitled Adventures in Vintage Needlecraft, and so it is, so it is; a very lovely adventure.

Books of a Vintage

Books of a Vintage

A Visual Feast

A Visual Feast

© silkannthreades


Down to the basics

Once upon a time I was an avid viewer of Martha Stewart’s TV series. Yet, despite my avidity, I think I have only  incorporated a couple of Martha’s ideas into my household ways.

The first idea was Martha’s method of stacking cups and saucers.   (http://www.marthastewart.com/275482/kitchen-organizing-tips/@center/277007/kitchen-design#end )   Although my cup and saucer collection is paltry compared to Martha’s, her system worked exceptionally well for me…..until….. the earthquakes, when I decided that stacks of cups/saucers were not the way to go. To be fair, my small monuments to Martha’s organizational genius didn’t even teeter in the first big earthquake. They remained rock solid, but I thought they looked too precarious to survive any further assaults on their structural integrity, so I deconstructed the stacks and rearranged my cups and saucers in a plain and simple fashion. Like this.Plain, simple, secure

Very bland, and hopefully very secure and safe. (Particularly safe if I remember to latch the cupboard door. Before the earthquakes, I had a reputation for leaving the contents of kitchen cupboards fully exposed. I have improved my lax ways.)  I am sure Martha would give me points for clean and tidy, but  would she be compelled to roll her eyes over the uncoordinated nature of my china? I fear so.

The second Martha ‘idea’ to enter my life was in the form of her recipe for Potato Frittata. As with the cups and saucers, I have adapted the idea/recipe to suit my circumstances but it is a frittata that I make regularly.  It is completely delicious and completely easy. I love it.

Here’s Martha at work on the frittata ( http://www.marthastewart.com/254051/potato-frittata), and here is my handiwork. Not bad, if I say so myself.Fantastic Frittata

Four ingredients; onions, olive oil, potatoes, eggs; a pinch of Martha and me and there you have it; a good basic meal. A salad, and a crusty loaf of bread on the side, make for mouth-watering perfection. Hungry?

© silkannthreades

From this to bliss

Some years ago, in pre-earthquake times, our city council reinvented our recycling collection system and suggested that we reuse our old recycling bins for other purposes e.g. garden containers. Ever willing to be the responsible, greenie citizen I did as suggested. I not only recycled my own bin but I also managed, for a miniscule cost, to obtain other folks’ unwanted containers from the recycling centre. I have at least 8 of these sturdy recycled, recycling bins. Not all of them are in use at the one time and not all are used for plants. One is serving a useful purpose as a comfortable day bed for the cat. This, of course, is not the cat but Jack the dog, wishing he were a cat. (He finally realised that he didn’t fit the bill or the bed) Jack who would be Cat

As for the other bins  re-purposed lives; I have had mixed success, in past years, with planting in the containers. This season, I have flowers in some and potatoes in others and zucchini and nasturtiums in another. Today, I harvested one of the containers of potatoes and I was thrilled with the harvest.

This is the  potato growing containerRecycled Bin

and this is the container of new potatoes. Spuds pure and simple

They look slightly second class, like their home of the past few months, but we ate most of them for dinner tonight; boiled, with a little salmon on the side. They were bliss. There is nothing more delicious (chocolate excepted) than a new potato more or less straight from garden to plate.

© silkannthreades

Incubating Radishes

Who needs a glass house when you have a cat?

This morning I planted radish seeds in my raised garden bed. The cat sat on the lawn and watched quietly.

Later in the morning, I looked out the window and saw her sleeping, thusly,  on the garden bed, on the patch where I had planted some of the seeds. Ah, a happy cat doing a sterling job incubating the radishes. By the way, in case you are wondering about the egg carton in the box –  no, I don’t plant eggs. I use the cartons for seed trays.

Last week the cat was incubating my freshly planted potatoes. I am sure I will have a bumper harvest of both radishes and potatoes this year thanks to the benign glass house effect of cat.