Tag Archives: Pete

just thinking…

….Pete is sitting here healthily eating a raw carrot, as I walk in chewing on a Mars Bar.

Now where do I go to learn how to boil an egg?



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Barringtons boiled eggs

Eggs are one of those staple foods that are part of our everyday lives, so naturally our customers wanted us to sell them, and they’re right, I just wanted to find the right source and last week I did.

Barrington Park Estate is set in the heart of the Cotswolds between Burford and Bourton On The Water. In a quiet corner of this estate a small flock of hens range freely, foraging on lush green patures from sunrise to sunset, living a happy organic lifestyle, and as you know happy hens make good eggs, and this is where our eggs come from.

I’m not going to tell you how to boil an egg (Steve i’ll tell you later). But they were lovely with toasted soldiers made with Dragan and Pennys granary bread. Barrington Park Estate free range eggs available at The Town Garden, £2.45 1/2 dozen. 


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feel the pulse

Lentils are low in fat and full of protein, so if you want to give meat a miss, they are a good option.

The other night me and V cooked a lentil and goats cheese recipe that i’d like to share with you.

The cooks holy trinity, naturally has a french name, ‘mirepoix’, it is the basis for most soups, stocks and stews; carrots, onions and celery.

So this is where you begin chopping the ‘mirepoix’ and sweating it in a pan with a little oil, 2 cloves of garlic, thyme, bay leaves and the zest of a lemon. We also added four rashers of streaky bacon, cut into little strips.

Now add 350g of puy lentils, stir briefly and cover with 500ml of chicken stock.

Simmer gently until the lentils are tender, adding more hot water if the lentils look a bit dry.

When done serve onto plates and add a few slices of creamy goats cheese and drizzle with olive oil.

The combinations of flavours and textures make for a very satisfying meal!



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sunday afternoon

Last Sunday me and my girlfriend Vicki went for a brisk walk in the snow around University Parks, it was a lovely scene, the only figures in sight were the snowmen in residence looking like an irregular set of cricket fielders.

It wasn’t too long before we were thinking of heading back to the warm, and some comforting food and a hot drink. A recipe for a double ginger cake came up in the recipe book and we thought as we hadn’t done much baking we’d give it a go.

Firstly we sieved 250g self raising flour into a bowl with 2tsp of ground ginger, 1tsp of bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt.

Put 200g golden syrup, 2tbsp ginger syrup and 125g butter into a small saucepan and warm over a low heat.

Finely dice some stem ginger and add it to the pan with 2tbsp sultanas and 125g of dark muscovado.

Break 2 eggs into a bowl, pour in 240ml milk and beat gently.

Pour your heated butter mixture into the flour stirring smoothly, mix in the milk and eggs until you have a sloppy mixture.

Scoop the mixture into a lined cake tin and bake at 180 for 35 minutes.


Apparently it tastes even better if you leave it to mature for a day or two, but we didn’t get that far, it was delicious and just what we needed with a cup of Emma Beechams smooth No1 cup coffee!



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how many food groups make up the balanced diet?

Pete did the favours and was in the shop early this morning, which gave me some time to have breakfast with Elly and to learn about the foods that make a balanced diet – she’s revising for school.  Not only am I picking up foodie tips from Pete, it’s great that I’m paying more attention to the benefits of great food from my daughter. I’m seriously enjoying re-learning things I’d come to neglect.

However, the time this morning was also an opportunity to walk around the garden and carefully brush off the snow that had accumulated on the plants and shrubs. Although it looks picturesque, the weight of the frozen snow causes a lot of damage and I’m keen not to find the garden devoid of some of my more established plants once the thaw comes.  When is that going to happen anyway?

I wish I had my camera with me as a Winter Jasmine looked stunning with an array of icicles hanging down from it, small box bushes looked as though they were wearing white bobble hats and the coloured dogwood stems contrasted against the blanket of white stuff.

A few years ago I lost an old apple tree which collapsed under the weight of a lot of snow. That alone was bad enough, but the large branches crushed a beautiful Phormium I’d brought up from Cornwall. It’s recovered since, and last summer it was a grand old specimen again – but it was looking very sad this morning.

Probably like most of the country, I’m already dreaming of Spring and warmer weather, but without wishing my life away, it can’t come soon enough. I’m going to spend much more time in the garden this year.

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve let things slip since the shop started, and this coming year I’m going to revisit every border, plant, shrub, the shed, the compost bin – and with Pete’s help, I’m also intending to devote more space to growing vegetables.

So, like an episode of ‘Gardener’s World’, I’ll be updating my progress step by step. I’m looking forward to it…..but at the moment I’m still trying to get my feet warm again.

By the way, Elly tells me there are SEVEN food types that make up a balanced diet. I’m unfit and have a penchant for sausage sandwiches, so who am I to argue.

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winter salad

Here’s a recipe for beetroot, lentil and feta salad, we tried from a sunday supplement.

Beetroot contains natural sugars which are good for keeping up your energy levels and help you plough through the snow.

Firstly you have to wrap your beets in foil and cook them in the oven at 180 for 1-2 hours until you can easily stick a knife in them.

In the meantime put some puy lentils in a pan with chopped celery, thyme and 2 cloves of garlic alongwith 750ml of water and simmer until the lentils are just soft. Then make a vinagrette with red wine vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and pepper, mix with lentils and leave to cool.

Peel the beetroot, slice chunkily and add to the lentils, then crumble and toss together with feta and parsley.


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mission improbable

“Don’t do it” they said, “you’ll freeze” I laughed in their faces. This morning I defied the news reports and the advice of loved ones and walked up the canal path from Jericho to Wolvercote, and back again, in the snow so that our customers could buy bread.

I wouldn’t call myself a hero (i leave that to others) though my jeans were very wet and I slipped twice on the way back, but I do have a passion for local food that drives me to these lengths, and i’ll do it all again tomorrow, on the bus.

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