Ignore the Lies: Your House is Clean Enough.

“Dust, dirt and stains remain inescapable foes for consumers worldwide” reads the hyperbole in the Nielsen Report on global cleaning trends. They go on to shriek about the “fight against grime” that has become a multi-billion dollar business. Unwinnable, endless, and requiring a vast arsenal of toxins and science. Really? Now, I can imagine in…

Screw the Stores: Unleash the Retro Power of Mending

About six months ago, I started an experiment to see if I could go completely without buying any new clothes for myself, or for my little girl. This was triggered partly by concerns about the dubious ethics of fast fashion, but if I’m honest, mostly by a couple of heart-stopping bank statements. Whatever the reason,…

How to Make Mustard

Making your own mustard is ridiculously easy, and allows you to experiment with a rainbow of wonderful flavours. I’ve started to see a lot of speciality mustards crop up in the stores, but at those prices, you would want to eat them with an ivory spoon, out of a silver pot, not spread them on…

Terrine de Canard

What to do with a duck I really like the idea of buying a whole pig from an organic farmer and processing  it myself, nose to tail. I’d cut and grind and pack joints in salt, my perfectly clean equipment laid  out on a marble slab. I’d stuff my freezer, and have hams drying in…

Hedgerow Jelly

In my opinion, making jam is most rewarding, emotionally and financially, when you are able to source the ingredients either for free, or dirt-cheap. Fortunately, It’s exactly these kinds of ingredients that often make the best jams. While fruits like peaches and apricots often make a rather bland jam, tasting mostly of the sugar you…

Just hangin’ with my homebees.

The sixteenth of July 2016 is a date that I will always remember. It was a day that Mathieu and I got married, AND found out that our family of three was going to get a little bigger! Actually, our family is going to become a LOT bigger. Don’t worry, we haven’t joined a cult,…

Quick and Cheaty Redcurrant Preserve

Redcurrant sauce is a great alternative to cranberry , with the same sweet-tart taste and cheery colour. Best of all, for DIY-ers, the redcurrants are easy to grow at home, and to pick them you don’t need to flood half of Maine, just yank them off the bush, twiggy bits and all. Oh my, are…

Why we make (and forage, and grow)

Image: dpa / picture alliance I can’t be the only one who regularly drives myself to the brink of insanity, trying to make everything I can from scratcthings from scratch that i could easily buy in the store. Battling with a hand-cranked grinder, trying to make my own sausage meat, or developing carpel tunnel syndrome,…

Preserved Antipasti Sott’olio

For a long time, I’ve been looking for a recipe to preserve vegetables, Italian-style, in oil. I found a lot of retro recipe from the fifties explaining how to simply use a water-bath canning method to sterilise peppers and artichokes packed in oil. However, these days we know that using an open-water bath method of…

Simple Guide to Planning a Wedding

Just six weeks until the big day. I thought I’d share my thoughts on how to plan a wedding. Find a spouse. The choice is entirely up to you. The one important thing to remember is: they should not be married to anyone else. Choose a venue. Go to venue and choose a date. They…

How to Make Sausages : Beginner Recipe

Why on earth would anyone want to make their own sausages? Mostly, I think, because we can. For me it falls with bread into the category of the things that we could make easily ourselves at home, but are quite happy to let a factory take the strain for us, to the detriment of the…

Honest Recipes: Exploding Rhubarb Soda

  Cookery writers want you to believe they were born knowing how to cook, that making mayonnaise from scratch was something they picked up in the womb, and they learned hollandaise roughly around the time they learned to walk. Some things took longer, like boning a duck, but they had still mastered cooking to a…