What a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning, catching up with a good friend and testing out a cute coffee shop in the village.
I walk past Woburn Coffee House every time I walk into the village and every time the selection cute vintage tea cups and cake stands in the window draw my attention. I’ve wanted to go in there for ages now, so when I arrange to meet up with my lovely friend Amanda for morning coffee, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to check it out.
It was beautiful inside, so many pretty things for us to look at as well as the gorgeous looking cakes. We ordered a cream tea, coffee and a croque monsieur. The food was as beautiful as the place and all freshly made and really tasted. We were made very welcome by the friendly, chatty staff… so glad we chose to go there.
The perfect Saturday morning.
Here’s a little collection of some of my favourite shots from this week.
The photographic word challenge this fortnight was the word tears. As usual with these challenges, I like to push myself further by always shooting the word as self portrait. With this portrait I wanted to evoke emotion and represent tears without actually showing any.
With the money I made on eBay last month, I decided to update my portfolio, as my last portfolio was designed in 2007. My previous portfolios have all been printed books and this time I wanted something a little bit different, something that I could be easily adapted to suit the viewer. I decided on a little book of postcards covering all areas of my photography – food, lifestyle, portraits and personal work.
I used the company Moo, I’ve used them before for their mini business cards which are super cute and you can have up to 100 different images on them.
I selected my top 60 images for the postcards and I got my lovely friend Ellie, who’s a fabulous graphic designer to design the back are of cards for me.
They arrived last week and I’m so pleased with them, the great thing is when I have new work to add, I can just get them printed and add them to the collection or I can take any out if I decided I don’t like them anymore.
I just need to get a nice box to keep them in.
There nothing better than having chilli on a Monday night… comfort food after a long day at work and best of all if you make it on Sunday you just have to come home and heat it up.
I have been developing the recipe for years, changing and adding things and I finally think I’ve got it just right.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 large clove garlic, crushed
8 mushrooms, quartered
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin kidney beans in chilli sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp oregano
Half tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp Worcester sauce
Salt & Pepper
Heat the oil in a large pan, slowly fry the onions until brown, add the carrots and cook for 3 mins. Add the peppers and garlic cook for 5 mins. Add mushrooms and cook for a further 4 mins.
Add the tin tomatoes, kidney beans with sauce and all the other remaining ingredients, mix well and let it simmer for about 25 mins until the sauce is nice and thick.
Serve with rice or on top of a jacket sweet potato.
This Sunday I decided to be a domestic Goddess and bake a cake… this doesn’t happen often so it feels very special when I do, I decided to make the Primrose Bakery carrot cake. It’s really enjoyable and easy cake to make and feels like such an achievement once it goes in the oven. Making it, also made me realise I need more large mixing bowls and a food processor – as I use a lot of grated carrots in my cooking but grating by hand not only makes my arm ache and I always think I’m going to grate my fingers but the little grated bits seem to cover me and the kitchen in the process!
450g grated carrots
4 large free range eggs
260g golden caster sugar
240ml corn oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp fresh orange zest
240g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
2 tsp cinnamon, plus more for dusting
Butter, for greasing tins
Grease and line 2x20cm round cake tins and line a muffin tray with 6 cupcake cases. Preheat oven to gas mark 5.
Combine the carrots and raisins in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In another bowl beat the eggs and sugar with and electric mixer for several minutes.
Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon into a mixing bowl then slowly add these ingredients to the egg and sugar mix., beating well after each addition. Mix in the carrots and raisins with a wooden spoon.
Fill each cake tin two-thirds full and use the leftover mixture to fill the muffin cases. Bake for 35 mins, until golden brown. Let the cakes cool in there tins for at least 10 mins, then turn out onto wire racks. When completely cool, spread icing on the top on one of the cakes then carefully place the other on top and ice the top of that one. Dust with cinnamon.
Cream Cheese Icing
90g cream cheese, at room temperature
225g icing sugar
65g butter, at room temperature
Zest from 1 orange
Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mash and mix with a fork until combined, then beat well with an electric mixer until smooth and pale.
On Thursday a cookbook that I have been waiting for, for what feels like forever arrived. I decided to save it until the weekend before sitting down to look though it so I could really enjoy it… it was so worth the wait.
It’s absolutely beautiful. The food styling really inspirational to me, it’s very true and natural, nothing ever feels over styled and there’s usually lots of salt and herbs scattered messily on and about the dish, which is a huge trend in food photography at the moment. I love the props she uses and the prop styling, lovely old vintage used looking plates, ultensils, fabrics napkins and surfaces. The book itself is also designed by Katie, who worked at a graphic designer before moving into food photography and that’s gorgeous too. All the pages are unique with lots of sticky tape and stitching, textured paper backgrounds and old typewriter and other fun fonts, with makes it feel a little like a homemade recipe book complete with cooking stains.
I’m really happy to have it as part of my cookbook collection.
Spent the afternoon looking around the Japanese Koi Company in Henlow. Not only do they have the largest Koi I’ve ever seen, but they also have lots of other tropical fish, birds, reptiles, bunnies, ferrets and even hairless guinea pigs, which I’m still not sure if I like or not.
As promised the recipe for my Bombay Potatoes.
12 new potatoes, halved
Half an onion, diced
3 small garlic cloves, peeled but keep whole
20g butter (1cm slice of a block)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp mango chutney
Half tsp smoked paprika
Half tsp turmeric
2 tbsp olive oil
Half tsp dried rosemary
Half tsp dried coriander
Boil the new potatoes until soft, drain and set aside.
In a saucepan melt the butter then slowly fry the onions and mustard seed until the onions soften and start to brown.
Add the potatoes and the garlics and the mango chutney put the lid on the pan and cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, smoked paprika, turmeric and cook uncovered for 5 mins.
With a potato masher squash the potatoes slightly then add olive oil, dried rosemary and dried coriander, stir and cook for another 3-4 mins, then you’re done.
Tonight I decided as I’m home alone that I would cook a curry, Bombay potatoes, dhal and chili tomatoes.
When I cook for myself I’m so much more relaxed, I’ll experiment without a care because after all it’s only me who’ll be eating it, however tonight I wish that James had been here to try my Bombay Potatoes… they were amazing. I couldn’t even save him any, because even though I was stuffed and had made a large portion I ate them all! I didn’t really keep track of what I was adding as I cooked, I was just having fun, so as I ate them I grab a pen and paper and tried to recall everything, because I have to have these again. I’ll type it up and share it with you tomorrow.