Category Archives: Family

Blackberry Day

Saturday was one of those days I’ll remember for a long time. I spent the day with the OH, my sister and her fella in the countryside, picking blackberries and roaming around looking for water voles. For most people, it was probably nowt special, but for me it contained lots of the little things that make me happy, including sunshine, fresh air, food and family. Here’s a round up of the day in pictures:


Cute little tiny frog!


Blackberry and apple crumble- yummers

I’ll end with a poem written by my sister, Rachel McGladdery

Jelly Babies

We braved the wasps and nettles,

feet fearing the moist scrabble of tiny frogs

and came home


with bags of dripping berries.

Elicited nods from sweet old ladies

and questions of recipes.

Oh I scored points for making jam not pies.

To see my babies lined up

neatly labelled

little bonnets


To see the sun slant through the ruby

and feel that female pride

of storing bounty up for winter,

anticipating spooning scented jelly

on toast on steaming cold mornings

before school

negates the quarrelling,

the carping,

the thorns in fingers

and dresses ruined with purple.

I am,

in some small fragrant way

that kind of mother.



Filed under Baking, Family, Food, Mr Pavlova

Banana and Oatmeal Loaf


I’m back and I’m on a roll. Here’s a scrummy banana and oatmeal cake I made last week from a recipe from Joy the Baker. I used olive oil instead of canola oil, cos I don’t have any, in fact I don’t even know what canola oil is!

Have I mentioned how utterly amazing Joy is before?! Well she is, so go look at her blog. But be sure to come back here too!

Someone else who is stupendously talented is my sister Rachel who has just won her first ever poetry slam. Check out her poetry, she’s ace. Well done Rach!

OK, that’s it for now. I’m going to my first Pampered Chef party tonight, so I’ll let you know how it goes.



Filed under Baking, Family, Food

England vs Algeria aka Lamb Tagine with Flatbreads

Yesterday England played Algeria, so continuing with my World Cup food theme I needed to make an Algerian dish. I decided on lamb tagine, which may be more Moroccan but hey, they’re both in North Africa and I’m sure they eat it in Algeria too. My sister gave me a rough idea of how to make it but I also had a look online for a few recipes as I’d never made it before. I didn’t find any recipes which I fancied so I used this one as a guide but changed it quite a bit to my liking. I love courgettes so that was used as my main veg, I also put in dried apricots as advised by my big sis, and I’m glad I did as they were so yummy, they just melt in your mouth when they’re cooked. Here’s the recipe:

Olive oil

3 courgettes, chopped

5 garlic cloves, crushed

1 onion, diced

Some fresh ginger, grated

3tsp ground cinnamon

3tsp ground cumin

Salt and pepper

Some lamb (I bought a half shoulder, removed the fat and cut it into chunks)

2 tbsp tomato puree

3 tins chopped tomatoes

3-4 tbsp honey

Some dried apricots

Some raisins

As usual, I didn’t weigh/count everything (I ain’t counting raisins for nobody, sorry) so here’s a pic to give you a rough idea of quantities, if you’re the picky type.

First I fried the onions, ginger, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper in olive oil for a few mins, then added the meat for a few more mins. Then I put this, plus all the remaining ingredients in a casserole dish. I then added a bit of boiling water to the pan used for the onions etc as the spices had stuck to the bottom. Using a wooden spoon, I loosed the spices and added this liquid to the casserole dish. I then put the lid on and put it into an oven (preheated to 160 C) for about 2 hours. For the last hour, I removed the lid, as advised by Rachel Allen.

To go with this I made flatbreads, again an idea my sister gave me. For this, I thought I’d better follow a recipe so I used this one. I was surprised how easy they are to make and quick. Next time, I might try putting cheese on them or make flatbread pizza. Everything tastes better with cheese. Mmm.

The food was great, the tagine was lovely and sweet (maybe a little too sweet, a bit less honey next time) and there’s enough for tonight’s tea, and maybe even tomorrow’s. So overall, the meal was a great success, shame I can’t say the same about the football 😦


Filed under Baking, Family, Food, Mr Pavlova, Recipes

The Other Half Cooks, Plus Word Soup

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. No, I wasn’t stranded somewhere hot and tropical, unable to get back due to Paddy Ashcloud (OH’s invention, not mine) but I have been busy. So what have I been up to?

Well, last night I attended my first Word Soup, where my ever so talented sister, Rachel was performing. It was good, I was worried it would be a bit too highbrow for me but I enjoyed it. And it’s got me writing again – I woke up at about 6.45 this morning ’cause I had to scribble a poem down.

Saturday was spent with my friends. We ‘lunched’ and then went to see my friend’s new house. It was lovely – I’m so jealous. Subsequently, I’ve been giving our flat a mini makeover, but more about that later this week.

While I was out on Saturday, the OH took my absence as an opportunity to embrace his inner Heston Blumen’eck and try out a recipe from his new cookbook. Here’s what he’s been cooking up over the last few days:

Jamie Oliver’s Crunchy Garlic Chicken

I hate to be negative but this was OK, but not great. It’s not really OH’s fault though, we didn’t have fresh parsley so he used dried n I think that’s why it didn’t taste right. He also made a french dressing to go with the salad, which was good.

Classic Tomato Spaghetti

OH chose the tuna variation, using a tin of tuna, cinnamon and lemon juice. He missed out the olives as we don’t like them. This was one of the nicest meals I’ve ever had. We eat a lot of tuna pasta bake ’cause it’s cheap and easy but I think this is going to replace it. The chilli (we used powder rather than fresh chillies, works fine) and cinnamon taste really good with the tuna, even though I was dubious about the combination when reading the recipe. The OH was really pleased, so hopefully he’s going to carry on with this cooking malarkey.

Anyway, that’s it for now, except for a quick herb update as I know that’s what you were all waiting for…   🙂


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Filed under Baking, Family, Food, Mr Pavlova, Recipes

Apple Traybake with added Bits and Bobs

I’ve got a mish mash of things for you today. First is a cake I made a month or so back – an apple traybake. The recipe can be found here. If, like me you love a good cup of tea, this is a great cake to accompany a cuppa. Or if you prefer, you can eat it with custard as a warm pud, which is what OH likes to do. I used Bramley apples as recommended by mother and they worked a treat. Very simple tasty grub.

At the weekend I bought these. I’m not that keen on basil (I prefer oregano in my tomato sauces) and I’m not really sure what to do with chives but anyway, I look forward to trying them out when they eventually sprout. Hopefully I can manage to keep them alive that long.

Please ignore my dirty windows!

Finally, our shiny new Jamie Oliver cookbook arrived today and this time it wasn’t me who ordered it. The other half saw it in a shop at the weekend and decided to order it because he would like to try out some of the recipes. Yes, HE would like to cook. I might turn him into a foodie yet!

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Filed under Baking, Family, Food, Mr Pavlova, Recipes, Uncategorized

Spaghetti Bolognese

Happy Easter Sunday!

Yesterday the other half was out most of the day watching the local football team and drinking copious amounts of beer. Meanwhile, I spent the day reading the latest Olive magazine (food porn), doing housework and of course cooking. I really need to revisit my feminist handbook don’t I? Never mind.

As I was cooking for one, I decided to make spag bol, freezing the leftovers. You might think it’s odd to feature a dish as simple as spaghetti bolognese on a food blog but as a child it was my favourite meal and even now, it’s definitely up there as one of my all time faves. My mum used to make spag bol a lot but it still felt like a treat every time she did. I remember the strange smell of the parmesan shaker and the fiddliness of eating the spaghetti, usually resulting in me getting bolognese sauce everywhere. It was also the first recipe I was taught by my mum.

I’m not going to post a recipe, mainly because I don’t follow one, but also because there’s nowt special about my version. I just wanted to share with you a meal that takes me back to my childhood, and not just because I still need a bib when eating it. 🙂

Please leave me a comment and let me know what food takes you back to years gone by.


Filed under Easter, Family, Food

Garstang, Glitter and the Ungrateful Ducks

Does anyone else take a while to get used to the clocks changing? I do. Anyway, I had a lovely weekend. I spent Saturday in Garstang where I visited my big sis Rachel who was being a good egg helping out at the school’s Easter Fayre.

While we were there we went to feed the ducks on the canal but they must have had a large breakfast ’cause they weren’t interested at all. Either that, or they didn’t fancy the cheapo no frills bread on offer.  We gave up in the end – we’ll be sure to take finest granary next time!

I also found a lovely little cake shop and bought some edible glitter which I’d been searching for. Obviously Sunday was spent baking and decorating fairy cakes so I could try out the new glitter. Here’s the results. I’ve used the glitter on top of cream cheese icing – very tasty.

I promise I do occasionally eat savoury food. In fact, my first ever loaf of bread is in the oven as I type. I’ll let you know how it goes later in the week. Hope to see you then. x

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Filed under Baking, Family, Food