Backstage at the Festival

We’re a week away from the start of this year’s Reading Festival. I would say Reading is conflicted rather than divided over the festival. Of course, there are people who just hate it. But most I suspect are like me: it’s a toss-up between the excitement of seeing our town transform for a few days,…

Three fat owls

Meet Blinky, Snowy and Sunshine – three fat crochet owls. Easy to make, ideal beginner project, free pattern.

Store cupboard BBQ sauce

My daughter is cross with me. She asked how I make BBQ sauce and apparently I did not give a satisfactory answer.

Lemon iced tea, UK stylee

I don’t drink fizzy pop but I do love iced tea in hot weather. It’s taken me years though to work out how to make it. The problem is that we don’t traditionally drink a lot of iced tea in the UK, so all the instructions I found were American. And American tea bags are…

Kitchen garden update

This is supposed to be a blog about making things easy, and gardening in the UK has not been easy for anyone this year.

Coconut milk granita

The ice cream van never stops here. It whizzes past, breaking my heart by singing its siren song to the houses behind us.

Gazpacho for cheats

When it’s as hot as it’s been recently, I crave gazpacho. This means confronting a few problems.

We want pockets!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you say “Nice dress!” to a woman wearing a dress with pockets, she must put her hands in them and swing the dress about saying, “Thank you! Look – pockets!” This is the Pocket Frock Law.

Almost instant mackerel pate

I had complaints that my recipe for chicken pie wasn’t easy enough. So here’s one no-one can complain about, and no boring preamble either.

Chicken pie wars

In our house, chicken pie is not just a tasty dinner. It is the site of a complex culinary war over the supremacy of childhood memories.

Glorious Great Dixter

We turned off the road before the sign for Great Dixter for years. But today, we took the other road and found a place of garden magic…