an english potherb and soft cheese pie, with a little help from yotam ottolenghi

an english potherb and soft cheese pie
On the rare occasions that the sun has graced us with its presence this summer, my thoughts turn to both picnics and packed lunches in the park - food that is easy to transport, which can hang about for a while without any serious deterioration and which, of course, is utterly delicious. ((Is this a kind of multi-tasking?)

One of my absolute favourite things to bring to a picnic, or indeed any party, is spanakopita, a cheese and herb filo pie (or little triangles) from Greece and popular in many forms around the Mediterranean and Middle East.

foxes at play

I realise that foxes can be a bit controversial - love them or hate them. But I defy anyone not to enjoy this!

My particular favourite bit is about 40 seconds in, when the littlest cub loses his footing, plonks to the ground, a bit like Eeyore, and sticks his nose in the air, enjoy the brisk breeze!


a simple pleasure: tomatoes on toast (pan con tomate)

tomatoes on toast (pan con tomate)
Contrary to my family lore, my father Henry did not invent tomatoes-on-toast. But ask any member of the family and you will find that one of their all-abiding memories will be of my father eating tomatoes on toast, tomatoes on crackers, tomatoes on biscuits or sometimes, just on their own. This is a man who has no shame and will quite happily forage in other people's kitchens for a simple snack at all times of the day or night, evidenced by a smear of tomato pips, dried-up nubs of garlic and a trail of crumbs.

where the wild things are . . .

Mrs Fox and her three cubs
The bottom of my garden is where the wild things live. I'd like to tell you that it's because I have created a wild garden to give the local fauna a bit of a feeding playground. In my heart of hearts, I really want to believe that that it might be hiding a few wild fairies too, but the truth is that I don't particularly like manicured gardens and I am something of a lazy gardener. 

flying saucer eggs with grilled vine tomatoes, mushrooms and red chard

Healthy breakfast with grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, red chard and flying saucer eggs
I wanted a substantial breakfast to set me up for the weekend. This one does the job and is surprisingly healthy. Of course it would have been even healthier if I had left out the butter, but mushrooms and butter are a marriage made in heaven and I couldn't resist.

perfect whatever the weather: nigel slater's smoked haddock, potato and bacon

Nigel Slater's smoked haddock, potato and bacon
Why Rachel, when your profile says that you love to cook seasonally, are you posting a dish which screams winter comfort in June? A reasonable question.

Well it is for several reasons, one of which is the bloody English weather. After a weekend away enjoying balmy sunny weather (I even managed to catch a touch of sun), I have returned to London to grey skies and a distinct chill in the air. It feels like 2012 all over again. Bah!

what's in season: june

my father's violas - and they're edible!
Rise up, and do begin the day's adorning;
The Summer dark is but the dawn of day.
The last of sunset fades into the morning,
The morning calls you from the dark away.
The holy mist, the white mist of the morning,
Was wreathing upward on my lonely way.
The way was waiting for your own adorning
That should complete the broad adorned day.

Rise up, and do begin the day's adorning;
The little eastern clouds are dapple grey:
There will be wind among the leaves to-day;
It is the very promise of the morning.
ux Tua Via Mea: your light's my way -
Then do rise up and make it perfect day.
Hilaire Belloc, 1870–1953