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Baked figs and mascarpone

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

We had 6 slightly over-ripe figs. We cut off the 'stalk' end and then cut the figs in half, before arranging them in a buttered dish. Next, they were sprinkled with demerara sugar and baked them in for gas mark 6 for 15 minutes. The original recipe said to sprinkle extra sugar on top and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes but we tasted the juice which had run off and it was sweet enough on its own, so we simply basted the figs with the juice before returning them to the oven for the final 5 minutes.

For the topping we stirred some vanilla essence into a few tablespoons of mascarpone.

Baked Figs with Mascarpone
The photo might not look terribly appetising but the figs and mascarpone were delicious. The combination of flavour, sweetness and creaminess was almost perfect.

Home Grown Chillies

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

Earlier in the year I bought a 'mexican garden' seed kit from the Woolworths closing down sale. I never managed to get the oregano to germinate but I have several tomato and chilli plants. Most of the chillies and tomatoes are still green and unripe but we have had 5 small red tomatoes (not enough for a pizza sauce) and one red chilli so far.

I finely chopped one of the chillies and sprinkled it onto one of tonights pizzas. The other toppings were: red pesto, salmon, red onion and cheese. It was a very tasty pizza.

The chillies were fairly strong when I tasted one on its own, but there was a slightly unripe or possibly just a raw flavour. By the time they had cooked on the pizza they were fine.

Red Chilli

There are many more green chillies on the plant so hopefully we will have a good supply for the autumn.

South Wales

Story location: Home / Blog / Hamsters /

We drive a long way to attend some hamster shows. Today we were at Radyr, near Cardiff. It seems wrong to drive so far then spend the whole day cooped up in a church hall. I decided to visit Caerphilly Castle.

Caerphilly Castle

After lunch, Emma joined me to visit the open air museum at St. Fagins. A lot of old buildings had been moved to the site. There were boards describing the buildings and giving their history.

Inside an old barn
Inside the old tannery building.

Iron age hut
Most of the buildings were genuinely old but the 'Celtic Huts' were modern reconstructions.

Recycling Bins

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /

I wish the Council would hurry up and delivers our recycling bin soon. We have seen the new blue lidded bins being delivered to other parts of the city but they haven't been delivered to our neighbourhood yet. The bins are able to take almost anything: plastic bottles, paper, card, glass and cans. We already recycle these but at the moment it means we have to take everything to various places. Supermarkets let us recycle paper and glass. Plastic is readily recycled just over the border in Warwickshire. It will be so much easier when we can do all that from our doorstep.

We will probably be among the last people to receive the new bins because our area is traditionally poor at recycling. Very few people put the paper recycling boxes out. The %$*@s who stole ours stopped us from doing that. If everyone had the new bins then it would make it easier for them to recycle.

Areas like ours should have been the first to receive the bins - it might encourage people to recycle. So Coventry City Council, please hurry up and deliver our bin. We have 3 bags of plastic and cans, 1 box of paper and 1 box of glass all ready to be recycled.

R.I.P Keith Floyd

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

Last night I watched a programme called Keith meets Keith, where Keith Allen went in search of TV chef Keith Floyd, who was responsible for turning food programmes into entertainment rather than dull dry tutorials. He enjoyed drinking as much as cooking and usually had a glass of wine in one hand during the programmes.

This morning I was saddened to read that he had died last night. I had been a fan of his books and TV programmes for many years. Whenever I had a glass of wine while cooking, I would call it 'having a Floyd'.


Story location: Home / Blog /

We went to the London Champs animal show at Reading and I took some time out to walk along the river, towards the town centre.


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Watering the Quail

Story location: Home / Blog / quail /

I was in the garden watering the vegetables when I saw something round and brown hiding among the beans. I looked closer and noticed it was one of our quail. She must have escaped while they were being fed and neither myself nor Emma noticed. At least the bird had the sense to hide somewhere reasonably safe. She would only have been there a day or two and at least there was plenty of food nearby.

Charity Bags

Story location: Home / Blog /

We seem to get a lot of charity clothes collection bags pushed through the letter box in our current house. We must get one every week or two. This is more than I remember getting anywhere else and must be way higher than the national average. I'm sure I used to get one every few months at previous addresses.

Most of the time they are from the same few charities. I don't know how often they expect us to change our wardrobe but even if we bought everything at Primark and threw all our clothes out every few months, we still wouldn't get through enough to fill a fraction of the bags we get.

The bags give a date (or more often just a day of the week) when they are going to be collected. If you don't put any clothes in then the charities say they would like the empty bags back. After a while I stopped bothering to put them back outside and started to keep them for bin bags. Returning the bags only seemed to encourage them to give us more, rather than signal to them that we don't have any clothes to give away.

How to spoil my morning

Story location: Home / Blog /

Two things happened today which put a bit of a dampener on my morning:

1) The Comics.com website is still down. I like to get my daily fix of the Pearls Before Swine comic but the site has been down for a couple of days with no explanation.

2) Terry Wogan has announced that he is stepping down from the Radio 2 Breakfast Show at the end of the year. I don't get chance to listen to the programme very often but I get the weekly podcast which has most of the readers letters and funny stories. The worst part of the news is that Chris Evans will be taking over. I make no secret of that fact that I don't like Chris Evans. He is someone who appears to be his own biggest fan. The phrase If he was made of chocolate he'd eat himself sums him up well.

Cosmo Restaurant

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

The restaurant opened in the city centre a few weeks ago but we didn't get around to going until today. The '2 eat for the price of one' offer had ended but it only costs £6.50 to eat at lunchtime which is still good value.

The food is billed as 'pan asian' and it is fairly varied. In addition to the expected (sesame toast, crispy seaweed, various curries) there was also something called 'mongolian lamb'. This appeared to chunks of tender slow-cooked lamb in a sauce which resembled hoisin.

The dessert section featured assorted 'mousse with leaves', such as a lime mousse with cream, a blackberry and a sprig of parsley. This reminded me of the jam tart with parsley I had at Wing Wah. I would have taken a photo of it but there were various signs up in the restaurant insisting that cameras were banned. This seems to be a strange move - if you are on a night out with friends, it is fairly common to take a couple of photos. People might not be happy if they are told they can't take photos.

The food was good and varied. The prices are good. The 'no photography' rule seems a bit strange.