Sun-dried* tomato bruschetta (*no sun needed!)

Homemade sun dried tomatoes

Have you ever tried making sun-dried tomatoes at home?  These beauties don’t require days of drying in radiant sunshine; instead, you can while away an afternoon reducing them in the oven to a delicious confit intensity.

Yesterday we had a long, lazy day planned so in the morning I bought a couple of punnets of mixed tomatoes and decided to give slow-roasting a whirl.  It felt like an appropriately Sunday-ish job; low maintenance, and ultimately resulting in good things to eat. I set the oven to 120 degrees and began slicing…

chopped tomatoes

Sundried tomatoes benefit from a few generous glugs of oil, plus whatever herbs you have to hand.   I used basil oil for an added kick of flavour (try adding bay leaves, rosemary, fresh garlic cloves and black pepper for an infusion of the mediterranean, or chili pepper flakes for heat);

over dried tomatoes

Check them every hour or so, and after 3hrs they should be done; in the meantime the house will gently fill with the smells of summer – that, I think, is the best bit.

(Actually no; eating them is the best bit).

I grilled slices of baguette and spread them with goats cheese and a dash of balsamic vinegar before arranging the tomatoes and drizzling with oil.  The only thing to know about these is that you can never stop at just one…

Homemade bruschetta

Any leftover tomatoes will keep in a jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks (top up the oil when you bottle them).

Have a wonderful week!

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Another Place

Neither From Nor Towards

We had an extraordinary adventure last weekend, venturing north to Chester, Liverpool and Yorkshire to visit a couple of places I’ve always wanted to see.

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park covers 500 acres and promises ‘art without walls’; hundreds of astonishing, permanent and rotating works by artists such as Ai Weiwei, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.

Housed in the Chapel amidst the grounds …
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Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter weekend!

I hope that you’re having a lovely one…

Harry’s been cutting out pictures from junk-shop books to decorate Easter bags;

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…Whilst I’ve been harvesting a couple of branches of magnolia to place in a vase in the kitchen, strung with egg decorations (Spring and Easter have collided deliciously in the garden this year; the lawn is …
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Eggshell mini-nests for an Easter table

Mini nests

Are you ready for Easter?  We usually love to have a big feast with friends, and I always think about to make the table look seasonal and different.  This year we’ll have tiny individual nests placed at each setting, shaped around gold-painted egg shells and filled with beautiful little praline eggs (not to be eaten until later!)

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Lost Arts: Collage!

Easter Collage

When I was small, I LOVED scissors.

Perhaps it was the frisson of danger and responsibility of being in charge of a pair of scissors; perhaps it was the clean swoosh of snipping, but whatever it was, I spent a good few years of my childhood just simply Cutting Things Out.  All around the house you could find the evidence of my hobby; newspapers missing …
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Simple projects: tonal painted spoons

DIY Painted Kitchen Spoons

Until last week, we had just one wooden spoon in our kitchen.

Possibly the oldest kitchen item I own, it is a warped and aged thing, of a variety that you find lurking deep in the ‘Kitchenalia’ section of dubious antique stores.  Scarred by age and immune to the vigorous attentions of the dishwasher, it is also so short that every time I …
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The Odd Egg

The Odd Egg

With Easter fast approaching, Harry and I have been busy making an enormous egg.  Heaven knows what bird might have laid this egg, which is just short of 3 foot in length; it is certainly not a bird I would want to stumble across accidentally or whose nest I would want to unwittingly disturb.  Come Easter Sunday, it will hang from a tree …
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Springtime in Five Minutes

Cauliflower centrepiece

I unnerved my family by coming home from the supermarket this morning with two cabbages and a cauliflower.

‘Do I eat those?’ asked Harry, suspiciously.

‘I don’t', said my husband, with absolute conviction.

It’s okay.  They weren’t for eating; instead, filled with a handful of hastily plucked flowers from the garden they make lovely – if transient – centrepieces for the table.  A whisper of Spring, as …
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