Recipe | Venison pasties

Its raining……nothing.

Skiing, when snowfall has been, poor gets rather tricky. Beach holidays without the sun are pretty miserable. Camping in torrential rain is not much fun ( well actually camping in any weather is not my idea of fun) and fishing weeks without water are impossible.   So when I headed up to the beats on the river Findhorn ( this is a technical term for parts of the river you fish and not a highlands music festival in case you wondered) it was somewhat alarming it had not rained in a while and none was imminently due.

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Recipe | Kind of revithada with chicken

A roast by any other name…

As expected my latest job was a total fast, furious and fun weekend. Having flown across the Irish sea ( I will never be persuaded to travel on it) I headed down to county Carlow.  I was to cook for a mass clan gathering to celebrate their chiefs 70th birthday.   As soon as I entered the house I could tell this crowd was ready to party. Thoughtful touches of welcome packs for the guests sat waiting in each of the bedrooms, giant balloons floated around downstairs, bright banners had been strung up, big bunches of daffodils had been placed on every ledge, there were enough candles to light up the entire country and a bottle or two of wine sat ready waiting to be opened.

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Recipe | Cheese fondue

Round and round the garden….

I really wanted to call this post ‘the naked chef ‘ but there was a strong possibility of it slipping straight into your spam box or me having plagiarism issues with Mr Oliver.   So for an easier life I have settled with ‘round and round the garden’ for reasons which I shall explain later.


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Recipe | Christmas Champagne Cocktail

Jingle Belles

Armed with my lists, menus, timings, recipes, dietary requirement sheets and suitcase of red aprons I was totally ready for this job. Five days of feasting and festivities for 20 people heading to the ice blue skies and rustic, rural, rolling landscape of South west France.   I was prepared for the fast and furious few days I knew it was going to be but the one big problem was… there was no one there to pick me out from Toulouse airport.

I rang the number of the contact I was given and was told by a grumpy French man that I had the wrong one. Texting base to enquire a bit more about who I was looking out for I was told he was very French, medium height, suave looking and around 50. Looking around arrivals there were about twenty men who fitted this description (worse case scenario I guess I could have gone round them all to see if they were waiting for a chef sent to cook Christmas dinner but I deduced this probably wasn’t wise).

“There are about 20 of those !” I texted back.

“….. he is afraid of cows, you could try mooing ?”

“mmmm… I think not…” maybe I will start asking.

Spared at the eleventh hour by a text with his exact location with suitcase in tow  I speedily wheeled my way to meet him. First part of the mission accomplished we now had to go and do the big shop. He cheerfully told me that he had never had to shop in his life before and under no circumstance was I to tell his wife about what I was about to make him do.


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Recipe | Garlic, garlic and Pheasant casserole

Phestive Pheasant Phun…

“Welcome to Scotland, Its -6 °C”! the cheerful staff at Enterprise car hire chirped.

I think if they had looked closely at my 5 layers, hat, gloves, fur lined boots, hunched shoulders and hopping around moves, they would have been well aware that I had totally sussed that part of the situation out.

Winning top prize for the most polite and helpful car hire location ever they helped me gather my luggage which included suitcase, aprons, knives and half a butchers shop, chip through the ice cube in which my car was apparently hiding, triple checked I had everything I needed and knew where I was off to then practically waved me off with off with marching bands and a ticker tape parade. I glanced in the mirror as I slipped through the exit barrier to witness the dabbing of wet eyes and the Enterprise team dishing out moral boosting hugs (OK that last bit I actually imagined but they were just SO unbelievably nice). Heart and mood well warmed I headed northwards to Perthshire to cook for a weekend that promised to be filled with fun, pheasants and frivolity.


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Recipe | Pumpkin pie

A pumpkin pie is for life…not just thanksgiving.

Defra and the City of London Pollution control team, are currently analysing some mysterious anomalies in their data for the end of November. With readings off the charts and new territories reached on the Decibel scale I hear they are truly puzzled.
Well… I will fess up. It was us!
Thanksgiving celebrations, west London area, a bajillion children and a lot of excited American ex pats celebrating their grand federal holiday. It was my first one and I loved it!

For those of you who have never celebrated thanksgiving think levels of Christmas preparation, planning and excitement just without the carols and presents.


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