Project Food Blog

Holiday highlights from a foodie perspective

What a foodie summer it's been. Whether at home or abroad, we've both been lucky enough to experience many new culinary joys this month. Good food to me is synonymous with so much - time spent in an unhurried fashion with family and friends, passing on my passion and sharing new experienced with my daughters, meeting chefs and food producers who are passionate about their craft and constantly strive to create sustainable quality. Here are four of my personal favourite foodie moments of the past month:

Ancient Egyptian feast for 16 in Ibiza
Researching and creating ancient Egyptian cakes with my 7-year-old, Jasmine, who chose the theme for our annual Ibiza villa's fancy dress party this year. She's crazy about Egypt and learned so much as we poured through text books seeing what they would have eaten. We finally settled on a dried fruit, honey and nut concoction, only to remember that one of our villa party had a severe nut allergy. Luckily, we improvised, and the resulting cakes really made the feast (have to hold my hand up here and confess that the other dishes had a certain amount of poetic licence - well, when you're asked to create fresh fish from the Nile, what would you do…?)

€30 10-course gourmet feast in SW France
Ah, our time in Miradoux, home to some of my dearest friends and most-loved foods! On our last night, we took our lovely hosts to the restaurant in Gramont, home to an exceptional cookery school and an exceptional chef. For €30 a head and €10 for the children, we feasted on excellent food in unimaginably huge quantities, including a raspberry Champagne cocktail, plenty of foie gras, and all wines and coffees.

First ever family sushi experience
A great new restaurant, Toyko Joe has just opened round the corner, and we tried our first sushi takeaway once back from our holidays to keep that vacation spirit alive. Watching my four-year old try her first bite of ebi sushi, nod vigorously and say "That's really nice" filled my heart with joy. Next stop - sushi making at home, we've got the mat and all the ingredients.

Wild sea bass and samphire
It had been a frantic week and we were on our last legs. The obvious choice would have been to go out for a meal. Instead, I thought we'd try and relax over a bit of husband-and-wife cooking. We headed to the excellent fishmongers in Chelsea Green and that night feasted on a wild sea bass (caught that morning) and buttered samphire, which we served with a few Jersey Royals. Travelling the world and eating the delights of each area is fantastic, but nothing can beat a best-quality, locally-sourced, simply cooked supper - the memory of that dinner eaten in our back garden will linger long after my tan fades.

Breakfast of Champions

I seem to be surrounded with friends who are running marathons, half marathons or enduring other craziness such as coasteering...

As a pre- adrenaline or endurance breakfast, try these little drop scones which are as light as a feather and take moments to make. Using wholemeal flour instead of refined white flour, they are also a  healthier and more sustaining version of the traditional drop scone, or scotch pancake, and are equally good with sweet or savoury accompaniments. (Replace Golden Syrup with Agave Nectar... far better for you and even more delicious... even the kids think so!)

 For less active people try them with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for a special and STILL not too naughty, nutritious weekend brunch treat.

Easter Eggs Benedict

There is nothing more lovely than sitting in the garden on a warm day, with great friends, kids playing, a couple of bottles of Fizz on the go, and a plate full of Eggs Benedict. This dish has to be my all time favourite breakfast, I don't have it often, but boy do I enjoy it when I do. This morning was no exception. A fantastic opening gambit for Easter, which will be spent between friends' houses, in a whirl of good food and good company.
Our blog this year has been punctuated,sadly, by a few, what I can only term, 'Big' Life events, yet every time I sit at my computer (still the useless, dodgy battery, no memory laptop...although this is all set to change VERY soon) to write, I feel so fulfilled, as I am recollecting special times.
There are a few close friends at the moment who are in recovery (from illness, they are not alcoholics!) and so we will both be looking into more wholesome ways to enjoy food and drink, as well, of course, as the occasional indulgence. I haven't quite gone to the extreme of buying my kids carrots for Easter rather than chocolate, but there is a first time for everything! Happy Easter everyone.

St Patricks Day Fadge (potato scones) - gluten free

My husband's half Irish, so our daughters are quarter Irish, and although we don't celebrate St Patrick's Day at home, I've offered to go into Jasmine's Year Two class and do a cookery demonstration. One of her friends cannot tolerate gluten, hence this recipe being gluten free.

If you ever need to do a cookery demo to 30 kids, with minimal equipment, in a state primary school with no kitchen (yes really), but one small oven in the staffroom, here is it! Happy St Patrick's Day.

Ingredients for fadge cakes

1/2 pound mashed potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 oz gluten free flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 medium egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional)

Extra gluten-free flour blend for rolling dough

Extra olive oil to brush tops before baking


1. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper cut to the size of the try

In a mixing bowl blend mashed potatoes, olive oil and egg.

3. Measure and blend the flour and baking powder in a bowl.

4. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Turn fadge dough out onto a lightly gluten-free floured cutting board. Roll or press the fadge dough with hands to 1/2-inch thickness.

Use a round biscuit cutter to shape the fadge cakes or cut them with a knife in any shape you like. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Brush with olive oil OR melted butter and bake in preheated oven at 200/400 for 20 minutes. Turn and bake for a further 5 mins.

Serve warm spread with Irish butter and a pot of strong tea.

Norberto de Freitas Stubbs' Day Goes Pie

Since I joined Facebook a couple of years ago, I have been back in touch with old friends whose paths probably would not have crossed again with mine, and for that reason, Mark Zuckerberg, I thank you.
In my twenties, I was lucky enough to be involved in the exciting Hardcore punk music scene... it was a great time, full of youthful optimism and self expression..... I had a vintage clothes shop selling all sorts of eccentric attire, eat your heart out Lily Allen we was there first!!
Anyway, when I hit my mid twenties,I had to grow up, get a job, pay off debts, and look after my daughter....
Fast forward more years than I care to count, and here I am swapping pie recipes with the very wonderful Mr Frankie Stubbs, of Leatherface infamy. It tickles me, as one of their songs was (and still is!) entitled 'Not a Day Goes By' to which I always used to sing 'Not a Day Goes Pie...' (different spelling of Day Goes, which at the time I found funny, but not at all PC so we're not going to go there...)
So here we are, Mr. Stubbs' Day Goes Pie recipe, ENJOY!

Onwards and Upwards

Our blogposts have been a little sporadic this year; a culmination of a brand new business venture (Kath), an impending divorce (me), and other time and energy sapping things such as working very hard (both of us), and making ourselves make time for our friends and family (both of us.) Something had to give.....So the blogging became the casualty, for a little while at least.
To top this off, the final straw for me was my ex taking the pc; no hard feelings, he needed it; but I was left with a clonky old laptop which had been forgotten in some dusty box in the loft until very recently....
We'd been invited to guest blog for another site, and I'm afraid we (I ) may have (definitely) over stretched our committments....
Sorry Ape to Gentleman, we hope you will be Gents and forgive us... (Didn't really feel the love on Valentines' Day this year, hope you understand? x)
Anyway, Spring is here, and it's National Pie Week this week. I have my trusty (crappy) HP laptop, there's gorgeous produce coming into season, time to get back in the saddle.... in more ways then one I hope....
And if the worst comes to the worst, I can always make kebabs and cook them à la Microsoft!

New Year Superfood Salad - warm and delicious

Even though my head's saying 'carry on with the wine and chocolates at every opportunity', it has to be said that my body's crying out for entirely different substances after the excesses of Christmas. And this warm, zingy, springy winter salad has proved a really satisfying January stalwart.

I'd never tried curly kale in a salad before, but after cutting it into small pieces and lightly steaming it, I tossed it in a little sesame oil and white balsamic vinegar. I then added:

chopped beetroot (again slightly warm, as I'd just finished boiling up and keeping a batch to keep in the fridge)
chopped feta
chopped plum tomatoes

I've continued with these base ingredients and have also added any of these that happen to be around in the storecupboard or fridge:

capers or caperberries
fresh anchovies
chopped hard boiled egg
flaked hot smoked salmon

My aim this month is not to deprive myself or starve my body, but to get maximum nutrition from every meal by eating unprocessed, quality ingredients. Followed, of course, by some decent quality chocolate - a storecupboard essential as far as I'm concerned!