Dyeing with Black Walnuts

Spurred on by all your encouraging comments re: the tester-strip scarf, I have been on a spree of dyeing using those walnuts I told you about. Here is the basket of walnuts that Ruth and I gathered on Tuesday. This is Saint Mary’s Butts in Reading, and if you stand exactly where I was standing […]

Autumn Blisses

Happy Halloween! I know that technically it’s tomorrow, but there is to be a small party over at Ruth’s tonight and since I love Autumn more than any other season – and Halloween more than any other holiday – I thought I’d make a whole weekend of it, starting today. Celebrations require music, so I […]

Saturday Post Part 2

We made sloe gin. After harvesting the sloes I can quite see how Colleen’s son mistook them for Blueberries as they are a superb shade of blue and the bloom on them is quite similar. We used this recipe and I especially enjoyed pouring the sugar in through a makeshift paper funnel. The sound of […]


Mark has some roots in the West Country, having grown up mostly in Devizes with a Cornish mother. I think that a mix of these Western origins plus some very fond teenage memories have given him an interest in Cider. And I have to admit, it’s an interest I’m coming to share. The thing that […]

Wild Yeasts and Wild Bread

The sourdough starter I made many months ago has continued – admirably – to survive through the collapse of my fridge, the rebuilding of my kitchen following a flood, several extended trips away from home and the addition of many different flours. I have read of sourdough cultures living for many years – sometimes decades […]

The Birthday BBQ

In a few days I will turn 30. But since weekdays are rubbish for parties and I’m tied up next weekend with secret adventures, my family gathered in Croydon in my old ‘hood to have the party of all parties yesterday. For some people 30 doesn’t seem to be such a big deal, but for […]

Give a girl a fish…

…she’ll eat for a day. Teach her how to fish and she’ll live forever. Barnacles and mussels: an amazing sound, a tiny fizzing, popping noise as all the miniscule creatures breathe and open. An island off the coast of Pembrokeshire, where baddies undoubtedly live. Spotted from the good ship Jenny B. Roar of boat engine […]

Tropical Weekend in Berkshire

This weekend the views out of my windows have mostly been of grey skies and the swishing sound in the traffic tone tells me the roads are wet with rain so I’ve been busy at home, trying to make sunshine indoors. This has involved burning loads of lemon and maychang oils in the newly hoovered […]

Karen and the schedule of the week

A few weeks ago I interviewed Karen of Karen magazine. It was a real privilege to be able to visit Karen at her home, to meet her partner, her cat and her friends, and to experience the locale in which Karen magazine is so deeply rooted. And it was marvellous to meet Karen herself and […]

The Rubberloaf Bake

One of the hazards of breadmaking is that sometimes you make a really crap loaf of bread. Experimentation inevitably results in a certain level of failure, and I recently made an impressive bread blooper. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Dwarven Loaf of Mordor. It may look innoccent enough in the photo above, […]

Adventures in Sourdough

I made a sourdough starter this week, using this recipe. It started off smelling absolutely disgusting; a bit like cheesy sick. I was really uncertain about this, but I was also feeling very positive about its frothy, bubbly texture. I was optimistic that it would come right in the end, so I read around The […]

Heston’s Feasts: costly & pointless, Discuss.

A small exchange on Twitter with one of my favourite contemporary writers/thinkers has prompted me to write and think a little about Heston’s feasts. I have been watching Heston’s Feasts with a mix of anticipation, intrepidation and curiosity. The episodes so far have gotten me thinking about food, imagination, ingredients, history, grand feasting traditions, the […]

More pretty cakes

The word is out there that I love all things featuring muffins, cakes, buns and biscuits in their design. This fact is now so famous that Liz’s mum – who I have never met – suggested to her when they were shopping somewhere, that I would love this plate. I so totally do. See how […]

The Hippy Pie and The Sweater Curse

Today I have made The Hippy Pie of All Hippy Pies. It is so worthy, so ethnic, so beany and so wholefoodsome that even the most stony-hearted carnivore may be swayed to the vegan way by its earthy brown, splodgy charms. Not that I have any plans on converting anyone, or on giving up sausages […]

Real Pleasures

During the weekend I made my own baked beans. I used borlotti beans rather than haricot. I love borlotti beans; they are meaty and nutty and large and succulent and delicious, and they feel decadent. My method was simple and imprecise: 1. Soak beans and boil in unsalted water until soft and buttery. Put by […]

Messy Wednesdays Sheep biscuits

To celebrate what has been an excellently grounding and sensible Messy Tuesday, I decided to make messy sheep biscuits for my packed lunch tomorrow. Unfortunately this creative spree lasted beyond midnight, making the sheep Messy Wednesdays Sheep rather than Messy Tuesdays Sheep. But I am sure you will think the lack of sleep worthwhile when […]

Cakes and Biscuits

Hurrah for the random Internet with which I am presently blessed. Since I haven’t lost the connection, I am going to write about cakes and biscuits as I have been thinking about them recently. Some of the Things that I moved to this home from my last include a (by now inedible) special-edition cake acquired […]

Cooking with Banana Leaves

Ever since I read the recipe for fish cooked in banana leaves, I was filled with desire. But Banana leaves proved to be A. not very plentiful in the shopping precincts of Berkshire and B. impossible to grow. So I abandoned the mission. Until, that is, I saw the formerly unobtainable leaves glistening with promise […]

Keeping Warm

Lacking the great, roaring, open fires of my dreams to permanently keep me at an agreeable temperature, I have decided to resort to spicy food for inner warmth and to ward off the feeling of coldness that has begun to creep in lately. Luckily Mark has an excellent book of Asian recipes and we have […]

Ginger Cake

This is the recipe for the ginger/squash cake that I made for consumption at the Knitted Vegetable Workshop. Once again, let us note the marvel that is Barbara’s knitted pumpkin! This is adapted from a recipe in my much-used, much-post-it-noted and much-stained copy of Cook Eat Enjoy by Weight Watchers but sadly, due to my […]


How can we have gotten to October (practically) without an in-depth analysis and celebration of The Heston Blumenthal Naples Pizza quest? How can so many amazing meals have been invented and enjoyed over the past few weeks without so much as a mere mention? Lest any time pass between the delicious trout of yesterday evening’s […]


Until I went to Naples I had never been anywhere near live Volcanoes. It was very exciting to experience volcanic landscapes; to listen to the bubbling mud at Solfatara and to hear water steaming out of the hot ground at 150 and 160*C temperatures. I made lots of recordings of the steam at Solfatara but […]


The dyed yarn is all drying off. It has been a very exciting but intensive few days! What a lot of boiling water, rinsing yarn, drying yarn, weighing out mordants, chopping up leaves, cleaning mud and spiders off things and lugging big kettles of water around has been going on! Hats off to Katie for […]


It is extremely strange to be in WordPress but I’m certain that it makes more sense for my blog to be here than over on my much-loved but outgrown ‘knitaluscious’ URL. It is harder for me to figure out the way I want WordPress to look, but I expect there is some way of developing […]

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