To Illustrate: to clarify, explain or describe, through the use of pictures, diagrams or words, a concept or problem.

The concept is food: an amateur's illustration.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Vintage Tea Party Book: Review

Angel Adorre first appeared on our screens a few years ago when she took her business 'The Vintage Patisserie' ( onto Dragon's Den - she managed to  walk out with a dragon on each arm and since then her business has grown. And now she hass published her first book, cum cookbook, cum 'how to be a vintage goddess' and it is utterly fabulous. Each page is beautifully illustrated with beautiful watercolours by the friend and artist Adele Mildred.

The book, is as much a cookbook, than it is a step-by-step guide into hosting your own vintage tea party as recipes are intertwined with style and decor ideas, to create the perfect setting. Readers can learn how to make hand made bunting and commemorative flags, how to style their own hair and make-up, and what parlour games to play when guests arrive.

The book is full of recipes to help you create a bespoke tea party from a bygone era,  from earl grey truffles, too chocolate and hazelnut toasted brioche, too coddled eggs, too green tea and pear cocktails, it has every aspect of a frivolous tea party covered.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Blackberry Picking

by Seamus Heaney

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

What better to way to welcome Autumn, than a blackberry and apple crumble? This recipe is a healthy twist on an apple crumble using freshly picked blackberries, and muesli and nuts for an extra crunchy topping!



1kg cooking apples
400g blackberries
4oz demerara sugar
1 lemon (squeezed)


6oz plain Flour
5oz butter
2oz demerara sugar
3oz muesli  


1. Preheat the oven to 200C
2. Peel, core and chop the apples into small chunks. Squeeze the lemon juice over the apples and mix
3. Place the apples and blackberries in a large ceramic dish and pour the sugar over the fruit. Mix them all together
4. Place the flour in a large bowl and then rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs
5. Add the muesli and the sugar to the mix and combine
6. Spoon the crumble topping evenly over the fruit 
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until the fruit is cooked and bubbling juices seep through the topping
8. Serve with cream or custard.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Cherry and Ricotta Strudel

Making your own Filo pastry can be fun but for convenience and less effort I suggest buying Filo Pastry sheets. My favourite is the french brand Feuilles De Filo which is really easy to use. You can use which ever cheese you prefer. I tried the recipe out using both cheeses and they both worked just as well as each other - but I would say if I had to have a preference I would use ricotta - as a treat!


filo pastry (eight sheets)
melted butter
a handful of flaked almonds

Cherry and Cheese Filling

1 x 250g cream cheese 
1 x 250g Ricotta
55g caster sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp lemon rind
250 g pitted cherries (tinned or fresh)


1.Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line a baking tray with grease proof paper/baking parchment.
2.In a large bowl beat together, the cheese, sugar, juice and rind. Once combined, stir in the pitted cherries and leave to one side.
3.Place the first sheet of Filo pastry on a clean surface and brush with melted butter. Place the next sheet of pastry on top and repeat until you have done all eight sheets.
4.Spoon the cream cheese mixture along a long edge, leaving an 8cm border on three sides. Fold in the ends and roll up to enclose the filling. Place on the prepared tray. 
5.Brush some melted butter onto the rolled strudle and sprinkle with almonds.
6.Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until strudel is golden brown and cooked through.
7.Remove from oven and set aside for 30 minutes to cool to room temperature