Thursday, 14 August 2014

So much more than results.

Raven and her Dad. 

I am so proud of my daughter Raven . She once said to me that she had no room in her life for racism, homophobia and sexism.
She is non-judgmental. She thinks about other people’s point of view and cares deeply about her friends. I believe she is a good friend.

As a daughter she has taught me that I am not always as open minded as I think I am. She constantly checks me when I am being a little old and judgmental. Like many other young people Raven has battled with issues like self-harm, panic attacks, and low self-esteem. She has found her way though it by working hard with C.A.H.M.S and attending  counseling meetings. She has learned how to look at herself and care for herself and at the same time gained a deeper insight and empathy for others.  

I am so proud of her because she alone could make the decision whether to have surgery for scoliosis on her back. She made the decision at 14 had the surgery at 16 and recovered well.

I am proud of Raven and in awe of her when I think of the way that she has dealt with tragedy,especially visiting her father in hospital, two years ago today. She saw him just before he died from cirrhosis of the liver.

 I love how she keeps a tin in her room that still smells of his stale tobacco and how she kept the £10.00 cheque that he sent her once for her birthday. She didn't cash it because she knew he wouldn’t have the money. I love her long legs because that remind me of her very tall father.

I am so thankful for our child. I love her beautiful hands and her long fingers. The fingers that we call guitar players fingers, even though she never learned to play a guitar.

I love it when she reads me her stories and poems and reads me parts of the books she is reading.
I love when we watch a drama on TV together and drink tea .
I am so proud of the way Raven and her friends joined together recently to support each other and try to cope with the tragic death of a much loved  friend. I am proud of what she has done so far in the world and who she has become. I hope she always manages to keep her beautiful open mind and her big kind heart.  
 Today was A.S and A level results day and yes I am proud that Raven did well. But my daughter and all  of our children are so much more than their school results.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

You wont find me with the Cowboys at the "Coffee Saloon" anymore!

My kitchen at Canford Cliffs has officially closed. 
The saloon took a previously unexpected turn. It is going for expansion.They want to open at least another five saloons and with that in mind they  have decided to out- source the food. The food will be coming from Naz at My Food. Naz already has a fully equipped kitchen at the Nuffeild estates. There was an option that I could perhaps work evenings   preparing food for the Saloon but I am not much of an evening person. 
As a breakfast- brunch cook I like to get up early and start the coffee. I also really like to have a chance to talk to the customers. 

So I am back home in Parkstone, with my pots and pan's cookbooks and shakers. 
I just wanted to say I had fun working with the goat team. I have loved meeting new customers in my four months at The Saloon, and I have also been so flattered with the loyalty of old customers who have followed me from from place to place,some from as far back as Las- Margaritas days. 

  Here are  a few pictures of some of  the food that we served at the saloon. 

Gado- Gado Wap
Bahn Mi with Pork
Sourdough Toast, Goats Cheese, Honey comb and Flowers.   
                                         Pastrami sauerkraut and cheese

August  is a great month to be out of the kitchen and I really do intend to take full advantage of it. The last time I had the summer off Raven was six. 
At the end of august I will be cooking with Sarah Peters from Travels with my aunt 

For the next little while Instead of being full of vegetable and dairy orders my diary is going to be filled with new things.  When the summer is over I will decide what i will do next. In the mean time if anyone wants to meet for brunch or lunch I am free for the rest of the summer.   

Monday, 3 March 2014

Gluten Free Pancake Day

Why do we eat Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday? 
Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent.

The recipes for pancakes in this posting both give up something.
Serve them for breakfast or for a snack for later in the day. They will definitely satisfy a sweet tooth without having to raid the biscuit tin.

Banana Bread Pancakes with Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce
(Giving up The Dairy, and the wheat)

175 gr doves farm wheat free flour/ 3 tbs ground almond /1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice/1/2 tsp nutmeg/3 mashed bananas/ 100ml water or milk substitute 

Mix the first five dry ingredients in a bowl. In a second bowl mash the bananas.
Mix into the dry ingredients add the water and the vinegar and let sit for five minutes.
Coat  a non stick pan with a little oil or coconut oil.
Add 3 pancakes and slice a few bananas into each one.
Turn when lightly browned on bottom
Serve topped with chopped nuts and Salted Caramel Sauce 

Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce recipe here

Skinny Pancakes with Orange or Lemon and Coconut sugar. 
(Giving up the Dairy, the wheat, white refined sugar and the calories.) Paleo

There are recipes for these amazing "Paleo Pancakes" all over the internet. The most shocking thing about them is how simple they are to make and how good they taste.
Mash 1 banana with two free range eggs and mix it up. Imagine you are making scrambled eggs
with banana. I like to add a small cap of vanilla into the mix. The mixture will be quite thin.
Melt a little coconut oil in to a pan add a small ladle of the mix and cook gently for a couple of minutes on
each side. Serve with a squeeze of orange or lemon and coconut sugar.      




Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Five Days On The Childrens Ward

There is a fold down parent bed beside each child's bed in Ward G3 in Southampton Hospital. Ward G3 Children's Orthopedics in Southampton is where I spent five days last week.

My daughter Raven had elective surgery on her back. Raven had Idiopathic Scoliosis, which basically means a curved spine. She had a five hour operation that with the help of metal rods straightened her spine. 

For me it was nine days without work. Nine days not cooking for anyone. Sitting beside my daughter's bed I had plenty of time for reflection.It was sixteen years one month and twenty seven days since Raven was a brand new baby. She was born in Poole hospital. I remembered the overwhelming  feeling of love I had for this small person I had just met.
Now here we were again in a hospital. Raven so much longer and taller and what adventures we have already had together. Sitting beside her It seemed as if  only moments had passed since she was born. Nothing has changed except that I love her more and feel just as vulnerable and powerless when I cant stop things from hurting her.

 I learned that Doctors are absolutely amazing, and clever, and brilliant, and almost magical in the things that they can do, but Nurses have something else indeed. Something incredibly special, the kindness, compassion, warmth, and empathy that was shown to my daughter amazed me. Lou, Hattie, Rachel, and Nicki are just a few of the nurses that work for the NHS in ward G3  in Southampton. For five days they were Raven's nurses. They are people we will remember for a long time.

The doctors fixed Ravens back, but it was these amazing nurses that were there to administer pain relief and medication.They observed, comforted, re-assured, and ultimately start the journey of healing my daughter.

 I learned that we are all stronger than we know.Sleeping on a pull out bed on a floor in the dark listening to machines beep, in a ward full of children that are ill and in pain, makes you count your blessings, over and over and over again. Especially when you know your own child will be well soon.

I was reminded of how important my daughters tribe or peers were to us. One by one they arrived by train and bus to come and sit by her side. When they were there she laughed so much more and seemed more herself. I  also appreciated the hugs and the kindness they gave me as I picked them up from reception.

 I was reminded of how lovely it is to have my daughter crying about normal things. On Friday morning she started  crying about not being able to see her boyfriend until Monday. It was only a  few nights before she had been waking at night crying in pain and  I had been  powerless to do anything but hold her hand. 

 I learned how important morphine is and what a difference it makes to pain relief. It made my heart break to think of the children in Syria and other countries without access to pain relief and kindness.

It is  now ten days after the Operation, we have just been to see the nurse at our local G.P surgery. Raven  had her dressing and sterile-strips removed the wound is healing well. My daughter was able to walk the 15 minute walk to the doctors and back. What a miracle modern medicine is and  how lucky we are to have assess to it.

 Thank you Thank you  Southampton General Hospital  and  Thank you N.H.S.  

Sunday, 1 September 2013

#My 99p Summer Challenge

This summer it feels like I have been feeding the five hundred,Raven my fifteen year old has been home for eight weeks along with a menagerie of her friend's It's been quite shocking how fast a few teenagers can empty a fridge.

Luckily I was sent £10.00 in vouchers to spend in the 99p shop and a challenge to spend it creatively and blog about it. On my first trip I bought a pack of O2 cookies, twenty mini flower pots and a tin of coconut milk.

I started by making the O2 cookie soil

All you have to do is split the cookies apart with a knife, scrape out the centre and then blend the cookies in a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, you can put them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

I blended the coconut milk with banana's. Since it was an experiment I added a tsp of vanilla and some frozen blueberries to half the mix. To  the other half I added rosewater and blueberries. I put them in the freezer for a couple of hours and then carefully removed them from the pot,then I rolled half of them in the O2 soil and left the other half plain. I wanted some of them to be a healthier option.  
A couple of hours later they were perfect ! 



1 pack of O2 cookies makes a big jar of soil it's also perfect on French Toast, Pancakes,or in Smoothies  


On my second visit to the 99p shop I bought some nut-city chocolate spread. A loaf of white bread,A pack of grow your own beets with mini-propagator, a blue enamel-camping bowl, a pack of Alpen breakfast bars a tin of chestnuts and some Opi nail polish. Plenty more 99p adventures to come

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

                  Tea and Cake In a Heatwave 



I Cook brunch five days a week, so it can be hard to find the inspiration to cook on my days off,especially in the middle of a heatwave.
Yesterday instead of turning my cooker on, I turned on my food processor and cooked in my freezer. I have wanted to try this Blueberry Bannana Strawberry Pie for ages. It's vegan It's raw and it's cold. Teamed up with some home made Earl Grey Iced tea, it makes a perfect afternoon treat. 
Blueberry Pie just out of the freezer

I already had a big stash of blueberries in my freezer because I hoard them. Growing up in Canada, where blueberries are cheap, has turned me into the kind of person that buys all the marked down blueberries from the supermarket and freezes them until I have enough to make pie.  

It needs to melt a little 
 The recipe came  from one of my  favourite blogs. Emily Von Euw  lives in Vancouver British Columbia and her raw food is  utterly beautiful.ttp://

 Her photography is so  pretty. She can even inspire my 15 year old daughter to create. Like my daughter, she does seem to have a sweet tooth. This is probably why  her raw cakes and sweet goods are works of art. 

I  have adapted Emily's recipe a little. Because last week In a fit of declutter and sort out my lifeness, I threw out the spring form tins. I have used silicone muffin tins instead. 
I did not have two cups of cashew nuts so I used assorted nuts, cashews, almonds and hazelnuts. If you want to try her recipe or make your own version go here.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Kale Salad 

I feel like this is my discovery but sadly it isn't. I discovered Kale Salad a couple of months ago, Oliver  Perron from @Boxedvegtvlasked me to come up with a Supper-Club style menu with a high content of  seasonal veg. I needed to find something that used Calvo Nero. This is when I came across this amazing recipe for kale salad. 

The recipe I used comes from a really innovative food truck in Boston called
I have only ever been there by browsing online. The week I discovered the recipe the much revered Yotam Ottlenghi was in Boston and tried the salad, he loved it.  

Things I love about Kale salad.

  • You don't have to cook it! Just like the fish in ceviche cooks in lime juice, kale changes to an amazing soft texture when it marinates in lemon and olive oil 
  • Kale is Truly Madly Deeply good for you.
  • Kale Salad takes hardly any work. It's more like flower arranging than cooking.
  • Put it in a screw top jar carry it in your handbag and eat it on a park bench and it will bring you joy. 

For the recipe for my favorite Kale Salad go here. I love how it is written in Haiku.  by the way evo means extra virgin olive oil

To have a little look at the food I cooked for boxed vegtv.