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a weekend spent being a daring baker has had two results.

one is not so good - my poor pizza stone is no more. the other result will be revealed tomorrow…

see you then!


supermarkets have made our lives better?

Last weekend I read an interesting article by Jay Rayner, a food critic and commentator, about how, in his opinion, “supermarkets have made our lives better.”

This is an unfashionable viewpoint with many people who consider themselves committed foodies - they will refuse to step into a supermarket and if they do it’s always with a hint of shame and despair at having been caught out by the system.

However, for many people supermarkets are the best (and occasionally only) option. The range of products is broad and tailored to the local community, prices are affordable and the time that needs to be spent on shopping can be managed better with a single location/online ordering.

Having said that, there are many concerns about the power that supermarkets wield. As Jay says, “We know that massive supermarkets have been squeezing producers for years, slicing margins which, in turn, has had a knock-on effect on the quality of produce. The excesses of industrial food production in the country are a direct result of the buying policies of the supermarkets.”

These are important issues which need addressing. Here in the UK there was some hope that the Competition Commission which has just reported after a two-year investigation into whether supermarkets abuse their market position, drive small rivals out of business or abuse their suppliers. The recommendations seem to lack teeth and significant change is unlikely.

This means, as ever, it’s important that we all take the time to think about the issues associated with the industry which puts food in front of us. We need to make informed choices and take responsibility for the system, whether it’s small-scale and homespun or national and industrial, that we support.

What are the key issues for you and what choices do you make? join the debate at the daily tiffin, a blog that helps people have a healthy family lifestyle, and which to which i am a regular contributor.


taste & create: adobo sa gata


another month, another taste and create. arranged by nicole from for the love of food, who pairs up bloggers who then cook a recipe from each other’s blog.

this month i’ve been matched with gay, a scientist in the kitchen who lives in the philippines. obviously this meant i had to choose a recipe for filipino food from her blog!

there was lots to choose from but when she described adobo as “the most popular dish from the philippines … considered a national dish” i knew i’d found my recipe. adobo sa gata, which is a version of adobo that uses chicken and coconut milk, to be precise.

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star anise and ginger poached pears


we’ve been eating quite a lot of asian dishes recently, inspired by chinese new year and my new found passion for jiaozi. on workday weekday nights a single course of something hot and steaming is all we tend to have time for but when it’s the weekend and friends are visiting a more leisurely approach is called for, which means pudding!

trying to some up with a light option wasn’t easy until i pushed aside my cookbooks and decided to create something myself. the two bottles of ginger wine sitting in the cupboard, were the starting point. add some star anise, cinnamon and a chilli kick and this recipe for chinese-spiced poached pears was born.

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raspberry and chocolate meringue stack


meringue is a favourite of mine and whenever i’m cooking for friends i often consider whether or not a i can squeeze a meringue pudding into the menu. eton mess is a particular favourite and i now have something that i can use when the soft fruits of summer are not available.

this meringue stack was inspired by a nigella lawson recipe although she uses a chocolate crème patisserie filling and sprinkles her stack with shards of pistachio. my version is definitely not a healthier option but it less time-consuming, relying on a filling of double cream whipped with a bought chocolate sauce.

and what a chocolate sauce – i used napa valley belgian chocolate sauce with cabernet sauvignon, a gift from a well-travelled friend. the alcoholic kick added an additional touch of decadence making this the perfect dinner party dessert.

hopefully it is also perfect for foodie chickie ani's event in honour of her passion for nigella lawson. it’s not a nigella recipe but i think it fits perfectly with her philosophy of decadence and short cuts where practicable!

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