Wednesday 11 August 2010

a country mouse is nesting

This is the carrot harvest, nurtured and frequently spot-tested by Little R. We had to think of a suitably wonderful use for these very special carrots so we made them into muffins, using a recipe from a book introduced to me by my sister-in-law the cupcake queen: Baking Magic by Kate Shirazi. It's the best baking book I've found, with lots of recipes for muffins and also good basic advice. These were carrot, orange, walnut and cinnamon muffins, minus the cinnamon because I couldn't find it.

We are just back from visiting my brother, sister in law and their little girl in Hull. We had a great time there, hitting the beach at Hornsea, seeing sharks at The Deep and having too many late nights drinking wine as if we did not have to get up the next morning with small children.
I've noticed in recent years that when I get back home after a period away I want to do some intensive nesting, cooking homemade food and ironing everything in sight. It's a reaction to too much eating out when we're away, really, and too much living out of a suitcase. I overdid it a bit yesterday though with the carrot muffins (much washing, chopping and grating), then making blackcurrant jam with the blackcurrants (above) gathered by Little R and Daddy Mouse from the garden, plus chicken pie (below). The overexposed white shape on the bottom right is half an onion. It was a nice easy pie to make - poach the chicken with parsley stalks, carrots (yes, from garden), onion, a bay leaf (from brother's garden) and peppercorns then make a roux and gradually add the reserved stock to make the white sauce. Ready made pastry, of course, then straight into the oven.
And here is my haul from Hull. They have a great Waitrose down there and I know it's tragic, but it's something I really look forward to when I visit. My brother bought these for me, kind boy. I especially love the sunshine yellow mugs. The blue silicone spoon has been in use already, making the blackcurrant jam. That would turn a wooden spoon purple but the silicone one is as good as new. Welcome to the space age, country mouse.


  1. Lovely post. I have never made carrot muffins. Must try soon. Nice mugs too. Bright and happy. x

  2. Wow, those carrot muffins look amazing and those yellow mugs are just gorgeous - must pop into Waitrose when I'm next in Hull. x

  3. I loved that little book - The Life of the Robin! Amazon UK, has it but it won't ship the the states! Anyway, enjoy it. English Robins are so cute, not like the US ones.