Monthly Archives: November 2012

Chicken, Pumpkin & Borlotti Stew

Unfortunately there’s been a distinct lack of blogging action of late and way too many nasty germs floating around at Chez Foti. Viruses, bugs and colds a plenty but I’m keeping everything crossed the family’s all better by the end of the weekend. Even Dotty the pup was rushed to the emergency vets with a life threatening tick bite. Yes really!. Without the hefty injection and drugs he gave her she wouldn’t have made it much more than another 12 hours apparently. Luckily I myself have managed to escape the worst of all this sickness, bar the usual night nurse sleep deprivation and requirement to watch round the clock CBeebies anyway.

This was our first stew of the winter. A gloriously warming, boldly flavoured and slightly sticky stew of Chicken, Pumpkin and Borlotti Beans. The ingredients are loosely based on a Leon recipe I made a few times last year, but I’ve chopped and changed everything around quite a bit from the original here. The kids both loved it, and as Jacques’s going through a particularly fussy stage these days I was delighted that he devoured his bowl. Flavoured with plenty of rosemary, red wine vinegar, a little chilli, garlic and honey, what’s not to like?

Move over Ratatouille!

My official wee taste tester, move over Ratatouille!

I used my homegrown borlotti for the first time in the stew and was very happy with the results. Whilst the yield from the plants was more than a little disappointing the small harvest I have will allow for three or four more hearty family meals over the winter. I think I’m going to give them another whirl next year, even for the gorgeous pods alone:

My ever-so-pretty Borlotti Beans, when fresh the pods look like the beautiful one on the right, when dried out and ready to pick like the one on the left

Try to marinade the chicken the night before, or at least a few hours, to boost the wonderful flavours. I served it for the kids with mash as they love their mash, and for us with couscous. The latter being a little hit and miss with the littlies these days and thus unworthy of the rejection risk!.

If you don’t have any flavoursome pumpkin it can happily be substituted with a tasty squash.

I’m entering this blog to November’s Lavender and Lovage‘s Herbs on Saturday recipe challenge, this month hosted by Jen at Blue Kitchen Bakes.

herbsonsaturday

Chicken, Pumpkin & Borlotti Stew

Chicken, Pumpkin & Borlotti Stew

Toddlers & Young Children, Bigger Kids, Family Dinners, Just Grown Ups

Serves 4

For the Marinade:

2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

a tablespoon of wholegrain mustard

a tablespoon of honey

a tablespoon of olive oil

a heaped tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves

a fresh red chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced (less for kids or those adverse, if they don’t like a little heat)

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

a generous pinch of black pepper

4 free range chicken thighs, skin removed

For the Stew:

a large onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

500g of flavoursome pumpkin or squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into chunks

400g can of chopped tomatoes

400g can of borlotti beans, drained, or 125g of soaked and pre-cooked dried beans

500ml of chicken stock

Place all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and combine, then thoroughly rub into the chicken thighs. Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Once marinated remove the chicken from the bowl and set aside the lovely marinade which you’ll use later. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large casserole or heavy based pan. Fry the chicken until golden on all sides, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion to the same pan. Fry for 5 minutes before adding the carrots and pumpkin. Continue to cook for a further 5 minutes before throwing in the rest of the marinade, chicken thighs, chopped tomatoes, borlotti beans and stock.

Give everything a good stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to slowly simmer for an hour. Et voila, one big pot of healthy loveliness!. Taste and season to suit and serve.

You might also like:

Chicken & Apricot Tagine: Boeuf en Daube

Chicken & Apricot Tagine with CouscousBeef in Daube recipe


Pumpkin, Cheese & Red Onion Muffins

I’m baking more and more with my littlies these days which is wonderful. At the ages of 2 and 4 they really enjoy getting involved at all stages. Every wednesday, as there’s no school on Wednesdays here in France, we bake at least one thing together, usually some sort of muffin, cake or biscuit. They love doing all the stirring, whisking, dolloping, sprinkling, decorating. Then obviously the scoffing.

We’ve made these muffins many a Wednesday baking session lately and I’ve only just realised they’ve yet to be blogged. So easy peasy to make, especially for little hands that like to do stirring, and pretty healthy to boot with all that deliciously sweet roasted pumpkin and red onion. I’m sure they must count as at least one of your five a day? If you or your kids are cheese fiends (like all of us!) then savoury muffins are the way to go, great for snacks, lunches and lunch boxes, picnics and even tea time treats. Fresh out of the oven is best, but they still hold their own cold.

Unusually for me I made large muffins this time round, I usually prefer to make smaller mini sized ones in fairy cake cases. It’s up to you. As for the cheese, I used about half Cheddar and half Parmesan in this batch but you could use all Cheddar or all Parmesan equally as successfully. You can happily substitute the pumpkin for butternut.

Cheesy Grins for Cheesy Muffins!

Pumpkin, Cheese & Red Onion Muffins

Makes 12 large muffins or 24 small mini-muffins

500g of pumpkin or butternut squash, skin and seeds removed

a large red onion

a tablespoon of sunflower oil

275g of plain flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

½ a teaspoon of English mustard powder

salt & pepper

85g butter

2 free range medium sized eggs

200ml of milk

100g of grated Mature Cheddar or Parmesan or a mixture of the two

Special Equipment: Cake or Muffin Trays, Cake or Muffin Cases

Preheat your oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6.

Start with roasting off your pumpkin. Cut into large chunks and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until pretty soft and cooked through, turning once or twice during the cooking time. Once roasted place in a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Set aside cool a little. This part could always been done before when you happen to be using the oven for something else. Over the pumpkin season I tend to always have some pre-roasted pumpkin in the fridge to be used in cakes, muffins, pasta dishes or soups.

While the pumpkin’s roasting, finely slice the red onion. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for 10 to 15 minutes until softened.

Sift the flour, baking powder and mustard powder into a large bowl. Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper.

Melt the butter and allow to cool a little. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, then whisk or stir in the milk. Once the butter’s cooled a little whisk into the eggs and milk.

Attention littlies, lots of stirring action now required!. Throw the wet mixture into the dry and stir, stir, stir. Once combined chuck in the roasted and mashed pumpkin, red onion and ⅔ of the cheese.

Dollop the mixture into cake or muffin cases in cake or muffin trays. It’s about a dessertspoon of the raw mixture for a fairy cake sized mini-muffin or a heaped tablespoon for a large muffin. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tops.

Bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes for mini-muffins or 40 to 50 minutes for normal full sized. They’re ready when they’re golden on the top, firm to touch and an inserted cake skewer or fork comes out crumb free.

Remove from the trays and cool on a cooling rack. Particularly lovely eaten warm, and if you want to be exceptionally naughty, ahem, break in half and smear in butter.

You might also like:

Super-Fruity Banana Mini Muffins     

Pumpkin Carbonara

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake                          

Cheese, Ham & Sweetcorn Muffins


Roasted Wild Mushroom Pizza

There’s been a good deal of wild mushroom foraging recently at Chez Foti. Magnificent Parasol Mushrooms have been popping up literally all over our garden the last couple of weeks and I’ve been on a bit of a picking and eating frenzy. I wasn’t too sure what they were at first but after consultation with two sets of very knowledgeable neighbours and my trusty mushroom book I was pretty excited to find they were exceptionally good to eat!. And in fact some of the finest mushrooms I’ve ever tasted. We also have ceps and chanterelles growing in our garden, but there’s been very few this year (and neither in my opinion have been as good as the Parasols).

And so there’s been no end of wonderful freebie wild mushroom dinners lately at Chez Foti. Mushroom bruschetta, tarts, pizzas and risottos a plenty. Times like this make living here pretty special, when you really can eat off the land.

Parasol Mushroom

I make a lot of pizzas as at Chez Foti. Mainly because we have an original wood-fired bread oven in the lounge of our house which bakes amazing pizzas throughout the colder months (it’s too hot to light up most of the summer). But this pizza was actually baked in my new oven, testing out it’s pizza baking capabilities. And I wasn’t disappointed, it did the wonderful foraged mushrooms the justice they deserve.

I’ve been experimenting lately with tomato-less bases or ‘white’ pizzas, well since the tomatoes finished anyway (although it seems I have half a freezer of tomato sauce to use up!) . The ricotta, lemon zest, chili and parsley base on this pizza complements the heavenly rich roasted garlic and thyme wild mushrooms. Incidentally don’t skip on the pre-roasting of the mushrooms; roasting gives them a much stronger, richer and somehow more meaty texture and flavour. Truly divine.

If you can’t forage or buy your own wild mushrooms choose some interesting shop bought ones, big or small. Ideally anything but the boring and bland button mushies anyway!.

Jacques looking pretty happy with our find

I’m entering this blog to a couple of bloggie challenges. Firstly, as there’s a fair flavouring of herbs, to the lovely Herbs on Saturday challenge, the baby of Karen @ Lavender & Lovage, and this month hosted by Blue Kitchen Bakes.

And secondly to Simple and in Season, held by Ren Behan of the fabulous Fabulicious Food blog!

Roasted Wild Mushroom Pizza

Serves 1 – 2 (depending on your appetite for pizza!)

One quantity of pizza dough (I usually stick to a Jamie Oliver recipe, using part semolina flour when I can get it)

175g of wild or interesting shop bought mushrooms, wiped but not washed

2 tablespoons of olive oil

20g of butter

a few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half

salt & freshly ground black pepper

120g of ricotta

zest of ½ a lemon, plus a little juice

½ a red chili (or a whole one if you prefer), seeds removed and finely sliced

a heaped tablespoon of finely chopped flat leaved parsley

a heaped tablespoon of finely grated parmesan

extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil to finish

Pre-heat your oven to 200ºC.

Start by roasting off your mushrooms. Tear or cut the mushrooms into large bite size pieces. Combine in a small baking dish with the olive oil, butter, thyme, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, giving everything a good move around half way through.

Meanwhile prepare the ricotta base. Mix together the ricotta, lemon zest, chili, parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Once the mushrooms have roasted remove the garlic from the pan and finely slice. Add the garlic back to the mushrooms. Turn the oven temperature up to the hottest it will go and put your pizza stone or baking tray in to heat up.

Now for the pizza. Roll out your pizza dough to your desired size and thickness. I personally prefer mine very thin. Place on your hot pizza stone or baking tray.

Spread the ricotta evenly over the base. Scatter on the mushrooms and sliced garlic and sprinkle over the grated parmesan. Finally give the pizza a squeeze of lemon and a generous drizzling of some very good extra virgin olive oil OR if you’re lucky enough to have any (I’m not!) I’m pretty sure truffle oil would be sublime.

Place in your extremely hot oven and cook until crisp and golden. This could be anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes! Our woodfired bread/pizza oven usually takes less than 5 minutes.

Lots of lovely Parasols

Master J having a good look through Mummy’s Mushroom Book!

October in the Garden

Once again another late round-up!. October’s been a very busy month for harvesting but not much else. With the exception of the brassicas it has to be said the patch is looking rather sorry for itself these days. There’s been a lot of ends and not too many beginnings.

The tommies have finally ALL been harvested. After all the hard work they gave me over the summer I was on the whole pleased to see an end, but also just a little bit sad. I stripped all the plants just before the first frosts at the end of the month, collecting a few final baskets to work on. I managing to make some lovely bottles of Homemade Tomato Ketchup, my 3rd batch of The Garden of Eating’s Tomato & Chilli Jam  and with all the leftover green tommies quite a number of jars of Green Tomato Chutney.

The borlotties have also finished (the last remaining fresh ones have been made into a fab Borlotti, Chicken & Pumpkin Stew that I shall be blogging shortly, the earlier dried ones I’m saving for colder veggie-less days), as have the french beans (though there’s countless bags in the freezer) and calabrese.  The basil died at the first frosts, just before I had time to pick and make batches of pesto, damn!. Luckily all the other herbs are boldly braving the harsh weather we’re suddenly having. The aubergines have pretty much stopped and the last have been made into Parmigiana (recipe also soon, I’m so behind!) and a lovely Comforting Moussaka thanks to a recipe from Rachel of the Well Worn Whisk blog. There’s also a few stray peppers and chillies but they’re not going to hold out much longer.

The last of our Aubergines

I collected up the last of our pumpkins and squash at the end of the month, as you can see there’s quite an assortment and a good deal of ripening required! The greenies are now languishing in our warm lounge hoping to turn a little more orange. Luckily I still have a hefty supply of fully ripe beasts that should see us through the winter with Pumpkin Soups!. Incidentally I’m carrying on my October Pumpkin Veg of the Month into November as I’m so behind on blogging all my pumpkiny recipes.

The last of our Pumpkins & Squash

As I said the brassicas are fairing pretty well, though somehow have become a bit of jumble. Another mix up with the seedlings. Ahem. We may just have a few brussel sprouts soon (though they didn’t fare well in the summer heat) and the cabbages are ready for picking. It’s also looking like the little bit of Purple Sprouting Broccoli that took may be coming good soon too. Fingers crossed, it’s one of my favourite veggies.

The Brassicas, the only bit of healthy green on the plot!

As for the wild fruit that’s all sadly now finished now that we’ve come into the colds of November, but was pretty prolific in October. We had greengages or mirabelles galore (I’m still not too convinced as to what exactly they were since everyone had a differing opinion, other than delicious of course and now Jam). Plus a huge abundance of pears, a few apples, blackberries, slows and elderberries and figs a plenty picked from neighbouring land. Most of which went into chutney, including my own Hedgerow Chutney.  And the figs have been wonderful in The Garden Deli’s Fig Jam.

Here’s what we’re currently eating from the Patch:
Aubergines
Cabbages
Carrots
Chilies
Herbs: Chives, Thyme, Rosemary, Mint,  Sage, Parsley, Coriander, Tarragon, Oregano
Lettuces
Parsnips
Peppers
Potatoes
Spring Onions
Swiss Chard
 
And what’s stored: 
Red Onions
Shallots
Pumpkins
Squash
Green Beans (freezer)
Tomatoes, Tomatoes and More Tomatoes! (freezer and in lots of jars!)
Plums, pears, greengages, figs (freezer)

Now that’s about it for the October round-up.  I really must get out there and plant some more spinach and my over-wintering broad beans and garlic. It’s been a long while since anything new’s been sowed and as usual I’m falling way behind. C’est la vie!

Louisa

Jacques caterpillar watching on my Cauliflower (I think!) plants, like most little boys he loves his bugs

 

The Cooker!

Finally it’s arrived. After all that moaning with having to live with our worse than dire ‘temporary’ cooker (that we bought from the previous owners for 50 quid) we FINALLY have our all singing and all dancing (well it better be) Falcon Dual Fuel Range Cooker! Well it has been two whole years without a decent oven, which is an awful long time for someone who likes to bake.

And it’s temporarily in situ in our temporary kitchen! We were planning on waiting to purchase the cooker once we’d finished the open plan kitchen/dining room/lounge in the barn at the back of the house, but seeing as it’s barely started in nearly two years we decided to go for it now. I should point out it’s not that we’ve been lazy, it’s just that other things have taken priority. Namely bathrooms, bedrooms, floors, walls, plumbing, electrics, insulating, not to mention tending the 18 acres of land we have and the huge potager. And there’s been the dogs, chickens and two very small children to look after, whilst also getting to grips with living in another country and all the various admin and language issues.

And so we’ve decided to make our temporary kitchen a little less temporary; work tops and more cupboards have been bought and one day soon Mr F may just crack into action and we’ll have a more ordinary and fully functioning kitchen. One that I may just be able to show you! And we’ll all start to feel a little less like we’re camping. Who knows we might even get a dishwasher too in 2013!. Just incase you’re interested, this is what I’ve been using for the last two years, now where’s that sledgehammer?!:

Admittedly the gas oven did actually work to an extent and I could bake quite a few things (as you’ll see from the blog), but was incapable of mastering anything delicate or with precision. And almost everything burnt it’s bum. Baking was always a risky and wasteful business.

So you can see why I’m now overjoyed!  In the last two years I’ve been compiling a list in my head of all the goodies I’ll bake once I get a new cooker, and here it is, in no particular order as they say:

1) Biscuits and Cookies, and LOTS of them! I’m pleased to say it’s already very successfully tried out Lavender & Lovage’s Melting Moments, a real blast from the past for me as I reckon I must have made thousands of these when I was a wee gal with my Granny and Aunty Marjorie!

2) Madeleines

3) Brownies, first batch baked in the new oven this morning with no burnt bums! Nigella’s Choccie Brownies

4) Big Savoury Pies, I’m thinking Chicken & Leek and Steak & Ale, should make Mr F a very happy man!

5) Fruit & Almond Tarts

6) Meringues, I’m desperate to try out my homemade Chestnut Jam sandwiched with cream in Meringue.

7) Homemade Breads, and definitely Focaccia soon (though in truth we do have a bread oven I could use). Pizza was trialled last night with exceptional results, a fabulous Autumn Pizza from the Garden Deli blog (not the first time I’ve made it!), and my own Roasted Wild Mushroom Pizza, recipe coming shortly!

8) Sunday Roasts, I’ve really missed cooking big joints of meat and was very loathe to buy them for fear of The Oven going into destroy mode. Chickens were just about ok, as was anything pot roasted on the hob. I’m particularly excited about pork & crackling, well who wouldn’t be?

9) Slow Roasted Pulled Pork, I seem to have come across an umpteen of recipes lately and I’m desperate to make my own

10) Yorkshire Puddings, need I say more? Other than Toad in the Hole too.

11) Big Celebration Cakes, a very risky business for the last two years, though Jacques’ Chocolate Birthday Cake remarkably turned out fine this year, as did any cakes with a large vegetable content!. If I get the time this month I’ll definitely be entering Tea Time Treats which so happens to be Celebration Cakes this month, how perfect!

12) Tarte Tatin, I’ve never made one and can’t wait!

13) Scones, by special request from Mr F

14) And last but not least I’d love to finally try my hand at Macaroons

And that’s most definitely not all. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am right now to finally have a cooker! Happy days.

Happy Baking Everyone!

Louisa


Hedgerow Chutney

As followers on Twitter and FB probably well know I’ve been up to more than a spot of preserving of late. It’s my latest addiction, as if I need any more of those. My Dad’s the King of Jams, Chutneys and Pickles and I have a feeling he’s passed his enthusiastic genes for it on to me!. Which is great, but time consuming. Many an evening has been spent peeling, dicing, de-stoning, chopping, stirring, testing, sterilising and jarring. And then obviously the tasting. And all the crackers, bread and cheese to go with it!. I rarely get to bed much before midnight on my chutneying nights. And to be honest my cupboards are now fit to bursting with so many goodies, but at least I have christmas presents totally nailed this year.

My Dad’s been making Hedgerow Chutney for years, and it happens to be everyone’s favourite of all his chutney recipes (and he makes quite a number!). Each autumn he takes a long walk around the field at the back of his house in Herefordshire picking all the freebie hedgerow goodies he can find and transforms them into this marvellously fruitful chutney. There’s always plenty of damsons, bullaces, sloes, blackberries and a few elderberries. Plus pears or apples for smoothing and bulking out. We don’t have quite the same fruit in our hedgerows in France but I thought I’d make my own French version picking the fruit from our garden and nearby tracks and lanes, managing to find plenty of figs, greengages, plums, pears, blackberries and sloes just before the season finished a couple of weeks ago. We’ve elderberries here too but they were way past their best by the time I got into full chutney mode.

The lovely sloes

My little sloe picker!

There’s no escaping how time consuming and labourious chutney making can be, especially when using so much fruit that needs hefty preparatory work. I realise now why it’s a hobby generally taken up by retired folk. But the results are so worth it, if you can spare it set aside a whole evening in the kitchen and wile away the hours getting lost in music or the radio or even catching up on a few programmes on You Tube.

Every year my Dad’s Hedgerow Chutney is slightly different depending on which fruits have been particularly fruitful that year so feel free to use in whatever quantities you happen to find, but go easy on too many woody elderberries (which are particularly fiddly anyway).

Particularly fabulous with goats cheese, but to be honest it’s pretty good with any cheese or cold cut really. Bread or crackers, or to liven up a sandwich. Or just as a spread on it’s own.

Hedgerow Chutney

Makes 8 to 12 jars (depending obviously on the size of your jars!)

3 kilos of prepared hedgerow fruit, washed and de-stoned

a kilo of apples or pears, peeled, cored and finely chopped

a kilo of onions, finely diced

150g of fresh ginger, grated

1300g of demerera sugar

800ml of malt or cider vinegar (I use cider as I can’t source malt vinegar in France)

a teaspoon of salt

Special Equipment: A very large pan, 8 to 12 sterilised jars and lids

Start with prepping all your fruit. If using elderberries and/or sloes boil them in a pan with a little water for 10 minutes to soften a little before passing through a sieve to remove the skin and pips. Remove the stones from all other stoned fruit (bullaces, damsons,  plums or greengages) and cut to an equal size. Smaller fruit can be just chopped in two, but larger plums should be diced some more.

Peel the apples and pears, core and finely dice. Dice any other fruit you’re using. Blackberries may be left whole. Finally dice the onions (I actually cheated with the onions and briefly pulsed them in my food processor to save on a little time).

Place all the fruit and onion in a large pan, preferably a jam pan or maslin. I actually use a very large stock pot for all my jams and chutneys. Pour in the vinegar and sugar together with the grated ginger and salt.

Place on the hob on a high heat and bring everything to a simmer. Cook fairly furiously for at least an hour, stirring very regularly so nothing catches on the bottom. The chutney should be considerably thickened and the surplus liquid evaporated. You should be able to cross a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan and see the bottom.

Ladle into sterilised jars and screw the lids on immediately. Leave to mature for at least 2 months (if you can resist!).

You might also like:

Cinnamon & Greengage or Plum Jam

Homemade Tomato Ketchup

One of our old pear trees


Happy First Blogiversary To Me!

A whole year, where’s it gone? But then I’m always thinking that these days. People told me that as soon as you have kids life speeds up. And they’re not wrong. So it’s been a year since I started my foodie blogging and nearly two years since the Family Foti arrived in France. Life’s certainly whizzing by.

I’d been hoping to mark my Blogiversary with a special celebratory cake baked in my new oven but as the oven hasn’t actually arrived yet I can’t manage that one (2 days delivery time turned into 21 days and now ‘within 45 days’, that’s France for you). So we’ll celebrate with cake when it finally arrives. But for now I’m offering my thoughts on blogging one year on and my Top 5 posts of the year.

I LOVE blogging and the longer I blog the more addictive I’m finding it. It gives me a creative space that I don’t have elsewhere in my life these days. Somewhere that’s all mine, a little bolt hole for the mind and soul if that makes sense. And when you have two very small children I think a little escapism is really important!. I love my private blogging time, and if I could find the time each and every day I would.

I’ve met lots of lovely people through blogging, tweeting and facebooking. People I would never normally have come into contact with. And next year I’m going to make every effort to get out there and meet some of them for real, with the aim of getting to at least one blog event. My eye’s very definitely on Food Blogger Connect, but would welcome any advice on other must attend events?

I’m definitely becoming a more adventurous and confident home cook, always feeling the need to try something new and experiment with different ingredients. Growing most of our own veggies has also helped with this and I’ve loved finding new ways to use up the various gluts and goodies we have at Chez Foti. When I set out a year ago I remember saying to Mr F that if nothing else comes of the blogging at least we’ll eat well from it. And I wasn’t wrong.

Getting to grips with photography has also been a wonderful, and steep, learning curve for me. I really was rubbish when I first set out and in all honesty I’m pretty ashamed of my first few blogs! I’m definitely in a very different more creative space now.

In all honesty I’m trying to devise a way to make a career out of my blog, or at least in food writing or recipe development. But I fear this is going to be exceptionally tricky on many levels and especially due to my geographical location i.e. not being UK based (though most of my readers are). But we will see. Having said that any career in extremely rural SW France is going to be tricky!.

My Top 5 Blog Posts of the Year:

1) Interestingly my most popular blog so far, at least statistically anyway, was my Two Baby Pasta & Puree Recipes, which so happened to my own littlies’ favourite weaning foods. It was a recipe I wrote for my friend Sam who designs and sells the gorgeous Oogaa brand of silicone baby and young child feeding equipment. We’re just in the process of launching a new Oogaa Recipe Site featuring lots of my baby, toddler and young children’s recipes.

Potato, Cauliflower & Pumpkin Curry2) And my second most popular blog on the stats is a super-healthy and vegan Potato, Cauliflower and Pumpkin Curry (Aloo Gobi Kaddu) that I made last year on several occasions. It’s one of my favourites too, and one I must re-make now we’re well into the Pumpkin season. Perhaps for dinner tonight, though without the cauliflower as they’re not yet in season at Chez Foti.

3) My 3rd most read post was Jacques’s Chocolate Birthday Cake I made earlier in the year for his second birthday. It also so happens to be one of the very few non-vegetable based cakes to survive The Oven without a very burnt bum. Probably because it was a very liquid cake mix. The cream and plain chocolate icing was divine, and again divinely simple!.

4) Now for my favourite posts! I really enjoyed making, photographing and writing the Chocolate Pumpkin Cake post, which coincidentally has also been my most popular recent post. An (almost) healthy choccie cake, what could be better! It’s also evidence of how my photography has come on since I so cluelessly set out a year ago!

5) I couldn’t make a favourites list without some mention of the Chez Foti Summer of Tomatoes, so my final blogiversary fave has to be my Tomato Veg of the Month post. And I will further reiterate here that I will one hundred percent, absolutely most definitely not be growing so many tomatoes EVER again (unless for commercial gain obviously!). As lovely as my store cupboards and freezer now look by heck they took up my precious time these last few months!

So that’s it for my Blogiversary Special! I so wonder what this next exciting year will bring? Any careers advice and/or job offers gratefully received!

Louisa x


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