a way of life...

Month: July 2015

Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche

I’ve heard it said that real mean don’t eat quiche but I find this tasty tart is a real favourite for the whole family. Served hot or cold with a side salad of Italian leaves it is the perfect pie for summer picnics and parties. Made from everyday ingredients it is an easy dish to make especially if you find you have guests coming for lunch at short notice.

Homemade Quiche Lorraine

Homemade Quiche Lorraine



  • 225g (8oz) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100g (4oz) butter
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 small onion
  • Oil
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon
  • 3 eggs
  • 275ml (1/2 pint) cream and milk, mixed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 75g (3oz) grated cheese
  1. Sift flour and salt, rub in butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Mix to a dough with the egg and water. Roll out and line a 23cm (9″) fluted flan. Chill. Trim surplus dough after chilling to avoid shrinkage.
  2. Chop onion and fry in a little oil until beginning to soften.  Add chopped bacon and fry 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Beat eggs lightly and mix with the cream and milk.  Season lightly. Stir in onion and bacon.
  4. Pour into chilled pastry case and sprinkle with grated cheese.  Bake at 400° F, Gas Mark 6, 200° C, for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F, Gas Mark 4, 180° C and bake for a further 25 to 30 minutes until filling is firm and golden.

If you find that you just don’t have time or motivation to make your own quiche many of the supermarket delis stock an extensive range with a variety of fillings, and once out of the packaging you would never know they weren’t homemade!

4" (100mm) individual quiche

Morrison’s 10cm (4″) individual quiche

Family & Frangipane

Our cherry tree

Excellent year for home grown cherries

We have been blessed this year with a bumper crop of cherries coinciding with a house full of visitors.  DSC02569


Usually I would take the easy option and make a fruit crumble, combining the cherries with other seasonal soft fruits such as raspberries, strawberries or blueberries, but  on this occasion I thought I would be a bit more adventurous.  I have always loved my mum’s Bakewell Tart so when I stumbled across a Cherry Frangipane on the internet I decided I would try my hand at making one.

I have to confess that I used two different recipes; one for the pastry case and one for the filling. I should also own to having bought a Cherry Stoner; something that I discovered quite by chance in the Steamer Trading Cook Shop https://www.steamer.co.uk/. It made really light work, verging on addiction,  of an otherwise tedious and time consuming chore.

Cherry Stoner from Steamer Trading Cook Shop

Cherry Stoner from Steamer Trading Cook Shop


For the pastry case

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 140g ground almonds
  • 140g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp kirsch
  • 500g cherries, stones removed
  • 2 tbsp cherry conserve
  • 25g flaked almonds


To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, followed by the beaten egg and about one tbsp of water to form a dough. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film, and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, place the sugar, ground almonds, butter and eggs in a bowl and mix to make a creamy paste.  Stir in the kirsch. Chill for at least 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Roll the pastry out onto a floured surface and use to line a 23cm flan case. Fill with lightly greased foil and baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. (I used a pie dish as I liked the shape but unfortunately the edge of the pastry became quite dark).

Remove case from oven, uncover and spread conserve over the base.  Spoon over the cherries and spread level. Remove filling from fridge and pour over. Sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden.

Serves  8 hungry teenagers or 10 moderately polite adults.

Served with double cream

Frangipane served with double cream

As I made my frangipane ahead of time I served it cold with a choice of double cream or ice cream. Alternatively serve warm with crème fraîche.

Decorative Home & Salvage Fair


Loseley Park Decorative Home and Salvage Fair

Loseley Park Decorative Home and Salvage Fair

This afternoon I popped along to the Trade Preview of the Decorative Home & Salvage Fair that runs from today through Sunday 19 July at Loseley Park.  The sun did manage to break through the clouds and it was lovely and warm whilst I  wandered around.  I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I was hoping to find some mid-century furniture and some French antiques.  On the whole the stalls were overflowing with a whole range of bric a brac and antiquities from various places and periods in time, but eventually I did find one or two dedicated to French style.

French linens

A selection of French style linen

French bed

French style furnishings

More jugs

Collection of enamel jugs











I think it was probably due to the time of year but there was a lot of emphasis on garden salvage; everything from fleur de lys gazebos through to garden ornaments.

Terracotta pots of all shapes and sizes

Terracotta pots of all shapes and sizes

The highlight of the show for me was this sea faring dog and the Oxo cabinet with matching kettles.  From my point of view the only disappointment was that there weren’t many, of what I would call, decorative home stalls.  One that did jump out was that of Hope & Hargreaves, a local upholstery and soft furnishings company.  Their collection of cushions, curtains, place mats, and bunting,  in pretty printed fabrics made a colourful display amidst the salvage stalls.

Oxo cabinet and matching kettles

Oxo cabinet and matching kettles

Sea faring dog

Sea faring dog

Hope & Hargreaves; designs on interiors

Hope & Hargreaves; designs on interiors

For details of this and other vintage fairs visit www.eventbrite.co.uk and www.asfairs.com

I Love This Ceramic Drawer Knob

Anthropologie ceramic knob

Anthropologie ceramic knob

I love this ceramic drawer knob that I bought in the Anthropologie sale today reduced from £8 to £1.56p (includes extra 20% discount). Perfect for personalising your furniture and adding a splash of colour to your home.  There are still a few designs available on-line at www.anthropologie.eu but an even better selection in store.  It looks as though the sale ends at midnight tomorrow (or at least the extra 20% discount ends) so whether it’s homeware, clothing or accessories that you are weakness now’s the time to grab a real bargain.

Too Busy To Blog…

The last few weeks have been pretty manic as I try to prepare the house and garden for the summer and I found that I have been almost too busy to blog!  After four years of getting my head down to study everything else has had to take second place and now I am desperately trying to make up for that lost time. We have family arriving to stay next weekend so there is an element of panic setting in now! So much so that this weekend has been dedicated to painting the overflow guest bedroom which is located above our garage in a converted barn. It took me an age to find a suitable paint colour which I wanted to act as a neutral back drop to the rather loud Joules bedding that I had bought specifically for this room.

After several trips back and forth to the Farrow & Ball showroom I finally settled for Ammonite.  Described on the F&B website Ammonite is named after the treasured fossils often found on the Dorset coast. It has a fantastically understated modest quality, working perfectly with all the Easy Grey group. It is not gritty or industrial but has a subtle grey tone that suits all contemporary homes. To make it feel more grey it is best paired with All White. White & Light Tones Undercoat. – See more at: http://www.farrow-ball.com/ammonite/colours/farrow-ball/fcp-product/100274#sthash.79WPtTtm.dpuf

F&B Ammonite paint providing a perfect backdrop of Joules bedding

F&B Ammonite paint providing a perfect backdrop of Joules bedding

Contrary to their advice I chose not to pair it with white or any other tone for that matter. My intention was to paint the walls, ceiling and woodwork in exactly the same shade to create a feeling of spaciousness in this rather awkward space.  I must admit I was slightly nervous as the first tentative brushstrokes were applied to the ceiling but I soon overcame my apprehension and can say that now the room is finished I am absolutely delighted.  My next step is to paint the rather dreary pine furniture with some startling shades to give it a more contemporary look.  I am currently experimenting with a pink and blue from the F&B range; Nancy’s blushes and Hague Blue.  Watch this space to see how I get on.




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