30 April 2012

Almost open

This is the most exciting thing in the garden at the moment, and I am constantly checking on it's progress. Genius to put this bright orange poppy next to the black grasses - wish I could take credit for it but it self seeded so nothing to do with me, all I did was forget to weed it out.

So yesterday I had planned to have a big gardening day, and I wasn't going to let the weather stop me so put on waterproof trousers and coat. But after a while when my fingers were so cold they didn't function properly and water had managed to get into the gap between coat and trousers I started think about giving up. Then when my husband announced he was lighting the fire, going inside seemed like the right thing to do. A hot shower and some lunch later, the sun decided to come out! Couldn't believe it! Oh well, I managed to get a new clematis into the ground which was the most important job. And it was very cosy in front of that fire.

29 April 2012

Smoked Mackerel and New Potato Salad

New season potatoes are here! So exciting*. Yesterday I was lucky enough to be served this gorgeous lunch by my lovely husband. Think it is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe but adapted according to what we had in the fridge. It goes without saying that supermarket mackerel doesn't compare in any way to the amazing ones we get in Sweden. In general I am exceedingly homesick at the moment and the thought of eating this in Grundsund with the amazing ingredients we can get there isn't helping. I look forward to making it there this summer - perhaps using self caught home smoked fish! That would be quite something, and as I am the proud owner of both fishing equipment and a smoker it is not impossible. Watch this space.

New Potatoes
Smoked Mackerel
Fresh Spinach
Spring Onions
Lemon Zest and Juice
Greek Yoghurt
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

*The fact I get excited by potatoes probably makes me a super dork but so what. I love them!

28 April 2012


Fallen petals.
 Front doors.
The sky last night.

Yesterday the sun made a welcome appearance and on my travels I took these pictures - there seemed to be a pink theme going on. Today it is back to more indoor-friendly weather so baking, eating and doing not much at all is on the schedule. Keeping my fingers crossed for better weather tomorrow because there are so many jobs to do in the garden. Luckily I have got a new rain proof coat, am sure it will come in handy!

27 April 2012

In the post

These arrived in the post  yesterday. A month to go until Chelsea Flower Show - one of the highlights of early summer. Can't wait!

26 April 2012

Book launch

Yesterday we went to the launch of the book '21 Designers for twenty first century Britain' by Gareth Williams at the V&A reading rooms. The book is lovely, and lots of the designers featured were there. Throw in a few glasses of wine to help us warm up and all in all it was a nice evening.

This is such a good little bookshop. I would really recommend a visit, they had so many fun and unusual books that I wanted to take a closer look at. I will definitely go back at Christmas time, think you could find some great present books here. And there is a bar - perfect!

25 April 2012

Stormy sky

Rooftops at South Kensington.

It has been raining for a week, and I have been saying I don't mind because it is good for the garden. Well, enough is enough - I am over it!

Still, the moon looked amazing this evening up in the dark sky...never mind it felt more like October today than late April. Fingers crossed for some sunshine at the weekend.

24 April 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

We have a case of flu in our house at the moment, so last night I made Chicken Noodle Soup to help with the recovery. Oh, this is so yummy I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! I would eat it any day, poorly or not. And it is a perfect dish to use up whatever vegetables are left in fridge. I like mange tout a lot but yesterday I used broccoli because that was what we had.

Chicken (leftover roast is perfect)
Egg Noodles
Chicken Stock Cubes
Garlic - lots!
Fresh Ginger
Chillies, Red or Green
Chinese Five Spice
Soy Sauce
Star Anise
Spring Onions

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. If the chicken is fresh, cook this too before you start with the soup. Bring the water to the boil and put in the stock cubes, garlic, chillies, chinese five spice, ginger, star anise and soy sauce. Allow for the flavours to develop bit, then taste and adjust with extra spices if needed. Add the mushrooms, broccoli and chicken and cook until the vegetables are soft but with a bite. Chuck in the spring onions towards the end, letting them warm through but not cook. Put the noodles at the bottom of a bowl, then ladle over the broth, vegetables and chicken. Slurp away!

23 April 2012

Figs and things

This is my easter present from my mum - so much better than a chocolate egg. I have wanted a fig tree for years and finally I do! To me, coming from quite a chilly place, it is amazingly exotic. I still remember the first time I saw one in London, think it was in Queen's Park, a massive gorgeous tree heaving with ripe fruit. I noticed it because I saw lots of squashed figs on the pavement and thought someone must have dropped them, then looked up and realized they actually grew there. The foliage is so beautiful, the branches wonderfully knobbly and on top of that, the fruit. I now fantasize about bowlfuls of home grown figs, turning them into chutney and jam and making salads with parma ham and mozzarella...perhaps not likely to happen any time soon, but even if I got one single fruit I would be very happy.

The variety is the standard 'Brown Turkey' which should be hardy here. Mine is in a pot so will only be about a metre tall, maybe a metre and a half, and that will probably take 5 years or so. I am happy to wait. The only worry it that it won't get enough sunshine hours for the fruit to ripen, but I think it should be ok. Also, the spot might not be sheltered enough for it - even though I have a courtyard garden it is surprisingly windy at times. We will have to wait and see.

And what is this? Noticed a weed growing in my pot of black grass a while ago but didn't remove it at the time. The other day I saw two hairy buds on graceful stems. Can't wait to see what colour these are - they should open any day now so I will report back. I absolutely love poppies and am perfectly happy for my neighbour's plants to come and visit my garden if they are to my taste.

The lavender in front of the fig is not just any old plant. It comes from Chelsea Flower Show and was a gift from when my mum and a few of her friends came to visit last year. Looks like it will have a comeback this year - lovely!

22 April 2012

21 April 2012

LA snapshots

Welcome to LA.
By night.
Risked my dignity by taking a forbidden photo in a Kitson fitting room.
From London Planes to palm trees.
Dark and stormy.
Sweetpeas in flower at a schoolyard garden.
The colours.
Breakfast - waffles again.
Sedums at nice flowershop in Silverlake.
Are there actually any apples in there?
Had lunch at the Chateau but only managed to get a picture of the garage sign.
That's not me.
Hollywood sign and snow capped mountains.
Swarovski encrusted street sign.
Best pizza ever.

20 April 2012

Dog on skateboard

Every morning on my way to the bus stop I walk past this shop and for ages they had a print in the window of a dog on a skateboard doing a kickflip. It would make me smile every time I saw it, and when it was my husband's birthday this year I decided to buy it for him. I guess I'm not really into 'street art' otherwise, but I love this picture! They have some other really nice things in the shop too - don't miss it if you are going to Columbia Road.

19 April 2012

Close to the sky

So blue and so close, the sky always seems very present in LA. I guess it is the low rise buildings that don't get in the way. It is an experience to sit in the sun by a pool high up on a roof top with the sounds of the city all around you. I would definitely recommend it!