Category Archives: These Recent Things

These Recent Things (Eggs, Eggs, Biscuits & Cake)

2016 03 30 aoife biscuit egg books 01

I bring you this update from the sofa, in between cups of tea that I have left to go cold, and mind boggling televison shows. Judge Rinder? I’m not sure what to say. There’s a programme that is basically the 2p machines from the arcades (but they don’t even have real 2p’s) and apparently there’s a late night special of Neighbours: Who Dies?  to look forward to. I didn’t even know Neighbours was still on.

The highlight of my day was when the phone rang and an old lady was convinced I was Derek.

I’ve been over-doing it on an injured leg, the physio has taught me a lesson and taped my ankle up. I can’t even drive. You might think that anyway after my performance at Snetterton this month, so, I’ll rephrase that – I can’t physically operate a car.

Earlier in the month I had a little go at rally driving which was quite excellent and fun, but probably for all the wrong reasons. I was a judge at the South Holland Open exhibition and did a secret animal courtesy for Rachel, and Aoife brought me a magical biscuit from the Alhambra – it looked like a crown and tasted sweet and buttery.

2016 03 30 aoife biscuit mojo crown 02

2016 03 30 aoife biscuit mojo crown 01

2016 03 30 aoife biscuit egg books 04

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Do you remember my dear friend Emma, whose husband had been in a coma after a terrible accident at work? There’s a bit of a story to it, which you can read here, but in simple terms, nobody knew if he’d survive, if his memory would return, or if he’d be able to function mentally or physically. The human body is a wonderful thing and there is so much power to be gained from genuine love and support, perserverence and good humour.

The other day, he came home. He remembers and he knows everyone. He can eat a little,  he can walk a small distance and he can still crack really bad jokes. He’s got a long way to go, but he is getting there bit by bit. I am incredibly proud of Emma, for everything she has done… apart from when she got him stuck in a deep and muddy puddle, whilst trying to take a shortcut to the shops, and almost tipped him out of his wheelchair!

2016 03 12 auction white jugs 01

2016 03 12 tulips

2016 03 13 wisbech auction dolls house 01

Aoife came to stay and we had a right old Fenny adventure! After I’d introduced her to Three Holes finest, and she’d been enlightened by her first auction experience, Aoife cooked me a recreation of her wedding breakfast, which was only slightly weird, but very delicious. Then in the morning we rushed, like auction addicts, to Clifford Cross where I spent a grand total of £8.00 on a load of jugs and a small house. Yes, that’s right, I bought a house at auction.

After stopping at my favourite little garden centre for tulips, we headed over to Novi in Cambridge to meet up with the Cambridge Eat Up! crew. Basically, we are a grown up gang and we hang out wherever there is something enjoyably edible.

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We crammed around a table and shared food from the marvellous pop-up Allotment cafe. Of course, for me, the highlight was the cake. Delicious vegan carrot and parsnip cake. Pretty too.

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The beginning of spring was marked by Ruth Sultana getting stuck under a fallen log pile. Sasha laid her first blue egg in almost a year, Ruth Sultana laid her first egg ever, and Patty Slipper went missing, only to be found doing a headstand against the fence in the corner of the garden. She is so small, and strange.

Every hen is laying now, apart from the Slipper. I like that each one lays a definitely recognisable egg, and I wanted to show you. So, here you go, from left to right: Ruth Sultana, Ginger Belinda, Ginger Margaret, Sasha Minter Porkchop, April, Sandra. Clever girls.

2016 03 30 chickens eggs 01

2016 03 30 chickens eggs 02

2016 03 30 someone elses family photo

I bought a tiny little photo album to add to my collection of pictures of people I don’t know. The album is German, and one of the photos is dated 1944, but other than that, I know nothing, and that’s okay.

Did I tell you about the time I ate a vomit flavoured jellybean? Apparently they were aiming for pizza, but the mix of parmesan and anchovies had a different idea.

Anyway, never one to say no to trying food that looks or sounds proper rank, (remember my goats milk kefir diary?) I didn’t flinch at trying Nutribug pasta when asked. It didn’t taste bad, it didn’t taste good, but it did turn the water a greenish grey. Apparently it’s really good for you, but I’m just disappointed it’s only 10% cricket.

2016 03 13 nutribug pro pasta

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2016 03 25 valrhone chocolate 02

While I was at The Photography Show, Adam was in Brussels trying to get home. That was a weird day, and one that led me to think a bit and make cakes.

Valrhona had sent me an Easter treat of some delicious Noir Guanaja chocolate, so I decided to make Devil’s Food Cake using this Nigella recipe. I topped the cakes with creamy rich chocolate and filled them with sour cherry jam. Bit black forest, innit.

Easter Monday saw the back of the big storm. Daffodils lay flat, and water got blown uphill. A plastic garden chair hung hooked on a fence.  We went to Brands Hatch to watch the truck racing. The hail pelted us hard in the face, we squealed and Mark scavenged a broken umbrella that smelt of ketchup from the bin (we nearly had a foam hand out of there too, but it was covered in ants). Living the highlife.

The racing wasn’t as exciting as I’d hope it would be, I’m not really into trucks, though there was one that had a western theme with a helicopter and a dyslexic Virgin Mary on the back, which was quite impressive.

mary truck

2016 03 30 mojo

These Recent Things (Meat, Eggs & Holidays)

2016 02 28 woodalls pancetta poached egg and spinach 02

Sometimes people send me meat in the post and I’m okay with that. It comes in handy as I’ve got a cupboard in the back garden filled with a never-ending supply of eggs.

Thanks to lady hens Sandra, Belinda and Margaret, and the generous people of Woodall’s Charcuterie, we had a lovely lunch of poached eggs, smoked pancetta and spinach. Nice.

mojo to

Do you remember I entered that competition to win a trip to Mumbai? Well, turns out I’ve won the biggest thing I have ever won and that’s weird, and exciting, and there will be men who hand cut the grass with tiny scissors.

I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Then MoJo was sick in my armpit as I slept, and I woke up knowing it was the end of my lucky streak.

2016 02 07 BWRDC roses in the kitchen 02

I had a couple of nights away, one at Wroxhall Abbey for the BWRDC awards, where I didn’t get a trophy, but I did get some lovely yellow roses, and the other at The Midland Hotel in Bradford, which I booked specifically for it’s incredible array of carpets. Their rear entrance was like a magical time-warp.

2016 02 10 midland hotel bradford 05

I headed to the hills to interview Sara Tasker, the photographer behind the hugely successful Instagram, Me and Orla. I felt really welcomed into her home – especially by Monty the dog who I am sure is made of half monkey/half bear and could quite easily be my new best friend. I’ve since listened back to the tape, and, I was obviously very tired. It’s mostly me talking about rabbit-punching ghost Piglet, making bunting from tampons, and house training super intelligent chickens.  Still, it could have been worse!

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My visit to Bradford College was great fun. My favourite Q&A question was, “How do you manage to be so good at talking continuously for so long?” and I think that might possibly the best thing I’ve ever been asked.

I almost did a forward roll in a presentation at Cambridge School of Art the other day, and I’ve got several exciting things coming up, which means there will be all kinds of opportunities for me to do embarrassing things – Career support drop-in sessions at The Photography show with FORMAT and a ‘Developing your Photographic Practice – Insights for Emerging Photographers’ talk for London Independent Photography – who knows what will happen!

Recently I’ve written about a couple of beautiful books that you might like – Columbia Road by Johanna Neurath, and Brother/Sister by Elin Hoyland. You can click either of those links to read my reviews, if you’d like to.

2016 02 13 jamies italian cambridge 07

Adam and I got invited to Jamie’s Italian in Cambridge because I am third-cousins-twice-removed with Jamie Oliver. That’s not true, and I don’t even know what it means, but I thought it might spice things up a bit. Exciting. It’s a fabulous building, an old library with big mirrors and a glass domed roof. The orange blossom polenta cake was just delicious. Please bring me more cake.

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I’m still waiting for my cake. Seriously. I asked nicely.

I took the Elise up to Steve Guglielmi’s for the geo, and whilst he was working his magic and I was wandering the streets of Daventry, I found a comb and knew it was a good day. #combtheory

elise

The same week we went to Emerald to get our engine mapped with our new ECU. I got a cup of tea in a WI mug and 178bhp. We left with smiles and pop-pop-bangs coming from the exhaust.

We’ve completed everything we wanted to get done on the Elise now (apart from throttle bodies, and a supercharger, and NOS, and…) I would like to have said it’s ‘the finishing touches on Project More Wang’ but I know it’s inappropriate to write about touching wangs and I might attract the wrong kind of audience.

2016 02 08 kitchen plants 01

And, finally, you probably noticed, from my pastry smile and recent blog post, we went to beautiful Copenhagen, where the light was just perfect. Everything was all grey and blue, and lovely. Then we came home to the Fen where it’s all brown and a bit yellowy-green, and there are no pastries, just eggs and meat.

These Recent Things (It’s Not All About Cheese!)

2015 08 21 lanticacascina cheese ulvio 04

The winter edition of Practical Sheep Goats and Alpacas is out, and I know you have been waiting with desperate anticipation. There’s an article included which I wrote about award-winning Italian cheese, if you fancy a read.

I was going to tell you about my healthy goats milk Kefir journey, but I didn’t get very far. It kind of went like this – Day 1. It tastes like 100 dead goats. Not sure about this rash. Day 2. I’ll blend it with a banana. Garrrr, all I’ve done it make more of it! Not sure about this rash, or the difficulty breathing. Day 3. Stuff this sh*t! I’ll do a knock and run and drop it on Liz’s doorstep! Lisa seemed to get on well with it though, and Aoife swears by it. I’ve not heard from Liz in a while.

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We’ve been super busy at Shutter Hub, working on our forthcoming Leeds exhibition (call for entries here) and planning our OPEN, which will be in Cambridge this year (do you want to propose an event?) I spent a lovely day with BA photography students at Northampton University, did some portfolio reviews at Metro Imaging in London with awesome dudes Dan Gaba and Dan Rubin, and headed down to the London Art Fair to be part of a panel discussion on ‘Encouraging diversity in photography’ with Photovoice. It was a superb day, and you can, if you wish, read about it here.

2016 02 01 BOL lunch 01

At the end of a busy month it was really lovely to receive a healthy food parcel from the guys at BOL. We met last year at the Vuelio Awards, and whilst I still don’t believe Paul can drift an Elise, I do have absolute faith in his food. I really enjoyed this Keralan Coconut Chicken and I am looking forward to my next bowl of BOL.

Adam’s been away a lot with work lately, so the other evening we decided to drive out into the wilds of Lincolnshire to Witham and Blues for dinner, because it’s naff and funny. When we got there they couldn’t squeeze us in to their totally empty restaurant and with a frosty neon-pink-lipped smile we were turned away, into the welcoming warmth of a proper village pub, The Wheatsheaf at Hubberts Bridge. We walked in, bringing a waft of cold with us, and we were genuinely welcomed. We ate steak and chips, nothing fancy, but well cooked. There was good carpet and everyone was so nice we wanted to make it our local!

And, potatoes. I need to tell you about potatoes. Elfe potatoes. There must be so many jokes in there, but I’ve not got time for that, this is serious business. Never have I enjoyed a plain potato so much, and I want you to enjoy them too. I found the Albert Barlett version in Lidl, but I am sure you can hunt them down elsewhere.

2016 02 01 piper manifold 02

When we’ve not been obsessing over potatoes we’ve been busy getting the car ready for sprinting. We’ve got a whole new exhaust system, new bushes,  ball joints, gearbox oil seals, wheel bearings and a vanilla scented air freshener that looks like a rose.

It’s also been quite a month for non -motorsport motorsport activity, as you can read here, if you feel so inclined.

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My brother popped in on his way from Kuala Lumpur to Liverpool, and I popped down to Bournemouth for the evening with Isi for Burning Codes album launch (Isi runs the label they are on). We headed to the cliffs and took in the sea view and bitter cold air, later we ate vegan food in a place called Mad Cucumber. The gig was recorded for a Sky TV channel called Britrox that I don’t know anything about, yet.

2016 02 01 mums found negative negative

2016 02 01 mums found negative positive

On a recent fen walk I found a shiny brooch lying in the dirt. I thought this might be the best thing ever, but then my mum found this old negative marking a page in a book she was given. I couldn’t wait to invert it and have a better look. It’s such a wonderful find. Who is that woman? When, and where is it? What’s going on? I am intrigued by other people’s old photos, I have a small (but growing) collection, my favourite thing being a set of Kodak colour slides from someone’s 1960’s holiday in Italy. When people used film camera’s each image was far more precious, and there’s something really delightful about that.

2016 02 01 allumer necklace and mojo 01

And to add to the shinies, I won this very pretty little bell necklace from Allumer. It’s not something I would have chosen for myself, but it’s really lovely, even MoJo likes it – you can tell by his eyes!