The Charms of Halloumi

Halloumi smThe mozzarella-like Halloumi cheese originates from Cyprus, but is now pretty much available all over the place. It is made with goat’s and sheep milk and has a high melting point so is perfect for grilling and frying and barbecue. It has a very slight salty flavour.

I’m still, however, looking for a good UK outlet of Lountza Ham. Again from Cyprus; pork loin is soaked in brine and then marinated in red wine. Then it is dried and smoked. Delicious!

Here I present a Halloumi Salad; with salad leaves, tomato, olives and grated parmesan.Halloumi Salad

“Pitch Up, Eat Local” Official Book Launch – eek!

Pitch Up Eat Local sm

Heading down to Castle Cary for the official launch of Ali Ray’s new book “Pitch Up, Eat Local”

It looks like we’ve got a lovely drive in the sunshine down from Yorkshire to Somerset.

I’ve never been to a book launch before, not have I met Ali – so, an all round exciting day, then! I’ve been illustrating her articles for about three years and we’ve chatted via email and messenger, so it’s going to be fab to meet her in person.

And to watch her in action – whipping up some recipes.

Oh! I nearly forgot! I’ll get to meet her famous camper van, Custard, too. Maybe I’ll be able to sneak in a quick sketch of it too.



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Foraging Around

Whilst we were up in Skipton the other day I got to try an interesting salad dish and an equally interesting serving of it.

Forager salads smWell, actually it was three different ones.

At the Forage Cafe and Deli they offer a selection of home made salads which, if one picks from their Forager’s Board, you can select three (or more) different salads to try together.

I opted for a Beetroot, Goats Cheese, Walnut and Bean – this salad was bright and zingy

Greek-Style Pearl Barley with Feta and Tomato – nice combinations of textures and flavours (But then, they all did)


Wild Rice with Coconut, Carrot, Spring Onion and Almond – The coconut flavours were subtle and light.

They were all super-delicious, freshly made and bursting with flavours.

If only we could be assured of having interesting and flavoursome salads on more restaurants. In far too many eateries Salad means a small handful of wet lettuce leaves with some carrots julienne plonked on top. Uninteresting and unexciting.

More people would try and enjoy salad if they were as stimulating as the ones at Forage.


Something Fishy

Smoked haddock smFor my first (hearty) breakfast at Beck Hall, Malham, I had a full English breakfast and thought I’d branch off into other areas of the breakfast menu today.

One of the really cool things about staying over at hotels and guest houses – or bed and breakfasts is that someone prepare’s your breakfast for you, yes. That is so cool when the sleep is still getting rubbed from your eyes.


Even better when there are items listed on the breakfast menu that you wouldn’t dream of trying to tackle usually at home for breakfast.

So I’m treating myself to Smoked Haddock with a poached egg this morning.

I’m not sure how I stand on the whole ‘teaching fish to smoke’ issue. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware that it was a problem.

And I think I also feel rather uncomfortable about the egg, too. Couldn’t they have just bought one from a shop?

Buttering up

Kippers smFinal morning of our short visit to Malham and Settle up in the Yorkshire Dales.

I opt for an invigorating breakfast of grilled kipper.

It was served on a huge hunk of granary bread and I managed to snaffle a bit of Caroline’s scrambled egg to add to it.


Do I Hear Wedding Bells?

Well, kind of …

A recent commission was for a wedding invitation.

I’ve not worked on on one before and was eager to get started.

Invitation B2 - Evening smThe client wanted a patchwork of elements from the location, which was in York and we finalised the elements down to a signpost, the wedding location’s sign, the rose window from York Minster and … a rooster (I think that was a personal touch between the couple getting married. I didn’t ask!)

They also wanted to include some particularly idiosyncratic trees from the grounds of the wedding location. I tried to reshape the trees into a love heart motif for the centre of the invitation, but they ended up looking quite creepy. So, I instead stylised the trees more to great effect.

On the Save The Day card, the client wanted a snow effect – so I added in a snowflake border.

Invitation A2 smSo, I beetled away.

Only to discover that the client had been unable to contact me via my email address. That, for whatever reason, emails weren’t getting through to me.

Naturally anxious for the invitation and save-the-day cards to be ready in time the client approached a different artist for the works.

A book publisher was trying to get in touch with me at about the same time via email and those didn’t get through either.

All very mysterious. Everything seems to be working fine now.

[I’ve altered the names and dates on the invitation and save-the-day cards posted here]

Ah, well.

It’s all part of the learning process, I guess.

I’ve since added in my alternative email address into my correspondence with a client.


A Cup of Tea and a Biscuit

cup of tea and a biscuit smSat having a nice cup of tea and a biscuit in the late afternoon (or is it early evening, already?) sunshine in the garden.

Above the distant thrum of the motorway, way off in the distance, i can hear the trill of birds marking their territory.

There’s something relaxing and fundamentally essential about cups of tea and biscuits.

I don’t think a mug of tea with a cookie would have quite the same cache about it.


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