in my kitchen – August 2014

Some days we are …


Enjoying glorious raspberries that I could eat every day through summer.

Roasting vegetables for oven roast ratatouille with the last of the oil from the labneh.

Eating fresh plums. There’ll be time and plums enough for baked plums, compotes, crumbles and cakes so for now, we’re just picking, eating and counting the stones.

Tumbling tomatoes into salads, using them for sandwiches and eating them straight from the greenhouse, still warm from the sun.

But other days …



… I despair. I’m happy to spend an afternoon in a haze of flour and icing sugar making cakes or baking  bread. Create a wobbly jelly? No problem, just pass me the gelatine. They’re things I choose to do.

Some days, the sheer mind numbing tedium of having to make meals gets too much, especially when supper become no more than a fuel stop scheduled around work, sports and social lives. It’s not so much the cooking as deciding what to eat. Sometimes I brightly ask what they fancy for supper and they make ridiculous suggestions; obviously I should get them to look in the fridge first.

I’m off to read the other “In My Kitchen” posts to find some inspiration for tonight’s supper; you can find a list at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial, where Celia heads up IMK HQ. Why not join us?

68 thoughts on “in my kitchen – August 2014

  1. Anne, it is very cruel of you to put up a big photo of raspberries. I love raspberries and they are so hard to grow here. I think I have picked about 5 from my canes :(.

  2. Oh, that feeling of having to come up with a meal – a chore rather than a pleasure in the kitchen. It’s usually pasta of some sort on those days when inspiration gets up and walks out the door leaving your mind blank. Whatever the case, your raspberries are superb specimens and those plums look nice and juicy. Luscious eating this time of year!

  3. This is funny, I can so relate to this post, especially at this time of year, best to send them straight to the veg plot and eat straight off the tree, vine, whatever. Cut out the middle man. Job done.

    1. Maybe I should just lay the table outside in the veg garden. We could make a fire to cook anything that needed cooking, send someone to collect the eggs … this might be fun.

    1. Lucky you. Mind you, the choice with me would be cook supper or work on the tractor and I’d always choose cooking so I only have myself to blame.

  4. I am loving the raspberries too Anne. I can’t believe how cheap they are in the supermarkets here – which probably isn’t good news for you farmers I bet. Love the new blog look as well.

    1. I wonder where your raspberries come from. Around here they’re £7/kg to pick your own or £12/kg freshly picked at the farm shop. I’m glad we have plenty in the garden.

  5. Fine looking raspberries there – do you eat them as they are with cream, or bake with them? I can sympathise on the meals front… am thinking of going away for a week to see how they cope, it’s only the thought of the mess I’d come back to that keeps me at home!

    1. We eat them mostly with cream though some make it into cakes and puddings and of course a lot go into Gin. I’m not sure how much mess there’d be if I went away as there’s so many places to eat around here that I suspect they’d just eat (rubbish food) out.

  6. At the point where my lot began to leave home and the remaining men always wanted the kind of hearty, meaty food I didn’t really want to cook I handed the responsibility for getting them fed every evening to the mister. One of the best things I ever did, although I do still do the meal planning and shopping and cook a lighter meal for me.

    As for raspberries … nectar … I’m still squashing them onto buttered spelt bread, my particular food oddity.

    1. Good plan Annie. As I don’t mind the cooking too much but hate the planning, maybe I should hand over that side. The raspberries are particularly good this year aren’t they, though I’m happy to leave you to your oddity and eat mine with cream 🙂

  7. Oh Anne, you always make me laugh so much! I love cooking, but some days I do say to them, “listen, can we just eat bread tonight? I’ve baked six loaves and I’m too tired to think of anything else..” 🙂 Our freezer is a godsend on those days – there’s always some preserved meat or something in there that can be pulled out and heated up and bunged on toasted sandwiches. And when things get really bad, we play freezer lucky dip – I routinely freeze leftovers, so when I’m really shattered, everyone goes to the freezer and chooses a homemade “frozen dinner”. 🙂

    LOVE your beautiful first photo – so many glorious colours! Enjoy the rest of your English summer! xxx

    1. We routinely play freezer lucky dip, but that’s because I don’t always label things properly. My frozen leftover dishes are down to rabbit, rabbit or rabbit, which adds to the lack of inspiration at the moment.

  8. Such a gorgeous photo of those fresh raspberries Anne! Working out what to cook for dinner and then cooking every night (without too much help) can be a bit of a grind from time to time… I can certainly relate! 🙂 I think perhaps I need to routinely make bigger batches of things to have leftovers in the freezer on hand more often.

    1. I try to make bigger batches but all too often they sit and look at the leftovers and decide they may as well just finish it up or because there’s extra we end up with more people for supper. I obviously need to cook enormous batches.

  9. A couple of years ago, I started keeping a simple diary of all the meals I cooked. Now when I need inspiration I just look back at the same time of year in the diary and usually find the answer. I am like you, cooking from the garden and around the work needed to be done in the fields, so what worked last year usually works this ,year.

    Very jealous of your raspberries – I bought a big punnet recently and mother-in-law and I finished them of in one sitting!

    1. I wish I was as efficient as you. I’ve tried keeping a diary of meals, but after the initial enthusiasm, it tails off. It’s a good idea and one I should persevere with because you’re right that generally what worked last year will be good this year.

  10. I went through a phase of meal planning and shopping to plan but it is all gone down the drain. Now, I open the fridge, sigh, close the fridge and proceed to cook pasta with tomato sauce. Boring. Your produce looks just amazing! I have been toying with the idea of getting a small greenhouse for tomatoes. Or maybe move to France. Cx

    1. I find meal planning a bit like keeping a diary – I start off full of enthusiasm in January and by February have completely abandoned it. Maybe you could get a greenhouse, sit in it and pretend you’re in France.

  11. Agreed it gets very boring trying to make magic amongst the everyday meals. I’d love to have a more adventurous eater living with me

  12. If you only grow one thing it should be raspberries! You just took me back to summer as I am about to head out into the 2 degree garden! Beautiful.

  13. The cook need a night off occasionally, at the cook’s discretion of course! They need to learn to fend for themselves, it’s responsible parenting! Well that’s my case and I’m sticking to it. All that lovely produce should keep the hungers at bay…..

    1. But I need to eat too 🙂 . To be fair, they’re very capable of fending for themselves, but when they’re out working until late and I’m just sitting at home it only seems right that I should cook. Beats getting on a tractor.

  14. My poor mother made comments like yours across my childhood, and I now feel terribly for not sufficiently appreciating the effort and frustration involved in meal preparation – especially for people who didn’t necessarily offer the thanks they could / should have! I have days where my dinner creativity is zilch. Berries, on the other hand, I’m always up for 🙂

    1. I’m guilty of the same. As children we thought it terribly unfair that we had to set the table and wash up – I don’t think I gave a moment’s thought to how long it had taken to prepare the meal.

    1. That sounds so familiar. It’s like getting ready for a big party when there’s food everywhere but it’s all for the party and there’s actually nothing for supper that evening.

  15. Those berries! They look amazing and delicious!

    After my daughter was born, I made it a point to corral my husband on a weekend and write out a meal plan. We do the grocery list at the same time and then the plan is left on the fridge in a visible place. Whoever gets home first can then start the prep without any tedious “What do you want for dinner?” “I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?” discussions. Sometimes we wing it and sometimes takeaway just calls our name, but on the whole it’s successful. With #2 on the way, I may need to change the approach though and start stocking the freezer for the randomly timed meals we are all sure to eat 🙂

  16. Ahh dinner. It can be completely numbing sometimes can’t it. Every. Single. Night….something healthy and nutritious?
    I do a similar thing to you. Bake all day, bread everywhere. Snacks for lunch boxes sorted, dessert ready to go, granola ready for tomorrow…then dinner eh? Toast with brussel sprouts anyone?

  17. I wish I could trade my blackberries for those raspberries! They’re definitely my favorite. I feel the same way that you do about coming up with a meal “every single night’. My husband isn’t fussy and could eat the same thing night after night but I like a lot of variety – I just don’t like having to think about coming up with something new. Plus, there’s the issue of finding the time to get in the kitchen when I really want to be doing other things.

    1. I like variety too for supper (even though I can happily eat the same breakfast every day) and like you, I find it so annoying when there’s a hundred other things I’d rather be doing than cook supper. Our blackberries are just beginning to ripen so I’m hard pushed to decide which to pick each day.

  18. Hi Anne!

    Tis true – summertime suppertime is often rushed. I like sandwiches this time of year. “I’m fixing myself a sandwich, do you want one? Take it or go hungry.” ;o) LOL You’re right, though, they haven’t looked in the fridge.

    I would love to watch over your shoulder while you cook any of these wonderful foods in the pictures.

    Is this a new blog theme for you? I thought it was last time I was over, but now I am seeing all these different buttons and I’m quite impressed. It’s cleanly done and thorough. Very pretty. And your pictures are lovely as always.

    Thanks for sharing!

      1. I will check out Ruth’s idea, too.

        Yes, it is different. I like to use a little countertop convection oven in the summer – less heat, but lovely rotisserie chicken and baked goods. In the winter, I could bake all day and let the oven heat the house. 🙂

  19. Anne, “tumbling tomatoes into salads… still warm from the sun” is one of the best descriptions I’ve read of summer/fresh produce. Thank you! Loved the spontaneity in your IMK post… another reason to delight in this worldwide forum every month, thanks to Celia and gifted writers/photographers such as yourself.

  20. Those raspberries look so yummy! My grandma used to have them in her yard, unfortunately they don’t grow well here. I am about through with my tomatoes but enjoyed eating every day. I had them for nearly every meal…seems to have been an overdoes as I started having problems with my mouth and the doctor told me to lay off the tomatoes!

  21. Yum, Yum, Yum, Yum to the top 4 and LOL to the second! That is when I really appreciate being single and loving have an egg on toast when I don’t feel like baking! Liz x

    1. I suspect that if I only had to cook for myself that I would eat an awful lot of egg on toast – perhaps alternated with baked beans on toast.

  22. your fresh produce looks gorgeous – and your cartoon really struck a chord – I love cooking but in my own time and letting my whims lead me – some days I would happily go without dinner or just eat a few raw veg but others demand it

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