Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

Tower of London poppiesUsually my volunteering activities involve sloshing around in mud at my local nature reserve. This month, I was lucky enough to take part in something quite different.

As a volunteer task, planting ceramic poppies in a moat made a change from pulling up invasive scrub from marshland. The venue was a little unusual too. I’m used to wading through the shallows of a lake. Walking through a sea of poppies at the Tower of London was quite surreal.

Easy roast vegetables

Roasted Vegetables RawOf course, another way to cook all those harvest time veggies is simply to roast them.

I baked a small tray here, but you can easily double the quantities and add cubes of aubergine, squash and peppers.


1 red onion or 5 shallots
1 carrot
1 large stick of celery
1 leek
1 courgette
Half a dozen cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil
Olive oil
Coarse ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

Tailor-made copy

Tailor-made copyI was recently asked if my copy is always original or if it has ever been used elsewhere. I assured the enquirer that I write entirely new copy for each and every project.

I will revisit earlier work if I’m trying to locate a nugget of information, but that’s the only time I look at old stuff. I’m only interested in starting a piece of writing from scratch otherwise it wouldn’t be any fun.

Chickpea and bean salad

Chickpea and bean saladAs well as a glut of courgettes, I have nearly a dozen pots of basil growing in the garden. (I got a bit carried away when sowing different types of basil seeds earlier in the year.)

I love basil, and I’ve been using it to make pesto and adding it to spicy tomato pasta sauce. It’s also delicious freshly chopped on salads. And if you’re in need of a fibre boost, try a bean salad.

Word Wall is three: my most popular posts

Copy CookIt’s been three years since I started this blog, and I’ve covered many subjects in this time.

Out of curiosity, I reviewed the statistics for my website to see which blog posts have received the most hits.

Courgette and Basil Soup

Tricolour CourgetteThis year, I’ve got a glut of round courgettes. Slugs chomped a few of the plants, which was probably just as well as I’ve got more than enough courgettes from the remaining plants.

These were grown from Thompson & Morgan ‘Tricolor’ F1 Hybrid seeds. They’re supposed to be a mixture of yellow, green and striped courgettes, but mine were all striped. The courgettes are tasty; the only problem is you turn your back on them for a couple of days, and they’ve suddenly ballooned from golf ball size into footballs.

Turkey Korma

Turkey Korma SauceA friend of mine asked me to investigate korma recipes, and I came across this one for Chicken Korma from the Hairy Bikers.

I didn’t use as many cardamom pods as suggested (12!); I thought six would be plenty. I liked the suggestion made in the comments at the end of the recipe of substituting coconut cream for double cream – I’ll try that next time.

Celebrating the world wide web, on wheels

Carnival Float 2014It’s Carnival time again. This year, dressed as the internet, I drove a colourfully decorated tractor down Fleet High Street on a wet and windy Saturday afternoon.

The theme of the procession was Great British Inventions. The World Wide Web is certainly a Great British invention, but not easy to portray when you only have a small tractor and trailer as your carnival float.

Fish Oil Supplements v. Fish: Italian Fish Stew

Italian Fish StewI’ve recently been reading up on the supposed benefits of taking fish oil supplements. What a confusing subject. As usual, what’s good for you one week is bad for you the next.

The consensus seems to be that you’re better off getting your omega-3 fatty acids from fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. You can also obtain another type of omega-3 from flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and leafy vegetables.

Simple and Striking Self-seeding Flowers

English MarigoldsI love self-seeding flowers. They save me so much time and money as they add a rainbow of pinks, oranges and reds to patches of my garden that would otherwise remain bare.

Then there’s the element of surprise. You never know what’s going to pop up where. Of course, some can become a little too intrusive.

English marigolds (Calendula officinalis)


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