Monthly Archives: September 2010

Yum Yum Pigs Bum, Cabbage and Potatoes..

Do you ever find, the most inspiring characters come from back home?! I couldn’t possibly qualify myself to describe Jonny Harty of ‘Hartyculture’ in words. You’ll have to meet him. His entrepreneurial credence, led this Jockey and equestrian expert at heart, to  launch a new enterprise in raised beds recently. He’ll install beautiful wood surround beds, and sow in the crops of your request leaving you to water, weed and talk to them!

I had the pleasure of attending a 30th birthday dinner party lately where he was the nominated chef. It was a a feast like none other I have ever partaken of. A throroughly organic, locally reared, grown and reaped menu, thrown together with the candour and abandon that only the gardener who knows each ingredient intimately, could evoke. No recipes or painstaking processes here.


Home reared Roast Knuckle of Pork with herb Jus, served with Home grown apple and blueberry sauce, Cabbage, and Nastertian flower and Chive mash.

Home grown organic Birthday Carrot and Pecan cake.

Home pressed and brewed Mulled Cider

It’s the first time that I have eaten meat, that I had met! Indeed had seen the owners son riding around on its back. He had a free range, family reared, organic existence and was slaughtered in a low stress responsible manner. All other ingredients were from Jonny’s poly-tunnel, raised beds and local peat bog Blueberry patch. Farewell to the Tesco scrum, scrambling around for your credit card, and fuel emissions to boot, sounds good to me!

The cake was made by busy Mum Marianne, with one carrot, more of a carnip, whose girth was ample for the job, which she had grown in her own raised beds.

My brother had laid claim to a batch of last years locally pressed cider, by turning up at a pertinent time to stand around whilst local apple farmer Gregory McNeice made it!! We find mulling it gives it that sweetener kick it needs, and amply disguises it’s potency!

Happy Birthday Cousin Fi and Thank you for a great evening.. you were looking great.. see above! x



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Autumn’s fecundity

Summer is a bountiful time of year, when gardeners, especially first time ones like me, get to relish their hard earned produce as it arrives wonderfully fresh and personal on their kitchen table. However, autumn’s fecundity is arguably a much more pleasurable reality, as nature quietly conjures up all manner of freely available, edible delights for anyone who might be interested. I have been reclaiming my origins as hunter-gatherer this month (even forgoing tesco for most of it) by foraging for a variety of chutney, pie and jam ingredients. One would expect this to be impossible in the city, but Edinburgh is full of hidden treasures, should you know where to find them. Anything that can’t be found, i have tried to source through work colleagues in the Borders. Thus i am to be found most Saturdays this month tending an enormous bubbling pot of jam or chutney whilst counting my good fortune that my genetic hard wiring appears to include a strong coding for creating food for free.

Number one on the list is blackberries. Widely available on Blackford Hill, i have gathered up around 3 kilos, with a little bit of help from those with a vested interest in the proceeds! These include blackberry wine, apple and berry crumble, and hedgerow jam. Elderberries can be found everywhere, and make a rich wine (that is, if you like tannin, and are prepared to wait at least 3 years).

This is the first year i have tried making rose-hip syrup, which reputedly is good on pancakes and in cocktails. After my first attempt, i am wondering if it is an acquired taste….

Bramley apples can be transformed into a vast array of hearty fodder. This lot ended up in a few apple pies, the aforementioned hedgerow jam, and sage and apple jelly – verdict on the latter awaited whilst it still contemplates setting.

Still to be sourced this season are sloes, crab apples and plums. Any tips, Edinburgh readers?

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Vintage in the Country!

I was ever so excited to hear about the ‘All things vintage’ fair being held at Derry’s in Annaghmore, on Feile FMs ‘Saturday morning show’ with ‘Frock around the Clock’ interviewee Becky Moore.

Being a local girl I endeavoured to visit my Granny and then get on down there, and I did! It really was a treat of all things vintage, from designer vintage frocks and authentic american vintage jewellery, to antique, retro and kitsch collectibles of all descriptions, alongside some incredible repro furniture including outrageous felt covered vignettes and glorious chaise longues.

A Salvage sister day out is not complete without a great tea room with exquisite iced buns to smear into our new collectibles, if we are 1 years old, as my budding salvaging partner Lucia did. She was also very taken with the great live jazz music, creating a fabulous atmosphere for us to bop around whilst my eyes were darting everywhere for the next inspirational find! (pics of my finds to come, as my camera is temporarily on holiday!)

You could even get ahead for your night out with ‘Pin up’ hairstyling available on the day. The beautiful 50’s up styles they were creating are a good thing, as this weeks Sunday Times Style magazine tells me that this is a season to get adult and polished – chic, elegant and grown up are this seasons buzz words apparently.  ‘Think Mad Men Women, soignee 195o’s girls with up dos’ Read more about the stylists, and the fact that UTV will be featuring this great day shortly at the Derry’s blog.

Also dont miss Frock Around the Clock Vintage Fashion and Textile fair at the Holiday Inn, Ormeau Road, Belfast this Sunday the 26th September.

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All photos courtesy of Derry’s own Cathy Haughey so far, as unfortunatley as I mentioned above, my camera went home in someone elses bag from holidays! Miss you!


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A cosy corner

Many will be familiar with the dilemma of a girl and a bloke trying to share a wardrobe. This can range from proportion used, method of (not) hanging, or organisation. So when we moved into our current rental, i was rather pleased to commandeer a little cupboard under the eaves off our bedroom, already fitted with a clothes rail, and conveniently too low for anyone else to comfortably use. My organisational tendencies can all be projected with force upon this little space, whilst at the same time hopefully looking decadent, cosy and inviting.

I have jewellery, scarves, clothes, bags, belts and shoes dangling from every corner, so that putting together a hasty ensemble in the morning in the 5 minutes allocated to the task can actually be achieved, as everything is very visible.

I am a big fan of baskets and old suitcases, so these feature rather frequently. Necklaces are perched on coat hooks, and belts hung  on one of those wooden triangular expandable mug racks. And the finishing touch – fairy lights, which make any place look magical!

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