Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy New Year for 2015.

Well Christmas is well and truly over, hope you had a lovely Christmas.  I love New Year and the fresh start it brings (rather than the party side of things), and so the past week I have been sorting out, planning and getting ready for the year ahead.

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who’s come along and read our blog this year and I hope we can continue to grow it over 2015, we have plenty of ideas.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2015.

Cauliflower, Coconut and Borlotti Bean Soup

Cauliflower, Coconut and Borlotti Bean Soup.  © Sue Todd 2014

Cauliflower, Coconut and Borlotti Bean Soup. © Sue Todd 2014

This one is a blast from our past.  I used to make this soup a lot, but I lost the book in a house move a few years back.  I remembered that it was a book I’d bought in a supermarket a long, long time ago, it took me ages to track it down on the internet, but I found it, here on RecipeSource. Cauliflower and Coconut Soup originates from a book by Jane Suthering, called ‘Sainsbury’s Vegetarian Suppers’ and this recipe is on page 72 apparently – no longer having my copy I can’t verify this.

Cooked cauliflower can be soft and tasteless, but this retains texture and with the spices and apple it makes a versatile and filling winter soup with plenty of flavour.

However I can say that its good, really good.  There’s a number of ingredients for this but it’s fairly quick and easy to put together.  This should serve 4 people.


  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil,
  • 1 onion finely chopped,
  • 1 large carrot, diced,
  • 1/2 pound cauliflower cut into florets (this is about 1/2 large cauliflower),
  • 1 cooking apple, peeled and diced,
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin,
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander,
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric,
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger,
  • 1/4 tsp Tabasco or chilli powder,
  • 1 litre vegetable stock,
  • 2 ounces creamed coconut, grated,
  • 3 tbsps coriander leaves, chopped,
  • 1 can borlotti beans drained and rinsed,
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan, then add the onion and carrot, frying for about 5 minutes.

Then add your cauliflower, the apple and the spices.  Mix it up well and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Next add your stock and bring the pan to the boil.  Put a lid on and simmer the soup for 20 minutes.  If you are using an AGA, you can safely pop this in the roasting oven to cook – ensuring you’ve used an ovenproof pan of course.

After 20 minutes; return the pan to the hob if you are using an AGA, remove the lid and add the remaining ingredients.  Keep stirring and continue to simmer until the beans are heated through and all the coconut has melted.

Additional Notes:

This apparently freezes well though I don’t think I’ve ever done this, as it generally gets eaten in our house with none left to freeze.

You can use any cooked or tinned beans you have to hand instead of the borlotti beans.


We have Onions and Garlic – Garden update

Onions and Garlic © Sue Todd 2014

Onions and Garlic © Sue Todd 2014

I’m pleased to report that all the onions and garlic that Gary planted are not only still present where planted in the garden but are thriving.  We are delighted.  Given that most other produce from the garden was devoured by visiting wildlife it is good to know that we will be getting something out of the garden in 2015 despite the competition.  So our English country garden will have produce for the kitchen next year, phew!

I spent a little bit of time looking at the garden today and actually made it outside into the garden too.  No mean feat at the moment with Gary out of action.  I realised this morning that while the back garden is bathed in sunlight very early in the summer months now in December its at least 10am before the sun makes its way there.  More interestingly is that the sun no longer makes it all the way across the garden now and the beds nearest the house were still covered in frost at 2pm today.  Guess little would have overwintered there then?

Its very good that Gary got those onions in when he did, I can’t see me finding much time for gardening before the new year dawns, so at least a start has been made.  We’ll have to have a couple of evenings planning beside a nice log fire I think.

You know when life doesn’t quite go to plan?

Well life isn’t going to plan at the moment.  After our little blip with ill-health we were looking for a bit of normality, but what is normal after all?  There we were with all kinds of plans for what was coming next and then Gary fell over a wall and down a 3 foot drop breaking his leg in three places in the process!  He’s none weight-bearing until next Wednesday at the earliest and while he’s propelling himself around okay on those now its a little nerve-wracking at times as I ponder what comes next this year!

Fitting the blog in around a house that suddenly seems very large with just one of you to look after it, two spaniels who are used to five outings a day no less, looking after an invalid, keeping the fires going and still putting in the hours working is quite a feat.  However it’s getting easier as we form new patterns.  So while I can’t yet promise daily posts I’m hoping they’ll be more frequent than of late.

Today we woke to our first heavy frost and I came down to find the AGA had gone off!  That made for an unpleasant start to the day.  It wasn’t until I’d filled the kettle and lifted the lid that I realised all was not well, and the warm, cheery blast of heat that I’ve grown to expect was just plain missing.  It was due a service this month but I do rather wish it had waited rather than force the issue.  So today’s plans for cooking have fallen by the wayside, drying oranges in a microwave?? No I don’t think so either.  Hopefully we’ll be up and running again by tomorrow.