I came across a recipe for fresh butter on The Simple Spatula the other day, and it inspired me to try it for myself. I have made butter only once before. It was 1985. I was wearing charm necklaces and knee-highs and saddle shoes and still had naturally platinum blonde hair. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. McGee, was teaching us about food science. I remember little about this section of lessons apart from a series of glass jars filled with different food bits (apples, cheese, oreos) that we monitored every day for mould growth, weird smells and other changes that make wide-eyed 5-year-olds squeal…. And I remember making butter.

We sat in our sharing circle on the itchy, brown standard-issue school carpet and tried to sit still as Mrs. McGee explained that we were going to change the milk in the giant mason jar she was holding into butter. And then she started to shake it. She shook it to her left and right and above her head, and after a little while, she passed it to one of my classmates. And shaking commenced. I don’t remember how long it took 13 kindergartners to churn butter, but I remember holding that huge glass mason jar full of cream in my tiny paws. My finger tips barely reached around the glass and I remember how carefully I had to shake it for fear of dropping the thing and ruining the butter experiment for everyone. And sure enough, by the end of the afternoon, we had created butter. (more…)

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Flex! Mussels are the seasonal food of the week and I freakin’ love mussels so that’s what we ate for Friday night dinner. I’ve heard lots of horror stories about people preparing mussels for their friends and, later on, the lot of them battling their digestive demons. So I made sure to take proper care not to poison Jonny or myself. I gave my fresh mussels a good rinse in cold water, removed their beards (ouch!) and tossed any broken or unresponsive creatures out (if the shell is half opened and doesn’t close after a couple minutes in the water or a nice tap on the counter, it’s no good).

How on earth did I create a steaming mussel dish for two for less than a fiver? Well, even though restaurants like to charge a lot for them, you can get them for incredibly reasonable prices. We picked up a bag of fresh bivalves for £2.02 today (on special £2.29/kg, normally £3.49/kg), and with the fresh linguine (£1.19 for 250g), parsley (79p), lemon (15p) and a baguette for some garlic bread (89p) we came in at just pennies over £5. (more…)

Cookies. Biscuits. Call them what you will. I love them. All of them. I’m a sucker for the classics but I’m always up for baking up new kinds, because who knows when you’ll discover a new addiction! I’m craving something delicious and dainty to go with a lovely cup of tea. Passion fruit is the seasonal food of the week, so I’ve decided to make up a new cookie.

passion fruit ~ the fruit of the gods

I picked up 4 passion fruits for £2.75 but you can find them cheaper if you buy a bulk pack. A 250g block of butter is about £1, and the rest of the ingredients I had on hand. But for budget’s sake, I figured the cost of the amount of flour used costs 13p; icing sugar is 15p; caster sugar is 15p; 1 egg is 25p; vanilla* is 5p.

Behold, Passion Fruit Angel Cookies. (more…)