Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Inspiration

A friend sent me some flowers last week.  They are starting to fade. What was last week a tight bud full of promise became a beautiful full boomed rose and is now fading, 

Wispy brown curls form around the outside petals. I love this point .. the faded elegance.  I suppose it really captures a style I want for the house.

Rather than tackle the project from the minute we got in we’ve sat back and lived with the 1980’s décor, carpets, and popped buckets out to catch the rain because despite getting it repaired as best we can there are holes in the roof.  This spring will see the 140 year old roof come off and we will reuse as much of the original slate as possible and put a new one on.


When the new roof is on I can set to on the more interesting side .. painting, stripping the floors,  and all the creative bits.  The recipe book I am working on now is inspired by my house and the vintage feel and so l have been looking for inspiration to decorate and stumbled upon a fabulous book Shabby Chic Inspirations in Waterstones about three weeks ago by Cambridge born and bred Rachel Ashwell. I opened the book and instantly fell in love. 


I’ve since found out that she has a store in Notting Hill  .. so I am off to have a look later in the week.  In the mean time I have been inspired to make some rose marshmallows. 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Award Winning Marmalade Recipe



I know, I know .. my jam pan needs cleaning and if you have any suggestions on what to use then do leave a comment  .. you see I'm impatient and I just had to use it to make some marmalade today so it's been christened.  It was my valentine gift from my husband.  Very romantic ... and of course the best gifts satisfy a little self interest  .. he does love marmalade!

It is the last week you can get Seville oranges and I picked up a huge bag yesterday from my local greengrocer for just £1.30 per kg ( listen to his advice here ). Nothing beats making marmalade.  Oh the smell of the oranges as you slice them - the intense vapour filling the kitchen is the smell of sunshine. For me it is a promise of the summer to come. it't  is such a British institution that in the Second World War despite terrible danger Sir Winston Churchill kept the route for the orange boats open so we could keep on making our jars of delicious heritage. It’s really rather romantic when you think about it.

I keep on meaning to enter one of my pots into the Marmalade awards that are next week. Of course me being me I have missed the deadline to enter .. but still I like the idea..  maybe next year ! 

I must say though, that the thing that I love most about the whole process has to be the divine smell of oranges infusing throughout the house. The sweet treacle citrus scent permeates the fabrics and lingers so each time walk back into the house it l reminds me of the stash of treasures pots hidden in the cupboard -  like jewels they are translucent as they are brought out into the sunlight .. but the true reward has to be the beautiful stash of amber jelly swirled with candied peel that dance across your hot toasted sourdough. The cold butter melting with the sweet and sour crunch washed down with a steaming cup of fresh coffee  - no wonder it is my ideal breakfast.


So if you are even vaguely considering making marmalade .. do it ..  it is well worth a dash to your local grocers to catch the last crate lurking at the back of the store. I will say though that there are some things worth remembering when you make marmalade.  Remember to get some fabulous jam jars .. I buy mine from the Jam Jar Shop .. it's not far from where I live .. but they deliver locally and next day delivery is what you need.  Oh and you should always use fresh oranges and cook the fruit really well before you add the sugar.  

I really fancy making some orange curd and am quite determined not to read the details in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe in this article here in case I unwittingly copy it as I develop my own recipe. .. no doublt his is delicious though!  I also love reading Dan Lepard and Nigel Slaters columns and Nigel talks about the generosity of marmalade makers in a superb article in the Observer .. although I have so say if I gave even one pot of marmalade away it would be grounds for divorce from my husband. I kid you not. 

As I was researching marmalade and chattering on twitter a lovely lady called @VivienLloyd kindly sent me her award winning recipe. Vivian has won numerous first prizes for her preserves at local and national level and in 2008 she won “Best of the Best” for her Seville orange marmalade at the World’s Original Marmalade Festival. Vivien’s winning recipe is also featured in both her new book, First Preserves.  It's is superb book, with clear type, easy to follow instructions with lots of really fabulous tips.. . even for a veteran marmalade maker like me!

So I must pot up today's batch and then make my final batch using Vivian's Recipe in my new pan and stash them for the coming year.  In the mean time I have to show you my gorgeous personalised chalk board that was sent to me courtesy of Not on the High Street.  It's so useful and arrived beautifully wrapped.  There are lots of design choices and of course you can have any working .. but I chose to have Vanessa Kimbell's Kitchen .. just in case anyone momentarily forgets where they are !



Seville Orange Marmalade
675g (1lb 8oz) Seville oranges 

1 Lemon

1.4kg (3lb) granulated, cane sugar

1.75 litres (3 pints) water.

Method

Juice the oranges and pour the juice with the water into a large, lidded pan with a capacity of 7 litres. Remove the inner membranes and pips from the oranges. Do not remove the pith from the oranges.


Juice the lemon and add the juice to the pan. Put the orange membranes and the lemon halves into a food processor or mini-chopper and chop finely.


Put  the chopped membranes, chopped lemon and  any pips  into a  33 cm x 33cm piece of thin cotton muslin. Tie this up with string and add to the pan.
Slice the oranges and add to the pan- thinner peel releases more pectin during cooking than thicker.  If possible, leave the pan overnight to allow the fruit to soak. Next day, bring the lidded pan to boil, turn down the heat and simmer very gently for two hours.

The peel should be tender and the contents of the pan reduced by a third. Remove the muslin bag and squeeze the liquid from the bag back into the pan through a sieve, using a large spoon.

Warm the sugar in a low oven. Add the sugar to the pan and dissolve. Bring to a rolling boil and test for a set after 7 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Remove any scum from the surface of the marmalade. Pour into sterilised jars and cover with new twist top lids. Alternatively, seal the jars with waxed discs and when cold, apply cellophane covers secured with elastic bands.

Makes around 2.25kg/5lb

Other recipes for marmalade
Elegance On a Shoe String









Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Instant Vanilla Pancake Mix


Instant Vanilla Pancake Mix

There are moments when you need to walk in the door and make something without any fuss – something fast, delicious and pleasing to all. Whether you’ve just invited extra children home for tea, or you’ve come in from an afternoon in the garden, pancakes are universally welcome and instant – especially if you’ve got your mix already prepped.

Makes 8 batches (1 batch makes 6 pancakes)
Prep time 5 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes
Suitable for freezing No


For the mix
1kg flour
200g Vanilla Sugar
8 tsp baking powder
4 tsp mixed spice
4 tsp sea salt


To make 1 batch of pancakes
150g pancake mix
240ml semi-skimmed milk
2 eggs
1 tbs vegetable or rapeseed oil, per pancake for frying


1 Sieve all the mix ingredients together and really mix well. Transfer into a large, clean, airtight jar.

2 Put the 150g of pancake mix into a bowl; add the milk and 2 eggs. Whisk.

3 Heat the oil in a frying pan. Pour in batter from a jug to whatever size/thickness you want and roll gently to cover the pan evenly. Turn the heat down to low and allow the pancake to cook for about  1 minute. Turn the pancake over (feel free to do a fancy flip once you’ve made sure the pancake isn’t stuck!) Cook the opposite side and serve.

TIPS & USES
• I serve my pancakes with lashings of maple syrup and sautéed apples in butter topped with ice-cream. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Longing for spring


I don’t know how other people are feeling .. but I am just longing for spring.  I was flicking through my photos and a great surge of emotion waved over me as pictures of apple blossom, cheery trees, bluebells tulips and picnics danced across the screen.

Sigh.  I can’t wait much longer!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Orange and Pecan Sourdough

The perfect start to Valentines Day 
For me the perfect Valentines day is breakfast in bed. A cup of tea, some fabulous hot buttered toast, with marmalade and a great book!

However I had no sourdough ready in time to make my bread in time for Valentines day as my starter was ruined.  It's a long story but the short version is my freezer defrosted and yet still had a light so 9 days later my frozen stuff was well and truly disgustingly defrosted.  With so little time I was stuck and so I called an amazing baker who inspired and helped me to make my own bread again years ago ( 2006!)  called Andrew Whitley who wrote Bread Matters


Andrew kindly sent me  some of his starter in the post.  Unfortunately my dog got hold of the packet and chewed one half of it .. but I cut away the un chewed part and managed to rescue it and get it going !

Ingredients
200g of unbleached flour strong bread flour
200g of wholemeal strong bread flour
200ml of tepid water
1 tps sea salt
Zest of one large orange
75 g of pecans
1 tbs of polenta for dusting
2 – 3 tbs of olive oil

1 To make the bread add one nugget of starter to 200ml of tepid water.  You might need another 10 ml. Mix the nugget of starter with the water until a paste is formed then add the flour. Leave for about 20 minutes.

2 Gently knead on a lightly oiled surface for 2 minutes.  Leave again for about an hour or so.

3 Knead again adding the salt, orange zest, and pecans. Shape into a ball and leave to prove in a breadbasket, covered with a damp cloth.  There is no need to knead it lots! I leave mine for about 5 – 6 hours, until it is half raised. Check that the bubbles are formed by cutting a small slit in the dough with a sharp knife.

4 Score the bread with a pattern of your choice and put it gently onto a baking sheet dusted with polenta and transfer into a hot oven 190 with a pan of water underneath.  The steam encourages a crusty crust.   It’s that simple.

5 After 30 minutes check the bread is cooked by tapping the base.  It should sound hollow.


To make a starter

Use a glass jar or a suitable vessel with a lid.
Blend I cup of warm water and I cup of unbleached strong flour
Place in jar and keep at between 28 and 32 degrees. Do not exceed 38 degrees.

This comes to life. Every 24 hours or so for up to seven days half the mix, throw away one half and add half a cup of flour and half a cup of water again, repeat for at least three days, it will start to cake and bubble. This is normal.

Really the longer you feed it for the better, but look after it! You can store it after the first week in the fridge, keep feeding though and make sure there is a hole for air to vent, if a brown liquid appears either pour off or stir in, stirring in will increase the sourness.

Then that’s it - you have the sponge.  What baker Dan Lepard taught me was to batch freeze nuggets of this about 45 – 50g to and use them, as you need them.  From one of these you can restart your sponge to make the next lot to freeze.  Use wholemeal flour to get the best results!


Anyway I must say that between Andrews starter and Bakery bits dome and Dan teaching me the bread was delicious!



The Bloggers Voluntary Code of Fair Practice





Over the past couple of years I’ve learnt such allot about blogging.  I’m the first to admit I blundered about a bit at first, not really knowing any rules other than don’t write anything you could get sued for!

As time has gone on I read and hear lots and there are some fabulous blogs out there, but on the odd occasion, often through wanting to promote something we love or we forget ( I know I have) or even that we are new to blogging we can make mistakes.

One of the most difficult areas is the copywriting of recipes. I for one have never minded people who tested my recipes publishing them.  It served a great purpose by providing back links and establishing me quickly.  That said people always asked me if I minded the recipes being used.  Fair play  ... because often they would take me a day to develop and write .. not to mention the cost of ingredients! 

I think that it is right to be asked though.   When I first published my book there were all sorts of deals that went on .. mostly involving exclusivity and I know that one deal that meant some amazing media exposure was seriously threatened when one of the “exclusive” recipes was seen online published be a blogger. (yes I had given permission) but the magazine didn’t see it that way.  It was no longer an exclusive.  

Bloggers don’t write beautiful posts endorsing the writer and book if they don’t love the book and the writer. It's such a thrill and a compliment to written about al all !

However writing a full recipe in a well meaning blog post can cause some serious problems when the writer is contacted to be exclusive.  Behind the scenes I've leant that there are deals, and contacts that are agreed, and these can be very sensitive in a highly competitive arena .. so having your livelihood used as content by an adoring blogger means that you are stuck between a rock and a hard place  .. you can't win.  You look unreasonable to the blogger whilst your means to earn a living is under threat.  Rock, hard place, rock.  

Then there is the problem of sponsored posts.  I read a superb post here on how to write a good sponsored post… but what is sponsored?  Well basically anything you were given free.  It’s just not fair to mislead people by not mentioning it.  It’s also in my view unprofessional. Although I will admit that I was rather wooly with what constituted sponsored to begin with !

I read lots of articles on Google and there are all sorts of laws that cover blogging and no I don’t profess to understand all the copy write laws or the trading standards rules.. I do understand however what is truthful and right.
It’s not an area that can be policed, and really who would want to?  So I thought and thought about it, and called several friends to ask their opinions, and came up with the fact that any standards have to voluntary and easy to follow.

Then I changed my mind.  Who am I to suggest such a thing?  Am I setting myself up to be shot down in flames by angry bloggers suggesting with indignation that this is all so blindingly obvious?   But then when I first started blogging it wasn't obvious, and how do I show that I have integrity quickly unless people are intimately familiar with your blog .. then how do you know the the writer who's blog you are reading is fair and upfront?  So here is what I am going to do.  I am going to set out a simple idea:


The Bloggers Voluntary Code of Fair Practice. 

It has three simple rules.  

1) If you have been sent something for free or had any kind of payment in kind you must declare it in an obvious way.

2) The second is that before reproducing any work, or photograph or recipe that you have permission from the publisher / author.

3) The third ( optional ) rule is that you pop the badge on your site and link back to the original rules here.

This is totally self-policing and voluntary. Nobody owns it or is in charge.  
It is not meant to cause anyone to be hung drawn and quartered for forgetting one of the rules .. however if you find you have made a boob .. it’s pretty quick stuff to correct it!

I hope it will be used as a sign of fair practice. Please let me know what you think. 

Vanessa
x



PS It did not occur to me as I wrote this until an anonymous comment was made saying that asking to link back to this post was self profiting. However I appreciate that it could be seen as so I have made it  an optional rule but would REALLY appreciate it if you did link back so people could read what this badge is about and what it means to use it !! 

PPS  Anyone who comments confirming they wish to participate and would like a link to their site added to this post please email me your blog url to recipes@VanessaKimbell.com and I'll add your site to this post 


Participants 

A Small Holding
Belleau Kitchen
Carmelas Kitchen
Charlottes Kitchen Diary
Chilli and chai
Choclogblog
Chouxchouxbedoo
Corner Cottage Bakery
Exploits of a food Nut 
Farmers girl
Goddess On a Budget
Grazing Kate
Lavender and Lovage
L'heure du The
London-unattached
Pebble Soup
Magnolia Verandah
Marks Veg Plot
Misk cooks
Not Just any old Baking
The Hungry Manc
the secluded tea party shhh
Vanessa Kimbell



Friday, 10 February 2012

La Cloche Bakery Dome


I was asked recently by Bakery Bits to review a new product called La Cloche  .. a bakery dome.  I love making my own bread.. especially sourdough and I worked in a bakery in the south west of France  .. gosh  .. erherm years ago, so the claims of how it could transform your bread really caught my eye.  I was somewhat sceptical about what I'd read when I was at a sourdough baking class with Dan Lepard at Little Portland Street I asked him what was so fabulous about it  ...

Dan Lepard talking about La Cloche by Bakery Bits (mp3)

Of course Dan was right.  I will never go back .. now I have my dome.  There have been several things I  have noticed about my bread since I have started using it.  The bell traps the steam which  maintains an even baking temperature which mean the my bread had a superb crust and more importantly stayed fresh for an extra 24 hours.


Based on ancient Greek and Roman baking traditions, the La Cloche is made from Superstone®, which is a natural stoneware, fired at over 1000°C. It is oven and freezer proof and is easy to clean, requiring only to be soaked in warm water so that any baked on food may be scraped off.

So whilst I am not prepared to part with mine(!)  the good people at Bakery bits kindly offered me one to give away to one of my readers so to win a dome simply tell me what kind of bread you would like to bake. 


RULES
Please see competition Rules before entering. This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 with a UK mainland address.  The winner will be chosen using an online randomiser and announced on this page on 2nd March 2012 You need to have a profile the allow mw to get back in touch however please do not include your email in the actual comment as well.

This competition on behalf of Bakery Bits and they will be responsible for organizing the prize with the winner. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

There is one main way to enter and there are 5 more chances to win .. . and you must leave a separate comment for each bonus entry otherwise they will not be counted. 

For a chance to win please comment below and tell me What kind of bread you would bake.

For a second chance to win please tweet this post using the button below and you MUST comment with your twitter ID telling me you have done so.

For a third chance to win please follow me @VanessaKimbell on Twitter and comment below to tell me you have done so.

For a fourth chance to win tweet me @VanessaKimbell and tell me what kind of bread you would bake

For a 5th Chance to win Follow @BakeryBits on Twitter


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Pippa Middleton Spotted Buying Prepped


Despite being full of a cold I can't help smiling. I had a call from someone whilst I was having my hair done yesterday when I heard that Pippa Middleton buying a copy of Prepped at Rococo Chocolates.  Of course under normal circumstances I would have been highly sceptical  .. really?  Pippa Middleton .. buying my book?   but it is true.. and it was tweeted .. as she really bought it. 

My poor hairdresser had to stop cutting as I stood up and waved my hands about with wet hair asking when, how, oh oh gosh (remember to breath) really?  Yes really. 

I have had so many questions, lots about bottoms .. some not so kind about Pippa's own up and coming book.  So to answer the questions  I am seriously delighted. What a lovely friend to tell me, and thank you to my twitter friends who are equally delighted!

Pippa, I very much hope you enjoy Prepped and I wish you all the very best in writing your own book.  I promise to buy yours too. 

Vanessa
x

Here is just a snippet of my time line today ! 



Wednesday, 8 February 2012

I'm not going out in that !




I can't tell you how hard I laughed earlier in the weeks as my chickens took one look a the snow and without further ado turned around and headed back into the hut. I must admit I wish i could have done the same!


Monday, 6 February 2012

The Good Table by Valentine Warner Giveaway


I lost another 2lbs this week on my quest for a slimmer me. That makes 15lbs so far this year, and I am starting to feel the benefits already. It was sooo cold last week but I picked the pretties bunch of snowdrops from the garden that kept me company on my dest as I worked.  Sadly it's the end of the game season and so just before the snow came down I made Valentine Warner’s Venison stew from his new book The Good Table. .  It was utterly delicious. (as recommended too by London Unattached )  … and such a struggle to keep to just one serving !

I met Valentine Warner a few weeks ago at Mark Hix’s restaurant on a lunch to promote British game.  Certainly the meal was delicious and I found Val a much more charming person than on TV.  He was fun, knowledgeable and far wittier than I had expected. 




To be honest I haven’t always been that keen on Valentine’s TV shows or the accompanying books.  He’s been one of those writers I could take or leave. Not that they weren’t good books but  I think that in the beginning I thought he was almost too young for his own style,  his humour seemed to be almost too large for life. It rankled me.  Even now as I write this I am flicking through his What to Eat Now and What to Eat Now More Please books they still don’t do it for me.

That said,  I have been taken totally by surprise with his latest book The Good Table that Val kindly gave to me after lunch.  I was expecting to flick through, smile politely and assign it to the keep this for reference shelf; however, to my surprise it is one of the best recipe books I’ve come across in a long time. Perhaps it is because it not accompanying a TV show or maybe he has grown into himself  .. whichever  .. it really is a great read.  The Good Table is honest, with real humour and personality, written in a more informal, delicious and more relaxed style that made me what to take the book to bed…  and then get up to cook.  The photos are sharp.  You can see what you are making.  The layout is easy on the eye, its been designed to cook from, and thankfully there is space to breath as the designers haven’t felt the need to cram every inch.

Recipes include as Toad in the Hole or Paella, classic dishes such as Beef Suet Pudding or a Brandy Snap with Berries, or recipes from far-flung shores such as Lapland Fish Soup and a Spanish dish of Chorizo in Cider. Inspired I popped off to my local game merchant Anthony Garret in Flore and then made the Venison curry from page 79.  So if you have previously loved Valentines work  .. this is his best book yet by far.. and if you are not so keen .. take another look ..  he’s more of vintage wine kind of a chap  .. and he’s really on top form in this fabulous book that has made it onto the kitchen bookshelf .. to join the books I cook from every day.

Extract from The Good Table and Venison Curry Recipe




Serves 4

a large handful of shaved dried coconut or 3 tablespoons unsweetened desiccated coconut

40g ghee or butter

2 small red onions, finely chopped

1 cinnamon stick (about 4cm long)

6 black peppercorns

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 large thumb-sized piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

4 cloves 
1 teaspoon fennel seeds 

2½ teaspoons hot chile powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ star anise 
½ teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon garam masala

3 tablespoons tomato purée

500g venison fillet (be it red, fallow, sika, roe or muntjac), cut into medium cubes

300ml coconut water or water
juice of
½ lime 

shredded coriander leaves, to garnish
rice,
paratha or naan bread, to serve




On a trip to Sri Lanka, I stopped for lunch at a lean-to with a couple of grubby plastic chairs and tables set before it. Behind a small gas stove were a scrawny man and his wife. I asked what I could have and the vendor immediately did a bizarre impression of some creature, which I took time to realise was a deer. 
I gave him a nod and a thumbs up. A little dish arrived with small pieces of the tenderest meat bathed in a sharp, rich red gravy covered with toasted shavings of coconut. It was delicious and unbelievably hot, by which I mean it tore off the lid of my head.

As I chased the last smear across the plate with a kind of sour pancake, the police arrived on the scene and immediately started poking around the couple's field kitchen. One of the officers came up to me and, in English, asked: 'What it is are you having?' 'Lunch', I replied. 'No' he said pointing at the plate, and so I told him, as I had been, that it was 'of the forest', very good too, and he was welcome to join me for lunch.
It turned out that cheffy was also a poacher and I had just unwittingly enjoyed a very small and unfortunately endangered miniature deer. Cook and wife were taken away with a coolbox full of, no doubt, evidence and the policeman demanded I settle the bill with him. I felt a certain sympathy for the cook, as obviously hand-to-mouth applied to not just his job but his whole life, yet as a poacher, surely, it was a bit silly to reveal the true nature of his incriminating ingredients. 

The meat was tender because it was cooked very briefly rather than the tenderness that results from a long, slow cook. Therefore, it is essential that you do not overcook the meat. Venison has next to no fat and fillet will seize up suddenly and go past the point of no return. Ghee is Indian clarified butter and is widely available from shops and supermarkets. Coconut water is not the same as the coconut milk found in a can but the water that is in the centre of a fresh coconut. 

In a dry frying pan, gently toast the coconut until you notice the first signs of it colouring. Allow to cool.
Melt the ghee or butter in a wok or pan (the lighter and thinner the metal, the better, as it is closer to using Indian cookware such as a balti). Throw in the onions and cook fairly briskly with the cinnamon and peppercorns until softened and deep golden, taking care not to burn them.
Using a pestle and mortar, or blender, crush the garlic, ginger, salt and all the remaining spices into a fine paste and combine with the tomato purée. 
Add the curry paste to the onions and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Do not let it burn. Add the meat and briskly sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the coconut water or water and lime juice and bring to a rapid simmer for 4 minutes, or until you have a thickish gravy. Remove from the heat and scatter with the coconut and coriander. Serve with rice, paratha or naan bread.

I am delighted to be able to offer one of Valentines Books as a giveaway  All you need to do is tell me who you would cook for. 

RULES
Please see competition Rules before entering. This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 with a UK mainland address.  The winner will be chosen using an online randomiser and announced on this page on 2nd March 2012 You need to have a profile the allow mw to get back in touch however please do not include your email in the actual comment as well.

This competition on behalf of  Octopus Publishing and they will be responsible for organizing the prize with the winner. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

There is one main way to enter and there are  5 more chances to win .. . and you must leave a separate comment for each bonus entry otherwise they will not be counted

For a chance to win please comment below and tell me who you would cook for if you won this book  

For a second chance to win please tweet this post using the button below and you MUST comment with your twitter ID telling me you have done so.

For a third chance to win please follow me @VanessaKimbell on Twitter and comment below to tell me you have done so.

For a fourth chance to win tweet me @VanessaKimbell and tell me if you who you would cook for 

For a 5th Chance to win Follow @ValentineWarner  on Twitter

For a 6th Chance to win follow @Octopus_Books 



Thursday, 2 February 2012

Make someones day with a Random act of Kindness


I believe we have a social responsibility.  I believe that when we are privileged that we should use part of our time to do something for someone else.  I believe that foodies are naturally sharing and generous by nature.  Cooks like to feed people. So My Random Soups of Kindness is a way anyone can make a difference.



We all feel for animals, and children and there are so many people in need.  I’m asked constantly to help orphans in far away lands and other people in need  ...  and I do donate as much as I can when it is possible. However right here on our own doorsteps there are vulnerable people.  So I am asking if you have just a moment to take some soup to an elderly resident near you.  Just a few minutes can make someone’s day, and today I made double my usual Pumpkin and dill soup and took a jar over to Shelia and Pat who live across the way.  Both were so pleased to see me and delighted with their soup!

 












































I stayed a while with Shelia and asked her advice to other eighty five year olds.. you can listen to her chatting below in the Audioboo.  She shared stories of the four Drummond sisters who were friends of the queen mothers who used to live in my house and she showed me a photo of her brothers and sisters .. all who are long since departed.


Just half an hour. Thirty minutes with a bowl of hot soup and some laughter and I felt wonderful. Older people have such a great perspective on life .. so please do take part in the Random Soups of Kindness … or even a random bake of kindness if you can’t face making soup then make a cake and have a cup of hot tea -  go on  TAKE PART and make someones day! 

  

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Random Soups of Kindness- Challenge


Minus 4 tonight my husband has just breezily announced.  It only serves to remind me that I’ve been worrying about a couple of people in my village with the cold snap. I just read an article that said that Nine elderly people died every hour from cold-related illnesses last winter against a background of soaring energy bills.

The official figures showed that the number of deaths linked to cold over the four-month period reached 25,400 in England and Wales, plus 2,760 in Scotland.

Charities and energy company critics claim the UK has the highest winter death rate in northern Europe, even worse than much colder countries such as Finland and Sweden.

And here I am in my warm( ish) house, eating my supper, and I got hit by a lightening bolt of a thought.  I heard that there are over 60,000 food blogs in the UK.. so I’m challenging you right here right now to make a difference and take part in Random Soups of Kindness. We Bloggers are a community and we can make a serious difference as individuals or as a group.  

If you know and elderly person or couple who are close to you, even if you have never ever spoken to them, take them some hot soup.  I‘ve approached my favorite supermarket to see if they might be able to offer the busier / non cooking types amongst us to donate some tinned soup .. but I am asking you can you help?  Take a moment.

If you can take part I’d be utterly delighted and will do a round up post with all the recipes and stories here in 3 weeks time o he 22nd February  ... and who knows what good your bowl of soup will do .. I KNOW we can make a difference as food bloggers unite.

To take part just add your comment below e-mail me recipes@VanessaKimbell.com and write your blog post about what soup you make ( a recipe would be great or just which tin you choose)  and who you took it to ...  with a link back to this page and display the logo in your post. 

I’m off to make some Butternut squash and dill soup for an elderly lady that I am worried about across the street.


Vanessa
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