Sam's Kitchen

Living, cooking, drinking and eating by the sea
Bear claws… random things to bake for breakfast using scraps of homemade croissant dough and some chocolate marzipan left over from christmas.

Bear claws… random things to bake for breakfast using scraps of homemade croissant dough and some chocolate marzipan left over from christmas.

The head of our home-made Chinese Dragon (it did have a body, tail and drums; somehow now, mysteriously lost).  The lengths I have to go to get the little ones to eat salt and chilli squid…….

The head of our home-made Chinese Dragon (it did have a body, tail and drums; somehow now, mysteriously lost).  The lengths I have to go to get the little ones to eat salt and chilli squid…….

This is a test photo with my newly re-found camera.  It was indeed in with the lego (for those that have been listening…).  Hopefully we’ll be able to see a plate of lovingly fried whisky flamed haggis with neeps and tatties.  That or a multi coloured lego interpretation of the Berlin Wall.  My 2 year old is truly gifted with a brick. 

This is a test photo with my newly re-found camera.  It was indeed in with the lego (for those that have been listening…).  Hopefully we’ll be able to see a plate of lovingly fried whisky flamed haggis with neeps and tatties.  That or a multi coloured lego interpretation of the Berlin Wall.  My 2 year old is truly gifted with a brick. 

Testing, one, two…

Yes I know it’s been a long time, but please, twitter talk to tumblr…. You know you want to.  

Well, at least this is me.  Had a horrible thought I’d unintentionally hacked into someone else’s account. Sadly, I couldn’t even achieve that. 

Now, just need to go through the toy boxes to find the tumblr & Mac compatible camera and my media relaunch is almost complete. These Fisher Price toys are awfully lifelike.  Once took me a whole day to realise the phone in my bag was actually a magic scratch pad that just looked like an iphone.  Those things can be surprisingly entertaining on the train home and almost as likely to get a signal. 

One, two, testing…

This is really a bit of a test.  For a start, I’m not entirely sure this is going to show up on my blog anyway, if indeed, I can call it my blog after 15 months away from it. Suspect it probably has some European right or other to have formed it own identity or have been taken into care by social media services.  

I digress, not that it matters since there’s no likelihood of anyone reading this, but it was somewhat unnerving that after such a lengthy spell away, I got straight back into Tumblr without even so much as a log in.  Apparently, it remembered me, which is more than I can say about said password.

Anyway, I’m back.  Still by the sea, still cooking, oh, but we do now have an additional child, so there are now four under 7 year old’s in the house, which accounts not a little for my recent leave of action blogwise.  There aren’t going to be anymore, children that is, but I do have a hut on the way.  Indeed it took longer to get the hut through planning than it did to conceive, bear and give birth to Jed. Good job you don’t have to get permission from your local council before you have kids.  Then again…..

My monster homemade Kentish pork and cider pie complete with apple to give scale….

My monster homemade Kentish pork and cider pie complete with apple to give scale….

Into the mouths of babes

I remember the smugness of announcing to all and sundry that MY first born - at the tender age of 12 months - ate everything.  I remember at the party of a fellow parent the entire table stop in awe as my wonder child wolfed down chillies, green vegetables, shellfish and a substantial amount of a particularly pungent epoisses.

Now, currently going through weaning of darling daughter no 3, I’m fully aware that my smugness was premature as that the majority of children attain toddlerhood, hissy fits and a distaste for anything other than sugar at about 13 months. Oddly, in the case of my eldest, with one exception - Mussels.  

I have to say shellfish, along with hard unpasteurised cheese, were two of the handful things I refused to give up whilst pregnant.  I didn’t exactly gorge myself on them but as they are high on my list of favourite foods, they were possibly eaten enough for her to get a taste for them before birth.  Her first voluntary experience at roughly 8 months was sat in a French chateaux making fluttery baby eyes at the adoring waiters whilst shoving fistfuls of mussels a la creme into every available orifice including her own.   

Through the trying twos and turbulent threes I must have had at least 9 in every 10 dishes thrown back at me. Yet mussels were coveted with an exceptionally disconcerting growling sound emitting from her should anyone go near her bowl.  

Aged four, school friends persuaded her that chicken was evil, vegetables were the earth’s bogeys and milk had poo in it coz it came from a cow’s bottom. Still, she braved repulsion and ridicule by insisting on mussels for her birthday tea (we also had fish fingers for those less brave) and ate them with relish in front of her peers.  

She’s 5 now and still the passion remains.  Home from school and about to wreak devastation upon the relatively tidy house with aid of her book bag, school coat and other random items of clothing, she stops dead on spying the fishmonger.  ’It’s almost October now.  Where are the mussels?’  and then wild dancing and yelling as she clocks the 5kg net of shiny black shells.  

The mussels, a few onions, glug of cider (alcohol burnt off; it’s a school night after all!) and a spot of cream later, she’s in heaven. I resist the urge to mention onions are vegetables and the cream is from pooey cows and just tuck into the steaming bowl of mussels with her.  

All hail to the Fish Pie…

It’s been a long busy summer in the kitchen, hence the severe lack of blogging going on around here.  So long in fact my memory took 4 attempts at logging in to recall the password. Well, that’s all about to change.  All the summer wedding buffets have been completed, our first historical food festival done and dusted (ok, so that means we have to start planning next year’s….), the last of our summer staff are off to University and finally, today, the weather is pants.  

By pants I don’t mean rain.  Rain is actually quite exciting down here on the beach.  We don’t get very much but when we do it’s quite spectacular watching it exploding into the sea (not to mention not worrying about watering the herb garden). Even more impressive is a storm or two or even four.  Watching several clusters of lightening and storm clouds gathering over the Dover straits, all of which you know are going to collide at some point, make for far more exciting entertainment than your average night on the telly - not that we have one of course. No TV signals are a possible downside to living at the end of the Isle, but you can’t have everything.  

Fog is also fairly cool too.  It blocks out France for a start (not that I have anything against France you understand - apart from my front garden of course) and usually anything up to a metre off the shore as well. You can’t see the cliffs behind you either, so there you are, stuck on your own dessert Island all be it without the hula girls and the sunglasses.  The only sign of civilisation outside our own door is the ghostly honking of the fog horns to remind you that you’re not alone.    

Windy days have to be one of my favourites.  Apart from the sudden appearance (and even more sudden disappearance) of suicidal windsurfers to wonder at, there is that ozoney seasidy smell in the air that fills your lungs with the type of oxygen that surely soothes your soul.  Plus, when you decide that your lungs, skin and hair have been blasted enough, you can head for a hot chocolate in the warm cozy bar and watch the poor beggars that have been fighting to get into Dover harbour for the past 5 hours.  

So that leaves pants weather.  Days when the sky, the pebbles and even the garden seem to have the same greyness as the council carpark tarmac or, indeed, a particularly worn out pair of rubbish grey pants. It’s neither wet or dry, windy or still and even the sea has lost the power to entice you in for a quick dip after a particularly heavy service in the kitchen.  

I shouldn’t complain.  Days like this are few and far between, twice a year now I think about it, almost as if at the change of the season - summer to autumn, winter to spring - the reset day.  Yep, I can definitely smell autumn in the air, oh, and I put fish pie back on the menu today; first time since February.  That settles it.  Summer’s end. Roll out the casseroles.