Bought a great cookbook last weekend - not as silly as the hilarious Cooking with Men in Mind I found a couple of months ago but still fun. Cocina Mexicana it's called. It was published in San Francisco in 1969, and is full of beautiful and colourful Mexican-style artwork. I don't know how it found its way over here to Barter Books in Alnwick, or even how many of the originals were published, but I would love to find out.


While looking for something else entirely, came across the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, California. What a fabulous idea - it may be something that's really well known in the US, but over here it's never made the headlines. It should.

Even though I only have a back yard, one of the best things is being able to grow food in it (stuff like herbs, courgettes, lettuces and chillies in the summer), and then use it in my cooking. It's a wonderful feeling to know that you're creating a meal with something that you've also grown and looked after. Even when we move and I no longer have an outside space, I'm going to investigate windowboxes - lettuces, salad greens, herbs - you can still grow all sorts. And it tastes so much better!


Well, Coronation Chicken was a resounding success. And dead easy to make too - I used a recipe from BBC Good Food in the end, so it probably wasn't 1950s authentic (especially as it had fromage frais rather than mayonnaise in!). I couldn't work out what fruit to add - I'd seen some recipes with apricot, mango, cherries, raisins...the list was endless. In the end I went for black grapes, as they looked pretty!

The Eurovision Song Contest was fab. As always. Greece was definitely my favourite....


Still on about 50s-style food, the website for Heinz salad cream is wierd! Is it really such a cult product in France? I never knew there was such a history to it either...


Here's what I'm considering making for our 1950s Jubilee Eurovision party on Saturday (the top event of the year!):

cheese and pineapple on sticks (in a silver hedgehog, natch)
cheese and pickled onions on sticks
sausages on sticks
coronation chicken salad
cucumber sandwiches (with the crusts cut off, of course)
stuffed tomatoes
green salad (with old fashioned floppy lettuce) with a side order of salad cream
sliced pickled beetroot
bread and butter
fairy cakes

I might need to start making some of this lot 'ahead of time', as Julia would say. That is, when I've found a good recipe for trifle and coronation chicken. I was looking in Marguerite Patten's Cookery in Colour ast night, and that's got some wierd and wonderful 1950s stuff in it - they were really keen on things in moulded in aspic!


Discovered Nisperos recently. I'm a sucker for fruit on special offer at Safeway. This one's like a cross between an apricot and a plum, and is Spanish. Tastes very nice but is really juicy. Would probably make nice jam...


Whilst looking for something else entirely (1950's recipes for a Jubilee Eurovision party - more on that later) I came across leitesculinaria.com which has some interesting recipes and articles on food, especially Portuguese stuff. I think I might try making the codfish balls (Pastéis de Bacalhau), mainly because I've got some salt cod in the cupboard left over from experimenting with ackee and saltfish, and I've no idea what to do with it!


Came across an interesting interview with Anthony Bourdain at amazon, while idly surfing for yet more cookery books. I read his Kitchen Confidential (which explains now why we've got Global knives on our wedding list...) and I'd like to read his Cook's Tour, but have an aversion to buying books in hardback. Not sure I'd be cut out for life as a chef though.


Enforced absence due to nasty cold. Food just doesn't taste like much at all when that happens.

I've become obsessed with making my own bread recently. It's Jamie Oliver's fault, as I've said already. But it's just so easy, and there are so many recipes to try. I want to make a bread bowl next. I'm intrigued as to whether it'll taste anything like the bread bowl I had filled with clam chowder at a tiny place in Pismo Beach a couple of years ago.


I've decided I'm bored with sandwiches. I need some more interesting ideas for fillings, or come to think of it an entirely different thing to each for lunch. Whatever it is, I'm definitely fed up with tomato and cheese.

I've discovered the Hapless Chef Game. Quite amusing.