Pineapple Lime Refresher

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Here is a sweet, yet clean tasting summer drink.  It blends pineapple and citrus with a hint of honey, and makes for a great treat after a day of gardening.


  • Pineapple Juice 500 ml
  • Lime 1
  • Honey 2 tsp
  • Soda Water 150 ml (or as needed)
  • Ice 1 1/2 cup


Juice the lime and remove any seeds.  Place juice and any bits into blender and add the honey, ice, and pineapple juice.  Blitz until ice is totally broken up and pour 1/2 each into two glasses.  Top up with the soda water.



Ocean Stuffed Peppers

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Here is a seafood/pescetarian dish which is great in the months when there is an abundance of fresh bell peppers. It is much like the meat and rice options, but links salmon and prawns to make a tasty meal.


  • Bell Peppers 2 large
  • Grilled or Poached Salmon 100 g
  • Prawns or Small Shrimp 150 g (cooked and peeled)
  • Rice 1 1/2 cups (precooked)
  • Spring Onions 3
  • Peas 1 Tbs
  • Butter 1 Tbs
  • Tomato Paste 3 Tbs
  • Ground Cumin 1 tsp
  • Garlic Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Dried Parsley 1/4 tsp
  • Ground Black Pepper large pinch

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Preheat oven to 200C/ approx 400 F. Wash peppers, and remove top section (and retain) and dispose of seeds. Place peppers into an oven dish, open side down and place in oven for 30-35 minutes. While the peppers are cooking, melt butter into a frying pan, and dice the onions.  Stir the onions into the hot butter, and allow to soften. Reduce the heat and flake the salmon into the pan, and add the prawns and peas.  Next stir in the herbs and spices. When well mixed add the rice and tomato paste and continue to stir until everything is warmed through and well mixed.  Remove the peppers from the oven, and carefully spoon the seafood mixture into the cavities. Place the pepper cap back on, and return the peppers to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes making sure the peppers have become tender.



Morir Soñando (No Added Sugar Version)

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Morir Soñando is a Caribbean drink which blends orange juice and milk to make a tasty treat.  This non-alcoholic option is similar in flavour to an orange creamsicle or solero. In the Dominican Republic it is typically made with cane sugar and evaporated milk.

This no added sugar version has the same flavour, but without the same “stickiness” on hot days.


  • Milk 400 ml
  • Orange Juice 300 ml
  • Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup (I used Crusha) 1 Tbs
  • Stevia 1 Tbs
  • Ice 1 1/2 cups


Place the ice into a blender, then add the other ingredients. Blitz for about a minute, and then serve.

As a matter of note, the traditional recipe uses a 2 to 1 ratio of milk/orange juice and a full half cup of sugar.  I prefer the slightly more orange taste of the above, though it still works well with the sweetener using the traditional ratio.




Of Evil Queens

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Photo: Once Upon A Time

Snow White was confronted of the nemesis of an evil queen.  This beautiful woman had according to some versions wiled her way into the affections of the king, only to arrange his death and take power.

While not exactly the plot of the fairy tale, Kings and Chronicles give us some fascinating real life stories of such evil queens.  In this case it is the mother/daughter pair, Jezebel and Athaliah.

Jezebel was a Phoenician (1 Kings 16), and while it was a diplomatic triumph for Ahab, King of Israel to make such a strategic alliance through marriage, it underscored his weakness as both king, and as a man of God.  He became increasingly under his foreign wife’s influence, and soon built altars to Baal. Jezebel was well versed in the art of being a despot, and her mark was to be left on Ahab’s kingship.

The extent of her despotism, and her corruption is found in I Kings 21 when she plotted for the death of Naboth in order to obtain his vineyard, for her husband to use as a vegetable field.  She used false testimony and deception to gain her ends. The result was for people (presumably in an act of religious fervour) to kill Naboth for cursing God (a crime he was innocent of).

What she ultimately caused was the downfall of her husband’s reign.  She in turn, meet a terrible end herself, as prophecised by Elijah, with her flesh eaten by dogs.

Her corruption, and its evil impact on Israel, also infected Judah through Athaliah.  Jehoshaphat’s kingdom had already had maritime setbacks because of the good king’s alliance with Ahab (2 Chronicles 20). But the marriage of his heir to Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, proved an even greater threat.

God was not pleased with King Jehoram. He had killed all of his brothers, and according to 2 Chronicles 21 he had forsaken the Lord, the God of his ancestors.  He had also built high places on the hills of Judah and had caused the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves and had led Judah astray.”   The result was invasions of the country from without, and a consuming disease on him personally. The invasions led the the loss of his wealth and children (say for one), and the disease eventually kills him.

On the death of Jehoram, his youngest son Ahaziah took the throne.  This weak king ruled for only one year.  He abandoned the righteousness of Judah, allies with his mother’s line of Ahab, and follows evil counsel: He too followed the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him to act wickedly.  He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father’s death they became his advisers, to his undoing (2 Chron 22: 3-4).”

On Ahaziah’s death (again only a year after coming to power), Athaliah took power herself.

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah.  But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so she could not kill him.  He remained hidden with them at the temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land (verses 10- 12).”

To assure her own position she attempts a purge of all of the royal line of Jehoshaphat. A plan, as we see that is mostly successful, but which failed in the end. In chapter 23, the rightful king with the aid of the priests and Levites is crowned, and Athaliah (like her mother) is killed.  The new king, with the support of the priests and people brought down the evil reign, and went even further, for they tore down the temple of Baal.

And at the Temple of the Lord,  

” . . . Jehoiada [the priest]placed the oversight of the temple of the Lord in the hands of the Levitical priests, to whom David had made assignments in the temple,to present the burnt offerings of the Lord as written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and singing, as David had ordered. He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s temple so that no one who was in any way unclean might enter. . . . All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword (verses 18, 19, 21).”

The line of Jezebel was ended. God was elevated. Evil seemed powerful, but in the end “the wages of sin proved to be death.” It may not be materially so these days, but the account of the costs and consequences of the queens’ evil, are great reminders to us today.



Friday Street Farm Shop

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It has been a while since I did a farm shop review, but as I was able to visit the Friday Street Farm Shop while in the Aldeburgh/Saxmundham area, it seems a good time to post one.  This is a good, middle range farm shop with fresh veg, a butchery, and a quality fishmonger.

The farm shop itself is fairly large with a good selection of fresh veg. The displays are bright and welcoming, and the shelves are full of quirky ingredients, as well as the standards.There is a tasting bar, which on the day of our visit had some very nice humous in various flavours.

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The butchery features Suffolk local beef, free range pork, and free range chicken. Unlike many similar shops, there is not a separate cheese  counter (that we could find). All in all this is a balance somewhere between a high end farm shop and a local grocery. we did like that there was a wide assortment of frozen items from local sources, and a great idea of frozen loose fruit as a “weigh and save” option.

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The complex does have a really good quality fishmongers where we got dressed local crab, samphire, and scallops.  The service was good, and we were given a bag of ice to help get our purchase home as fresh as possible.

The farm also has a pick your own berry area, and a very nice cafe. The cafe had inside and outdoor seating and the coffee was smooth and flavourful.   The scones were large, and tasty, though the butter and jam were rather standard national brands rather than local.

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There is also a pet centre and garden shop.

The Friday Street Farm may not be “high end” or primarily “organic” but it is a good middle range place for fresh fruit and veg, and a must see (if in the area) for seafood.


Pan Fried Scallops with Samphire and Cheese Sauce

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I bought some lovely scallops and samphire at the seaside this weekend, and decided to go all out with this luscious recipe. It is full of rich flavour, colour, and texture, and proved to be a real treat.

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  • Scallops 150 g (about 6 large)
  • Samphire 150 g
  • Butter 4 Tbs
  • Gluten-free Flour 2 Tbs
  • Cheddar Cheese 100 g (mature is best)
  • Milk 200 ml
  • Double Cream 3 Tbs
  • Salt
  • Ground Pepper to taste
  • Water to cover samphire

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In a sauce pan melt the 2 tablespoons of butter, and then stir in the flour until lightly browned. Grate the cheese and slowly stir it in, adding splashes of milk until the cheese melts and the mixture becomes a thick sauce. Sprinkle with pepper.

Bring about 1 litre of lightly salted water to a boil in a separate pan. Place samphire in boiling water for about 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon.

In a medium frying pan heat 2 Tbs of butter, when it is very hot stir in the scallops and lightly tease them about the butter for about three minutes.

Remove the scallops and place on two plates to serve.  Then take the remaining scallop infused butter from pan, and stir it and the cheese sauce along with the cream, stir well.

Dish half the samphire next to each seafood portion, then pour 1/2 the cheese sauce over the samphire and scallops.



Crab and Pasta Salad

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I was able to get fresh dressed Cromer crab while at the seaside, and it gave me the opportunity to make one of my favourite summer treats – Crab and pasta salad. This is an easy dish to make, and is far more luxurious than one might assume.


  • Dressed Crabs 2
  • Pasta 1/2 cup dry (I use gluten-free)
  • Bell Pepper 1 small (I prefer red)
  • Mayonnaise 2 Tbs
  • Horseradish Sauce 1 level tsp
  • Ground Black Pepper large pinch
  • Dried Dill 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste

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Prepare the pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While it is cooking, place the separated crab meat in a medium bowl (retain outer shell), and sprinkle with the black pepper, and dill. Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper and dice into small pieces.  Add the bell pepper to the bowl, and mix well. When the pasta is ready, run under cold water until cool, and then drain well. Add the pasta, mayo and horseradish to the bowel and mix thoroughly. Salt to taste, then spoon the mixture into the crab shell. Serve any excess salad as a side with cucumber and/or tomato.



A Day at Aldeburgh Beach

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The Scallop

We spent a lovely summer day at Aldeburgh Beach in Suffolk. This coastal town in known as the home of the composer Benjamin Britten (see post on The Red House).

Parking on the Thorpeness side of town was easy in a public “pay and display” car park directly opposite The Scallop. The fee was fair at £2.30 for a four hour stay.  Be aware however that blue badge disabled drivers need to pay this as well.

The beach is gravel/pebble but still popular for those laying out in the sun.  There is a hard path that runs between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness and is suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs (strollers), and bicycles.

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Verge of Beach toward Thorpeness

The point of attraction (apart from the beach itself) is the public sculpture known as The Scallop. This 4 metre high metallic sea shell statue is the work of artist Maggi Hambling, and is a tribute to Benjamin Britten.  It is much photographed, and kids on the beach seem to enjoy climbing on it, or pouring gravel down its metal face to make the loud clanging sound as it flows down the surface. The piece bears the words, “I hear those voices that will not be drowned” along an outer edge.  It is a fitting seaside image, and thought.

There are several benches along the paved path, and they offer a good view of the sculpture, and of the beach. Sea views are better from the small dunes, or gravel beach, however.  We sat on a bench and just enjoyed the July sunshine, the cries of the gulls, and a cool breeze on our faces.

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Regatta’s Mermaid

We finished our day by going into the town for a pot of tea and a shared cheese board. We went to the Regatta restaurant, and found it welcoming, high quality, and relaxing. The seaside motifs are evident in the decor, and a very nice mural (including a mermaid) adorn one wall. The service was excellent and attentive. The pot of tea was very  very generous in portion, and the selection of cheeses was outstanding.  While we were only in for a light snack before journeying home, we did see some wonderful dishes served to others. A sole dish with samphire looked especially inviting.  The menu also had a croissant bread pudding with prunes and a caramel sauce which seems amazing.

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Cheese and Tea

We had a lovely day, and this little town still hold much more to explore such as a bean to bar chocolatier, and a fish shop which had a huge queue owing to its popularity.  I, like Arnie, “will be back.”




Tangy Horseradish Potato Salad

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I have to say that this recipe is one of my favourite potato salad combinations. The firmness of the potato pieces and the tangy creaminess of the horseradish and onion, are real winners in my eyes.


  • New Potatoes 400g/ 14 oz
  • Red Onion 1 small
  • Mayonnaise 1  heaped Tbs
  • Creamed Horseradish Sauce 1 heaped Tbs
  • Dried Chives 1/4 to 1/2 tsp
  • Ground Black Pepper large pinch
  • Salt
  • Water to cover


Bring enough water to cover the potatoes to the boil in a medium pan.  Lightly salt and add the potatoes. Book for about 8 minutes, drain and allow to cool. When the potatoes are sufficiently cooled (room temp or lower). Chop each potato into several pieces and place in a large bowl.  Dice the onion and add to the bowl, along with the chives and pepper.  Then stir in the mayo and horseradish.  Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.


Here and Now (2014): A Review


Wrapt Films

I have done a few film reviews in the past on movies with basically Christian themes. This film is not religious in nature, but presents a wide range of themes which bear considering. This is an incredibly under rated British movie, but one that addresses the very idea of what it means to be British, and sub-themes of bullying, death, and love.

A inner city girl, Grace (Lauren Johns) is taken on holiday by her parents to the rural west country, where she encounters culture shock, a lack of phone signal, and the emotional ride of her parents failing marriage. She discovers SAY, Sidney Arthur Young (Andy Rush) a local boy with country interests, and a very different outlook than her East Ham lifestyle.

This movie develops very slowly, but I don’t think there is a single wasted scene. Everything builds to the climax, and a reveal.  The sub-themes create a tapestry which is completed in the final scenes. There is also some wonderful camera work accenting the majestic landscapes of late summer.

This can be seen as a coming of age film, but not strictly so.  Grace develops and the changes in her are more a matter of quality than of maturing.  There is a fair amount of word play with her name throughout the film, all centering upon the hymn Amazing Grace, it is subtle and has much sub-text as well.

The developing romance of the two central characters is also in contrast with Graces’ previous West Ham boyfriend, which is based on sex and a lack of commitment.  Even the opening scene hints to the shallowness of modern relationship.  This is wonderfully contrasted with the simple sharing of Say’s experiences, interests, and controlled affection.

This is a great film, and one to make us take stock of modern life, our values, and our relationships.  It brings “what really matters” into focus.