We’ve sold the house. Our beautiful Victorian terrace with my favourite colours on the walls and a squeaky floorboard at the bottom of the stairs already feels like it belongs to someone else. The boxes of our lives are piling up with less urgency than is probably needed. Many questions hang in the air, like ditsy bunting cut from life’s fabric and unstained sections of newborn onesies. Questions that flutter past the curtains we chose and the paintings we love. Is it useful? Is it beautiful? Donation box or dustbin? I rummage in the cupboard under the stairs and see projects incomplete and jobs not yet begun. I wonder how we’ll fare in a new part of the country. I wonder if we’ll like it, if it will like us.
Three years, and another child, after moving north from London we are setting off again. We arrived here on a narrowboat, a family of urban hippies, with a 15 month old son and a soon-to-be person inside me. We will leave in a few months’ time in a family-sized car with that little toddler now about to embark on big school and a daughter who emulates his every move. We’ve grown up, we’ve grown down. We’ve grown.
So, as we carefully wrap the precious objects of our lives in old newspaper, like proper Northern fish and chips with mushy peas and five types of curry sauce (they actually have a curry sauce menu here), we reflect on our reflections as we take mirrors off the walls (a little older, a little greyer, definitely happy), and we follow the choice we made some time ago, hoping for the best.
Now that we are starting to bid adieu to our life Oop North (well, the Midlands), there’s only one thing for it: Yorkshire puddings. Sweet Yorkshire puddings. With spinach. And the most amazing, sweet/savoury deeply-flavoured strawberries ever. I roasted them. You want to try it. Really. Hurry. As they bubble in their sweet juices the flavours concentrate and turn into intense strawberry perfection. Add in the black pepper and balsamic and your tongue will shout, “oh, HELLO!”
– It’s National Vegetarian Week from 19th-25th May. Check out the link for events in your area as well as support and ideas if you fancy going veggie for the week.
– Breast Cancer Care are asking people to get together over a Strawberry Tea with friends and family this summer to show support and raise money for the charity. Brew a pot of tea, tuck into some strawberries and cake and gather friends and family together in aid of an amazing cause. Sign up on the link to receive your free Strawberry Tea fundraising kit.
-I looked to the masters over at Yorkshire Pudd for the base recipe. I bet they’ve never put spinach in it before, though. Head over there if you want a great video tutorial for making perfect Yorkie puds.
- 100g (2 cups) spinach fresh or frozen
- 225g (1 ¾ cups) plain, all-purpose, flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 300ml (1 ¼ cups) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Coconut Oil, for cooking (or substitute regular cooking oil)
- 400g (2 cups, sliced) strawberries
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 60g (½ cup) plain yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- First, prepare the strawberries. De-stem and slice the strawberries fairly thickly. Sprinkle with the sugar and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- For the Yorkshire puddings, steam or simmer the spinach (or defrost if using frozen) until wilted. Refresh under cold water then drain and squeeze out any excess water. Puree with a hand-held stick blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar and salt together. Very lightly beat the eggs and add them to the flour, along with half of the milk, and whisk vigorously to create a thick, but smooth, wallpaper paste-like consistency. Stir the spinach and vanilla into the remaining milk and add to the batter. Whisk together and then leave to rest for 30 minutes (or 10 minutes in the fridge).
- Place ½ teaspoon of coconut oil into each cup of a muffin tray and put in the cold oven. Turn the oven as hot as it will go, probably 270C/520F, and when it reaches that temperature, carefully remove the tray from the oven and pour the batter into the cups ¾ full. Return the tray to the oven and reduce the temperature to 230C/450F. Bake for 20 minutes.
- When the puddings are out of the oven, reduce the temperature to 190C/375F. Add the pepper and balsamic vinegar to the strawberries, place in an ovenproof dish in a single layer and roast for 8 minutes.
- Mix the yoghurt and sugar together. Pour the roasted strawberries into the puddings/popovers and drizzle with the sweetened yogurt. Serve immediately.
Thanks Oxo Good Grips for kindly sending me the pictured measuring spoons as well as other kitchen tools for National Vegetarian Week, 19th – 25th May.