It’s Valentine’s Day and it’s raining outside.


What to do after one has exchanged chocolates with the love of one’s life?


A cooking day!

Zucchini soup. A coffee cake. Maybe nectarine and apple chutney…

In amongst transcribing the Tobias handwritten narrative to the computer.

Why don’t I just sit and transcribe all day? It’d get it done more swiftly…

Quite simply, my lumbar spine and cervical spine become sore to the point of interrupting sleep, so I find I need to break the lengths of working at the computer by working in the kitchen (or the garden, or walking the dogs, or swimming – whatever it takes).


You know how zucchini plants have largesse down to a fine art? Well what to do with them all?


I make zucchini soups for the winter freezer. Generally I spice them – curry powder, cumin, turmeric etc. But this time, I googled herbs suitable as partners for zucchini and came up with quite a lot.


I chose basil, Italian parsley, thyme and chives because they’re the ones in my garden, but I could also have added dill and marjoram if I grew them.


This soup has turned out to be delicate and absolutely divine on the palate, although it looks a tad like something Shrek might bathe in!  I almost want to have it now with crusty bread, cheese and some chutney.

I also make zucchini loaves –


a savoury loaf that is flavoured with a load of mint, chives and peas, zucchini flowers and feta. It’s delicious, slices well and freezes brilliantly. And again, has a really delicate flavour thanks to the herbs.

But why make a coffee cake? There’s only OH and I to eat it this weekend…

It’s because I’ve been talking about coffee in the daily diet with SJA Turney


prolific and coffee-flavoured UK writer of Roman and Ottoman fiction.


I can’t drink coffee as it gives me outrageous palpitations but I sneak my hit by adding it to the odd cake, slice or dessert. In this instance, a very easy cake that has ricotta added to the batter to give it a dense and heavy texture. I top it with coffee butter-icing.



And what about nectarine and apple chutney? My husband and I are chutney addicts andwe have a glut of nectarines and early apples in the orchard, so either we get the fruit and use it or else the kamikaze squadrons of green parrots dive-bomb and denude a tree in a day…


or the marauding possum creeps into the orchard after partying all along the ridge line of the roof at night.

OH froze about 4 kg of the nectarines yesterday and there is still half a tree to pick! But the chutney’s worth the effort. It’s a 1950’s Country Women’s recipe given to us by the lady who originally owned House and who planted the apple trees. Imagine mixed spice, nutmeg, ginger, cayenne pepper, vinegar, sugar, dried fruit and golden syrup plus the fresh fruit bubbling away – wonderful!


Meanwhile, back to ‘the desk’ and twelfth century Tobias. God’s Holy Toenails, I have a lot to type up!