Wednesday, 17 February 2010


It is fantastic to have time for baking and today I found Jane Grigson's English Food in a second hand book shop. In it I spotted a recipe for Grasmere Gingerbread and this has transported me back to my childhood. I have a memory of eating this cross between a cake and a biscuit wrapped in waxed paper, on holiday in the Lake District with my grandparents. On this holiday I almost came to a sticky end on Lake Windermere in rowing boat which was caught in the path of a large paddle steamer. I did, however, survive to eat more gingerbread! You can still buy Grasmere Gingerbread today in a little shop by the church yard where William Wordsworth is buried. The recipe for Sarah Nelson's Gingerbread is a secret and held in a safe in Ambleside. Apparently this recipe gives similar results. I can't wait to give it a try.

250 g Plain Flour or fine oatmeal
or 125 g of each

1 tsp ground ginger 1/4 tsp baking powder 150g lightly salted butter 125 g soft brown sugar

Mix the dry ingredients together. Melt the butter over a low heat and when tepid use to bind the mixture. Line a roasting tin with baking paper. Spread the mixture over the tin in a thin layer, pressing down lightly. Bake until golden brown at 180 c or gas mark 4.


Sundial house is a pleasure to spend time in. In every corner there are beautiful arts and crafts details. The ceiling has exquisite plaster work, the book shelf wonderful copper reliefs and windows covered in jewel like stained glass.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


I've always thought that Lyme Regis was a fantastic destination. It has all the things I love seaside architecture, a little shop selling old knitting needles and various wicker baskets, , a wonderful promenade, a sandy beach, a stony beach, a mini golf course but now it is truly on the map! We arrived on Friday in search of food and stumbled across the The Mill Tea & Dining Room. Inside is a beautifully styled interior with touches like Minton tiles on the tables and a scout flag wrapped around a huge chandelier. For a woman with a love of pottery running through her veins the teacup selection nearly made me cry with envy! If this wasn't enough the best was yet to come. Little did we know we were in the hands of an extraordinary chef Anthony McNamara. The food was some of the best we have ever tasted! The menu was mouth watering and did not disappoint. Deep fried pigs cheeks were incredible followed by shin of beef and oyster pie which was totally delicious. Portions were generous but we managed to share a fantastic treacle tart. All this was accompanied on my part by sloe gin and tonic and of course a divine cup of tea in one of those gorgeous china cups. We couldn't wait to go back so went in search of afternoon tea today. Equally brilliant and while we were there we booked in for a final meal in Lyme. We have abandoned all other eateries nothing could compare. The Town Mill, Mill Lane, Lyme Regis 01297 445 757


I am delighted to be back on my blog after a little enforced interlude. I am currently sitting in the window of the beautiful Sundial house in Lyme Regis listening to the sea crashing on the shore line and have a gammon cooking in the Aga. Things are looking up!
This amazing house was the built and designed by the gifted English Arts and Crafts architect Arnold Mitchell (1864–1944). He began his practice in 1886, specializing in parish-halls, houses, and schools. His best works include St Felix School, Southwold, Suffolk (1902), the School of Agriculture, Cambridge (1909–10), and University College School, Frognal, Hampstead, London (1905–7). His domestic works include the fine 1 Meadway Close (1910) and 34 and 36 Temple Fortune Lane (1908), Hampstead Garden Suburb, and the outstanding houses in Basil Street, Brompton, London (1900s), with long ranges of mullioned and transomed windows and tall gables (mutilated in the 1939–45 war). When I was student at Westfield College living in Kidderpore Avenue I really admired the wonderful houses lining the streets on my walks into Hampstead. Perhaps some were designed by Arnold Mitchell himself!