Posted by: lialeendertz | May 16, 2011

Bog standards

Happy birthday Lyssa x

Every now and then someone calls me a foodie and I go all giggly and ‘who me? no, not really! oh, do you think so…?’ I’m genuinely not , my cooking is not even remotely adventurous and I don’t get much time for it, but there is a glamour about them foodies – a kind of luxurious dedication to the good things in life – and I am delighted by the association. Anyway, based on the fact that I occasionally have a bit of a food-based rant, Silvana de Soissons, editor of the beautiful website The Foodie Bugle has interviewed me about how I grow, eat and cook, so I thought I really ought to write something food-related on here, in case any of them foodies rock up here as a result.

Being interviewed made me realise that I have a standard set of dishes – not especially exciting ones – that I re-hash again and again but with slightly different ingredients. At first I felt a bit embarrassed about this, but thinking further it’s not a bad way to cook, if you are trying to use seasonal veg-box or allotment produce, and also if you are trying to get kids to eat. So here are my bog standards for veg: roast veg (maybe topped with feta cheese, served with rice), veg in a cheese sauce (sometimes with macaroni), pasta sauce, stir fry and quiche. With fruit I make crumbles, eve’s pudding, fruity sponges and I sometimes mix it into flapjacks. There must be more but I am racking my brain and I really can’t think of any. That makes mealtimes sound very dull round mine, but actually, if you’ve got different ingredients to add to the basics each time, it’s not a bad approach, and it means I can cook without too much thought, and occasionally coax the kids into eating vegetables…. Tell me your own bog standards and I will probably nick them for my next book.

Yesterday I made one of those fruity sponges. This is something I did a lot of last year. We have a lot of soft fruit at the allotment, but above all we have gooseberries, in vast quantities. So we start picking early and go on and on, and I picked the first handful yesterday morning. You can get sick of them but last year I chanced onto chucking them into a sponge cake (I use a Delia version that I do for every single birthday). Yesterday was a friend’s birthday so I made her the cake you see above: bog standard Delia, plus gooseberries and lemon zest, plus I sprinkled some elderflower flowers in, which may not be the right way. Do tell me if you have a better elderflower-flavour-infusion method. The result (eaten in the pub last night) was early summer made cake: fragrant and light but with those juicy sour notes when you stumbled across a whole gooseberry. But it will be just as good with strawberries and vanilla at high summer, or with apple and blackberries in early autumn, or with apples and cinnamon in late autumn.



  1. Sounds fab! I use a very simple Gooseberry Streusel cake recipe myself by katie Stewart. Works with all sorts of fruit, preferably tart.

  2. I think we’ve all go bog standards! It’s been wilted spring greens with garlic and chilli flakes in our house for the last few weeks. We’ve had them with everything: grilled pork steaks, as a side dish for stir-frys, as a side dish for stews and casseroles, as a side dish for Sunday roast. And so it goes on…

  3. Lovely cake and lovely blog, looking forward to reading more! Can I ask who the painting of the house on your home page is by, it’s beautiful. I also paint and love the style of this painting. Sara (Patisserie Lola)

  4. I tend to add cream and meringue to anything fruity…and maybe oats and whisky. And honey and/or nuts. That’s about it. I’m getting fat

  5. My mouth is watering Lia, your cake sounds fabulous. What sort of quantities of fruit did you use and did you cook it first? I love tart fruit (goosberries, rhubarb, raspberries) – tho not growing any just yet – and would love to have a go at making your cake, but am still a bit in awe of cake-baking and not confident of ad libbing like I do in other cooking… any other tips to share?

  6. So you are served up a gorgeous looking sponge and then, just when you least expect it, you get a mouthful of bloody gooseberries.

    Seriously – that’s downright evil!*

    *This may be why I am NEVER described as a foodie.

  7. My bog standards are a rice ‘thingy’ or a pasta ‘thingy’ & more recently rissotto (no, it does not come under the heading of rice thingy), either of which could be followed by a crumble or a pie.

    I just love goosegogs & my current favourite is gooseberry meringue pie.

  8. I’m not sure you can be a gardener without being drawn into the foodie world. While you work the soil and fall to pondering about weeds,plants, the point of them and how to get the best results, I think that, inevitably the same starts to apply to food. About how care and nuture with quality material produces the best results. Also, its dead boring in the winter, not gardening. Cooking stuff out of rude vegetables seems to bring out the same feelings of satisfaction. lovely blog as always thank you x

  9. Mmmm that cake sounds lovely, we’re going to have an overload of gooseberries so that’s one thing on my ‘to make’ list! 🙂

    Think we all have standard meals (I do a mean pasta sause that gets turned out with slight alterations on a regular basis) it’s about eating what you enjoy and if you’ve grown it then all the better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: