beetroot smoothie


Surfing is hard. This weekend, I’ve waded repeatedly into the Atlantic (wearing nothing but a swimsuit, a wetsuit, some wetsuit shoes and a layer of bloody-mindedness) and still failed to do more than topple sideways off a surfboard.

On the plus side, though, I’ve an interesting collection of bruises to add to my usual set (I’m quite clumsy, and normally too distracted to actually look where I’m going), and the knowledge that I can go in the sea, in February, near Scotland, and not die. I feel quite invincible.

I expect you could achieve the same effect – minus the bruises, and the risk of frostbite – just by drinking this beetroot smoothie. No-one who drinks smoothies made of vegetables can ever get sick, surely. Also, try drinking it in front of your colleagues. They will look at you in a new combination of awe and horror, which is quite fun to see.

Recipe after the jump. Continue reading


hot toddy

hot toddy

(or, how to feel immediately better)

I’m back at work today though, and turning up at the office swinging a bottle of rum is probably a bit career limiting.

Say, though, that you’re at home under the duvet, snivelling pitifully to yourself. Or maybe in a cocktail bar in a freezing foreign city on a Sunday afternoon, not wearing nearly enough clothes (because it was sunny when you left, and Dublin isn’t THAT far away, surely). Well, then it would be totally acceptable to have one of these.

I’ve seen hot toddies listed as cocktails, but that is a lie. It’s medicine.

There is lemon for the vitamins, ginger or sage as an antiseptic, honey to heal and alcohol to decongest. See? Medicine.

hot toddy
This is usually made with whisky, but it’s much nicer with dark rum, although any dark spirit would be fine.

For 1 person.

Juice of half a lemon
1-2tbsp honey
5 sage leaves, or 1/2 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
1 shot dark rum, brandy or whisky
Hot water

Put everything in a mug, and top up with the hot water. Stir a few times and then add more honey or lemon to taste (if you can taste anything).

Wrap yourself in a blanket, and drink.

elderflower cordial

elderflower cordial

Quickly, before all the elderflowers are gone!

Unfortunately, the weather may be against us. Rain is no good for elderflower gathering. Apart from the obvious issues with soggy nettles and shoe-stealing mud puddles, the pollen is what gives elderflower cordial its lovely scent and flavour, and this doesn’t last well in a downpour.

If we are graced with a sunny afternoon in the next few weeks, though, I really recommend an elderflower-hunting expedition. Take a bag, and some sturdy scissors, and maybe wear wellies as well if you’re going on the more rural, nettle-rich kind of route. It’s a lovely way to spend an hour or so, and homemade elderflower cordial is so far from the kind you buy in the shops that it’s definitely worth the tiny amount of effort needed.

Recipe after the jump. Continue reading