As Easy As Higgidy Pie

It must be a testament to my mother’s cooking that two of her children have found themselves involved in the food world. I’ve joined the alluring food styling end but it’s my brother that’s doing the hard work: making better British pies. 
It is this family connection that means my regular Sainsbury’s trips include one duty that isn’t on the shopping list.   On the chilled isle, next to the readymade mash and the picnic quiches, I arrange boxes of Higgidy pies making sure each one is facing twelve o’clock and the various varieties are all aligned – you never know what can entice a sale. 
In a career move Arnold Schwarzenegger would be proud of James, and his wife Camilla, packed in their day jobs and fuelled by Camilla’s fervour for food, switched to the world of catering. Having sacrificed their careers, their house and their life in London they worked hard to create the Higgidy empire which now boasts a range of pies, skinny pies, tarts and quiches all of which are handmade in nearby Brighton.  
The pies are amazing (I should know, they are a regular lunch time treat) and the uncompromising ingredients mean your readymade meal really can taste like your grandmother slaved over the stove for the afternoon. Take the Beef and Ale – the stew is cooked for three hours to allow the meat to become tender and then left for a further day to develop flavour, no rushing allowed.  I’m not sure Ginsters could say the same.
Check out their website for lots more info about where you can pick up a pie – www.higgidy.co.uk


Monday's Coffee @ Prufrock

Six hours until Tubular Bells will twang me awake with an unsympathic mantra. No doubt there will be a moment of hopeless, depressing realisation that duvet time has once again come to an end.
Only my obsession with caffeine enables me to haul myself from the feathers and be safe in the knowledge that coffee is less than half an hour away.
Tomorrow I will visit the same oasis that I visited five mornings last week.  Pounds (that’s currency) saved by walking to the office are well spent at Prufrock on Leather Lane. It is their second location and this time the space is a bigger, more established, version of their Shoreditch debut.
The coffee is sublime and the space inspires a smug sense that you’ve discovered a gem. However if coffee alone isn’t quite enough to encourage you, then the swan drawn from milk froth will surely persuade a visit.


Simon Brown

I've worked with Simon a few times. He has the most wonderful eye for beauty in objects that other eyes may not see.  


Husband @ home

I've lost my husband to the depths of A&E for the forseeable future. Shifts dictate that he is home but two nights in ten. But tomorrow, Monday, it's a good day. He arrives at 2am. So I've baked some rosemary, chilli & cheese scones for his breakfast celebration. Oh, and some delicious apple & cinnamon puree for his breakfast dessert.


Home Made Peanut Butter

Considered by many to epitomise the American diet, peanut butter needs no introduction. I'm told a staggering 83% of Americans purchase peanut butter and that's no surprise when it seems that 99% of their meals are inspired by the ingredient; peanut cookies to peanut roasted pork, the stuff moisturises them from the inside out. 

Though no American blood runs through me I'm honoured to admit that I too have a slight addiction, and will happily dip my carrots, top my toast and flavour my cupcakes with it.  But there is a drawback, as with every umptuous product peanut butter comes with a red flashing health sign.  There definitely is an obesity stigma attached to the pots of golden gloop that reads, 'Eating peanut butter will have a detrimental effect on your life expectancy' but what's frustrating is that the likes of Skippy and Sunpat simply bring down the product.

Peanut butter is very close to a perfect food. Packed with protein, heart-healthy fats, vitamins B3 and E, magnesium, fibre and anti-oxidants. Factory-made peanut butter, however, contains a few other extras: sugar, salt, rapeseed oil and palm fat. The big companies take something as simple and beautiful as a ground-up peanut and taint it with their adulterations; goodbye to the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and hello to the artery-clogging polyunsaturated fats.

But the beautiful thing is that is super easy to make yourself so there is no need to poison your body. I'm told every deli in New York has machines that simply crush your peanuts for you but sadly this gadget is yet to cross the proverbial pond. Though yesterday I was taught that you really can make your own in the time it takes toast a bagel by merely dusting off the old Magimix. Half of me wants to keep the secret but the other half wants people to know how clever I am. Today, I've decided on the latter.

Your Very Own Home Made Peanut Butter

Roasted Peanuts (with or without salt depending on preference)
Pour the peanuts into the food processor and blend until smooth, keep going, its takes about 10 minutes. Pour into your own jar and keep in the fridge for at least three weeks. Don't stop there, though. Make almond butter, or cashew butter, pistachio butter, brazil-nut, maybe a blend? 


Pizza East

House hunting has begun; two dismal properties, one worryingly incoherent estate agent and not enough money to get that disused warehouse I so desperately want. Then to add complete injustice to my evening I wander into Pizza East.
Not only do they appear to own the very warehouse I'm looking for but are serving fabulous pizza from my kitchen. Dinner was a treviso, puntarelle, walnuts and gorgonzola pizza (I also indentified 50% of those ingredients). It was an Italian ‘mwah’ or ‘priceless’ or actually at a very good price some might say. The reviews lived up to their reputatation; surely there isn't a finer pizza in town?