Sunday, 29 November 2009

The first of three weekends at Artists Open Houses

As the weekend comes to close, so does Louise's Kitchen's first weekend in residence at the very stylish and very christmassy 33 Coventry Street in Brighton. This house along with over 70 opens its doors to the public for three consecutive weekends selling all sorts of wares from local artists and designers - it's a great alternative to the High Street for Christmas shopping. Amongst the stylish lampshades, cushions, jewellery, clothing and artwork, Louise's Kitchen offered up plates of home-baked goodies - vanilla, chocolate and red velvet cupcakes, brownies, giant vanilla snowflake cookies, boxes of chocolate cookies and festive cranberry muffins. The plates have not much left on them aside for a few crumbs, so it's back to the kitchen to bake a fresh new batch for next weekend. If you're in the area please do pop in!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Come on over!

Louise’s Kitchen will be selling a selection of freshly baked cupcakes, brownies, cookies and muffins at Brighton’s Artists Open Houses Christmas 2009 event. For three weekends, 28/29 Nov, 5/6 Dec and 12/13 Dec, these sweet treats will be on sale at 33 Coventry Street, Brighton, BN1 5PP, 11.00 - 18.00. As well as sampling the baked goodies, you can get your christmas shopping underway as the house will be filled with a wide variety of christmas gifts to buy. Host of the event, the wonderful Madeliene of Mibo ( will be selling her charming christmas creatures along side plenty of other bargins and samples. Lee Baker will be there with his exquisite Japanese influenced screen prints, Ricore will be showcasing delicate Art-Deco inspired jewellery, Organic Stereo will be selling their chic organic clothing and
Sarah Carlisle has the perfect christmas plant gifts from just £5.00.

Browsing the Artists Open Houses with a glass of mulled wine, signals the start of the Brighton Christmas social calendar. This year over 70 houses will be open over the 3 weekends filled with almost every kind of Christmas gift you could wish for. As well as paintings, prints and sculpture, many houses offer ceramics, textiles, lighting, home furnishings, cards and a variety of Christmas decorations.

Many of the houses are clustered together within easy walking distance of one another, so it is easy to spend an enjoyable afternoon visiting them. You can chat to the artists and makers about their work as you browse and when you find the perfect gift you can buy direct from the artists.
You can find out more about Artists Open Houses Christmas 2009 at

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Beat That My Heart Skipped

Today is Friday and as of today that means 'recipe day'. In my new post as Food Editor for the newly launched blog ' The Beat That My Heart Skipped' (a daily website dedicated to interior and lifestyle products, run by London-based stylist and writer Rohini Wahi) I will be supplying a weekly recipe of either my own or a contributor. To launch with I am sharing my recipe for cupcakes, in fact, the very cupcakes I made for some recent dear friends birthday's, collectively known as 'The Madges' (that's the friends not the cakes!).
For my first introductory post I have written a piece on food and how for many years it has been an integral part of my life. Much to my delight I have some great recipes from some very inspiring contributors and amazing cooks, that I will post up over the coming weeks.
So I invite all readers, regular or occasional to pop by every Friday to 'The Beat That My Heart Skipped' and grab yourself a recipe for the weekend.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

First Foods

Yesterday was a very special day. Arthur had his first ever solid meal. Until yesterday he was happily feasting on milk alone, morning, afternoon, evening and at times night. But now he has entered the wonderful world of food. It slightly sad; he's growing up fast - five months have gone in a flash.But ultimately I am really excited for him! In preparation for the big food event, I steamed and pureed carrot (organic of course!) for him the previou night, packing the orange mush into some ice-cube trays. It seems only yesterday I was doing the same for Lily. I'm looking forward to gradually introducing other vegetables and fruit to his diet and once he is six months there are all the other foods for him to try such as bread, cheese, fish, cereal, eggs, yoghurt, pasta and rice ..the list goes on. I hope that he will grow up to have a healthy relationship with food and that, like me, he will grow up to love food and will have many happy food memories.
Bon Appetite Arthur! x

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Cherry & Almond Cake

I'm off to meet my lovely friend Celia this afternoon. She is the sunniest person I know - just lovely! It was her birthday earlier this week so I shall be taking her a cherry and almond cake that I baked for her. We're meeting for tea and cake at the Hove Museum and Art Gallery ... the cakes there are devine!

A quick autumn lunch in the garden

Brighton was completely wet yesterday - very heavy rain for much of the day. Today however it couldn't be more different. The sun is back and it is a beautiful autumn day. Lunch was a quick celery soup eaten on the garden bench. The celery was the remains of last week's veg box and had lost its firmness. Cooked with the white part of a leek in a little butter and olive oil, I just added some vegetable stock, creme fraiche, black pepper and a sprinkling of fresh lemon thyme. Perfect!

Anniversary Cookies

Today I have been 'Mrs Gorrod' for 10 happy years. A lot of life-changing events have happened during the last decade; a few of them sad, some challenging, but mostly very happy such as the arrival of our two beautiful children - something that can never be beaten!

Ten years on our life seems in someways many miles removed from our carefree life a decade ago. What with work deadlines, school runs and the constant washing of babygrows, time together is normally spent discussing 'To Do' lists over a coffee at the breakfast table. Tonight however we'll be getting in a takeaway - my, we know how to live! To me though timeout from cooking is really is a treat ....

With no time, energy or imagination to go present shopping, I did what was natural to me, and baked (with love) some orange and white chocolate cookies for Mr G. Who was it that said the way to a man's heart is through his stomach? That said, it certainly is the case for some women too, me included!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Happy Birthday Charlie / Questioning our Allotment ...

Yesterday was Charlie's Birthday. He has reached the grand old age of four years. Lily went along to his birthday party with a box of lollipop cupcakes that I made for him. A combination of cake and lollipop seemed suitable for such an occasion!

This week I am facing a race against time as far as utilizing the veg in my fridge. I still have quite a bit left from my weekly veg box, plus a surprise harvest from a trip down to the allotment over the weekend. Beetroot, carrots and potatoes were the hidden gems waiting for us on our weed covered plot and we were given an armful of courgettes from Keith our allotment neighbour. Our poor old allotment ... it really does need starting again from scratch. Our previous three seasons were purely a dress rehearsal it seems. I often question why we took on our allotment. We've our own demanding business to run, two young children, a house that needs decorating and fixing in many places ... the list goes on. So why when you can by vegetables for pennies do we struggle on with mother nature to grow our own? I don't have an answer really. It's the simplistic relationship with nature, the endless marvel of seeing seeds grow into beautiful beautiful harvests (if the slugs, caterpillars, pigeons etc don't have first pickings!), the wonderful mix of friendly folk from babies to old-timers in their eighties and beyond you find down the allotment, the education it provides Lily in knowing where her vegetables come from - very early on she knew her calvo nero from her fennel. If you've ever grown anything for yourself you will understand our reluctance to do the sensible thing any time challenged family should do and cut our loses and let the supermarket look after our vegetable needs. We're going to continue to work towards our dream allotment paradise complete with raised beds, a mini orchard and a brick built barbeque. It might take ten years, but we'll get there in the end!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

The Last of the Veg Box

Today I collect my weekly organic vegetable box. I got back onto the weekly scheme last week owing to the results of a neglected allotment this summer, due to the birth of baby Arthur. Last weeks' box was great value for money. Every evening something from the box formed the foundation for dinner, plus I made a couple of soups, dinners for the freezer and even a (courgette) cake. One thing I really don't like is food waste. So yesterday, I took at look at what was left from my box. Lurking in the bottom of my fridge, counting down the days till it found a new home in the form of the compost bin were the best part of a bunch of limp carrots and half a yellow courgette. In under 20 minutes I gave them a new lease of life by cooking them in some garlic oil with a red onion, some spices, a can of chickpeas and some stock. Once the carrots and courgette were tender I served this aromatic 'stew' with a good dollop of plain yoghurt, a liberal sprinkling of fresh coriander and a wedge of lemon. There was even some left over for Mr G's packed lunch today.

Monday, 14 September 2009

My first ever 'proper' cake order

This weekend my first ' proper' cake order went out. I've made countless cakes as gifts for family and friends, but this weekend I did my debut 'paid for' order. The result was 36 pink cupcakes for what was bound to be a wonderfully girly pink party full of balloons, glitter, princess fancy dress outfits and of course cake!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Inspiration No.2 from a box of seasonal vegetables

The spaghetti squash is a jewel of a beast. Tonight it becomes dinner. I bake the squash whole in the oven and then add a tomato sauce made from olive oil, garlic, onion, tomatoes, various herbs, some dried chilli and mozzarella. Once transferred to an oven dish, it is crowned with a mix of fresh breadcrumbs, thyme, parmesan and cheddar and baked in the oven till golden on top and bubbling beneath.

Inspiration No.1 from a box of seasonal vegetables

This week I (re)started the purchasing of a weekly organic vegetable box . I stopped a while back as the allotment was providing us with a plentiful enough harvest, but with a new born baby and our 'silly-season' at work (My husband David and I run a PR company that specialises in contemporary furniture, lighting and homewares - the allotment has been temporarily abandoned, hence the arrival of the weekly veg box until we get the allotment going again next month. We get our box from Russell's Sussex Farm Food Store & Deli (, who in turn receives the boxes from a farm in Plumpton, 10 miles away. This week we received a true box of delights - including spaghetti squash, carrots, cucumbers, leeks, courgettes, sweetcorn, runner beans, cherry tomatoes and chard. This afternoon I used the bigger of my two yellow courgettes to make this tasty Courgette and Walnut Loaf Cake. Perfect as it is or toasted with butter.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The First Soup of Autumn

If a gun was held to my head and I had to pick my favourite season, I would plump for Autumn. It is like starting a new chapter, as summer fades away. I love all that Autumn promises, especially the food - a feast of seasonal offerings, many of which are on our own doorstep from English apples with real flavour and plump juicy blackberries to versatile squashes and earthy mushrooms - it's gonna be a rollercoaster ride for our taste buds over the coming weeks! As for meals, I crave soups, stews, bakes and roasts and hearty puddings as the nights begin to slowly draw in. Soup is something I'm am going to prepare on a regular basis with whatever produce I have to hand. It's quick to prepare and will usually stretch out for a couple of days worth of lunches. Lily will eat any soup by the bucket load which is great way to ensure she has at least one good hit of vitamins a day, essential as she is about to start school next week. Today Lily requested a tomato soup for lunch. We whizzed this up in just under 20mins with a bag of ripe tomatoes we picked up from the greengrocers for a pound. To the tomatoes we added a limp carrot destined for the compost bin, a couple of small red onions, garlic, a small potato and some dried oregano. A splash of milk at the end gave it a creamy decadence. Pure comfort in a bowl!

Emma's Museli Bars

My dear friend Emma kindly gave me her recipe for these devine Museli Bars. So simple to make with store cupboard basics and whatever dried fruit, seeds and nuts you might have to hand. I russelled up a tray this afternoon when I had a rare 10mins of peace.
Emma introduced me to these 'morish' bites when she came over just after Arthur was born. She came with a job lots packed into a tupperware box for me. They were, I guess, intended to last me for some days, but once I started I couldn't stop - yet they looked so very innocent!

Monday, 31 August 2009

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes for a Bank Holiday Weekend

It has been an age since my last post. Would like to say that I've been away on a wonderful holiday, but the reality is that I have been too damn hectic! Anyway I have still been busy in the kitchen as ever - just need to get in the habit to photographing the results for this blog! As I write this post the last of our (few) fair weather Bank Holiday's is coming to a close .... it been a good one - one that was partly spent catching up with my brother, sister-in-law and beautiful niece who were down from Newcastle. Their visit was a good excuse to bake a few cupcakes. This new recipe was the perfect bake for summer's grand finale! Any good days from now are a bonus. Autumn is creeping up on us. Look on the bright side .... it's a new season - the English apple season!

Friday, 31 July 2009

Something for the Weekend

I am really looking forward to the weekend - it's gonna be a good one! We're heading back to our old stomping ground of Staines for what is sure to be a very spectacular wedding - our friends Duncan and Reena will be tying the knot on Sunday. To make the most of catching up with old friends we just don't see often enough, we heading down on Saturday and staying over night with my sister-in-law. With invites for lunch and sleepovers I've been busy baking 'thank you' treats for our hosts and wonderful friends - my fail-safe Brownie recipe in pretty little boxes.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Sugar sprinkles and dolls with pink hair

This morning Lily had her lovely friend Misty over to play. They baked some beautiful muffins topped with icing, sugar sprinkles and smarties. We followed a recipe from one of Lily's library books - yes, she loves to get cook books out the library ... is that a typical 4 year old? ... maybe she's just a chip off the old block!

A Bit of Summer Cheer

The weather has been a bit dull so far this week for July. Today's pick-me up was not food, but a simple vase of flowers, hence my first non-food post .... but I'd say that flowers are second to food for me. I picked these wonderful pinky orange Dahlia's up from my local supermarket ( a snip at £4) and homed them in my favourite vintage vase. The Hydrangea in the other vessel was picked from my garden. Together they bring a bit of summer to my living room, when outside there is July rain.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Recipe Request No. 2

I was delighted to receive a request for my flapjack recipe from a lady in America - apparently flapjack is a little hard to come by over there. Well, as promised I am posting up my favourite flapjack recipe. This is for Jo and Andy too - parenthood is obviously resulting in a sweet tooth in their household!

Orange & Walnut Flapjack

250g butter cubed, plus extra for greasing
250g golden caster sugar
175g golden syrup
425g porridge oats
50g walnut pieces
finely grated zest of one orange
3 tbsp of orange marmalade

1. Heat the oven to 180C / fan 160C / Gas 4 and butter a 20 x 20cm tin, or a size with similar dimensions.

2. Melt the butter in a pan, adding the sugar and syrup. Stir over a medium heat. Once it is all combined take it off the heat and stir in the oats, walnuts and orange zest.

3. Tip the mixture into the baking tray and level the top. Bake for approx 30mins, but check at 25mins - once it is golden brown around the edges and still a little soft in the middle, remove it from the oven and mark into 12 pieces by cutting half way down with a sharp knife. When it has completely cooled, heat the marmalade with 1tbsp of water until syrupy. Brush this over the flapjack and leave to cool before cutting into 12 pieces. Enjoy! x

Recipe Request No. 1

The lovely Josephine Machon has requested my cupcake recipe. So here you go Jo, bake these for little Roo when he's a bit older - I'm sure they will go down a treat!

Everyday Cupcakes.
(Makes approx 10)

1 tbsp milk
3 eggs lightly beaten
110g caster sugar
115g self raising flour
85g butter, softened

and for the butter icing ...

100g butter, softened
200g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk

1. Heat oven to 190C. Fill a bun tin with 10 cake cases.

2. Using an electric whisk, beat the milk, eggs + sugar until thick and glossy and doubled in bulk - it should leave a trail when lifted. Add half the flour and half the butter and fold in. Then fold in the remaining flour + butter.

3. Fill the cases almost to the top with the mixture and bake for approx 10mins or until risen and golden.

4. When completely cool ice with the butter icing. For the butter icing, place the butter in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon, then sift in the icing sugar and combine with the milk. If you want your butter icing thicker just add more icing sugar. Add a drop of colouring if desired. All that's left is to let your inner 'artist' go wild with the sugar sprinkles!

A Cupcake for a rainy July Afternoon

It's July; the school summer holiday's are here; the beach is on our doorstep; but it's raining. Better stay in and bake then .... A freshly baked chocolate cupcake will brighten the afternoon!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Save our Flapjack!

WARNING! .... I'm about to go on my first blog rant.
I really do think that this country has gone mad. I have read in today's newspaper that the Food Standards Agency want to put a stop on flapjack being sold in supermarkets to help combat our countries growing obesity problem! Yes, flapjack is full of sugar. so you eat it as an occasional treat like you ought to with most sweet treats. What's next, shut down sweet shops, clamp ice-cream vans, tax people who take sugar in their tea! To me flapjack is very British and nostalgic. It's fudgy aroma transports me back to my childhood when my mum would bake a tray of it for us to indulge in. I would of course rather bake my own flapjack than buy a mass produced version from the supermarket - it's hardly rocket science to make - but for heavens sake Food Standards Agency, get a grip on reality, let people decide for themselves if they want to buy flapjack!

A Salad in the Garden

A quick lunch enjoyed on a sunny day in the garden last week. The salad comprised of mixed salad leaves, tomatoes. cucumber, green olives, feta and beautiful artichoke hearts quickly fried to faintly golden in a drizzle of peppery olive oil.

My Kitchen

I love my kitchen. I love any 'good' kitchen. Nothing too slick and minimal - I like a kitchen to be used, loved and lived in. I often come across a few 'finds' for my kitchen such as these vintage Biba food jars which I like to display. I am a huge Biba fan so these are my pride and joy. One once contained dried chickpeas, one dried onions and the other brown sugar ... and there is still some of the original sugar in it!

Cupcakes for the Teachers

Yesterday was a sad day - Lily's last day at playschool. It's the end of an era that bought a tear to my eye. The wonderful team of ladies that run the SeeSaw playschool, put on a party for all the children leaving to start school in September. They threw a wonderful party that the children loved. As a very small token of my thanks to them all for
making Lily's time at playschool so wonderful, I baked them some mocha cupcakes to enjoy with their morning coffee. I shall be sending Arthur to the same wonderful playschool in a couple of years, but in the meantime I dare say I will be baking cakes for the new school's fete's and fairs.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Coffee Scandi Style

This beautiful Swedish coffee set is currently on 'sale' at Plumo. I just love the blue coffee maker and old fashioned filter!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Pretty In Pink

My daughter Lily has a favourite cake - these pink cupcakes - I made them for the first time for her birthday party, which took place on a sunny day in late March. They were a hit with all the children - boys included!

So Good I Made It Twice!

With the arrival of Arthur 6 weeks ago, we've been welcoming friends and family into our home to meet the little lad. Life is somewhat chaotic at the moment so to cook a meal for visitors is a little ambitious, but a simple quick-to-prepare cake to serve with coffee .... I just couldn't help myself. This Almond and Orange Cake was so easy and tasty that I made it twice ...

A Cake for Sue

I can get buy with an icing bag, but prefer to decorate my cakes with seasonal fruits, herbs and flowers. I made this 'blueberry cake' last week for the wonderful Sue, Lily's playschool teacher.
It was for her surprise party to celebrate running See-Saw playschool for 20 years.


Welcome to my blog. Some people eat to live and others live to eat - I fall into the latter! I've loved food and cooking it from an early age. I grew up on my mum's home cooking and it rubbed off on me. Home cooking is the tastiest, most satisfying way to cook and eat. I love nothing better than cooking for loved-ones, friends and family - I will spend an age trawling through recipe books old and new creating a menu to suit the season and occasion. I like to cook in tune with the seasons and incorporate local and homegrown produce when I can. We're lucky enough to have an allotment and our now in our third growing season.

I hope to pass on my passion and knowledge for cooking to my children - it's a gift for life. Lily, aged 4, loves to help in the kitchen especially when I'm baking cakes, and I hope that our latest addition to the family, Arthur, just 6 weeks, will follow suit - he certainly has a great appetite for milk!

There is much I'd like to include in this blog - recipes (my own and others I love to cook), allotment updates, beautiful cookware and bits for the kitchen that I come across, children's food, food places I love .... this list goes on.

My real passion is baking, so to start things off, I am going to post some of my recent 'sweet treats' .... I've made lots of cakes for friends birthday's, plus a couple of weddings and would love to expand a little to selling my cakes in the very near future. Watch this space .....