If I was a Lifestyle Blogger,

bean and pea pasta

I would set up this actually very delicious meal of goat’s cheese, home-grown fresh baby broad beans, mangetout and spaghetti with lots of beautiful shots of my garden and food that perfectly capture the essence of  June in the English countryside. It would be aspirational or even inspirational living for a world in which there are elderflower blooms artfully arranged on tables and people meander in the evening through their vegetable garden collecting fresh produce before relaxing with friends for a night of laughter and good food.

That is not the life I have here.

It was a day that started off with taking some lovely, local children to bottle-feed the lambs, move sheep with an over-excited dog, wrangle turkeys and carry baby chicks outside into the front garden.

wrangling turkeys.jpg

chicks outside.jpgWhile  Ataturkeyzade – the male turkey – demonstrated turkey reproduction we distracted ourselves by discussing the Turkish prefixes and suffixes of  ata, oglu and zade in naming practices …. part of my mission to teach Turkish and Arabic by stealth to unsuspecting children and adults.

turkey sex.jpg

Then I spent much of the day sorting out bits and pieces for a symposium I am running with a colleague next week: Pasts without History: politics and the practical past  – see here for a bit about it. And then I sent off a book manuscript to the publisher …. at last.

There was some walking of the dog (when I found two puffballs), campsite stuff and talking with friends and some editing of various work projects.

At about 7.30 I went to water the greenhouses and fruit cage without my camera as that requires planning. I started thinking about dinner. James wanted pasta and I wanted to use some of our very prolific mangetout mountain – I am so not complaining about eating these every single day though. Then I spied the first sizeable broad beans and dinner was conceived.

collecting beand and peas.jpg

collecting beans and peas in my skirt as I am never prepared for harvesting.

Spaghetti with broadbeans, mangetout, dill and goat’s cheese: handful of baby broad beans, very very large handful of mangetout, small handful of dill, handful of pinenuts, optional puffballs depending if you have found any, juice of half a lemon, half of a Tymsboro goat cheese, olive oil.


Bring a pan of boiling water to the boil, add spaghetti. Meanwhile gently fry the puffball and pinenuts in a little butter. Just before pasta is cooked add broad beans and sliced mangetout to the water. Drain, toss with olive oil and lemon juice. Add in the cheese and dill. Sprinkle on the puff ball and pinenuts.


This was far more delicious than I expected. I kind of want to eat it again right now.

While making dinner rather than take some artful photos I finished a batch of elderflower cordial and started another because if I don’t make it now the flowers will be all gone.


I ate my dinner with a cocktail (yeah … look at me) made with a dash of gin, some home-made elderflower cordial and fizzy water.

elderflower and gin cocktail.jpg

Look I made an effort and took a photo of said drink in front of my garlic … because let’s face it, that is my lifestyle – hurried shots of a tasty drink 30 seconds before I finally get to collapse in the evening, too tired to talk after a long day. Beautiful gardens and nice table settings aren’t really a big part of my life … weeds, animal sex, Ottoman grammar and dirty dishes are!

N.B. While I would quite like to edit my photos, I don’t. Firstly and perhaps most importantly because I can’t and secondly because I generally blog while eating breakfast or sitting on the train.

N.B. One book sent off, one more to go off in two weeks … and then I can focus on the one due in January. Right now I feel as if I am on a hamster wheel of book writing and all I want to do is start planting in my polytunnel.


10 responses to “If I was a Lifestyle Blogger,

  1. This is why I LOVE your blog. Your blog makes me feel that being healthier and closer to nature is possible. The ‘lifestyle’ type blogs you mention make me feel as if I should have a husband earning six figures, a degree in human rights from Cambridge and be the mother four welly-clad, patchwork-wearing, pigtailed daughters whilst looking glamorous at all times in a Boden floral tea-frock with wellies.

    Thank goodness for turkey-wrangling, dirt-under-your-fingernails, in-skirt-harvesting REAL blogs like yours. 🙂

    • Thank you 🙂 – love the welly-clad, patchwork-wearing, pigtailed daughters – I wear pigtails so I don’t have to brush my hair – how bad and lazy is that?

  2. Well I never thought I would see turkey porn on your blog 😉 I blanched and bottled some vine leaves for you btw. I hope they’ll be ok as I’m not sure when we are popping up to see you next. Also made pink gin !!! I saw some frozen summer berries and thought of the frozen sloe berries Graham uses for his gin (sloes from they site) and Bobs your uncle! Try it if you have a glut of friut! I added a bit of sugar and have hidden it away from temptation as it needs to be left for a couple of months.

    • I know – I kind of felt weird saying that animal sex was a big part of my life as well – but it kind of is – in a totally appropriate farmer way I may add!

      Wow – thank you for the vineleaves – can’t wait to make yaprak dolma with them.

      The pink gin sounds fabulous. I will try it. I made cassis last year and that was divine – sole reason for growing black currants if you ask me. Hope to see you soon 🙂

  3. Thankyou again Claire for letting the children ” help” with herding and feeding. They seemed less traumatised than I regarding the very graphic multiple turkey marriages. Looking forward to come and meet some Christmas dinners when they hatch.😀

    • I do hope some hatch. Ataturkeyzade has bee very busy all weekend with his girls! It was fun herding and feeding the lambs with them – you are all welcome back any time 🙂

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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