The Quinoa question

I imagine there are quite a few of us determined to radically change our eating and drinking patterns after a season of gluttony. I’m constantly trying to eat better, drink better, think better and generally be better and after reading all kinds of books and blogs, it would seem Quinoa has managed to put itself highest on the list when it comes to general well being.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve eaten the stuff before. I’ve had it in Pret pots and at the occasional lunch or dinner party but it always seems to taste the same…which isn’t of very much at all. And then I had an idea – warning : this is not by any means a new, life changing idea so I apologise now if you’ve all tried it, I could be joining this Quinoa cooking party just as it’s time to leave.

Here’s what happened, I was going to cook brown rice for dinner last night to accompany my Wagamama Salmon Hot Pot which is a bit of a staple in this house and very delicious indeed. When there was no brown rice in the rice box, I spied a bag of lonely looking Quinoa and decided to pretend it was rice and cook it in just the same way. I sautéed some onion and added cumin, turmeric and a few coriander seeds before throwing in a cup of Quinoa grains and mixing them around for a bit. Then I added 1.5 cups of home brewed chicken stock, turned it down to a simmer, covered it with a lid and let it bubble away contently for 20 minutes. When its time was up and all the liquid had disappeared, I turned off the heat, covered the pan with a clean tea towel, put the lid back on and left it until we were ready to eat. It was very good indeed, we all thought so, well my husband did at least, and so we are happily joining the long list of Quinoa converts. Turns out that all it really needs is a bit of love and stock, which is fair enough when you’re battling to change world grain.

Click the picture to read all kinds of fascinating Quinoa facts.


And one last thing….is it pronounced keen-wah or quin-oa ..? You’d imagine it was the latter by the spelling but I just can’t say for sure.

Seed and Stem….new stock and a bit of a SALE

I’m still cutting and pasting and cutting and pasting over here and have added a few more products to the Seed and Stem stationery range.

The Gift Tags are particularly lovely and the Note Cards make the perfect thank you card or simply as a “why not send something pretty through the post”. We all need a little bit of happy, real life post from time to time.


Flower notelets




Gift Tags Herbs and Veg


Gift Tags Flowers



And if you add JAN2014 at checkout, you’ll get FREE SHIPPING for the rest of the month


Avene and Avene and Avene…

I’ve never been terribly good with treatments and pampering, I always thought it was a little self-indulgent and something I’d embrace when I grew up. And then suddenly I realised I was grown up and my skin was screaming for some kind of attention. It’s happening, the wrinkles are starting to show and the irritating patches of dryness and redness are beginning lash out in all their frustrated glory. It’s my face mainly (nothing too noticeable) which apparently hates the Winter along with Christmas, stress, lack of sleep, the list continues and to add to the gripes, it has now decided to reject my moisturiser of choice for the past 15 years.

I have sensitive skin, always have, and so to find a facial routine which doesn’t leave me spotty and sad has taken me a very long time indeed. I went for Kiehls and it worked. Well it did. And then suddenly, around the 20th December I think it was, my skin started to revolt, literally. Dry patches and redness which worsened as the day went on accompanied by the odd blemish here and there. I googled, I questioned, I almost cried, I slathered my face in the children’s excema emollients and then I discovered a small, sealed canister at the back of my bathroom cabinet. I’ve had it for an age and never opened it, Eau Thermal Avene Water Spray. I held down the nozzle and a fine, gentle, reinvigorating mist covered my face. And now…15 days on….my skin is happy again. With my thermal mist (whatever that is) and accompanying Eau Thermale Avene Hydrance Optimale Rich moisturiser – for sensitive and atopic skin – the patches have gone and the dryness is no more.The wrinkles are being a little more stubborn but if anything can, Avene can.