29 June 2013

My "Secretts" Garden

Recently, Chef and I were invited guests to Secretts Farm's day out. As a family, we enjoy shopping at their farm shop and taking Ouisie to pick the season's best produce from the fields. 

Ouisie and summer asparagus, P.Y.O., Secretts Farm

The family farm began in 1908 when Frederick Augustus "F.A." Secrett borrowed £1,000 from his father to purchase 20 acres of land.  In 1937, F.A. Secrett moved the farm to its current residence on Hurst Farm in Milford, Surrey. F A’s  grandson, Charles Secrett heads the family business today along with his son, Greg, who is the Manager of the farm.

Mr Charles Secrett, host of "Chef's Day Out"

20 June 2013

Yes! Cheese, please.

Last month, I posted Cheese Battle: England vs France where I highlighted a few of my favourite English cheeses. Today's post features Chef's own English curds, all made at home and at the Hotel.

Chef and his cheeses
Some three years ago, Chef started cheese making at home. Initially, I did not give too much notice as he is always mixing and concocting something new in our kitchen. But as he grew fonder of the pungent perfumes and moulds, I was recruited to taste and critique. He continues to study cheese making and to practice perfecting his skill. Both are paying off as his cheese receives great acclaim by friends, guests and cheese suppliers.

You can read more about Chef's love of cheese making on Taste, Four Seasons with today's featured post: Hampshire's Chef on the Simple Art of Homemade Cheese. This is Callie & Chef's second publication with the savvy food blog. It's fair to say-- I am cheesy pleasey!

16 June 2013


Chef and Ouisie, wheel lessons. England, 2013.
MOAO, or My One and Only, is the nickname given to me by my father after seeing the off-broadway production some 25-years ago. As a pre-teen, I blushed when he called me MOAO in front of peers, but later felt homesick as a college student when a card or email arrived from dad. As his only daughter, and the only girl in the family, I was raised with 24-hour personal bodyguard service comprised of dad, uncles, brothers, and cousins.

Growing up, dad was a playmate, coach of my YMCA sports teams, and (when needed) a security blanket to ward off monsters in the night. From age two to twenty-two, I went through phases of being daddy's little girl and Miss Independent Know-it-all.

Recently, Chef is the apple of Ouisie's eye. I delight in watching the dynamics of their relationship grow and change. Watching Chef teach Ouisie little life lessons has made me think about five my dad taught me.

12 June 2013

Home in Hampshire

Oh give me a home where cattle herds roam,
Where the deer and the pheasants play,
Where seldom is heard but a chorus of birds,
And the skies are cloudy and grey.

09 June 2013

Bad Mood Mum

I learned a valuable adult lesson that is worth sharing to prevent you such turmoil:
80(p) pence saved is 25(£) pounds burnt.
Last Friday, Ouisie and I went to our weekly music class. As the library is in the same building, we then returned our books and picked a few to borrow. With a list of errands still to do, I begged Ouisie to use the toilet before going back to the car. The persuading took several minutes and resulted in her splashing water in the sink- rather than the toilet bowl.

Upon exiting the community centre I spotted a Parking Enforcement Officer writing a ticket  in front of my car. I glanced at my watch. My ticket was expired by 15 minutes. I felt my blood begin to boil. I hoisted Ouisie up to my hip and ran waving and shouting hysterically at the officer, while dodging traffic, towards my targeted car. As I took the final stride, and tried to catch my breath, I watched the ticket emerge from the machine.
"Too late," the officer stated. "It's £25 if you pay within 14-days. Thereafter it will be £50."
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