Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

A day for some recipes. What does the Ravenous Rambler have for breakfast when in France?
First a bowl of fruit, yoghurt and honey. In this region of the Pyrenees, there are many fresh apricots that are in seasons and these chopped up with some white peaches make a good mixture with yoghurt and local honey.
The tourist information in Axar has a food of the region annexe and there are about twenty different honey to choose from. They have thoughtfully laid out a tasting table where with the use of disposable spatulas you can taste many of the honeys from the mild to the very strong. There was my favourtite, acacia and lavender, then chestnut honey which was far too strong for my liking.
Earlier in the morning I went to the boulangerie to collect our daily order of baguette and croissants and we usually polish off the croissant and apricot jam with a pot of coffee to complete the perfect rambling breakfast.
Apricot pudding

Apricots and plums
Lemon juice
I found this recipe in a French magazine and have adapted it for my own pleasure.
Marinade the fruit in the lemon juice, sugar and rum ( I had to substitute this with white wine) for about 30 minutes. I boiled up the mixture for a minute or two. Put the fruit on skewers and place them on the barbecue for a minute or two to char slightly and decorate with the pistachios.
I served with with yoghurt of course and I must say it was rather delicious.


Hay fever

Heath Spotted Orchid

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

As a long term hay fever sufferer, the summer means only one thing to me – sneezing and runny eyes. I usually stay in for the month of June. Yes, all thoughts of rambling takes a back seat as I sit in a darkened room and turn into a chess playing, book reading geek. Until now, that is. I think I may have finally cracked it.
Before I reveal the secret of my success, I want to explain the full extent of my sufferings. First, the symptoms. Yes, there is the sneezing but the itchy eyes are the worst thing. It usually gets worse as I go to bed and have to resist rubbing them otherwise in the morning I wake up with bags the size of suitcases under my eyes which are so coated with a glue like substance that I can’t open them, let alone put my contact lenses in. After a week or two of this, it seems to get into my chest and I go about wheezing and the only way I can breath at night is to sit up.
How to cope with this. Well, going to live in Botswana helped. The symptoms kicked in at a different time of year which was novel but it was still there. Not going outside helps a lot but when you are a ravenous rambler this is difficult. I cope with the itchy eyes by drinking tea! Sounds strange but it works. You have to use a large mug and breath into the steam. It helps calm the eyes and stops you wanting to itch them all the time. Sneezing fits. These can be very draining. Just lay down with your head in a pillow and meditate. It works for me.
So, what is the miracle cure. Well this year my hay fever is under control for the first time. I have been out and about cycling and walking and hardly any sneezing and my eyes are normal! For the past year, I have been eating local honey every morning on my special Ravenous Rambler breakfast. It is said to help make you immune to the effects of the pollen and it seems to work for me. Good luck and hope you have a sneeze free summer.

Breakfast – Start the day the Rambler Way!

lomo thoughts

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

There is nothing like waking up late on a summer’s Sunday afternoon, doing a few chores and then settling down with a good breakfast and the papers. Choose a good spot outside in the shade and get everything ready. Put a large pot of coffee on and choose large cups with saucers to drink the coffee.
I remember having this breakfast as a treat at the Victoria Falls hotel in Zimbabwe where the fruit was all fresh fruit like papaya and guava. The monkeys snatched my bananas!

So prepare my dish of the day – breakfast muesli with yoghurt and honey.
any other fruit of your choice
Handful of sultanas
Cup of porridge oats
Mixed dried fruit and nuts of your choice. I like cranberries and hazelnuts.

Chop up all fruit and put into large deep cereal bowls. Pour on the oats and mix in the dried ingredients. Pour on the milk, yoghurt and honey and then make a large jug of coffee and some fresh orange juice. This gives the milk a chance to turn the oats nice and soggy.
Then settle down to enjoy this awesome treat.

If you still have room, make some toast and eat with some home made marmalade. This will set you up for a long walk in the afternoon and is an ideal feast to serve guests as it doesn’t need much preparation and I find making bacon and fried eggs just too hot in the Summer months.

Ramblers breakfast


Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

My favourite breakfast at home or camping is a healthy meusli mix which can be turned into porridge with ease if its cold.
Bananas, apples or other fruit
Raisins, currants or other dried fruit
Dried milk (if camping) or real milk
Yoghurt (if possible)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. If camping then mix in the dried milk with the oats and pour on boiling water and stir. This turns into porridge without messy saucepans to clear up.
If at home, add yoghurt and milk. Add some honey (if camping -take small catering capsules of honey).

This is a great dish and full of infinite possibilities.


Lovely amber beauties
Home made seville orange marmalade is Ymzala’s staple conserve. Usually served on toast with coffee before setting out on the latest walk. I always serve this with coffee instead of biscuits. You need a bit of substance when heading out into the wild British countryside.
This recipe is from my mother who used to make all our marmalade when I was growing up. Its not Women’s Institute standard so it won’t win you prizes but its easy-ish to make and very tasty.
Ingredients – 2 lb seville oranges, a lemon or two, 4 lb sugar. 2 pints of water. I use a pressure cooker to cook the fruit and a preserving pan to finish the liquid off. This makes 7lbs of marmalade. Optional – a grapefruit.

I like billingtons sugar as it doesn’t seem to create so much froth. Start by washing the oranges and pushing a skewer through the fruit several times.

Put the fruit in the pressure cooker and steam for 15 minutes at pressure. Then when its cool, cut the fruit open scoop the pith out into a bowl. Its should fall out the fruit and leave the skin intact but soft. Put the pith into a sieve and rub the pith through with a wooden spoon. Pour the juice into a large preserving pan. Cut the peel into chunky strips and put into the pan. Add the sugar and stir in well. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring all the time. Then boil vigorously until it reaches setting point. I always dither over this. I use saucers that I put into the freezer and then test the liquid by pouring a few drops onto the saucer and put back into the freezer for a few moments. It should cool quickly and you can see if its setting. The boiling also changes its pattern and becomes more lumpy. Whatever happens keep an eagle eye on the pan and don’t let it boil over.

When the cooking is finished put some clean jars into the oven at a low temp. This will stop them cracking when you pour the marmalade into them. But let the liquid cool down a bit before ladling it into the jars. Put the lids on and keep them in a cool place.