Archives for posts with tag: narrowboat patience

There is very little more comforting on a cold rainy day than sitting in front of a fire in a cosy cottage looking out over the countryside drinking a steaming mug of tea and eating a slice of hot toast slathered with melting butter and sticky honey.

This week I did find myself on a cold rainy day sitting in front of a fire in a cosy cottage, looking out over a field filled with sheep, rabbits, beehives and birds, drinking a steaming mug of tea. In front of me was a gorgeous jar of golden honey from the bees in the hives but I had no bread to turn into toast.

Southfield Cottage, is in the village of Braunston where our narrowboat Patience is moored. Patience is currently undergoing an overdue and much needed lick of paint and so because we were keen to document her change from rust-bucket to sleek shiny narrowboat we decided to spend a couple of days at the start of the painting process in Braunston.

Southfield Cottage not only overlooks the picturesque field described above but provides a vantage point from which to survey both the hills in the distance and the marina below. You can in fact see our mooring from the front door of the cottage.

Looking from Southfield cottage to Braunston marina

We were thrilled to find Southfield on the internet, even more thrilled when we walked into the cottage and found one of the most beautiful and stylish cottages imaginable and delighted by the jar of Southfield honey we found waiting for us on the kitchen counter.


Since I couldn’t indulge in honey on hot buttered toast I set my mind to thinking about what else I could do with it. We could of course have it for breakfast with Greek yoghurt and chopped almonds  – and we did the next day – but what could I do with it immediately?


Supper was coming up and we were planning a sort of a breadless ‘ploughman’s’  supper using bits and pieces in the fridge – cheese, pickled peppers, cucumber, a sausage, green beans and an onion.

How could honey fit in with that?

It was in fact exactly what I needed to transform the raw onion into something a lot more palatable.  And with the addition of herbs growing in an old porcelain basin outside the cottage door I made a pan of slow cooked onions with sage, rosemary, lavender and thyme.

A perfect accompaniment to our breadless ploughman’s.

And then the next night, sticking with the traditional theme, I made a honey and lemon posset.


I naturally got very sidetracked by the delights of what my friend Google threw at me when writing this blog. Check out some of the joys to be found out there:

Slow cooked onion with honey and herbs


  • 2 large onions thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A handful of herbs – I used thyme, sage, rosemary and a little lavender
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Salt and black pepper


Very slowly fry the onions in butter on a low heat until they are soft, adding more butter if necessary. Add the herbs, honey, salt and pepper and continue frying very slowly until golden brown and starting to crisp on the edges.

Serve with warm or at room temperature with:

  • Cheese
  • Sausages
  • Lettuce and tuna
  • Roasted vegetables

Lemon Posset


  • 850 ml double cream
  • Juice of 2 to 3 lemons ( should have measured this – I used 2 1/2 lemons)
  • Zest of two lemons, very finely grated
  • 60 ml honey
  • 4 tablespoons sugar


Mix the cream, sugar, honey and lemon zest together. Bring slowly to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for three minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and mix in the lemon juice. Divide between six ramekins. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Garnish with a few berries and  serve with honey flavored biscuits.


Who could resist the the ripe (and some not so ripe) fruit growing so temptingly along the banks of the River Nene? Elderberries, sloes, blackberries and small apples. We were on narrowboat Patience for the last few days of our six week trip from Braunston Marina to Cambridgeshire and back when all the hedgerow fruits seemed to ripen.


At first I thought it was too late in the trip to be gathering fruit and cooking it what with having to tidy up and sort out the boat, pack and devote hours each day to work but it seemed churlish to ignore the delights of the river bank so I started picking fruit each time I operated one of the string of locks along that stretch of the river.


A quick google search turned up the perfect hedgerow jelly recipe by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall on The Guardian website. Thank you to Hugh – the recipe really was perfect! I’m just sorry I didn’t pick any haws or rowan berries. I think they were ripe but I didn’t know they were edible. Next time….

Hedgerow fruits in the pot

I had neither sugar, a scale nor a jelly bag on the boat but some guesswork took care of the weighing problem and a pair of ugly brown pantihose turned into a serviceable jelly bag. And we moored in Northampton that night so I could dash to the nearby supermarket for the sugar.

The jelly was so delicious eaten with cheese and oat cakes and I just can’t wait to be back on the boat in late August again.