Monday, 30 November 2009

Karen O no its me

Can you tell who is Karen and who is me??

I'm going to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs tonight. Although I have loved them for years I don't actually listen to them that often. They shouldn't feel slighted as I don't really listen to any music. I'd better put them on now so I don't keep singing the wrong words to really well known songs. Ugh I am not looking forward to standing up for so long. Going to need a proper bath day on tuesday to recover.

Yesterday I had a lovely day with Mum. We went to see Anish Kapoor AGAIN, went shopping to buy me some work clothes and had lunch at 'Thanks for Frank' on Carnaby Street. I love it there. The food is always exciting and delicious and the cakes are amaze. Went there on Saturday after I went to Anish Kapoor too. I love repetition.

Mum had fish cakes with a fun salad of sweet potato, mange tout, and some other beany bits. I think I should make fish cakes one day.
This looks easy
We went back to Franks for tea after Topshop and I had banoffee sponge which was a really light moist sponge with a topping of banoffee toffee and some pretty sugar stars and Mum had a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and seeds on top.

Dave and I are watching This Morning and drinking tea. Bob is meeting us soon and we're hoping to visit one of the city farms or go to the Geffrye museum for their annual Christmas past exhibition.

Bye babes for now xxxxx

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Be my Shepherd

As I dragged myself up East road to the flat after a hard day shopping with Mother I was confronted with the most horrible flood blocking my way into the Estate. All that dark bit is puddle.
I had heard a whisper of the state the drive way was in from Roasty earlier. I'd had a few missed calls from him so I was worried something was up but it was just him and the boys wanting to know when I was back so they could enjoy watching me attempt to cross it from the comfort from the flat window. Well as you may have assumed from the fact that I'm writing this post, I managed to cross without resorting to swimming.

Ah and my saving sight as I tumbled into flat was Marky cooking up a Shepherd's Pie.
Two white onions, garlic, mince, carrots, peas, brown sauce, bisto stock, and loads of potatoes for the mash. Mark pretended that he wanted the recipe to stay secret for a bit and Jim commented that it probably would stay that way if it was on the blog....


This is the pie before it went in the oven. Observe the nice criss cross pattern in the mash. I would normally like to show you a picture of it cooked and of the happy eaters but I'm too tired to blog anymore.

Sleep tight for later puppies xxxxxxxx

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Oh you again!

We are watching the xfactor whilst we wait for the chicken pie to be done. I know I only made it last week but Roasty wanted to road test my recipe. Having it with roast potatoes done by dave (guest chef today), and mange tout and broccoli. Roasty is making a chocolatey biscuity pudding later to serve with clotted cream. We went round Somerfield together taking reduced stickers off their rightful products and putting them on the things we wanted.
As you can see I've made a few little pastry hearts for the top.

Jim and Mark said it was 'lovely' and 'very nice', respectively. We didn't put mushrooms in this one because Roasty isn't too keen on them so we supplemented the leeks with a pack of
chopped seasonal veg which was on offer.
Don't they look happy.


Roasty's Surprise:
Roast made it by buying a ready made chocolate pudding and warming that up. Then crumbled digestives by putting them in a plastic bag and stamping on them. He then mixed the two elements up and served the warm chocolate crumble with cooling clotted cream. It was truly lovely. Great recipe if you haven't got much time on your hands.

I'd better go as I'm trying to watch 'The Thick of It' but I can't concentrate on this and Malcolm plus I just spilt clotted cream on my mac.

Sleep tight sugar buns xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Love in a cold climate

My friend James made a beautiful meal for his girlfriend the other night. They live in Liverpool which is very cold as it's Northern.

He made up the recipes because he is genuinely food talented unlike my much laboured one pot cooking. Unfortunately, unlike me he lives in the 70s and doesn't have a photo phone so we sadly don't have real photos nestling up to these lovingly prepared dishes.

Clementine, mint, mozzarella and little gem salad with an olive oil and st clements dressing.

Anchovy, tapenade, aubergine and tomato open lasagne with parmesan bechemel.

Banana Tarte Tatin with creme fraiche

Apparently a light red wine accompanied this feast.

He is going to make this open lasagne thing for me when I next visit so I will give you a full account of that with pictures then. I'm sure you can use your imagination on the salad.
I have looked up banana tarte tatin and Jamie Oliver verifies that it is great and very simple. Bizarrely the photo used looks like my toad in the hole. Maybe a good dish to use if you wanted to make a meal of heston style disguise and swap the main and pudding to confuse your guests.

I think I might make it myself one day!

Roasty is about to come round to road test my chicken pie recipe and make something chocolatey for dessert. Won't be as romantic as the above but it'll be nice and cuddly. I wish he'd come round now as the boys are all snoozing infront of come dine with me and dashy is making a song. No one to chat to!

oh p.s got a uniqlo tartan red hoody today for £9.99. I've never had a hoody before. It's very comfy. They guy at the till said, 'ooh you must like the colour red' (I was wearing a red duvet coat, red heat techs, and a red backback- all uniqlo too actually). Why yes I do!

Laters presh xxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 27 November 2009

Alright duck

Am at Bob's house in Norwood Junction about to have dinner with her and her lovely boyfriend David Haddrell. Have gobbled up a pile of prawn toast to start and am waiting excitedly for the next course. I am sitting resting in the living room whilst Bob slaves over the stove and Dave gets his hands red raw on the washing up. Ahh this is the life. My flute of a la champagna (cava) is about to be carried through. 
Prawn toast:
Ginger (bob dropped this in her wine and it wasn't nice)
Spring onion
Sesame seed oil- all mixed up to make paste and put in clingfilm and in fridge for while
Cut some bread- dry out in oven then put paste on and then sesame seeds. Fill wok with loads and loads of oil and heat. A way of testing if it's really hot according to bob is to dip a chopstick in and see if the oil bubbles around it. Drop in bread prawn side down. Then with a slatted spoon get it out after about ten seconds. Put on plate on kitchen roll to mop up some grease. Ah voila!
We're having roast duck for main. It turned out to be a very nice duck salad. Ginger, spring onions, sesame seed oil, juiced oranges, spinach and mange tout, and crown of duck. 

Woah news just in is that we're having ROULADE for pudpud. Oh Bob is so great. 

Also we'll be watching Chasing Amy. Mark and Jim watched it the other night and said it was good but nice and romantic. We'll like that obvs. 

Bye cherubs. Off to socialise with real people xxxxxxxxxxxx having such a nice time. I love going to their house.

Horror hair

I'm going in to look at my new job place at 2.30 and meet the staff and tenants. Started to get a bit scared. No idea what they'll be like. What if they don't like me or I appear no good at it.
On a simpler level the problem aside from not knowing what to wear is that my hair has firmly stuck up like this:
Mark just came in to my room to say goodbye and he thinks the hair problem may be character building.

To calm myself I think i'll get dressed and make some soup for lunch. Blue Granny gave me carrots yesterday and I've got some lentils and some butterbeans so I'll do something with them. Some steady stirring might absorb me.

I'll add olive oil, my carrots, lentils, stock and some milk to a pan and bring to the boil. I can't remember if I have butterbeans or not and I haven't left my bed yet so I won't add them to the description. I'll simmer the mixture until everything has softened and become soupy. Wish I had some bread to go with it.

Oh actually I think I might use my last tomato in this as well. I ate the other last night when I was feeling really really ill to see if it had healing properties. Apparently it did as I feel much better this morning!

Right, I'm actually getting up now I promise. Will tell you how the project visit went later on today when I will also be baking crumpets with little Bobby. How exciting!

Much love snowflakes xxxxxx

Escape to the country (well, zone 4)

Went to Blue Granny's for the day yesterday. It was a lovely cold, crisp but sunny day and as I walked up to her house from the station I was feeling very happy. She and Grampa live right by Epping Forest which made my walk practically like walking through 'Bambi' compared to being at the Estate.
As soon as I arrived I was seated with a snack. Fruit scone and a mini roll which Granny had purloined from choir. No one else was using it. Granny had been baking so that's why there is flour on the table. First time I've stained within five minutes of arriving somewhere. Was too close to some pastry crumbs. Poor heat tech leggings just attract food.

We spent the day chatting and having a big lunch and various other snacks. We had
toad in the hole for lunch because Granny knows I love it. She puts chopped up tomatoes and mushrooms in the batter with the sausages which was a nice touch.
These are 2 out of 3 of the apple and blackberry pies that Granny had whipped up that morning. She makes the pastry properly and her freezer is always swimming with stewed fruit ready for such occasions. I didn't ask the recipe for my blog because she doesn't use one but I did find a nice Apple and Blackberry pie recipe from Delia that would be a good template for people like me who get a bit unconfident without a strict recipe to keep us in line.

If that seems a bit complicated then stew some fruit (I use stewed because that's what granny always gives me for my freezer and I've got loads). To stew, clean and if necessary peel the fruit. Stew in sufficient water until tender. When almost done add what sugar is needed. Then I'd use ready to roll pastry, roll it out, and line a greased pie dish with it. Put the right amount of fruit in. Roll a lid for it, put it on and pinch the edges together in a nice crinkly pattern with your thumb and finger. Obvs trim any excess off first. Remember to make a steam hole in the centre. I like to make some leaves or hearts with leftover pastry and stick them on the top.
Then brush the top with milk and sprinkle on some sugar before baking for about 30 mins at gas mark 5. Keep checking it till it's golden brown.

Better go to get my breakfast now darlings. Bye for now xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thursday, 26 November 2009

The cherry (tomato) on the top

Since around May I have been growing plants on the kitchen windowsill. Roasty kicked it off with a present of sunflower seeds for my birthday. They grew very sweetly for a while until they
snapped. One of the sunflowers is in the far left of the photo next to the aloe vera.

Since then I have branched out into the wide world of herbs and one type of vegetable.
The vegetable in question is tomato. My blue granny gave me the baby plant and I have since looked after it very carefully. It sits on the balcony peeking in through the kitchen window to say hello. Finally a few weeks ago they blossomed and I now have two tomatoes.

I'm not sure what dish to use them for. Any suggestions from my fans are welcome. I'm sure you'll all be waiting with bated breath for the result so don't worry I will review their eating in full.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Here's one I didn't make earlier...

Becky and I took advantage of her Orange Wednesday offers and went for Pizza at Pizza Express this evening followed by a good helping of 'An Education". It's a film starring Carey Mulligan, a really good young actress, who was in Bleak House. My Mum bought the box set of Bleak House, as Mums do (Harrie's Mum also owns it), and we enjoyed it immensely whilst we were on holiday in Cornwall. Once I'd gone home Mum rang me to seek advice on why she couldn't hear it on the laptop properly. Turns out my sister had been burning a cd of Akon or whatever they listen to these days and he was cutting into the already hard to follow dialogue of Dickens with 'Belly dance: Bonanza'.
Incidentally, I just googled Akon to double check my knowledge of his songs and found that he owns a diamond mine! Now that's a reason to stop him feeling 'Lonely'.

Anyway, our pizzas very tasty although a bit hard to slice, Becky's company was as ever sparkling, and the film was great. We laughed all the way through it until Peter Sarsgaard's character wrecked our darling heroine's life. Ah it was such a dream. Feel really great now like I've had a little holiday.

Watching TV with Marky now. He's going to teach me something called 'google analytics.' The boys have them on their blogs and the other night Dashy and Marky were playing top trumps with theirs. I think Dashy won because he had viewer from Ghana and Mark hadn't.

Sweet dreams, Possoms. Going to Blue Granny's house tomorrow so I'll have lots of traditional comfy recipes to soothe you with. xxxxxxxxxx

A rich tea

Hayley came round for elevenses today and only just left. We kicked off with tea and lots of biscuits, looked at the pictures in Grazia, complained to Grazia that they'd printed Hayley's picture with an incorrect age, painted our nails, and Hayley washed and dried her hair whilst I finished the wordy bits of Grazia. We had a very nice time. We usually go out for a long walk together but it was a bit blustery today.

I'm eating a late lunch now. Pasta twirls with broccoli, peas, and some olives. I accidentally left a stone in one of the olives and just bit down on it. Ouch. Reminds me of the time on bonfire night when under the cover of darkness Alex fed me a minstrel to bite down on. Turned out to be a fully shell enclosed pistachio.

Going to the cinema and pizza express tonight with Becky Sunshine. Better get bathed now so I can squeeze a few bubbly hours in before I have to leave for Angel.

Bye for now little lambs xxxxxx

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Dashy brings in the harvest

I'm blogging about Dashy making dinner. He's making spicy root and
lentil casserole. He's using parnsips, carrots and potatoes in it. They look so bountiful nestling on the kitchen top.
I don't dare tell him that I had miso with Dad about half an hour ago.... Well I often used to have three dinners when I was younger and working in the manny mansfield. I'd have one at home, one at my friend's parent's house across the road from the pub and then whatever I could siphon off the customers at work. I once bit a chunk out of this girl's steak and then pinched the edges back together. And many times would put an order in for a fake customer. Well five hours and no break drives one to it!

Mmm dashy's dinner is smelling great. Raw parsnip and carrot.

Also today I ate breakfast at the breakfast club with Dad. I love it there and so does he. He has the big breakfast and I like the all american at the moment.

Then I biked to meet Lizzy B at her home just off london fields. I biked mostly on the roads but some on the pavement when I got scared. We went for lunch at a turkish restaurant which was very nice. Had a few good hours chat.

Then went to the cinema with Dad and saw 'A Serious Man'. I really enjoyed it. Very engaging. Showed how easily life can unravel when you're not expecting it to. Felt like my life was better than the made up man in the film's even though I haven't started my job and have no money.

On the way back from Hoxton Sq with Dad just now we were taken by a huge crown of beauteous scenesters on the road outside the white cube ga
llery. Dad asked them what they were there for (whilst I tried to look like I wasn't with him) and it turned out to be a free opening of Damien Hirst's paintings with a free bar! We went inside and the paintings weren't as good I thought they would be for such a show. Dad burst out laughing when we walked into the room... So we left but not before we'd made off with the free beers for my housemates.
Alex is coming round so thought he'd enjoy one too. Dinner is now served.
MMm look at their contented faces. Bye for now kids xxxxxxxxxx

Oh Hi Pie

I made a chicken and mushroom pie the other day which was delicious. With the last of the pastry I also made cherry plum jam tarts with jam my pink granny had made. My housemate Jim said he felt like he was at home (home home) after polishing his share off. It was a lovely evening. Mark, Jim and I watched Life whilst we were eating it which is always a nice food accompaniment, and a notable marker of how late we always end up cooking on a Monday night.

Recipe for the pie I made
I'm afraid I cheated and used ready made pastry
Cut up left over chicken from the roast the night before
2 Leeks, finely sliced
Mushrooms left in the fridge, finely sliced.
1 tbs butter, 1 tbsp flour
hot chicken stock
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp thyme
1 beaten egg for glazing

Cook leeks and mushrooms for 3 mins in pan until softened. Remove them, set aside, melt butter in the pan, add flour and stir well in. Using a hand whisk add stock and stir to make a gravy. Cook for 3 mins, add chicken, veg, herbs. Cook for 2 more mins then leave to cool. Line dish with pastry, put mixture in and roll out lid for the top. Brush the egg over the pastry. Crimp edges to seal. Cut hole in lid so steam can escape and bake for 40 mins.
Another nice pie is one my darling friend Bob made for me.
It's a really long recipe so you can look at it yourself.

I tried to make it for Alastair's birthday last year but I ruined it because it's really hard so he had to go out and get new pastry and finish it. I was probably inside crying about it.

I've got to go for now as I'm attempting to cycle to E8 to meet my friend Lizzy for lunch. I hope I make it...

Monday, 23 November 2009

p.s by "more prolific than theirs" in my last post I mean in the last 24 hours. Mark has taken issue with it

Come Dine with Me

I have just been to dinner at Paul and George's house with Eleanor. We were in the "Psychos" Psychology society together at uni. I obvs was President. It was a very nice lasagne based meal with spinach salad and burnt garlic bread. George and I finished all the burnt garlic bread off even though there was a lot of it and it was quite burnt. I can't really leave food if it's there.
Paul has spare tickets to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Monday, one of which I accepted, because I liked the YYY before I went off music. Although I am seeing Regina Spektor next Friday which may make me a saturated solution of "gigs" for this year.

I managed to cycle to and from Bethnal Green unattended for this dinner. I wore a highlighter yellow reiss jumper and a bright green pac a mac and had lights on my bike and it was quiet on the roads. I also wore a helmet. Very proud of myself for achieving this. It felt really good.

Now watching Never Mind the Buzzcocks with Dashy and Marky. They're making fun of my blog but my blog is much more prolific than theirs so it wins on that account.. They keep going on about hyperlinking trying to throw me off the scent.

Sweet slumber kittens xxxxxxxx

Oh crumbs!

Oh crumbs I forgot to tell you my recipe tips from yesterday's toad in the hole. Well they're actually Roasty's tips but he won't mind us sharing them. 1) When using cornflour put it in a glass and add a bit of cold water to make a paste- then use it. 2) Also with our mash we used a bit of this horrible plastic cheese we found in the fridge and melted it in. It's probably 87% fake cheese chemicals but it tasted very nice. We're probably so used to additives that things don't taste as good without them.

Today I went to the Anish Kapoor exhibition with Roasty and Hayley. I've already been a few times as I'm a member of the RA but I don't mind going again. It's so good.
The best ones are the canon and the wall of wax.

Afterwards we went to Fortnam and Mason's and chased the chocolate taster man round the food hall and laughed at the £500 Christmas crackers.

Going round to a friend's for dinner later and I'm meant to cycle but bit scared. We'll see..

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Oh it's all very star trek

I'm going where no Fran has gone before and starting a blog. Only because all my friends have them and I feel left out. I've got a few months before my new job will start and I haven't got much money so i'll mainly be writing about staying inside the house. Those box sets won't watch themselves!

Today I got back from my Mum's birthday weekend in Edinburgh and Roasty came round to make a toad in the hole. Dave was already here when I returned home so we had a cuddle and some Scottish
shortbread. Careful not to get crumbs on Jim's freshly cleaned bedroom (this is where we all sit in my flat as we don't have a sitting room).
The four of us meandered through Shoreditch park to the Coop and got toad in the hole ingredients, mince pies and brandy cream. Roasty really likes doing the cooking so he did most of it, I was in charge of the carrots and the other boys started on X Factor.

Toad in the Hole
Prick the sausages and pop them in an oven dish with a tbls of oil. Put in the oven for 10 mins at gas mark 4. Crack 2 large/3 med eggs into a measuring jug. Take note of how much they take up in the jug then put the eggs into another bowl. Then measure out the same amount of flour and add to the egg bowl. Then the same amount of milk and add that. Whisk. Pour mixture on top of sausages (the oil in the dish must be hot). Half an hour cooking. We made gravy, sticky bottomed carrots from jamie oliver's how to cook book and did some broccoli to go with it.

Mmmmm. Everybody really enjoyed it.

I'm going to have to wash my new heat tech leggings after all that spilling.

We then watched x factor, I'm a Celebrity and the Osborne thing all cuddled up together. Had to end when Jim made us watch the football.

Bye for now. Sweet slumber angels xxxxxx