Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Cosé with the rosé

It was the Monks Kirby office party today. After I'd finished all my work I nipped into the loos to glitz and glam. Lexie and Sam also had lots of grooming to do before they were ready so I thought there was probs time for a few bubbles before we reconvened in the cottage foyer.
After a few too many glasses of fizzy pink the party really got into full swing.. Lexie started telling us inappropriate stories about chasing rabbits and that time he dismembered a vole.

Luckily our manager C had made us a nice vegetable lasagne to soak it all up.

Monday, 20 December 2010

I whip my hair back and forth

So there I was at Roast and Sashy's housewarming fending off teasing like snowballs when suddenly I felt a little drip drip drip.. No, it was not the effect of some tall dark stranger bearing down on me. Chance would be a fine thing with all those gays around. Anyway, it was hot red liquid dripping stickily down my shoulders.

OOh you're bleeding, everyone screamed, and recoiled. Oh no, it's just mulled wine. Silly me had been leaning so intently into Chris' conversation that my hair had sponged up my glass.
Luckily/unluckily, Juliet was around to lick the entire glass off me.

The real silver lining was that the dried mulled wine made my hair curl up at the ends really nicely. Styled itself almost better than that time Peaches threw a Bacardi Breezer over my head at Juice.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Like a bowlful of jelly

Now I'm not getting my quivers from my many dates I have to seek out nervous satisfaction in the production of other delicate scenarios. Wibbly wobbly jelly seems to emulate the feeling in my long, perfectly calved, suggestive long sock clad legs, on a first meeting.

Dave and I have discussed at length this concept of 'exquisite torture.' I won't go into details as you're either highly strung enough to feel it or you're not. The latter should go off and eat some cucumber or cold cuts of meat. Emos, please pull up a chair and learn how to make mulled wine jelly with vanilla cream.
Firstly imagine me sitting in a bath of anxiety (quite like the one I have to soak the 12 leaves of gelatin in for four minutes) getting abuse from all directions about how I won't be able to do it. But someone will want to go out with me eventually! Oh sorry, that's dating. I mean, of course I can handle gelatin this year without it seeming like there's chunks of meat in the white choc cheesecake.
Anyway, after wetting the gelatin you soak it in a pan of hot red wine, orange juice, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon peel. Strain, pour into your vessels, set for four hours. When you're ready whip up some cream with vanilla essence and caster sugar, and top.

MMMm. My guests were a little nervous given my past pudding history (broccoli mince pies? Chocolate batter scraped off mine and Roast's chests? Anyone?) but after swallowing their trepidation they gobbled up the jellies.
Verdict: They were a little booozy but slunk down everyone's throats a treat. Unlike the mince pies I'd accidentally made with salty bread flour. Can't have it all.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

First class ticket to Crimewatch

When I arrived at Euston on Thursday I was directed with Rhapsody to the bike coach at the very front of a long long train. On arrival at the front it became quickly clear that this was not the bike coach but first class. Unforch I only had an insufficient four minutes to jet back up to the top so was stranded in first class, branded..a fool (imagine Danny Zuko singing that and you'll summon up the desolation I was feeling).

As I was wailing on the phone to Mum about the prospect of three hours propping Rhapsody up against the first class toilets an extremely drunk wobbly man bore down on me. "Sorry Mum, I have to go, this drunk man wants to talk to me". I imagine this gave her the same queasy feeling as when Ro said to her on the phone, "aaargghh i've got to go, we're going to crash into another car" and then her phone sailed into the air and she forgot to ring Mum back until later.

The drunk man thought I was excellent sport so gave me a spare first class ticket so I could sit down and talk to him the whole way. On the plus side I got to sit in a very roomy comfortable area with the dutiful attentions of the train manager to my every whim, two free duck wraps, two free beers, a free tea, two free handmade cranberry and carrot cakes, free crisps, and a free bottle of wine. But the latter was actually purchased for me by my drunk crusader as the complimentary wine had been officially ceased due to his rowdiness. On the down side I had to spend three hours counselling him about his alcoholism and repeating my name every five minutes.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

LGBTV night.

I think this will make most hot blooded carnivores gasp but I chose a Christmas dinner to invite round 8 vegelezzas to eat me out (of house and home). Well, I do believe in equality for all.

After wracking my brains for days over what to cook for them I got C to give me some tips. She loves all that. She suggested the rich mushroom pie Nige had posted in a recent Observer magazine. The filling is four types of mushroom and spinach. Thought they'd gobble that straight up so better do some sides of roast carrots, parsnips, potatoes, sprouts, and sticky red wine red cabbage. Which by the way was so good that Harrie exclaimed that it was the first time she'd ever liked cabbage.

So, let me tell the story of this special night.

I raced home from work for six and immediately set to work peeling and chopping. I breathed a sigh of relief when Sparkles arrived soon after, a sigh which was justified when he took over and did most of my work. He does a really nice line in thinly sliced parnsip chippies, and sprouts cut just like his Mum does them. Then Dani and Kate were welcomed into doing the pastry for the pie. Shortly after Harrie and Lizzy B were lovingly ushered in and set to work making mince pies, whilst Eleanor brewed the mulled wine. Nice to make cooking seem like a party game don't you think?

After a merry table time we tumbled upstairs to the sitting room to play Cranium amid a tangle of low hanging shiny streamers. They were a charitable donation from Blue Granny's house, along with super large cinnamon sticks and star anise given to Granny by her Thai cleaner. Grampa had complained about all three so they were passed on to the needy.

Then I chucked them all out into the night and in a cloud of happiness went to bed.

The End.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

"Camel is very (tucked) in"

Being one with an eye for the latest trends I was pleased to purchase a camel coloured high waisted knitted pair of shorts the other day. Imagine my dismay then when I shimmied in and they shimmied up! They were very snug..

However, I was glad that I was channelling camel toe when I had to use all the liquid reserves in my hump to stay hydrated until 10pm when dinner was finally served! I think anyone else would have fallen at the wayside but camels can withstand a massive amount of dehydration which allow them to survive not only between watering holes, but sometimes between seasons!
Alex's chicken and vegetable soup was certainly worth the wait. I sent the shorts back, but not my dinner.
If you want the recipe ask him. xxxxxxxx

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The fountain of falafel

After a day of wailing and failing at work I really needed a good soak.
Decided to take bath time to the next level by visiting the thermal spa with Jen.

We shimmied in bedecked in towelling robes and gasped in wonder at the rows of relaxation to be discovered. One room contained vessels of cucumber water and lemon water, free apples, herbal tea, and sun loungers. Another passage revealed a feast of wet heat with a eucalyptus, and a lemon infused steam. Dizzied from that we plunged into the ice pool and I nearly cried because I couldn't clamber out. Jen had to wrench me out before I got too Captain Oates.

Ready for a hot pot we discovered a wooden sauna, and if that wasn't enough a chain of hot stone rooms (Tepidarium Warm room - Caldarium Hot room - Laconium Hottest room,
for those Turks in the know).

When I was ready for some different weather I tried the Monsoon Showers. These wreaked on me the full year of seasons, from warm tropical downpour, to cool water, to fine Scotch mist. Then we scooped up ice flakes from the ice fountain and lay on the Hammam, rubbing the ice into our skin to tingle on. OOOhh. Best bath time ever.

Positively glowing we swept home via some falafel.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Run salmon run

Wanted to recreate Cranston tonight so I scattered some silverfish in the toilet, a mouse by my bed, shut myself in my room gently weeping whilst the tv blared football in the lounge, and most importantly invited Sashy, and the boys round. Apart from Dashy who was probably at a gig.

Symbolically this felt like the salmon racing back home to the right part of the river (but to eat not spawn) so it was only right that I make smoked salmon spaghetti.

Alex was home too so it was as if it was 2008 and he was staying at mine whilst attending a conference in London . Apart from a my house in which he owns most of the furniture..

Very unlike me I was a terrible host and nearly missed my own dinner party as I was off flurrying about upstream.
Breathless and dirty I just managed to scoop together some dinner with not too much spaghetti overboard, and even created a little something something for Roast.
Jim posted Roast's dinner (baked beans on spaghetti) on facebook and got a barrage of derision but I think if you'd tasted it yourself you'd agree with Alessandra Smith.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

When you belieber in me

When I stumbled into my bedroom post sleep in the other day I almost melted into a puddle on the floor at the heartwarming sight of a cake bag. From none other than Justin Bieber. I think he wanted to cheer me up after I had to work the whole weekend. But at least I only have seven people screaming at me in my line of work, he has millions of fans to look after. I really should have flown it straight back to him.

I'm glad I live with Alex and his celeb acquaintances. When I lived with Dashy he was forever taunting me that he'd met RPatz and that RPatz said he thought my vegelez lasagne was disgusting.

Selfish as I am, I ate the whole thing myself. It was like a pillow of soft apple and feathery crumble. And now my actual pillow is made of apple smears and crumbs.

Sausage and the city

Alex and I were on the bus home on Thursday evening and he turned to me and exclaimed, 'We should have sausage and mash with four sausages each!' Oh yes please. I needed some spongy food to catch the drips coming from my rain soaked body. We went home and I said I'd go upstairs to change, something which conveniently took up all of the prep time.
By the time I was clean (do you know where I work?) and dry, a steaming plate of 4 sausages, mash, and onion and mustard gravy was presented infront of me.

Then we went upstairs to our nightly ritual. Four episodes of SATC. Jess came home and noticed we were sitting in exactly the same sofa postion, watching exactly the same thing, and even wearing the same clothes as the previous nights. When you like wearing a red and white striped sweater with red tartan trousers it's quite obvious.

We also had some week old lemon tart. The pastry tasted of fridge so I just copied Samantha and licked it out.

Sunday, 14 November 2010


My sister and her boyfriend tried to make a chocolate cake for my Granny at the weekend. They mixed in the unsalted butter, dark chocolate, egg yolks, icing sugar and whisked peaks of egg to make a silky batter. So I heard. They then poured it into a greased tin (well two actually- one for Granny and a mini one for them to eat whilst they watched tv), put it into the oven for thirty minutes and waited until it was cooked. It's done when it's slightly cracked on the top and if you slide a knife in you can see it's a bit gooey in the middle.

Leaving Granny's to cool (on a rack? I doubt they have one), they scooped up the mini pud and two spoons to go and nestle down with their new favourite programme 'Misfits'. Ro recommends it to me as the best thing she's ever seen, but since she last said that about 'Kung Fu Panda' I'm not sure I trust her taste.*

Imagine their poor little screwed up faces of disgust when their beautiful chocolate cake tasted of FISH! They claim that the batter tasted a dream pre oven so they couldn't think what had gone wrong.

Only later did Bainsey recall that they had last used that particular cake tin for cooking fish and probably (definitely) hadn't washed it out.
Don't spend too much time reading that last sentence. It won't make sense to most cooks.

Seeing as I enjoyed that story so much Ro fed me another.. A few weekends previous they'd made apple pie together. And do you know, it tasted of cheese when there wasn't any cheese in the pastry. They couldn't figure that culinary mystery out but I think what had happened was that they'd killed all their tastebuds with bacardi breezers the night before.

* Actually I would like to see Misfits but I'm afraid my life is just too full of Six Feet Under right now to slide into something new.

Friday, 12 November 2010

A SMASHing meal

I'm going to give you a little history lesson today.
Once upon a time... the vegelez options were notoriously poor. On one such occasion Dani Bristol went to Canada (I think) where the assembled company were served sausage and smash for dinner. She of course couldn't let that sausage pass her pure organic lips so had to suffer through the vegetarian option of just smash!

Thankfully times have changed and not only do we get real potato mash these days but
there are some very nice vegelez alternatives.

I went round the other day and was treated to a steaming bowl of fake
sausages (very nice), mash potato and thick onion gravy. Just what my shivering body craved.

For pudding we got another winter warmer of crumble with hot custard. Then Dani and
I kicked Sparkles out the room and snuggled up in bed to knit tea cosies and watch Despies. That sort of night should be
prescribed instead of winter fuel allowance!

What a banger of a night!

Really double dipped bonfire night with another sparkler at Dave's last Friday. Although it was more of a tease as we were too slow and were greeted at the entrance to the park by hoards of people leaving. To set our spirits back alight we decided to take our thermos' of mulled wine and wait for Dashy to arrive whilst sitting on a dumpster in a nearby underground car park. I desperately hoped that one of the Mum's and Dad's would pick me up and take me home but they left us too it.

Once Dashy had collected us we toddled back to Dave's for vegetable soup and a sausage reception. Ever so nice. Inspired by Dave I made myself potato soup today. Get my potato fix quicker in liquid form. Like injecting heroin, for carbs.

After the soup we gobbled up hot dogs with ketchup and mustard. Although I don't have the latter as it makes me cough.


Dave and I were somehow tempted into visiting Bob on bonfire weekend to see just how Croyden does it! They don't do transport that's for sure. One bike accident, several bruises, a missed train connection, a half an hour wait, and a tram track later we flung ourself over the doormat.

The hungry travellers gratefully received a feast of butternut squash, chickpea, and mash potato bake. She'd also added chorizo just for fun. Which it was. David Haddrell and I
had a bit of a fight over who got the left over mash potato but I won as I swiped it when he wasn't looking. Maybe all that sitting on trains has dulled his reactions. I'm used to fighting over food with obese psychotics so I'm quite sparky these days.

Pudding was homemade chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream. We were ever so treated. Thanks Boob.

Then we went out to play with sparklers in the garden. Dave threw his and I merrily followed suit until I realised I'd thrown one of mine into a bush. Croyden is such a bad influence!

I spy pie season

I'm so hungover I can barely type but I have to water my blog drought so here are some pictures of pies.
The first is a chicken pie from when I wined and dined Bobbeh. I used leftover chicken from a roast. I softened up a bed of leeks and mushrooms in butter and tucked them into the pastry dish, laid the chicken on, poured in a thick creamy white sauce and buttoned down the hatches with the pastry lid. It was ever so dreamy. Seeped everywhere. I like that effect. The other day I made my first poached egg. It was so perfect that when I bit into the english muffin the egg inside dripped all down my hand.

The second Alex made for Chaz for her October birthday. We like labelling our pies with the
recipient's name. He used butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, condensed milk and some other stuff.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Harvest FEASTival

Considering I'd gathered so many conkers the other day I thought I'd better gather up my people and celebrate our bounty. We bounded into Autumn with a feast of warming foods. As I was on a sleep in come down I could begin prep at 3pm by making the dough for my tarte tatin and chilling it for two hours. I also thinly sliced six apples and left them swimming in a bowl of lemon juice and water so they didn't brown. I then went to soak myself in the bath with my new box set until it was time to properly get stuck in.

By the time Alex came home to make his thick onion gravy I was already covered in flour and egg making the batter for my toad in the hole. I think he wished he hadn't come home when I accidentally dropped the sausages into sizzling oil from a height and splashed him. Luckily the freckles on his hands camouflage the burn marks! When the sausages were golden I poured the batter in and slipped some sprigs of rosemary in for good measure.

That rose out of the oven to cheers of delight from our guests, accompanied by thick onion gravy, oozing baked beans, cheesy mash and a nod to spinach.
We all had a lovely time apart from when they hid from me between courses. Fine! I'll just eat all the tarte tatin myself.

The best bit was after my client saw my leftovers lunch the following day she requested I teach her the whole meal so I had the whole thing again for dinner. Ahh. Ever so heart warming.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Anish some more

Went to Hyde park on Monday with Bobeh to see the Anish Kapoor sculptures and have a picnic.
We ate spinach and pea frittata, chocolate cake, raisins, and a nibble of pork pie no longer lying around Bob's fridge. We watched ourselves in Anish's great round mirror whilst eating. Did you know that beautiful people look in the mirror more often than ugly people? Obviously true that lunch.

After some playing in trees we scooped up all the conkers we could find. Later on when I was at dinner in Pizza Express and they all fell out of my bag onto the floor I regretted it, but at the time it was loads of fun.
Oh we also went to the red cafe and had tea and a macaroon. I'm in this photo but you can't see me as I'm dressed all in red.


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Bee troot to yourself

I've been going out a bit too much lately. Not very me you'll agree. Thought I'd rectify this uncomfortable situation with a home cooked dinner with my two best vegelezzes, Dani and Becky. I've got stacks of beetroot from Blue Granny so decided to build them into a risotto, fortified with red wine. Give us a bit of strength in these new cold days and also colour compliment the veg. Ideally at the end of the meal we'll all have silly purple mouths so won't be able to leave the house anyway!
I roasted the beetroot with some garlic too for extra protection from the cold cold night. Made the risotto, chucked the beetroot and garlic in towards the end with mascarpone and parmesan.
Haven't bothered putting a dish close up in as I've started to think no one looks at this, let alone recreates my dazzling dinner ideas.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Ladies fright

I had been dizzy with anticipation about ladies night all week. Prepped as far ahead as Monday by firing up my drive time anthems cd in the laptop and sticking my 'real prosecco not cava' in to chill.

Bob and Chaz giggled over about 7 and we poured out some easy bolognaise and spaghetti. We were a bit giddy by serving time thanks to cocktails a la chaz. 'Do you think the spaghetti is done?' I asked. 'Well you know how you tell?' Bob whooped. And before I could say, 'No! We have house rules', the spaghetti was up on the ceiling. Well it did stick. And was done.
Left a bit as a momento. See, this is a real food blog. Cooking tips as well as silly stories.
It's kind of a blur after that unforch but needless to say I was in bed by midnight, ever so ill. Woke up with a black eye, a deep cut under my eye, and Bob and Chaz full of stories of havoc. Never knew I could pack so much into one half hour out of the house. Won't need to leave again for weeks. xxxx

Friday, 24 September 2010

Moet floaway

Was swept along on a sea of excitement and champagne the other day when a sedate afternoon of culture with Dave burst into quite the event. We'd planned to play a new game I invented called 'La Pétillante'. 'She who sparkles!' We based it on the new carbonated water fountain in Paris. What you do is stand on the bridge spitting fizzy water at each other, and passers by. Whoosh Swhoosh. 'What?! We thought you wanted more culture?', we'd cry at them.

However, luckily for south bank francophobes we quite forgot as we were distracted by the idea of dinner at Dave's in the new resort town of Rotherhithe village. Luckily for us, Chris had put the moet on ice so we could still get fizzy wizzy.

Dave, with the help of Sue the sou (that's me) whipped up a frenzy of chorizo sausages on a bed of spinach, drizzled with a
medley of peppers and onions, and served with a side helping of sweet potato chips. Roast and Marty helped us gobble this up.

Drinks were harvey head bangers as expertly mixed by Chris. Pudding was meant to be smashed banoffee but we forgot to buy bananas. Well, toffee and cream always slips down a treat.

Oh what a sparkling party!

p.s the sweet potato chips were definitely worth commenting on. Slice them up and stick them in the oven for a while. They shrink right down to become sticky chippies.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Bob and Franny's big night out.

Bob had seen on the tube some posters about some free stuff night at the shops so she scooped me up and via Wags (we had a voucher but chanced paying with our special Edward Cullen £50 anyway) we hit the big time.
First we stalked round GAP sniffing out the free beer. For a while all we got was some swanky toasted sandwiches. We'll rub them into the clothes if you don't give us beer now!

After draping ourselves in cashmere and playing soft soft soft gangs we tracked down the bar and having drained GAP we headed upwards to Selfridges.

Selfridges yielded a perfumed fan, the opportunity to chase Lily Allen round with a camera (don't lose the baby again, Lils!), two mojitos, seeing Sashy at work with the diamonds, and a free photo shoot with wind machine! Bob kept pushing me off the photo booth seat with her hair though. Cheered up by 'acquiring' two not so strictly free cupcakes from the food hall. 'Shall we give one to Sashy? Erm maybe not. Think her work might mind.

We giggled all the way home. Weeeeeeeee.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Home and Away

Let me be the one that you tattoo (noo Jim, leave Marky alone), the one you can rely on. Home and away. Closer each dayyy.
Well obvs we all are that close, but this song was sung not for us but to illustrate dinner tonight. In honour of Vietnam core having dinner togevs we ate ken hom's stir fried salmon with spinach and rice. Loads of spices and grated ginger, lemon and special oil stuff in it. And for pudding Blue Granny's apple pie with cream. See, home food AND away food. And wine with a great dog blog label.

It got really romantic whilst I was cooking as the power went off! Luckily gays love tea lights and we could empty out Alex's drawer full onto every surface. But calamity struck when mid stirfrying sliced ginger, etc, I thought ooh it's quite a lot brighter than it was over there.
The tupperware was on fire! The boys pulled together and it was out in no time, although it was really my hot brow which needed dousing after that furore. Sponge me, sponge me!

Many disapproving looks later I'd pulled a dinner out the wok and we sat down to eat. It was oh so moreish. Just like being back with our Vietnam Mother. "Dinnehh!"
We touched down to earth with comely portions of apple pie and cream. Aahh. Home sweet home and no jet lag.

P.s. That's not Bob to your left, it's my new housemate Jess. Bob is actually in Montenegro if you want to know. Hope they don't remember she's on Bosnia's most wanted list. We should all send her our prayers. Although actually now I think of it she didn't even come to Vietnam so doesn't count.

The evening ended really closer each day as Marky and I snuggled up to each other in bed. Aah.


Friday, 17 September 2010

The last supper

Ah, Becky, bolognaise and I have been through a lot at Cranston.
From tears of heartbreak, stomachache, unemployment, destitution and that time when Dashy tried to touch her up, to the joy of most things (we're very bouncy people), we've had it all over a steaming bowl of spaghetti and quorn ragu in Povvo Towers.

Was only fitting that she came round for one last time. And that we make it a bit better than usual.Wasn't really watching what she did do as whilst she was cooking I was chatting but if you want her methods I can pass on her number.
Anyway, it was a jewel in the dust of packing. As Brian on Celebrity Big Brother winners Come dine with me would say, it produced, 'the watering of the mouth.'

Monday, 6 September 2010

Pillow talk

Couldn't sleep the other night night so succumbed to my Nigella transformation by tiptoeing into the kitchen and sticking my fingers into the gooey mess that was the quadruple chocolate loaf saved for the special 'last london family at the flat' night supper. Ooooohhh.

Don't look at me like that! I made it. And I had a bath before bed so my fingers were squeaky clean.
Actually, the real reason I was up was because I was awoken by a mouse at rustling by my bed.
Probably was Hunca Munca from Beatrix Potter come to tell me to tidy up. Was very scared but after having a calming snack and a glass of milk I boxed my toes in with protective cushions and managed to return to sleep

After all that night time exertion I had to rest well in the morning with a double dose of Mad Men in bed before skipping off to meet my darling Lizzy B for lunch on the canal.

We shared some cannellini bean mixture on bruschetta, some sort of bean stew, tea for two and blueberry pie. Every mouthful was heavenly, as was the company.

Night night little lambs, don't let the mice bite xxxxxx