Sunday, 31 January 2010

Ban-offy I go to work tomorrow

Today I went to John Torode's restaurant Luxe with Alex, Bob, Chaz, Mark, Roast and Tom. We had to wait for more than an hour to be seated but we were having such a nice time together that it didn't matter a bit in the end. The food was also very good. Mine was waffle, french toast and pancake all together. All my favourite carbs. Married together in a loving union with lashings of maple syrup. Shared a side of chips too just to make it more interesting.

Mark had a banoffee milkshake which really was worth going back for. I had a coke float. I'll show you how to make those another day but for now I have to go to bed as I'm busy tomorrow starting work. Have laid out my clothes already with extra layer options incase it's a cold building. You know that's my greatest fear.

p.s I think a little shout out should go to David Haddrell who is currently enjoying his birthday week. Was very much bowled over by his birthday party last night. Thanks, Dave.

night lamb chops xxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 30 January 2010

ForQuorned is Forearmed

Have hardly had time to catch my breath recently with an influx of sociales. Had a wonderful night last night comprising of central drinks with the London fam then party time with Harrie. This morning Harrie and I somehow burst out of slumber feeling very lively so I was more than ready to take on Broadway market with Diana for a coffee and custard strawberry tart. Post that I came home and was very Mum and cooked all the vegetables I had in the fridge into more than two conclusions. I made a broccoli and pea pasta sauce for lunch and a Quorn Veg lasagne to lie in wait for future occasions. Then when I next need a quick tasty dinner out the blue I can whip it out of the freezer and pop into open mouths via the oven.

Gina made me this lasagne on Friday served with buttery crusty ciabatta to mop up the sauce.
1 bag Quorn mince, 3 cloves garlic, 1 bottle of pesto, chilli powder, single cream, lasagne sheets, cheddar cheese, assorted veg (she used mushrooms, courgettes, peppers, spinach). Fry Quorn mince in oil, add garlic until partly cooked. Add veg and continue frying until those slightly cooked. Add chilli powder and 1 bottle of pesto and water measuring half of that pesto bottle. Leave to simmer until veg cooked. Grease ovenproof dish, lay one sheet of lasagne sheets, top with cream, then veg/mince layer. Repeat till dish is full. Top with cheese. Bake at 150c until cheese is golden.
It's so good.

Probably should have a quick nap now so I've got time to fit in an episode of Brothers and Sisters before Bob comes round to get ready for David Haddrell's birthday party. It's all go!

Sweet slumber lacies xxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 29 January 2010

Without a trace

Alex and I went against Razorlight's advice and went to visit Dave's new flat in Dalston. There was actually a gang right outside the window. We kept accidentally catching their eyes whilst we were cooking. Don't they know it's a private road?? Going to tell their Mothers.

We made mash potato with spring onions, red cabbage and onion gravy to have with sausages. I was in charge of the red cabbage reduction which was quite a task. I usually cook with quite a lot of vigour so the boys were in charge of reducing the mess. This was also quite a task. They kept chanting, 'without a trace, without a trace' at me to remind me to keep my wooden spoon strokes small. Usually people will be scraping food off their door handles for weeks after i've been round. I'm very hard to shake.
Eventually it all came together and we had an absolute feast with only two or three bits of red cabbage overboard. Oh and we toasted Dave's new splendour with pink cava bien merci. Et Vous?
Alex had bought us a crumble he'd made which was delish. It had whole blackberries in! Very Sylvanian families.

I think I need a nap now so sweet slumber peaches xxxxxxxxxx

It's a wrap!

Well actually it's a crepe, but what is wrapped up is my time unemployed as I start work on Monday. Those boxsets are going to have to start watching themselves after all. Met Sashy at her flat for a lovely afternoon tea on Wednesday. She made me a chocolate crepe and a cup of tea to go with our chat time.

Recipe: 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons butter, melted. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the butter; beat until smooth. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Pour the batter in so that it coats the surface. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Squiggle chocolate sauce inside and fold up.

Sashy is ever so good at it!

Mark and I are playing a game where I play a bird song and he guesses what bird it is so I better go as i need my fingers to press the sounds.

Bye for now my mushrooms on toast xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thursday, 28 January 2010

There's a stewaway on board!

Continuing my affinity with the ocean I went to Dani Bristol's flat for dinner on Tuesday. She lives overlooking the canal on Kingsland Road so my gills weren't far from water thankfully.
She slaved over a delicious hearty stew overflowing with beans and pulses and grainy stuff and swede and cabbage and carrots and potatoes. Recipe: seemed to be cook it all up together for a while. I was too busy chatting to notice. Ooh and we mopped it up with some chunky bread and butter.
For pudding Blue Granny had stowed away in my bag a tub of stewed fruit (actually 2 so we had our pick of apple or blackberry. She is wonderful) and a bag of crumble mix that she had pre prepared that morning. So I combined the two components (we plumped for blackberry fyi so next dinner party is getting apple) and cooked in the oven for half an hour at gas mark 6.
Recipe: Stew some fruits or visit my granny and she'll give you some, and put it a tin then layer the topping over it. Topping appaz is: 300g plain flour, 175g unrefined brown sugar, 200g unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature. Rub that all together until you get crumbs.

Had a very merry meal with Dani, Sparkles and her housemates Harry and Pat. Then we chucked the surplus out for some anti boy: watching BrideWars which I'd siphoned off Granny's coffee morning goods (I had asked). What a tonic.

Then I had a dreamy sleep, fun breakfast with Sparkles and came home to a day of writing. Don't know how employed people fit all this in!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

What kind of boat never sinks? A friendSHIP

Bob and I took a leaf out of classic films such as The World Is Not Enough and Spice Girls: The Movie on Saturday and sped down the Thames on the Clipper.
Before a wave carries me too far on with the story though let me tell you about our picnic in Borough Market first.
We had cheese and parma ham baguette, mulled apple juice and a coffee cake which we accidentally ate before we boarded. The sea air makes me so hungry!
We hopped on the boat and proclaimed "Take us anywhere!" The boat people didn't seem to like us because they kept asking to see our 'All day River Roamer' passes and asking when we were getting off. Sorry Captain, our ticket says till 10pm. We're with you for the long haul!
We seemed to go round in a circle a bit but then the boat zipped off to the Millenium Dome where we got out and went for a rest after our high paced activities.

There was this bubble room in there with padded floor areas to lie down and 'Chill' so we snuggled under Bob's fur and trying to ignore the teens clutching at each other and swaying their arms to 'Hallelujah' had a good 50minute rest. Then we exited and tried to pop it but failed. This is Bob punching the bubble room.
We had such a good day. I think that demonstrates that as the Spicie's say, 'Friendship never ends' even though the day did and I had to release Bob back into David Haddrell's custody.

Cheerio my hearties xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Pea.S I love you

Mmm just had the aftermath of a toad in the hole with gravy with broc, and sugar snap peas.
Went to Blue Granny's yesterday and she was very sad to note that no one was able to polish off the last helping of toad in the hole so I promised to eat it for lunch today. She packed me off with it wrapped up in a foil tray with a little bottle of the gravy. Tasted as great today as it had yesterday although unfort not followed with scrabble, hot ribeana and crumpets.

She also gave me some daffodils which are lulling me into a very contented false sense of spring.
Inspired by their happy blooms I might make a lemon drizzle cake. I'm going to Sashy's for tea later and i think a few slices would sit nicely.

Method and Recipe: Heat oven to gas 4. Beat together 225 g butter and the same of sugar until pale and creamy, then add 4 eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. Sift in 225g flour, then add zest of 1 lemon and combine well. Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with greaseproof paper, then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon. Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the juice of the lemon and 85g sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a fork, then pour over the drizzle - the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping. Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve. MMMMmm.

Laters bravehearts xxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 25 January 2010

Chip downpour: The final chapter

I assumed that you would all be wondering wide eyed what ever happened to the chips that rained cruelly down on my poor head yesterday. Well, I ate them for dinner. Scooped them off my sheets and onto a baking tray. Sashy and Alex came round for Sunday night dinner and we had burgers and chips and roasted tomatoes. This was all pretty easy and Alex handled it all anyway but incase I was leaving you gasping for a recipe here is a proper way of doing it:

Minted lamb burgers:

1kg lamb mince, 1 large onion peeled and grated, 25g fresh breadcrumbs, 2 tsp dried mint. Preheat grill and in a large bowl combine the mince, onion, breadcrumbs, dried mint, seasoning. Shape into 8 patties, brush lightly with oil and grill for 8-10 minutes on each side.
Make a yoghurt sauce with plain yog, 2 small garlic cloves minced and mashed to a paste, fresh mint leaves shredded. When Dashy made these for us we had them in a toasted half of pitta with the yoghurt sauce and slices of tomato and crisp iceberg lettuce. They were very satisfying. Oh and chips obvs.

I really should probably go and get dressed now.
Bye for now lemon drops xxxxxxxxxx

A day oeuf

Not that every day isn't a day off for me but this one I stayed in my pajamas and my bed the entire day alternating between watching my brothers and sisters boxset and sleeping. At one point I had to get up because the bag of frozen chips I was using to soothe my aching head decided to empty its contents through an unforeseen hole in the bag. After i'd cleared the chip downpour I made myself a big bowl of heaven.
Thoroughly recommended. The golden yolks pour through the mash potato mountain in a creamy river. Extremely soothing.

Eggs are ever so versatile. With this box I have made chocolate steamed sponge pudding (1 egg), boiled eggs and soldiers (2 eggs), spaghetti carbonara (1 egg) and the above (the finale). Food gold.

Today is looking like another day of hard work so i'd better go and get dressed. I have to go to the post office.

Bye for now bon bons xxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 22 January 2010


Had a wonderful surprise party for bob last night at the estate. Had pink and white balloons, (1) party popper, and a whole secret balcony of guests lying in wait. Bob arrived and thought i'd just had too much cava bien merci I was fizzing over with excitement so much but then I let the lid of the guest pot and she was genuinely surprised.

We ate tiger prawn and chilli spaghetti:
1kg spaghetti
Tiger prawns
cherry tomatoes pan roasted
2 med chillis chopped
1 lemon zested and juiced
flat leaf parsley chopped
Cook spaghetti according to packet, add prawns for last few mins, drain well and add rest of stuff, return to heat for at least 3 mins and mix carefully.

Here's a tip for you. Never try to cook spaghetti for ten people at once. We'll be finding it worming around the house for days.

For birthday cake we had Chocolate Steamed Sponge Pudding:

I had a practise run the other day with Pink Granny and we made a cranberry one. Very nice and fresh. Perfect for our lunch. As people who remember the name of my SimsPets dog will attest to, I do love a good pudding. Tip: Put the extra sauce in a jug like granny did rather than tip it all over the pudding so it's like a floating chocolate island. As unfortunately, people laugh at you for that.
Grease 2 pint pudding basin. Spoon in 1/4 of chocolate sauce (melted 150g choc, then simmered with 150g icing sugar, 150g butter until all melted, remove from heat and stir in 2 tbls milk). Then mix together 225g self raising flr, 85g caster sugar, 115g softened butter, then add 1 large egg, 8 tbls milk, and mix well. Put into the pudding basin and firmly cover top with foil making a bit of a handle as well to pull it out after. Stand basin in a pan with water half way up basin sides. Bring to boil then simmer for 2 hours, topping up boiling water if necessary as can't boil dry or go off boil. Pull out after 2 hrs, tip onto dish, and spoon chocolate sauce over or put in jug if there's too much.

Back to the present and after dinner we played a riotous game of the cereal box game, gave bob her gifts and wiggled around to beyonce and ricky marts. Easeh Easeh.

The night crept off to sleep with Dashy singing and guitar playing Bob and I a lullaby in bed. It was ever so soothing we drifted right off but not before Bob had commented that Dashy should make an album of bedtime lullabies for cool parents to pop on for their children. A sort of David Gray for the under eights.
Ooh the postman just came whilst I was writing this and I had got so fired up about birthdays that I forgot it wasn't mine and that the parcels weren't for me. What a shame.
oh p.s we had birthday breakfast in bed this morn with toast jenga and softly softly boiled eggs a la delia. Got to test out my new swan eggcup. It looks like it's enjoying nibbling the toast here.

Bye for now my eggy breads xxxxxxx

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Larkrise to Liverpool

Like the gentry folk of Larkrise I have transcended the physical and emotional barriers to cross the mersey to Candleford/Liverpool (you really need to watch Larkrise to Candleford like me to understand this but you probably don't as it's a Sunday night period drama that often fights for time with Come Dine with Me). Whatevs. Now where's my tube back home??

So far on my journey I have traversed a wide variety of cuisine.
Breakfasted on branflakes jewelled with blueberries and bananas
Fell into a sea of jacket potato, cheese and beans. Butter is not banned on MY polystyrene tray.
Left my heart in Tokyo
And made loads of cocktails which we forgot to document we were so busy drinking.
The easiest recipe for all my readers at home is:
Amaretto Sour. Seemed to be some sort of sugar syrup (melt sugar in water in pan), amaretto and lemon juice shaken together with ice then poured over ice. Was gorge corge as they say.

Made it back after a very happy weekend. Bye for now my celebrations xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

And my tart was filled with joy

Had a wonderful evening on Sunday with all the London family at the flat. I made a quiche with mash and roasted cherry tomatoes. Accompanied by lots of help from Bob, Chazzy and Alex.
I rolled out my ready made pastry and lined a tart dish with it. Then I cooked broccoli, onion and leeks and mixed that with beaten eggs and milk and tipped all that into the dish. Oh I blind baked the pastry for a bit. Then put the whole thing into the oven for what seemed like ages probably because it wasn't up high enough. Eventually it swelled up and we had a delicious and healthy treat.
Afterwards we had jam tarts with the scraps of the pastry and Blue Granny's homemade jam. A few jam tarts got broccoli bits in as for some reason the florets got EVERYWHERE but no one seemed to mind. Just makes more of their five a day!

The next day Roasty and I strode out early to see Sashy at Selfridges and had some good chats and nibbles of the Chromehearts chocolate stash. In the Wonder room I commented that I wished they wouldn't put the jewels in those staid glass cabinets and Roasty replied, 'I know babes, I don't see why. We're precious and we're not in glass cabinets.' Oh aren't we just. Then we went to the Royal Academy and saw two amazing shows. One was about climate change and in the picture below Roast is standing in a light waterfall. He is very precious.

Watching a film now that annoyingly has subtitles so i'd better go and look at the screen.

Bye for now my picture perfects xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 9 January 2010

The sunshine has her birthday hat on

Today is Becky Sunshine's birthday party day and so I am making her a Becky Sunshine Lemon tart as a present.

Obvs ready rolled pastry. Not made of time. Okay: Butter up the tin. Put the pastry in it, pressing down with your thumb at the sides to stick it down and tearing off the excess pastry.
Put in oven for 10 mins gas mark 5 with some foil or baking beans to keep the pastry down. Remove the foil/whatevs and bake for another 8-10 mins until the base is dry and lightly cooked. Lower oven setting to gas mark 3.
For the filling beat one whole egg and 4 large egg yolks, and 150g caster sugar in a bowl until smooth. Carefully stir in zest of 4 medium lemons, the juice, 143ml double cream and mix until evenly blended. Leave to stand for 5 mins, then skim off the foam from the top of the mixture. Carefully pour the filling into the pastry case. Bake the tart for 25-30 mins or until the filling in the centre is springy to the touch. Leave to stand for 15 mins then serve warm or cool completely and chill before serving. Decorate with raspberries and icing sugar dust.

Whilst it was setting I went for a last snowy walk with Lexie and Mum.
Off to the station now to battle through to London. I've heard a rumour that some people are too snowed in to go to becky's birthday tonight but I would rather sledge there than miss it!

Bye princesses xxxxxxxxxxxxx

There's no plaice like home

This week I had the good news that i'm being sent a conditional contract for my job. That means that it should be only a few weeks until I start working. In celebration of this Mum asked me what I would like for dinner. I wanted fish pie and Cava so that is what we had.

Poach some fish in milk. We had cod (white fish) and haddock (smoked). Cook some potatoes and mash them. Make a white sauce and put cheese in it. Hard boil some eggs and cut them up. Flake the fish and take out the bones if there are any visible. Add eggs, prawns, and flaked fish to the sauce. Put that in a dish and layer the mash potato on top. Grate some cheese on top of that. Put in the oven for about half an hour until the cheese has melted golden brown.

Top tip: use the milk the fish has been poached in to make the white sauce.
Also, don't bother making if you haven't got much time. Takes ages. But is amazing.

We ate it with a leek and mushroom mix and I drank most of the cava to see if it would bubble my cold away. We also watched the Railway Children whilst eating it. Very sad film. Wept most of the way through.

Bye for now fishies xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 4 January 2010


Ooh i've been away so long that I feel like i'm starting from scratch. The sound in the title was my blog hymen being torn again..

I know i've missed a lot so I'll do a run down of the last two weeks' most salient meals.

I had chicken kiev at Dave's 23rd birthday dinner on the 24th. Another re-first after ten years away from it. We went to the staff of life in mowsley and cuddled by the fire happily. Dave is always very on the pulse. Even got to 23 first! We had a roaring time.
Also available were fish and chips, and sausage and mash with crackling.

On Christmas Eve night Ro and I went to Dad's and made him a prawn and pea (both garden and sugarsnap) risotto. One of my faves. I can't be bothered to put the recipe up as it's so old and easy and i'm taking this first blog gently, but if you want a demonstration please ask.
Then obvs Christmas dins with all the trimmings but i'll spare you those details till next year. You must be full of it by now.

Made Bob's salmon spinach dish the other day for mother. It is on one of my last of december's posts. A must try!

After New Years Eve in London with all my darlings (mostly a liquid diet that night fyi apart from my poor neck) I slunk off to the north for a few days with my wonderful Jamie.
We were feeling a bit frangible after a night on the town so on Sunday we went round to Ian's house and played Monopoly whilst Jamie made us stew. I think he just put garlic, onion, chopped potatoes, chunks of chicken, chopped carrots and chicken stock into a big pot and cooked it all up for about 4o mins. Oh so heartwarming. Needed that energy to power right the way to the bitter end of monopoly. Especially Star Wars monopoly. Nightmare.
Anyway, it's been good catching up. Bye for now crumpets xxxxxxxx