Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Dani and the beanstalk

I had a Dani Bristol sandwich the other night. I wedged her in with a delicious helping of two drinks with my lovely Lizzy B in Stokie (and some backlava I purchased from the bakery before I fainted from not consuming sugar in the last hour), and a cup of tea at Alex's house on the way home. However, let us linger on the Dani filling for your dinner inspiration.

We threw together a meal of toasted ciabatta topped with olive oil drizzled
chopped tomatoes and onions.
Then we plucked beans straight off the vine on Dani's balcony to go with it. Oh so fresh. Don't worry I filled out my calorie intake with a slice of strawberry cheese cake and a glass of red wine. What a treat!

Queen tea

Bobeh took me for afternoon tea at the National Galleries the other day. It was ever so special and we felt oh so royal. Bob even looked like the princesses draped over Christ in the olden day golden paintings adorning the walls. Obvs covered her eyes when they started burning gingers by room three (1400s).

Pre art gazing we feasted on a layer of finger sandwiches each (1 cream cheese and smoked salmon, 1 ham and mustard, 1 cucumber, 2 egg and cress for me as Bob left hers unguarded), a layer of scone, clotted cream and jam, and finalement a mini chocolate cake, a mini victoria sponge and some sort of blackcurrant chocolate covered jelly lolly.

We were almost fit to burst as we finished. I didn't even make it to Chaz's house without undoing the top of my high waisted shorts!

Oh almost forgot. We tipped our poor little tummies over the edge with Bob's secret stash.

Very Cruel Intentions. Don't worry, Mum. Just tic tacs. xxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Knit one pearl one

Do you know, I nearly had a painful experience with a knitting needle the other day.
I was falling asleep one night about midnight and suddenly was disturbed by buzzing. Glad it wasn't a vuz vuz I picked up the phone. It was Bob anxiously asking if I was pregnant. Er No. She said she couldn't quite hear the answerphone I'd left her and so had listened to it four times and David Haddrell had, and worriedly they'd decided they better ring me.

I thanked them both and although I had to correct them (Bob doesn't put her ear to the phone properly- i probably said I was getting a penguin biscuit or using parsley) I said I would have made them Godparents I was so pleased with their support. Oh no Fran, said Bob. I was about to offer to come round with a large bottle of gin and run you a warm bath. Well luckily I'll be having my next warm bath sans knitting needles but I am about to dabble with pearling with a much more comforting vegelez pearl barley risotto.

It contains chunked butternut squash, 2 chunked red peppers, onion, garlic, thyme, parsley, rocket, parmesan. Roast squash and peppers until tender is the night. Start risotto meanwhile. Add onion, garlic, thyme leaves, soften. Add pearl barley- cook for min. Add some stock- simmer until absorbed etc for about 40 mins. Stir in parsley, roast veg. Top with rocket and parmesan.

Enjoy! xxxxxxx

Monday, 28 June 2010


Incase there are any late night diners out there i'm going to put this up now to help you out with supper. And actually give the full recipe and method rather than just documenting spreading Quesadilla mix round the kitchen. Can thank me later.

So after work I swooped down on Roast with a bag of ingredients and we swam through the heat back to costa del Cranston, both admiring each others' shorts as we went. Once in the kitchen, as he unravelled his past week to me I set to work finely chopping red onion and garlic and softening them. Then I added quorn mince, tom puree and chopped tomatoes and mixed up together for about ten mins on a medium heat. I then heated some oil in a pan and lightly fried a tortilla wrap until golden and air bubbling on both sides. Spread a Mohican of sauce mix through the tortilla wrap whilst it's still sitting comfortably in the pan and sprinkle that with lots of grated cheese. You can then wrap the tortilla up tight and the melting cheese glues it together. Obvs use utensils when wrapping or you'll have poor burnt fingers. Layer with loads of sour cream. Roast doesn't eat it so I practically ate the lot. So hot I just spread myself with it.

I know it doesn't look very appetising but let's face it, my food quite often doesn't. I'm much more Motherchef than Masterchef with presentation. Luckily it tastes alright and roasty and I were very happy. (p.s actually i'd made this one look like a shark. Can you tell?)

We then filled my gorgeous new ice cream vessels with ben and jerrys cookie dough and a bit of espresso and downed the whole slippy lot.

Enjoy dinner sweetpeas. I'm have to sleep now. Xxxx

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Hue today, Saigon tomorrow (was our food)

"Ooh it's very Vietnam this evening", gasped Dave as we slunk through the steamy heat of Kingsland road. Stopping outside Go Pho or whatevs it's called we looked at each other. Shall we? Oh why not. We were actually on our way to the supermarket to get sausages but sorry Tesco, blame it on the weather man. So we stumbled into the air con and gratefully took a menu. Both plumped for the 139. Rare steak and tofu pho for non local linguists.
Because we were on holiday Dave had a diet coke and I had an iced coffee with condensed milk.

Refreshed, we decided to meander up the canal path to London Fields for something more au continental.

Whilst sitting on the bench enjoying the warm evening and our bottle of red wine we spotted the next catch for THE DOG DIARIES. Sorry I can't put the photo up as I'm meaning to start the blog soon and I don't want you to spoil your appetites!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Ra ra ra ra ramen

Last Wednesday I had a wonderful reunion dinner with Diana and Gina a la Wagamamas. We met at 7pm and the plan was to go straight to dinner but they hadn't bargained on me having eaten an entire tub of chocolate ice cream merely an hour before. We had to walk round the Spitalfields block twice in an attempt to fight the laws of ice cream and work up an appetite.

Glad we did as I discovered my first subject for my new blog, the Dog Diaries. Think of the Princess Diaries but with Anne Hathaway taking a back seat.

Unfort forgotten how to set up a new blog so food and dogs will have to share for now.

This breed is one of my 'top 5 potential dogs I would get in the future.' It's a Chow Chow. Appropriate seeing as then we went on to chow chow on some lovely meals in Wagamama. I bet at least one was Ramen.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Déjà SU

After a sleep in I do enjoy an impromptu pizza and pint at the Hollyoaks bar in Angel as Alex and I did last week. I think if our dignity let us we'd go every Tuesday. But at least we buy something, unlike the weird family that clearly just sneaked in because they didn't own a tv.
We had a great time 'watching football'. "Oh this is alright isn't it?" "But quite sad we missed the bit at the beginning when we get close ups of which ones are hot." "Probably why that North Korean was crying."
Needless to say we left at half time and whizzed home to sit next to Marky with some ice cream and talk over his enjoyment of the game. Well don't know how anyone can concentrate anyway with that buzzing sound! Voulez vous vu shut up.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


As a wonderful belated surprise birthday present I went camping with James and Dave in the best sheep field in Willey. Just like when we were younger after the Willey village fete apart from I was allowed to join in.
For our Italian themed dinner (am I a bore yet?) we marinated chicken in white wine and olive oil and then bbqd it with Mr Porkinson's sausages which were an extremely good sticky sweet new find. Around this we assembled slithers of courgettes, roasted cherry tomatoes, special soft cheese, and hunks of rustic baguette. All washed down by our classy camping wine box. When we'd devoured all this we hopped back over the fence to go for some midnight bubbles in the hot tub before cracking on with the amaretto on cushions round our campfire amidst the sleepy sheep. Some of us were slightly more worse for wear by the morning!

Lucky we got him inside before the rain and cheese came down heavily and Sunday it was back in the bubbles before a most splendid Roast dinner. Did not want to get back to real life afterwards.

p.s look what I found for breakfast in the morning!

Friday, 18 June 2010

Shockolate cake

Since the days of Bob and I not knowing what to do with the excess tiramusu at BBQs I've always considered the mark of a good party to be sticking ones face in the chocolate cake. Luckily I didn't have to put any effort in as someone did it for me. Twice.
For such a recipe to party success I'd recommend having friends who will buy you extra special chocolate cupcakes from Peyton and Byrne and a massive silver foil vat of indiscriminate chocolatey cake for the main course. Save the one Mother made for eating.
Also have lots of cava bien merci et vous as the bottles double up as bats for after lunch games of rounders in Regent's park!

Also smoked salmon, chorizo, baguettes, brie, crisps, doughnuts and grapes wash down quite nicely.

Thanks cherubs xxxxxxxxxx

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Tamato? Toemato? Neither here please

OOh look at the heat coming off that. Ouch! I burnt my fingers just taking this sultry shot. This, is Roasty cooking up a storm of meat feast Cottage Pie. He used four packs of beef mince, beef stock, his special ingredient mushroom sauce stuff, worcestershire sauce, and an abundance of peas to give a nod to the humble vegetable. Due to too many cooks interjecting about their choices of pie ingredients the windows of the kitchen quickly steamed up! But then again that may have been the meat sweats. However, we were only teasing and as we gobbled it up later were congratulating Roast on an absolute triumph! Topped off with mash potato and grated cheese and with a side of roasted thyme carrots a la Alex. And no sides of awkwardness at all!

Followed by melty mars bar ice creams and strawberries Bob had plucked from the farmer's market in the car park next to work and a little sleepover for Roast and I. Tasty xxxxx

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Too rich for my own good

Im dying. My stomach hurts. It is partially self inflicted because as soon as I got home from work at the bouncily early time of 4.30pm I extracted a tub of 'truly irresistible rich chocolate ice cream made with West County milk and cream, free range eggs and finished with a swirl of dark chocolate sauce and brownie pieces'. I then hopped into bed and ate the lot.
It felt really great at the time. But now it kills. Anyway, it was only partially my fault as the reason I thought that would be a good activity is because I've finished all my programmes. I'm up to date with Glee, Brothers and Sisters, and Dextor. Gossip Girl and 90210 have finished their seasons. And as much as I love a big faced quiff I can't make myself go through another Doctor Who. I'm so depressed.

Whoops. I just remembered I have to go out for dinner in half an hour. Wish me luck!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Cream Dream AND Miss Mud Pie go to town

What a fatty Thursday! The day had started off rather distressingly with my Boss and the cleaner being a hairs breath from catching me in my Pajamas at work having slept through my alarm for a whole hour, so I needed some extra comfort to soothe my still jangling nerves. Mostly I take my comfort in the form of duve or food and that day I did a whole lot of both!

After sleeping for a few hours and carefully running my bath through the shower head so the stupid pipes don't soak the whingy family downstairs (one day they're gonna get it) I saddled up Rhapsody and went to meet Dave for a coffee. He suggested we take in a cake and I was not going to argue.

We had a Mississippi Mud pie with ice cream. I got in a little sticky mess by wiping my arm in it oh so accidentally. Well all the more for me isn't it?!

Back at the flat, Dave had only just taken my leave when Becky Sunshine swept in for a soothing night of creamy cheesy pici spaghetti. I still had some Italian I needed to soak up you see.
We sliced up slithering tongues of courgette and softened them in oil, then added cream, parmesan, toasted pine nuts and spinach.
Mmm. As you can imagine we couldn't move much afterwards. We lay and watched Glee and both shed quite a few tears at the particularly moving episode. Then too replete to talk or have pudding we decided it would be really quite nice if she went home to bed and I piled into mine so at 9.30pm we partied out.

Glorious xxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 11 June 2010

Dani Italy

Packed my passport and whizzed off to Dani's the other day for our take on spag bol-on-hol.
We'd both just popped back from Italy so had lots of rustic produce lying about to use up.
In this picture Dani is about to chop up some wild garlic fleurs from the field behind her Dad's house in Sulmona, Italy. They were delicious. I nibbled one nearly right up uncooked. That'll continue to keep the boys away!Then we tore up some mozarella, roasted some cherry tomatoes on the vine, and lightly cooked it all up with olive oil and basil to heap on our pici spaghetti. We drank roseh with the meal then finished it off with a shot of limoncello.

Afterwards we went for a lovely walk along the canal before a cup of thick hot chocolate in bed with an episode of Despies.
Aah. Wish I could go to bed now. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Somewhere, over the rainbow..prawns fly into my mouth

Haven't when you dished a work dinner before but seeing as they're making me spend most of my time there I'm not sure what else they expect me to be doing. After a nice afternoon doing art club I was very pleased to find out that I was icing the day off by cooking king prawns for dinner. They were to be cooked as sweet and sour which is not my fave but to be honest quite a lot of them wriggled into my mouth whilst cooking and didn't even get introduced to the sauce. One for me, one for the pot!
Not sure how real chefs with beaucoup de time and a lack of baying clients to cook en masse for make sweet and sour but I unscrewed two jars of ready made sauce and tipped them into a pan with a hearty sprinkling of frozen mixed veg.

The rice perhaps I can interest you in. I have a new method. Put it in, bring to boil and leave for five mins till rice is 'showing' above water then turn off flame and leave for 15 mins. Keep warm by adding a lid and cuddling the whole thing with a firmly tucked in tea towel.
Mmm. I liked how colourful and rainbow it was.

Smokin' Hwot!

I boldly went where no Fran has gone before on Monday. The East London line! And Surrey Quays. But the latter didn't feel fresh. That felt more like Coventry. Even looked for my car in the cineworld car park post film! The reason we went there was because Bob had free cinema tickets for cinemas in London no else would want to go to, and I'll go anywhere for free. We partially enjoyed the film and very much enjoyed our snack of mega bag of chocolate raisins. Quite healthy too! Just like when Alex put me on the fruit diet in year 13 and I kept eating nothing but blueberry muffins.

Instead of going to Frankie And Bennie's for dins we whizzed down the line to Croyden to Bobbeh's.
She had got a treat in store! Her mum's man pal had knocked her up a smoker and she smoked herself silly. Probably fished the mackerel and salmon herself she's so nifty but I was obvs drinking the wine in the comfort of the sitting room so I missed such preperation. We had this with potatoes which were boiled then fried a little with fresh rosemary and oil etc to make them sticky and a side of carrot and green stuff salade. She's not just a pretty face!


Sunday, 6 June 2010

Muddy fingers

You'll be pleased to know that I've take my gardening to a whole new level and started 'farming' as one of my clients calls it.
"Fraaances, why are you doing the farming? Aren't you worn to a bone?" Oh no, I'm well strong.

I've grown carrots, tomatoes, and the courgettes are looking dubious. Not sure if they're weeds or not but I've taken a photo and will show it to Blue Granny for further investigation.
Also have grown flowers but I'm not one of those hippies who dishes them on a star so they're irrelevant here.
So stay tuned to see how the fruits of my labour turn out. They're actually affecting my cooking negatively right now as I got a bit covered in dirt last night when I went out to do a bit more mid shepherd's pie. Probably it's added protein.

There was a BB Queue for all this nice food!

After ten days away everyone was missing me greatly so we gathered at Alex's for a BBQ. I made a potato salad with special little sainsbury's finest potatoes (they were on a deal and I self paid don't pay anyway), mmmayonnaise, spring onions finely chopped by chazzy and baby spinach.
For some reason everyone brought sausages so we had 42. Lucky Roast buttered an absolute barge full of buns for us to slip them into!
For pudding we had a chazzy trifle! (This translated better in real life)

The bbq ended relatively early for Charlotte and myself due to unforseen circumstances which I can't quite remember..


To ap-pisa for my absence

Well, as I'm sure many of you have noticed I've been away for a few days.
But what's ten days in Italy between friends?

I saw the leaning tower, got a hot tan by the pool, ate and drank lots, and was a bridesmaid for Joey.

My recipe for a successful Tuscan picnic is a jumbo pot of nutella (32 euros since you ask), slabs of local cheese, layers of indiscriminate meat from the market, fresh fruit and interestingly shaped hunks of bread.

That's the leaning tower peaking out of those buildings. A feast for the eyes I think you'll agree.

The wedding was also a treat as I've never had before. Canapes, peach bellinis, champagne, a four course meal with lashings of red wine, and lots of love. Aaaah.

So please forgive my abandonment xxxxxxxxxxxx