Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Off to Join the Circus




Generally speaking, Circuses aren't top of my favourite places list.  I'm not a massive fan of clowns and there's always the worry of being eaten by a wandering lion.  

We went to Gifford's Circus this weekend however and I've been properly converted.  I'd actually quite like to join them.  Although what I could bring to the party I'm not sure....perhaps lion taming?











 Even the Cub who has an attention span of a knat was mesmerised from start to finish..

www.giffordscircus.com

Monday, 25 June 2012

Ta Daaaaaaa!


Friday could have been one of the top ten best days of my life so far...

Mr Postman delivered an advance copy of my book.
 It's actually happened!









The Art of Handmade Living

Monday, 18 June 2012

To Venice I Go....




This time in 24 hours, I will be gliding through Venice on a Gondola.  I've been invited to fly out for a party.  All expenses paid, for 24 hours, with some of my best friends. 

I can't quite believe I'm actually going. 
I did contemplate not.  It all seemed such a rush - too much to fit into such a short time and especially to somewhere I've wanted to go my whole life.  Would I ruin it by seeing it with only a fleeting glimpse? - There was all the organisation - babysitters to locate, outfits to find - anything not covered in sweet potato puree would do - more of a challenge than it sounds.  And then there's the fact that I am beyond exhausted thanks to both Cubs recent nocturnal activities - and do I really want to add to my already hallucinatory state by giving myself another all-nighter?
Yes, yes and more yes.  I couldn't be more excited if I tried.  And as Chaz pointed out, i'm going to have 8 hours of travelling, without either Cub, all to myself.  Imagine the peace.  

SO for now, I'm off to paint my nails, rifle through my wardrobe and try and make my legs look like they haven't seen a ghost.

Wish me luck!
xx




Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Practice makes perfect




I've had so many lovely emails today suggesting things to cook for the christening.  I'm actually getting quite excited about it now and have been concocting all afternoon.  Camilla, One of my besties who lives in Singapore, sent me such delicious sounding creations that I had to share them with you too.  




Camilla's easy peasy Pea, baby spinach, feta and mint salad 
(6-8 people)

Whole bag of frozen PETITE POIS
Bag of Baby spinach roughly chopped
Block of Feta chopped into cubes
Toasted pine nutes

Dressing:
Fresh mint, lots chopped up
A really good glug of Olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
A squeeze of honey
Salt & Pepper

1. Leave peas to defrost, even run water over them to help them along! No need to cook
2. Once Peas thawed, add chopped baby spinach and chopped Feta
3. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the pea, spinach and feta mixture, even better if done a few hours before.
4. Add toasted pine nuts and more fresh mint before serving.

......



Chocci's Macademia Nut and white chocolate brownies

If you "swap the macadamia nuts for white Toblerone they're even better, if that's possible..."








Ingredients:
300g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
200g unsalted butter, plus some extra for greasing the pan
280g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 free-range eggs
230g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g macadamia nuts, toasted for 5 mins
200g white chocolate chips (or chocolate broken into pieces)

Steps:
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees celcius. 
Brush a 20 cm tin square pan or similar sized round pan with melted butter and line with baking paper.
Melt the dark chocolate with the butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water until fully melted.  The bowl should not touch the water, and take the chocolate butter mixture off the heat once it has melted.  If it get too hot, then the brownies can get a bit greasy when it is baked. 
Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence in a large bowl until just combined.
Add the melted chocolate butter mixture and mix lightly.
Fold in the sifted flour.
Add the macadamia nuts and chocolate chips.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out with gooey crumbs (not completely dry).  The top of the brownies should be completely dry.


........

Chaz is away at the moment which means I can make girly, salad-y creations that he wouldn't touch with a barge pole.  This is a  bit of a mish mash - I've fully taken advantage of his absence and throw in everything he won't eat - pomegranate seeds, sweet potato etc - and it's turned out surprisingly delicious...I might even make him try it..


Today's Magical Mish Mash

Grilled Chicken
Pea shoots
Lambs Lettuce
Roasted sweet potatoes 
Roasted cherry tomatoes - they didn't really work though, id leave them out it I were you...
Half a pomegranate
Vinegrette dressing

Next time I'd add roasted pine nuts too.














Thank you Camilla!!! xxxxxxxx



Monday, 11 June 2012

Christening Feast



We are christening the smallest Cub in a few weeks time and I've been trying to plan the menu for months. I love the idea of creating my own little Ottolenghi style banquet but realistically know that i'm not really going to have the time or energy when it comes down to it.  On top of this - and probably more relevantly - is the fact that I have suddenly lost the ability to cook anything.  Everything I've attempted in the last few weeks has been shocking.  I'm not being modest.  I've managed to curdle shop bought Hollandaise and turned chicken into rubber. I even ruined baked potatoes. Twice.  So I'm slightly lacking in confidence in the culinary department at the moment and need to come up with some very simple but tasty creations.  





Jamie's Parma ham and peaches



Sprouted Kitchen's beetroot and avocado


I've been through every Delia, Jamie and Ottolenghi book in the house a million times and hunted for hours on Pinterest and still am no closer to a decision...




The Spouted Kitchen's butternut salad with cider dressing



Jamie Oliver beetroot salad



Ottolenghi Roast butternut squash with burnt aubergine and pomegranate molasses



Thursday, 7 June 2012

Lady and the Lamp


I'm meant to be buying garden furniture but it's so wet I can't really see the point.  So I bought a lamp instead.  As you do.





www.okadirect.com

Friday, 1 June 2012

kari Herer




I'm loving these pictures by Maine based photographer, Kari Herer.  And, with my current pink state of mind are the perfect compromise... animals for the boys and flowers for me.  
Everyone's happy.








www.kariherer.com