Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Drawn the Road Again

I've just come across the most wonderful, illustrated travel blog created by Chandler O'Leary. She travels around with her watercolours and moleskin notebook, painting and documenting her experiences as she goes.  I'm about to go away and wish that I could do the same.  I somehow don't think my stick men would have quite the same effect...

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Summery Chicken Sensation

We went over to our friends Mel and Jay jay's house for dinner last week.  We knew we would be in for a treat as they're both very foodie and brilliant, experimental cooks. Not a 'meat and two veg' kind of household - they use ingredients I've never even heard of and wouldn't dare to introduce into my own cooking.  They're big fans of the Ottolenghi movement, or 'lesbian food' as Chaz insists on calling it.

This salad was especially sensational.  I don't even like fennel and I had thirds.  If you're looking for a light, summery creation, even the fussiest of fuss pots will love this.  

It was created by the chefs at Ottolenghi in Belgravia and is the biggest summer hit there. If you don't like fennel, use a combination of spring onion and rocket instead. 
Serves six.
1 orange
50g honey
½ tsp saffron threads
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
About 300ml water
1kg skinless chicken breast
4 tbsp olive oil
2 small fennel bulbs, sliced thin
15g picked coriander leaves
15g picked basil leaves, torn
15 picked mint leaves, torn
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and black pepper

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Trim and discard 1cm off the top and tail of the orange and cut it into 12 wedges, keeping the skin on but picking out any pips. Place the wedges in a small saucepan along with the honey, saffron, vinegar and just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about an hour. At the end, you should be left with soft orange pieces and about three tablespoons of thick syrup; add water during the cooking, if needed. Use a food processor to blitz the orange (skin and all) and syrup into a smooth, runny paste; again, add water if needed.
Rub the chicken breasts with half the olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper, and place on a very hot ridged griddle pan. Sear for about two minutes on each side, to get clear char marks all over. Transfer to a roasting tray and roast for 15-20 minutes, until just cooked.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, but still warm, break it up with your hands into quite large pieces. Put these in a large bowl, pour over half the orange paste and stir. (The remaining orange syrup will keep in the fridge for a few days, and makes a good addition to a herb salsa to serve with oily fish.)
Add the remaining ingredients to the salad, including the rest of the oil, and toss gently. Taste, add salt and pepper and, if needed, some more olive oil and lemon juice.

They also served these delicious raw, grated courgettes with a basil and parmesan dressing

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Loquet London

I've just had my milestone birthday, there's no baby in sight and Christmas isn't for months.  I'm desperately trying to work out how to get my hands on one of these heavenly Loquet necklaces.  
Loquet London is a new company set up June this year by beauties, Laura Bailey and Sheherazade Goldsmith. 

To simplify, it's  swanky necklace pick'n mix.  You choose your 'loquet', round or heart shaped and then fill it with meaningful charms and gemstones.  Their website has a loquet builder where you can while away hours designing your own.  The problem is narrowing down what to go for; I ended up adding so many gems that I'd need to re-mortgage my house to pay for it. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Tan Time

I only need to think about the sun and I go pink.  This was pretty torturous when I was little.  And as a teenager you can imagine the angst when all my friends were slathering on the factor 2, Hawaiian Tropic, .  Even after five years living in the South of France - to Chaz's absolute glee - my shins remained blue.
I've learnt to rise above competitive tanning and every time I find myself feeling envious at the sight of a pair of bronzed limbs, remind myself that in fifty years they'll look like an old boot and I'll be line free and porcelain smooth...

I've tried endless sun creams and have fought with most of them. They're either too greasy, too white, too thick or make me spotty.  I do however have a new, incredible one.  My Mum brought it back from Greece last year for me and I wasn't especially hopeful.  It's Korres which has never been one of my  faves but I gave it a go. A year on, we've just come back from Greece - the home of Korres - and my airport shopping basket was filled purely with boxes and boxes of it.  It's yoghurt flavour, factor 50 and miraculous.  It's ticks all my very demanding boxes.  If you're heading for the sun this summer and need some suncream, put this at the top of your list.  You'll never go back.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Miles Redd's Bahamian Palace

We've just come back from a heavenly few days in Corfu and I'm wondering why on earth we chose to leave behind our life in the sun.  This Bahamian house belonging to Miles Redd is not helping matters.  I've never seen such a magical, mad mix of prints.  Yet again I'm reconsidering my very grey walls and wishing money grew on trees so I could re-create this vision myself.