Saturday, 29 August 2009

Culinary Delights

 
Whilst searching for a side dish for our Mexican dinner tonight I used my favourite Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson sites. I found this lovely recipe Killer Mexican Barbecued Corn On The Cob which I cannot wait to make. This means I also get to use our lovely organic corn from our veggie box in a different way from the usual butter and pepper. Whilst on the sites I always take a peek at the news and I am thrilled to bits about Jamie's new series American Road Trip starting Tuesday 1st September on Channel 4 at 9pm. It also has the best trailer I have seen in ages that I encourage you to watch here

 
The book to accompany the series is also launched Tuesday 1st September...I cannot wait.


 
On Nigella's I found this very exciting piece of news...Nigella is doing two book signings for 'Nigella Express' in paperback. I really wish that I could be there, but unfortunately I would not be able to escape work that day. So if any fellow Nigella fans can hotfoot it to Oxford Street or Bluewater on Thursday 10th September, take some time out to meet the domestic goddess and come away with a signed copy of 'Nigella Express'! The details for the signings are as follows:
BOOK SIGNING - THURSDAY 10 SEPTEMBER

John Lewis Oxford Street
London
W1
1:00 - 2:30pm


BOOK SIGNING - THURSDAY 10 SEPTEMBER

Waterstone's Bluewater
Greenhithe
Bluewater
DA9 9SE
6pm - 7:30pm


Saturday, 22 August 2009

Joules The Jewel Of Autumn



Oh my gosh my Joules catalogue arrived this morning and I am a smitten kitten! I have been trying to resist the autumn and all of the lovely things that go with it such as the comfort food, the lush green leaves turning to the crisp copper ground covering, the scented air and the yummy clothes. I can no longer resist as Joules has left me feeling tired of summer and longing for autumn! They are inspired by intense blackberry juice and tea and there are lovely Blackberry recipes in the catalogue and online. The photos are all family oriented and full of vintage tea sets, some of which we have collected for our wedding! So I have now given in and I am looking forward to autumn and am planning all of the lovely food and clothes that I can indulge in.


Aplogies for the faceless models...This is how the image saved!

My Thoughtful Friend

My lovely friend Dawn aka Country Girl over at May All Seasons Be Sweet To Thee was reading an old copy of our favourite magazine Country Living and came across an issue with a set of articles about classic old English country style weddings which is what my wedding theme is. So thoughtful of Dawn to know that I would enjoy reading it and as I don’t have that particular issue Dawn popped in the post for me to read. True to form the articles are lovely to read and even better to gaze at the photos.

 
I also found an advert which depicts what my dream kitchen would look like

 
As I do not want to Dawn to be without her magazine I have scanned the pages in and have printed them out to go into my wedding folder and inspiration book. Thank you so very much Dawn for being a sweet, kind and thoughtful friend. I feel blessed to know you :)

Friday, 21 August 2009

Bridal Shower

 
Last night I went to a bridal shower of a friend at work. She is getting married in two weeks and had her hen party at Royal Ascot in June whom her close friends attended and this bridal shower was for work friends. We watched a very sweet DVD of photos of the bride form birth to present day with her fiance that was compiled by the bride’s maid of honour. We played a rather risqué game of Mr and Mrs which was quite explicit, but actually great fun. The groom had already provided his answers so we could still play the game properly even though he wasn't there.

We had a lovely lasagne and salad prepared by the hostess and another friend and I made vanilla cupcakes. To fit the wedding theme I made them heart shaped which I have never done before, but I will definitely do again. I used a heart shaped silicone mould and just lightly pressed the cupcake papers into the recesses and spooned the mixture in.
 
The bride’s colours for her wedding are pink and blue so I wanted to frost the cupcakes in these colours. I always use the dependable Dr Oetker’s natural red food colouring as it yields a vibrant colour that can be toned up or down to be cute baby pink or scarlet red. However I totally forgot to replace the last empty bottle so I had to trot off to the village and the tiny Co-Op only had their own brand and when I used it instead of a beautiful pink hue it looked more like sludgy brown-red. Therefore the frosting is simple white and blue with hints of pink in the roses! I also discovered that I couldn’t pile the frosting high as I usually do as the heart seems to lose its appearance.

Winchester Part 2

Apologies for my delay as I have been unexpectedly busy every evening this week, which is good for me, but not for my blog! So back in Winchester…I arrived in the morning and needed something very naughty and very yummy to keep my shopping energy up. I am usually a rather healthy person as I am losing weight and getting fit, however there are times when you have to hang up your halo and eat things off your pitchfork for a day! Saturday was one of those days. Shakeaway are a small chain across England and we have one in Southampton, Bournemouth and Winchester so a delightfully sinful shake is never far away! They also make healthy shakes that you can boost with wheat germ, wheatgrass and protein powder…but as you know I was feeling devilish! My choice was an all time favourite of a snowball shake and as they were giving away free toppings I had mini Oreos crowning the frothy top.


Feeling the sugar rush I wandered across the street to the gloriously large Cath Kidston shop and perused all of the delights.


I then decided to move on so that I could fit some more shops in before I met Brooke for lunch. I finally made it to White Stuff where Brooke works and had a little rummage of all the lovely clothes and decided to be disciplined and not abuse Brooke’s 50% discount as I cannot buy Autumn/Winter clothes when the sun is still beaming as it feels almost pessimistic and giving up hope of sunshine and warmth. But I have got my eye on lots and lots of beautiful things like this cardigan. The buttons have little birds inside, and I am a smitten kitten.
When Brooke’s lunch break began we walked the 50 yards around the cathedral square to the lovely Cadogan & James which is co-owned by chef James Martin. We always buy food from their deli, but we have never taken the time to sit, relax, eat a sandwich outside and people watch. As Brooke is a student she rarely gets to sample the culinary delights at Cadogan & James so I thought it would be lovely to spoil her with lots of delicious food. We each had a different doorstop sandwich so that we could share. Brooke’s was white bloomer with vintage Denhay farmhouse cheddar, sunblush tomatoes and rosemary jelly and mine was granary bread with blacky ham and brie de meaux and chilli jam.They were absolutely delicious and hands down the best sandwiches that we have ever eaten apart from homemade. By the time I had thought about taking a few snapshots we had scoffed them so there is no photographic evidence of the yumminess! To wash them down we had an enormous bottle of scrumptious pink lemonade.


We are both savoury and sweet tooth’s so after the sandwiches we had an earl grey tea and these oh so cute mini cupcakes and the brownie to share. The brownie was divine, but the cupcake frosting was made with salted butter so they were not as tasty as we would have liked. 


I also bought Brooke a bag of beautiful biscuits to take home that were shaped into cute things like ice cream cones, lambs, flowers, and hearts. Needless to say we were stuffed and the 30 second leisurely stroll back to White Stuff turned into a five minute waddle! Then it was time to say goodbye to my beautiful sister and then on to the charity shops for some thrifting. 


Then I went back to Cath Kidston just before they closed to have another look and to buy some lovely things for myself and a special friend. It was such a lovely day and I am still grinning from the memory of my sister and I eating all of the beautiful food and still managing to talk about what we were planning for dinner on our waddle back to White Stuff!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Winchester Part 1

Yesterday I went to Winchester to take my sister to lunch and then shopping. First of all I had to go to the Cath Kidston shop for a browse and then I went back after lunch to do the shopping! I was very well behaved as I wanted everything in sight, especially lots of things from the new A/W collection, but I managed to make only two sale purchases for myself. I bought these beautiful pyjama camisoles that I actually intend to wear as little vest tops as they are too pretty to confine to the bedroom.

 
I also bought some other lovely things for a friend, but I know that she reads my blog and I don't want her to see them on here before she receives them, so they are a secret!
I am off to cook some local organic bangers and mash for an indulgent comfort dinner with my darling Nathan, so I shall post part 2 soon. 
I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday evening everyone xx

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The power of Desiderata


Yesterday was a typical Monday, the day at work was lack lustre and frustrating and I was feeling quite sorry for myself. Usually I am a very upbeat and positive person, but I just couldn't shake the bad mood. Then I got home and the new issue of Country Living was waiting for me along with my beautiful cats Millie and Sylvester and I realised that life wasn't so bad after all and that I have plenty to feel thankful for. It was then that I remembered a poem that I haven't thought about for years, but I loved it when I was a child and I always felt soothed, humbled and grateful after reading it. It is called Desiderata and I have fallen in love with it all over again. You can read it here. If you are having a less than perfect day, I hope Desiderata can make you feel that many of us are truly blessed in one way or another; sometimes it just takes us a little while to realise. 

Monday, 10 August 2009

Courgettes/Marrows!


It is has been a very British summer so far which means that it has been raining non-stop! Therefore our vegetable garden has turned into a vegetable jungle...Our courgettes have developed into baby marrows!


My sister is a student so I thought that she would appreciate the biggest one as it could feed her for a few days if she used my recipe to make a yummy stuffing and then bake it to crispy perfection!
 

Essentially courgettes are just baby marrows, but it was still quite a surprise to see these giants amidst the vegetable jungle

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Sunset & Cute Paws


The sunset was so beautiful last night that I wanted to photograph it. Sylvester followed me up the garden and jumped onto the fence. He sat there posing away and gazing at the last moments of sunshine. I became so distracted by his utter cuteness and his need to be the centre of attention that I forgot to photograph the sunset! I do think it was worth it though, spending some quality time with my baby boy and his enormous paws that couldn't fit on the fence post! Now if only I could get Millie to pose...

Monday, 3 August 2009

Farmer's Market


It was our farmer’s market on Saturday and we managed to buy all of these delicious delights...

We bought a dozen free range organic eggs that had been laid on Friday, free range organic wild mushroom and pork sausages, Dorset Apple cake, an Eccles cake, potatoes, purple cauliflowers and rainbow carrots. These cheerful colours shone through the rain and made it feel like summer.

Blossoms and blooms of the week



This week’s blossoms and blooms are quite the eclectic mix! My favourite type of flowers are the natural wildflower type so I simply had to have the campanulas as they made me feel as though I was in a cottage garden the instant I laid my eyes upon them.
The rather colourful gerbera arrangement was a bargain from Waitrose for a grand total of 89p so I had to snap those up too. They are a little modern for my taste, but the bouquet also had the stunning roses in so I thought I would separate them into more fitting arrangements. The roses are in our bedroom and I am utterly bewitched by them. I think they look as though they have been dipped into a sunset.
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