Saturday, July 9, 2011

Since Sydney seems to be swimming in gourmet burger joints these days I'm making burgers for dinner, as I wrote that I realised we have no cheese in the house, a trip to the shops may be in order! My secret ingredient is a teaspoon of Tabasco sauce, otherwise known as one of the greatest condiments known to man_ it's on an equal footing with Hot English Mustard and Chilli sauce. Here's what I'm taking for inspiration from Jamie Oliver


Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm loving Goldie Hawn, who doesn't love classics like 'Overboard'?

The mascara in the next two photos is amazing, so 1960s! Something to aim to replicate!

The following photo captures a really lovely moment with her daughter Kate Hudson

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday sleep in

Dog tired. Cocktails and Vietnamese food till late in shoreditch last night.


Spontaneous City

'The Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven', The Secret Garden, Islington, North London.
With over 300 boxes of varying sizes, they hope to bring birds and bugs back into London.


Greasy Spoon

A greasy spoon cafe - these were 1950s staples, before Costa and Starbucks ripped up the high streets. This one in Old Street was delightfully rough around the edges and no frills in style. We wandered in because it was packed with people tucking into lunch. Clearly they liked this cafe, as the wall behind the counter was earmarked with over a hundred pictures of customers grinning from beneath bowl haircuts, 60's bobs and 80's perms.
We squeezed into a freshly vacated booth, with neon yellow walls and mint green trim, a well worn formica tabletop, peeling lino floors and chatted over large mugs of piping hot tea and chunky chips doused in salt and vinegar. Grinning all the while.


Dulce de Leche

I was at the deli this morning buying prosciutto and cheese, inspired by French Food Safari to make a Jamon Croque Monsieur while there I happened upon a jar of Dulce de Leche which accompanied me home. I've heard much about this apparently addictive Latin American spread, which inspires many to eat it straight from the jar. I've been camping with friends who've feasted on condensed milk straight from the tube, I thought them slightly crazy, though I could certainly treat myself to a spoonful of this.

I've been on an ice cream making frenzy with my new ice cream machine so I'm thinking of making some caramel ice cream out of it. Though there are so many options of what to do with it...

Maybe some brownies, like these amazing beauties by David Lebovitz featured on his blog

Or some Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream, I do so love carrot cake. Joy the Baker featured these drool-worthy cupcakes

Or a delightful looking cheesecake perhaps?

Or a delicious and slightly naughty Dulce de Leche coffee, reminiscent of Irish coffee posted by Ree over at The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Whatever I make with it, I know that its not exactly a health food and so it'll surely be shared, unless I crack and start eating it straight from the jar.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dreamboats and petticoats

Like Mish, I'm a massive fan of 1960's music - 'The Boat that Rocked' is a firm favourite. So I was more than delighted when I found out about 'Dreamboats and Petticoats', in fact I was practically in raptures watching the musical and wore the carpet threadbare with my toe tapping!
The storyline is a cutesy tale of teenage love, set in a British youth club over the summer. While it's not the most original premise, it didn't matter, as it was all about the musical score. It is in the genre of 'jukebox musical', as the score is comprised of previously released pop songs. Which are all played by live musicans during the show.

What made the night even more enjoyable, was the audience, who were mostly made up of baby boomer rockers - who crooned and bopped along to all the hit songs of their youth. One particular highlight was when a man, who would have been no younger than 75, was one of the first to leap up and unself-consciously jive along to the encore, despite his fragile appearence and stiff-legged gait.
I had such a good time, I'm tempted to go again....

Country drive

I have a few mates living in Essex. So a roadtrip was had, taking in the sea and of course endless chats over cream tea.
Pebbles and stones
Country lanes and endless afternoon sunshine
Another cream tea demolished. Clotted cream is a dream.
The higgly-piggly 15th century cottages of Levenham. The eaves lurch and lean towards the centre of the high street, the walls wallow and lazily lean on their foundations.

Brick Lane BBQ

I went to my first English BBQ the other week. It was at a friend of a friend's place and they were raising charitable funds for a madcap cycling journey from London to be completed within 24 hours. The party was in a tiny slip of a street off of the infamous Brick Lane. The street may have been narrow, but their lodgings was a warehouse of whopping proportions. The courtyard alone was bigger than the flat I'm staying in. It's surprising what lies behind closed doors.

The temperature dipped into single digits, so with one hand warming over hot coals and the other chilling with a pint of cider, we chatted as the cycling team churned out training miles on a fixed bike stand. Laziness never felt so relaxing.

Wandering back onto Brick Lane, revealed more unexpected delights. The borough of Tower Hamlets is home to London's Bangladeshi-Sylheti community, so the lane is infused with the heady aroma of spices from stewing curries. The brick walls are canvases for street art, the shops are a mixture of grandma vintage chic, thrift shops, independent cafes, heaving asian supermarkets, tiny bars, obscured doors leading to indie nightclubs and of course hot beigels. Hot salted beef in a mustarded beigel is so simple, yet so utterly delicious and moreish.


Glasto grin

[Laura Marling, Pyramid stage]
[Slipperly slope]
Align Center[A view from above]
[The ribbon tower on Observation Hill]
[Storm clouds ahead]
[Pirate ship, near the unfairgrounds]
[The gooey gooey mud bath]
[Wellies on the ready. The cheap Argos tent survived the elements]

How do you like your eggs? I can cook them any which way on my skin. My arms are puffy from fluid retention. My skin is scrorched red and blistered, and still radiating enough heat to fry up a full English breakfast. The slighest contact of my shirt sleeves sends my nerve endings firing in pain and discomfort. This is the worse sunbrun I've had in years - yet I'm positively grinning. In fact I've just registered to do it all again in 2013. Yup, I'm in deep. I'm in love with Glastonbury.

The weather swung from extreme cold to blistering heat. The skies bucketed down with rain, tents buckled with wicked winds. Walking anywhere was a journey requiring focused effort, gritted determination, a robust level of cardiovascular endurance and a smattering of good fortune - as by day two the grounds had turned into swampy bog land. Swift footwork was the key, any momentary pause could result in your gumboots sinking into the mud. The mud had an astonishingly steely grip and you needed to be yanked free, hopefully managing to keep your feet in your boots! Yet no one complained. In facct the more outrageous the weather, the more of a laugh it was.

I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the punters - from toddlers, to teens, to twany twenties, thirties and well up into the seventies. I meet so many people from all over Britain - Wales, Scotland, London, Manchester, Canterbury, Brimingham - all willing to muck in for five days sans showers and decent sanitation [the enviro loos were extreme to say the least, you hoped that it was mud and rainwater smeared around the interior...]. All had a ready smile and set to return in 2013 (The festival is having a break in 2012). In fact I chatted with a bloke who was there when it flooded in 2005 - the flooding was so bad that the organisers feared a cholera outbreak and had to send divers to check if anyone had drowned in their tents - I asked if he considered leaving early 'Of course not! It was grand, the water receeded eventually and there was too much on to miss out on because of a bit of rain!'

The festival site is a bustling metropolises, the tent city houses 175,000 people and is sprawled over the undulating countryside. It is so vast that it's divided into hamlets and boroughs with place names that are so quintessentially English, that it almost sounds like a coded conversation when planning to meant someone or organise a route through the grounds - Diary ground, Hawkwell, Bushy Ground, Lower Mead, Top Webbs Ash, Lime Kiln Ground, Woodsies, Darble, Big Lickle, Whitelake meadow.

Then there are the mega stages and the boutique bars. There is something going on at all hours of the day - be that mediation in the Stone Circle, woodwork in the Craft field, muscle melting gravity defying circus tricks in the Big Top, Raves in Shangri-La, sweaty jazz sets in Bourbon Street, swing dancing in the 1950's diner, importune fireside gigs in Stummerville. The music was beyond anything I've ever experienced. There were so many bands and so many stages, that I managed to experience some really intimate gigs as well as some sweeping statium shows.

Day one: Brother, Summer Camp, Two Door Cinema Club, Jim Jones Revue, The Vaccines, The Wombats, Fleet Foxes, Mumford & Sons, U2

Day two: Tame Impala, The Gaslight Anthem, Jessie J, Patrick Wolf, Warpaint, Friendly Fires, White Lies, Chemical Brothers

Day three: Fisherman's Friends, The Low Anthem, Foster the People, Noisettes, Laura Marling, The Bees, Eels, Lykke Li, Kaiser Chiefs, Beyonce

I can't wait to wear my leopard print wellies once more, this time I'll make sure I'm slathered in sunscreen!


Saturday, June 25, 2011


I had a lovely girls night last night beginning with drunken chicken, dumplings, noodles and ribs at an Asian restaurant and then seeing 'Bridesmaids'. We had planned on going to a certain Chinese restaurant I heard good things about ages ago only to find a Sushi Train now in its place, bummer. As my friend and I turned to walk down the street to find another place as the Sushi Train was packed we bumped into one of her friends who recommended the dumplings place we went to. I'm glad that happened because knowing us we would be paralysed by choice!

'Bridesmaids' I'd say go and see it if you would like comedy like 'The Hangover' meets rom com, which I happen to love so I laughed a lot. Today I find myself crooning 'Stay with me baby' today which Chris O'Dowd lip synchs in one of my favourite films 'The Boat that Rocked'. I also kind of want a cupcake as Kristen Wiig plays a baker mmmm cupcake...

Makes me want girls nights more often!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Honolulu dreaming

I'm off to Hawaii in a couple of weeks with a group of awesome friends and I'm a dreaming of it already. Having bought a super cheap budget ticket I opted not to pay extra for (terrible) airline food so it's perfect timing for The Kitchn to post an article about 15 Homemade Meals to Carry on a Airplane. Anything to balance the copious amounts of chocolate sure to be consumed shall be a good thing! I can't wait to escape the chilly winter and swim in the warm waters of Oahu, exciting!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

90's movies make me smile

I just re-watched 'Father of the Bride' the classic Steve Martin film, so 90's, so funny! I love Franck the wedding planner, I love George the father of the bride and his antics and most of all I love that house, the extension in the sequel is tres bon also!

Annie's dress reminded me of a 90s version of Princess Kate's dress

Moral of the story, go out and find a copy of 'Father of the Bride' stat!


Cookbooks and books about cooking

I love to cook, I’m not gourmet chef by any stretch of the imagination but what I lack in talent I make up in enthusiasm. I also love to eat which is handy, and my sister has been trying to get me to love to run which would be helpful counterbalance to all the eating. I also love to read about cooking, some of my favourite books featuring food at the moment include one that led me to this gorgeous creation in Paris...

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen’ and ‘More Home Cooking: A writer returns to the Kitchen’ by Laurie Colwin

These two books are like a conversation with the author conducted over many hours, by a log fire with more than a few cups of coffee and slices of warm homemade gingerbread. Made up of a collection of essays detailing her triumphs, disasters and food obsessions it is easy to relate the author and reminisce about ones own memorable meals, kitchen failings and loved unusual food combinations.

I don’t always make things out of pile of cookbooks I own, I use them more as inspiration for doing my own thing. Although I did make the gingerbread featured in this book, I’ve never been a fan of the stuff but the way it was described tempted me. It may taste better the day after its made but it disappeared much too quickly for me to confirm this. The delightful sounding Black Cake has featured on my lengthy ‘To Make’ list for quite some time.

‘The Flavour Thesaurus: Pairings, recipes and ideas for the creative cook’ By Niki Segnit

Bloomsbury publish the most exquisite books, the plum edges of the pages are not only pretty but also make it extremely easy to find on my chaotic shelves. This is quite an ambitious project detailing compatible flavours, the book serves as inspiration for the experimental cook. It is by no means definitive and as taste is highly subjective it doesn’t guarantee success. The book offers reminders of faithful flavour marriages such as; coffee and chocolate or apple and pork, and inspires you to try more unusual ones such as; blackberry and beef or watermelon and chilli.

The writing is witty and the format perfect for a random flick through the pages. Sprinkled with recipes, restaurant recommendations and names of other cookery writers to investigate. This is a book I love to look through before running off to the supermarket.

'Boiled or steamed artichokes can be a tough match for wine, but fried they’d go nicely with a fresh, acidic, dry Prosecco, if you can handle the social stigma of being slumped under a tree with a bottle of booze and a brown paper bag.’

Can I handle the stigma? I’d sure like to try.

‘Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand’ by Alex Kapranos

I have a not so secret desire to be a member of a moderately successful touring band. Not a lead singer, too much of the limelight, preferably an unrecognizable bass player or drummer. The fact that I cannot play either of these instruments does nothing to faze my dream. And so the lead singer of Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos makes me quite envious not only being the member of a successful band but also being a gifted writer.

The book details food memories and eateries the world over, including some from down under, which make you want to shove the book in your handbag and run straight to the restaurant. A collection of short ditties makes this the perfect size to cart around and dip in spare moments.

'Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly' by Anthony Bourdain

I re-read the chapter on Japan one night shortly before a trip there and ended up staying up till the wee hours having re-read the whole book. ‘nuff said.

'Coltide’s Edible Adventures in Paris' by the lovely Colitde Dusolier of Chocolate and Zucchini

The first time I did Paris was a whirlwind of sight seeing, with food a second though grabbed at tourist haunts. The second time my sister, friend and I spent our days wandering through the beautiful wintery streets of Paris from cafes to bistros, drinking in the sights as we negotiated the busy streets.

We stayed on the top floor of a little hotel, in one of the rooms in the roof with the adorable windows, our little hotel happened to be one street away from a bakery recommended in this volume. We frequented this bakery daily, manned by a French woman with the most gusto for life I’ve yet seen. She spoke to us in fluent English, we replied in extremely shaky French. Literally the best bakery I’ve ever been to, and luckily I’ve dug up a couple of delightful photos of their pastries.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Flares are back, yay or nay?

I'm not a trend follower by any means, but these dark wash flares have caught my eye. I'm still undecided though they might be a touch too Charlie's Angels , though that isn't always a bad thing...