Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Beetroot and Apple Soup

I am almost as proud of myself for making this soup as I am of making an actual human being. Well, not really, but it is quite beautiful don't you think?

I'm trying to buy more fruit and veg from my local Greengrocer's. It's a great little place, where the veg is grown on an allotment just a couple of miles away, so everything is super fresh. Though, this does mean you have to get a bit creative.
The thing I love about beetroot is that at first glance they're so humble, grubby and unassuming. But once you cut them open, they have the most wonderful jewel-like colour.

If this floats your boat, I used this recipe from The Times online. I adapted it slightly by omitting the garlic and instead adding 1/2 tsp ground ginger whilst cooking the onions. This worked really well.

Also it's great served hot or cold-even better cold I think, especially at this time of year, but it has to be chilled not just room temoperature!

Grating the beetroot reduces the required cooking time, but-geez!-it was a laborious process so next time I think I would just chop it. It all gets blended together at the end, so this won't make too much difference.

This is a great health soup. The vibrancy of the beetroot tells you that it's packed full of anti-oxidants, and they are also a great source of Vitamins A and C, fibre and potassium. They are also known for they're significance in maintaining low blood pressure and cholesterol.

Do I need to give you any more reasons to try this soup!!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easy Easter Baking

It's just not Easter without chocolate cornflake cakes:

I simply placed 50g butter, 150g milk chocolate and 2 tbsp golden syrup in a small saucepan, and gently melted over a low heat. Then we poured this over 80g cornflakes, mixed it in well, topped with Mini Eggs and chilled in the fridge for a couple of hours until set. These cakes get me so nostalgic!

Then this afternoon, after already consuming way too much sugar, we made some lemon cupcakes.

Pretty pretty cakes! I always use this basic cupcake recipe:

125g softened butter

125g caster sugar

2 medium eggs

125g self raising flour

(and 2tbsp milk if making plain cupcakes, but for lemon cupcakes replace this

with the juice and rind of 1 lemon)

Preheat the oven to 190'C/Gas 5.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, lemon rind and juice and the flour to the bowl. Beat the mixture until smooth.

Divide the mixture between 12 paper cases in a cake tray, and bake in the centre of the oven intil risen and golden. This will take 12-15 minutes.

Then top with a lemon buttercream icing. Beat 175g softened butter in a bowl to soften it. Add 350g icing sugar, 1tbsp boiling water and 2tbsp lemon juice. Beat until smooth and pale.

Then, time to work it off with an egg hunt in the garden!

Hope you're all having a great Easter!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Making My Kitchen a Prettier Place To Be

Bath has a fairly decent flea market on a Saturday. As always these things can be hit or miss, but I love nothing better than having a leisurely rummage in an attempt to discover hidden treasures.

I've always been partial to a scarf and a cardigan (despite not being an 80 year old woman) but I do think I may be developing an addiction to vintage scarves. How happy do you think I was when I set my eyes on this?! I'm ashamed to tell you how many I bought.

And aren't these clocks just adorable? Was very tempted to get one for Wonderboy's room but i thought the ticking might drive him crazy.

But my find of the day? The prettiest teapot you ever did see...I had to bring it home.

I'd love to know if anyone else has thrifted anything this pretty recently?

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Precious Time

So I've had some precious time for myself this weekend, aswell as far too much vino blanco! But actually the novelty soon wears off, and now I'm really starting to miss my Wonderboy. He's coming home today and I can't wait...

Oh and by the way, can you believe Julianne Moore is fifty? FIFTY! If I look half as good as that when I'm fifty, I will be one happy lady.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

A Tale of Two Breakfasts

So I made the most of having house guests this week, which was the perfect excuse to serve a proper breakfast-perhaps my favourite meal but definitely the most overlooked! There's nothing like sitting down at the start of the day, and taking a bit of time to get your head together.. The continental option!

Farewell Lunch

Before we knew it, it was time for Adam and Lucy to leave. We had a farewell lunch at One Beaufort in Bath. Very reasonably priced and beautiful decor inside, with a tastefully done gastro pub feel. My Mum and Auntie also came down for the day, and guess what? They've taken my darling Toby to stay with my Mum and Dad for the weekend, giving me a very welcome few days off! Hhmm it may be time for another case of When Good Mums Go Bad! Excellent fish and chips and a homemade tartare sauce that converted me one of my least favourite condiments...
..and a very excessive chocolate fondant with chocolate ice cream.

I think toby's going to miss his uncle!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Pesto and Goats Cheese Chicken Breasts Wrapped in Parma Ham

These wonderful people have been staying with us for a few days.... brother and his girlfriend in case you were wondering, aka Uncle Adam and Auntie Lucy. So we made the most of a sunny day and drove to Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire. We took long walks through the trees (which mostly involved Adam and Toby playing hide and seek very noisily), had a spot of lunch, and did some crafting. Musn't forget the crafting. I think we enjoyed this way more than any sensible adult should have...
Then just enough sun left to chill in the garden with some tea.

And bubbles. Oh yeah, tea and bubbles. That's how we roll.

For dinner I prepared these chicken breasts. Simply slice through the middle so that they open out. Now spread with basil pesto:

Add some soft crumbly goats cheese and two fresh basil leaves per breast:

Wrap each breast in two slices of parma ham. Secure with a cocktail stick and place onto a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, then cook in an oven pre-heated to 180'C for 45 minutes.

Before putting the chicken in the oven, I par-boiled some new potatoes. Then roasted in the oven with some herbs, garlic and olive oil for about the same the time as the chicken.

Serve with some salad, wine, and happy faces!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

First Picnic of the Summer

Just remembered these photos from a sunny day at the park last week. We had a little picnic-though certainly not in the grandest sense of the word...but for once Miss P was not so fussed about the food. Why? Because I was just happy to be out in the sun, barefoot in the grass, smelling of suncream.

Stay tuned for more al fresco adventures!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Another Day at the Office

Sometimes you have to be thankful for the good things in your life. Like the fact that I have a beautiful son. And live in a beautiful city. And work in a beautiful shop with the funniest and kindest women you could meet. Oh, and a boss who goes and buys a bottle of wine on a sunny Wednesday afternoon...

I think it's going to be a great Summer!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Raspberry Eton Mess with Lemon Butter Biscuits

Sorry guys, I've had blogger-block this week. It could be due to the hectic weekend I had, and in particular the amount of food (and drink) I it possible to overdose on double cream? Yeah. Maybe that's it. Toby and I went to stay with my family for Mother's Day. My sister cooked an enormous beef roast, and I contributed this eton mess-what I thought would be a light end to the meal. I didn't follow a recipe, mostly went with my eyes and tastebuds, and here's what resulted: Whisk 2 large cartons of double cream until thickened but not stiff (I know it sounds like loads BUT this does make about 10 portions) Crush in about 10 ready made meringues (you can make your own if you're feeling fancy, but hey give me a break, it was a Sunday and I was hungover).
Now add some raspberry coulis. This, you do have to make yourself. It's a doddle and tastes way better than anything that comes in a bottle. Oh, I love it when I spontaneously rhyme.

Take two 150g punnets of raspberries. Add to a small saucepan with 4 tbsp caster sugar, and simmer for 2 minutes, crushing them with the back of a spoon as you do so. Now strain through a sieve to remove the pips. Yeah, this is probably the least fun part..

Add two thirds of this to the cream and meringue mix. Swirl through but do not mix in completely. It's also nice to add some fresh raspberries at this stage (you'll need a third punnet).

Serve in glasses if you have them-as you can see, we had to use rather an eclectic mix! Spoon in some of the mixture, add a drop of the coulis in the middle, then top with another layer of the creamy mixture.

I also served them with these awesome buttery, lemony little biscuits. I used a Rachel Allen recipe which you can find here.

In other Mother's Day related news, check out these beautiful chocolates...

...they inspired my little artiste to draw some himself, including a "happy mummy chocolate and a happy Toby chocolate". His adorableness knows no bounds.

Hope all you fellow Mummy followers had an equally gluttonous day! x


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