Last year Chris & I decorated the office with Star Wars snow flakes - of which you can find templates everywhere but they were a pain to cut out. This year I have answered out faculty's call to add decorations to the Christmas tree in Stoke with some glittery, googly-eyed Pacman & Ghosts (naively assuming everyone else in the school of art & design was going to go nuts with glitter glue & craft supplies, they hadn't). I can't make the faculty Christmas party so I hope they are still there but here's some proof anyway...
... and I've added Teenage Mutant Ninja Baubles to the tree in our office, (more googley eyes this time- I stole this idea from Pinterest, although green baubles are harder to find then you think they might be)
We're hosting the family Christmas this year, so our tree doesn't feel left out I've also added a TARDIS to the top of it, to complement the blue & white LED lights I'd forgotten I'd brought..
On the right of the picture below you can see our only harvest from the year - some sad spring onions, despite having a wonderful raised bed. Since we are rubbish at gardening, but good at planting herbs and letting them get on with it, we decided to forgo planting veg and just dedicate the raised bed to a culinary herb garden
By my calculation We have to drink another 50 or so bottles of ale or cider before I can finish my edging...
There's something about working form home that brings out my inner students - I'd happily eat toast (with peanut butter) all day if I could. When I was a student, writing up my dissertation, I actually moved the toaster upstairs to be next to my PC so I wouldn't have to go very far for toast. I'm better now - but I'm in a noodles out of a packet kind of mood...
Having only just got back into the swing of making big cakes, for CCC, this worries me less then it used to, but it still stresses me out. None of them really appeal though.
Angel cake, that looks terrifying - I know I don't have the patience for that kind of thing. I'm not even sure I've ever eaten it - it looks a faff.
I also hate baking with chocolate - it fills me with dread. At least it gets this out of the way I suppose. not an easy one to start off, but I suppose by now everyone must know what is expected from GBBO and has to raise their game accordingly.
It's still too early to get a grip on them - but some of them are emerging onto twitter:
Beca (The Welsh one) - @BecaMurphLP Toby - (The one who got voted off) - @bake_down
I can't remember the rest of the names so I'm sure they'll appear / form as people. 13 Is a bit too many to get to know at the start isn't it. Not surprised Toby was voted off, I s…
Wheeee! Season 4 is about to start ( Tuesday 20th August, 8pm on BBC Two ) I won't be live blogging it because it will clash with Zumba but I will be doing write ups again, or comments on - whatever they were last year...
Until it does start here are the Season 4 contestants - take from the official FB page Any thoughts on who might leave first? any one got any ideas of how I'll try and remember the names? It seems means to assign nicknames to them already...
Having just commented on a picture of Nigella Bites on Pinterest - not randomly, someone else's said it was the first of her books they'd had and it was life changing, and I commented it was my first ever cookbook, and one of a few I'd save from a burning fire I had an idea.
I always expected this blog to create a little bit more conversation then it does, and that's fine, but maybe pinterest would work better - especially giving the fact I've swapped back to traditional themes and templates of Bloggeer since the fancy-pants dynamic ones kept breaking.
It might take a little time, and I can't decided to create a new Pinterest account for NomBooks, and have it split, or add it o my existing one - which would be easier and less hassle, but I only had the idea a second ago and I haven't even had breakfast yet...
Someone positing a picture of a taxidermy fox's head on facebook reminded me of a similar grim specimen hanging up in the hallway of Cwrt-y-Cadno, my old school, Ysgol Gufyn Rhydfelen's outwards bounds center - where we were sent to at various times of the year for character building.
I remember it as being huge, in the middle of nowhere and hours and hours away. Turns out I was right on the middle of nowhere bit - but it looks very small and sad on street view now.
I'm guessing the school, now Ysgol Gufyn Garth Owlg, on a shiny new site with a slightly modified badge still own it - I can't find it for sale of anything so I'm guessing they've mothballed it, or forgotten about it. If anyone does know please drop me a line.
UPDATE:- It would look like the land has been acquired by the National Trust
Talking of Street View, there's an interesting juxtaposition where the satellite data is of my old school, pre being burned down (and it's a shame none of Tw…
My cakes usually look like this - tasty, but not exactly pretty... Anyway, while we promoting the CCC on twitter (@staffscakeclub) Charlotte & I got asked to do some cake judging by the fine folks that run Great British Food Festival as it arrive in Stafford. Never one to turn down free cake made by other people we said yes...
So, dressed in our finest cake judging garb (we decided floral dresses and cardigans were the order of the day) and over two days tasted slice from 10 different vanilla sponges and 12 chocolate cakes of varying styles.
What was really interesting was how easy it was to judge the cakes - well actually to pick a winner. In both categories there was one cake that we'd have gone back to for another slice, even after trying 11 other slices, in a hot tent, having run for 2 miles to get there on time. What was quite sweet was the winner of the chocolate cake round (an unassuming 7th one from the bottom) which I think is from this recipe - was totally bowled over b…
On our way to a gig Pete asked me how I was doing on our diet since it had been 3 weeks. What I hadn't realised was we'd been on it for 3 weeks. already - but I supposed that's only 6 days of reduced calories. It's been okay, we've lapsed a few times (celebrating a friends engagement for instance) but we're sticking to it.
If anything a few days off while my mother was visiting and I turned 30 has reminded me we were doing so well. I've got some coping mechanisms - sticking to the cookbook, not looking at pinterest, being excited about having a graze box snack for breakfast / lunch (today was popcorn), dropping milk from the veg box order and embracing black coffee, trying not to leave the house if it's a Fast day because everything looks amazing - but these are tiny issues really. I'm trying not to get too hung up about it and it does seem to be making a bit of a difference - which you can track below.
The irony of being on a non-fast day and not knowing what to cook isn't lost on me, but as I was finding things to put on my amazon wish list so people can buy me birthday presents, I can across a book called the souther vegetarian, and it's an awesome looking cookbook full of souther style comfort food based one blog called the chubby vegetarian.Anyway, browsing through to blog I came across a recipe for carrot gnocchi, which seemed like fun since we had carrots in. Anyway having had to modify the pesto recipe a little anyway I wasn't fazed when I substituted a beetroot to make up the cup of diced carrot they specify - it couldn't make that much difference to the taste and it might make it a little bit pink.I followed the method, and the rest of the recipe and had a bit of a freezer bag malfunction but it was only when I'd cut off blobs of he pinkish mixture into the boiling water and fished them out into the veg and oil mixture in the other pan did I realised wha…
So, we're back from the states and you can clearly see through the holiday snaps that 3 weeks of food in the deep south hasn't done my waist line any good - even with making sandwiches most days. To be honest I've largely ignored my weight over the last few years, dimply aware it's been creeping up over the last few years.
Whatever the reasons for taking my eye off of it all, so now we're dieting - following what seems to be the plague of the middle classes and both of us are following the 5:2 diet. I'm under no illusion it isn't a fad diet - but it a fairly easy to stick to and understand. Normal food and calorie intake for 5 of the 7 days of the week 500 calories or 600 (for Pete) for the other two - and you can swap or change those 2 days around to suit your fabulous social life.
We did plan ahead about this - we had the official book & companion cookbook waiting for us when we came back from the states - and I'll try and keep an update of how we…
Sorry it's been a bit quiet on here - I've been away, in the deep south of the USA for the last 3 weeks. It's been awesome (but I did miss being able to cook)
We took our time and travelled around a fair bit...
Since we couldn't guarantee fridges in the hotels we stayed we invested a whole $4.99 in a polystyrene ice-box on our 2nd day so we could keep things cool and have a small larder of food, and more importantly cold beer when we reached our destination.
I've spent the morning sorting out and re teak oiling garden furniture, hacking away an annoying, snail infested spiky thing from the front garden, sorting out the hanging baskets and planting some lavender and bedding plants.
Which means I feel my can of alcoholic ginger beer, listening to Radio 4 and flicking through The Lady were well deserved.
I the raised bed we've got a classic herb garden on the go and some salad leaves on their way.
I need to go make the dough for some flatbreads in a sec - but I'm very happy with how lovely the very low maintenance garden at our new house is =D
We've also got Spotify working in the kitchen - so I've been listening to lot of summery music of late - and this is currently on of my fave playlists!
Author: Jean Balfour Date: 1959 Published: The Literary Press
I know you shouldn't judge a book by a cover, but how do you pass up something like this for £1.49? In my head this is what I look like when I serve Pete dinner - but I did watch a lot of Mad Men in a short space of time which might have something to do with it. Anyway, it's not just a simple cookbook that covers everything from basic pastry to making your own haggis - oh no, it's got a whole random household section full of things like 'how to dismantle and clean a lock' and 'how to resuscitate someone' Effectivly like a modern day Mrs Beeton
Author: Jean Conil Date: 1957 Published: Arco Publications I picked this up in Oxfam, I couldn't resisit it, I'm a sucker for anything from the 1950's-70's - so easy to understand, so straight to the point - this is even better, it's arranged in a selection of classes, each tackeling a different skills or food stuff- so it may even be useful..
I also decided to do a quick Google for Jean, expecting a sensible housewife - and here he is, silly French and their confisuing names...
It also has this tantelising advert on the back for another must have cookbook:
We've moved house, which is great - because the house we've brought (like proper grown ups) has got a massive kitchen - in a slightly odd configuration - but it's huge, with exciting things like plugs, and worktop space, and space for a table. The old owners even left a massive bookcase perfect for the cookbooks
We've been in the new house a couple of months, but that have also been mentally buys months so I haven't really done much cooking, let alone big scale baking. I did make a grape jelly the other day, but that was more because I was annoyed we weren't eating the grapes in the fridge and I was in a waste-not want-not kind of mood. It's also handy having Charlotte up the street who could lend me a straining bag, even if we had to google picture to work out to the assemble it (also, only 1 out of 3 supermarkets in Stafford had pectin! I had to send Pete to Tesco on his way home.) Anyway, a weekend without major things to do resulted in some serious baking…
I'm not entirely sure how it came to be April, the first quarter of 2013 has gone a bit quick. I suppose some updates are in order:
We're all moved into our new house - there's a whole gallery of pics up on my Facebook but we've given up the keys to the old one in The O.G., got our deposit back and settled into our lovely new house.
Thank you to everyone that sent cards, house warming presents and good wishes to us, and thank you to the gods of buying houses and moving furniture that they smiled down upon us (well, taking a small sacrifice of the glass in the cocktail bar, but it will rise again)
We finally have Internet again - ok, we've had it for a few weeks, but it took a month to sort out, and I think this is the first spare minute I've had to write anything. while we didn't have any internet - it naturally knocked out my Steam collection for a while I reaslied I was only 2 expansions away from completing my entire set of Sims 2 stuff - and since I'…
I'm sorry I've been quiet on here - we're moving, it's exciting, we're buying a house, it's got a massive kitchen - all is well but I've not been in the head space to blog much - I'm sure you understand.
We're also in the process of trying to use up things, so we have less to move - which is leading to some interesting dinners. We've cancelled the veg box for a few weeks and we're eating everything - which means lots of root vegetables (tonight it's roasted beetroot, carrots and red onions in the left over pasta sauce from the pizzas we made with the frozen pizza bases we defrosted). Pencilled in for tomorrow is veggie haggis and root vegetables, pencilled in for Wednesday - when we should pick up the keys to our new house - is champagne and freezer food - specifically spinach bake things.
In an effort to use up stuff I decided to make a banana bread - and it was only mid way though mashing some bananas did I realise I didn't actually …
Everything we ate was great - I remember that, but everywhere - meat, lots and lots of meat (and mayonnaise in weird squeezy bottles like udders) - and perogi - fried dumplings. Oh and beer so cheap and so strong I needed to have a lie down after 2 cans.
More then anything, I've realised a cultural shift. Every supermarket around us has a polish section, and we've two polish mini markets in walking distance. Before now they held a vague, foreign, almost sophisticated allure - I'm so cool I'm buying stuff I can't even pronounce and no idea how to cook - looks at my quasi alternative lifestyle (we used to do the same in Liverpool with the Chinese supermarkets). But now have knowledge- I know how things should be cooked, I know what things should and shouldn't have meat in, I understand flavours and I know what I'm looking for, so if something is cheap in the 'eat me before I die section' of a supermarket - where the sad things no one else lives goes t…
For months I've had written on my todo list app the following :
Write food diary blog of Poland Write food diary blog of Spain
And you may have noticed I haven't. I had the best of intentions, I even took some photos in Poland of food but it didn't flow, and reading back of my German food diary- its cringe worthy. You probably don't care at all at the best of times, you surely don't care what I had to eat kin a specific day, at a specific time. So here some retrospective I suppose.
Germany -I fell in love with a country and I learnt one thing - I fucking love pretzels. True to form I haven't used the pretzel shaped cookie cutter I brought as a souvenir, but then I'm useless at using cookie cutters, but if I could work out a way to eat pretzels day in day out I would.
This gave me a bit of a fright - I'm pretty sure this is an (impressively thrown I might add) snowball that just hit my 2nd floor study window. I'm not entirely sure where they threw it from - I didn't even think there was enough snow out there yet for a snowball fight.