Sunday, 19 October 2008

Sunday Lunch

To remind me of the occasions where I love my family - Sunday Lunch.
That's a big chicken, some sort of roast potatoes, dumplings with chinese cabbage and noodles.
I say sort-of roast potatoes because I boiled them far too early because mum wanted the hob, and then I used butter to roast when I'd really prefer olive oil. Hence they are only sort of crispy in parts - namely the bits where I drizzled chicken fat over. Will do better at Christmas - if I knock mother out the way! The chicken however is majestically browned. The product of buying from Waitrose, smearing with butter and salt, shoving two quarters of lemon up it's nethers and bits of garlic all over. Yummy.

I took the picture above in Bristol. It's fried tofu wrapped in seaweed with some kind of sweet soy. The reason I took the pic was because it wasn't what I ordered - but it was pretty nice all the same. That's it for savouries. Until I find a use for half a lemon in baking, plus the chicken flavoured butter (health and safety would have my head!) we're over and out. xx

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

London Lite

List of cake places to hit (according to London Lite - I'm a London Paper girl myself...)
Outsider Tart
Hummingbird Bakery
Buttercup cake
Konditor & Cook
Peyton & Byrne

Bristol Blue

Apparently this is what Bristol is famous for. Bristol Blue. I had a vaguest recollection somewhere about it but did a search today. Picture is filched from a website of the same name. In all honesty, the only Bristol Blue I've seen, is one lone bottle behind the reception of my current client. That's only because I've been storing my luggage behind there that I noticed. (Always notice breakables when you are a klutz like me!)

This is an entirely non-foody blog day. My back is aching, I have eaten Japanese to the gills in Bristol. I'm debating whether tips are allowed on expenses. I'm wearing a pair of black jeans bought this week and have just realised one of the belt loops needs attaching. (But they look good and didn't cost me £81 but the bargain price of £25. Okay at Dorothy Perkins it was the pricier pair but still!!) I am still wanting the Gucci watch (Black dahhling) but since I've not been in London, none of the shops seem to carry the crazy priced watches for some reason... *hmm* but anyway, it remains my lust object, and maybe in a year's time I'll actually buy it. Maybe if I didn't traipse around the country and didn't risk leaving it in hotel rooms that is.

Feeling the weight of endless work engagements now (can you believe it's been less than two weeks since I had two weeks off? Of course that was exams so that's hardly restful!). But work stretches out before me until Christmas. Whereupon I have my days booked between Christmas and New Year. Pity. Christmas always spells a more fun office. Albeit with the hot desking environment I think I might be disappointed. This week, work-wise, apart from the inevitable feel of a lightening bolt striking my head every time my current profession is announced, it has been good. I'm sat with some crazy guys doing reconciliations as a day job. But in all honesty lean on their arms, take naps and discuss who sung "Bad Day" and the reasons why they are taking Japanese classes (to read Manga baby!!). They do a good job of what they do, but there's a definite camaraderie that's slightly more lacking in what I do because we don't sit with each other every day. Saying that we text, online message and generally rip into each other with equal abandonment across the electronic airwaves. I complain a lot. I complain when I know people too well. I complain when it's that little bit more distant.

A bit more gym this weekend, and hopefully my first facial. Need to contemplate snack pimping and addressing that list of things to make at some point. Think cheesecake has risen to the top of the list though as the Xmas bake - purely because we have relatives that eat it and it's the mother-one-up-man-ship game. (Bear in mind these are not schoolyard stalkers, these are ladies of the pensionable era). Since I don't like cheesecake particularly and I have until Christmas to get a good one going, I better get started so my family don't die of heart attacks from regular portions of whipped and baked cheese. Ta-tah for now. xx

Sunday, 12 October 2008


The extent of how much I need to invest to photograph properly has just been made abundantly clear. See that plate below? It's actually pink...

Saturday, 11 October 2008

One ugly pie

It has to be said, this baby isn't pretty. It did look absolutely gorgeous till I heaped the brown mess of streusel on top. Think next time, we'll opt for my usual sugar streusel with white sugar. This brown stuff... looks like something you scrape off a shoe. Like I said before, we had sour cream in the fridge, a glut of apples, and so I created this little number from a recipe online. The picture they had was slightly better and retrospectively that might have been because I was rough and ready with the measuring of the butter, plus I melted it rather than make crumbs from it - fridge cold, microwaving it seemed easier. Therefore there was actually butter to pour OFF the pie before it finished. Still tasted yummy and family are actually eating it. Bit OTT given the JustRol had TWO rounds of pastry. The other round I made in to a banana, apple sauce and custard topped pie. It looks as random as it sounds but very edible. However, for the picture above the recipe went like this with my adjustments (for laziness and available ingrediants) :

Sour Cream Apple Pie with Streusel Topping

1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3 cups peeled, sliced tart apples (four hefty ones with lots of core and bruises cut off)
Roll out shortcrust pastry for 9 inch pan (JustRol had a deal)

1/3 cup muscavado sugar (loose)
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

1. Line pan with pastry.
2. Mix all the filling stuff together.
3. Bake at Gas Mark 6.
4. After 25 minutes, mix all the streusel topping mix together and pour on top.
5. Bake for a further 20 minutes.
6. Cool slightly and slice.

Sour cream and apples

I'm a bad, bad person. I bought sour cream last week and still haven't used it. Well I was in Bristol all week. Work. Rather fabulous city although no dessert! Which is namely because of the colleague I was with. Oh well. At least I suppose I am no heavier. That might change this weekend since the sour cream is still in date so I can bake with it. I did manage to dine at the recommended Bordeaux Quay in Bristol though and it was really affordable. Well I say really - the service charge is automatically added, but they didn't charge us for water which I was surprised by. So used to water being pressed upon you for £XXXX that I actually feel bad that we didn't buy a drink or have dessert (like I said, colleague). So I will look around and see what I can make with sour cream, although I can always do my favourite cupcakes, it seems lacking in va-va-voom experimentation today.

The apples by the way are the product of some man with a large organic stock who is giving them to my mother (generous!) Rosy red, they make good eating stock apparently but perhaps maybe we can do some pan-fried with pork or something. We shall see. Hopefully back on with some pictures later today, but meanwhile I will just catch up with some Desperate Housewives!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

So much free time!!

So. Exam over. Friday I went out briefly for steak and lemon meringue pie. Wasn't an amazing pie but at least it was a good sized slice. Saturday featured the joys of Watford shopping centre and a fashion show. I love them. Pity the poor models who have to dance in high heels on a stage designed almost to trip them up. It's a hard life. Even if you do look hot.

Sunday was rainy. So it had to be done. BAKE FEST!! I went straight for the cookies book. Fortunately there was a bit of planning involved. I spent the Saturday stocking up on flour and various chocolate chips and coconut, just in case there was an opportunity! I did, I confess, not make any of the recipes that I had listed. Instead I opted for the classic - chocolate chip and a vanilla cookie. The aim was to make use of the Hello Kitty cookie cutters I have from HK. Unfortunately, as you can see, they didn't really show up (although as I've just noticed, a ghost of Hello Kitty is in the top corner of that heart). Will have to push harder next time or make a stiffer cookie.

The vanilla cookie is called the Teatime sugar cookie in the Ultimate cookie book. Very sticky dough and so extra flour was called for.

The chocolate chunk cookie recipe I adjusted a lot but still not enough. Critique from father was (funnily enough) was firstly "they're not cooked yet" - "no dad, that's a white chocolate chip", the second I agreed with - 10% less sugar. As it was we reduced the sugar by half a cup in the first place. Plus I suppose I used a pack of white chips which are infinitely sweeter. Must re-jig next time I make them.

Chocolate chunk cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp bicarb of soda
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup plain flour
2 packs chocolate chip (about 200g)

Gas Mark 5

1. Beat butter with sugar
2. Add everything else in order, beating in the flour gradually. It is slightly drier than my usual chocolate chip recipes.
3. Place rounded teaspoonfuls on an ungreased baking sheet. I put five walnut sized blobs per sheet.
4. Bake for approximately 8 minutes.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

One more day....

One more day to revolution, one more day to... Les Mis anyone? Exam's tomorrow. I'm in denial that I don't know anything. Spent a few minutes watching fireworks on tv celebrating something to do with China and HK and possibly Samsung since their building was behind every shot.

Being sent to Bristol for four weeks. What's that famous for then?

I will bake. And if I'm lucky go to the meet. (FYI all "meets" are basically the British Born Chinese ones). And maybe the Barn Hotel since my brother is free this weekend (gf with a rock on finger/possible fiance has gone to Manchester this weekend). And a film. I could go see a film... and catch up with all the Ugly Betty's, Heroes and Desparate Housewives I've missed.... must.focus...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Cake shopsssss

Hmm. No baking. Some forum posting. But someone posted (at length) about Maze restaurant and her birthday. It was informative. I have to try it some day. But guess where my eyes zeroed in on? Bea's Cakes of Bloomsbury. *chi-ching* Guess where I'm going hunting this weekend? :) American cakes. Which one do I try?? Debate on fried rice online at the moment. People put the egg in last? Sacrilege!! Oh well. At least they didn't say cook separately and slice into slivers and toss through *grins* Ah the yesteryears of "chinese" cookery. Beats people who would overcook the egg I suppose. Craving for fried rice now.