Sunday, 26 October 2014

hibernation sunday

A sleepy Sunday is simply the best. I haven't had a proper one for a while now as I'm usually pottering around London on errands, diving into coffee shops or exploring hidden treasures with the Yank. But today I found myself with an afternoon to spare. Before parting ways we wrapped up warm and went for a walk around Gladstone Park. What a hidden treasure this is! I didn't think there was a whole lot of things to do in the area however this park provided the perfect start to my lazy Sunday. 


Back in the west and nestled in my little flat I decided there was only one thing that would make this day lazier; fresh brownies, pots of tea and an afternoon hiding under a blanket.

Whipping up a gooey tray bake and filling the flat with delicious smells, this is how my afternoon has unfolded...



May I quickly point out the book? 'A year in Provence' by Peter Mayle came by recommendation of my Yank. It is short and sweet and documents exactly what it says on the tin - a year in Provence. From food and wine, to the tundra winds and redesign of a crumbling barn, this book is like a comforting hug at the end of the day. Pick up your copy and grab a cup of tea. Delicious. 




Wrap up warm mi amigos, we're heading into winter. The perfect excuse for a Sunday hibernation. 


Sunday, 19 October 2014

homemade beef pie

Waking up feeling surprisingly fresh after Lauren's birthday night out, we headed down to the Green for pumpkin spice lattes and an energising walk. We stumbled across Parsons Green's excellent farmers' market and stopped for a peruse. Cue photographs of carrots and potatoes. 




The main reason for our early morning expedition (aside from clearing fuzzy heads) was to head to Parson's Nose to pick up some delicious meat to make a pie. This is a serious butchers with a serious selection of meats; from game to pork to beef. Droooool. 




We picked up 400g of rump steak, diced and ready to throw under a blanket of short crust pastry. 

To make your beef pie for two (ok so we were quite piggy and this could have been for three, stretching four. Maybe) you will need: 

400g rump steak beef, cubed
4 shallots, diced 
A generous glug of claret
Beef stock pot 
2 bay leaves
Jus Roll short crust pastry

Brown off your beef before adding the diced shallots. 


Add a little flour, a generous glug of claret, bay leaves and seasoning to flavour. Use a Knorr rich beef stock pot and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. 

Behave and resist tasting! 



In the mean time sort out your pastry top; puff or short, whatever your preference. We went for short crust and a very elaborate stag design. I have never seen such precision go into a pastry design... He excelled himself. 



I added a few leaves and berries before giving it a wash of butter - I would have used a yolk but all eggs were eaten for breakfast; both work just as well.

Once you've created your masterpiece pop him in the oven at 180 for 30 minutes, or until glistening and golden brown. 



Plate it up or simply grab a fork and dive in. Serve with potatoes and peas and with a side of whole grain mustard - simplicity at its best. 

The dish has never looked so clean before!


Hope your weekend has been as excellent as mine. And Lauren - a very happy birthday! 


Sunday, 5 October 2014

a saturday kitchen

I haven't done one of these posts for a long time now so it really is much overdue. I have almost settled into my new home entirely now, all I'm waiting on are some prints and a cushion or two, and I'll be showing you around in no time. In the meanwhile I've been perusing frivolous items for the kitchen. I love nothing more than waking up on a Saturday morning, refreshed and excitable, and padding into the breezy kitchen to whip up a few brunch things with a good coffee to boot. Nothing new here! Start the weekend with flowers, they're always happy to see you. 



Next it's time to have some java. 


There's something about making a cafetiere of coffee on a Saturday morning. It's sociable and makes me feel somewhat mature. Gone are the student days of chipped mugs and bitter instant and I'm welcoming that with open arms.

Brunch should be a laid back affair, with morsels to nibble on and share. How about whipping up a little cheese soufflĂ© in this oh so sweet heart shaped ramekin? Brought back to bed on a wooden tray with a sprig of flowers, you'll have your loved one from the first mouthful. 


Bowls of mushrooms and tomatoes are a welcome accompaniment, along with stacks of toast and butter. You won't need to eat til sundown. Make the most of your Saturday. 


Having feasted like kings and queens, store all your dry ingredients away in uniform jars. At home our pantry is lined with Kilner jars and I couldn't imagine a better way to keep things in order. 



Whilst on my perusal of all thing frivolous I came across this:


Beautiful on the side on your work surface; completely non essential. I suggest you bag yours now. I know I certainly fancy something like this by my side. 

Having set yourself up for the day, wrap up in your coats and scarves and head out into the ever colder autumn sunshine. There's nothing better about this time of year. 

Enjoy the last few hours of your weekend.