Thursday, 27 August 2009

Welcome - Violet Sparks and a return to blogging!

I have my very own, properly related to me niece. The dark haired, mysterious beauty is called Violet and she looks perfect. Sadly I haven't yet met her due to the cursed Atlantic ocean, really expensive plane tickets to Denver and no job. It is vexing as the lack of a job means I have tons of time to visit my big bro, his annoyingly sexy wife and the munchkin however it also means a reduction in funds which means no happy trips. I am trying to figure out how to get someone to pay me for doing bugger all as I enjoy the freedom of no work but miss the benefits of an income.

Anyhoo I was trying to decide the best way to celebrate a new niece, Harry thought something along these lines:

But then Harry's idea of celebration is always some sort of running and grinning like a loon on a beach. And yes it is a bad picture but you try taking a good one of an insane Labrador running as fast as a hayfever suffers nose when you only have a tiny camera and there is a force 5 gale...

I thought, as her name is one of those lovely old-fashioned names, something along the lines of afternoon tea would be more the ticket.

To that end we made my favourite jam tarts - almond pastry, homemade raspberry jam and whipped cream. Can't you just hear the heavenly choir start up on that note!

Crumbly, buttery shortbread, the proper stuff with semolina in the recipe.

Ina Garten's lemon bars - I just love lemon bars so the Americans have given us something other than Violet!

and a wonderful almond and lemon cake with an amaretto whipped cream and raspberries.

So the arrival of Violet has also heralded the arrival of even more thigh fat for me which is bad news as I have to get Kate Moss thin for my wedding in November. Eeek. This blog is going to become '100 Ways to Eat Beans'.

Welcome to the world Violet and this is your first lesson in just how late your cool British aunt inevitably is. XXXXXX

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Marmalade Soup

For the second time this year my jam / marmalade has refused to set. I have, however, invented marmalade soup and damn delicious soup it is as well! It may have something to do with the 3 day extended making period, I started on Friday by slicing the oranges and soaking them in a little water along with the pips. I also started the SP sauce which inevitably makes the house reek of vinegar and cloves.

Saturday morning I fished out the pips and was about to start the whole process when we decided to nick up to Stoke so that Harry could gorge on disgraceful amounts of food. Labrador heaven in other words.

Harry's bed is now too small for him due to the copious amounts of food eaten by him this weekend. (Before any Labrador Rights people start to leave threatening comments this is not Harry's bed. This is in fact a puppies bed, Harry kicked the puppy off in order to curl himself up as small as he could and pretend to be comfortable whilst the puppy slept on the hard floor.)

We returned on Sunday after eating far too much pie, drinking too much gin and sleeping badly on a smaller bed than we are used to. No one should have too sleep that close to someone else! The house still reeked of vinegar and the oranges had come to no harm.

I did all I should - boil, add sugar, boil some more, boil for a bit longer, panic about the colour, have a shower, boil more and so on. I thought after about half an hour enough is enough bottle and be damned. Even after half the day in the fridge it is still soup. To add insult to injury Bobo took one look and pointed out that my thin slices were quite long and should they be, I pointed out boiling hot sugary things and insults not clever.

I am re-boiling tomorrow.

The SP sauce is fab - pictures tomorrow for I have missed the light.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

I AM BACK!!!!!

Well that was a long break in the states! Well not really, after the wedding of the year (only because I didn't have a pirate wedding of my own) and a small road trip round the states I then had to do re-writes on my dissertation and couldn't face writing another word until now.

So I understand I have probably lost anyone who ever read my blog and will have to start from scratch again but hopefully some nice photos and good food will tempt y'all back. I am going to stop relying on Bobo to take all the photos and try to learn how to handle a camera for more than shots of what is in my mouth. And I am going to try and cook more than just cake - that may be harder than the camera bit but my ever expanding waist line is more than a little unpleasant, if I were to go on the beach I might just get dragged back into the ocean by Greenpeace.

I will be posting my first recipe this weekend probably for SP sauce - home made HP sauce (a little like A1 sauce for all you Americans out there) and chili sauce - insanely hot and good with cheddar....Toodles for now.