Thursday, 23 October 2014

Around Here Lately

I am most definitely a night owl.

I often get a second wind just before bedtime and begin packing away socks and knickers or firing off emails, or googling the most obscure celebrities or historical events.

Tonight I find myself unable to sleep, despite being very tired. It's likely to be the immodest slice of birthday cake, with its thick rind of royal icing, in celebration of my littlest brother's birthday.

Speaking of cake and birthdays...

It was mine exactly a week ago today! Above is the classic caterpillar cake I requested and gladly received, though I was devastated to find what was once a white chocolate face has been replaced with orange fondant. The horror!

Nevertheless, it was a lovely day, that in fact has extended, and given that a friend bought us afternoon tea to be had in November, it would appear I may have broken some kind of birthday celebratory record.

I love my birthday, I always have. To be honest, I just love an excuse to have lots of fun with all the people I love most and engage in all the things I love most, namely, eating, drinking and laughing loudly. 

A couple of years ago, I started giving myself a word to carry forth into the new birth-year and I think this one will be 'focus'. I am so wanting to focus my energy on the things and of course, beautiful people, that bring me calm, joy or better understanding. Streamlining. Caterpillar cake aside, (because I KNOW we all love a slice of that), I think I'll be doing away with some of the wirey garnish, the faff. Clean and honest flavours. Soothing warmth or refreshing cool. Yes, please. More of that.

As has always been and will no doubt always be the case, cooking and eating have continued to ground me in amongst the chaos, soothed me in amongst the sadness, been a key component in celebration and love, and reminded me that even when we think we have veered completely off track, all is rarely lost. 

To my fellow October babies,
peace and lurrrrve.

T x

Sunday, 28 September 2014


From the ages of 10-18 I seemed to only wear Converse. I had a range of pairs, all complete with manky, mismatched colourful laces. Most have since been disposed of, but a couple remain and I still adore my battered old Converse pumps, wearing them is like coming home ... to go out ... if that makes any sense ... No.

Anyway, a few months ago I bought myself a pair of snazy Nike trainers and I've fallen head over heels. Only I haven't, I've never been so steady on my feet! Geddit?? 

I love being able to dash around and have my ankles and feet be so well supported! It's an absolute joy! This comes after way too long spent wearing predominantly awful ballet shoes, the kind that have soles about as thin as coffee filters. As the stern looking lady I saw about my back commented, 'it makes no sense wearing those, you may as well go barefoot.'

So, on Saturday I enlisted the correct footwear and took myself off for a day out and about, mooching around Covent Garden, weaving in and out of its nooks and crannies and being almost flattened by its adoring flocks of tourists. I wondered around Holborn and Bloomsbury, I walked over Waterloo Bridge for the billionth time and was reminded yet again of London's beauty, its towering grey landmarks, studded with the red of double deckers. 

When we were kids, snuggled up in the back of the car, driving home from my uncle's house in south London, I would always force myself to stay awake long enough to go over the bridge, so I could see London by night, all twinkly and delicious. I would get such a rush of awe and I still do, after all this time. 

I walked and walked and walked, accompanied by Drake, Joy Division, Soul 2 Soul and Feist, stopping only for Earl Grey tea (at a tea shop I used to visit weekly with my friend H, who lived around the corner, when we were students), then back on my feet, ham hock and onion quiche in hand. As Soul 2 Soul famously sang, keep on moving, don't stop now ...

Of course I did stop eventually, arriving at dinner with a lovely one, by which time London had started to darken, a new kind of bustle appearing on the streets. Even the comfiest of shoes need a rest at some point, after all. 

My (really not so) baby brother, all bright and beautiful is laced up and about to begin a new chapter this week : ) May the force be with him.

T x

Sunday, 21 September 2014

A Sunday recommendation

This is Aslan

I have a feeling I've blogged about him before, but I can't be sure. Not only does Aslan love to rock a French stripe, he also loves food and has just started up a YouTube channel called The Worktop, which I can tell will be utterly wonderful.

I just watched his first upload, a trio of breakfasts video that I could not resist screen grabbing some of. His French toast with stewed apples made me want to weep.

Check him out.
T x

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Marvellous Meatballs

I'm partial to a good meatball and particularly enjoy eating with rice as opposed to pasta.

I added garlic, cumin, paprika and chopped peppers to minced beef, onion, egg and salt and after forming into balls and browning, left to simmer in chopped tomatoes, beef stock and a little chilli. I also added a teaspoon of cocoa powder, as I always do to chilli con carne.

The meatballs froze like a dream, and as I become considerably less hip and cool, I find things like this (and knitwear that washes well), utterly thrilling.

Happy Tuesday,
T x

Saturday, 13 September 2014

WARNING, steamy photo ahead

Gammon with braised veg

Oooh, it's almost sausages and mash weather, ladies and gents! I can hear the cumberlands calling ... As we ease our palettes into the new season, I think this really simple, light yet comforting dinner is just perfect.
1. Sweat red onion and garlic in a little butter (the way all wonderful things begin)

2. Seal gammon before adding white wine, vegetable stock and sage, then leave to simmer until gammon is tender.

3. Add veg- I used frozen garden peas, runner beans and some glum looking courgette and cabbage that was lurking in my fridge.

4. Add half a tea spoon of sugar, stir and cover the saucepan, leaving on a low heat for 15 minutes.

(As promised, here is my steamy snap)

Virtually no plate appeal, but guaranteed mellow loveliness.

T x

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Yesterday we celebrated my cousin's birthday with a heavenly Kladdkaka, a
traditional Swedish chocolate cake. I have attempted to bake it myself before but it never turns out quite as good as A's (a native Swede).

Happy Tuesday,
T x

Friday, 15 August 2014

Turkish Lentil Soup to Soothe the Soul

I have been attempting to crawl from beneath the covers for over an hour now, and it's not looking likely that it'll happen anytime soon. 

I'll be bold and say what everyone currently in Blighty knows is true, summer has left the building, like a lover in the night. What happened? Sunshine caressing our skin one minute and cold and damp the next ... 

Thank goodness for Turkish lentil soup, I say! It's utter comfort food and so nourishing. I read that in parts of Turkey, people eat it for breakfast in the winter months.

There's a place across the street from a station in North London that serves a delicious soup, but it's overpriced. Not that this has ever stopped me, so off I trotted (in the rain) yesterday afternoon to buy some to take away. 

To my horror, I was told only tomato remained, and with that, I marched to the supermarket and bought some red lentils to make my own (for a fraction of the cost, unsurprisingly.)

I consulted a few recipes and settled on a lil amalgamation of them all. See below:

Serves 6 (or one greedy me 3 times)

  • 8 ounces of red lentils
  • 5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large onion , diced
  • 1 large carrot , diced
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic , finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • sea salt , to taste
  • Table spoon of double cream 

-In a large pot, combine all ingredients apart from the cream, bringing to a boil over high heat. 

-Lower heat and leave to simmer, until lentils and vegetables are tender (approx 20 minutes).

-Remove the pot from the heat and add to blender along with cream before blending until soup is fairly smooth. 

I know. Ridiculously easy.

I would definitely add more lentils next time, but other then that I thought the texture was pretty lovely and the colour ... dreamy.

I instruct you to eat this bowl of soup in bed, wearing socks and watching Location, Location or YouTube vlogs.

T x