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August 17, 2011

SEEING RED

Nothing hurt me more than making a bad cake. And this is one of the reasons why I always have more than enough eggs, flour, caster sugar etc. But in this instance the cake was a wreck before I even started – I don’t like them, they don’t taste that great, the icing is always too sweet and I can taste the chemicals in the cake for the colour – RED VELVET CAKE. WHY? Who came up with this stupid idea to have half a chocolate cake flavour dyed bright red?

So I was making a cake for work – it is not only horrible to start with, it is overcooked, the ends all cut off, the icing full of crumbs, all while I was stewing over this guy I went on a Guardian Soulmates date with who used to sign of messages like this:

HISNAME
I
S
N
A
M
E

and other such variations.

I got a text from someone called P. Pip? Paul? Philippa? Phil? Pippa? Like talking to me like they are my mate.

? : Hi, I hope you are well and having a nice Summer. P [should have known my friends all wouldnt have bother to start with Hi.]
Me: Who is this?
? : Hi Emma, it’s Pail [so I was thinking who is their Scandinavian with that number. I have no clue who this is. Seriously though, what a typo. Calling yourself bucket.]
Me: Sorry I didn’t have your number in my phone. What have you been doing? [fishing for more clues...]

In between times I googled the phone number and found out who it was. Guardian Soulmates date 2 or 3. I dont remember. The one with the bad turn ups and the Magic mushrooms I think was after this so it must be number 2.

? : I did not mean to spook you Emma. We dallied with the idea of dating a while back. Guardian I believe, Paul.
Me: You didn’t spook me at all. Yes I remember having a drink.
[He infact had two drinks - a pint of beer and a pint of water. He sculled both, went to the loo, came out and remembered he had to get back for a circuit class at the gym. The end.]
?: Ah… Good. It was quite a while ago. How are you keeping? PLUS — > A bonus picture of him sitting outdoors on a rock.
Me: Well clearly I joined a nunnery and devoted myself to god after out date…
?: Oh no…..ah well

The desperado who was obviously bored at work and going through his phone to contact me .

And the thing that makes me the maddest of all: I CURSED MYSELF WITH THIS REAPPEARANCE!! I was going through a friends linked in page the other day and saw him and made a joke to my friend about him. So basically my own fault.

But that fucking cake. I have red colouring on my hands, all over the cookbook, up the wall, cake crumbs everywhere, Hobart isnt even touching the cake. I hate this cake.

June 21, 2011

VEGAN DINNER PARTY

All picture were taken by guest Erika. Why didn’t we take more picture of food? Hobart was not impressed although she was sick on the floor the other morning so I gave her a hand full of rocket which she munched through and looked a lot perkier.

THE VEGAN MENU – everything made from scratch so I could be 2000% sure there was no secret lard or weird stuff

Daikon pickle
Beetroot Pickle with orange & soy dressing
Prawn and lime “har gau” <- These were for me and also a 50/50 in case the mushroom ones exploded.
Oyster mushroom “har gau”
Home made Chinese chilli sauce

Red rice and quinoa salad with pistacho nuts and orange
Cucumber salad with poppyseed and chilli
Edamame bean and radish salad
Roast pumpkin and basil
A couple of tahini sauces. One was nice and the other was like peanut butter.

Something Penguin from Brew Dog [a special limited edition beer thing of Anthonys]
Prosecco & Aperol
Loublie Rose [YUM!]
Tradition 2007
Sorbet vodka and prosecco

And, Erika made all baked goods – muffins and a cobbler. Which I also ate for breakfast the next day.

I wish there were more food pictures.

June 9, 2011

SHIT IN A GLASS

Amuse Bouche and Verrine – to things you dont see that much of here on the menu but common in France. As common as horrible graphic design in French cook books. Where as we have to put up with  Jamie Olivers mug doing drooly smug grins all over the shop.

Anyway I am having a dinner party next week and without trekking to fucking nowheresville, where can I get yellow beetroot from. Please keep in mind I live in N19 and am allergic to pikey East London. Oh yeah sorry, as if they would have anything like that there.

Here is a good idea for you – macerate [soak in something] nectarines in amaretto. BOOYAH. Best dessert ever.

Oh and if you have a good cocktail idea, please let me know.

And any really fancy recipes that HAPPEN to be vegan. Like Olia’s potatoes with capers.

June 1, 2011

HANSBURGERS

Well folks, here they are! The famous HANSBURGER cakes that I made for Hans for his 50th birthday party last weekend. I have started doing Afternoon Tea Catering. There is a half started website here. The Hansburger is Genoise sponge sandwiched together with Creme Anglaise and butter icing. 40 of them! Hardcore bake athon. But it was so worth it at Hans party with some pink champagne in my hand seeing every one not expecting the creme anglaise explosion. Anthony helped me stick them together when I got to the creme anglaise stage. He was more professional than me. Then Dora help by standing in the kitchen and scoffed all the leftovers. She said “See me. I am an African woman. We chop like this with bread in the drink.”

Then, I COULDNT BELIEVE IT. On the wall in Han’s flat was the vintage cutout of the Lord’s prayer I had been bidding on in eBay [not this one pictured.] So I quizzed Jean Marc and we had been bidding against each other for the piece. I was gutted. I told him how unhappy I was and he said disparigingly “Don’t you know about eBay Sniper? You never win anything by chance and more.” Major burn. But then he fished behind some drawers and pulled out the one in the picture and gave it to me! THANK YOU JEAN MARC. So now it is in my bedroom and I can protect myself from thousands of psychic vampires and slug ghosts.

And fastforward up to today. I bought a belt of Etsy to wear as a necklace [what is wrong with me], have had a migraine for 4 days now and just thought “fuck it” and made some popcorn and cracked open the gin.

May 23, 2011

.5 CHICKEN FATIGUE

I ate half a chicken yesterday with the Cardinal, came home and slept from 4pm all the way through til 7am today. A solid effort. I should add what tipped me over the edge were the panko crumbed croquettes of potato and black pudding.

Someone has ordered 30 of my hamburger cakes for their 50th birthday party this weekend. I will be “flipping patties” for a long while.

Anthony and I are going to Avignon in July for a holiday. As part of restaurant research, Cards father turned up a strong list of restaurant contenders. One of them even had a recipie section. So the other night we made the Courgette and Tomato thing. Which is basically garlic & thyme sprinkled in the bottom of a bakeware dish. Then layers of peeledand deseeded tomatos cut into quarters and slices of courgette a bit like lasagne with oil pepper and salt baked slowing for at least 3 hours at 120 degrees centigrade. Was long and boring but tasted yummy. Was secretly jealous when Anthony said he had it cold tonight after being in the fridge for a day and a half. I bet it was even better!

May 11, 2011

DINNER DATE

Well the real menu was:

Asparagus with potted shrimp
Steak with beetroot and baked cauliflower
Rhubarb & Orange Meringue Pie
Tesco Chocolates [from Anthony]

Lime is optional.

COOKING FISH

Even though today I have to go to the doctor again, tonight I am making a fancy dinner from the Mark Hix seasonal cookbook. Of course ignoring all the seasons and changing all the recipes because neither of us like offal. What is very interesting though is there are many examples throughout the book of different cuts or “fish offal” I never knew about – like cod have tongues you can eat! Who knew!!?? [Its not really the tongue but a cut from near there.] You can also eat their cheeks!

Between you and me I thought Mark Hix was a bit of a prick – not because I ever met him but because he charges £1.50 for a little bowl of twiglets as bar snacks if you just have cocktails and no food. [His restaurant Hix is just down the road from my office.] Now I suspect he is just frugal. He knows how to knock the goodness out of every piece of a fish. See here for example. I never tried those recipes so cant say anything but they don’t look too hard.

He also makes a good environmental point about fish – if you are gonna eat it, dont throw half of it away.

Also, when you go buying his book don’t say to the shop keeper “He isnt a really good looking bloke is he?” because it will turn out the shop keeper is his mate. As happened to me. Ooops.

January 3, 2011

OH HAI 2011

Alone at last, Hobart and I are trying to maintain a positive relationship after her behaviour the last week. My internet searching reveals that:

1. Hobart is very territorial of her house and of me

2. Her tail when it starts to twitch – she really means no

Which is all very depressing because it is quite upsetting when other people come round and she turns psycho on them. I am not ready to have her put down just yet of course.

I dont have any New Year resolutions – except maybe answer the phone even less (GASP!! I can hear from you all already!) and my mantra used to be GET ON THE INTERNET and now more likely it is GET OFF the internet.

Also relevant to kind of NY resolution vibes, but no real kind of resolution, you all know how much I love cooking. You all tell me all the time I am good at it. I dream of having some kind of place of my own sometimes – a cross between Tartes Kluger in Paris, Pain de Sucre in Paris and The Golden Pudel in Hamburg. But then when the computers at work break down over the Christmas break and I have to go in for the second time to fix them I am not sure I want to be running my own business on my own. That kind of stuff is just not appealing. I was going through my old iMac backup drive the other day and saw spreadsheet after spreadsheet after handout after application saved from the days of Lektrolab – as well as some pretty embarrassing old pictures too on FB if you are interested. I dont want to do that. I like mixing the big bowl of cake mix. I dont want to have to fill in a council application form for some health inspector. I cant just “set up shop” like the amazing M Goldstein and wee in a pot when it comes to a place for food. Anyway so the idea is still there, but still needs some ruminating.

Ideas anyone?

December 11, 2010

COOKING WITH LAVENDER

Is not easy.

I was looking for a moulded dessert recipe but found a nice French meringue recipe instead. Green Tea or Lavender?

After buying a bottle of Arome de Lavande in G. Detout in Paris, and not using it that often I thought I would give it a go [I'm going to make basil and honey and beetroot and pomegranite macarons so I thought the colour would be better as well].

Anyway – THAT STUFF IS POTENT.

A bit like a weird mint. A bit like a Grannies knicker drawers. And sweet.

You can see why me, of all people, love it.

BABY SHOWER

I’ve been awake since 7.30 today when the Ocado delivery arrived with the balance of ingredients for my baking mission for Lee and Abbie’s pre baby good luck Lee hello baby party.

So far I have made cannele bordelais, half a strawberry, rosemary & pear sponge,  mousse aux fruits, gin and tonic jelly [aka glibber] and I am about to embark on poppyseed biscuits and macarons. For some reason I have also become obsessed with the idea of some kind of panacotta thing. Suggestions on a postcard please really quickly.

Hobart hates me today [or loves me]. So far she has had to endure 2 hours of vintage Mexican love songs and now we are onto Dr Dre. It was with a great pleasure of hers I am sure she stuck her arse right in my face. For those of you who are intimate on Facebook will get to see the picture. Everyone else you will have to miss out I am afraid. If my face was not covered by Hobart’s rear end, I seriously look like a par boiled Christmas ham.

A-Dogg is going to come over tonight and I will experiment with making beetroot spaeztle for a veal and pumpkin stroganoff-esk dinner.

Enough procrastination. I have been avoiding attempting the macarons as I havent made any for a while and I am worried I’ve lost a bit of a hand.

November 26, 2010

TONIGHT

So first of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY PHIL AND ABBIE, which to me means that the Christmas season officially begins. I know so many Sagittarians its nearly every day a birthday up until Christmas Day. By which time my little God/Buddah/Allah/Jah Child will be born then. Goody goody. That is something to look forward to!

Something I don’t look forward to at the moment is coming home to a cold house with no food in it except ingredients for making cake. Lots of flour and nutmeal and icing but nothing that you really feel like stir frying quickly for a 5 minute dinner.

I’m not really a 5 minute dinner kind of girl. Unless you include the pasta and tuna I used to make my exhusband make for me. It took me 5 minutes to beg him to cook for me. But seriously, I am going to Paris for my birthday and I am thinking more about shopping time I will have in Mora looking for elusive shaped baking “thingos” than really anything else and I secretly think my boyfriend is a mega hero for squirting out the Chestnut Vermicelli like the one from Sprungli above on the merigues from the other night. And then UNPROMTED he came with the idea of raspberry coulis. Yes, me, cakes, obsessed. No wonder there is no food around here. I even considered eating the desperation tinned food at the back of the cupboard [pineapple rings - for making upside down pineapple cakes FYI] but thought that was almost like giving up on life and ordered home delivery from Charuwan.

And then when I am not thinking about Mora, I am totally wipeout city. I am still waiting for the tail end of this cold to FUCK OFF.

That picture looks exactly where I want to be now. So I will go there and wait for Hobart to come and sit on my and try and put her bum in my face for a laugh.

November 25, 2010

CHRISTMAS IMAGE UPDATE

The Christmas House I was talking about yesterday.

Then last night Anthony and I made these Swiss Vermicelli Chestnut Meringue things.

July 22, 2010

CAT ANATOMY

While you guys read that, I am washing wine glasses, champagne coupes, water jugs, cutlery and counting plates, shoving stuff in cupboards and double checking my shopping list, planning an exquisite outfit that works in the kitchen and the dining room, laundering the tablecloth, killing ants that are attracted by Hobart’s nourishment…

OH AND HOT NEWS AS IT HAPPENS: Nick Abrahams just called me to interrupt my industry to tell me that he had bought some Ladurée macrons for his lovely lady, fell asleep on the tube on the way home, and squashed them to smithereens. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. The error there folks is that he bought the cheapo collapsible box and not one of the delightful proper hard one

…where was I? Oh just got a text from the French asking if I want wine with dinner. I better get a move on and get dinner. Roast chicken and artichoke quiche I think.

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT TOMORROW NIGHT I AM ABOUT TO EXPLODE!!

June 29, 2010

MISSING

cp1853

And tonight, I made another quiche for the girls in the office tomorrow. I was planning to throw out loads of stuff as well, but only managed to throw out the bowl I had my dinner in because it reminded me of living in the women’s hostel and I couldn’t be bothered washing it.

Where ever you are, I will find you. And where ever I am, you will find me.

I just hope we both decide to go looking on the same day.

June 23, 2010

A DAY IN THE LIFE

Every morning I wake up to the following song on my mobile phone:

Jonny Chingas : Automatic Lover

Where ever the phone is, Hobart goes running and sits by it until I come and turn off the alarm. I usually get up and have a tea or a coffee, occasionally I will hit the snooze button but I often find it hard to sleep in unless I am feeling especially lovely.

This morning was a little different to others in that I woke up way way earlier than usual a complete shock of nervous energy. I had such crazy dreams last night and kept getting woken up by people calling me or I don’t know. Maybe it was the cat playing with a giant piece of plastic on the living room floor?!

I made an artichoke and red pepper quiche. What else can you do?

P.S. Can I just come back and add this part – I got a nice email this morning from Emma Balkind. From one Emma to another you are one really special girl. x

OH and if I can also add while the whole office is out watching football at the pub:

1] I was talking to Dora this morning to tell her that I wasn’t going to be around to make fufu. Then I asked her if she thinks I have a curse. She said I am not cursed – I just have a really stupid friend. Then the button on my wrappy denim skirt popped and fell of almost down my thighs in the middle of the street. Christ. Strong Summer Time Look.

2] Then I was just trying to mend my sandals when an appointment walked in the office. Everyone else was gone, I was barefoot and shocked and just realising I had stuck my thumbs to my sandal and my nailpolish was getting ruined as well. Then the appointment [who is a design head at a "highstreet" design led homewares store] realised the football was on and wanted to go and watch it anyway.

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