Monday, July 30, 2012

Lemon and Rosemary Salted Fries

When I first saw this recipe I immediately pinned it onto my Pinterest board,  Food and Entertaining.  It might not be the healthiest of recipes, but boy does it taste good and you can make extra seasoning and it'll keep for quite some time in an airtight tin or box.  Basically it's a salt with lemon and rosemary and here's how to do it:

You will need:

Good couple of handfuls of sea salt (I used unbleached sea salt)
Sprig of rosemary, leaves chopped finely
zest of 4 lemons

4 large potatoes, finely chopped into matchsticks
large pan or chip pan with sunflower oil

Place all the ingredients in a pestle and mortor and grind together for as long as it takes for the salt to take on a slightly yellow hue; you should be able to smell the lemon oils as they are released too. 

Next take your matchstick potatoes and drop them into the hot oil for about 5 minutes, or until they are just turning golden.  Remove from the heat and let them sit for another five minutes, shaking them so that the oil drains off (I place mine on kitchen roll).

Give the chips another few minutes in the hot oil until they are golden and puffy before draining on more kitchen roll.  Sprinkle your lemon salt over and that's it!  Drool and enjoy because they are delicious...light and fluffy on the inside, crispy and salty on the outside.  Heaven on a plate.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Musings

So, nearly the weekend and my time in Antibes is coming to an end.  Time to start making more summer plans... and you?



*image

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Monochromatic Paris

It's always good to spread a bit of social love and today I want to share with you a blog that I truly admire.  Blogged by Nichole Robertson, she takes the most fantastic photographs of Paris, themed according to colour.  It's always so great to see a fabulous blogger take their work further, as she has done with her book Paris in Colour.  Just to whet your appetite take a look at these:



All these pictures are available from her shop found through her blog littlebrownpen.These arenot the only three sets available; you can choose from other monochromatic prints in green, grey, purple, red, white, black and orange.  The difficulty is in choosing just one set!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Grilled Peach Salad

This salad ticks all my boxes for summer eating.  Fresh, in-season produce, delicious ingredients that compliment each other and quick and easy to prepare.  Whenever I'm cooking simple food I always think about Nigel Slater, one of my favourite writers and cooks.  He always comes up trumps with recipes that are simple but flavoursome, inspiring and all about the flavours.   Here are some of his thoughts on food

"I passionately believe that anyone can make themselves something good to eat. Cooking is a whole lot easier than many people think. Good cooking–real cooking–is within the grasp of anyone with an appetite and a few pots and pans. There is nothing difficult about it (it is only supper after all), so we can pretty much ignore all that stuff about it being “an art,” “a science” or “a gift.”
It takes no expertise to heat some butter and a squashed clove of garlic in a shallow pan till it froths and bubbles, then slide in a piece of chicken. Let it cook till its skin is crisp and golden, then squeeze in half a lemon and serve it with its pan juices and a leafy salad to mop them up. Anyone can slap a lamb chop on a hot grill pan, throw a handful of pasta into bubbling water or put an apple to bake in a hot oven. I work from the not unreasonable premise that if someone can make a cup of coffee then they can probably roast themselves a chicken.
Real cooking is not about making fancy stocks and sauces, piping purees and perfecting spun-sugar baskets. Real cooking is about making ourselves something to eat that involves a bit of simple roasting, grilling or frying. Nothing complicated. But it is cooking, rather than opening a packet or a tin. As you will see, real cooking is also about the little things–the small points that turn straightforward cooking into good cooking. The attention to detail that makes a simple supper into something sublime." 

True.

To make this salad you will need:
6 peaches, cut in half and pitted
salt
1small red onion, sliced
couple handfuls of rocket (arugula)
ball of mozarella
4tbsp of white balsamic vinegar
2tsp honey
2tsp dijon/wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp chopped chives
olive oil
creme fraiche or cream



1. Heat grill and after lightly salting the peaches, drizzle with olive oil and place cut side down on the grill.  When they begin to soften and char, remove and set aside.
2.  To make the dressing, place the vinegar, honey, mustard and chives in a bowl and whisk, slowly adding the oil, then the creme fraiche.. 
3. Toss the rocket and onion with the vinaigrette and place on a dish before adding the peaches and mozarella.

Simple and delicious. Enjoy

*image credits: farmhousedelivery

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bonjour

Bonjour mes amies...Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend. Here's some Frenchy things to get you in the mood!


I totally love macaroons and these ones would hit the spot instantly...I don't know which one I want to try first..Saffron with chocolate ganache?  Pistachio with orange flower cream or Black tea with marmalade...Which one would you choose?

*image credit: thisisglamorous

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Holidays

So, in just over 24 hours, I'll be boarding the Eurostar, en-route for Paris.  From there I change stations and catch the TGV to Antibes.  I cannot wait! The rest of the week will be spent reading by the pool, swimming in the blue waters of the Mediterranean and sampling the cafe culture in old Antibes and Juan le Pins...I've got some posts lined up for you whilst I'm away and I know I'll be bringing you back some lovely new posts with a French flavour...au revoir, for now.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

5 lovely links for summer


There's nothing I like more than to while away the time looking for inspiration on-line.  Propped up on the sofa or bed, with a cup of coffee and my ipad I can 'waste' hours very happily!  Just in case you find yourself with some browsing time to spare,  here are some of my latest finds...enjoy....

* for summer inspiration and ideas galore on making the most of the sunshine...
* delicious icecream in summer flavours
* obsessed with the shabby-chicness of these blogs
* make this delicious summery salad
* a delectable lipscrub - for kissable lips


*image

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Simpson's-in-the-Strand

Simpson's-in-the-Strand is one of London's most historic landmark restaurants.  I visited it recently to celebrate a family birthday with cocktails in its Knights Bar.  Swinging into it's grand hallway is like going back one hundred years to a time when gentlemen smoked in private and the ladies dressed to please.  It's interior has a gloom that reeks of old British values, but gloomy it isn't.  You leave behind the manic bustle of the Strand and find yourself in a quiet and dignified British oasis that belongs to a different era.

Simpson's opened it's doors in 1828 as a chess club and coffee house called  'The Grand Cigar Divan' and soon gained a reputation for being the 'home of chess', attracting top players,including Howard Staunton, the first English world chess champion.  Momentoes from its days as a chess haven can be seen throughout the building.
The Grand Divan restaurant serves fine British ingredients served in typical British fashion, including the best beef and lamb that is wheeled to the tables in antique silver domes and cut at the table.  This practice originates from the days of chess when they didn't want to disturb the chess players.

The Knights Bar on the first floor is a beautiful nod to the arts deco movement.  It possesses a quiet glamour that demands cocktails and we were only too happy to oblige with a perfectly made Whiskey Sour, a raspberry mocktail, G&T and French Martini. 
Going to Simpson's is like stepping back in time - glamourous, timeless, epitomising all that is Britishness at its best; I can't wait to go back - for dinner!

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to...style a scarf

I've only just recently become a scarf addict - before I only wore them to keep warm in the winter, thereby missing out on a whole new sartorial experience!  The thing is, the way you wear your scarf depends on the cut and the fabric, whether it's knit, cashmere, square, silk, long, or short, so,  I've put together a few different ways to rock this look.

1.  Traditional, snuggled for warmth.  Wrap the scarf round your neck as many times as the fabric allows and tuck the ends underneath.  This looks best with jackets and blazers.

2.  This style only works with square scarves.  Simply fold the square to form a triangle then place the triangle in front of your nexk with the point down.  Wrap the ends round the back of your neck and let the ends hang.

3.  Sleek and stylish, this look is perfect for those colder days when you still need to look chic.  Place the ends of your scarf together, folding in half.  Bring the folded scarf around the back of your neck and let each end hang in front.  Find the loop of the fold and bring the ends through, or only one end for a slightly different look.

4.  C lassic and chic - best for silk and satin scarves.  Just wrap around your neck leaving one end in front and the other at the back.  Elegant and timeless.

5.  This is one of my favourites...take your favourite scarf and just attach to your bag with a simple knot.

 Check out this tutorial for more styling tips..

*image sources: Camillestyles/ivillage

Friday, July 13, 2012

Five things...making me happy

It's been a long, long week with a few not so good moments, but despite that there are the little things around me that still make me smile and realise how lucky I am...
I love this book, full of gorgeous photos, and the shells came from a beach in Dubai, the dome from Two Sisters in Wimbledon Village. 
Dutch Peonies, bravely withstanding the torrential rain.


Piles of vintage napkins and bedlinen, waiting patiently on the shelf.


This gorgeous light and airy (pink!) bedroom

Here's to a relaxing weekend for us all x

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bonne Vacances


Sleepy villages and shuttered windows
 With just over a week and a half to go until I take myself off to the South of France, I'm gearing up for sunshine, great cuisine and a touch of rose to help me recharge the empty batteries.  To get me in the mood - after all, it's pretty difficult when all I can see out of the window is torrential rain - I've been looking at these pictures..


Cool Interiors...crickets chirruping, soft breezes and afternoon naps


Shaded lounging, leisurely lunches and twinkly nightime lights



celebrations and girly get-togethers



Bliss...

*image source: Maison

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Calming Colours



It's that time of year, towards the end of term that I start feeling truly frazzled - exhausted by the daily routine, bored of the rain and in need of a dose of calm; so when I came across this source of calming photos I was instantly hooked.  My overstimulated brain is craving calm scenes and neutral colours to gaze upon and these blogs fit the bill perfectly.  Here I can sink into a feather sofa, let soft chiffon and twinkly gauzes drape me still, pen a vintage card in old-fashioned inks and let serenity envelop me in it's perfect entirety.  Sigh....


What's your go-to when you're feeling the pressure?


*image credits: assorted Whipped Cream Network

Monday, July 09, 2012

Zucchini heaven

A few years ago I had a holiday that I've never forgotten.  We went to Tuscany in Italy and I have many wonderful memories of our time there, but one thing stands out above all the rest - the food!  On our first day we went to Cortona, a place I'd always promised myself I'd visit.  We walked to the top of the village and on our way back down we came upon a tiny, tiny restaurant in a back street.  There were three tables on a raised dais opposite the restaurant, one was free, so we claimed it.  The meal that followed was simple but probably the best I've ever had.  I've never before, or since, found that intense pleasure from such a simple meal.  I began with stuffed courgette flowers and it was the most delicious thing I'd ever eaten; the crisp outer casings and goey interior is still the basis for my food fantasies, and so my love affair with courgettes really began.  It's so versatile and it's flavour can be enhanced and toyed with in a whole variety of ways.  You can grate it into salads, fry til the edges are browned and crispy before dowsing in lemon juice; bake them in the oven with chilli flakes and parmesan or steam them and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.  One of my go-to things to cook with them tho' is a frittata - combining all my favourite ingredients - cheese, eggs and courgettes.

Here's how:
1 courgette, thinly sliced lengthways (I use a cheese slicer for this!)
4 large eggs
55g grated cheddar (or any other hard cheese you like)

1.Heat a spoonful of olive oil in a frying pan and add the courgette slices, cook for 2/3 minutes until they start to turn a golden brown.
2. Beat the eggs with a fork and season with salt and pepper before pouring over the courgettes.  Sprinkle with the cheese and cook for about ten minutes, until the egg is almost set.
3.  Heat the grill to high, place frying pan under the grill for two minutes until the frittata is golden.  Serve warm with salad.


Stuffed Courgette flowers
1 onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 small courgettes
100g unsmoked rindless streaky bacon, diced
30g breadcrumbs
1tsp pitted black olives, finely chopped
2tbsp fresh oregano
75g manchego cheese, grated
12 courgette flowers

1.Heat some olive oil in a pan and saute onions for about 20 mins until soft.  Season, and stir in garlic, courgettes and continue to cook for another few minutes.
2.  Spoon onto a plate and return pan to the heat and fry the bacon and chorizo until golden and cooked.
3. Drain the fat from the bacon mixture and return to the pan along with the onion mixture, breadcrumbs, olives and oregano.  Mix together well and season, before stirring in the Manchego cheese.
4.  Preheat the oven to 220c/425f/Gas7.  Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and spoon the filling into the courgette flowers.  Season and place on tray before drizzling with a little lemon olive oil.  Bake in the oven for 12/15 mins until the flowers are golden and crisp.  Serve with a tomato salad and warm crusty bread.

What was your most memorable meal?

Friday, July 06, 2012

Meal in a jar

When I first came across this idea it was a real 'wow' moment.  I take my lunches to work everyday, usually a salad and protein of some description; but it almost always ends up looking far less appetising than it began.  I first saw this idea on Pinterest and decided to do a bit of research on my own.  You can buy mason jars relatively cheaply from here and the rest is so simple - you make them up in advance (they keep for up to five days depending what's in them) and just grab and go.  For me that's a bonus; I hate the morning dash to make up a fresh lunch and the idea of grabbing and going is a winner and not only that, they look SO good.
You can add whatever you like, in layers, although two rules do apply: put your dressing in the very bottom of the jar and your lettuce towards the top so that it doesn't get soggy!  Then start layering.  Here are some ideas for your jars:
 Salmon Ni├žoise Salad- In a pint-sized Mason jar add 2 tablespoons of your favorite vinaigrette dressing, then layer roasted green beans, one half hard boiled egg, cherry tomatoes, black olives, roasted new potatoes, and roasted salmon, or add Tuna for a Tuna Nicoise.

Chicken Cobb Salad- In a pint-sized Mason jar add 2 tablespoons of your favorite vinaigrette dressing, then layer roasted chicken, chopped hard boiled eggs, chopped bacon, cherry tomatoes, and mixed baby greens or spinach.


You can even layer up fruit salad...

Enjoy creating...

*image credit: here