Sunday, 29 July 2012

Ikea

So we had a late night trip to Ikea to buy some clothes rails and lampshades but as usual while I was there, I picked up a few extra bits. I was really pleased with these bits and can't wait to put them around the house.



1. Pretty hanging basket plant holder for the kitchen with some herbs in.
2. Cute wine glasses which could double as sundae glasses.
3. Storage boxes, these are the best Ikea buy ever, they fit in our kitchen cupboards and our fridge, make things so much more organised and you use all available space. 
4. Lace effect trim plant pots - for herbs on the window ledge.
5. Really pretty teacups for herbal teas.
6. Decanters for £1.40 that will double nicely as vases.


I just love Ikea.

Friday, 27 July 2012

London

I love living by the sea in Kent but as a Londoner I need to head back in for my London-fix every so often. Last weekend we headed in to one of my favourite parts; Borough Market and Maltby Street. I used to visit Borough market when it wasn't at all trendy - it was just a fruit and veg market with a greasy spoon. My dad was a greengrocer when we lived in Brixton and sometimes I would get up early and head to market with him. It's a different place now, but I still like to go and see all the amazing stalls and produce there. Our ritual is to head to Monmouth for a coffee on the street and take a walk down to Clink Street and watch the boats on the river. We then head in to the market. I used to love the pie & mash shop that used to be under the railway bridge, it's such a shame this has gone now, it was the last remnant of the old market. But tastes have changed, there is more demand for chorizo in a roll and Boar burgers than stodgy pie and mash with lashings of green liquor. 

After Borough Market we head to Maltby Street's Ropewalk - which is similar but less busy as it's still in its infancy. We visited Sparrow Gin's joint for a cocktail and then had delicious sandwiches from the incredible stalls there. It's such a nice day just wandering and tasting. 

I could have stayed at Sparrow Gin's place all day - such a great spot. They take over a workshop in the arches every Saturday and sell cocktails so you have the most lovely gin-based cocktails in a workshop with pretty vintage items peppered around. It has a great atmosphere here and like I say the gin cocktails are pretty incredible - great to sit here and watch the World go by.






















1. What WAS the Pie and Mash shop
2. Mushrooms
3. Tomatoes
4. Blowfish
5. Lobster and Salmon
6. Thai curries
7. Borough Market
8. The Cacoa Cafe, hence Dans' naughty face. The hot chocolate was so yum!
9. Maltby Street reclaimers
10. Beautiful edible flowers
11. Little Bird Gin joint
12. Sparrow Gin
13. Dan exploring the balcony
14. The menu
15. The Bloody Mary and the Early Bird (which had English Breakfast Tea and marnalade in - so delicious)
16. Monty's Deli
17. Happy boy
18. THE sandwich
19. Maltby Street Iberico ham sandwiches

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Vitamix

So, Dan and I decided that we have not been taking good care of ourselves and neglecting our 5 a day and 2 litre of water a day routine. I just find it difficult with fruit and this will sound lazy but it's chomping my way through 5 bits of fruit or raw vegetable a day that gets tedious. Only on a rare occasion do I find myself craving an apple or a peach. Dan threw caution to wind and forked out for a Vitamix - wow, this thing is amazing. It turns beetroot into juice within seconds. It sounds like a race car and is so powerful. It is expensive but reassuringly so, everything about it screams well-made. 
We have had it for 3 months now and so far the novelty has not worn off which convinces me that this is a lifestyle change not a fad kitchen accessory. We've had a lot of fun concocting juices and smoothies - some have been winners, some have been dreadful. Our favourite so far is:



Watermelon, half a lime and a sprig of mint with crushed ice is my absolute fave. Watermelon is full of Vitamin E so it's great for your skin and hair. 
We average about 2 a day and we really have noticed a change in our health, skin is so much clearer and the whites of our eyes positively shine. The machine also makes soup, you just chuck your ingredients in and whiz, the speed at which it whizzes heats the mixture into steaming soup - how healthy can you get?? and how great if you have kids or a busy day??
Would love to hear from anyone who has a favourite juice or smoothie??

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


This is one of my favourite comfort dishes and it's so quick and easy. You will need:
  • Good Chorizo
  • Yellow or Red Pepper
  • Aubergine
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Green Chilli
  • Red Onion
  • Dried Oregano
  • Bay Leaves
  • Tinned Tomatoes
  • Tinned Flageolet Beans
  • Glass of red wine
  • Chicken Stock

As always I never really measure anything, I just add until it looks/tastes right. 

  1. Chop the chorizo into nice thick chunks and fry in a heavy casserole pan until it starts to go a nice golden brown colour. There should be enough oil in the chorizo which should release into the pan, if not add a bit of olive oil. 
  2. Once nicely coloured, spoon out the chorizo and put to one side.
  3. Add your diced carrots, celery and onion to the pan, when they start to soften add in the garlic and chilli. Fry for a few minutes careful not to let the garlic burn.
  4. Add your diced peppers and aubergine and continue to fry until they have started to brown. 
  5. Then add your glass of red, some chicken stock, a couple of bay leaves, a good pinch or two of oregano and a couple of tins of tinned tomatoes. Put the chorizo back in to the stew. Bring to the boil and let simmer, you want it to reduce down. 
  6. Once the stew has reduced, but too much, you want it a little saucy! add your flageolet beans or any beans you like. I also like to use butter beans or chick peas. Stir these in and allow another five minutes or so. 
  7. Serve with some bread or we like to have some bulgur wheat or cous cous. 
Hope you enjoy! 


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

more bloomin' flowers


These are my most favourite flowers, these were featured heavily in our wedding. I think they are so impressive, the colours, shape and sheer size of their heads. They are in pots in all over my patio and if you keep dead-heading they will flower all summer. They are joyous.

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