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In The Studio

  • This Week

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    Hello all, hope you are all well. Yet another funny week this week, I have been all over the place since last Friday, and had a trifecta of technology issues. My Ice cream maker started leaking coolant (my local cookshop were brill and replaced it immediately) The Dyson man came to fix the hoover and couldn't so has had to take it away so the house is covered in cat hair, and I cracked my phone screen, twice in 6 months after 2 whole years of never breaking it once!! Not good.

    On the plus side I have been on some lovely adventures, acquired some lovely new things and I am off on another one today for work. I am heading to Peterborough today to meet up with my chartership mentor, so a bit of a drive, but then I get to look round what I think will be a fascinating library, one for the blind, so I am looking forward to that.

    Here is what has made me happy this week:

    - I upgraded my camera, there's nothing wrong with my Olympus, and it is fantastic for being unobtrusive, but it isn't a big boy camera. I want to have the option of a full DSLR if I need it. I talked the chappy in London Camera Exchange into a pretty steep discount too so I am calling it my bargain camera!

    - I worked from home on Tuesday and James popped back for his lunch, it was lovely to see him mid way through the day unexpectedly :)

    - Bert is now a proper goes outside cat! We have ordered him a cat flap, and his favourite place to go is down the side of the garage where he can look through the hedge to the lane and bird watch.

    - I had a great day on Monday, my Mum, sister and I popped to Stamford. We decided to do Burghley another day as the weather wasn't great and we wanted to explore the grounds, and instead pottered around the lovely little shops there. I restrained myself in The White Company, so I was proud.

    - It was James' sister's birthday on Tuesday and we celebrated with a big BBQ on Monday evening, it was good to sit around with brilliant food and chat with everyone. My favourite type of meal is a relaxed one.

    - Hope and Greenwood Cherry vanilla Chocolate coated Marshmallows. I will say no more.

    - Cycling down the road to pick up some fresh Duck eggs from the farm. I am really getting into just hopping on my bike and pedalling around, soon the villagers will say oh there goes the crazy woman in the yellow coat!

    - The flowers above are of the lone plant in our garden that isn't vegetables. It was already there when we moved in and I was going to rip it up because it looked dead, but it has flowered so beautifully this year I am definitely going to keep it.

    And This weekend I will be:

      Doing : Relaxing Hopefully! It has been a busy old month, but we are heading to the vintage day at the Tailgate in Lincoln tomorrow.

    Eating : The smaller of the two tubs of Rhubarb and Custard Ice Cream I made last weekend that has crystallised a little bit, I think I let it melt too much before putting it in the freezer. Oh Well! Here is hoping the other tub was a success.

    Reading  : Something new! I have finished Girl on the Train, I think I will maybe review it as I don't have an immediate love or hate for it. I think I will now read something terribly fluffy though to lighten the mood a bit.

    Wishing : God speed to Tonia, little sis, who is flying to New Jersey today to be a councillor at an american day camp for a few months, she is going to be taking pictures and handling social media, good luck kiddo!!

    I hope you all have a brilliant weekend and the weather stays nice for us!

  • Peace + Serenity :: Whitby Abbey

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    The first thing we did after the new year this year was to take a trip to Whitby. I hadn't been since I was at senior school and even then I don't think I had visited the Abbey. I had fond memories of high summer, eating ice creams and visiting John Bulls rock shop and frolicking on the beach after our coursework had been completed.

    This trip was quite different, being at the opposite time of the year, but the memories of this visit have stuck with me more. The absolute serenity I felt wandering around the grounds, peaceful was absolutely the word. Nothing can describe the stillness that surrounded the ruins, as if they were in their own little bubble. Being a generally on the go person, it felt almost alien to be so still, so calm.

    The day was a bit grey and bleak, but that only added to the atmosphere. The waves crashing on the rocks almost looked like the sky was pummelling the earth, and the patterns in the rock told the story of the regular beating from the elements during their long lifetime.

    As we wandered along the sea wall the sun finally broke through the cloud, making for a beautiful sunset shot, and a beatific smile on my face for the journey home.

  • Macarons | A Work in Progress

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    So this was going to be a recipe post, before I realised that I made the blood orange curd inside these in February and took no pictures. Thus I just thought I would tease you a bit with the pictures of the Macaron I have been working on, next time I practice them I will make sure to do things properly :)

    Have you ever made your own macaron before?

  • Veg Box #x3E;#x3E; Spring

       

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    This week was national Vegetarian week I believe, and i just so happen to have been working on this post for a few weeks now and realised it would perfectly coincide, so i thought I should share.

     

    A few weeks ago I dropped into the farm shop on the way home from work and picked up a seasonal veg box. I have been trying to be more conscious of the fruit and vegetables we buy, for a while there we were getting into the nasty habit of not using things up and I hate wastage. I like the boxes from our local shop, they feature lots of items we would use up without even thinking about it (potatoes, carrots, cauliflower) and then they add in a couple of seasonal items that I have to exercise my brain for (asparagus, beetroots and leeks). I thought it would be nice to show you how I use those slightly less run of the mill items when I pick up a box.

     

    If you don't have a local farm shop to supply your veg box, Riverford Organics deliver all over the country from one of their many "local" farms (they deliver from the one nearest to you) and were the original organic veg box delivery service, I was seriously considering one of these services before our farm shop started selling veg boxes, and they offer a huge variety of options.

     

    Asparagus and Lemon Pasta ::

     

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    This one is all The Queen's own (Nigella Lawson from Nigella Summer) though I have adapted the amounts and method slightly, it's a bit different from the typical asparagus with hollandaise but equally delicious so I thought I would share.

     

    You Will Need ::

    1 large bunch of Asparagus

    125ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    3 Cloves Garlic

    Juice and Zest of a Lemon

    Enough Penne for two

    Handful of Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley

     

    - Snap the woody bits off the bottom of the asparagus, and chop them into pieces roughly the same size as your pasta. Put your asparagus into a  pan top steamer to wait.

     

    - Put your pasta on to boil in a large pan of salted and oiled water. Put a frying pan on a low heat with the Extra Virgin Olive oil in it, chop your garlic and add it to the pan, cook it very slowly until just golden. Do not burn it! When it looks like it is just starting to turn gold, put your asparagus steamer on top of your pasta pan.

     

    - Remove the frying pan from the heat and add the juice of your lemon. Stir, after a few minutes more your asparagus should be steamed, remove from the pasta pan and when the pasta is cooked (should be about the same time) scoop it into the frying pan. Add the asparagus and stir, adding the parsley and lemon zest last.

     

    - Serve into bowls and top generously with parmesan cheese.

     

    She never gets it wrong does Nigella! Fresh and delicious.

     

    Leek and Cider Welsh Rarebit ::

     

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    This is my version of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe from River Cottage Year, and it is far far superior (Sorry Hugh!)

     

    You will need ::

    2 Leeks

    50g Butter, plus extra for frying

    50g Plain Flour

    Half a Bottle of Apple Cider or a glass of tart fresh apple juice.

    100g Cheddar, grated, plus a healthy grating of parmesan cheese.

    Worcestershire sauce

    English mustard

    4 Slices of bread, toasted.

     

    - Slice your leeks finely and sweat in a frying pan over a low heat in butter.

     

    - In a saucepan melt your butter, then add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook the floury taste off for a few minutes, then add your cider or apple juice. I have to say, using the cheap sweet concentrated apple juice really won't work with this, it needs to be tart fresh real stuff, or cider, you need the tang.

     

    - Stir over a low heat until you have a thick sauce. Add your grated cheddar and stir until melted. Season with pepper, a blob of mustard and a good splash of Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the leeks.

     

    - Take each slice of toast and place them on a tray or in a griddle tray. Top each generously with the leeks mixture and then scatter over the parmesan. Splash with Worcestershire sauce and pop under the grill. Keep an eye on it, we don't want it to burn, we just want the parmesan to melt into the rest of the sauce and go slightly brown.

     

    Serve as is, or with a salad if you want to make it healthier.

     

    Roasted Beetroot and Butternut Squash Galette ::

     

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    All my own this time, don't be afraid of peeling the beets, simply wash your hands between each one to prevent stained cuticles!

     

    You Will Need:

    1 batch of shortcrust pastry, or to make your own: 280g Plain Flour, 60g Lard and 60g Butter, 1tsp Poppy Seeds, splash or two of milk.

    4 medium sized beetroots, or 3 large, washed.

    1 Butternut squash, peeled and sliced fairly thinly.

    1 red onion.

    Half a pack of Feta Cheese

    1 Clove Garlic

    Small amount of olive oil

    Egg wash

     

    - Make your pastry, In a shallow dish cube your lard and butter and coat in the flour, put the dish in the freezer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove from freezer and put into food processor, slowly add splashes of milk while the processor is on until the pastry has barely come together. Add your poppy seeds, pulse slightly to distribute. Remove pastry from mixer and lightly work together into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

     

    - Roast your beetroots, chop off the leaves and any particularly scraggly roots. Take a square of foil for each beet and while still damp from washing wrap each one individually. Place into a baking dish and roast on a high heat for half an hour, or until you can easily push a blunt knife into them.

     

    - When your pastry is rested, take out of the fridge and roll out thinly, directly onto a floured baking tray. slice your onion into thin rings and distribute around the middle of the pastry, leaving at least an inch free from filling around the edge.

     

    - Once your beetroots are roasted remove them from the oven and turn the heat down to around 170C. Take them out of the foil and peel the skins off with either your fingers, or I find it easiest to use a blunt knife to scrape them away. Slice them thinly.

     

    - Arrange your squash and beetroot on top of the onions, I wanted it to look pretty so I alternated, but you don't have to as it is a little fiddly. Crush your clove of Garlic over the top and drizzle the whole thing with a little olive oil. Crumble over your feta.

     

    - Begin to very carefully fold the pastry edge up and over the top of the fillings to create a lip, pleating where necessary. Brush with egg wash and slide into the oven. Cook for around 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

     

    Serve this warm on a spring afternoon, or it is also delicious packed up for lunch or a picnic.

  • This Week

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    Coming at you live from my desk eating peanut butter toast while having another sneaky day off work today, yay for extra long long weekends!

    So far this Friday consists of breadmaker bread making,  vats of banana bread making (five bananas!!), and lots of kitten fuzzles (fyi, kitten is only going to be a kitten for like two more weeks! He is one the first week in June).

    This weekend should be full of twirly skirts, vintage cars, pub lunches and family catch up's. I cannot wait. I hope you have a great one too!

    Here is this week's happies in a nutshell:

    - Cycling back home on Saturday into a headwind and making it all the way home, James was ready with the truck in case I was defeated but I kept going and simply took my time. It felt so good to achieve that little milestone.

    - The two hour nap that Bert and I took once I had completed the item above, I said I completed it, not that I did it without being knackered!

    - Catching up with old friends, discussing news and events and houses and such, there is really nothing lovelier.

    - The pure bliss I felt when I floated out of the treatment room in the spa on Monday, my friend and I had treated ourselves to the day and I was hella nervous! I had such a lovely time and felt so stress free afterwards.

    - The Boden skirt I ordered was originally delayed, but it has arrived! It is quite possibly the summeryest thing I own, it reminds me of an ice cream parlour :)

    - My incredibly supportive little team at work, they make stressful days feel so much better and I am eternally grateful.

    - Bert will now venture off the deck! He has turned into a little explorer!

    - The beautiful flowers that are beginning to bloom on my succulent, I had no idea that it was a blooming plant, and I feel a bit dumb admitting that, but they are so pretty.

    This weekend I will be:

    Reading: Girl on the Train, I will finish it this weekend, I will!!

    Doing: Hopefully catching up with my little sis as she flies to the U, S of A on Friday, and I won't see her until we meet up in Florida in August! (OH MY GOD so excited, finally feels like it isn't that far off now!)

    Eating: Copious amounts of banana bread now that all of the birthday cake is finally gone.

    Hope you all have a great time this bank holiday! :)

  • Picnics + pedals :: Spring in the Countryside

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    Last weekend we had some quite nice weather in my little part of the world. The sun was shining but not too hot, it was a bit windy but pleasant and I had a fridge full of leftovers and snack food that needed eating.

    We decided to picnic! Only in the garden, but a picnic it was, I loaded up my bicycle basket and spread out the rug James bought me for my birthday. We stored up some good old Vit D while supping lashings of Belvoir (pronounced Beaver, for anyone not from near Grantham) Ginger Beer, my favourite, and tucked into left over roast beef sarnies with  Blackbomber cheese and mustard mayo. Topping off the feast with sneaky cupcake sweet treats.

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    Dress :: Boden  | Shoes :: Clarks

    All made for great fuel for a ride around the countryside. I had been dying to pair these two new purchases together ever since I spotted them online. The bright summer shades are absolutely made to be worn on a summer day. The brogues are definitely summer brogues and I have had so many compliments already, they have little cut outs on the side, great for if you aren't into the whole midriff baring cut out trend. The dress, oh the dress, I have been swooning over this dress for months, It is the Seatown Shirt dress, and is exactly the classic sort of style I am all about at the moment. It's a linen mix, so light for summer, and beautifully fitted with a flare skirt, so looks very classic. I shall be wearing this often!

    We pedalled to James' parents for me to have a look at a new addition to James' car collection, a beautiful new Beetle that I have promised I won't insist we keep, but guys, it is baby blue and cream, its going to be difficult!

    Here's hoping we have many more weekends like this, because I have never enjoyed living in the countryside more.

  • Reading Lately

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    It has been a while since I shared what I have been reading in more depth than mentioning it in my This Week posts. I have also not really been updating my Goodreads page as often, I suppose because I have been enjoying just reading at my own pace and not worrying so much about how far through a book I am or how many books I have finished this year. In light of that I thought I would sum up the books I have just finished or currently have on the go. Cat stealing your footrest is optional.

    Girl on The Train - Paula Hawkins::

    This is something I have recently picked back up. I had borrowed it from work a few months ago and didn't finish it before it had to go back, and I wasn't invested so I just stopped reading thinking I would grab a copy when it was in paperback. Since then it has really picked up speed with lots of people talking about it, so when I saw it reduced in Sainsbury's I decided to pick it up so that I know how it ends. I am so far starting again at the beginning as my memory is a bit foggy of where I got up to, and although I am not completely in love with it, it is pretty good.

    Toast & Marmalade - Emma Bridgewater::

    I saw this on the trolley at work and had to read it, over the past year or so I have really grown to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into Emma Bridgewater's products. Admittedly I gravitate more towards the pieces designed by Matthew Rice, her husband, but I really enjoy that they are made here in the UK. Knowing the backstory has only increased my appreciation for the products, and Emma is such a cosy narrator. The book was perfect for curling up in a chair with a warm drink and a biscuit.

    The Casual Vacancy - J. K. Rowling::

    I have been meaning to read this forever, and it was only the TV show that made me hunt around on my bookcase for my copy. I really enjoyed the show, and although I know the ending is much harsher in the book, I am enjoying it also. It reminds me so much of modern rural village life, I used to live in an area that was so close to being Pagford, the cliquey atmosphere was dominant. Despite having lived there for over 20 years we were still incomers, our village wasn't really a village anymore, it was a small town, with all of the old businesses gone to make way for Aveda salons and a large Co-op. I am reading this as an extreme version of the way our society is evolving and though it upsets me that this is the case, I am glad that someone with such a prominent voice has put her two cents in.

    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley::

    This isn't pictured because it is on my Ereader, but I am re-reading this for the second time in only a few months. I have found my new favourite crime series. In complete contrast to the last book, if you love anything about rural village life in the 50's onwards you will love this. Flavia de Luce is an 11 year old chemistry genius, super sleuth and the baby in a family destroyed by grief. She whizzes around the countryside throwing herself into dangerous situations while also plotting to get her own back on her elder sisters. The whole series so far has that cosy crime feeling while being a little different. Flavia's point of view is thought provoking, she is only 11 years old but she sees and understands much more than I think we give children credit for. I absolutely love these, do give them a try!

    What have you been reading lately? Do leave me some of your recommendations below :)

  • This Week

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    What a funny old week it has been! I was actually dreading this week, as due to a combination of leave days I have booked this is the only week this month where I am working 5 days. It has been a long one, I am so tired today, but it has been a good one none the less.

    Next week is set to be a fun one too, I have lots of ideas for the weekend, and then on Monday I am going to a spa with my friend, I cannot wait to have a day luxuriating in being essentially lazy. It is just what I need!

    Here is what has made me smile this week:

     - I made my own Ice Cream, and it was damn good, I cannot wait to share it on here!

     - Bert was a big brave cat and scared away the fat black one that wanders around our garden, he was so proud that he had defended his decking. He also this week discovered the other ginger cat in the area, and kept looking at it and then looking back at me as if to say "that one isn't just me in the mirror is it?!" his face was so darling.

     - I keep sitting and looking at puppies online, we aren't ready to get one as James just doesn't have the time to commit to one, but they are so cute!! I am bouncing between Cocker Spaniels and Beagles at the moment, both breeds I love. Who knows, maybe next year we will find a canine companion for our little family.

     - Buying summer dresses and skirts and styling them with other pieces from my wardrobe. I have got a real vintage-esque style going at the moment and I really love it.

     - The little chicks at James' Mum's house are getting bigger, and one of them is definitely the beauty queen of the bunch, she has such buttery yellow pale feathers and I never thought I would say a baby chicken could, but she looks so dainty and pretty.

     - Blogging! I have so many ideas swimming around in my head at the moment for posts, I am jotting them in a little notebook so that I don't forget.

     - James bringing me a cup of tea while I sit and edit 5 posts worth of photos after spending all day at work staring at the computer, I like to do them in big batches to get them out of the way so I can just add them in and write when I think of the words and that takes a lot of caffeine, he is a good un!

    This weekend I will be:

    Eating: Still more cake, when will it end!! Being completely serious now, there is still a rather large chunk left and I gave a big chunk to my mum, I swear it is growing.

    Doing: Hopefully if the weather isn't too bad I shall have a little cycle and a picnic.

    Watching: Homefires! Have any of you been watching this? It is based on a non-fiction book called Jambusters which I have been meaning to read for ages, and is based on the WI kick starting the preservation movement in the second world war. Absolutely brilliant so far :)

    What have you been up to this week?

  • Lunch | Mexican Chicken, Soured Cream + Lime Salad

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    As I am sure many of you do too, I have to take a lunch in to work. My office is in the middle of an industrial estate, and although I sometimes treat myself to posh sandwiches when I am at one of the branches, for the everyday I have to cart my lunchbox in to work.

    This poses a problem for me as I am not really a fan of traditional lunch foods, I am not big on sandwiches, crisps etc. I have to get creative with my lunch food, and recently this is a meal I have been packing into my tiffin and taking into the office.

     

    Succulent chicken and crispy bacon with a slightly spicy coating is kept fresh with a soured cream, lime and coriander dressing, and the odd chunk of avocado keeps the texture party going.

     

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    You will need:

    1tsp of each, Paprika, Ground Coriander, Chilli powder, Cayenne

    2tsp of each  Dried Oregano, Smoked sea salt, caster sugar and Garlic Powder

    Mixed salad leaves

    Cooked chicken, I use roasted chicken (roasted specifically for my lunches)

    Streaky Bacon

    1 Ripe Avocado

    2 tbsp Soured Cream

    3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Small bunch Coriander

    Juice of 1/2 Lime

     

     

    - In a pestle and mortar grind up your spices, the measures here are probably enough for 3 or 4 salads, I like to make a big batch of this and store it for fajita's. make sure your sea salt is smoked, it adds an extra layer to the flavour.

     

    - Take a small frying pan and over a low heat, cook your bacon. Make sure you cook low and slow to make it crispy.

     

    - Prep your dressing, in a jar or sealable container add your soured cream, oil, chopped coriander and lime juice. Season, then shake.

     

    - Once your bacon is cooked, add the chicken to warm through and a spoonful or two of your spice mix. Let it soak into the fat for a second then stir, coating your meat.

     

    - Place your salad leaves in your bowl or lunch box, slice your avocado and drizzle a couple of drops of left over lime onto it.

     

    - Place your avocado on your lettuce, and pour over the seasoned meat. If eating straight away drizzle with your dressing. If not, pop some of your dressing into a mini jar and tuck into your lunch box.

     

    - Enjoy a luxury salad while everyone else tucks into jam sandwiches :)

  • Pottering::

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    Last weekend, Sunday to be exact, in the small window of time where the rain stopped and the sun finally showed itself for the day I ventured outside to plant some little seedlings I had bought weeks previously on a whim from Waitrose. I had picked up some beetroots, red cabbages, purple sprouting broccoli, and leeks, a few of our favourites around here.

    They were looking a bit worse for wear as they had been sat on the deck for ages waiting for the planters to be made and filled. I took pity on them and finally introduced them to their new home in my veg boxes alongside my magnetite and courgettes. I am not sure if they will survive having had such a rough start to life, but so far all of the herbs I bought from Waitrose are actually doing far better than the ones from the garden centre!

    Grow little veggies, grow. :)

    P.S. The slate tags are also a Waitrose purchase, I bought a huge pile of them and use a chalk marker to label them up.

  • This Week #9

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    Coming to you really late this week, mainly because I spent yesterday evening and this morning before work making cupcakes (Guinness ones). We have a tradition at work where whenever someone has a birthday they bring in cake, and me being me I can't just buy mine. I'm sure you're thinking 'but your birthday was Saturday?!' well I wasn't in the office most of the week so it became a Friday treat, and enjoyed they were!

    This week has been an odd one, the weather has been a bit miserable, and as I say I haven't been in the office much, I had a meeting in Nottingham and got lost in the city centre on Tuesday, and yesterday worked from home because they were working on the lighting in the office and I knew that if I worked on a computer in darkness for 3 hours I would get a migraine. My week has also been one of shoes, I bought two new pairs from Clarks's summer range and I absolutely LOVE them both. They feel very like me, slightly quirky but fairly traditional none the less.

    Here is what has made me smile this week:

    - That feeling of relief when you find your car when you have been completely lost trying to find the car park. Those few seconds before I set off home were ones of saying "Phew!"

    - Discovering brilliant new Indie shops, there will be a feature on my favourite places in Lincoln coming your way very soon.

    - Coming home to a cup of tea ready and waiting, James is a good un!

    - Tiny pink paw pads, that are still so dinky even though Bert is almost one year old (!!)

    - Waking up and realising that I had actually managed to have a lie in on my birthday, this never happens, I always wake up early even when I don't have to.

    - Florence, my bicycle, and the joy that is riding her around the village with James. I simply could not keep the grin from my face last weekend, wind in my hair, wheels spinning and brakes squeaking, it was jolly good fun.

    - Ikea, just Ikea, it is amazing.

    - Regressing to my childhood with a bag of Jazzie's chocolates (milk not white) from the sweetshop. I keep popping just one at a time in my mouth and savouring the memories it brings back.

    - Feeling loved and welcome at dinner with James's family on Sunday, his sister whipped up a brilliant feast and nearly made me cry when she produced a birthday cake she had made herself and which was designed to look like a book. It was brilliant, and I am so proud that she gave baking a go, I really cannot describe how happy that moment made me <3

    This weekend I will be:

    Reading: The Girl on the Train. Everyone else keeps going on about it and I only got half way through before I had to give it back at work, so I am going to see how it ends.

    Doing: Curling up in my new chair and reading a book with a blanket, as I wish the rain would go away!

    Eating: Yet more cake, there is a still rather a lot around the house.

    Listening: To the Throwback Thursday playlist on Spotify, it brings back so many memories of my youth.

    What will you be up to this weekend?

  • Midweek Meal | Mushroom + Thyme Risotto

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    I think there is a bit of fear surrounding risotto, it never seems to appear in "quick" recipe books and always carries the mantle of being a labour of love. I have never been one to believe in that to be honest, risotto for me is super quick comfort food, and my favourite thing to mix into it is chestnut mushrooms. Woody and rich they add a depth of flavour that is perfectly complemented by the sharp wine and parmesan. A sprinkle of fresh thyme at the last minute brings a spring zing while not being too clean tasting.

    This risotto is easy for a weeknight, it doesn't require watching like a hawk or stirring until your arm drops off. It is warming yet still light enough for a spring or summer evening, and I make it in just under 30 minutes.

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    You will need (for two large portions):

    Half a medium sized onion, chopped.

    2 cloves of garlic, chopped.

    200g Risotto Rice

    1 large glass of white wine

    750ml stock (I used chicken)

    200g chestnut mushrooms.

    Large block of parmesan cheese.

    A few stalks of fresh thyme.

    - Place a large heavy bottomed saucepan on to a medium heat, add a large wedge of butter and drizzle the drizzle the butter with oil. heat slowly under just browned, then add your chopped onion and garlic. Cook until lightly browned.

    - Begin to heat your stock, either in a pan on the stove or in the microwave as I do as I keep mine frozen.

    - Add your risotto rice to the onion and garlic and stir until coated in the fat. turn the heat up and add your wine, feel free to add more if you like the flavour, and then wait for a minute or so for all of the alcohol to cook off. Turn the heat back to medium.

    - Ladle 1/4 of your stock into the rice and stir. leave to bubble away for a few minutes while you slice your mushrooms and grate your parmesan. How much you grate is up to you, I like a lot of parmesan, I also like to add more to the top, I grated enough to be classed as a large handful.

    - Come back to your risotto, give it a stir and if the stock is all absorbed, ladle in another 1/4. Again leave the pan be for a few minutes, go and strip your thyme stalks of leaves.

    - Come back and stir your pan, if the stock is almost absorbed, add the next 1/4 of your stock and all of the mushrooms. Give the risotto a really really good stir at this point. The mushrooms will give out some of their own liquid as they cook, so keep an eye on the risotto after another couple of minutes, and add the last 1/4 of stock along with the thyme.

    - Once the stock has been almost completely absorbed but still a little gooey turn the heat off and stir in your parmesan. Keep stirring until it is all melted.

    - Dish up and top with more parmesan. Enjoy, and try not to go back for more!