This time next week I will be…..

…JOBLESS

I quit my job last month and my last day is next Wednesday. I just felt as though it was time to move on, although move on to what I am not entirely sure of yet – SHIZER. Off into the unknown I will dance or limp or sway while trying to figure out what to do next. I emailed two of my great friends “what do you think I would be good at job wise”. First to reply was Paddy – I should have known better I thought as his first response was “how honest do you want me to be???” however, for one of the first times ever in our friendship he kind of made sense and wasn’t appallingly rude (he wont be offended by me saying this, it’s the kind of banter/friendship we have and he is a legend). He replied:

“I think you really need to do something that you are interested in or an area that you actually care about.Most people, including me, all do jobs they don’t give a sh*t about or find boring but cope just climbing slowly up the ladder in the boring old rat race!You probably get bored easily or simply just don’t see the point in what you are doing so need something more demanding/satisfying to do! you are quite determined though so perhaps you should start something up of your own? Don’t ask me what as I am always trying to think of things I can do from scratch!!”

He then persisted to write another emailing saying I could be a prostitute, although “I don’t think you would be able to charge very much” – good to know.

Then there was Ben’s response:

“I think you need to do something that you can combine your two favourite things, smoking 40 a day and drinking red wine… why not look at something in the entertainment industry, you love, I mean LOVE music, food, fashion. If you think less about the importance of the job and more following your heart I think you will come up with the answer quicker than you realise.”

This has all got me thinking. Do people always know what they want to do?. Am I the only one who has never really known? The thing is, its not like (I would like to think) I am not passionate or interested in things, I absolutely am, I have just never been one of those people who wanted to be a Vet or a Doctor etc.

Baz Luhrman wrote and sang “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.” please be true or I am in trouble.

On the plus side, I will have 2 weeks to think about what I am going to do for the rest of my life while browning myself to a crisp as I am off to Mexico on the 10th for 2 weeks to join my husband who is working out there. Mexico equals two of my favorite things – Tequilla and chicken casadias (a tortilla filled with cheese, folded, and usually fried.)– score. Getting into a bikini – not so score.

Anyhow, In celebration of Spring and my new adventures, the next recipe is “Springtime spaghetti with meatballs, peas, lemon and parmesan” most people would not have added the meatballs with a bikini lurking in the back of their minds. I, however, was starving last tonight, so this is with meatballs and it was worth it:

 

Prep time:15 mins, cook time:20 mins

Ingredients:

 Mix the mince, onion, garlic and zest with half the Parmesan and some seasoning, then shape into walnut-sized meatballs:

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the meatballs for 10-12 mins until golden:

Meanwhile, cook the pasta following pack instructions, drain and reserve 150ml of the cooking liquid. Add the cream and 100ml pasta water to the meatballs, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the sticky bits off. Bubble until thick and the meatballs are cooked through.Add the peas, cook for a further 2 mins, then add the parsley:

Stir through the pasta with a splash more pasta water to make the whole thing saucy. Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan and serve. Below is the perfect example of just how much I like cheese:

Conclusion: the Baz Lurman quote originates from “everyboys free” which I love and is below:

 Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not
understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you
imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm
on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever
own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you
should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and
lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you
knew when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize
that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were
noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out. Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will
look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

Inadequate is an understatement

This next post is about cooking, however, I need to add something first, which you will see is relevant:

Something keeps happening to ME – I keep on being in a situation where I am surrounded by women who are like super heroes. Last year I was at a supper and the girl next to me was a heart surgeon – NO JOKE. She was a year older than me and is saving lives regularly. As if that wasn’t enough – she then continued to get out her phone and show me a video of the heart of one of her patients that she was keeping beating in some weird machine. You can imagine how awkward it was when she asked me what I do. Oh to have been able to turn around and say “actually, what a coincidence, I am also studying to be a doctor, however, have things on hold at the moment as I have just set up aid agencies saving billions of children a year and also am SO busy working as a volunteer in our local community, oh and finding a cure for malaria and running for president. blah blah blah etc.” The only response I had was“ I work as a PA”  and that was pretty much the end of our conversation – How interesting – NOT. This same thing happened last Friday we had 10 people for dinner, yes ten. What the HELL was I thinking. One of the guests, I had never met and is possibly one of the MOST beautiful girls I have ever met in my life and turned out to also be one of the nicest .GREAT. I have not even re applied my make up since it melted in our kitchen and I look like I have had an allergic reaction to a hornet sting as onions have been making me weep and all puffy eyed. The girl in question said to me “ohh soup de onion” in the sexiest French voice imaginable, so sexy, it makes you want to faint, I was honestly dumbfounded, even my voice was jittery in my response “soup, oh no, that is the sauce for the sausages” that is how liquidly and rank my sauce was – I am mortified that was our first conversation, god Harriet you are interesting. Just when I though I could not feel any more inadequate, the beauty then told me she is head of a Courvoisier company – are you joking I am thinking – basically she is a gods greatest creation, nothing gets better than her. It also turns out that the night before she was teaching one of our other guests about oysters – she knew all the names and then taught him about the shape differences sizes…why some taste different, why some are firmer and some softer due to location i.e. salt water versus fresh water or versus a mix of salt and fresh . Jesus Christ. Does this ever happen to anyone else? I am almost expecting Jeremy Beadle to jump out at every supper I am at to tell me that the girls i am sat with have been planted there deliberately – they are not really that beautiful and smart etc, thats impossible, surely this is all a gag?

Anyway, on Friday I decided that the best thing to cook was sausage with onion gravy and mash as all I had to do was make the onion gravy, cook the sausages and then mash the potatoes (which Will peeled). I had cooked brownies the night before which for some reason ended up like a rock cake – completely weird which I served and know one really ate. Here is a running timeline of how things went:

6pm – get home with food shopping

6:01 – large glass of wine 6:20 – lay table and make house pretty 6:30 another glass of wine

6:31 start preparing the “onion gravy”

6:37 smoke alarm goes off as I forgot to fry the onions in butter so they started to burn

6:38 re do onions and try to follow the “easy recipe” of the onion gravy. Meanwhile I look like I have had an allergic reaction to a hornit sting as onions making me weep and all puffy eyed.

6:40 time for another glass of wine and my 5th cigarette, by now I am slightly pissed and nervous

7pm will arrives home, looking rather nervous seeing that our guests are arriving in half an hour and all I had managed to do was lay the table, drink nearly a bottle of wine and burn the onions.

7-7:30pm – will peels all the potatoes for me (thank god, such a boring job) and I fiddle around with the oniony disorder.

7:30pm – first guests arrive so time for more drinks. Put the sausages in the oven and the potatoes on to cook. Sh*t just realized I have drunk the whole bottle of wine.

7:30-8pm – completely forget about all the food and am drinking and smoking in our garden with friends

 8:01pm get a text from one of the guests saying he will be late.

 8:02 remember the sausages and potatoes – only because the water boiled over.

08:02-08:45 flitter between food, wine, too many cigarettes and chatting

8:45 last of the guest arrive – one being the French beauty. Will, my husband, looks like he is considering a divorce – she is that beautiful and funny and interesting etc – I genuinely start to panic

 9:15-11pm – we all sat down to have supper. I could only manage 2 mouthfuls as it was SO DISGUSTING. All guests, including Will did the typical “Ha, this is delicious” while going purple and scratching their ears –FIBBERS!

11pm – 5am All the boys and girls continued to awkwardly stare at our beautiful hungry French dream who was getting more beautiful and lovely as each beaker of wine happily made there way into my mouth. Below was an example of my food – it doesn’t look that bad, although you can clearly see the standard of the onion gravy – honestly disgusting, if you had ordered this in a little chef, you would have sent it back – gross gross gross – just look at that gravy:

Conclusion: Still feeling pretty inadequate

Mother’s Day Truffles

  

“Mothers of teenagers know why animals eat their young”

This is my mummy in the picture above and the quote above would have almost certainly applied to my mother when I was growing up. When days like this are approaching, I am incredibly grateful for having my mother in my life as I know plenty of people who no longer have theirs. If there was a day for everything my mother has given to me as a mother, it would be a day like Sunday every day. I am so grateful for her helping me to always remember what is important in life and I thought that rather than sending flowers this mothers day which is what I usually do, I would make something this time, make something “easy” that others can also do if they fancy doing something different. I have decided to make a selection of Chocolate truffles. Within 2 hours these are ready so there is plenty of time to make these in time for Sunday. I ended up putting the truffles in an empty plastic box with tissue paper and just decorated with a flower:

 

 Ready in 2 hours

Serves: 30 truffles (I ate the rest that are not in the photograph last night)

Ingredients:

1 (200g) tub cream cheese, softened
350g icing sugar, sifted
500g plain chocolate, melted (I used milk chocolate as don’t like plain)
Any sort of ground nuts, cocoa, coconut, icing sugar
 

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth:

Gradually beat in icing sugar until well blended (please be carfull when doing this as it went everwhere:

Stir in melted chocolate until no streaks remain:

 Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Shape into 2.5cm balls.Roll truffles in ground any ground nuts, cocoa, coconut, icing sugar, etc:

If you want to jazz these truffles up a bit,  flavourwith liqueurs or other flavorings, divide truffle mixture into thirds. Add 1 tablespoon liqueur (almond, coffee, orange) to each mixture; mix well.

Conclusion: The perfect example of a recipe that makes you look like you can cook when you can’t. Will definately be making these again, perfect to serve with coffee after a dinner party.

National Steak and Blow Job day

I am not posting a recipe today, this post is just to let you know that apparently March 14th is now officially “Steak and Blowjob Day”. “Simple, effective and self explanatory, this holiday has been created so you ladies finally have a day to show your man how much you care for him. No cards, no flowers, no special nights on the town; the name of the holiday explains it all, just a steak and a BJ. Thats it”

By the way I am not joking – http://www.steakandbjday.com/

On another note, although I hate to say it – I recently became one of those people.

I am one of those people who in the last few weeks has stopped myself from writing my blog the way I want to because two women (who I have never met) unsubscribed to my blog due to “uncouth” and “offensive”  content. Remember the post about people using an unripe banana as a dildo – yep, its that one.

It was never my intention to “offend” people and I am rather surprised that a woman with children (one of the unsubscribers) is afraid of a penis – so, to those that are “offended” by my blog I am sorry, however, I will not change the way I write or what I write about on this blog as there are plenty of subscribers out there who are enjoying it:

 

 

 

Pork Belly in baps with apple sauce- The Perfect Sunday Food

 

Sundays for me are always the same. I am usually lost amongst a mountain of Sunday papers on our sofa with a gargantuan glass of red wine and never ever leave the house or my pyjamas – Sundays are my favorite day.

For me, Sundays and weekends in general are also about eating whatever I like and a lot of whatever that may be.

The next recipe is Pork Belly which I simply served in baps with apple sauce and crackling – there are few things in life in my opinion that are better than this, and it was EPIC. I originally became obsessed by this dish because of one of our best friends Ben Lord who cooks this to perfection everytime – it is his signature dish. This is a lazy girls dream as there is literally nothing to do but wait and my word is it worth it:

 Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours

Preheat your oven to full whack, it needs to be at least 220°C/425°F/gas 7.

Place your pork on a clean work surface, skin-side upwards. Get yourself a small sharp knife and make scores about a centimetre apart through the skin into the fat, but not so deep that you cut into the meat. Rub salt right into all the scores you’ve just made, pulling the skin apart a little if you have to:

Season the underside of the meat with a little more salt and a little black pepper. Place your pork, skin side-up, in a roasting tray big enough to hold the pork, and place in the hot oven.

Roast for about half an hour until the skin of the pork has started to puff up and you can see it turning into crackling:

 Turn the heat down to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and roast for another 2 ½ hours. Take the pork out of the oven and baste with the fat in the bottom of the tray every half an hour. By this time the meat should be meltingly soft and tender. I made a slight error of putting the pork under the grill for a minute and ended up slightly burning some of the the crackling:

 

Conclusion. I could quite honestly eat this every Sunday for the rest of my life. We got our pork from the Butcher and Grill in Battersea – they have the most exceptional meats should you live in the local area – http://www.thebutcherandgrill.com/.

Stir fried garlic chilli beef with Broccoli

One of my absolutely favourite meats is beef so next on the list this week was stir fried garlic chilli beef with Broccoli. I cooked the beef medium rare as that is the way Will and I like it. Again, this was really easy to make, healthy and only took 15 minutes from start to finish – great when you are in a rush or home late:

Serves 2

Ready in 15 minutes

Ingredients
200g beef fillet, sliced into even-sized thin strips
Few pinches Chinese five-spice
Light soy sauce, to season
1 tbsp groundnut oil
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
One Head of Broccoli
2 shallots
1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Toasted sesame oil, to season

Season the beef with the Chinese five-spice and a few dashes of soy sauce, toss together and set aside.

Heat a wok/frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add the groundnut oil  garlic and shallots and stir-fry for 30 seconds. whilst cooking, add the brocolli to a pan of boiling water and cook for 3-4 mins.

Add the beef and stir-fry for a few minutes, until browned. Add the Brocolli and chilli and stir-fry. Remove from the heat.

To serve, season to taste with light soy sauce, salt and a few dashes of sesame oil. Serve immediately.

Conclusion: This is definitely something we will have regularly. It was incredibly tasty and filling with the bonus of being healthy.

 

Lemon & chilli sesame pork with mangetout

This week I have decided to try  and be more adventurous when cooking with meat, so this week I will be cooking with pork and beef as I always seem to cook with chicken.

The next dish is quick, cheap, easy and healthy and brilliant for when you get home from work and don’t want to sweat over the stove. It is also incredibly filling.This ended up being one of those “just throw it all in” recipes, ideal.

Here is the recipe for lemon & chilli sesame pork with mangetout :

Prep 20 mins  Cook 15 mins

Ingredients (annoyingly forgot to photograph these): 
100g sesame seeds
olive oil , for cooking
2 shallots , sliced
2 medium red chillies , halved and deseeded and very thinly sliced
zest and juice 1 lemon
350g pork fillets , or loin, sliced into thin strips
knob of butter
trickle sesame oil (optional)
100g mange tout

Pre-cook the mangetout, then plunge into rapidly boiling salted water for 1 min before draining and keeping to one side.

Heat a wok or frying pan, add the sesame seeds and ‘toast’ until golden brown. Spoon into a bowl and leave to one side.

Add a splash of olive oil to the pan and fry the shallots, chilli and lemon zest over a medium heat for a few mins until the shallots just begin to soften.

 Season the pork with salt and pepper.

 

Increase the heat in the pan, add the pork and fry for just a few mins until the pork is golden brown. Stir in the mangetout, sesame seeds, butter and lemon juice (using just half if it’s a particularly juicy fruit). Finish with a trickle of sesame oil, if using.

 Conclusion – when you are pressed for time, this is a perfect dish.

 

 

Damn you Flu

I have been at home all week feeling very sorry for myself as I have been taken over by the flu. I have a bright red nose that looks as though someone has got a snowball and thrown it directly at my face and have a really unattractive cough which has left me with a voice like Louis Armstrong on a bad day.

The only remedie I think of when rarely I’ll is my grandmas chicken soup which always seems to sort everything out. I have added ginger to this recipe as ginger is supposedly fantastic for colds. This is one of those easy recipes where you mostly just bung everything in a pan and wait for it to cook – ideal.

Chicken and Ginger noodle soup with a few mushrooms and lashings of corriander on top:

Prep 10 mins Cook 30 mins

Ingredients:
900ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tsp chopped fresh root ginger
2 garlic clove , finely chopped
50g rice or wheat noodles
4-3 mushrooms , thinly sliced
2 tsp soy sauce

Pour the stock into a pan and add the chicken, ginger and garlic. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, partly cover and simmer for 20 mins, until the chicken is tender.

 Cook the mushrooms for 3-4 mins until tender

Remove the chicken to a board and shred into bite-size pieces using a couple of forks. Return the chicken to the stock with the noodles, mushrooms, and the soy sauce. Simmer for 3-4 mins until the noodles are tender.

Conclusion: Quick, Easy, & uber healthy although did not taste half as good as my grandmothers.