Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Matchbox Meanings

This is what i've currently been putting together for my last project of the year. The brief asked us to pick a 'new word' that has been included in the revised  Oxford English Dictionary, and design a way of introducing it into society. I chose the word 'Staycation' and developed the idea of 'matchbox meanings' that would be sold in pubs and bars as a way of getting the word into public use. I've had enough of fiddly matchboxes for now. 

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Quails' Eggs

My Dad came home with a box of quails' eggs this morning, with the intention of turning them into minature scotch eggs (from a recipe found in Coast magazine). They made me think of the lovely scene from Brideshead Revisited
where Charles goes to have lunch with Sebastian.

The thought of ripe strawberries and a cold bottle of wine in the sun is a lovely one. Have a lovely Sunday.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Coughlin's Law

I felt a little like Tom Cruise at work this weekend. It's been decided by some higher power that we are to serve cocktails, so a happy hour was spent being taught 14 different (but irritatingly similar) concoctions. We've been instructed to memorise each cocktail so we don't have to look them up when a customer orders one. I wondered whether devising a Tom Cruise style poem to remember the ingredients and names of the drinks would be a good way of ingraining them in my mind. You know the poem...

Last Barman Poet

I am the last barman poet.
I see America drinking the fabulous cocktails I make.
Americans getting stinky on something I stir or shake.
The sex on the beach, the schnapps made from peach,
The Velvet Hammer,
the Al-La-Bam-A Slam-a!

I make things with juice and froth: 

the Pink Squirrel, the 3-Toed Sloth. 
I make drinks so sweet and snazzy:
The Iced Tea, The Kamikaze, The Orgasm, The Death Spasm,
The Singapore Sling, The Dingaling.

America you've just been devoted to every flavor I got.
But if you want to got loaded,
why don't you just order a shot? 

Bar is open.

Sunday, 18 April 2010


One of my favourite vegetables is about to come back into season! I think asparagus is one of the tastiest veggies there is, and ridiculously simple to cook too. Probably my favourite way is to steam until the stems are tender (but still have some bite) and then serve with melted butter, salt and pepper. YUM. My old flatmate was very proud of the fact that his hometown of Evesham held its very own festival dedicated entirely to British grown asparagus. How do you like to cook yours?

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Fresh Air

There is something I find very satisfying about drying washing on a washing line. I think because to me it symbolises a sort of stability in nice-ish weather. If it can stay dry long enough to dry my washing, it can stay dry enough to do all sorts of spring like activities. Also I love how fresh it smells when you take it in (as long as there hasn't been a poorly timed bonfire affair in the neighbours' garden).

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Pretty Packaging

 A flatmates' birthday is cause for celebration, and an excuse to wrap things up prettily. The card i bought had a beautiful 4 tier sponge cake on it, filled with cream and berries. I decided to have a go at copying it, with interesting results, and burns.  I've had to use wheat-free flour so the sponges haven't risen as much as i'd hoped but i think you get the general idea.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Home Again

I have returned home from a whirlwind tour of my new favourite city, Rome. We had perfect weather, and got to see everything we'd hoped to in that space of time, eaten far too well, and drank some rather nice vino. The best thing I learnt is that if you give the language a go and look like you're trying to make some effort, the locals enjoy this and are extra nice, and in our case, throw in a load of free stuff. I think my favourite bits of the holiday were the coffee and pastry breakfasts, and the day we did the Colosseum and ruins. I would very much like to return one day.

For the time being, i really must get on with the vast amount of work that's built up over the Easter hols, it's hanging over my head like a rather threatening looking cloud that seems disinclined to shift. Right, off i go. 

Thursday, 8 April 2010

A Couple of Coffee Stops (broken up by a few monuments)

We kicked off the day with breakfast at a little cafe near our appartment. Apple pastries accompanied by thick, hot espresso shots and warm weather, followed by a stroll round a huge food market. Not a bad start.

We then wondered into town and stumbled across several fairly famous monuments and sites. Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, etc etc. Sadly i left the map where we had lunch so the rest of the day was navigated by the Man Candy who did rather well. 

We rounded the day off with a glance in the Basilica di San Pietro which was a bit mind boggling, then headed back to the appartment. Legs are rather sore.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Morning Paris!

The Man Candy and I have just arrived in Rome, stopping off for a spot of lunch in Paris on the way. Usual blogging will resume after i return on the Sunday, however i thought i would leave you with this photo taken out of the window of the plane. Them snowy peaks are Les Alps don't you know.

Ciao xxx

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Farmers' Market

Here are a few photos of what the Farmers' Market i went to on Saturday had to offer.  It was held at Rode Hall near Stoke which was a bit of a trek away but it was worth it. It was such a lovely set up, the barns were decorated with greenery and bunting, and there was a band playing blues in the sunshine. We will definitely be going again next month. I took full advantage of the free samples that were being handed out. It was difficult not to want to buy one of everything.


I think farmers' markets are one of my favourite things to do on a weekend. If you've never been to one, definitely see if there's one near you, they're really enjoyable.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Pea, Lettuce & Tarragon Soup

This is how i contributed to my family's Easter Sunday lunch. Whilst my Dad was working away at getting a fairly impressive main course of Roast lamb with garlic and rosemary, greens and celariac ready, i whipped up this ridiculously easy starter. It was perfect because it was so light and fresh tasting, you still had loads of room for the main event.

Serves 6
40g Butter
6 Spring Onions, chopped
675g frozen peas
Leaves from 4 fresh Tarragon sprigs
225g Romaine Lettuce, finely shredded
1 litre fresh Vegetable Stock
2 tbsp Creme Fraiche
Watercress Sprigs, to garnish


1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add onions and cook for 2 mins. Stir in three quarters of the peas, half the tarragon and all the lettuce. Cook for 1 minute. Add the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Whizz the soup in a blender with the remaining tarragon until smooth. Pass through a fine seive into a clean saucepan. Stir in the rest of the peas and simmer gently for 5 mins.

3. Divide the soup between bowls, swirl in the creme fraiche and garnish with watercress. Would be v. tasty served with crusty fresh bread.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Easter Weekend

Happy Easter Weekend! In the spirit of things i made a batch of wheat-free cupcakes with chocolate eggs on top. I wasn't up to the challenge of 'designer buttercream' but i think they do the job quite nicely. I went to a fairly major famers' market this morning and took full advantage of the samples they were handing out. The photos will appear some time on Monday once i get back to the flat and have time to sort through them.
Enjoy the nice (ish) weather and don't eat too much chocolate.

Friday, 2 April 2010

April: 10 Things...

...That Will Always Make Me Smile

1. Getting Letters

2. New Shoes

3. Walnuts and Limes

4. Hot Beverages

5. Nice Ways of Using Books

6. Pretty Design Work

7. Flowers

 8. Nicely Set Tables

9. Farmers' Markets (I'm going to one tomorrow).

10. Fluffy Puppies

Have a lovely weekend. x

Thursday, 1 April 2010

April Showers

The weather has been particularly uninspiring this week so i am going to purchase a cheery umbrella to lighten the mood. Haven't picked a favourite yet...