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Meet Me In The Land of Hope and Dreams

The school holidays always fill me with a sense of foreboding.  How do I juggle child care, work and my kids expectations that they will do fabulous things?  Obviously I make sure their expectations are pretty low. Keep them low and then they can be pleasantly surprised. Hell, I am pretty much making it up as I go along. I have no idea what I am doing most of the time. They seem pretty happy, actually they seem really happy!  I can’t be messing up too badly. I am sure the last year of single parenting will come back to bite me in the arse at some point but at the moment I shall just carry on until told other wise.

I did manage to arrange a couple of sleepovers which were met with approval. Brunch seemed to be a big theme this week. My friend insisted that I cook brunch for everyone. Well how could I say no? American pancakes ( I am not a big fan of the thin crepe ones) Scrambled egg, hash browns – cooked potatoes grated or squished with a fork, grated red onion, salt pepper, hot oil, fry….YUM.

This week I also ate out twice! Such a treat. I am not a big fan of the restaurants on Upper Street, Islington if I am totally honest. I find them expensive and mostly mediocre. There are a few exceptions, La Petite Auberge is wonderful, simple french food and not expensive.  I had a wonderful seafood meze at Pera Mediterranean  a lovely family run restaurant with a nice size menu. The seafood meze had perfectly cooked scallops and squid it was a generous portion too. My kids  will totally love this dish, squid is their favourite thing ever (so I am told).  I am also a total fan of the South American restaurant Commodore Bar and Grill. I was invited to taste the new menu. I cannot fault it. I really can’t. I tried to. The chef Federico used to work at El Bulli, the poor man was then bombarded by a ton of questions by me. So amazing to meet someone who has eaten there, let alone worked there.

The Commodore  is not an expensive restaurant at all. The food is wonderful really it is. Really good quality ingredients and such a lovely atmosphere. I did actually roll out of the restaurant, my god I haven’t eaten so much food in one go for a very long time. The swordfish dish was amazing. Swordfish can so easily be served overcooked, dry. Federico (can you tell I am a little bit in love with Federico) had marinated the fish overnight and was so moist. Served with a piquante salsa and buttery, garlicky spinach. I also had the South American version of Ceviche, Tiradito. This was made with Pollock. It is less limey then Ceviche has an earthier flavour. Delicious.

Not only did I dine out this week but my kids had their first experience of Pizza Hut. Look I am not a snob, well actually I am a bit. My friend Tushar set me up, I had no choice, there were 5 kids and I was going for the Pizza Express angle, then Tushar said the magic words “What about Pizza Hut?”. All was lost. The kids loved it. I will not give my opinion. Lets just say the the ice cream machine that dispenses jelly babies, smarties, jelly sweets as toppings, was put through its paces that evening!

I am working on a couple of new recipes this week and shooting with the lovely Lisa Barber. So alas you shall have to wait till next week a new recipe, although looking at my photos I took a photo of the most delicious aperitif I enjoyed at my friends house. I shall leave you with a little cocktail recipe…you can celebrate the end of half term!  In also leave you with a selection of photos from our half term and a picture of a little floral job I did for a photo shoot……Oh yeah and the infamous Pizza Express ice cream of doom!

You can always email me any requests for recipes.

Have a wonderful week

Rachelle x

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Aperol Spritz

I think this is going to be my new summer drink! So delicious, but also a bit pokey, so go easy!

  • 3 parts Prosecco
  • 2 parts Aperol
  • 1 splash of soda or seltz
  • Ice, half a slice of orange.

 

 

 

 


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Reno

“I don’t want any of your food Mum, I want crap kids food for my birthday”. I guess I can take that as a compliment. I asked her if she wanted me to make the cake, the eyes rolled (she is so good at that). “Of course your making the cake”.  So this weekend I bit the bullet, invited 11 children into my house and fed them a ton of crap food. Sausage rolls from Lidl, cheap rubber ham sandwiches on white bread with the crusts cut off (under strict orders from Lola). I filled bowls with giant cheesy balls. I must confess that after a couple of glasses of wine the night before, I did open the giant cheesy balls and you know, they are kind of good. In a very chemical, processed, stick to the top of your mouth way. Anyway I digress, the dining table was filled with beige food. I really should have gone to Iceland!

I made a sandwich that I haven’t had since I was a kid. My mum is American and she used to send us to school with peanut butter, jam, lettuce and raisin sandwiches, much to the horror of my school friends. You have to make them, they are so good. Unfortunately because of the peanut/nut thing I cant make them for the girls to take to school. I made them for the party though and they went down a treat.

The cake was a yellow cake, with caramel icing. Its a recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancy McDermott. If you have never baked before, make this, it is such a simple recipe you really can’t go wrong. The Icing is delicious and when I make this cake for adults, I add a giant pinch of sea salt to the caramel. Yum.

Today I leave you with my mothers recipe for peanut butter, jelly (thats jam to you english lot), lettuce and raisin sandwiches.

Have a wonderful rest of the week.

Rachelle x

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Peanut Butter Jelly Raisin and Lettuce Sandwiches

Since this is a circa 1977 experience for me. I suggest you use white bread. I will allow you to use a lovely farmhouse loaf if you must, but somehow white sliced bread seems to be the right choice. Argue with me if you must but granary or wholemeal bread in this instance is just wrong.

Ingredients

  • Peanut butter (Skippy is the best, please don’t use the healthy stuff)
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Raisins (not currents)
  • Strawberry or raspberry jam
  • butter

Ok so its not really a recipe. You just spread the butter on both slices of bread. Then jam on one slice, peanut butter on top, lettuce leaf sprinkle of raisins.

Seriously good x


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Can You Feel The Love

Ok who stole my seven year old daughter and replaced her with a fourteen year old oik. “Lola can you please pick up your clothes”. Her reply “I am not your slave! Why don’t you find someone else to boss about?  Oh yes and my favourite retort of the month.  ‘I wish you were dead and when you are dead I will spit on your grave’  I must admit the latter comment took me back a little, then I just smiled and said Mmmm bit harsh love!  She then proceeded to draw a (really quite good) picture of me in my grave and her, well you know doing her thing. I think it was titled I Hate Mum.

I stuck the “I Hate Mum” next to the “I Love Mum” picture (that she had drawn probably hours before) on the fridge. Lola didn’t see the humour in that – of course.

I felt that with all this “teenage angst” in the house, I should endeavour to lighten things up. You know, rise above the temper tantrums and well basically ignore them. Lola finally forgave me for my absolutely outrageous request. The forgiveness was actually fuelled by the Chinese New Year feast I made on Sunday. Nothing that a pile of singapore noodles and twice cooked pork can’t fix. Pork belly, such a brilliant and cheap cut of meat. Perfect for this dish. Oh and Julie no you cannot use diced pork shoulder! YOU NEED THE FAT.

Its been a week of celebrations, Chinese New Year, Pancake Day and Valentines Day is today. I have never really been a fan of VD (as I like to call it). If you love someone shouldn’t you show them pretty much everyday that you care. Anyway thats just my opinion. Lola woke me up this morning and asked if she could make me breakfast in bed because it was valentines day..Ahh you see who needs a bunch of flowers!

Anyway for the sake of my kids I channeled the spirit of VD and made a bunch of shortbread hearts dipped in chocolate. I love this shortbread recipe. Its easy and makes a ton of cookies. The recipe is by Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa). One of my ambitions is to sit in her kitchen for a day watching her make giant amounts of food. Oh and also I would quite like to sit in Nigel Slaters kitchen, Carluccio..Ok I shall stop now! I leave you with some pics from the week and Ina’s fab shortcake recipe.

Have a great rest of the week. Oh and by the way I am launching another blog in a week or so…So exciting I can’t wait for you guys to see what I have been up to…

Love

Rachelle x

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Shortbread Love Heart Cookies

This recipe makes about 12 large cookies. I roll the dough out to about half a centimetre thickness. Less is more when it comes to handling shortbread. When you get to the flour stage whizz in a food processor until just coming together. Cling and put in the fridge. If you don’t have a processor then use your hands to combine briefly until the mixture comes together. Leave to rest for half an hour. Enjoy x

Ingredients
3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions
Preheat the oven to 180C

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt; then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and roll shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3-inch heart-shaped cutter. Place the hearts on an ungreased sheet pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

While the cookies are cooling. Melt 100grams of your favourite chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. When the chocolate has melted dip to your hearts content…(no pun intended)

 


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