As Deep as The Hue of Red Wine

I actually survived three weeks of being a full time mum. Its the longest I have ever had my kids with me, all the time. They were constantly around me. I was constantly around them. We all survived, just a few skirmishes along the way. Pavlina (their nanny) was on holiday for a couple of weeks. Then on the day she was due to return, I got the phone call, she was sick and couldn’t come into work for another week.  She was in tears, I was in tears, the kids were in tears. We finally managed to pull ourselves together and actually it was a fun couple of weeks.

I have been doing a bit of PR for a friend of mine who had his first solo exhibition at The Photographers Gallery. Beautiful exhibition you should go and see. Anyway I take the kids to see it. We leave and they literally drag me kicking and screaming into McDonalds. I caved.  I figured a meal in McDonald’s would give me some bonus mum points, of course I am deluded but one lives in hope.

As we are sitting in Mcdonalds I get a text from a friend. “Hey I am assisting on a shoot for Mcdonalds, I thought of your lovely kids, would you be interested?”  How bizarre is that? So a week later they turn up and photograph not only the kids but me too…I wasn’t expecting that at all!

I also wasn’t expecting a call from my brother inviting us up to Scotland for the week. The kids has the most wonderful time. We spent a day rock pooling and searching for mussels. I had visions of us collecting bucket loads of mussels and cooking them for dinner. Uhh well we found a few tiny ones and Bella found one full grown mussel. Pasta it is then.

I took a few pictures oh and I made a crumble which was divine. I realised as I was about to rub the butter in for the crumble top that I did not have enough butter so used the rest of a pot of creme fraiche instead. It was really really good. I leave you with that recipe.

Rachelle x

church beach tildajump crumble

Apple and Berry Crumble

I am totally rubbish at measuring out crumble topping ingredients. I usually look at the amount of fruit I have and the size of the dish I am baking it in and then take it from there. I don’t think you can have too much crumble, so inevitably I make too much. I use a mixture of flour and rolled oats, please use butter and not margarine, that stuff is pure evil as far as I am concerned. I also use regular eating apples, I guess because I always have them around and cooking apples are (in my opinion) an unnecessary  purchase.

For the Crumble:

100g of rolled oats

100g of plain flour

75g of brown sugar

100g of cold butter (cut into small cubes)

1 large pinch of Maldon sea salt

For the Apple and Berry Filling:

800 grams of eating apples (cored and quartered. Put in a bowl of cold water with the juice of one lemon)

350g Frozen summer berries

100 grams of caster sugar

Juice of a lemon

Method

Preheat the oven to 190.C/375.F/gas 5

Butter a large baking dish.

Make the crumble add the flour, oats, brown sugar and salt into a large (ish) mixing bowl, rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles damp sand.

Place the berries and apples into the buttered baking dish. Add a couple of nobs of butter too.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.

Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 mins until the crumble is golden and the berries and apples are bubbling.

Serve with creme fraiche or cream or ice cream. I never have leftovers of this but if you are lucky to have some. Eat cold for breakfast!


signature

Taste The Air

How the hell did half term come around so quickly? I am totally tripping over children in my home. Its just not right. They should be in school 49 weeks of the year. I think three weeks holiday is ample. I had a long conversation with a friend of mine. We were wondering why no one has set up a kiddy hotel. You know kind of like a dog hotel but for kids. Just check em in and pick them up at the end of the week. How cool would that be? Hmmm…..

Well I have the joy of seeing the adorable creatures everyday of the week. The weather is not helping the situation much either. In the spirit of peace and harmony I decided to embrace the long weekend and try not to loose the will to live. I succeeded. It was the perfect weekend to teach the kids how to make me breakfast..What? Look there has to be some perks having 6 other hands in the house…Ok Rufus is kind of excluded, although he does clean skirting boards really really well. Oh and he loves to Hettie!

Lola eager and bossy..(hmm wonder where she gets that from) Took charge after I gave her a lesson on how to fire up the Bialetti. She was brilliant, although I have to light the stove which kind of negates the whole purpose of my plan but still its a start. They are great at doing toast and jam! I don’t really eat toast…Oh but Tilda does a mean scrambled egg. She is really good at it. Although cracking the eggs is proving to be a little bit tricksy, I told her to “Take control of the egg, you are in charge, do it like you mean it” She does the best egg cracking warm up I have ever witnessed….Still manages to get the entire shell in the frying pan though..

Having had a unbelievably horrible bug…(I will not go  into details but you can kind of guess one of two things happened or both)! I haven’t really been the most prolific cook this week. Although I would have to be in a coma for me not to cook anything.. It was The Ru’s birthday so at his bequest I made fried chicken..I will give you the recipe. I also baked this cake. It was divine. Seriously really good and light and amazing and easy.

Again I don’t want to go into detail but the reason there are no photos of said party food is that at the exact precise moment the food was ready and as I was about to hit the click button on the camera, Tilda presented herself as the carrier to the bug which ripped through my household like wildfire. Enough said..

I leave you with some random photos of stuff and a recipe for fried chicken.

Rachelle x

potp1 rulol tilda2 figs

Yummy Fried Chicken

For the love of god don’t go to KFC. This is sooo much better and healthier and yummier and all of the rest.  Great cold as well, but it never hangs around long enough in my house to go cold. I figure 2/3 pieces of chicken per person. Always better to make more. More is more after all..

Ingredients

  • 2 or 3 pieces of chicken. (free range legs and thighs)
  • 2 tubs of buttermilk (enough to cover the chicken in a saucepan)
  • Sunflower oil (enough to fill a deep pan one third of the way up)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 2tsp garlic salt
  • 2tsp celery salt
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • 3tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

Get a saucepan big enough to fit all the chicken in snugly. Trim off the excess fat from the thighs. Put the chicken pieces in the pan and cover with the buttermilk. If there is not enough to cover then add some milk. On a medium heat gently cook until the meat looks like it is beginning to pull away from the bones and is not pink at all by the bone. Turn off the heat.

Grab a wire cooling rack and some paper towel. Take out the pieces of chicken and place them on the rack to cool. Pat them down to get some of the buttermilk gunk off, (that sounds attractive)!  Right so now wash and dry out your big pan and fill one third with vegetable oil. Turn on the heat.

Put all the spices into the flour and mix throughly..Look you can judge how much flour you need add more if you have a lot of chicken pieces, you are going to double dip everything in the flour so always best to have more then you think. Add more spices if you add more flour. I mix it and taste the flour. You want it to taste more spicy and more salty then you think as frying will dull some of the flavour.

Put your flour in one bowl. Beaten eggs in another. Using on hand and one hand only (you will thank me) dip each piece in the flour, egg and then flour again.

Shake a piece of the gloopy egg flour off you fingers into the oil. If it sizzles gently on the surface it is ready for the chicken. Add the chicken in batches of 3 or 4. Not too much or you will cool down the oil too much and have soggy chicken.  Cook for a few minutes until the flour coating is bronze and crispy. Decant and season with a little sea salt. EAT NOW!

 

 


signature

Skating on Thin Ice

The snow was so pretty on London Fields. I walked the girls to school in the morning it was idyllic. The snow totally transformed our little park into a shimmering wonderland. Promises of snowball fights and snow angels were made and kept. As I walked back through The Fields, I decided that I needed to shake off this feeling of doom and dread. I tried to put my finger on exactly why I was so down. I have initiated the Divorce, I am making the decisions, selling properties, moving, buying, it’s all down to me. I can’t really blame anyone else for the pickle I am in. Of course all of the above can be contested but really if they are, to be honest I think, whatever happens, myself and the kids will be OK. Mainly because I have never made a decision that I have regretted in my life and this sure as hell won’t be the first one.

Feeling a bit pleased with myself that I had (maybe only temporarily) got myself out of my funk, I decided that I would take all the terrifying tasks to hand this week. Reading the mail is always a good start when it contains Divorce papers to be signed amongst other things. Did that signed them. NEXT!

I also decided on my walk (very productive this walk). That this year I would have more fun! I bloody will.  I am going out more, I will work a ton (that is always fun for me) and I will date! Arggghhhaghahghghhhh. That is the noise in my head every time I think about it.

Anyway I am sure I will keep you posted of any dating escapades/disasters in the future

Due to my distinct lack of appetite over the last week or so it is amazing that I have cooked anything. But you know me, even in the direst of dire circumstances something will be created in the kitchen, even if it is just a rocket salad with almonds, goats cheese, fresh squeeze of lemon and some olive oil! That was probably my favourite meal of the week.

My comfort food staple is Lamb Tagine. I’m sure my version isn’t totally authentic but to be honest I don’t care. Its warming, spicy and I always serve it with couscous. I made this for the kids on Monday and it was demolished. I also had a fantastic boozy lunch with friends on Sunday and made an emergency bread pudding to take with me for desert.  I didn’t have enough croissants so filled it out with soft (slightly stale) hamburger buns…No one noticed. I probably would have used not so stale brown bread if I didn’t discover the rolls. I added some broken dark chocolate too.

My gift to you is my recipe (based on an Ina Garten recipe) for croissant (and any other bread you have left) bread pudding.

Life is good

Rachelle x

breadpudding couscous japanese2 kidsnow mintalmond snow

Bread and Butter Pudding

Ok this is Ina’s recipe except I don’t really do raisins so I substituted them for a bar of dark proper chocolate.  Just broke it up and scattered it. I also found the croissants I used were too thin. So I padded it out with some bread rolls.

  • 3 extra-large whole eggs
  • 8 extra-large egg yolks
  • 500ml of full fat milk
  • 500ml of cream
  • 160grams sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 croissants, preferably stale
  • 100g good dark chocolate

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, the cream and milk, sugar, and vanilla. Set the custard mixture aside. Slice the croissants in half horizontally. In a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish, distribute the bottoms of the sliced croissants, then add the dark chocolate, then the tops of the croissants (brown side up). Pour the custard over the croissants and allow to soak for 10 minutes, pressing down gently.

Place the pan in a larger one filled with 1-inch of hot water. Cover the larger pan with aluminum foil, tenting the foil so it doesn’t touch the pudding. Cut a few holes in the foil to allow steam to escape. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 45 more minutes or until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.


signature