Monday, February 26, 2007

Procrastination Part 2

Countdown: 12 hours until exam kick off
Chapters to go: 1
Mock Exams to go: 3 (I wish!)
Sleep: 2 hours earlier this evening
Coffee: 1 latte since earlier kip (thank god for the new espresso machine!)
Spirits: Very High ...

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Always the procrastinator! What is it with me and study? I dislike it immensely. I love signing myself up for it, setting the goals and looking forward to having the achievement. But all that is required in between tends to be the problem...

So here I am, exam on Tuesday morning, and I am down 2 chapters with 6 more to go. Wish me luck!

Bye Gran!

Gran flew home this morning. It was her longest and best (I think!) stay with us. She looked relaxed at the airport but also eager to be get home. Safe flight! We will see you on the 7th day, of the 7th month!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Gordon's Tarte Tatin

I pinched this from the Saturday Times Magazine, and even had the nerve to modify it! Gordon Ramsay uses pears as well but I stuck with apples so not to ruin the perfect image in my mind.

4 firm but ripe apples (I used Braeburn)
80g cold butter
80g caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
200g puff pastry
Vanilla ice cream, to serve

1. Peel and de-core apples, cutting into small slivers, I cut each apple roughly into 8 slices, lying them down on paper towel. Cover with another piece of paper towel. If possible wrap and refrigerate overnight in order to dry them out further.

2. Cut butter into thin slices and use to cover the base of a pan. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the butter. Arrange the apples over the butter and sugar.

3. Heat the pan on medium heat and let the sugar and butter melt, gently shaking the pan once in a while to encourage the caramel to form. After approximately 10 mins, the syrup would have caramelised and turned to a deep terracotta colours. Remove from the heat and set a side to cool slightly.

4. If you have an oven proof pan, you would have used it above :) If not, then pour the mixture into an oven proof dish. Cover with the puff pastry. Cut the pastry slightly larger than the dish, prick with a fork and tuck carefully down the inside of the pan.

5. Bake in a preheated 200C oven for 15-20 mins until golden brown and crisp

6. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 10 mins, then invert on a large serving plate. Serve warm with scoops of vanilla ice-cream. I used Green & Black's Organic.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Electric

This is my 6th year in London and last Thursday was my very first visit to the Electric Cinema. Being a foodie and a trendifile (my new word, definition yet to be defined) I have dined numerous times at Soho House associated restaurants, but had failed to give the cinema a second thought.

It was W's idea. He named the date, booked the tickets, did all the things the perfect boyfriend would. I booked the Brasserie and ensured we were late. The latter my trademark, it seems!

The Electric Brasserie was noisy, full of trendy yuppies, service and food were mediocre. The waiters were gorgeous and friendly but a bit stretched. Forgotten water, then wine. Although they did not give away our table (despite being 30 mins late) and we managed a starter, main and a coffee in time to make the movie.

I was not ready for the cinema. It was like walking into someone's living room. Red leather lounge chairs, foot stools, bar, brownies, plenty of personal space! All for the price (or even less!!) of a regular West End bog standard cinema.

The movie Notes on a Scandal was a speedy mix of surprises and hidden plots. Cate Blanchett looked beautiful in her unusual way and Judi Dench did not disappoint. I won't say much more so I don't give it away. It left me breathless and was up most of the night examining my own friendships, or that could have been the 9pm latte ...

Valentine's Day

Boyfriends travelling, birthdays the weekend before and after, made February 14th the best date for a girlie catch up. Bob's idea to hang out at my place, after the last few meetings took place in '2 hour slot' restaurants, making the night a tangled web of venue planning and unfinished conversations.

The Plan - Bob/Marie/Me, my place, champagne, nibbles, take away, lots of gossip, no boys

The Reality - family emergency (resolved that same evening), my place, hungry kitties (friend's spare key drop off required), Bob/Marie/Me, champagne, Deliverance gets the food order wrong (again!), free Peking Duck, Tarte Tatin (delicious again!).

This is why they call it Reality!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bill and a bit of Gordon

I am one of those people who love cooking, but hardly ever get around to doing it. The situation is so dire that 'Alpha's cooking skills' are believed to be a myth by some! 2007 is the year I am setting out to prove them wrong.

Last Monday night I invited the lovely T and B to be my first ginnie pigs. I think a success, as B declared: "If you feed us like this, we are coming over every night!"

Started out with a Asian Chicken Noodle Salad from Bill Granger's Everyday cookbook. Fish sauce and lots of chillies, a combination I have stayed away from. Not anymore! It turned out delicious. The combination of rich marinated chicken with the freshness of mint and cucumber. Yum!

Followed by Tarte Tatin - a Gordon Ramsay recipe ripped out from the Saturday Times magazine months ago. My favourite non-chocolate dessert! Whenever in France I try to eat this every day! Surprised at how easy it was to pull off. Gordon makes it with pears, as well as apples and adds a pinch of cinnamon. Served with Green & Black vanilla ice cream!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Winter (London) Wonderland

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Good, and the Wonderful

Yesterday, on the whole was not a good day. My stars were definitely out of alignment. The whole day was a yo-yo between tears and loosing it. This isn't me!

In the afternoon I needed a chat with a good friend. Here I was, speaking with a mate (currently residing in a different time zone) who also had some news, of the good and the not so good kind. A frank truthful conversation about life, the choices we make and consequences. It is amazing how a friendship develops just after one of those chats. He said something sweet, which warmed my heart ...
Would you be godmother, and not move away from London?
Wow! Me? Godmother ... it had never crosses my mind, but the moment I read the words I softened, and this wonderful feeling washed over me. Wow! Someone thinks I would be a good example for their firstborn.

It was all hypothetical, but it has made me think ... I could do this!

Drunken Moments

Bank tube station, 10pm on a Friday night. Four drunk girls singing Call Australia Home, swiftly followed by a rowdy version of Waltzing Matilda. I didn't know if I should join in or cower ...

Then again that was me, on the train back from Ascot ... it was the Italians that made us do it!