Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Recipe Believe It Or Not

It's National Sausage Week so I wanted to cook up some bangers to celebrate I had some Waitrose pork, leek and chive sausages in the freezer that I needed to use up and while I don't mind the odd sausage, barbecued and shiny with oil, more so if it comes from a charity sausage sizzle, I just don't get the fuss. But I love using sausages for meatballs, squeezing the meat out of the skins for instant little balls of deliciousness. They only need the quickest roll in damp hands and are already seasoned so they make the perfect mid-week supper (can you tell I work in food in the UK? It's all about 'mid-week suppers'). Italian sausages make great spaghetti and meatballs or in lasagne instead of ragu. The pork, leek and chive sausages would have been lovely in a noodle soup, but try this spaghetti:

For 3-4 servings, squeeze the meat from about 7 sausages into small balls (roll with damp hands) and drop into a pan coated with a good lug of olive oil. Brown all over, then add 2 sliced garlic cloes and a shake of dried chilli flakes. Cook for 5 minutes, then pour in a cup of chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, or until the liquid has almost evaporated. If you love frozen peas like I do, then drop in a handful. Add cooked spaghetti, a handful of parsley and a good grating of Parmesan. Serve!

Monday, October 6, 2008


I am cooking again. Flicking through food blogs and the plethora of food magazines I subscribe to (but could probably get free from work). Last night, calves' liver from South Kensington farmer's market, flash fried, with polenta and braised onions. Brownies. Today, Nigel Slater's plum cake.

I emerged from the post-Ibiza blues, finally. Stopped holiday-smoking. It's no party. But you get there. Thank gawd.

London is cold but I made myself go out on Saturday night with a new friend. Once out, it was not so cold, with overhead heaters at Cafe Boheme. Cute shepherd-like waiter. The clubs were hugely disappointing.

My hair is chin-length short, something I have wanted to do for many winters but talk myself out. So I had a good-hair-day, walked in to Mr Toppers on Goodge St. 'Me Gustas Tu' was playing and so it was meant to be. The boy who cut my hair was an Asian Marc, so it really was meant to be.

Will be coming home for Christmas and I'm so excited!

Friday, August 22, 2008


Going to Prague for 3 days for Jo's birthday. Yay!

(I know I promised updates - what can I say. Busy at work, snail-slow internet at home, I'll get back to it, trust me!)

Happiness Is...

There are times when living here is as unordinary as a passing breeze - that is, it's fairly undistinguishable. Other times, like last night, you catch yourself in the moment and it's happiness. 9.30pm, Thursday night, and you're at a tiny bar with an old school friend, who you weren't friends with at school but have become friends with on the other side of the world, and on comes a poppet of a singer and her cute accompaniment belting out a contrast of show tunes - Frank Sinatra meets Nirvana, Shaggy does Shirley Bassey - it's hilarious and the singing is great and we dance and drink Laos beer. In a tiny underground bar in the middle of London. And get a rickshaw to the last Tube home.

Today the sun's come out. It might not be summer - it's far from summer - but these occassional moments make life in London sparkle.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Itching The Travel Bug

Gorgeous riads booked: check
Wondering if Ryanair will again pretend our cabin size baggage isn't really cabin size and must check them in at the bargain rate of £32: check
Biography of Churchill borrowed from library: check
Looking forward to five days in a country I've always, always wanted to visit: check

Off to Morocco with Andrew, back on Monday. Promise to update blog - promise!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Londoners are basking in a wonderfully warm start to the week with temperatures soaring to 26 degrees in part of the city.
Companies are coming to terms with a wave of sudden sickies as staff choose to sneakily cash in on the summer sun. But chances are they’ll be back behind their desk by Tuesday, when clouds again appear across the country and stay for the rest of the week.
The Met Office said...“Cold and drizzle will start to come across from the west late in the day and will cover the country for much of the week.
“My advice would be to get the sun today while you can.”

Me bloody too.

Monday, June 30, 2008


We took the Eurostar to Paris (FYI the only way to go) and under the first warm rays in weeks I showed her my Marais and instantly she loved it, and it made me so happy. We ate steak tartare and fois gras with Cotes du Rhone at my old favourite, Les Philosophes, and she let me smoke. We walk around Ile Saint-Louis, no, you stroll around Ile Saint-Louis, with the familiar taste of Berthillon ice-cream. The Picasso museum which is not as good as the first time I went (they are undergoing renovations). I love speaking French again. It makes me want to stop at the Sorbonne and spend a month studying. Or maybe Rome, because when I look at the playlist for Pavarotti on our last day, I want to speak that language. Something inside me feels an affinity with Italy and I can’t waste that…

We had dinner at Le Souffle, the restaurant I thought had to be a novelty but with so many good reviews decided to give it a go, and to go all the way and try the menu tout souffle. It was so much fun! Three courses of voluminous souffles, first cheese, then with morilles, then dark chocolate with white chocolate sauce. You’ve never seen anything so pretty. The wine was delicious and the service cheeky. It’s a quaint, popular restaurant and a must to try. The only downside is after so many souffles, and so many eggs, you don’t want to go near any of the delicious quiches in boulangeres around town, even though they would make perfect picnic food for our last day, when I take mum to the Jardin du Luxembourg, and Paris is hot and the sky is blue, and the flowers are bright and we roll up our trousers and sit on the chairs with our heads back and it’s so, so good. Summer in Paris. Instead, we have a typical lunch at a café on the Rue du Rennes, near where I stayed five years ago, which feels so long ago, and yet also heart-thumpingly fresh. We waste time looking for a dress I don’t need around Galleries Lafayette, and it’s so hot we can only go back to Ile Saint-Louis, for another two scoops of Berthillon ice-cream (cherry, milk chocolate with hazelnuts), overlooking the river, with couples sunbaking and neither of us want to go home.

In between, we eat buttery pastries with coffee for breakfast, and go to the Musee d’Orsay for something like four hours. Our legs and feet hurt in more ways we can describe, yet we see the bright Van Goghs and Monets and the pretty Degas ballerina sculpture and I remember how much I love Gauguin. We see it all and walk through Saint Germain des Pres and queue up at Laduree because I think macarons are Paris-in-a-dessert and we eat pistachio eclairs in the shade of the church, watching pigeons try and mate. We even walk home, because I have promised that on this trip there shall be falafel, from L’as du falafel, and the previous night they are closed, so they must be open tonight, but they are not, and we can’t work out why. In the Marais, on a Sunday night, tired and hungry, and wanting fish. I suggest Bofinger, never having been but it suits our requirements. We end up having a surprisingly good and cheap meal of oysters and fish with choucroutte (I didn’t think it could work, it did) and crème brulee.

We slept to the sound of light traffic on Rue du Rivoli, to sponge up all the senses of Paris.