24 April 2013

Pram Video

OK so usually when I film videos for my YouTube channel they are make-up related. After spending nearly an hour trying to work out how to attach the John Lewis universal footmuff to my pram I decided to record a video on it because it is so easy and yet seems impossible at the time. So here it is...


17 April 2013

Oeufs en Cocotte or Baked Eggs

Years ago we went to a Le Creuset sale. I dragged Joe along promising him that basically we'd be saving money in the long run and we would only buy sensible things. All this was true except at the end there were these really sweet tiny little Le Creuset round casserole dishes in four colours and well I just snuck them into the trolley and persuaded Joe at the check out that they would be incredibly useful for single portions of things. To be honest it was a massive lie - I like small things and the colours were so pretty that I just wanted them to take up valuable space in my kitchen. Which they do.

They are, however, the perfect thing for Oeufs en Cocotte which is one of my favourite things to make when I either have too many eggs or leftover double cream that needs eating. It isn't slimming but a little goes a long way as it's quite rich (I can't usually finish two of these) there is something incredibley soothing about being able to eat something in the evening that involves toasted soldiers... which this really should.

This makes enough for two fatties or four people though I really like this as a late night quick comfort supper which usually means there's just you... you can add all sorts of things but I never bother as this is great as it is. There are loads of recipes for this all over the place - this is how I do it.


Oeufs en Cocotte

Serves 2-4

200mls double cream
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
4 large eggs
salt and pepper

I make this in my Le Creuset mini casseroles but they would be fine in ramekins too. Whatever you are using you will need four of them and they need to be buttered. You will need a roasting tin or something in which to make a bain marie - the water will need to go about ¾ of the way up the sides of your ramekins. Once buttered put the dishes in the tin ready to pour the water in. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.

1. Warm the cream in a pan then add the salt, pepper and cheese.

2. Pour the cream into the prepared ramekin.

3. Crack an egg into each ramekin on top of the cream.

4. Place the roasting tin into the oven and then pour in enough hot water to come ¾ of the way up the ramekins.

5. Bake in the oven for about 10 mins or until the eggs are set.

6. Add a pit of salt and pepper and serve with toasted soldiers.


9 April 2013

Tartiflette

I never have a problem deciding what sort of food is appropriate. Except for Saturday lunch. For some reason Saturday lunch really throws me off and, unless its suitable weather for a rare roast beef salad with lots of bread and cheeses, I never have any idea what to cook. I asked my family for inspiration and tartiflette came up as an option served with salads and bread and something nice for pud. Then a neighbour came round offering us half a Reblouchon, she'd bought some in a 3 for 2 offer and was going to be away before they'd have a chance to eat it all. So that sealed the deal. Tartiflette it would be, even though, I was slightly scared of it.

I was wrong to be scared of it - it's incredibly easy to do and is happy to be made up and then just sit about a bit waiting to be cooked. And it tastes divine and is perfect for Saturday lunch or indeed week day supper. There are lots of recipes hanging around so this is mine!

Tartiflette
Serves 4-6

1.5kg potatoes (I like Vivaldi for this)
1 Reblouchon
1 clove garlic
400-500g bacon lardons
300ml creme fraiche
salt and pepper

I use a fairly small but deep rectangular roasting dish for this. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.

1. Butter your dish and rub it with garlic. I tend to smash the garlic a bit to get the skin off so I then leave bits of smashed garlic in the bottom of the dish.

2. Boil a pan of water, add a good pinch of salt and then cook the peeled potatoes until they are just done. Drain them and leave them to cool.

3. Fry the lardons for 2-3 minutes and put to one side.

4. Slice the cooled potatoes into slices (about 1 cm thick) and put one layer of them, using about

half the potatoes in the bottom of the dish.

5. On top of the potatoes sprinkle the lardons and then cover with creme fraiche.

6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, not too much salt as the lardons will be quite salty.

7. Add the rest of the potatoes as a top layer an then slice the Reblouchon in half and lay on the top skin side downwards.

Tartiflette pre-cooking
8. Cook in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is sort of gooey and golden... and looks done.

Just remembered to get a photo as it was being served

5 April 2013

Give and Makeup

I am one of those people that finds it hard to through useful things away. I'm not a hoarder but I can see how such a problem can get started. I'm signed up to Glossybox - a fantastic service where you get a box of goodies delivered every month - and the boxes are so pretty and useful that I cannot bring myself to chuck them out. As you can imagine, one a month means that quite a few have now been stacked up in my office, occasionally I use one to send someone something fragile or a make-up product I don't want to get squeezed in the post.

Then I came across Give and Makeup on twitter and suddenly I not only have the perfect use for  my old Glossyboxes but it is a great way to get rid of all those make-up and beauty products you don't use. I get sent quite a few things to test out, often all within the same range and there will be things I know I'm just never going to use, lipsticks and nail varnishes in the wrong colour, the majority of perfume samples I get from Glossybox and they just lie around unloved, taking up valuable space. I'm also terrible at going out and splurging on makeup in Boots and Superdrug and then getting home and finding I've already got something or I've bought it in completely the wrong colour - some end up in my kit, some just go to the back of my personal make-up box. My initial trawl through revealed two boxes worth of products. Now I'm just going to keep an old box in my office for anything that I don't want.

Initially you may wonder why make-up and beauty products are needed for charity - I mean, they are a bit of a luxury surely, but all the products donated go directly to Refuge and Women's Aid who help victims of domestic violence. Thousands of women and children have had to run from their homes to protect their lives and they have to leave everything behind. Give and Makeup need everything from everyday essentials - shampoo, condition, toothpaste, deodorant, to skincare - cleaners and moisturisers and the added extras - makeup, makeup brushes, perfume, nail varnish and even clothes and baby products. Rather than listing things on eBay why not make a box up and send it in? These amazing charities need your help and Give and Makeup is a fantastic way to do it.
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