16 December 2013

Chorizo and Parmesan Puffs

Every year we have a Christmas drinks party and every year I try to make enough canapes to sink a ship. This year I had my hands fuller than usual so I wanted to do as many things as possible ahead of time and these are incredibly easy to assemble and can sit in a disposable foil tray in the fridge until you are ready to cook them - I also do an anchovy and goats cheese version.

Chorizo and Parmesan Puffs

Makes 16-20 squares

350g pre-rolled puff pastry sheets
6 tbsp grated Parmesan
20 slices chorizo
1 egg, beaten
garlic oil

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. I use disposable foil trays for this so I can throw them out when they are cooked and because they are easy to stack in the fridge.

1. Lay the pastry out in a rectangle (or roll it out into a rectangle if you haven't got the pre-rolled stuff). Brush with beaten egg all around the outside edges.

2. Brush the middle of the pastry rectangle with garlic oil and gently draw a line down the centre of the pastry top to bottom so it looks like an open book.

3. Layer half of the chorizo along one half of the pasty and sprinkle with half the Parmesan. Then do a second layer with the remaining chorizo and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan.

4. Fold the empty half of the pasty over the top of the chorizo and Parmesan layers (like you are closing a book) and press down the edges.

5. Brush the top with beaten egg - you can either chill or freeze it now - or cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

6. Slice into small bite-sized squares and serve.

9 December 2013

The Cottage - November 2013

One room that has been causing us head and heartache is the downstairs loo. Although I hate the expression, The Cottage was my late mother-in-laws 'baby' and the downstairs loo is completely wallpapered by her in pictures and postcards. Like this...

The first thing all friends and relatives have said to us is 'you're not going to change the downstairs loo are you?' To which we immediately responded 'No'. But the further we got with the building work the more we realised that not only would it look very outdated when the rest of the house was finished but there was a damp problem.

I jokingly suggested I take all the (super-glued) pictures down and put them back... and was taken up on that offer. Yikes. Thankfully my mother-in-laws goddaughter works in film continuity and offered to help. So we spent a very cold but therapeutic Sunday in November doing what we could to preserve as many pictures as possible. We've mapped out where everything was and removed what we could and I'm actually quite looking forward to patching the holes with pictures and postcards myself. This is how we left it...

The rest of the cottage is looking fantastic - the floorboards are beautiful and we're almost ready to start doing the stuff that involves me making a decision - like the kitchen and the bathroom but here's where we are in photos...

The dining room and kitchen

Sitting room through to extension/study

The sitting room from the extension

The new bathroom

As you can see from the last photo we decided to make the bathroom bigger (you can see the previous posts about the bathroom here).

And just in case you wonder why we are doing this Joe climbed up on the scaffolding and took some pictures of our view from the house and then from the seawall back to the cottage (which you can see as its the one with the scaffolding).

At the end of the garden is the seawall... then technically the sea. But this is Norfolk so it's a marsh


2 December 2013

Give a Christmas Gift from John Lewis

I'm an old softy about Christmas, even more so since I've had my son, and I'm hugely aware that while I'm sitting fatly on my sofa with my family in the warm on Christmas Day there will be a lot of people not having such a nice time.

So I was really pleased to see that you can buy presents for children in refuges via John Lewis - I know things are pretty tight money-wise for a lot of people at the moment but I figured that my son wouldn't miss one or two presents that would make another less fortunate child happy. DO IT - it's simple.

  • Go to johnlewis.com/giftlist.com
  • Click on 'Buy a Gift'
  • Type in list number 564013
  • Buy a gift - they start at £5 so it's really not going to break the bank and will make a big different to someones Christmas.  
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