Archive | August, 2012

Jamie’s 52 minute half meal

27 Aug

In the last few months I’ve made several dishes from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals and, despite really enjoying the end products, I can honestly say I’ve never managed to complete one of his recipes in under an hour, never mind 30 minutes. And yes, Jamie, I followed your instructions by getting all my equipment ready first, using a mini blender to chop my herbs and taking multitasking to the extreme but seriously there’s only so fast one girl can go!

However, believing that everyone deserves another chance, last weekend I gave Jamie’s summer veg lasagne and Tuscan tomato salad a go. Miraculously, it was swelteringly sunny in London so the light lasagne of asparagus, pea and mint was spot-on for the weather. Despite misreading the ingredients list (I do this a lot resulting in recipes of varying success) and only adding one tub of cottage cheese to the lasagne, the meal was very tasty, if a little stodgy (my fault, not Jamie’s). The Tuscan salad was a good accompaniment too as the acidity of the tomatoes cut through and balanced out the creaminess of the lasagne:


This light summery meal was crying out for a crisp, refreshing white wine to accompany it so who was I to argue – Torres Vina Sol fitted the bill nicely and had lovely notes of apples, lemons and pineapples and at around £6 a bottle, you can’t complain. Widely available at all major retailers:



It’s right funky up narf

12 Aug


As I confessed in my last post, it’s been a few months since I last made an appearance so apologies that the following is a bit old news.

A couple of months ago I went to visit my good friend in Manchester. Alice and I met whilst learning to distinguish our Scarlett Miss Charlottes from our Del Boys working at Revolution in Preston (obviously THE place to be) and quickly bonded over a shared hatred of glass collecting and cocktail exams (yes, such things do exist).

Anyway, now I’ve been in the big smoke for a couple of years, away from my native Lancashire, I’ve been out of the loop in terms of where’s good to eat round there. Luckily Alice knew just the place and we headed to The Alchemist in Manchester’s Spinningfields.

The cocktail list was so extensive that we’d actually studied it before heading to the restaurant just to give us more time to catch up while there. With prices ranging from £5.95 to £18.50 for a sharing cocktail, I thought the drinks were very good value and not too ‘gimmicky’. To whet your appetite, a few of the options included cherry bakewell martini, lemon and cherry pie and cola bottle libra. After a long time flitting between options, I finally went for a marshmallow daiquiri made up of Barcardi gold, rose liqueur, limoncello, apple juice and sugar garnished with – you’ve guessed it – a marshmallow. Yummy! As you can see, it went down like a treat:


The food menu options were equally impressive with a variety of world-inspired dishes to choose from including American salt n pepper chicken wings, Thai fish cakes and Moroccan spiced lamb tagine. With only a couple of weeks left until my holiday, I opted for a light chicken stir fry, packed with crunchy vegetables and bags of flavour.


So for all those Mancunians who haven’t quite made it to The Alchemist, I’d thoroughly recommend it. It’s not the place for a quiet, romantic dinner for two but if you’re looking for somewhere with a buzz, this is definitely the place for you.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

7 Aug


Whoopsies…apologies I’ve been somewhat absent the last few months, but you know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. With a new job and what feels like a wedding/ engagement do every weekend, I haven’t quite had time to post.

I have however got a brand spanking new blog logo, kindly designed by my brother Jonathan (I’ll pay you back in royalties one day, bro), so to celebrate, here’s a quick rundown in numbers of my life over the last few months:

5 – The number of English wines enjoyed this summer alongside the Jub-Olympics celebrations (drinking is definitely a sport)

4 – The number of weddings attended so far in 2012 (how many times can you wear the same fascinator with different dresses?)

3 – The number of wedding invites already received for 2013 (crap, I’m going to have to buy a new fascinator)

2 – Average daily logins to Daily Mail Online (DMO)

1 – Holiday to Sicily done and dusted, what a distant memory

0 – The number of Starbucks coffees enjoyed in the last two months, savings made: £40.80 = six bottles of wine, get in

And speaking of which, here are a few of the wines I’ve been enjoying the last few months:

  • Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc (available at Majestic) – with delicious gooseberry, lime  and tropical flavours, you can’t go wrong with this wine for a wedding
  • Three Choirs Regalia 2011 (available from Asda) – an English wine perfect for those moments of sunshine and a picnic in the park
  • Chapel Down English Sparkling Rosé Brut (available from M&S) – like strawberries and cream in a glass, yum yum yum!

Finally, as a quick summary, thought it would be nice to include a photo of a card I recently sent to some friends to welcome them into their new home – nuff said me thinks: