Sunday, 30 September 2012

Tempura Vegetables and Tofu



After spending Friday at a work event that concluded with a "school disco" and an open bar I have to admit I was feeling a little worse for wear on Saturday morning but that didn't stop me from heading to the MASSIVE Asda in Watford that was *kind* of on my way home.  I wandered the aisles and found myself in the "world foods" aisle and in front of a packet of tempura batter mix.  At that point, deep fried ANYTHING seemed like the tastiest thing in the world so in my basket it went (along with some seasoned seaweed, shoes and the same cardigan in two colours)...

So this morning (needed a day to recover!) I raided my fridge for anything that seemed worthy of a cripsy tempura coating.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Lower Fat Quiche

Low carb mini quiche - no pastry crust also lowers the fat content


I LOVE quiche but I don't love how fatty and unhealthy they can be.  Then it dawned on me...why not make them healthier myself?  So I did!  Now these are already very tasty if you just bake them in a muffin tin but I do like a bit of a crust so instead of fatty pastry, I hollowed out a baked potato and hey presto!  A non-fat "crust"!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Chicken Garlic Teryaki



When I told Mr Jones that I was going to make teryaki chicken from scratch he reminded me that he cooked the same dish for me on our first Valentine's Day together...shame on me for forgetting but that may have had something to do with him also providing me with two different flavours of Ben & Jerry's for pudding and a Kinder egg!

I always get random food cravings and always have done since I was in my late teens (no, I'm not pregnant unless I have been for 17 years....) and today I fancied some chicken, something sweet, something savoury.  I then realised that a teriyaki sauce would cover all of these plus I had everything I needed in my food cupboards because it's a really easy dish!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Man Pla)

Thai fish cakes (tod man pla) with white fish, lime zest, curry paste and green beans

Whenever I go out to eat and have Thai food, fish cakes are the one thing I HAVE to have so thought that this weekend I would challenge myself and make some myself!  The fish cakes I've had in restaurants tend to be a little rubbery and although I quite like the texture, my fishcakes are still solid but a little more flaky.  Although there's still a bit of a fishy flavour, you can really taste the lime/kaffir leaves, there's a little salty kick from the fish sauce followed by a slight sweetness.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Sushi



I have to admit that when it comes to eating raw fish I am a chicken.  I don't mind the taste but just worry with every bite whether I'm going to get ill in a couple of hours.  I'm sure the best sushi chefs make sure the fish is fresh but I live in a town that has zero sushi bars and although I'm sure my local supermarkets sell fresh fish, I can't trust them to sell fish that is fresh enough to eat raw.

So when it comes to me making my own sushi, I tend to stick to safe options which would probably horrify true sushi lovers or chefs but I'm making do with what I have!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Hard-Boiled Egg Salad



Eggs are SO versatile it's ridiculous.  Boiled, baked, fried, scrambled, poached...My favourite way to eat eggs though is in a delicious egg salad sandwich.  I think everyone has their favourite way to make an egg sandwich using various ingredients and seasonings but I like to keep it simple and here's how I do it...

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Afternoon Tea - Butler's,The Chesterfield Mayfair

Afternoon tea at Butlers, The Chesterfield Mayfair


So your mum's 50th birthday is a pretty special thing to celebrate.  I was lucky enough to spend it with not only my mum but my sister too.  Rather than just buy her a present that would sit on a shelf or in a drawer, I decided that an "experience" would be an excellent present and after pondering makeovers, photo shoots, pampering sessions and other such things, I though that an proper afternoon tea would be perfect!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Gyoza (Japanese Dumplings)


I love, love, love Japanese food.  Ok, so there's some of the raw fish stuff that I will try but am pretty certain not to like.  But as a whole, I love it all!

When I was busy enjoying the bento that I had at See last week, my sister made an innocent comment - "if you like it so much then why don't you just make it?!".  Little did she know that she had planted a seed in my head and I have been thinking about making my favourite dishes ever since.

First challenge - gyoza.  I've loved gyoza and potstickers since the first time I tried them which must have been at least 15 years ago.  The flavourful pork innards, the soft dough and the marvellous dipping sauce...  Me?  Make that?!  Why not?!  So here's what I did...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

See Oriental Cafe, Paddington



What a treat when you stumble upon a gem of a place to eat when you least expect it.  My sister and I were waiting for our mum to buy stamps while on our mum's birthday trip and had a wander down an alley off Praed Street, Paddington.  What we found was See, an "Oriental cafe and deli".  Although closed and dark at the time (and we spied someone napping!), we decided straight away that this is somewhere we needed to eat so came back only a few hours later for dinner.

The restaurant was spacious but a little dark with candles all around.  Behind the deli counter is where the sushi was made and it was filled with delicious looking fresh fish.  We were seated immediately at a table at the front with a view of the Paddington Basin.  The tables were simply set up with a candle, fork and chopsticks.

A London Birthday



Wow, it's hot!  But I am grateful for the sun as I've just come home from spending 3 1/2 days in London to celebrate my mum's 50th birthday!   My mum flew in from the States, my sister from Finland and I took a short train journey into the city...

Monday, 13 August 2012

Olympic Closing Ceremony

Some crazy politician in America apparently doubted if we were ready for the Olympics...I think the opening and closing ceremonies alone proved that utterly wrong!  I've just spent the last 3 hours glued to the tv watching some amazing performances from various artists - here are some of my favourite bits...

The Spice Girls (yes, I'm a fan and have no shame in admitting it!)


Saturday, 11 August 2012

50th Preparations...

So it's my mum's 50th birthday on Thursday and I'm meeting up with her and my sister in London on Wednesday and we'll be staying until Sunday morning.  We have LOTS planned!

 I wanted to get my mum something special for her birthday but didn't want to necessarily buy something that might just sit on a shelf or in a drawer so decided that treating her to afternoon tea would be a nice present!  I spent AGES trawling the internet for places to go and narrowed it down to about 10.  Top of the list was the "Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" themed afternoon tea at the Royal Garden Hotel but alas, they are closed for renovation.  Instead, I've booked us in at the Chesterfield, Mayfair which looks pretty amazing - like sitting in a garden!

 I also thought that as we'll be having a "girly" night in the hotel with takeaway, girly films, face packs, etc that it'd be fun to make a goody bag!  It's been pretty fun coming up with ideas for things to put in the bag and I've even got a little crafty which has been excellent fun!  First up was making the bags themselves which wasn't particularly difficult but I kept them simple and think they look great!  I also wanted to get personalised champagne glasses with the date on or something but everywhere was so expensive.  Instead, I've personalised them myself which I think is a much better gift.  I'll be teaming the glasses with mini champagne bottles.  I'm really looking forward to my mum's and sister's reaction to the grown up goody bags!

I Made: Grown Up Goody Bags!

Plain paper bag, Union Jack tag and blue and white crown washi tape
My mum's 50th birthday is going to be spent in London so wanted to have a "Blighty" themed goody bag and as we're all grown ups *ahem* I didn't want them to be too childish...

Glitter "Frosted" Glasses

How to make frosted style glasses by sponging on glitter glass paint

I decided to personalise champagne glasses for my mum's 50th birthday goody bag after realising that buying some online can get pretty pricey.  I've never done anything like this before but was really inspired by some frosted glass I had seen at Something Turquoise

So I ordered some glass paint from eBay, bought some champagne glasses from Tesco and away I went!

I've used Marabu Relief Paste for Glass and Porcelain in "silver glitter" because although it's good for fine lines and outlining, it also says that you can sponge it on which is the effect I wanted.  I had a spare glass so trialled a few ideas...

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