Saturday, June 30, 2007

Doctor Who

David Tennant?
John Simm?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Is That The Sun I See Shining?

Johnny Pacheco & Pete "Conde" Rodriguez: Mujer Ingrata (Fania, 1970)
Just for a moment there I thought I saw the sun come out. It was, admittedly, a bit like a dream, but there did appear to be a spot of sky above London that was coloured more like this than like this. So I put a rather agreeable record on and, for just a brief time, enjoyed my summer.

Then it started raining again. And, of course, now it's so cloudy it looks like midnight :(

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hello Old Thing, Hello New Thing: 14

Louis Armstrong And The Mills Brothers: My Walking Stick (Decca, 1938)
I've been meaning to steal, wholesale, a track from these people and their very excellent album of 30s, 40s and 50s music for quite some time. But today, as the clouds gathered and broke and gathered and broke (again) outside the window, this particular track just leapt out. I think there's a double meaning to this whole, "I like my walking stick" thing - not a very rude one, no - but I might be wrong. Anyway, this is an Irving Berlin ker-lassic and it will please you on contact. It will!

Piroth: Emily (Oma Gusti Records, 2007)
This has been sat on my desk for about three weeks and it's only today that I finally got around to playing it. And it's really good! My goodness Piroth are good. If you liked the Meg Baird or Dawn Landes tracks you will be sold immediately. I'd tell you to buy the album, but it barely exists on the internet yet. There's more of 'em here though. Anyway, the mighty 'Roth are sisters Nina and Johanna. It says here that they grew up in Stockholm and have Finnish and Austrian family roots. Important info, right? They sing and play stuff and you sort of want to have a lie down and a bit of a gaze into space when you listen to them. As you are about to discover...


A Good Grilling

Pork's not good for grilling or barbecuing as it dries out and turns tough in the time it takes to cook. I think it's best boiled or steamed first. Simmer some pieces of pork-on -the-bone (ribs, chops, bone-in -belly-pork) in a pan of boiling water for 8 - 10 minutes until cooked through. Drain well and dry with kitchen paper. Mix together some honey, soy sauce, chilli oil, chilli sauce and a splash of vinegar. Add the hot pork and leave to marinate for as long as you want. Grill (or barbecue) for a few minutes until dark and shiny.
I'm sorry there's no picture of the grilled pork - we'd eaten it all by the time I'd remembered to get my camera out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Have you seen that advert for ipod+itunes with Paul McCartney playing his mandolin?
How sweet and happy is he?
That Heather Mills is a damn fool if you ask me.

Pie, Mash and Liquor

Years and years ago I had an obsession with pie and mash shops. My idiot boyfriend at the time was studying interiors at the RCA so he was fascinated too and over a year or two, the pair of us visited every single pie and mash shop that London had. I looked at the pastry and he looked at the tiles. It always felt to us like these places were running out of time and all these years later, lots of them have now closed down.

After a hectic morning at Peckham Pulse doing soft play and swimming in the hydro-pool, me and Scrap walked round the corner to Manzes on Peckham High Street (on that spot since 1927). We both loved it - it was packed with all ages, everyone seated beside strangers along the marble tables and all eating exactly the same. Scrap cleared his plate and while he was still eating was asking if we could come again. Well, yes we can. Everything we ate tasted great, was very fresh and was cooked from scratch on the premises that same morning.
A fine example of British food at its best.

Other recommended pie and mash houses:
Arments, Westmoreland Road, just off Walworth Road
Manzes, Tower Bridge Road
Bert's, Peckham Park Road, just off Old Kent Road
G. Kelly, Roman Road, Bow
F. Cooke, Hoxton Street

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Acorn House

I was working in Kings Cross today, just 5 minutes from Robert's office. When it became clear I was going to finish early he had the brain-wave of us meeting for a late lunch at Acorn House. I've heard good things about this place, it's a charity, "a trust committed to the training of young adults in the eco friendly restaurant trade" and it turned out to be absolutely unique in a number of ways. It has an amazing ethical stance: they reuse (wormery on the roof for all leftovers), they recycle, they purify their own water, they never use air-freight, they buy seasonal produce from independant suppliers, they have a strict fish purchasing policy, the list goes on and on...

Anyway, it's positioned in a stange part of town, in the ugly old NUJ building (Robert, of course, says he likes it) on a street corner in the middle of the one way system. Once inside, the place itself is contemporary (if a little bland) and the atmosphere very friendly. My seat vibrated every few minutes when a double decker went past.

The monthly seasonal menu is very exciting and so well set out that you can choose to mix and match exactly as you want. The service is properly passionate - our waitress knew everything from the restuarant's coffee policy to where each cheese came from. Anyway, the food was outstanding. I had Nettle and potato risotto with garlic pangrittata and a glass of scrumpy. Rob had the Duck confit with potato al forno and we shared some salads, including spring beetroots and carrots and toasted fennel seeds. It was superb.

"Have the apple pie," our waitrose told me, I'd never normally choose it for lunch but I took her advice. I'm so glad I did. When I'd tasted the first mouthful: crispy, salty, buttery pastry stuffed with cinnamon and vanilla'd apple and a huge dollop of good clotted cream, I was taken aback at just how brilliant it was. Robert had a wedge of fine farmhouse Cheddar with slices of apple and walnut bread. He ate every single bit of his then ploughed into mine.

Total bill: £52.80. And they do take out too. We very nearly found the The Best Restaurant In London today.

Hello Old Thing, Hello New Thing: 13

Tindersticks: Raindrops (BBC Session, 1993)
Neil Fraser (that's him on the cover of Tindersticks' second album) used to work as a rep for MCA Records and, in doing so, drove an estate car full of Teddy Riley, Tom Petty and Mary J Blige (or whatever) records. He would visit various chart-return record shops in the south west London area and leave piles of his wares on the counter. To be honest, we didn't really want them and he clearly couldn't stand them, but that's business, right? Anyway, one day he left and the next thing we knew he was staring out of the pages of NME, Melody Maker and Volume. His lot were an immediate hit and I never saw him again. So, hello Neil, hope you're well. Tiny Tears is taken from this excellent compilation. What a great band...

Little Dragon: No Love (Peacefrog, 2007)
Well, there's a surprise. This new band I really like come from Sweden! Who could have imagined that? Anyway, Little Dragon are a bit unconventional, reminding me of a sort of Court And Spark era Joni Mitchell with some indie-pop, dub and funk add-ons. Like I say, a bit unconventional. Anyway, the album is out in September and they are well worth your attention...


Monday, June 25, 2007

Alan Carr: My Life In Food

I interviewed Alan Carr this morning. He was a lovely chap, but worried that I would be unpleasant about his "man boobs" and battered shoes in the piece. Well, he didn't appear to have any man boobs and his shoes - mustard coloured brogues - were significantly nicer than the black Crocs I was wearing (I feel slighly ashamed that I'm still wearing Crocs and had I known I was going to leave the office I would have worn something more appropriate). And yes, he does talk like that all the time.

Anyway, knowing how much Silvana loves him - she does - I asked her if there was anything she'd like to know about him. There was and, guess what, the questions were food related.

What did you have for breakfast Allan?
"Do you get free things if you name something? Well, I love those Dorset Cereals. They're lovely, I love dried fruit. That could be the title of my biography, The Dried Up Old Fruit. I have it with a bit of, y'know, biotic yogurt on top, I like a Yakult. I love my complex carbs. I put that all in a bowl and put an Egg McMuffin on top. Like a lot of middle-aged women, I get terrible troubles with bloating..."

What's the best restaurant in London?
"It has to be Chino Latino. I know, it sounds awful, but it's lovely. It's in the Riverbank Plaza Hotel on the South Bank and it's so good. I always have the prawn tempura, then the blackened cod with miso and then the sorbet. And some edamame. Then I might go home and have a slice of pineapple upside down cake. Don't get put off by the name, go!"

I think we might have a new Landcroft House feature on our hands here...

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Ice cream, The Lido, pizza, Prosecco, boats, bridges, steps, lots of people, Peggy Guggenheim, siesta, sunshine, skint

Click here to see our pictures

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wonder Bar

I'll tell you where's really good to go for a drink in town - the Wonder Bar at Selfridges. Rob and me went in for a quick one after we'd finished shopping but were a bit early for our table at The Best Restaurant in London Locanda Locatelli, the other week. What you do is you ask for a top up card (we started with £20 but we topped it up after 20 minutes), choose the wine you like the look of, insert the card in the slot then put one of the giant glasses underneath and press the button for a selection of sizes - taster, small or medium. It's just like letting a child loose in a sweet shop and we'd had 5 tasters each in 10 minutes before realising that pressing the taster button was clearly the least economical way to go. Then you keep the card with any credit (I've got £6.75 on mine) for the next time you go. Anyway, it is essentially an all-day, self-service bar but it's a fab concept and there's also a choice of very good boards to eat with your wine: cheese boards (we had the English Cheese), charcuterie boards or seafood boards. But beware, in less than a couple of hours you'll have blown £100. But go and do it anyway.

Play Your Cards, Right?

I wouldn't recommend you waste your entire day gawping, but you might want to at least have a gander at this mightily impressive collection of bubble-gum trading cards from 1930 to 1980. My favourites are the trucks...

Venetian Whirl

We're off to Venice tomorrow for a few days and need some good recommendations on where to eat and what to see. Anyone?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Eastenders! What's Going On?

I don't watch Eastenders that often being a Corrie girl but I have a mountain of ironing to do tonight so I got suckered in. Thing is, I don't know what the hell is going on! Are all the characters proper mentalists now then? That mad Dr May about to take an unborn baby from that girl? And that child-terrorising girlfriend of Phil's? And the woman that's stalking Crazy Clare Peacock - oh, sorry I'm getting mixed up. So basically after a spate of murders, the soaps have now been taken over by nutters - all of whom appear to be women? Have I got that right?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Basement Crates: 20, 21 & 22

Cluster & Eno: Die Bunge (Sky, 1977)
This Picture Music LP was another one I salvaged - I guess I mean stole, really - from the huge pile of vinyl good old Ivo out of 4AD brought into sell at the shop I used to work at. A compilation of - and I quote - "German Rock Impressionismus" (Sky Records' translation budget was clearly a little lacking), you'd do well to not be put off by that awful thought and just let Brian rub electronic ice-cubes on your fevered temples while his Cluster pals open the window a bit and let some fresh air in to cool your toes. And stuff.

Nick Nantos & The Fireballs: Jazz Banana (Summit, 1963)
I found this on an LP called Guitars On Fire in a car boot sale for 50p or the like. Turns out it's worth more like £10 and not because it has the good sense to be either uniformly brilliant or because it names a track, Jazz Banana, but because Nick Nantos was actually Nick Nastos, a member of Bill Haley & The Comets. Big fer-laming wow, but it clearly means something to someone. I've never cared much for pre-Beatles rock and roll, but this rattling, guitar-twangling instrumental has that sunset-surfing-safari sound that means it would sound right at home heading up a Tarantino soundtrack. Hopefully for a film that wouldn't tank so badly we never get to see it. Anyway, Jazz Banana! How can you not love that?

Tortoise: Ry Cooder (Thrill Jockey, 1994)
Look at the packaging on that. I wonder where Divot and Whorable Orphans are now. Actually, I know because I just Googled them. It's a really redundant question "Where are they now?", isn't it. Anyway, I went to the first ever Tortoise gig (I can feel the excitement levels really peaking now) and in that week in 1994 they were the coolest band in the world. They were, really! As cool as Portishead or Tricky. Yes, that cool. I mean, the coolest band in the world as long as you worked in an independent record shop in a leafy London suburb.The tabloids didn't write about "indie" music then, so the 'Toise could comfortably fit all the people who wanted to see them into the upstairs room at The Garage rather than, say, three nights at The Astoria. Anyway, when they played this, and the xylophone bit started (I so rarely get the chance to write about great xylophone moments), every single head in the room began to nod together in gloriously-aligned rhythym. I still clearly remember how good that looked.

My favourite phrase from the picture below: "In one word: klangfarben..."


Cantina Del Ponte

So in our search for Best Restuarant in London we took Nunhead Mum of One's top recommendation for our Father's Day lunch today. It was a last minute booking which we made online - we looked on the menu, Nunhead Mum's favourite dish of monkfish was there, brilliant, and they did pizzas which guarantees a happy Scrap.

When we got there the waiter was charming and we chose a lovely outside table. Unfortunately the monkfish was no longer on the menu and the pizza oven had been broken for 4 months.

We had:
1 glass of house white - a lovely soft Trebbiano
2 bottles of san Pellegrino
1 starter which we shared: bresaola - very good and simply presented
1 kids spaghetti with tomato sauce - fine
1 slow roast pork - fantastically well cooked, fell apart as soon as the fork touched it, came with potatoes but no veg
1 bourrida fish stew (£15!) - pretty disappointing - so salty I couldn't taste anything and the squid was chewy
1 wonderful pistachio ice cream
1 creamy double espresso
1 fresh mint tea

You know, this is a good restaurant in a lovely riverside setting, but I think for a £68.06 lunch which included just one glass of wine, only one starter and only one pudding, it should have been a lot better. Maybe by night it is.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Bellenden Bun Fight

Despite the bursts of torrential rain and the huge gusts of wind which had everyone leaping to grab a hold of the canopy and the two blaring fire-engines parked outside during the judging, it all went very well. And what a creative bunch the residents of Pecks turned out to be! There were raspberry tattoos, batman biscuits, princess cakes, madelines, cinnamon buns, fig tarts and tons of jams and chuntneys. Me and my Scrap didn't stand a chance.

Butterfly Sandwiches
We based our recipe on this one from and sandwiched them with buttercream and my home-made berry jam. Tastes lovely but tricky to roll and ages of waiting while it chills. And it didn't win any prizes!
Makes 20
Prep: 2hours
Cooking: 15 mins
Per biscuit: 260 kcals/15.4g fat/7.5g saturated fat/0.1g salt/17.9g sugars

100g blanched hazelnuts
225g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
3 medium egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour, plus a little extra for rolling out
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
25g icing sugar, to dredge
10 tbsp raspberry and/or apricot jam

Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3. Finely grind the hazelnuts in a food processor and set aside. Beat together the butter and sugar until light. Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla, then sift in the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and hazelnuts and blend. Lightly knead until it comes together. Flatten into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 1 hour.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to 3mm thick. Using a 6–7cm cookie cutter, stamp out as many biscuits as you can. Reshape leftover dough into a ball, re-roll and cut out more biscuits – you should get about 36 in total. Stamp out a 2–3cm shape from the middle of half of the biscuits. Arrange them all on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets; chill for 15 minutes.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven (in batches, if necessary) for about 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on the baking sheets for 1 minute, then on a cooling rack. When completely cool, dust icing sugar on the biscuits with holes in. Spread the whole biscuits with jam. Press one sugar-dusted biscuit onto each jam-covered one and serve.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hang On, This Record Is Good Too...

The Dragons: Pop's Bag (Ninja Tune, 2007)

This is taken from an album called BFI that was originally recorded in 1970, but never released. The Dragons all worked in The Beach Boys backing band. One track was on a rare (trans: cool) surf movie called A Sea For Yourself. DJ Food out of the Ninja Tune / Coldcut lot heard it, loved it tracked them down. It is now finally coming out in August.

The band are three brothers: Doug, Daryl and Dennis Dragon who grew up in Malibu. They wanted to - and I quote - "create their own psychedelic soul/rock masterpiece." It would appear they did. Sadly, no one gave a monkeys and it never came out. Later, Daryl hooked up with Toni Tennille and "The Captain" from Captain & Tenille. I am not making this up.

Anyway, enjoy!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

This Record Is Bloody Great

Epic45: The Stars In Spring (MakeMineMusic, 2007)

This album landed on my desk a few days ago and I've been playing it when I can ever since. I've even put it on my iPod incase I can't wait until I get to work before I have to hear it. This is quite rare.

Anyway, Epic45 are two blokes from Oxford who - according to their label's website - "seamlessly blended shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars with electronics and wistful lyrics." Which makes them shoegazers, basically, but shoegazers with a serious outdoors habit as there's loads of natural sounds and general trees-and-fields vibology (I'm sorry about using the phrase "vibology") on there too.

Basically, it's fantastically melodic, folk-hued head-pop and your life would be richer were you to spend just nine measly quid on May Your Heart Be The Map.

It would, I promise.

M&S Melting Middle Chocolate Puddings

I do a lot of work for M&S, they're one of my biggest clients so obviously I love them. The other night, when Robert made a lovely annual dinner for me, he bought those chocolate puddings. They've been on telly a lot you know, those "not just any sodding pudding etc" and Rob clearly knows I like chocolate. Anyway all the reviews say they're amazing. They do look amazing, all brown and oozy but they don't actually taste of chocolate. Mine was nice and warm and came with a scoop of fabulous Mackies ice cream on the side. But it didn't taste like chocolate. It maybe tasted a bit of cocoa but really, close your eyes and you could be eating bread pudding. Anyone else had one? Am I wrong?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pain And Tag-ravation

Nunhead's finest mum of one tagged Landcroft House recently for 8 facts and we've been on mild panic alert ever since. What could Landcroft House possibly say that is of any interest to anyone? Well, we're no closer to an answer to that (as regular readers will know to their cost), but here we go anyway:

1. One of us once knocked repeatedly on the window of a New York telephone kiosk, desperate to get in and make a call. When the apologetic man skulked out they realised it was Woody Allen.

2. One of us has never been skiing or participated in any winter sport. They says they can't see the point of going on holiday anywhere that's colder or more expensive than where they already are. But both can scuba (doo).

3. The interior of Landcroft House used to be entirely clad in dark, shiny wood. And it had a built-in, mirrored, illuminated cocktail cabinet that one insisted on taking out and the other has not stopped missing.

4. Landcroft House used to be home to three ponds full of giant koi-carp in a garden so ludicrous that one party guest described it as looking like the "back of a Mexican whorehouse".

5. One of us had never been to South London before they met the other one apart from when they saw NWA at Brixton Academy an awfully long time ago.

6. We met Beatle Paul and Heather Mills in a playground in Rye. Beatle Paul pushed Scrap on the roundabout. Heather was nice.

7. One of us has an inherited title that they never use.

8. One of us never drinks in the day - even on holiday - and the other won't drink red wine. Even with meat.

We tag: Woodvale, Pad & Mel, Ebenezer Terrace, Choumert Mews and Franco London...

So, which one "fact" was completely made up?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hello Old Thing, Hello New Thing: 12

Tomorrow: Real Life Permanent Dream (Parlophone, 1968)
Taken from this rather good new compilation, Tomorrow were a much fancied bunch of frilly-shirt wearing, brogues-having, polkadot-cravat waving chancers for whom it just never happened. But this is fantastic, though, thanks to some rubbish CD pressing / sleeve printing disaster, this might not actually be Tomorrow at all, but someone else on the same compilation. I literally don't know. If you do, let me know...


Kanye West: Young Folks (Mixtape, 2007)
I remember years ago being very excited about Run DMC sampling Fool's Gold for What's It All About?. It seemed weird to think that Run DMC had even heard of the Stone Roses. Which is pretty much how I felt when I heard this track that samples Peter, Bjorn & John's Young Folks on Kanye West's new mixtape. And, more to the point, doesn't he have nice hair?


Friday, June 08, 2007

The Best Restaurant in London?

Tell me is it Riva in Barnes? Mirch Marsala in Tooting? That litttle Greek place in Camberwell (wish I was sitting out there now with a glass of retsina) or Locanda Locatelli?
Where's the best?
Then me and Rob will visit them all. We can all visit them all and give marks and draw up a chart. Great idea! Like our very own Richard & Judy's Wine Club. But for London restaurants. And next month we can do Paris!

"The Best Restaurant In London"

So, we ended our day out yesterday with dinner at Locanda Locatelli. To say it was a bit good would be like saying Barry White was a bit big - it wouldn't do it justice. We had calf's foot salad, the selection of meats and salamis with a prosecco to start. The calf's foot involved the most delicious cartlilege / odd white bits you'll ever eat, by the way.

I - ever the adventurer - went for roasted pork and some Montepulciano. Silvana had the octopus spaghetti which she was so overwhelmed by she spent much of the rest of the evening, eyes shining with pleasure, telling me how LL was "the best restaurant in London". And, frankly, I believe her.

Then we had some amazing ice cream - some of which involved Mirto, served with chewy, crunchy biscuits and the like. The coffee was excellent too. As good as Estrella on the South Lambeth Road, which is my touchstone for great coffee (like I know anything). Anyway, we went home on the bus too. Not because there weren't any cabs, just, y'know, for the hell of it. And it was great.

By the way, I stole this picture from their website as our pictures looked terrible. But this is right where we sat...

Book it! Book it now!


The Japan Centre on Hanover Square is host to Asta, a fantastic little sushi bar and bento box cafe. Yesterday, we had just 45minutes to get lunch before an appointment and blimey, we chose the right place. Hot tea was on the table before we'd even pulled our chairs in, swiftly followed by miso, edamame and Korean pork with kimchi for me and Japanese chicken curry for Rob. The bill came half way through the meal without asking, and with two cokes added up to £23. Brilliant for a working-lunch or those in a hurry. If you want to take your time or are eating in the evening, the little place over the road Sakura looked a tiny bit more relaxing.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Where's Your Spirit?

What's your favourite drink? I don't want to know about wine or beer, I want to talk Malibu, Vodka and Blue Bols. Mine is classic white label Jim Beam - the World's Finest Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Bells Whisky is my dad's spirit and it was what was in the cupboard when I wanted to sneak a teenage drink so it became my choice through familiarity and I do still love it. Then my eldest brother, Nick, opened this bar in Derby called The Dial (it's been knocked down now and he lives in Australia) and as soon as I turned 18 I got a weekend job there. My favourite and most interesting regular always came in alone and ordered 2 glasses of Jim Beam and drank them both by alternating a sip out of each and then he'd order another pair. Sometimes he'd order four which he lined up in a row at the bar. Eventually we became friends and I'd have a pair with him after work but after I left town we gradually lost touch. Anyway, it's been my drink now, for 20 years and eight months. What's yours?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Thai Red Curry Dinner

I thought this would be quite difficult. In fact, it was very simple. The original recipe recommended courgettes, but I swapped them for the Spanish aubergines I picked up on Chapel Market. I gave the beans about three minutes and maybe five would have been better, but better crunchy than mushy, I always say...

1 tbsp oil
4 small, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp red curry paste, depending on how hot you like it
400ml coconut milk
100g green beans, trimmed
2 small Spanish aubergines, halved lengthways and roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 spring onions, sliced
a handful of coriander leaves

Heat a large saucepan and add the oil.
Cook the chicken for 3 minutes until it starts to brown.
Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute until fragrant.
Then add the coconut milk, stir and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Cook for 10 minutes, then add the beans and courgette.
Cook for 3 minutes until the vegetables are just tender.
Remove from heat and season to taste with lime juice and stir through the spring onions and coriander.
Serve with boiled rice.

Anyway, enjoy!

Afternoon Delight: UPDATE!

This just plopped onto my desk. More news when I've actually heard it...

It's bloody brilliant. Pre-Beatles pop wowsers, waltz-time heart-breakers, pianos, Shadows-style guitar twangery with a dollop of Johnny Cash-erie. Played it four times today already.

Route Master

Let no-one say my husband's not a romantic man. My 10th anniversary present's arrived. Yes, it's satellite navigation. Not cake, chocolates or flowers.
I do love technology, a Wii would have been brill and so would a Black Berry, but a TomTom!! Those of you who know me will know my route obsession and will have been asked by me at every party 'how did you get here?' and 'which bridge did you cross?' and 'how long did it take, door-to-door?' It's isn't my fault and I know I'm turning into my dad. I do plan every route the night before. I study my beloved map and I try and engage Robert in conversation on his preferred route. In my job I get sent all over the place, usually with bags of knives and crates of food, so I'm usually driving and maybe this thing will turn out to be my friend. I'm just not sure. Anyone got one? Good or bad?

Anniversary Marmalade

It’s our 10th anniversary today. Not of marriage but of our first get together, but still something to celebrate. I’ve had breakfast in bed and tomorrow we’re spending the day in town together and the evening at Locanda Locatelli. Can’t wait.

But today, I've been told to stay in and wait for my present to arrive......Scrap and me have got our fingers crossed for a cake.
In the meantime, he's watching The Lion King (never seen it before) and I’m making my lemon marmalade for the Bellenden Bun Fight, the week after next. Here are the details again in case you forgot:

Saturday 16th June
Review Book Shop
Entries in 10 – 12pm, judging at 3pm

Lemon and lime leaf marmalade
Makes 10 jars
1kg lemons
2.2 litres water
6 kaffir lime leaves
1 star anise
2.5kg granulated sugar

Place the lemons and water in a very large pan and bring to the boil. Cover and cook on the lowest setting for 2 hours.

Leave until cool enough to handle.

Halve the lemons and scoop out the pulp, pips and pith and add to the pan along with the star anise. Shred the rind as you go and set aside .

Bring the pan to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Pass through a fine sieve, lined with a cloth back into the clean pan. 

Add the shredded rind and sugar, gently bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves then boil vigorously for 15 – 20 minutes.

Test by putting a little onto a cold saucer and returning to the fridge for a few minutes – push the marmalade with your finger and if it wrinkles, it is ready to set. If not, keep boiling and testing.

Carefully ladle the hot marmalade into warm sterilised jars (wash then put in a cold oven, turn to low heat and leave for 20 minutes), then top with a wax disc and circle of sellophane. Leave to cool and set then it’s ready to eat.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Trinny and Susannah Undress

Look, I've never been a fan of theirs, never watched their shows but it was on in the kitchen tonight. Did you watch it? Jesus, I cried from start to finish. And what a happy ending. I am a convert. And hey, at least it's not Big Brother!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Honey Oat Cookies

Me and Scrap had the day together all on our own for the first time in ages today. This morning we turned out the storecupboard and mixed what we found together to make these.

Very easy, very sticky and made loads.

175g butter
100g clear honey
175g demerara sugar
250g porridge oats
85g small sultanas or raisins
85g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas 4. Melt the butter and honey together in a large pan then take off the heat.

Stir in the sugar, oats, sultanas, flour, bicarb and beaten egg.

Drop small spoonfuls on good non-stick baking sheets or silicone paper and bake for 7 – 12 minutes until dark golden - they're quite chewy at about 7 minutes but turn crunchy if you cook them longer. Leave to cool and harden for a few minutes then lift onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Easily Wed

Our friends Chris and Tori got married on Friday. Here they are dancing a loving dance bathed in the warm glow of some glowing stuff. It was a wonderful do, and in London too, which made the whole thing such a joy. We rocked up in a cab, had a couple of scoops before the (very lovely) service, rolled along to the reception, enjoyed the fantastic dinner and speeches, then, after a decent spin around the dance floor, rolled home in a Hackney carriage better to enjoy our hangovers in our own bed. Hurrah!

Oh - and - judging by this sign on the loo door of the very posh Bayswater church where they tied the knot, God's a lot more easy going than I remember him being...

Sushi And The Farmed Seas

There's excellent Nick Tosches piece for Vanity Fair about the incredible things to be found at Tokyo's leading fishmarket right here.

I want the sea pineapple...