Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The first strawberries and homemade cookies to celebrate the end of the rain.

The rain has stopped and today has been a slow day, picking the rain swollen strawberries that are all ripening at the same time and making cookies, which seemed the right thing to do on such a grey day.

I used a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe which appears both in River Cottage Everyday and The River Cottage Family Cookbook. They're super easy to make and use ingredients that one usually has around and therefore are fantastic as speedy, short notice snacks.

Chocolate chip cookies
100g milk and/or dark Easter egg chocolate
125g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1 free-range egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment. Chop the chocolate into chunks and set aside.

Heat the butter very gently in a saucepan until it has just melted. Meanwhile, put both sugars into a mixing bowl. Pour the melted butter on to the sugar and beat with a wooden spoon. Break in an egg and add the vanilla, then beat until blended.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl, fold in, then add the chunks of chocolate. You should have a pretty sloppy sort of mixture.

Dot heaped pudding spoonfuls of the mixture on to the baking sheets, leaving plenty of space in between - they really spread out - and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are turning golden brown. Remove, leave on the sheets for a couple of minutes to harden up, then carefully lift the parchment on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

I made these last weekend and decided to make slightly more, smaller cookies this time both to stretch how far the batch went and minimise the guilt twinge I felt. Fab with strawberries and a healthy cuppa.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Pastel eggs and neutral wedding trends.

This weekend in my travels through the web I've been looking at all these wedding inspiration picture; all neutral bridesmaids and jamjar cocktails. I opened the eggbox this morning to make an omelette and, as sometimes happens, became rather irrationally emotional about the beauty of these lovely little eggs, slightly shit covered and all different shades. Seemed to me that that the best inspirations come from nature and these eggs made for a good wedding colour scheme, all rich browns, neutrals and pale blues. And then warm flowery pinks to set it all off. Not that I've at all over thought this... Just inspired by nice eggs, I guess.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Posh party frocks in Hampstead.

Last weekend, instead of Jubilee-ing with the rest of you, we got all dolled up and headed over Hampstead way for the 50th anniversary of my great aunt which involved a very large posh house, a Porsche in the drive and lots of 'relatives' who, upon introduction, feel the need to explain how exactly they are in fact related to me. Was actually a big giggle. I bought this lovely new dress from Laura Ashley and wore my now visibly loved (and slightly grubby) Toast sandals. Alun wore a waistcoat and the waiters were very attentive. Free booze and party frocks is surely worth the treck to Hampstead, no? Hope you all had a lovely long Jubilee weekend and looked happier than the Queen did who seemed to be wishing she was sat watching the flotilla on telly with a cuppa and some toast rather than on the soggy Thames. Can't say I blame her...