Friday, 29 March 2013

Quick dinner for essay season

some text I bought a massive punnett of cherry tomatoes from the nice veg man on the corner of my road a few days ago along with three big bunches of spring onions. This is an easy tasty way to pack in a lot of veg quickly.

Quick And Easy grilled tomato pasta for 1.
You will need:
- cherry tomatoes
- spring onions
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- spaghetti (or other pasta, although long pasta like spaghetti, tagliatelle and linguine work well) - hard cheese like parmesan or grana padano

1. Preheat the grill on a high heat and put a large pan of salted water on to boil.
2. Empty around three handfuls of cherry tomatoes into a smallish roasting tin, so that there is enough room to roll around a little but the juices will still collect.
3. Chop around 5 or 6 spring onions into roughly centimeter lengths and add to the tomatoes.
4. Pour a little oil over the vegetables and grind over salt and pepper liberally.
5. By now the water for the pasta should be boiling. Measure out enough pasta for one - in my case 90g, in Alun's case 150g! Add to the salted water and set a timer for the cooking time indicated on the packet - usually around 10 mins. Stir occasionally to stop from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
6. While the pasta is cooking, keep an eye on the tomatoes, taking them out and stirring every now and then to stop the skins from charring. If needs be, move to a lower shelf. The tomato skins should be splitting and yielding a sweet juice that mingles with the oil and the softening onions.
7. When the pasta is ready, drain but make sure to keep back some of the cooking water. Add the tomatoes and all of their juices to the pasta and pasta water and mix thoroughly so that the tomatoes end up distributed through the pasta rather than collected at the bottom of the pan.
8. Serve in a nice bowl with shredded fresh basil leaves, cheese and a grind of pepper. And if you don't have essays to write, like me, a glass of wine!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Not so sunny Sunday in Brighton.

some text Just a few pictures of the daytrip I made to Brighton for my godmother's 60th birthday tea party - what a spread it was! I met my mum beforehand and we got caught in the hail, having a mediochre cup of al fresco tea. Always nice to get out of London.

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Saturday, 16 March 2013

Dramatic ceramics by Frances Marr

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These ceramics are some of the early smoke-fired specimens made by my super talented lovely mummy. The big ones are huge and dramatic and feel like broken dragon eggs, the little ones look more like seashells or unnaturally formed pebbles. Beautiful. Looking forward to seeing what comes next! If you are too then check out her blog here.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Man Ray Collage

Inspired by Man Ray's Portraits (a great photographic exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery), a day with my mum and subsequent spree at the London Graphic Centre I've recently started a new scrapbook/sketchpad having felt a bit out of touch with my creative side recently, too busy trying to absorb the concepts of Hindu architecture and the like... Anyway, I picked up a bunch of the flyers at the National Portrait Gallery and have been playing around with ideas of tessellation, symmetry, lines etc, which I guess is kind of in keeping with my Hindu temples. It's been fun getting excited about art again rather than feeling semi-anesthetised to it as I have done recently.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Humphrey Ocean at The National Portrait Gallery, London

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Humphrey Ocean's portraits of visitors to his studio. There are two rooms full of these large portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, so simple that I long to hang them in my imaginary house.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Hot cross bun fever has gripped me!

Recently I've been going through a hot cross bun phase. Not for any religious Easter related reasons but simply because they're one of the simplest pleasure in life, toasted to be crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside, with a sizeable melting knob of butter precariously balanced on each half. Perfection. So I decided to try my hand at them and see whether it really was worth homemaking them when they are sold so cheaply in the shops. Needless to say the homemade ones are a completely different specimen. Much breadier and sturdy, they dont collapse and flatten when subjected to over-zealous buttering and one half alone is sufficient to fill the gap between lunch and dinner (although you will definitely want to eat the other half).
The recipe that I used was THIS BBC food recipe which makes 12 generous buns, as you can see. The recipe is fairly straight forward although i think that one or two tablespoons more of the milk should be added as I found my dough fairly stiff. This also made incorporating the fruit (I also added chopped almonds and hazelnuts to mine) harder and in the end I opted for squishing out the dough into a thick layer and pouring all the fruit and nuts into the center before folding over the edges and forming a ball with it all in the middle to prevent losing all of my fruit as I kneaded the dough. However, if you have a better answer to this problem then please let me know. I can imagine a wetter dough would help. Any comments much appreciated. Anyway, they were obviously a success as the first batch was devoured within a couple of days and the second even faster. Definitely a crowd pleaser. Good luck!

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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Surprise Alun Pt.2 - Breakfast at Caravan, King's Cross.

    So Surprise Alun and I went for breakfast at Caravan, King's Cross, a slightly painfully trendy place in a part of the building which houses Central Saint Martins University of the Arts London. So super trendy. All exposed pipes and little Duralex glasses, you know the kind. However. The food there was pretty damn tasty and, especially for the 'On Toast' section of the menu, fairly reasonably priced. Well done, Caravan. Alun and I shared a smoked haddock and leek rarebit with poached eggs and rocket and avocado, chilli, lemon and olive oil on sourdough. Yummy. The avocado was ripe and not overwhelmed by its toppings, the rarebit sturdy and the poached eggs well cooked. If there was any criticism it would be that the rarebit was a little under seasoned and could have done with a bit of a peppery kick, but then I do love my pepper. All in all a nice fairly cheap breakfast spot (depending on what you choose, filter coffee for 2 was £5).
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Monday, 4 March 2013

Spring is coming! Surprise Alun Pt.1

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Today has been a happy happy day, full of sunshine and food (more of which later). I'm working on a couple of posts but wanted to share this happy spring feeling that has popped up in me, mainly down to a surprise boyfriend popping up on my doorstep last night, unannounced, following a busy and stressful couple of weeks for both of us. Although short, his visit has perked me up and I'm ready to face the world again following my phone being stolen and a couple of killer essays. If the crocuses say its spring then it is. The daffodils are coming out and soon it will be Easter and my birthday, and Alun and I will be jetting off to Copenhagen, just as England starts to warm up...
So. For now, I hope you're all feeling as chirpy as I am and making the most of this much needed weather. It's supposed to be 14 degrees centigrade tomorrow!! Bring on summer.