Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Simple noodle soup and a winter chop

Noodle soup
Yesterday was a transition day. Back in Salisbury for my weird Monday/Tuesday weekend after a hard week in Somerset, it rained and rained and I drifted around the house, watching the onions for the my french onion soup slowly caramalise, grating cheese for the obscene amount of cheese on toast to feed the soggy masses as they came home, and feeling the world get ready for winter. That morning, mum chopped all my hair off and it was a relief to leave behind the damaged locks that I'd had for so long. New shorter hair, and all changes in the future. In my busy winter days I turn to noodle soups to keep me going and this is one I made for mum and I yesterday. Easy peasy, warming and tasty, it can work a little like a pot noodle, but so much better.

For one portion you will need:
- 1 portion of noodles - for pack lunches I use rice noodles which you can pour water over and let sit, no cooking require, but any will do.
- 1/2 beef stock cube
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 2 or more spring onions, sliced down the middle lengthways and then finely on a diagonal slant

Optional extras that I like to put in are:
- mushrooms, lime leaves, lemongrass, leftover roast chicken, frozen peas, a few slices of chilli.

1. Crumble the stock cube and mix with the fish sauce, soy sauce, and a little water from a boiled kettle to dilute.
2. Put it all in the bottom of a big bowl (or a pan if you are using egg noodles that need boiling) with the sliced onions and any other extras you fancy.
3. Add the noodles to the bowl/pan and cover with the rest of the water from the kettle, leaving to sit for a few minutes or boiling on the hob according to the instructions on the noodle packet.
4. Bam, instant-ish noodle soup.

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Thursday, 14 August 2014

Clam linguine At The Chapel & inspirational women

Mum & Kate, Bruton During my first month in Somerset at a new job, in a new place, living by myself for the first time (with no wifi to boot), I admit that blogging hasn't been quite at the forefront of my mind. However, motivated by the desire not to let my new and exciting job at the recently opened Hauser & Wirth gallery in Bruton take over my life and a visit by two of my favourite and most inspiration women in my life has prompted me to climb back into the proverbial saddle. These two particular women are, of course, my mother, Frances Marr, Clam linguine, At The Chapel about whom I have previously written in relation to the fantastically beautiful ceramics she produces, and my would-be godmother, Kate Osborne, watercolour artist extraordinaire. They made the trek down to my temporary new home and, after visiting the gallery we wandered down into the centre of Bruton to have lunch at At The Chapel, location of many an indulgent lunch, some of which I have written about. After the hubbub of the restaurant at the gallery, the Roth Bar and Grill, At The Chapel seemed relatively peaceful, full of small groups enjoying the early afternoon sun flooding through the large windows, an architectural reminder of it's previous life as a place of worship. Wanting something light but comforting I opted for the South Coast clam linguine with chilli, tomato, parsley which caught my eye as it floated past on the arm of a black-clad waitress, destined for another belly. True to my expectations, it was a generous portion of clams mixed into the linguine with the richness of the tomato coating the pasta given a slight edge by the chilli, barely there but indispensable to the balance of the dish. Other than the ham hock salad which was rather more of the baby gem and radish that the ham hock and egg, my linguine and mum's plump mackerel fillets hit the spot. May there be many more such meals at this lovely restaurant, now conveniently, and rather unfortunately for my pocket, just on my doorstep.
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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Bye London!

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Well chaps, that's London done for a little while and my degree finished. My last night in London was suitably hectic and ended with a tired but elated traipse along the southbank to St Paul's as the sun was coming up before heading back to get the train home from Waterloo. I'm back in Salisbury now with a week to set myself back to zero before I head down to Somerset all on my lonesome and start an exciting new 6 month phase of my life at Hauser & Wirth Somerset - eeeeep! More of that later, anyway. In the meantime, two pictures from my last few days in London. One of the final night, with Alun feeling happy and cold and tired and excited all at once. The other, of my last climb with Hannah and Paola, who've made this year and helped keep me up and running in the final stretch - thanks guys. See you down in Somerset!

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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Two great apps for my morning mind and body start-up routine.

This post was originally published on Under The Umbrella, the new blog-project that me, my mum, and my sister are hoping to set up as a joint venture and way of keeping up with each other. It's still under construction but go on over and have a look if you're interested.

With my second to last exam on Tuesday, subletting my room and finding somewhere to live in Somerset before the big move, I've been trying to find little bits of time for myself to cool off and concentrate on not concentrating on anything for a few minutes. It seems to me that this is something that we all might benefit from at this stage in our lives so I thought I'd share. The two apps that I have been using are Headspace and Johnson & Johnson's 7 Minute Workout app.

App list

Johnson & Johnson's 7 Minute Workout app
This 7 Minute Workout app is one that I've been using for a while and my favourite out of a bunch that I've tried. I do the workouts to get me going in the morning and so that even if I've spent all day in the library I know that I've at least got a few of my muscles working even for a bit.
What do I like about it?
1. The workouts are as long or as short as you want, and do-able, with a video guy announcing the move and showing you how to do it.
2. Pips counting down the last few seconds of the move.
3. Customisable workouts - you choose from a list of exercises for each muscle group, how long you want the pauses, how many circuits.

I originally started these exercises after climbing in Croatia and wanting to improve my strength and fitness, but I'm not really dedicated enough for that, I just need to climb more. Instead, this little workout has proved a good start-up mechanism, especially when coupled with the Headspace app discussed below.

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Headspace is a meditation app that starts you off with a free ten day program and then, if you like it, invites you to subscribe to daily meditations for a small monthly fee. The meditations are ten minutes long and, although you are guided through them as if you are sat on a chair, I quite enjoy just lying flat on the floor and taking ten minutes out to give my mind and body a break from the hustle and bustle. The past few days I've found it enjoyable to do a short workout in the morning using Johnson & Johnson's 7 Minute Workout app, take a shower, and then use the ten minutes of meditation to ready myself for the day.

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Monday, 19 May 2014

SET OF 3: Pink in my garden

Chives Granny bonnets Aliums and fennel

This weekends sun made everything growing in the garden pop with colour. All around me I was seeing pink so here's a SET OF 3 dedicated to it.

From left to right: Flowering chives; Granny bonnets; Aliums and fennel.

Monday, 12 May 2014

SET OF 3: Indian Saptamtrka carvings (from my dissertation)

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Another week, another SET OF 3. Second week on the trot and enjoying my little feature so fun. It's allowing me to speedily share with you a theme for my day or week in a neat little format. I like it! I hope you do too - feel free to drop me a comment at the bottom to tell me what you think.
Anyway, this week I have my first exam and I intended to share with you three of the beautiful Indian paintings that I've been studying. However, plans change and instead this post features three images from my dissertation - two different Saptamtrka reliefs (seven mothers) from Ellora in Maharashtra, a part of my trip last summer that I never got round to writing about. Below is a fuzzy picture of a very happy me perched with the seven formidable ladies pictured above. Many of you have asked what my dissertation was about and I often replied with something evasive along the lines of "seventh/eighth century hindu sculpture in central India" but this is a much better explanation!
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Monday, 5 May 2014

SET OF 3: Trays

Flower Angle Angle

Here is a set of three trays that I've been lusting after. Hopefully SET OF 3 might become a new little Monday feature - what do you think chappies?

From left to right: Marimekko Pieni Unikko Tray (£44.50); HAY Kaleido Tray, Medium, Red (£27.00); Orla Kiely Wallflower Melamine Tray, Peppermint (£28.00).
All available at http://www.johnlewis.com/

Friday, 2 May 2014

A move to Somerset celebrated At The Chapel

It's been a while since I've felt like, or been in a position to put together any new bits for this little page. Dissertation is out of the way and with it one of the most stressful parts of my life so far. With it comes a new chapter and, I'm happy and excited to announce, a new six month relocation to Somerset where I'll be working as part of the new team for international art dealers Hauser & Wirth's new venture, Hauser & Wirth Somerset! Woot woot! This news comes hot off the press, as I was down in Bruton yesterday for my interview. Obviously, I couldn't resist stopping off at the ever pleasing At The Chapel, a place that I discovered when I was house-sitting in the village for two weeks (see this post for details). This time, I had a light lunch of local, pan-fried sardines with a salad of fennel, tender leaves, pine nuts, sultanas and what looked like nasturtium petals. Very pretty. Very tasty. Surprisingly filling.
Look out for the bright blue flash of welsh woollen skirt in the top photo!

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On another exciting note, I've been working on a project with my lovely mum and sister. Watch this space for more info!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Tarragon and Wild Beasts

My tarragon has finally started growing back - perhaps spring really is on its way. Here's hoping its before this shedload of work gets the better of me! Wild Beasts keeping me up and running today, have a listen.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Gourmandes at Bageriet

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So this weekend my lovely sister Alice came to see me in my London pad for a weekend of lounging around. Before the lounging, though, we walked from Waterloo to Covent Garden to try this lovely looking Swedish bakery, Bageriet, on Rose Street. We got there half an hour before it opened and the smell of cardamom and freshly baked tasty things was wafting out of an open window, making us salivate. By the time we were allowed in there was a little throng of us with our noses pressed against the glass watching the morning's pastries being displayed in the window. Inside is tiny and cute, with two tables and a beautifully soft curly sheep skin on the bench. Alice and I plumped for three likely looking treats, much to the envy and wide eyes of the little girl sat at the table beside us. Benefits of being a grown up! My favourite was the soft Mormors Sockerkringlor or Granny’s Sugar Pretzels, a buttered and sugared fresh brioche pretzel that is one of the simplest, tastiest things I've ever tried. The nutmeg laced hot chocolate that we shared hit the spot and we waddled out, stuffed and content.
I love the The Nordic Bakery - their cookbook, denim aprons, stark cafe and trendy crockery. Bageriet is a completely different kettle of fish, though. It's stylish and uncomplicated but homey and unpretentious, which I respect. It's all about the cake. Good on them.

Bageriet on Urbanspoon

Friday, 3 January 2014

Sexy Swedish Buns - Abba with more blueberries

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SO. Hello again, everyone - it's been a while! This last term has been a little crazy and I've felt pretty uninspired but new year and all, so I'm back with a comforting plate of zesty blueberry cardamom buns. This time, though, they're not made by me but my boyfriend - his first foray into doughy goodness. They were so frickin tasty that I had to share with you all! I ate mine toasted with my nana's yellow plum jam - super good. You can find Jamie Oliver's original recipe here. I think Alun used less blueberries which made the buns almost more like nordic teacake and toastable without falling apart. I'm going to make a mental note for when Easter and, more importantly, hot cross buns season comes around - keep your eyes peeled for hot cross Skandi buns!