Friday, 27 May 2011

Friday Finds

Perfect for evening picnics on the beach. Team it with skinny jeans, flats and a little cardy.

Coral polka dot dress by River Island

This is brilliant.

Big deal on my blog print by Parada Creations via Etsy

For kids? Yeah, right. I'll take 5 please.

Little home sherbert pom pom cushion by John Lewis

I could bake some serious cakes in this.

Strawberry rhubarb apron by Anthropologie

Hmm. If you'll excuse me I'm off to rummage through my wardrobe in search of some plain t-shirts.

Sukie transfers book via Urban Outfitters

I'm suddenly back in the 80's on Yarmouth beach with my bucket and spade and pigtails in these little beauties.

Orange jelly sandals by Topshop

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Boneless Buffalo Bites and Blue Cheese Dip

Buffalo WINGS are messy..and hairy. I don't mind the mess but I can do without having to deal with the hair and pimpled skin. You know what I mean. So, these are Boneless Buffalo Bites. A variation, I'm sure, I'm not the first to debut here on CWCS, but they're SO good. The actual buffalo sauce is a recipe from our BBQ hero Steve Raichlen. "Buffalo Mop" to be precise. See?

Obviously, I shan't be posting the recipe on here because it's not mine (you could buy the book and be in BBQ heaven (that's okay Steve you can pay me later)). There's all kinds of very bad for you..ahem..I mean delicious things in here. Nearly a whole stick of butter being one of them. But, sssh, I won't tell anyone if you don't.

And then there's this:

There ain't no party like a Frank's party.

The recipe actually calls for tobasco sauce but we are unashamed lovers of Frank's so we decided that would be best.

Now buffalo wings/bites wouldn't be complete without blue cheese dip. It would be like bread without olive oil, beef without mustard, Seth without Summer (I had to get the OC in here somewhere didn't I?!). Anyway, you get the point.

So, I whipped up a batch. These are your ingredients. Minus the Sam Adams of course. Unless you wanted to. Whatever floats your boat.

Start off by crumbling the stilton into a bowl.

With the back of a large spoon, squidge the cheese a little to break it up. Don't worry if it's still lumpy, we'll come to that later on.

Add 300ml of soured cream

Stir it up, baby.

Now add 2 heaped tablespoons of your favourite mayo. With or without the chubby thumb.

And the juice of half a lemon (minus the pips).

Now transfer your mixture to a food processor (see, I told you we'd get there) and whizz it all up until it's nice and smooth. You could leave your mixture lumpy if you so wish.

Once you're happy with the thickness, transfer the mixture back to the bowl and season with salt and pepper. Can you tell I forgot to take pictures of this part?

Then you should have something that looks like this:

Granted, I hear you, I could have done something a little more exciting with the presentation. BUT. When you taste this, it'll knock your socks off, it's so tasty. Honest. Try it.

Now, you might wonder why the hell I made salsa to go with this.

Well, hold your horses! I didn't. It was to go with a batch of home made golden breaded mozarella sticks that I made for our lovely vegetarian Vikki. However, I shan't be showing you a photo or a step by step of these as they just looked TOO good. And me being the kind person that I am, I wouldn't want to make you all jealous of my fan-tab-ulous cooking skills. Ahem. The truth your honour? Okay. They were a complete tram smash. All the cheese oozed out of the breadcrumbs (I knew I should have egg and breadcrumb dipped twice) and by the time I'd put them all into a dish they'd all melded together to create one big breadcrumb and mozzarella cheese pat. What, it's okay that I had to cut it like a pie to serve it. Yes, of course it is. I have to say though, horrible presentation aside, they tasted ruddy good and with some of that salsa on top it finished it off nicely.

Right, for the salsa:

Start with a few good handfuls of tomatoes. Mixed colours always work best.

You see that lovely shiny thing bottom right? That is my best friend for life. Well, apart from Bob of course. That people, is my Global knife. Oh, yes. I will never chop, slice or dice with another. Anyway, I digress.

Chop your tomatoes.

Roughly chop one sweet red pepper..

..and a bunch of spring onions..

..and a nice big bunch of coriander.

Add it all to a bowl and add the juice of one whole lime and 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Then give it all a good stir and that is your basic salsa right there. Nice and quick and really refreshingly delicious.

We also had sweet potato fries. Obviously, you need no explanation as to why you won't be getting a photo of those either.

Some photos by (the lovely) Bob

Monday, 16 May 2011

Friday (ish) finds

I did want to post this on Friday, hence the title. However, due to nasty little gremlins in Blogland, I couldn’t. So, because you’re lucky, you can have it right now.

Don’t you just love these fabric birds made my Abigail Brown?

When you can’t have the real thing perched on your bookshelves, then these come in a very close second.

This blue tit is my favourite.

No, hold on, it’s definitely this kingfisher.

Wait! Hold the phone. I think this jay is amazing too.

Whoa, okay, pump the breaks! This is the one! I really love this more exotic pink flamingo. Not that I don’t love my common garden birds too, of course!

Okay, you’ve twisted my arm. I’ll take them all.

All photos via Abigail BROWN

Monday, 9 May 2011

Sicilian pesto.

Served best straight onto whole wheat spaghetti, with a little extra parmesan sprinkled on top just for the fun of it. Delizioso!

You will need:

(Serves 4)

60g Skinned almonds (or blanched almonds)
20 x Basil leaves
200g Sun dried tomatoes - drained
4 x Garlic cloves - peeled
Extra virgin olive oil - to taste
100g Parmesan - finely grated
Salt & Pepper - to season

In a shallow frying pan toast the almonds. Once golden brown set aside and leave to cool.

Into a food processor add the basil leaves, garlic and sun dried tomatoes. Blitz until combined and very finely chopped.

Add the almonds and whizz until the mixture is a smooth paste.

Add a little of the olive oil at a time until you are happy with the consistency.
You don't want your pesto to be too sloppy but at the same time it has to have movement so you're looking for somewhere in between.

Once you are happy with the thickness, give the mixture one final pulse to make sure everything is nicely combined and then transfer to a dish.

Fold the grated parmesan cheese into the mixture. This will thicken the pesto so you may wish to add a little more oil at this stage just to loosen things up again.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Recipe adapted from Gino's Pasta

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Crochet Withdrawal

It's been way too long since I picked up my crochet hook. Before Christmas to be absolutely precise. I hooked a granny square blanket for my Gran for a Christmas present. So, I was mucho excited when I stumbled across something that I HAD to crochet. Granny Bunting.

Yes, I admit it people, I am a shameful lover of all things granny . The hooky kind of course, not the purple rinse, dentured, hoover-kisses kind. I came across the pattern on Crocheting With Raymond. Alice is one talented, crafty lady. I've only done 3 flags so far but I'm planning on doing a nice long line of them. Probably about 15 or so.

I decided to use 5 colours and just alternate them. I've been using some leftovers from the blanket but they're running quite low so I feel a trip to the haberdashery section in John Lewis is going to be on my list of things to do very soon.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

More BBQ goodness

As there were plenty of royal goings on Friday we decided that it was definitely a good excuse to throw another BBQ. Why not? The grey skies and impending rain threatened our good time (although we had the umbrellas at the ready) but before we knew it the sun had broken through the gloom and we were heating the grill. Bob donned his chef's hat (metaphorically of course) and whipped up a nostril-tingling, very fragrant Chinese marinade for some swordfish steaks that we had picked up.

It was not only extremely pretty to look at, with it's little star anise floating around amongst the crushed garlic and cinnamon sticks but it also flavoured the fish incredibly well. As soon as the steaks hit the grill they sizzled and wafted up a most amazing aroma that drew me and my camera closer.

Then came my favourite..the ribs. Finger-licking, lip-smacking and tooth-sticking. Bob decided to try two kinds, a few racks of baby back's rubbed with a bbq rub which were then doused in sweet and smoky bbq sauce while they cooked on the grill.

Then he made a smoky apple BBQ sauce which Wes glazed the other ribs with while they sizzled and spat and made our mouths water.

More sauce Wes! More!

These were the final results:

Ribs with rub and sweet and smoky bbq sauce glaze.

Ribs simply glazed with smoky apple bbq sauce.

Both kinds of rib were SO good. Hold on, I don't think I'm expressing just how good these were. They were so good I could have eaten everyone elses too. They were so good that when I realised that mine were all gone, I looked around to see if anyone might have too much to eat and would need me to help them out. Sadly not. What do you mean you really enjoyed them too? The apple glazed ones were stickier, messier and my personal favourite. The ribs that had been rubbed and then glazed were alot spicier and were packed with good, punchy flavours. They also had little bits of caramelised brown sugar from the rub. What's better than caramelised sugar? Nothing, that's what. Aren't I lucky to know two men who can glaze, make delicious sauces and rubs and grill food on the BBQ so well?

My cooking hasn't been that adventurous lately. I haven't really had the oppurtunities for it. I will though. This weekend, I'm thinking about knocking up some boneless buffalo wings and some Jack Daniels sesame chicken, TGI inspired. Oh, and some creamy blue cheese dip and sweet potatoes fries. In the meantime though, here were some delicious sides that I made to accompany the meaty goodness of..well..the meat.

Torn mozarella with green pesto, basil, lemon zest and juice and LOTS of olive oil.

My delicious cranberry salsa which is, if I may say so myself, out of this world. I love it with everything and anything. Visit here for the recipe.

A gorgeous mixed tomato salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, chilli and garlic. I was lucky to find some unusual looking tiger tomatoes in the supermarket to jazz this up a little and make it more visually pleasing. When Bob eats this he says "It reminds me of holiday". I know exactly what he means and you would too if you tasted it.

And here to round it all off is my Bob's beard. Why? Because I can.

My love

Mozzarella salad via Jamie Oliver
Tomato salad via Jamie Oliver
BBQ sauces and Chinese marinade via Steve Raichlen