She’s here

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Ok – this is a bit belated but you can understand. Ive been a bit busy. With a little daughter. That’s right. I popped on Wednesday 2 April at 221am after being in labour for about 3 days. I had to be induced as the better half was leaving for an overseas trip that following Saturday and induction could take anywhere up to 3 days. We couldn’t risk it and so we decided it was time.

So she’s a little girl and she’s perfect in every way. She’s got a lovely dark head of hair and massive big brown eyes – just like her mummy. She’s got a busy schedule, on the cards today; drink some milk from mummy’s boobs, have a poo, laugh while mummy cleans it, have a wee (after mummy just changed her of course) and sleep. Busy busy busy.

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My body is still a little battered and bruised – but I’ll get over it (I better do – this flab is just not attractive and don’t even get me started on the hyper-pigmentation). At the moment, my body is still re-adjusting to the timings and have transformed to what I can only be described and a glorified night owl.  Its hard work – I won’t lie, but it can be quite fun too. Especially when she smiles after she farts on me. Nice.

Right, I am off to try and sleep for a little bit now, no doubt she will wake up and cry as soon as I lie down, but a girls gotta try and get some sleep sometime!

Toodles,

KimmyX

39 weeks 1 day pregnant

39 + 1 week

OK. I’m all stretched out now – my skin feels like its about to burst ala aliens style. Time to come out baby. Today – I am 39 weeks 1 day pregnant and I have bounced on that silly ball for an hour, eaten a really hot sandwich and I have just had a hot curry for dinner (plus extra bird’s eye chilli of course). I have also been drinking raspberry leaf tea like its going out of fashion tomorrow. Nothing yet.  I’m beginning to very much doubt these old wives tales. I also took the dogs for a walk around the dock. Nada. Nothing. No water breaking, no dramatic dash to the hospital. No cursing the ward down about how much pain I am in. Not yet anyway. :)

hot curry anyone?

hot curry anyone?

Today we also went to BnQ to get a shitload of gardening stuff – the weather has been so gloriously (and uncharacteristically for March) sunny that we (the other half) decided it was time to get his hands dirty and do some gardening. So while he dug, cut, power-sawed his way though the garden, I sat on that silly ball, bouncing up and down like an idiot.

Tomorrow is Sunday and apparently its a great day to give birth – for one, the parking is free at the hospital and also I have nothing planned in my diary.  So there you have it. Ive decided tomorrow is d-day. Are you listening in there baby?

P/S: Tomorrow I am going to be walking up and down the stairs like a crab – sideways that is. According to the midwife, that’s meant to help kick-start labour? Who would have thought?!?! :) I secretly think these old wives tales were made up to make us look like fools – I mean, walking sideways like a crab? Surely not? Oh well, I’ll give it a try. And yes, I’m willing to look like a fool, if anything it’ll get a laugh out of the other half!

Toodles,

KimmyX

39 weeks pregnant

39 weeks

39 weeks

Right. Full Term. I never thought I would get here, but here I am. That’s right. Me. Miss I-can’t-do-it-it’s-killing-me.  I’m 39 weeks pregnant TODAY. Are you listening in there baby? The oven is done. Fully cooked. All systems GO. Come out come out where ever you are (well in my belly).  These last few days have been seriously god-damn hard (and I’m not being ungrateful).  I hardly sleep, my left leg is numb from sleeping only on my left (apparently this helps blood flow??!) I can’t turn by myself, getting up is like moving a boulder and walking up and down the stairs is making me consider getting a chair lift for the house (part of me also thinks this could be fun for the doggies. No – pregnancy its not fun but then again, no one said it was.

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My bag is almost packed – I probably should get that sorted soon. I mean, just how many nappies do you need on that first day?! Boob cream – yea or nay? Massage oil? Bendy straws? No one knows. Reading the previous experiences of mums around the world just confuses me even more. Tell you what I definitely packed though – a small bottle of champagne. After 9 months of having a teaspoon here and a tablespoon there of some form of booze (mulled wine does not count)  – I am ready for a proper flute of lovely bubbly.  Oh yes. Show me the bubbles! :)

Champagne to toast the baby! And for mummy of course!

Champagne to toast the baby! And for mummy of course!

So here I am at 39 weeks. 39 weeks and ready to fire this baby out. We met a midwife at the birthing suite yesterday and she gave the most funniest, most entertaining little speech about contractions and labour – the only point where I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry was when she told me it was more than likely I would go over – like most people do. I could have decked her – but I didn’t – the thought of all the energy I would need getting up and mustering up some arm muscle made me feel really tired.  She was great though and if anything, very entertaining (and informative).  Hot curry, pineapple, bouncing on a ball, sitting down leaning forward and long walks so far have not worked, and believe me, Ive tried the LOT. Nothing. Nada. No baby, Yet.

So. just what am I going to do today? Well. The clothes have now piled up so someone needs to fold them. Then there is the bouncing on the ball. Stupid ball. I hate it – Its such an odd thing to do bouncing on it, I can’t imagine what my neighbours might think if they saw me (though I don’t know why they would be looking through my windows) Then I suppose I will have to finish up packing and put the bag in the car – urghh, more steps to climb down from to get to the car. Making me feel tired already.

Actually, I need to buy some drawers for our bathroom as my make-up addiction has (surprise surprise) spiraled out of control and gained a life of it’s own. So I guess an afternoon spent on eBay and Amazon is in order. What’s really annoying is a few years ago we found the perfect one on eBay and paid about 200 pounds for it – only to later find out the idiots selling it were rogues and just did away with our money and never delivered the drawers. And silly me didn’t pay with a credit card so I couldn’t claim the money back.  Yes – I am quite silly (sometimes) (most of the time).

Ok, I have to run off now (not literally of course – I can’t run anymore, nor walk, just waddle).  Speak soon.

Toodles,

KimmyX

Tea at Claridge’s

Seeing as how soon it won’t just be the two of us, we decided that we would treat ourselves to a fancy tea at Claridge’s. Now, we have been to a few others for tea, The Ritz and The Landmark and were not as impressed and so decided to come back here. Something about the Tiffany coloured cups maybe? No – of course not! (I’m not that shallow!!). The impressive 24-tea menu and a delicious selection of sandwiches, clotted cream and scones and pastries makes for a mouth-watering afternoon of indulgence – and indulge we certainly did! Here are some pictures I sneakily took while we were there.

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  • Daylesford organic chicken,lemon & tarragon on granary bread
  • Dorrington ham, celeriac rémoulade & tomato chutney on onion bread
  • Severn & Wye smoked salmon, brown shrimp butter & rock samphire on rye bread
  • Burford brown egg mayonnaise & watercress on white bread
  • Cucumber, crème fraîche & rocket on white bread

The three teas I tried were:

Emperor’s Breakfast

This rare Chinese variety, crafted by masters, produces produces an astonishingly sweet black tea.  It is made from very young, tender spring leaves and golden buds that have been kept while during a painstaking harvesting process.  Ir is remarkably smooth with flavours of rich toffee and chocolate.  This was my second favourite tea – its a strong black tea with incredible smoothness and has a lovely after-taste.

White Silver Tip

The most prized of all white teas (and the personal favourite of the Claridge’s esteemed tea connoisseur) this is made entirely of tender, spring buds, picked for only twenty days of the year from the mountains of Fujian in far eastern China.  These precious leaves contain the highest levels of antioxidants, the lowest caffeine and the most beautifully delicate flavour of any teas. remarkably soft, clean and sweet with an aroma of freshly cut grass. This was my  least favourite and I don’t know if there were not enough leaves to fully bring the flavour of the tea out, or if it was meant to taste unremarkably tasteless – I remember saying to the better half ‘this tea tastes of hot water!’ :(

Malawi Antler

Rather than being made form the leaves of the tea bush, the unspeakably rare tea is made only from the velvety stems of its finely plucked spring shoots.  These ‘antlers’ wonderfully express the earth of Malawi.  In the same way that a wine has its terroir, a combination of factors give this single estate tea its unique flavours.  Only a few kilos of Malawi Antler can be produced each year.  This tea is soft and sweet with right lychee and apricot flavours. The Malawi Antler is one of the world’s most sought after teas.  Consequently, Claridge’s is one of just two places in the world where you will find this gorgeous tea served.  My favourite tea of the evening, a sweet after taste engulfs you as you drink this tea and it is bursting with flavour – no need to add sugar!

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Yummy scones and very naughty cakes!

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  • Chocolate gâteau, Mariages frères crème brûlée
  • Raspberry macaroon on a delicate cream base
  • Pear & walnut éclair, vanilla cream
  • Apricot & caraway cake

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Scones (two plain and two with raisins)  – freshly baked everyday in Claridge’s kitchens, served with Cornish clotted cream and Marco Polo gelée.

How much?

Traditional Afternoon Tea costs £50 , if you add a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut, NV it costs £61. With a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé it goes up to £74.  Yes, I hear you. HOW MUCH FOR SANDWICHES AND CAKE? It was a treat – its not like we’re there every weekend (probably couldn’t get a table anyway – took 3 months to get this booking!!)  It is a lovely experience though and one that comes highly recommended.

Click here if you would like to make a booking for afternoon tea too.

Toodles for now!

KimmyX

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Happy Shrove Apple Cinnamon Pancakes Tuesday! What is Shrove Tuesday all about anyway? Beats me really, all I know is people have to eat pancakes on this day. After some digging, this is what Uncle Wiki told me;

Shrove Tuesday (also known as Shrovetide Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Shrove Tuesday, a moveable feast, is determined by Easter.

The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “confess”.[1] Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics, who make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God’s help in dealing with.  Being the last day before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one sacrifices for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations, before commencing the fasting and religious obligations associated with Lent. The term Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, Shrove Tuesday is also commonly known as “Pancake Day” or “Pancake Tuesday” due to the tradition of eating pancakes on the day.’

Read more on Shrove Tuesday here.

On this special occasion, we decided to make our favourite pancakes – Apple Cinnamon Pancakes with Maple Syrup Butter – heart attack, here we come!! Its SUPER DUPER easy to make, and bonus if you are an apple fan!

What you need:

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  • 200 grams Self-Raising flour
  • 100 grams Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 200 ml milk (we used whole milk)
  • 1 tsp butter

For the Maple Syrup Butter  (tastes so good but oh so bad for your heart!)

  • 85 grams butter
  • 3 tbsp Maple Syrup

Here’s how you do it:

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Mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.

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Make a well in the center.

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Beat the egg and milk together.

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Pour the egg and milk mixture into the well.

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Using a wooden spoon or a spatula and gently incorporate the dry ingredients into the liquid until well combined.

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Then stir in the grated apple.

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Mix the whole lot together until well combined.

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Heat the butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a low heat until melted and bubbling. Ass tablespoons of pancake mix to form 9 inch circles (or if you like, this is the GIANT pancake the better half made for himself) Cook each pancake for about 1 minute until it starts to bubble lightly on the top and looks set, the flip it over and cook on the other side for about 30 seconds or until cooked through.

To make the Maple Syrup Butter

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This is what you basically need – two easy ingredients to lead you to a very naughty (but very tasty) syrup to go with your pancakes!

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Melt the butter with 3 tablespoons of maple syrup[p into a saucepan over a low heat and stir until combined.

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Serve warm with your pancakes.

Here are the pictures of our pancakes;

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This is the other half's giant pancake. He's a little mad - have I mentioned?

Here's his other pancake - he named it the 'squancake'.

the 'squancake'

the ‘squancake’

And here are MY dainty pancakes.

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Happy pancake eating!

Toodles,

KimmyX

STK London Review

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STK – yet another steakhouse recommended by a good friend at work who knows I LOVE steak as much as I love my husband. The last time we went to Hawksmoor – we were sorely disappointed (and paid far too much money!) and so I was a bit skeptical on going with another so called ‘best steak in London’ punt.  Nevertheless, the lure of ‘if you don’t like it I’ll pay for your meal (no drinks included in this deal) was tempting enough. If he was bold enough to offer that, I figured it couldn’t be THAT bad, could it?

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And so, last Friday, my last day at work, off we trotted down The Strand to STK, an American chain steakhouse that serves USDA Prime beef – The highest in quality and intramuscular fat, with limited supply. Currently, about 2.9% of carcasses grade as Prime, so really, this was the dogs bollocks of beef.  I LOVE Argentinian beef, so it was going to be a tough act to follow, the better half is not as fussy as I am and he has had some really good US beef (or so he tells me) so he was interested to see what this restaurant was like.  The interior reminded me a little of Gaucho – dark, moody and sexy. Tick. And no cowhide to sit on (those seats at Gaucho always make my legs itch!) Tick two.

Price wise – its not much different to a night out at Gaucho – I would say it was almost the same so these lot had to pull something special out of their hat for me to change allegiances.

We were there at 5.15pm – pretty early but I ended work at 4.30pm and didn’t fancy waiting around, plus now I’m the size of a mini bus, I get tired pretty quickly, so eating early sat fine with me.  The staff were all really nice when we came in (maybe they were afraid I would throw a pregnancy-related tantrum or worse, sit on them!) and within minutes we were met by Alex, a really lovely french waiter.  He was (surprise surprise) an ex-Gaucho waiter and so knew what we were talking about when we mentioned how we liked our meat.  Straight off the bat, he said their fillet (my favourite) was not as good at Gaucho (said was not as soft and tender) – one point for honesty! but their Ribeye did a lot better – I actually liked that more (on this occasion!)

our bread starter

our bread starter

We were first served with a starter of Brioche Bread with a blue cheese spread, accompanied by a lovely garlic dip, and while this was nice, it was nowhere as nice as the famous cheese bread starter you get at Gaucho, but then again, nothing comes close to that anyway.

my fillet with a Bearnaise sauce

my fillet with a Bearnaise sauce

Alex didn’t lie – my fillet was not the best I’ve had but the Ribeye was lovely – comparable to the one served at Gaucho. You get a complimentary sauce (I don’t normally order one as I like tasting the meat) and we ordered two sides – a spinach (which was really really good) and a rather odd choice of Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (not a big Brussels fan but I could stomach this thanks to the smoked flavor of the bacon coming out and influencing my taste buds)

Ribeye with a pepper sauce - YUM

Ribeye with a pepper sauce – YUM

All in all – it wasn’t bad – not by a long-shot.  Being a fillet girl myself, I would be inclined to go back to Gaucho as it’s better there (for me of course).  Its always good to try new places though and I’m glad we went. And no, I didn’t ask for the money we paid from my money-back-guarantee deal from my mate. If you are a ribeye fan – this is definitely the place for you.  Also, on the weekends, after 8pm, the place converts into a mini club with a DJ which sounds like fun! If i wasn’t a mini whale – we would have definitely come later and stayed one! (no one wants to see a mini whale bustin’ a move on the dance floor – for God’s sake, people want to eat!!)

Happy eating!

Toodles,

KimmyX

Coffee Cake

1st day of maternity leave – feels a little odd to be honest knowing I won’t be back at my desk for a year at least. And I keep asking myself what will I do with myself for a whole year?! I am then reminded that this is not something I won through a raffle – no, I’ll have a baby to look after! *reality check 1,2,3* .  Anyway, we had two really good friends come over last night and I decided to bake a cake and so out came my Mary Berry website and I settled on her Cappuccino Coffee Cake. Now, I don’t drink coffee (except Starbucks Toffee Nut Latte which they bring out at Christmas time) so this cake was really predominantly for the guests and the other half (who is a mini coffee addict)

This Coffee Cake is really easy to make and very light to eat – I reduced the sugar (healthy eating and all that) upped the coffee taste (did I mention one of us is a coffee addict?!) and out popped a beautifully crafted, light, moist, not-too-sickly-sweet cake.  Even I ate a slice! This is perfect with a cup of tea, or coffee if you prefer and takes about 1.5 hours to make.  The only difficult thing i found with this cake is cutting the cake into 4 slices – but alas, I got the better half to do that, he’s way better at stuff like that than me.

What you’ll need;

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  • 225g (8oz) very soft butter, plus more for the tins
  • 225g (8oz) light muscovado sugar or caster sugar
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 5 level tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water

For the Icing

  • 175g (6oz) soft butter
  • 300g (12oz) icing sugar
  • 5 level tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water

Here’s how you do it;

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Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/315F fan/Gas 4. Butter and line the base of two deep 20cm (8in) sandwich cake tins.

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Measure all the cake ingredients, except the coffee, into a large mixing bowl and beat together until smooth.

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Stir in the dissolved coffee until thoroughly blended.

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Should look like this when it’s creamed together.

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Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared tins and level the tops.

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Bake in the preheated oven for about 25–30 minutes until golden brown, shrinking away from the sides of the tin and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed.

Now for the icing;

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To make the icing, mix the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl and beat together until smooth.

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Should look something like this after you cream the whole lot together.

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Beat in the dissolved coffee and divide into four.

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When creamed together with the coffee, should look like this. Do a taste test and add more icing sugar if you like, or a tiny bit more coffee if you prefer a stronger coffee taste.

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When they are cold, slice each cake horizontally in half, giving four layers of cake.

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Slice away – careful with your fingers!

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Sit one base on a cake stand and spread with a quarter of the mixture.

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Stack em’ up like jenga! Continue layering up with cake and icing so you finish with icing on top and swirl to give an attractive finish.

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I even iced the sides of the cake as I had icing left – decorate as you please – I stole 3 coffee beans from the better half’s coffee machine.

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Ta-daa! One coffee cake ready to eat!

The cake can be made and iced up to two days ahead, kept covered in the fridge. Iced or un-iced, it freezes well.

Happy baking!

Toodles,

KimmyX

Baked fish with white sauce

Baked fish with white sauce

Baked fish with white sauce

One of the best things about this baked fish with white sauce recipe is how bloody quick it is to make. From oven to gob in about half an hour. And it tastes so clean too. What’s more, you can cook up as many (or keep it plain and simple without any but the Dr might have something to say about that, five a day and all that!!) types of vegetables to go with this meal.  We had boiled potatoes, steamed spinach and runner beans. You can use any white fish you want – we used halibut loin. So, get your timers out people – half hour dinner coming up!

What you need for the white sauce:

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  • Olive Oil
  • Double cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (depending on how garlic-ky you like your food)
  • Some lemon juice (more lemon can be used if you like pulling sour faces)

Method:

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Chop fish into two (or however many pieces if you have a bigger fish) and place on aluminum foil in glass dish. Remember to adjust the quantity of the white sauce if you’re increasing the fish portions. :)

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Drizzle olive oil on the fish – rub into fish and flip over and do the same to the other side.

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Season generously with black pepper and salt.

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Wrap up like a shiny christmas present and put in the oven at 180deg for 13 minutes. In the meantime, whip up the white sauce.

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Slice up garlic – 1 or 2 depending on how many you fancy. We used 2.

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Separate egg yolk from the egg white.

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Measure out 60ml of olive oil and place in a tumbler.

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Add chopped garlic to the olive oil.

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Squeeze a dash of lemon juice to the concoction – not too much though (unless you like pulling sour faces)

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Add a dash of double cream.

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We used a bamix to whizz the whole lot up until a creamy white sauce emerges.

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Ding – there goes the oven! Yes – 13 minutes is all it took! Remove the fish from the foil. (by this time, you should have had some vegetables on the boil by the way!)

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Pour gorgeous white sauce on the fish and serve hot! Season how you like it with salt and pepper. Enjoy! :)

Ta-daa! Happy cooking!

Toodles,

KimmyX

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

So its Valentine’s Weekend – I must admit I’m not feeling particularly romantic – what in my like feeble whale-like state. I mean, how any man can find someone who has to pee 5 times an hour and needs help being pushed up the stairs (probably to get to the toilet to pee!) is beyond me. We decided that instead of going out and being charged 10 times more for the same meal, that we would cook together instead. Well – the other half would cook and I would bake a cake for dessert. He’s a big lemon fan (don’t know why but I hate lemon cakes!!) and so I decided to try my hand at Lemon Meringue Pie – with a little help from Mary Berry of course. Its one of the harder cakes I’ve made and took a while longer than I expected, but well worth the effort when he tucked into a slice big enough to feed a small village.  That man can eat!

What you need

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For the pastry

For the lemon filling

For the meringue topping

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

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First make the pastry. Measure the flour and butter into a food processor and blend together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

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Add the icing sugar, egg and one tablespoon of water and whizz again until combined to a ball. Our pastry was quiet ‘sticky’ so we had to add a little more plain flour until it managed to roll out.

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Tip the pastry onto a work surface and roll out to a 3mm thickness.

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Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry up and transfer it to line a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed flan tin. Be careful not to stretch the pastry as you tuck it into the corners. We didn’t have a loose bottom flan tin and so had to use a 23cm silicon based baking tray – not the best idea as the meringue cracked when we took it out of the oven after it was done – get the real deal here people, I know I will be the next time I make this!

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Cover in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.Take the pastry-lined tin out of the fridge and trim the excess pastry. Press the top edge of the pastry so that it stands slightly higher than the top of the tin.

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Line the pastry case with parchment and fill with baking beans – an alternative is rice.  What I did was lightly butter the shiny part of aluminum foil and place the buttered side onto the pastry – then weigh down with some uncooked rice – this is called ‘blind baking‘.  Bake for about 15 minutes then remove the beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further five minutes.  Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170C/340F/Gas 3½.

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Zest the 6 lemons – be careful not to zest your fingers in the process!

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After you zest the lemons – juice them (or in my case as the better half to do it as he is way stronger than I am – of course I blame this on me being pregnant, otherwise i would totally CRUSH him)

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Mix the lemon zest and juice with the cornflour and stir to form a smooth paste.

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Measure 450ml/16fl oz of water into a pan and bring to the boil.

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Add the lemon cornflour mixture to the hot water and stir over the heat until the mixture has thickened, then remove from the heat.

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In a bowl mix together the sugar and egg yolks.

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Carefully whisk into the lemon mixture in the pan.

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Stir over a medium heat until thickened.

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Set aside for a few minutes and then pour into the baked pastry case.

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For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a free-standing mixer until soft peaks form when the whisk is remove – this should look like fluffy white clouds and takes about 8-10 minutes depending on how strong your electric mixer is.

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Add the caster sugar a little at a time, still whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and whisk again.

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Look at how shiny that is – L’Oreal hair Experts – eat your heart out!

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Spoon on top of the filled pastry case and spread the meringue to completely cover the lemon filling.

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Then create a swirl on the top of the meringue.

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Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the filling is completely set and the meringue is lightly golden and crisp. For us – it took about 20 minutes to get any sort of brown on the top. Can be served warm or cold.

I was not too happy about the meringue cracking when we took it out of the oven, but that was because we didn’t have a flan tin. Overall, this is one of the harder recipes Ive made, but it did taste quite nice (even if you don’t like lemon desserts!) Just be sure not to overdo with piling in the lemon mix into the pastry as I personally felt there was too much lemon to the pastry (the better half said you could never have too much lemon)

Here’s the full recipe from the BBC website: Mary’s Lemon Meringue Pie

Happy Valentine’s weekend everyone and happy baking!

Toodles,

KimmyX

Shepherds Pie

On Tuesday afternoon I had a midwife appointment in the afternoon  – and I usually look forward to these – after all, there is no feeling like the feeling you get when the midwife says ‘yes, all’s ok, both of you are perfect blah blah blah’.  BUT, of course seeing as how its me under the magnifying glass, it didn’t go to plan and we ended up being in the hospital for a little over 3 hours.  Still, better than the last time I guess (more than 5 hours). Apparently bambi’s heartbeat was way too fast – over 170 beats per minute and that was not normal, I mean, what was he/she doing – running for a bus?! And so because the midwife was concerned, I was concerned, and because I was concerned, a more senior midwife had to be called in to check me over, and because the senior midwife was concerned, I had to be hooked up to a ctg machine to monitor the baby’s heartbeat. Great. Don’t get me wrong – I did want to make sure everything was ok, it’s just very uncomfortable when you’re getting these ‘fake contractions’ called Braxton Hicks and then you’re hooked up to this machine for however long they deem it necessary.  And of course, as soon as I was hooked up to the machine the baby’s decided to have a normal heart rate, so no cause for concern. This baby will give me a heart attack I swear!

We got home at about 6-ish and the dogs were grumpy with us as they hadn’t been fed and were checking their paw-watches from 5.15pm, so we fed them and thought about what we were going to eat for dinner. I really really really wasn’t in the mood to cook as I was so bloody tired, grumpy and the constant urge to pee every 10 minutes was really putting me off (you try having a little being rest on your bladder ALL THE TIME!)  And so, the burden of the cooking once again fell on the trusted shoulders of the better half (my mother would be so proud of me. NOT) and he said he was going to bake a pie. A shepherd’s pie he said – with lamb mince. Now, my family make shepherds pie – but we use beef mince and (apparently) that is just a no-no.  I asked him if he had a recipe and he said no – he was going to make it up as he went along. Gri-yet! So, here is the recipe for the other halfs ‘made up shepherds pie’. :)

And so, I went for a short nap (yeah right lies! - almost 2 hours!!) and ta-daa! – was awoken to the dulcet tones of ‘dinners ready’! I love being pregnant (sometimes)! magical things like dinner gets made, washing gets done, tea’s surprisingly appear etc etc. Teeheehee. :)  The pie came out beautifully – much to BOTH our surprise, considering he chucked whatever he wanted in there and made it up as he went along – great success!  Here is the recipe if you want to try it out – I promise its really good and really easy to make! (I just had some for lunch) :)

What you need:

  • Potatoes
  • Lamb Mince
  • Mushrooms
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Peppers
  • Handful of Bay Leaves
  • Fresh Chili
  • Dash of HP Brown Sauce
  • Dash of Lea and Perrins
  • Squirt of Tomato Puree
  • Beef Stock
  • Carrots
  • Small knob of butter (for mixing with potato)
  • Double cream or full-fat milk (for making potato nice and creamy)

P/S: You will notice I didn’t put measurements on some of the ingredients like the potatoes, the mince etc, that’s because you have to see how big your pie is going to be – we used quite a big Pyrex dish for ours so we adjusted levels based on that.  Also, if you preferred say more mushrooms or more chilli (for that extra kick!) go right ahead (though your tummy might not thank you for that later!)

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First, chop mushrooms, onions, peppers and chili into smaller bits.

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Place the chopped ingredients into a pan – fry with a little oil.

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Add lamb mince to the pan (don’t forget to give some raw mince to doggies to make up for earlier lateness of their dinner) Fry Fry Fry!

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Don’t forget to add the chili too.

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Add a handful of bay leaves to the mixture. Fry Fry Fry!

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In the meantime, dice potatoes and bring to boil – leave skins on for extra fibre!

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Add beef stock – close pan and let the food simmer for a while (5-10 minutes) so the flavours infuse.

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Add a dash of Lea and Perrin’s and Brown Sauce.

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Add a squirt of Tomato Puree (to taste according to how tomato-ey you like it), then let it simmer for while (10-15 minutes)

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Mash potatoes with butter and cream (or milk)

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Transfer ingredients from pan to pyrex

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Layer on potato and draw crazy line patterns on top with fork. Bake at 160deg for 30 minutes (or longer if you want top to be crispy)

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Serve hot (or tastes really good cold too!!).

There you go – shepherds pie for the soul.  :) Happy cooking!

Toodles!

KimmyX