Monday, 28 February 2011

Women of the 60's

Women whos style I admire:

Anna Karina - Danish muse of the director Jean-Luc Goddard.

Love her hair in this picture

Italian stunner Monica Vitti

Peggy Moffitt - Purveyor of the iconic Vidal Sassoon "five point" haircut.  Ive done my eyes like the below a few times, its not hard to do but its a really strong look and you need to make sure you're going for the full on hair/clothes to pull it off, otherwise you'll look like an extra from the Lion King.

Janet St Porter


Marianne Faithful

Mary Quant - If I ever get my hair cut this is the style i'll be going for.  I also love the collar on her dress, its simple but the contrast is really classic.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Bearnaise sauce

I cant believe i didnt already have this on, its my favourite sauce for steak!  Its basically a hollandaise with tarragon mixed in except you dont whisk this over hot water (with a hollandaise you make a sabayon i.e whisk the eggs over boiling water to make it lighter)  a bearnaise is the same recipe without all the carry on!  Truly the ultimate sauce for a steak or a piece of salmon.

Serves 22 egg yolks (save the whites, they will freeze very well for months)
2 tablespoons of white wine or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
125g of butter melted
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
tarragon to taste, i like quite a bit, a tablespoon i suppose...

In a saucepan heat the wine and lemon juice over a high heat until its reduced to half the volume, i.e 2 tablespoons of liquid.
Pour the hot liquid over the egg yolks, add the mustard and seasoning and whisk to combine for a few minutes to make the sauce light.  You will notice the colour of the egg yolks starting to change to a lighter yellow as you whisk.
Now continuing to whisk pour in the melted butter in a slow steady stream until its all combined.
You will notice there will be a solid white matter at the bottom of the container which you had the melted butter in, DONT put this into the sauce, stop before it tips in, this is the fats from the butter which seperate during melting.
Stir in the tarragon, taste for seasoning, add more tarragon if you like, and serve either in a put on the side of the plate or poured over the steaks/fish

The best lemon mousse I've ever tasted

I wasn’t going to give this one away as its one of my dinner party dishes but it’s so good I have to share.  I love the taste of lemon in a dessert, its so pallet cleansing.  This mousse marries the cleansing property of the lemon with a lightness that tastes like you’re eating fresh clouds!  It’s made using a sabayon which is eggs whisked over hot water, it makes it unbelievably creamy and light as a feather!  Enjoy.

Serves 2 large portions or 4 mini
2medium free-range eggs, separated
125g caster sugar
1 large or 2 medium lemons, zest and juice
150mls double cream
toasted almonds to garnish (optional)

Get a pan on a medium heat half filled with boiling water.  Place a bowl over the pan and add the egg yolks, lemon and sugar to the pan,
Whisk this mix until it starts to thicken, it will thicken have faith, the eggs will begin to cook and the mix will be like runny jam.
When it’s all combined and looks like thin jam take the pan off the heat and whisk for a few more minutes until its slightly thicker (you're not looking for gloop just a thickish custard)
In a separate bowl, lightly whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Fold this into the lemon/egg mix.
Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl with an electric hand-whisk until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add 2 additional tablespoons of caster sugar and whisk to medium-stiff peaks, which means when you take the whisk out you can hold the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out.  The whites should be glossy like meringue.
Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture with a metal spoon.

Pour into serving glasses (or maybe use it to fill a pastry shell??) and refrigerate for one hour, or until set.
Sprinkle the toasted chopped almonds over the top of the mousse if you’re using them.

Spiced braised lamb shanks

This is one of the most pleasing dishes.  Except from a brief 15 minutes of work at the beginning this dish is effortless.  The lamb is mouth-wateringly tender and whatsmore the sauce the lamb is cooked in can be frozen (if you don’t eat it all) and served with lamb (maybe roast lamb??) on another occasion.  It really is fantastic!  You can even put this in a slow cooker on a morning and it will be ready when you get in from work! 

It was a Jamie recipe ive tweaked, he originally called for all the spices to be added to the lamb before sealing but I find they burn and fall off.  I’ve added them after and I think the flavour is just as good.

I like to serve this with mashed potatoes or tabouleh.  It really needs something to soak up the juices of the meat.

Serves 2
2 shanks of lamb
sea salt freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 small dried red chilli
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced

3 sticks celery, quartered, finely diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
200 ml dry white wine
6 anchovy, fillets
1 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes or chopped
1 handful fresh basil or flat leaf parsley, roughly, chopped (optional)


Season the lamb with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a thick-bottomed casserole pan, add the oil, brown the meat on all sides and then remove from the pan.
Meanwhile, smash up the coriander seeds and dried chilli and mix with the dried oregano. Roll the lamb in this mixture, pressing it in well.
Set the lamb to one side.
Add the garlic, carrot, celery, onions the chopped rosemary with a pinch of salt to the pan and sweat them until softened. This should take around 10 minutes on a medium low heat.
Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to reduce to syrup.
Pour in the white wine and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the anchovies and then add the tinned tomatoes.
Return the lamb to the pan and stir. Adding a little water if the lamb shanks are exposed more than half (they need to be almost covered with liquid)
Bring to the boil, put on the lid and simmer in the oven at gas mark 3 (150) for 3 hours.
Skim off any fat and taste for seasoning.
Finally, stir in a handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Pork in cider gravy

I did this dish at the Northumberland County Show and ive had a few requests so here it is.  I served it with the leek suet pudding and glazed toffee carrots you can find the recipe for those under the accompaniments section.

Ingredients Serves 2
1 tenderloin of pork aprox 250g
150mls of dry cider
100mls chicken stock
Sprig of thyme, or rosemary (optional)
Salt and pepper
Oil (vegetable or olive)Method
Pre heat the oven to gas mark 6Trim the fillet of any sinew, theres a sheet of white
muscle along the top of the fillet, this needs to come off with a sharp knife or it will shrink and make the meat curl when you cook it, it wont taste any different so don’t worry.

Get a frying pan smoking hot.
Rub the fillet with a little oil and season it with salt and pepper
Add the pork to the pan and brown on all sides for 2 minutes per side.
This gives the meat colour and flavour.
For the last 30 seconds of the cooking time add a knob of butter to the pan and baste the fillet in the butter.
Add the fillet to a pre heated baking tray and cook for 20-25 minutes.  It should feel firm with a little give when its touched.  This means its cooked.  If its too springy and jelly like to the touch whack it back in the oven for 5 minutes.
Now make the gravy.
Put the frying pan back on the full heat (you don’t need to clean it).
Add the cider, it should bubble and splutter, this is good! Add the herbs if using, whole it doesn’t matter they are only in for flavour.
Once its reduced by about half the volume (keep the
heat high or it will simmer not reduce).

Add the chicken stock and again reduce by half.
Remove the herbs which will have done their job and add a knob of butter to enrichen the sauce.
Keep warm on a very low heat.
When you take the pork out of the oven let it rest for at least 5 minutes this is really really important to make the meat juicy and tender.

Serve the pork sliced with the cider gravy poured over and accompanied with whatever you like!

Steak burger

Sick of burger vans selling you ears, eyes and arseholes and charging you £4 for the (dis)pleasure? Make your own, simple to make, economical and tastier than pre bought!  They go perfectly on the BBQ or in a frying pan for a mid week quick tea!

Ridiculously simple to make, the only skill you have to posess is good wrist action!  Change the ingredients to suit your taste buds, some people prefer English mustard, white onions, no chilli - you get the picture!


Serves 1 burger, double for more etc
150g minced steak (chuck steak is cheap and fantastic for burgers, get your butcher to mince you some, if they wont, mince it yourself at home in a food processor and get a new butcher)
¼ red onion, chopped finely
½ garlic clove, crushed
½ a chilli
1 tsp each of cumin and coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed (optional)

1tsp mustard of your choice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil to fry
Burger bun
30g cheese of your choice, grated, plus beef tomatoes and salad leaves, to serve

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until minced.  If you don’t have a food processor scrunch everything up in a large bowl with your hands until well combined.
(make sure you blitz the onion garlic and chilli before you add the rest of the ingredients to break them down a little bit as they are quite chunky)Shape into a patty/burger about ¾ inch thick
Leave the burgers to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge to firm up the shape and to relax and set the meat.  If you don’t do this the burgers will break up when you fry them.You can leave the burgers anything upto 48 hours in the fridge, loosely covered with cling film.
When your ready to cook the burgers get them out of the fridge 20 minutes before to bring the meat back to room temperature.
If cooking on the BBQ drizzle the burgers with oil.
If cooking in a frying pan drizzle the pan with oil.
Fry the burgers for 3 minute a side on a medium high heat for medium meat.  If you like your burgers well done fry for 4 minutes a side.
Don’t touch the burgers when they are cooking or this will break the meat up.  Simply put them in the pan or on the BBQ and leave them.
Serve in the bread roll topped with cheese, tomatoes and crisp salad leaves! My preference is to add gherkins, French mustard and red sauce! But its your burger have it your way

Serve these with my ultimate chips or my traditional coleslaw recipe, both found under accompaniments and rest assured what you’re eating is quality!

Quick and easy coleslaw

So I only discovered a few years ago that a coldsore was called a coldsore and not coleslaw, i remember thinking god a facial herpes named after a food thats not too clever,  Anyway, a proper coleslaw is the simplest thing and it’s ten times better than shop bought, ok so I’m going to say that but its like the first time you make your own pork pie and think, “I didn’t think it could get better than a Melton Mowbray but…”

3 onions, grated
3 carrots, grated
1 small white cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp grain mustard
3 tbsp mayonnaise (homemade or from a jar) or as much as you like to loosen the coleslaw
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste! PHEW hard work or what! 

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Cake, a canine celebration and a dress i need

My plan of action for last night was to blog the Rolling Stones "Exile on Main St" album but i just didnt have time.  Without going into to much info i was stuck in A&E until late. So thats going to have to wait for another day.

This morning ive been through to Whitley Bay teaching a one on one class with a little girl who wanted to make brownies and whoopee pies.

I got back around 1pm and made this for a customer tomorrow.  Its a chocolate sponge filled with chocolate buttercream and raspberries. the collar is chocolate pencils and its topped with lindt shavings that i did with a hot knife and a selection of fruit.  It looks pretty good if i do say so myself.  It will serve around 20 good  slices, (its 8 inches but is 4 layers high) and is priced at £65.

Tonight im going to Bouchon the French restaurant from the F Word Series 5.  I'll be reviewing the restaurant so check back tomorrow for my pictures and recommendations.

Finally, it was 1 year ago today that i picked Percy up and brought him home. He is such a handsome little boy and is like my best mate.  He is currently lay on the bed upstairs with his three piece in the air for all to see. 

Heres a few pictures of him.

Oh the dress, i alomst forgot, im having visions of a tangerine paisley number with contrasting off white detail.  Not sure on the sleeves yet, i'll probably so sleeveless either that or really structured well fitted sleeves.

Today ive been wearing:
vintage Levis 501 with 1/2 inch sewn in turn up
black fred perry m12 with gold twin tip and laurel
black bass loafers

Tonight i'll be wearing:
60's navy dress with gold buttons
black vintage loafers with fringe detail

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Pigs cheeks braised in cider

Pigs cheeks are one of the most underated cuts of pork.  They are mouthwateringly tender when slow cooked and whatsmore they are one of the most, if not the most, ecenomical cut of pork you can get.  Ask your butcher for the cheeks, if your feeling adventerous, get the whole head and butcher it yourself.  The head can then be made into a fantastic gelatenous stock for filling pork pies, making a terrine or simply as the base for a soup. 

When you get the cheeks, theres quite a bit to butcher off, look at the pic below and you can see theres only a small pocket of meat you can eat. 

Here the pigs cheeks are served with creamy mashed potatoes.  The crisp bacon really adds a fantastic smoky tecture to the dish and the earthy carrots compliment everything on the plate.  Enjoy.

IngredientsServes 2/4
4 Pigs cheeks (I usually do 1 per person but the are quite small so you might want to do 2 per person)
Flour, for dusting
Olive oil for frying
1 onion peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 leek, chunkily cut
1 large carrot peeled and chunkily cut
1 stick of celrey chunkily cut
1 clove of garlic peeled
bay leaf
fresh thyme and rosemary (a sprig of each if you have any, if not dont worry)
250mls of dry cider
150mls chicken stock (or just enough to cover the cheeks)
salt and pepper
2 slices of streaky bacon per person
a bunch of baby carrots, as many of as few as you fancy
a good knob of butter

1 portion of mashed potatoes per person

Preheat the oven to gas mark 2 .
Season the pigs' cheeks and dust with a little flour. Heat some olive oil in a large ovenproof pan and fry the cheeks until golden-brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the onions, leek, celery, carrots herbs and garlic and fry over a low heat until lightly browned.
Add the cider.
Reduce by half its volume on a high heat.
Return the cheeks to the pan and pour over just enough chicken stock to cover.
Add the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2-4 hours. (after 2 horus they will be perfectly done but the longer you leave them in the more tender they will become)
Stir every hour or so, adding a little more chicken stock if it starts looking dry.
Remove the cheeks and pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Bring to the boil and reduce on a high heat to your desired jus consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
In the meantime make up the mash as per the recipe.
For the carrots: Add the carrots to the pan with the butter and water. Steam the carrots until tender then take the lid off the pan turn the heat up high.  The carrots will begin to caramelise and become “glazed” in the buttery juices.  Make sure the pan doesn’t burn as there will be  very little liquid present.  When the carrots look glazed turn the heat off and keep warm until needed.
For the pancetta:  Heat a frying pan with a little oil.  Add the pancetta and fry until crisp on both sides.

To serve, put a spoonful of the mash on the plate. Cut a cheek at an angle and arrange on top. Pile on some carrot batons on the side of the plate and balance a crisp slice of pancetta on top of the pork.
Pour the cider jus around the dish.
Eat in abundance when its cold outside.

Mussels with white wine (can be done with pasta)

This is a versatile dish as its kind of 2 meals in 1, the mussels themselves are perfect with a chunk of French bread and butter and a green salad, but to make them more substantial and to eak out the mussels if you are feeding a few people, the simple addition of pasta to the sauce gives the dish a different dimension.  They also make a great starter.
A quick note about mussels, getting fresh shellfish is really really important, if you eat a baddie then you’ll know about it, they can make you very poorly.  You need to eat mussels alive.  You can test if they are alive or not by following the below steps.


If the mussel is closed its good and you can use it.
If the mussel is open give it a sharp tap and if it closes then its alive and you can use it, if it doesn’t close then its dead and you must discard it.
If any mussels have remained closed discard them, they are dead.

Serves 2
A glug of olive oil
1 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
2 shallots, sliced
400g mussels in shells, beards removed (get your fishmonger to do it for you)
100ml white wine
70ml double cream
A bunch of chopped fresh parsley
300g pasta of your choice, I like spaghetti or linguini
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lemon juice only.

Cook the pasta as per the pack instructions in lots of salted boiling water, get this on first as the mussels will only take 5 minutes.
For the mussels, heat the olive oil in a lidded saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté for two minutes, until softened.
Add the mussels and white wine, stir well and place the lid on. Allow the mussels to steam for 3-4 minutes, then remove the lid and check that all the mussels have opened. Discard any that have not opened.
Remove the mussels from the pan into a separate bowl.

Add the double cream, fresh parsley and cooked pasta to the pan and stir adding the lemon juice, salt and pepper..

Add the pasta direct from the water it was boiled in to the mussels pan, a bit of water wont hurt it.  Drizzle with extra virgin oil and a little more parsley.

Leek puddin

This is a real Northern favourite of mine.  I had planned to do it in the final of MasterChef but i was shit out of luck and didnt make it ha!!
I especially like it with pork but simialrly i love it leftover with cold mashed potatoes,  kind of like my own little bubble and squeek!  Seriously this is fantastic! Its like a soft sweet stuffed dumpling with a crisp top!  A must for any pork lover!! If your a veggie use veggie suet.

Serves 2
100g self raising flour
50g suet
2 leeks
a good knob of butter
a glug of double cream, about 50-100mls
30g of strong cheddar cheese
1tsp of your favourite mustard,

Salt and pepper

Pre heat oven to gas mark 5 (190)
Make the suet up by mixing the flour some salt and pepper and the shredded suet and binding the mixture with a little water until its slightly sticky and comes together in a ball.
Clean the leeks, thinly slice them and sweat them in a large pan with a little olive oil and the butter.  Put a lid on the pan.
Stir in the cream, cheese and mustard, check for seasoning, if it needs more pepper go for it.
Roll the suet out on a floured surface to no more than 2cm thick,
Line 1 large or 2 individual pudding basins with the suet (don’t forget to lightly grease the pudding basins and don’t forget to leave some suet for the lid)
Fill the suet lined pudding basin with the leeks mixture.  Wet the edges of the suet and place the lid.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes for individual puddings or 40 minutes for a large pudding.  The top should be crisp and bubbling on the edges.
Turn out the puddings, they always come out clean as the suet is very thick and the basin will have been greased.
Enjoy with pork and mash YUM!

Chicken pie from This Morning

This recipe is nothing new, a simple chicken pie but sometimes there’s nothing better than crumbly homemade buttery pastry encasing moist chicken fragranced with tarragon and mingling with creamy leeks! 

The white wine really sets off the filling and the cream adds richness!  This pie can even be made out of leftovers, the day after you have a roast chicken try making this with the leftover meat picked from the bones, 

Normal chicken stock is fine if you don’t have the time to make fresh chicken stock but please do try it if you can, its FREE to make as you use the carcass from a roast chicken that you would usually throw away!Ok here goes.

makes 1 9inch by 6 inch pie which will serve 4-6
For the pastry use the short crust recipe I have posted under the baking section.  Double the quantities for this pie.
For the filling:
vegetable oil
2 small leeks cleaned and sliced
A handful of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
400-600g of raw boneless chicken pieces or you can use the meat picked from a leftover roasted chicken (which is my preference for this pie)
1 garlic clove
100ml white wine
50mls of chicken stock
150ml double cream
A sprig of fresh tarragon, leaves picked and roughly chopped
1 egg for egg washing
Pre heat the oven to gas mark 7 (220)
Make the pastry as per the pastry instructions under the baking section.
When its resting in the fridge make the filling.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook gently for 5-10 minutes until softened.
Turn the heat up and add the mushroom.  Fry for a few minutes stiring constantly so the leeks don’t butn.
Add the chicken pieces and cook, stirring, for another 4-5 minutes until just browned.  If you are using already cooked chicken pieces from a roast chicken just add them and stir in for a few seconds.
Add the wine and bubble away until reduced slightly.

Pour in the stock and reduce slightly.
Add the cream and tarragon, bring to the boil, then simmer for 5-6 minutes until thickened.
Season with salt and pepper then set aside to cool.
The mix should be wet but not too sloppy or liquid.

Right back to the pastry.

Once you have rested the pastry cut it into 2 pieces, one slightly bigger than the other.
Roll out the larger piece of pastry to the size of your pie dish, I like to use a roasting tin lined with baking parchment so I can lift the pie out once its cooked.  Its also cool to use a quiche tin (loose bottomed)  If you are using this no need to line with baking parchment as its loose botttomed so it will lift out easily enough.
Grease the edges of the pie dish with butter.
Line the baking tin with the pastry so it overhands the edges! 
Fill the pastry case with the pie filling.
Now roll the second piece of the pastry out and fit this over the top of the pie. (wet the edges of the pastry case before putting the lid on this will help it to stick.)
Knock and crimp the edges of the pie together, this basically means sticking the top of the pastry to the bottom of the pastry, squeeze it together gently until the top and bottom pieces of pastry are joined and sealed.
Beat the egg with a little salt, then brush over the pastry lightly which will make the pastry golden.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden.  Remember everything is cooked inside so you are just cokoing the pastry.
Remove from the oven and serve straight from the dish with mash and greens.  Alternatively if you have lined a baking tin with parchment lift the pie out and slice at the table! YUM! 

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage butter and toasted hazelnuts

This is a simple quick supper with bags of flavour.  Its low fat and delicious.  I like to serve this with braised meat, like rabbit or pork!  Totally indulgent, i take leftovers for dinner.  Let me know what you think.

Ingredients Serves 4
300g mashed pumpkin/squash (roast it in a hot oven until tender with salt pepper and oil then mash) I like butternut or munchkin varieties.
100g floury potato mashed.
1 egg beaten (you might not use it all)
100g pasta flour if you cant get pasta flour regular plain will do
Salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for the frying pan and drizzling at the end.
A handful of hazelnuts, toasted in a dry pan and then husked (rub them briskly in a tea towel until all the brown has come off, this works well for me)

For the butter
a few sage leaves
50g Butter

Method Mix the tender roasted pumpkin and mashed potato together until smooth. Mix in the flour some seasoning and bind with the beaten egg.
Roll into a long cylinder on a floured work surface (use more flour if you feel it sticking)
Cut into 3cm pieces.
With a fork make the gnocchi groves on each piece by pressing the fork into the piece of dough.
Mix all the ingredients together gently until combined. Roll into a long cylinder and cut into 3cm long pieces. With a fork gently pull forwards on the gnocchi to make grooves. Fill a pan with water, add around a teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Drop in as many gnocchi as will fit comfortably without overcrowding the pan.
Turn the pan to a simmer and when the gnocchi rise to the surface which should be around 3 minutes they are cooked.
Lift out with a slotted spoon and put into the warmed serving dish.
When ready to serve, heat the olive oil to a hot temperature add the butter and sage and turn down to stop anything burning.
Add the gnocchi and with the pan on medium swirl to combine.  You can get a golden crust on the gnocchi if you like which is nice.
Scatter over the coarsely chopped hazelnuts and serve withy peppery rocket and a bit of parmesan maybe?

cookies at bedtime?

I made these before bed....

cranberry and white chocolate shortbread from the Beehive Bakery, dunked in cold whole milk.

night night

Font & Font(ella) Bass

Got to love this lass, It was her hit Rescue Me in '65 under Chess Records that finally gave Motown Records a run for their money in the hit making factory.  Before the release, Motown had been relatively unrivalled in the top of the charts.

But thats not what this post is about, my lovely mate Alan at Grab a Graphic (the company who did my logo) have created me a lovely font, in the style of the wriging part of my logo

heres it is i think its fab, its going to feature hevily on my new packaging, which im designing at the minute

(having problems getting the font to stay in font on this bloody blog, i'll repost tomorrow)


God i feel like Usher, except my clothes fit me and my nose is only slightly too big for my face.

When he whacked out his hit confessions a few years back i reckon everyone with a dirty secret thought they could sleep at night knowing they were not alone.  We Salute you Usher and your shit dancing.

Never the less, this is my confession, my dirty secret, every now and again theres nowt more I enjoy than some country honky blues.

I know exactly whos fault it is, The Stones, their early material was littered with American RnB and blues covers, and my Idol Brian Jones, the man to who my tattoos are dedicated (birth and death on my wrists) and the person whos grave i visit in Prestbury Cemetery, Plot: Plot V11393 (yes im that sad) was heavily influenced, some might say consumed by blues records from an early age.  He was in fact the first person to play slide guitar in the UK, chopping the top off a glass beer bottle and using the thin opening as an instrument over his finger in which to achieve the slide guitar sound...

Actually im going to go off on a quick tangent, the above (me travelling to Brian's grave) is actually refereed to as Dark Tourism and its the subject on which i wrote my dissertation at University gaining a 2:1(hons) in 2006.

Right back on track, oh and heres the grave for anyone who might be interested: Rumour has it he is buried 12 foot deep to stop looters digging up his sexy bones...


Here is the Stones first single release, which was a Chuck Berry cover for anyone who might not have heard it.    The track reached number #21 in the UK Singles charts in 63. Their first two albums infact only had one original Jagger/Richards song across the whole albums.  Which was Tell Me the rest were covers, as Brian Jones originally set up the Stones as a cover band.  And this ladies and gents is the reason ive got such a soft spot for country blues.  Heres a couple of my favourite tunes, click the link to go to the track.

CSNY - Ohio
The Band - The Weight and heres is Aretha covering it and doing an amazing job!
Bonnie and Delaney - Comin' home
Humble pie - Black Coffee (YES THATS STEVE MARRIOTT)

Im told Heavy Load Club is the place to be for such musical appreciation in London, Ive never managed to make it down but im promised theres a big love in at the end in the form of a acapella Lynark Skynyrd sing along...

So if i love it so much why do i feel so guilty? Well i dont REALLY i suppose but theres not much of a link up between a sharply dressed mod who would rather fight naked than get their clothes dirty, and a long haired face painted free lover.

I hope you have enjoyed the tunes in this post... comments welcome.

Monday, 21 February 2011

A man said i was marching to my own beat (and i liked it)

I know Ive mentioned her before in this blog and on twitter but Angela from The Carnaby Streak really is the best in te business for making clothes in the style of the 60's / mod eras.  Far from jumping on the 60s bandwagon thats currently being whored through the high st .  Angela posesses the greatest of skill and thats the ability to tailor 60's clothing as it would have been (think French Darts and your in the right area)

You look at her competition and they are rehashing polyester crap with lace trim and selling it for double. Far from me to judge, I'll let the wheat seperate from the chaf as it naturally has with Angela and remain a happy loyal customer for years to come.

We are currently working on a dress together, well when i say working, i mean i pick the style dress, choose from a list of fabric samples she sends me and we both work out the detail and finishes together.  That way i know 100% my dress is going to be original and finished beautifully.

So the first little number is a heavy crochet/lace number with collar and button detail to the front, its also going to have a waist belt with gold fastening. Ive picked my fabric (heavy white lace) and we are moving onto the more exciting details now.  I hope it will be ready for Easter so i can wear it for Le Beat (where you can find me annually on an Easter Sunday dancing and drinking until the small hours)

Heres another couple of dresses ive got in the pipeline, i love the simplicity and contrasting lines of the first one, its going to be really structured and sharp.  Cant decide on colour, ive already got a white one with black detail thats similar, maybe an oxblood with a white contrast?

Anyway here it is

The second one is a really structured heavy numbe with button/collar detail.  I fancy a peter pan collar though which is round and not square as in the picture.  And the centre of the collar will join, its little things like that which make all the difference, the small details which i love and which excite me, i only ever use images to get inspiration and thats the other thing i love about Angela, she makes my visons a reality.

Thats all folks, heres a little beat to say goodnight.

loving the ginger (and) another collaboration

Ive been supplying Picolo coffee in Newcastle for a few months now, the lovely James gets an order every Monday, although this week its Tuesday.  Out of the norm, James ordered ginger and lemon cream whoopie pies this week and i was over the moon, i love making them, the house is filled with the scent of Christmas.  The process of making the gingerbread is a lot firmer and therefore better to handle than usual whoopie pie batter.

Here they are, available from Picolo Coffee as of 8am tomorrow morning.  Always had a soft spot for the gingers.

Secondly the fantastic Candy Handfuls Bakery and I have worked together again on a corporate project, which shall remain anonymous for the time being, just until i know whats going on with the contract if you know what im saying...

Here it is, a pie chart cake, comprising of a vanilla white cake sandwiches with raspberry mousse, and secondly a chocolate fudge cake sandwiched with a chocolate butter cream, the cakes are sandwiched inside to represent the sections too so it was a bit of a challenge for poor Helen to make it nice and flat before doing a bloody fantastic job of the fondant!

Dinner tonight for me was my bolognaise, i tell you i make the best and ultimate bolognaise sauce, a proper ragu, theres hundreds of recipes out there for bologonaise but believe me this is the best one I've ever tasted!  I'll put the recipe up tomorrow.

Sin free creamy chicken hotpot with garlic potatoes

This is the dish i did on This Morning in early January, i was asked to come up with a dish suitable for the new year slimmers but still to keep it comforting.  I simply changed my tried and tested chicken hotpot into relatively sin free by using fat free creme fraiche.  The wine adds a wonderful balanace of acitidy.

The filling can easily be used in a pie if you fancy a bit of stodge.

IngredientsServes 4
2 large potatoes
1 large leek, cleaned
1 clove of garlic
A sprig of thyme
100mls of low fat Crème fraiche
50mls or thereabouts of chicken stock
A handful or so of Parmesan cheese (optional)
250g frozen peas
450g cooked chicken (use leftovers from a roast or roast off some thighs and drummers)
Oil, salt and pepper

Pre heat the oven to gas mark 7 (220)
In a large roasting tray, scatter the cooked chicken and peas.
Slice and sweat the leek in a little oil in a frying pan until soft. Add the thyme.
Stir in the crème fraiche and the chicken stock, if you like more sauce add more chicken stock, around another 50mls should be fine.
Pour the leek and garlic mix over the chicken and peas.

Next move onto the potatoes.
Thinly slice the potatoes and put them in a bowl.
Crush the clove of garlic and add to the bowl with some salt and pepper.
Toss to coat the potatoes.
Lay the potatoes over the top of the roasting tray, brush (or spray) with a little olive oil to give the potatoes colour.
Sprinkle with the parmesan if you are using.
Pop in the oven for 35 minutes with foil over the top, then 20 minutes with the foil off to crisp up the potatoes
Serve at the table with some steamed fresh greens.

15 minute chilli beef with stir fry greens

From start to finish this dish takes a mere 15 minutes to prepare and cook. NO excuses that you don't have time when you get in. This is healthy nutritious and packed full of flavour, whatsmore it costs less than a fiver for 2 good sized portions!

This can also be done with lamb, pork, chicken or tofu; same rules apply for cooking and marinating.

2x 1cm thick sandwich steaks
2 sheets of egg noodles
Soy sauce, sesame oil and olive oil
Ginger, chilli and garlic (to your taste, I use 1tsp of each)
Greens such as tender stem broccoli, fine beans, sugar snap & mangetout, most supermarkets will do a pack of these veg ready mixed.
Sesame seeds and coriander if you have any (optional)

Cook the noodles in boiling water as per the pack instructions
Add the chopped chilli, garlic and grated ginger to the beef with a little oil and leave to marinate for 5 minutes
Get a wok smoking hot, add a little oil and stir fry the greens, keeping the pan on high and stirring often. Add a little more garlic, chilli and ginger for the last few seconds. Then turn the pan off.
Add the cooked drained noodles to the veg drizzle with sesame oil and soy to your taste, season to your taste and set aside.
Get a frying pan smoking hot, scrape the marinade off the beef, drizzle with oil and a little salt and pepper and add to the pan, don't touch it, leave it for 1 minute then turn it over, keep the heat high, that's the trick to a good steak, the outside caramelises and enhances the flavour.
After 1 minute per side remove the steak from the pan and allow it to rest for a few minutes while you serve up the noodles and veg.
Slice the beef and lay it on top of the noodles.
Serve immediately with a little more sesame drizzled over the top and maybe some toasted sesame seeds or chopped coriander if you have any...