Friday, 20 March 2015

Meat Free Tartiflette Recipe

I hate to be marginalized especially when it comes to food. If meat eaters are getting to sit down and enjoy hot cheese and potatoes than why can't I? I have a romantic idea of a ski trip. In my mind my ski holiday consists of me wearing incredible winter jumpers, reading books by an over sized open fire, watching snowfall outside the window, drinking hot chocolate and eating copious amounts of hot cheese. At no point in my ski holiday do I envisage hurling myself down a bloody mountain. Even with the money I will save not buying a ski pass I cannot afford to go skiing so I will have to settle for eating hot cheese at home, ah well that cheese is not going to eat itself.

If you want to make this recipe the vegetarian way you can always cook off lots of crispy bacon and leave it a bowl for the meat eaters to sprinkle on top afterwards .

you will need;

2lbs new potatoes
250g firm tofu or 200g lardons
1 garlic glove
150g button mushrooms
100ml white wine
200ml crème fraîche
a little sunflower oil
2tsp dried thyme
1 whole Reblochon cheese (approximately 1lb)
salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Cube the tofu and rub the cubes with a little oil, place on a baking tray and sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Bake until crisp.
  3. Cut the potatoes into almost bite sized pieces and Boil in a pan of water until tender. Not too squishy but they should slide off a fork.
  4. Meanwhile heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms and garlic. If you are making a meaty version you would add the lardons to the mushrooms and skip the tofu step whilst still preheating the oven.
  5. When the mushrooms have cooked enough so that the liquid has evaporated add the wine.
  6. Stir through the crème fraîche. Mix with the potatoes and tofu. Put the mixture in an ovenproof dish.
  7. Cut your cheese into small lumps and poke into the potato gaps, don't worry it is not too much cheese just keep finding gaps and make it fit.
  8. Bake until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with green salad and more white wine.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Buy From Independent Designers

buy ceramic hanging plant bowl
<Ceramic Plant Hanger>
As regular readers will have noticed there have been some changes here at Archie & The Rug. The left-hand side bar has gone so space had to be made elsewhere. I now have my social media links in the form of buttons under the updated picture of me. The button on the far right is a small v which takes you to a video of me being on the telly, exciting eh! If you watch the videos you get to hear how silly my voice sounds, everybody hates their own voice when they hear it back don't they?

There is a new nav bar above the header and my archive pages are where the nav bar used to be. The whole design is just a bit cleaner and allowed my to make room for some new things. The first one being, I have a shop!. I have partnered with to create an online shop filled with delightful products from independent designers and makers.

So how does it work? Think of as an online warehouse. Makers apply to be part of that warehouse and I then fill my shop with stock. There are all sorts of wonders in my shop, here are just a few examples. The space will be updated regularly so remember to keep checking back and shop independent.
buy hand thrown ceramic pot
<Hand Thrown Honey Pot>
Good morning sunshine printed pillow
<Printed Pillow>
buy bright modern pillow cushion
<Bright Modern Triangles>
buy watercolour recipe cards
<Recipe Cards>

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Mushroom & Egg Patties - Recipe

mushroom and egg recipe
My life right now is all about effective time and motion. Being a working mummy, in fact being a mummy at all require careful time management skills. One way that I have made my life simpler is to batch cook and freeze food on the weekend. The only drawback in Paris is the freezer is tiny, still the little bit I can freeze certainly helps. Breakfast time is one of the key moments for baby eats as for a little man who took a good long while to get started with solids once he started he really ran with it. In the morning when he wakes up his tummy requires instant gratification so having food ready to go is vital to a good mood baby day.

These are great warm or cold. You can warm them in the oven or the microwave. If you are microwaving you will be able to do that from frozen.

you will need;

200g mushrooms 
15g unsalted butter
10 eggs 
1/2 cup milk 
1tbsp freshly chopped chives
50g cheese
  1.  Pre heat your oven to 180C
  2. Chop your mushrooms into eighths, or smaller if they are large mushrooms. Fry them over a low heat in the butter. Cook them until all of the water has left the mushrooms and leave them to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk the eggs and milk together. Grease a 12 hole muffin pan.
  4. So that you can get an even mix of filling distribute the mushrooms into the bottom of the muffin pans. Next pour over the egg mixture. Finally sprinkle with chives and cheese.
  5. Cook in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top and the egg has set.
freeze ahead kids breakfast food recipe

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Treasure Hunt Toddler Game

cheap indoor toddler game
Toys are all well and good but once your baby starts walking the enter a new phase of discovery and need continual stimulation. They want to be engaged in activity that requires them to challenge themselves. Tasks that appear mundane and foolish to us are learning experiences for your little ones.  For a baby realising that you have to pass items over to one hand so tat you can continue to collect with the other is a skill. Searching for things that look the same is a skill. Whilst these things may seem dull to you trust me they are fun tasks for your mobile baby.
games for mobile babies
With the winter weather still here there are limited activities for you and your little one to do outside of the house, even more limited if you are not want to spend a lot of money. For just the smallest investment on post it notes you can have a fun game and keep yours and your little ones sanity intact on a rainy day.
cheap indoor game for mobile babies
montessori inspired toddler game
Place the post it notes around the house for them to hunt and collect. Here is some advice so that the game is fun and safe.
  1. Place them all on one level of your home
  2. Place them in place where they can reach without climbing of straining
  3. Place at multiple levels so they have to look on the floor too, this will help keep their interest
  4. Do not place them in or near areas they are not normally allowed to go
fun cheap indoor games for toddlers
This is a great game of discovery and independence but I am all about safety so I never let him in a room alone, also my boy can take plug protectors out of the plug sockets and hand them to you, what a waste of money they were. When you follow your treasure hunter do so at a distance, don't crowd them. Don't cheer when they find one as then their attention is on you and not the game, if they look at you for acknowledgment then tell them well done and ask them to look for more. Remember from age one up words can happen any day a great way to encourage language is to ask questions so your little one has an intensive to talk to you.
fun cheap indoor games for mobile babies
Sebastian loves this game and after he has found them he has a a big stash of things to post into boxes, posting the universal favourite of most babies. Sebastian is now obsessed with using buckets, bags or boxes to carry multiple items around a room so I gave him a box to carry with him that he filled with the post it notes on the way around the treasure hunt.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

How To Dress When You Have Large Breasts

Brown boots kookai yello top handmade skirt
Let me start by telling you a story of a girl, a flat chested girl. I saw the teenagers around me grow and develop and I looked like a young child. I really wanted breasts, any breasts would have done but.... I have no idea where they came from as the ladies in my family have small to normal sized breasts, and perfectly fine ones at that but I ended up with size 30G, 85G if you are metric. The moral of this tale is be careful what you wish for. The second is be happy with what you have got.

One of the the most important lessons I have learned is being comfortable in your own skin is your most attractive feature. One way to do that is to be aware of your own skin. I have seen fashion trends come and go and lamented the ones that just do not suit my body shape. I have made errors, I have fallen in love with the dress in the shop window and bought it regardless of the fact that I know it will not flatter my shape. I rejoiced when Mad Men hit our TV screens because big boobs were well and truly in vogue and that was reflected in stores. I was crestfallen at the release of The Great Gatsby film as the fashions changed again and the stores were filled with dresses that I would have looked a goon in. If you are one of my non UK readers unfamiliar with north of England slang trust me a goon is not a good thing.

I have learned some life lessons about my shape that I will now share with you.

1. The waist is key. In the photo at the top you can see the yellow top comes in at the waist. However big or small your waist may be let people know it is there.
A beautiful mess first date dress
2. The belt is your friend. I have many a dress and top that have a less than flattering shape when teamed up with a large pair of boobs. Never fear buy a belt and remind everyone about that waist again.
Boden dress and leg warmers
kookai blue top leather jacket and long skirt
3. Some necklines are better than others. I am an experimentalist, I push the envelope and break boundaries, I sometimes wear things that look terrible, things that look okay and things that look a little bit awesome. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that the cowl neck and cross wrap are the most flattering for the fuller bust.
Next black chiffon skirt and Modcloth top
3. You can wear floaty layers without looking like you have donned a tent if you embrace your silhouette underneath. In the photograph above a fitted black vest is a contrast to the lacy overlay so the world knows I have a shape. In the image below a fitted sheath underneath a contrasting colour that does not cover everything.
Sexy layers over 30s fashion
4. Know how to break the rules. Big boobs rule of thumb generally means you need to wear a bra and floaty dresses and shapeless tops make you look frumpy. Most rules carry exceptions and these ones are no different. If you wear a baggy top wear something super fitted on the bottom. If you wear a floaty dress make it a short one so that your legs are on show. If you venture out without a bra wear a dress that gives you a bit of support.
Pu Trousers over 30s sexy style
Chiffon dress style tips for large breasts
Polka dot heals and short white dress
Regardless of your size and shape one thing is certain it will change, over time things happen so you will constantly have to rethink how to be comfortable in your skin. Remember self confidence is the sexiest thing you have.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Double Chocolate Cream Pie (with fruit)

chocolate cream pie recipe
I felt it necessary to mention the fruit in the title due to the large amount of cream, chocolate and butter that you will find in this pie. This is now me new go to pudding recipe as it looks impressive and can be made quickly and simply, and oh yeah it tastes amazing. This was one of the things I served on my New Years day brunch and am just itching to make it again but even with the generous appetites that Joe and I have we can't manage a whole one by ourselves, not quite. 

you will need;

400g packet digestive biscuits 
200g dark chocolate 
200g white chocolate
250ml double cream 
1/4  cup cornflour
4 egg yolks
1tsp vanilla essence
50g butter
2 cups of mixed berries

So you see lots of butter and cream but no added sugar and plenty of fruit. Also the egg yolks will be heated through so safe for pregnant ladies to chow down on too. 
mixed fruit and chocolate cream pie recipe
  1. Break your biscuits into crumbs, you can use a food processor for this to save time or just beat them with a rolling pin in a bag. The second method is a great stress reliever. Meanwhile melt the dark chocolate over a pan of water, (you know my feelings on microwaved chocolate), once melted add the butter. Once the chocolate and butter are melted together pour into the bowl of biscuit crumbs and mix well.
  2. Transfer your coated crumbs to a cake pan and press into the bottom and sides to make a base. Leave this to chill in the fridge whilst you make the filling.
  3. Separate your eggs, remember you can freeze the egg whites so they are not going to waste.
  4. In a pan gently heat the cream and vanilla. Whilst that is warming, not bubbling, melt the white chocolate over a pan of water. Take care white chocolate catches easily.
  5. Whisk the egg yolks and cornflour together and then mix into the the white chocolate once it has fully melted. 
  6. Remove the chocolate and the cream from the heat. Slowly add the cream to the white chocolate and egg mixture. 
  7. Once this is fully incorporated return the bowl to sitting above a pan of water.and gently whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. 
  8. Transfer the thicken mixture to the biscuit base and return to the fridge for at least 3 hours. When you are about to serve cover the top in fruit. You can leave it out on the table but after an hour it may need to be returned to the fridge for the cream to hold the thick consistency.
This keeps for around 3-4 days, if it lasts that long!
brunch recipie chocolate cream pie