Sunday, 20 July 2014

Pizza Blanc

 A while ago I waxed lyrical in my Pizza Night post about how great pizza is, how may toppings you can have and how much better life becomes when you have homemade pizza. I can hold my hands up and admit there was some hyperbole in that but it is safe to say I am a fan of pizza. Given that I am such a huge fan of pizza I want to make it for all of my friends. As it turns out I have a friends who does not get on well with tomatoes so I have developed this recipe for a white pizza.
 you will need;

1 portion of dough from this recipe
1/2 cup creme fraiche
4tbsp natural yogurt
1tbsp freshly chopped chives
1 can palm hearts, sliced 
1 cup grated hard cheese, such as cheddar 
1 cup sliced mushrooms 
1 cup sliced leeks 
1/4 cup garden peas 
flat leaf parsley to garnish
salt and pepper 

  1. Prepare your dough according to the recipe and roll it out.
  2. In a bowl mix the creme fraiche, yogurt, chives and salt and pepper in a bowl. Spread this mixture over your bases in place of tomato pizza sauce.
  3. Sprinkle your toppings over the bases then top with cheese.
  4. Cook in the oven until the bases are golden and the cheese is melted and browning.
  5. Garnish with flat leaf parsley.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Garden - Before & Progress

The last couple of houses I have had not had a garden so I am thrilled that my 'forever house' does. The term wild jungle may be more fitting. When I first saw the house it was the dead of winter so things were less wild so you can imagine my surprise when I came back to find everything overgrown.

There was so much to be done in eight days; cleaning, moving, painting, sanding, factor into that time for baby care it was a pretty full week. With that in mind I did not think any headway would be made in the garden department. Saturday and Sunday everything else had been done, I know I was shocked and even more surprisingly I had a sudden burst of energy.
Above are photographs of the tree and thorny bush that were way too close to the house, they were pushing up against the windows. I also want to avoid thorns in a garden that has to be little person friendly, it is a space for Sebastian to run around in. So with a blunt-ish saw in hand I cut them down, and I only sawed through my hand twice.
So much clearer and lighter in the house. Another plus is that we have our first wood pile ready to dry out for the wood burner. I know it is odd to get sentimental about a wood pile but I really like the fact that the first fire will be from the wood I cut down that week. And here it is.
I am so blessed with the space, not only is there a garden but there is a patio and a courtyard off the utility room, I intend to make a kitchen garden in containers there and hang outdoor festoon lights. I am looking forward to enjoying a glass of wine looking out at the garden and the hills in the background.
A nice shot of Joe clearing the garden waste, I even changed into more appropriate garden clearing clothing.
There is still so much to do and some work for a professional tree surgeon but I am proud of the headway. All of the grass at the bottom is dead as it has not seen sun but hopefully that can start to change and I will be able to save the lawn with feeding and regular TLC.
Above is a picture of the cleared garden, well as much as it for the time being. I am so proud of how much got done in such a short space of time. I need to pull together my garden inspiration into a more cohesive manner, there will even be a scale drawing!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Garam Masala

I get many complements on my cookery, especially my curries. One of the most invaluable tips I can give is use fresh spices. I spoke about the use of freshly ground spices over having endless powders in my Lessons In Spices post where I shared a great all purpose recipe also. Everyone will have their own particular blend of garam masala. Masala simply means spice and you can make any multitude of mixes, garam, meaning hot, but there is no chilli in the mix it is referring to the warmth of the spice mix. Here is the mix that I use.

you will need;

1tbsp whole green cardamom seeds
1tbsp whole cumin seeds
10 whole black cardamom seeds
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
1tbsp whole cloves
1tbsp whole black peppercorns
3 whole star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2tbsp whole fennel seeds
  1. Dry roast each of the spices in a pan. Make sure you roast each of the spices separately as they each have a different roasting time. Once the spice begins to make a slight popping sound it is done, with the bay leaf begins to change colour it is cooked.
  2. You can grind the spices into a fine powder using a coffee grinder then or store the mix and grind as and when to ensure they are really fresh.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Renovating A House - Behind The Glamour

If you have been following my house renovation posts you will know that I have big plans for this beautiful house. So here is my behind the glamour post, the post that tells you that a big renovation project is not all colour samples, fabric swatches and pinterest boards - if only it was. This house has sanding & plastering to do. Windows to be replaced doors to be blocked off holes to be filled, but there is a before the before. This house was empty for over a year, dust and dirt could well have been holding the structure up. Here are a few behind the glamour shots.
Even after my mum and sister spending the day cleaning there was more to do, I am not sure the previous owner were overly house proud. Evidence of this was the cooker. You must remember the large range cooker from the kitchen before post. I cleaned actual chicken remains out of the oven space, and this place was empty for a year so the chicken was festering in the oven for at least 365 days. I felt like Barbara from The Good Life, the episode where she cleaned the range cooker. Unfortunately after all my scrubbing and cleaning it turned out only the hob works, three ovens and not a one is working!
With a small baby we tried to minimise the level of cleaning products sprayed around so we bought a great deal of pre-soaked wipes, below is the pile of wipes after wiping down the dining room. These are like images from How Clean Is Your House!
The week spent back in the house was super busy; emptying the second storage unit, decorating the master bedroom in time for the carpet to be laid, cleaning the whole house and we even managed to clear the garden, well we made some progress in the garden. If Sebastian was a little older he would have been able to make great forts with all the boxes. Below is a little insight into how the house looked when the storage units were emptied.
Not everything is away, but it now looks like this;
I will share with you the garden and a master bedroom update soon. It was such hard work and it all had to be co-ordinated with baby time. I could just imagine him playing in the garden and running around the house and I know it will all be worth it.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise

One of my favourite things about food, apart from eating it of course, is how versatile it is. A simple onion will taste completely different depending on if it is raw, roasted, fried. You can make is crispy or fry it slowly on a low heat and it tastes different again, cooking is amazing! Take garlic for instance when you roast it suddenly garlic ceases to be the harsh flavour and takes on a sweeter more subtle flavour, perfect for homemade mayo.

you will need;

2 egg yolks 
1/2 tsp salt
1 bulb garlic
2tsp white wine vinegar 
1 cup canola oil 

  1. Place the garlic bulb whole and unpeeled on a baking tray in an oven at 200C until fully roasted. You can tell as the garlic bulb will be soft and squishy.
  2. In a bowl combine the egg yolks, salt and salt.
  3. Squeeze the cooled garlic out into the egg yolks and mix thoroughly.
  4. In a slow stream pour the canola oil into the egg mixture whilst whisking continuously.
  5. Your mayo is ready. Store in a fridge for up to 3 days.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

What I Wore - Red, Spotty & Vintage

This is my truly European dress, I picked it up in a kilo store in Berlin and here I am wearing it in Paris, oh and I'm a Brit so three countries in Europe covered right there. I was in 7th heaven at the kilo store, a huge amount of vintage and a bag ready to fill with a kilo of clothes. I need to find another one of these, in fact if anyone can recommend one in Paris, London or Leeds get in touch I am a woman on a mission.

I always wanted a pair of shoes that go with everything, what I have ended up with is a pair of boots that go with EVERYTHING and I couldn't be happier. They are as comfy as slippers also so I am pretty smug, you will be seeing a lot more of these boots. 
Outfit Details

Dress -Vintage
Cardigan  - Uni Qlo
Bag - Jo Totes