Sunday, 28 February 2010

Oven Baked Risotto



As you know, on working days I like to be able to prepare a quick dinner and last year I discovered risotto. I know, nothing like being a bit behind the times but I've never really been keen on risotto - I've now realised that's down to soggy risotto I have purchased elsewhere and since I have started cooking it I really enjoy it.

The oven baked risotto from BBC Good Food was recommended to me so I gave it a whirl and was pleasantly surprised so I stick to that recipe now but have tweaked it a little suit our tastes. It's a nice easy one because you just bung it in the oven and it cooks itself, you don't have to keep tending to it.

Oven Baked Risotto

Ingredients

250g pack of smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 onion, diced
25g butter
300g risotto rice
125ml white wine
150g sliced mushrooms
700ml hot chicken stock
50g Parmesan, grated

Method

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

Fry the bacon pieces in an ovenproof pan or casserole dish for 3-5 mins until golden and crisp. Stir in the onion and butter and cook for 3-4 mins until soft.

Tip in the rice and mix well until coated. Pour over the wine and cook for 2 mins until absorbed.

Add the mushrooms and the hot stock, then give the rice a quick stir.

Cover with a tightly fitting lid and bake for 20 mins until just cooked.

Stir through most of the Parmesan and serve sprinkled with the remainder.

The recipe serves 4 but to be honest I doubt it would stretch that far without a little something else on the side. Quite often I do less risotto rice for the two of us, say about 250g and keep everything else the same and it feeds two of us nicely - but perhaps we're being a bit piggy!! The risotto comes out really well, so creamy and the wine gives it a really nice flavour.

If struggling to find risotto rice on your weekly shop, look for arborio rice which is the proper name for it!

love & kisses

Mrs M x

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Just Dance




In the words of Lady Gaga, Just Dance, and boy am I dancing. I invested in the Wii game Just Dance at Christmas after watching the adverts on TV and having a quick go on it at the office one day (don't ask). I say "invested" what I mean is searched, hunted and finally tracked the bugger down. A seriously elusive game which was part down to the fabulousness of it and part down to the bargainous of it I should imagine! Yes, it's a snip at under £20 - for a Wii game I think that's good, no?

Anyhow, I am sure I don't need to tell you what it is, it's been quite well publicised but just in case you've been living under a rock...look here.

Don't be fooled! It's not for the fainthearted - it's actually quite intense. Two dance routines on here leave you feeling like you've done an hour on the Wii Fit. You can't go into it halfheartedly, you've really got to get your body moving, even if to be quite fair, you do look a little like a wally. It's definitely a time when your curtains should be firmly closed, and if possible at all, there should be no witnesses the first few times you attempt this game. It's very off-putting when everyone is rolling around laughing at you whilst you bust-a-move to MC Hammer.

It's such a fun game and pretty darn hilarious if you have a group of people doing it together but be warned, if you come around to my house expecting a little bit of a giggle you'll be disappointed. This is a serious sport and I'm rather competitive. I won't be playing for fun, I'll be playing to whip your butt whilst shaking my ass to Who Let The Dogs Out.

I defy you not to sing along - yes it has the lyrics. Even if you think you're not signing, I'll bet my bottom dollar that you are. I swore blind that I wasn't singing along, I was positive. Turns out I was just concentrating so hard I didn't realise. How embarrassing. Had I known I was putting on a full performance and I would have aired my best West End stage voice.

My favourite tracks on the game and the ones I am currently trying to perfect (It's an extremely sad night in the M household if I don't beat my top scores...) are Cyndi Lauper "Girl's Just Want To Have Fun", Katy Perry "Hot and Cold" and my personal favourite (probably because I ROCK at it) New Kids on the Block "Step by Step". I'm also quite impressive at the Spice Girls which was my first public performance. I'd like to say that I was good at all of them but well *cough* my Blondie, Britney and Beach Boys renditions leave a little to be desired.

What would I like to see on Volume 2 of Just Dance (there surely will be a volume two *prays*)? Footloose for sure, Beyonce's Single Ladies is surely a must have? Thriller? There is a serious lack of Michael Jackson action on this game. I'd like to see a bit of Pussycat Dolls and definitely Lady Gaga. I want Steps and Christina Aguilera. I don't ask for a lot do I?

Have you tried the game yet? What would you like to see featured on future volumes?

love & kisses
Mrs M x

PS Do click on the links if you've never seen the game in action before!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser...



Well it's official, the world and I have gone as Mad as a Hatter (ha ha, did you see what I did there? Oh, you did...) for Alice in Wonderland. Who else is excited about seeing the film? It looks amazing.

I'm not only excited about seeing the film, I'm also excited about all the Wonderland loveliness that is about at the moment - the clothes, accessories and even make-up. I succombed to the hype a few months ago when I treated myself to OPI's Alice in Wonderland inspired collection.



Not readily available in the UK, the easiest and cheapest place to buy them is Ebay. The Alice collection comes in four gorgeous colours, from left to right - Off With Her Red!, Mad as a Hatter, Absolutely Alice and Thank You So Muchness.



My favourite is Absolutely Alice which is just the most amazing, sparkliest blue. Honest, I couldn't stop staring at my nails once I had applied it (it does need a few coats though).

Then of course there is the much sought after and lusted over Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows which naturally I had to order immediately from Debenhams. (I believe this is now sold out everywhere folks, although do try your local Debenhams instore, you never know).


I believe that this Book of Shadows actually repeats a lot of existing Urban Decay colours, just with different names so it's well worth checking that you are not duplicating before you splurge your £28. For reference there is a good blog post about this here.

This week I also discovered the Magical Tea Party range at Accessorize which has some very lovely Alice inspired items. I adore the bow hairbands.


Also the Disney Couture/Tom Binns Alice in Wonderland range appeared on my radar. It's truly lovely and I'm just not sure I will be able to resist the urge to buy something. Range is available from ASOS, Spoiled Brat and Truffle Shuffle amongst others.


I received an email from Miss Selfridge yesterday about their Alice inspired t-shirt range and other items (which was very frustrating when I had no broadband connection and the iPhone still doesn't support Flash). I finally got to look at it this afternoon. I believe not everything is featured online at the moment, so make sure to check back!

There are many many other places to look for Alice in Wonderland inspired goodies. How about this Cheshire Cat pendant from Swarovski?



Or these gorgeous heart shoes from Irregular Choice?



Does the Paul and Joe in Wonderland collection tickle your fancy? Available from ASOS and Harrods.




and there are more fabulous t shirts at Truffle Shuffle.



And finally, if you are in London any time soon, don't forget to check out Claire's Wonderland, a magical mystery world where you can also buy some of Claire's Alice themed accessories. The store is on Maddox Street (just off Regent Street) but be quick it's only open until March 5th.

So, tell me, will you be going to see the film or treating yourself to any Wonderland goodies?

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Shopping: Rose Pendant @ Love Miss Daisy Vintage




Look at this rose pendant, is it not just one of the prettiest things you've seen? I spotted these gorgeous necklaces at Love Miss Daisy and just had to have one. Naturally being a lover of all things pink I really wanted the pink one, which happened to be out of stock at the time but the lovely people made sure that they let me know as soon as they were back in stock so I could snaffle one - thank heavens for Twitter.

And snaffle one I did - I was away for the weekend so had to attempt to make the purchase via my iPhone and I was entirely sure it would be successful but aha, it was successful and yesterday I came home from a glum day at work to this little parcel of gorgeousness.

The necklaces are made with porcelain pendants from occupied Japan 1945-1952 and hung from an antiqued gold or copper chain. They come in beautiful shades of pink, green, purple, yellow and blue and the best bit? They are just £12.99 of your pennies.

They're so pretty I think I want another one, the only problem being, I just don't know what colour to buy next!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Cheese Stars



This was a baking exploit in aid of the little fella's birthday last year which involved a mad dash to the local Co-op when I realised that I had no cayenne and erm, had no Red Leicester either. I'd read about these on the web somewhere so thought I'd give them a whirl as they got rave reviews. I have to say they're not really what I expected them to be - I was imagining those little cheese savouries you get but these are sizable crispy cheese puffs full of air. They were nice, and people seemed to enjoy them but I am still in two minds about them. I'd probably make them again as they weren't hideous, they were quite successful they're just not quite to my taste somehow. Still, they looked pretty good!

The original recipe is Nigella's and as the lady herself says, if you don't have a star cutter then no need to panic, just use a round cutter.

Cheese Stars

Ingredients

50g self raising flour
pinch cayenne
25g softened butter
80g finely grated Red Leicester
20g freshly grated Parmesan

Method

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200c.

Mix all ingredients together - either in a bowl of food processor. You should not need any liquid to bind this. When it first comes together it will look crumbly but keep going and with a few kneads it will all come together.

Wrap the dough in clingfilm and let in rest in the fridge for 20mins.

Dust a surface with flour and roll out to about 2.5mm. Cut out the stars (re-rolling as necessary) and put on a non-stick or greased tray into the preheated oven for about 8-10mins. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. The biscuits will continue to crisp whilst they are cooling on a rack.

Nigella says the dough need not rest in the fridge but I always find doughs more manageable after a spell in the fridge as I have warm hands!

If you do try these, please let me know what you thought of them!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Mexican Beef Wraps



Okay, so this isn't strictly Mexican but it does have a bit of a Tex-Mex taste. It's a really simple knock-up when you need something quick at the end of a long day! It's all a really cheap eat if you are on a budget. It's tasty and definitely tingles the taste buds. Recipe serves four people - based on having two tortilla's each.

Mexican Beef Wraps

Ingredients

1tbsp oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
500g lean minced beef
3 mixed coloured peppers,
deseeded and roughly chopped
35g packet of Cajun seasoning
tortilla wraps, guacamole and soured cream to serve

Method

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the onion and mince. Fry for 6-8 minutes stirring occasionally until well browned and cooked through. Add the peppers and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Stir in the Cajun seasoning and approximately 100ml of water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until the peppers are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Serve with soft warmed floured tortillas, guacamole and soured cream.

Mmmm. I'm now thinking I will have to do a mad dash to Sainsburys on my lunch break today. I've been struggling the past two days with finding something that I want to eat - it's weird, I'm hungry and all that but nothing is taking my fancy. Or wasn't until I remembered this!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Home Decor: Little Girly Bedroom


I thought I'd just share some little snippets of the little misses new bedroom. I'm sure you're all sitting on the edge of your seat waiting with baited breath...but really, you needn't be, it's not that exciting. However, my darling daughter adores it.

Background...the bedroom she was sleeping in hadn't been decorated in probably ooh twenty years, I have no real idea and it was ropey to say the least. The bedroom revamp was no mean feat. It involved new insulation, the ceiling was pulled down, a doorway blocked up, a new doorway formed, the whole room was replastered and the rather handy Mr M built her a wardrobe. It has taken months to get done but done it is.

I really wanted to go all Laura Ashley/Cath Kidston/White Company twee-style but Mr M quite rightly pointed out that then I would be decorating it for me and not her. Spoilsport. In the end I think we found a happy balance between what I wanted and what she wanted - the little lady requested "spots and stripes and hearts and flowers in all colours" and I think that I achieved the kind of thing she wanted.

I've done a rather poor attempt at a Polyvore set (above) to show you some of the elements of her room. It all looks rather pink doesn't it? but in fact it's nowhere near as pinktastic in real life as you can see below.



We were really pleased to abide by our new family motto "Make Do & Mend" and most of her bedroom furniture was old stuff that we had laying around. The Lloyd Loom chair is an original that we painted white (once belonged to her great-great aunt) and the bedside table and chest of drawers were also given the makeover treatment by Mr M.


I hope you like it as much as she does, I'm really pleased with it and almost want to sleep in there myself. Next we're moving on to the little fella's room and finally, FINALLY, our bedroom might see a lick of paint.
If you want to know where anything is from, do ask.

love & kisses

Mrs M x

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake



I do love a lemon cake and this recipe from Tana Ramsay is a really good one. It's for a loaf cake which I think make great tea-time cakes, perfect for sitting down with a cuppa. (Apologies for the crap photo - again, it was 7am and I was on the way out of the house to work when I forgot I hadn't papped it!)

It was very easy to make, especially with the help of my KitchenAid - the trickiest part was lining the damn loaf tin so I really think I need to invest in some liners next time I am in town, they would make life so much easier.

I've made this cake twice now. First time I took it into work and everybody was suitably impressed - I even got a marriage proposal from the girl I sit next to and second time I made it as a back-up birthday cake for the little fella's birthday and again, people loved it.

It's just so lemony and moist, I have to admit that I use more lemon zest than the recipe says, probably about two lemons in all, I like things to be zingy. The moistness comes from the poking holes in the cake and letting the drizzle seep in. My only complaint really would be the drizzle - it just kind of disappears on top and I'd prefer it to be a bit more of an icing so I think I need to work on that a bit. Other than that, it's a really lovely loaf cake.

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

Ingredients

225g unsalted butter , softened
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
finely grated zest 1 lemon
225g self-raising flour

For the drizzle:
juice 1 &1/2 lemons
85g caster sugar

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. Sift in the flour, then add the lemon zest and mix until well combined.

Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with greaseproof paper, then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon.

Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the lemon juice and sugar to make the drizzle.

Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle - the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping. Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve.

Yummy! In fact, I now have the urge to run off and bake one! (and if I do I'll try to take a better photograph before I nom it all).

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 22 February 2010

What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?



I recently discovered the wonderful What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear blog. Obviously as a major lover of Glee it appealed to me instantly, especially as I am quite a fan of the lovely Emma. I love finding out where items of Emma's wardrobe are from and I also enjoy the challenges that this blog sets using Polyvore.


The idea is basically that you are given an item of clothing that Emma has worn in the show and from that point you build the rest of an outfit around this. It's good fun and a great way of wasting a few hours (like you need help doing this!). This week there is an additional challenge of making an outfit set for any member of the cast.


I had my first go at this today (and actually my first go at using Polyvore) and have come up with this. The challenge for Emma this week was the Abstract Lattice Pencil Skirt.



I'm not going start a revolution with this outfit but all the same, I quite like it! and then I decided to put together a Rachel outfit. I fell in love with this tweed skirt from Joules a few weeks back but I think it would be perfect for her.

What do you think of my creations? Why not check out the WWEPW blog and have a go yourself!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Diet Update: Week Three



Well, the diet update for this week is erm, there is no update. I've been criminally bad and a weekend away meant that there was no weigh-in and no measurements. I've decided to abandon that now until next week.
In my defense I was very very good all week, I stuck to the diet rigidly but I always knew that the weekend that has just past was going to be diet-free. It was a long awaited child free weekend in a hotel with Mr M and I was jolly well going to enjoy it.

So in food terms the weekend went a little like this...a trip to TGI Friday's and one half of a Wild Wings Tower (OMG, so good) and a chicken finger BLT (also very good) but I actually only ate have of my chicken finger BLT and a handful of chips so not all bad, although I felt very bloated afterwards. Saturday morning was a full English breakfast - beans, mushrooms, sausage, scrambled egg, bacon, hash brown, fried bread and toast. We didn't eat much during the day aside from a bag of peanut M&Ms before heading out for dinner where I scoffed a large amount of prawn crackers and a plateful of Singapore noodles. Sunday morning was welcomed with another full English and then followed up with a large slice of chocolate fudge cake in the afternoon, a packet of Randoms and finally poppadums, lamb passanda, pilau rice and a garlic naan for tea. I may also have consumed a bottle of red wine this weekend.

I dread to think what that lot equated to in WeightWatchers points.
Oh dear, I don't think I could have fallen off the diet wagon any harder but I enjoyed every second of it and am now back on the diet again (although I may have just eaten a rogue Party Ring that I found in the biscuit tin).

Lunch today is my favourite Crackerbread with extra light Philadelphia and some cherry tomatoes (which I hate, but no pain no gain). Watch this space, I'm back online, and a little scared about what the scales will say on Saturday!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Sunday, 21 February 2010

BAFTA Awards 2010



Not nearly as glamourous or as exciting as the Oscars, this is the UK not Hollywood after all, however still worth reporting on. The BAFTAs fashion this year is what I would call "safe". Not one remotely outstanding dress, nothing really stood out to me as fabulous but on the other hand nothing stood out to me as completely dreadful.

Hits

I thought Anna Kendrick looked beautiful. Not the most flattering dress, or perhaps this isn't a great picture, but I loved the vibrant yellow and it was youthful. I'm not keen on girls wearing dresses made for 40 year olds.



Saoirse Ronan - she's 15?! Really?! Wow. She looks gorgeous here - beautiful dress. She could be 30 here though easily.



Romola Garai looks great here. Daring pattern compared to everyone else but she looks gorgeous.



Anne-Marie Duff looks positively blooming (don't you really hate that pregnancy term?). Radiant. Wish I'd looked a little like that when I was in the pudding club.



Joely Richardson looked beautiful, elegant and graceful.



Not an immediate fan of Claire Danes dress but wow, when did she become so elegant and grown-up?



Kristen Scott-Thomas looked nice, in a dress that was elegant and befitting of a lady of her age. Okay, that sounded like a backhanded crappy compliment but it was from the heart.



Audrey Tautou - a cross between Audrey Hepburn, Dynasty and Madonna's Material Girl but she does it well, exuding old school glamour.



Misses

I'm not a fan of this dress on Bonnie Wright. Sure she looks nice but a brighter colour would look better on her. This is a bit pale and washed out.



Smuggy McSmug Kate Winslet. I'm normally quite envious of her looks at awards ceremonies but I'm not keen on this at all.



Okay, I can see where Jaime Winston is going with this look and it's not that bad but something about the hair/make-up combo frightens me slightly.



Kristen Stewart, you look like you need a good wash. I actually like the dress but what's going on with the hair?



I know everyone is going to think this is lovely but I wish Carey Mulligan had worn something a little more young and funky. I like her and she does quirky well but this dress doesn't do it for me.



I'm not sure what to say about Kimberly Walsh. Dress has potential, ostrich around her neck, not so much.



Jane Goldman. Okay, it's her thing but just once I'd like to see her in a sassy, modern, kick-ass dress with a beautiful hairdo. Just once.



Trudie Styler wearing a Victoria Beckham creation. You could almost see VB wearing that couldn't you. I don't like it. Nuff said.



So there you have it. Did you have a favourite?

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Dirty Secret: Country Music



Okay, so it's Sunday night and I'm going to share one of my dirty secrets with you. It's a little shameful and I am a little ashamed to say it out loud, it's true, but I love country music. There, I've said it and I feel *so* much better for getting this out in the open.


I like the tunes, I love the lyrics - so brutal and honest and I'd freaking love to have ago at line dancing (I'm so 1992). I like old country music and I like new country music. I'll listen to Dolly Parton, I'll listen to Carrie Underwood and I'll listen to Reba McEntire who is undoubtedly one of the best country music artists ever.

So whilst sharing my secret love of country music, I'm going to share some country music tracks I love. Enjoy them, I know you
want to.

Carrie Underwood - Last Name


Martina McBride - Independence Day

Reba McEntire - On My Own (actually one of my all-time favourites)



Trisha Yearwood - She's In Love With The Boy

Lee Ann Womack - I Hope You Dance

Heartland - I Loved Her First

Dolly Parton - Jolene



So there it is, I'm just a sad, sentimental old schmuck, who happens to rock a cowboy hat (it's true fact fans, it's about the only hat that suits me although I hasten to add I absolutely never wear one...) and will be investing in her first pair of cowboy boots very very soon. Judge me if you will.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Jam Tarts



(Copied from old blog...originally posted 9th May 2009)

I've never really been a big fan of jam tarts unless they are homemade. I'd never actually made jam tarts before now, believe it or not but the little guy is a big fan of the Mr Kipling variety. I found a very simple recipe and used a variety of jams from Hartley's.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say Hartley's Seedless Raspberry Jam whilst very delicious is not suitable for jam tart making - it turns into a hot liquid like molten lava and WILL burn your mouth when you attempt to scoff one straight out of the oven. I'm not sure why the raspberry melts so much, but it is a totally different consistency to the others from the outset. It does however kind of solidify again but not before making a complete gooey mess of everything. My advice is don't use that one! (If you look closely at the picture above, you'll see one of the raspberry ones in the top right hand corner).

Anyhow, aside from a raspberry jam near miss disaster they were lovely. The kiddies and Mr M loved them, as did I naturally although they weren't too keen on the look of apricot jam - who knows why, I personally love anything apricot-flavoured. I didn't overload them with jam, mainly because kids + jam = sticky mess. They didn't really need much jam anyhow.

Jam Tarts


Ingredients

400g plain flour
200g butter, chilled and diced
50g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1 orange, rind grated
340g jar of jam, or use a mix of jams

Method

Whizz the flour and butter in a food processor until they are a breadcrumb consistency. Add the caster sugar and mix.

Add the egg yolks and orange rind and pulse until it comes together. You may need to add a splash of water*. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for around 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 190c/fan 170c/gas 5.

Roll out the pastry and cut out circles big enough to fit 2 x 12 hole muffin tins.

Bake for 15 minutes, then add small spoonfuls of jam to each tart and bake for another 5 minutes.

* I had to add quite a bit of water, probably about 2tbsps in all and it still didn't quite come together as it says but in the end I just kneaded it into a big ball. It was a little crumbly at first but once into the rolling process it was fine.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Creamy Ham & Mushroom Pasta Bake



(Copied from old blog...originally posted 9th May 2009)

This was a recipe I found on BBC Good Food when I was looking for a quick and easy tea for after work. I work two days a week and by the time I have got home (I finish at 5pm, normally home about 6.15pm) and put the kids to bed I haven't got the energy or inclination for a big cookathon so to save me reaching for the Chinese takeaway menu I like to have meals planned that are quick to put together.

This pasta bake totally fitted the bill and was absolutely gorgeous to boot. It was a bit of a chore chopping all the bits whilst having a two year old hang off your thigh but never less it was worth it because it's definitely a keeper! Really tasty, relatively quick and super easy!

The recipe does make enough to feed a small country so you may want to halve the quantities if only two of you are eating it. I saved the leftovers to take to work the next day but obviously, as always, left them in the fridge and went to work without them. That's what happens when you leave the house at the crack of dawn (well to me, okay, okay, it was 7.30am).

Creamy Ham & Mushroom Pasta Bake

Ingredients

500g bag farfalle
50g butter, plus a little extra
200g small mushrooms, halved
bunch spring onions, finely sliced
50g plain flour
500ml milk
140g thickly cut ham, chopped
140g mature cheddar, grated

Method

Cook the pasta according to pack instructions, then drain. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6, then melt a little butter in a large saucepan. Fry the mushrooms for a couple of mins, then scoop out and set aside. Use some kitchen paper to wipe out the pan.

Melt the remaining butter in the pan, then add most of the onions and soften for 1 min. Stir in the flour for another min, then gradually stir in the milk until you have a lump-free sauce. Increase the heat and bubble the sauce, stirring for a few mins to thicken. Turn off the heat, stir in the ham and most of the cheese, then season to taste.

Tip the pasta and mushrooms into a large ovenproof dish, then pour over the sauce and mix well in the dish. Scatter over the remaining cheese and spring onions, then bake for 10 mins until golden.

A good pile of stodge!


love & kisses
Mrs M x

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Chicken Korma



I've never been a huge fan of Jamie Oliver however his Ministry of Food book has been one of my most used cookbooks so I am somewhat of a convert. I've made all of the curries in the book and they are all good.

My only real comment about the curries is Jamie often talks about checking them to make sure they aren't drying out whilst cooking however I have the total opposite problem and mine always seem to be a bit too wet, but its nothing a spoonful of cornflour can't sort out.


This korma is really good, a bit of a faff to get all the bits prepared but well worth the effort. (This is where a mini-chopper comes in so handy for finely chopping the onion, ginger, coriander and chilli). Even Mr M gobbles down the chickpeas willingly and that's saying something. It's a good one for kids because you can leave the chilli out if you like.

Chicken Korma


Ingredients

800g skinless and boneless chicken breasts
2 medium onions
1 fresh green chilli
a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
a small bunch of fresh coriander
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
groundnut or vegetable oil
a knob of butter
1/2 a jar of Patak's korma curry paste
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
a small handful of flaked almonds
2 heaped tablespoons desiccated cocount
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g natural yoghurt
1 lemon

Method

First prepare your ingredients. Cut the chicken into approximately 3cm pieces. Peel, halve and finely slice your onions. Halves, deseed and finely slice the chilli. Peel and finely chop the ginger. Pick the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks. Drain the chickpeas.

Put a large casserole-type pan on a high heat and add a couple of lugs of oil. Stir in the onions, chilli, ginger and coriander stalks with the butter. Keep stirring it enough so it doesn't catch and burn but turns evenly golden. Cook for around 10 minutes. Add the korma curry paste, coconut milk, half your flaked almonds, the drained chickpeas, dessicated coconut and sliced chicken breasts. Half fill the empty tin with water, pour it into the pan and stir again. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on.

Check the curry regularly to make sure it's not drying out, and add extra water if necessary. When the chicken is tender and cooked, taste and season with salt and pepper - please season carefully.

I serve this with fluffy rice a la Jamie, and as suggested, with a dollop of natural yoghurt, sprinkle of flaked almonds, coriander leaves and served with a wedge of lemon.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Shopping: Kiss Me Deadly



Thanks to the wonderful magical thing that is Twitter, I today discovered the most fabulous lingerie from Kiss Me Deadly. It's very retro and a little bit naughty.

My first thought was how great this would be for my Goodwood adventures this summer. as vintage style has been very much on my mind (as per my blog post from a few days ago).

Obviously I am not planning on showing my underwear off to all and sundry (now there's a visual image you don't want) but wouldn't it just feel more special to be wearing vintage-style lingerie under those vintage outfits? Perhaps also a nice little surprise for Mr M, although sadly I do think that maybe I'll be a little overdressed for camping in a field behind a pub...

I'm a sucker for a nice pair of pants, it's true and I'm also a sucker for anything that is vintage-style but the Kiss Me Deadly range is different to other "retro" lingerie I've seen. This is the real deal - stylish and well-made it looks the part, it's classy whilst achieving a high level of super-sexiness.

You want to see some don't you? You do. Well you can check out their website for the whole range but for your viewing pleasure here are my favourites. All items are available from La Magia.

L'Amour - Beautiful corset style basque trimmed with lace and velvet.



Jezebel - Cut out briefs with ruffles and bows



Van Mimi - Luxury lace basque and lace briefs (hubba hubba!)





Delacroix - Silk camisole and french knickers (ooh la la!)



Diamond Van Doren - Diamond mesh fabric with ivory trim




Anything catch your eye? Something for the weekend?

love & kisses
Mrs M x