Its been a while, and no matter how many times I say "here we go, this is the beginning of a true blogging life" it's just not going to happen. So for this 'months instalment', lets talk Cafe. Leeds Castle Cafe.
Hello! I'm sorry for a recent lack in blogging, I've been on holiday (I know of course this is no excuse). What am I enjoying this month? Glad you asked.
Currently I am obsessing over two objects that until recently I had never imagined owning, or thought I needed. Item A: a round circle of well sanded oak that sits next to my bed. Item B: an LP of Regina Spektor's "What we Saw from the Cheap Seats" with 11 original songs including 'Don't Leave Me', 'Small Town Moon' and 'All The Row Boats'. Why are these so essential to my new-found well being?
Well, firstly, about three years ago I decided I was going to construct a scale model of an Ercol pebble table, finally excepting that my ownership of the real thing was very unlikely. I carved the table top and legs from an oak floor board, left over from the re-decoratoion of the sitting room. My project ended there, however, as I no longer had time to put the pieces together. They have hibernated in my bottom drawer ever since. On cleaning out I was challenged with finding a new use for them, kindling not being an option as sitting in the rain with a router and sand paper for hours on end had caused me to become rather emotionally attached. The legs were, I'm sorry to say, not very useful, so they did end up in the bucket next the wood burner. The table top, on the other hand, has been reemployed as a coaster. Every evening I like to enjoy a herbal tea. Whether it be peppermint, camomile or a special 'Clipper Sleep Easy blend', I find it helps me to relax, and settle down for the night. Resting it on top of a tissue to protect my Chiltern chest of draws was less than satisfactory, so this nifty little gadget has been perfect.
Object B I hear you ask? If you're still reading this, and haven't fallen asleep at your monitors, part two will commence shortly.
On Monday I had the indescribable privilege of going to see Regina Spektor at the De La Warr Pavilion. The building itself has been a favourite of mine for many moons, and Regina... well she's just amazing. I wasn't able to take any photos in the concert itself, but at the merchandise stall (comparable only to Aladdin's Cave) I found the perfect memento. I don't actually own a record player yet, but am probably surfing eBay as you read this. Every time I look at the sleeve, I am reminded of the wonderful evening, and just want to pick it up.
I have not been able to post this until now, due to my computers near death experience. After a serious scratch disk emptying, I have been able to successfully collate these images on photoshop, and blog away to my hearts content.
My piano teacher very kindly gave me a Moroccan mint plant on tuesday, and with it the chance to make my very own 'Moroccan mint tea'. This was an activity I had never before considered until then, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Being British, tea drinking is a big part of my life, and I couldn't wait to give it a go.
Firstly, place a handful of leaves at the bottom of a beaker. Then, fill with roughly a pint and a half of boiling water. Sweeten to taste (start with one and a half tbs and work up). Decant into a teapot and leave to infuse for about seven minutes. Remove the leaves and enjoy.
French toast with cherry and basil compote.
Today I made this wonderful dish, a recipe from Rachel Khoo's "The Little Paris Kitchen". It was scrummy, but also really simple, and something I had to share!
Rachel's recipe says:
"You will need; 1 egg, 250ml milk, 1 tbs sugar, 4 slices of brioche, 1 tbs butter. For the compote; 450g frozen pitted cherries, 150g icing sugar, a bunch of basil (roughly 20g).
To make the compote, place all the ingredients in a pot and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally during this time to help dissolve the icing sugar.
Meanwhile, make the pain perdu. Whisk the egg, milk and sugar together in a dish. Place the brioche in the egg mixture and soak fora minute on each side. Heat the butter in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Add the brioche and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden, then flip the slices over and cook the other side.
Remove the basil from the compote. Serve the pain perdu straight from the pan, with the warm compote spooned over and around it."
When I tried my hand at this tasty toast, I could not find frozen cherries in my local supermarket. In their absence, I replaced them in the recipe with 400g of frozen blueberries. This worked nicely, so if you dislike or can't find any cherries, there is an alternative!
I have always been a Jam fanatic. Jellys, curds and conserves had always been up there in my top food faves, but recently I have developed a bit of an obsession. Even the act of opening a new jar is a pleasurable experience in itself; the sudden pop as the air escapes, releasing with it a sensual steam of fruity fragrance. My top preserve would have to be the 'National Trust's home-brand Blackcurrant Curd', which to me is heaven on a slice of bread, or cracker, or biscuit... or the end of my finger for that matter. I am guilty to storing up to seven pots of passion in my fridge at a time, but its fair to say I do like a little bit of toast with my jam.