Sunday 29 March 2009

Anyone for Chocolate sausages?

We have been watching Heston Blumenthals new series (which has now ended), in his latest episode he lays on a Roman Feast, one of the courses Trojan Hog features sausages with chocolate in (or rather cacoa).

Im not sure if I have previously mentioned this but I buy my sausages from the farmers market. Anyhow I was speaking to the lady who does the sausages and told her about Heston, and I think I may have talked her into making chocolate sausages ;o). I think the major selling point was that they would be great for Easter...

I will let you know if and when she starts selling them ;o)

Last weeks post lead to some comments from James that shops should start selling tubs of butter icing as that can be the best bit of the cake...

...knowing that Marks & Spencers have recently started selling "ready to bake" products for the ultra lazy, (perhaps they should use that as their tag line) I thought I would have a look to see if they did the butter icing in our store, and sure enough they do (in two flavours vanilla and chocolate), they were in 100 mil tubs (way too small in my opinion) and were £1.19 I think. James thought they were well expensive too, It would have been a different matter had it have been 1 pint for £1.00 or 1 gallon for £5.00, as you can be sure that we would both be sitting here in a butter icing induced stuper ;o).

On Wednesday I went back to my favourite shop, as I had finished my bar of chocolate with green peppercorns. This time I went for two bars one of sea salted caramel bar and the other is 85% Cardamom Bar. The shop assistant even recognised me from last time! Its only the second time I have been in there and I didnt think I would have made that much of an impression (perhaps it was stamping my feet shouting "no fair" when he told me they had sold out of the pecan mallows)... it was lunchtime and it was quiet the French shop assistant then gave me the "hard sell" on their Easter collection which was coming in the next day. I will have to go back to see what delights they have, purely for research of course... ;o).

I hear you asking "So what was the new Innocent Veg Pot like?" What do you mean your interested...

...well Im going to tell you anyway - The Indian Daal Curry one was really nice (in fact it was so nice I bought another one this morning) it is equal with the Thai Coconut Curry they are both now my joint favourites ;o).

I have been buying tubs of ready made mashed potato (yes I know its lazy) so I can have bangers & mash (sans the gravy) for my dinner, as the mashed potato (I usually go for colcannon), hasnt been (in my opinion) colcannon enough I have colcannonised it (thats a good word ;o)), by adding loads of herbs and more spring onions making it extra scrummy.

Earlier this week we had train troubles, there was a lineside fire between Chelmsford and Hatfield Peverel, I like most people tend to catch the same train every day, and the one I catch starts from Chelmsford, but starts from platform 2 (the trains run towards Ipswich).

Whenever there are train troubles they then tend to start that train from Platform 1 (that runs towards London), as so many commuters (or rather customers as they like to call us) use our station the platform gets pretty crowded and then they wont let anymore people onto the platform until it has cleared.

This is what happened this time, as I was waiting to be let onto the other platform it struck me what a goldmine Costa Coffee was with its newly opened shop in Chelmsford station. I bet they made a packet with all the extra people wanting coffees as it was cold (you can be sure when they have to submit their sales figures at the end of the week they will be too gormless to work out the reason for it).

I was then allowed onto the platform, let the first train go as it was packed and got on the second one (which I had to stand on), I got into London half an hour later than I would have done so it wasnt too bad!

I didnt weighed myself this week, but I havent been too bad eating wise.

Sunday 22 March 2009

black velvet

Every day for the past couple of weeks, I have been confronted by a blackboard on a pavement "A board" saying "try our yummy black velvet cupcakes" I have been umming and ahhing about trying one and on Thursday I finally cracked!

Yes I'm the gullible fool that all those adverts are aimed at - I admit it! ;o) If you word something just right I will succumb eventually...

I followed the arrow on the sign leading me around the perimeter of The Gherkin to Konditor & Cook, I entered the haven of yummieness asked in my least frantic voice saying "I would like two black velvet cupcakes please" The East European lady (how comes everyone in the food industry in London is always Eastern European? - I dont have a problem with this) says to me "I vill gow and cheyck on zem" she then came back and said "zey are being done now and vill be ready after 12".

Well at least I know they will be fresh.

I went back at lunchtime to get the yummy cupcakes and got one each for me and James. Good job the trains werent up the creek that evening as I dont think they would have made it home ;o).

They didnt disappoint me (lets put it that way - to be honest if its chocolately it rarely will ;o)), it was a chocolate cake with a whole load of lemon butter icing on top (so it looked like a pint of Guinness).

On Tuesday last week the managers of our building bought around croissants for all the tenants, apparently they do this about once a month (we never got this in Romford ;o)). Seeing the round croissant imediately took me back to when I was 11 at Hedley Walter High School in a French lesson when our teacher bought us out the very same croissants (obviously not the same ones as they would be 27 years old and stale!).

I got to try a another new soup this week from Pret a Manger, Slow-Cooked Miso Pork & Rice (free-range chicken stock, rice, pork, carrot, spring onion, miso paste, ginger, fish sauce, red chilli, garlic, soy sauce and sesame). Even better I managed to get the last portion of it too as just after I got my pot of soup the person serving me said that was the last of the pork... to the guy who I "pipped to the post" it was really nice, I was making someone feel hungry at work while eating it too as he said it smelt like worcester sauce! I half expected him to back with some from another shop but he didnt.

While doing the food shopping this morning, I came across a new veg pot from Innocent, Indian Daal Curry, it sounds pretty yummy so Ill tell you what its like next week, Im still having the Coconut Thai Curry one too, as that really is my favourite one at the moment.

The weather has been really nice today and we ventured out for the first time this year without our winter coats!

I hear you asking "so what did the Black Velvet cupcake do to your weight?" what do you mean your not asking that? ;o) Well Ill tell you anyway...

...I put on one pound.

Sunday 15 March 2009

Goulash for lunch

I finally met my friends for lunch on Monday (we were supposed to meet on the Tuesday after the move, but was cancelled as one friend couldnt make it), we went to their staff canteen which is roughly halfway between the three of us. I went for the jacket potato with Beef Goulash and very nice it was too.

While me and James were watching Celebrity Britains Best Dish, I came out with "I want to change the person I want to turn straight from "H" from Steps to Scott Henshall", I mean who wants to look at a six pack when you can eat yummy food ;o).

Poor James then looked at me dumbfounded as I explained, that when bored me and a girl I used to work with would ask each other "interesting" questions such as "who would you like to turn straight?" For the life of me I cant remember who my friend chose, but I definitely went for "H" after seeing him as Joseph!

We were buying some bits yesterday, and one of the things I picked up was a Galaxy Cookie Crumble chocolate bar (I'm eating it now if your interested? and it is really nice chocolatey with cookie bits in it), anyhow we were paying for our bits at the self serve checkout and James left the bar in the basket! Now, I thought I said "dont forget my chocolate bar" but what apparently came out was a primeval screech that a Banshee would have been proud of!

I know I love chocolate but never realised that it has such a hold on me ;o)

Also while shopping I bought myself a massive Bramley Apple Crumble (again fancying this after watching CBBD), I had a quarter of it last night.

I followed the instructions and heated it up, but I suspect when I have another quarter of it tonight I will revert to my usual "eating it cold straight from the fridge".

I have also been known to eat Cheesecake straight from the freezer believing that if it has been previously frozen, then it should be eaten that way too ;o). James on the other hand has loads more restraint than me and (listen to this) he will actually wait for it to defrost first (this concept is completely alien to me - and should not be attempted unless supervised by an unresponsible adult).

Anyhow I weighed myself this morning and I have lost two pounds so I ate the chocolate bar to celebrate ;o).

Sunday 8 March 2009

Mum... Im on telly!

I set our Sky+ box to record Market Kitchen, but I havent yet watched it! Im scared that I will look like a goon, not that it normally bothers me... ;o)

I thought that following our tv appearance we would have been approached by at least one person (I would have even been happy with one of the weird people who walk around town talking or rather shouting to themselves) wanting an autograph.

I even bought a sharpie pen so I would be ready for the deluge! I may have to result in walking upto people and asking if they want my autograph - yes thats it, people are scared to approach me - it cant be that no one watched the show can it?

Last week I had a nice short week, as we went to Edinburgh for a wee break.

I started off being good eatingwise, but as usual it went downhill rapidly...

I made sure I tried some Scottish delicacies too, I had some haggis it was softer than I thought it would be, but I dont know if I would eat it again. The other thing I had was the deep fried mars bar (come on, I had to try it ;o)) you will be pleased to know it didnt disappoint me (not that that was ever likely to happen), it was as gorgeous as it sounds, and I could feel my arteries furring up with every mouthful ;o), and yes I would most definitely have it again and again and yet again...

While we were away we got a bus to Leith to go to the Royal Yacht Britannia, can you believe they wouldnt let me have a "Royal wee" in the Queens private toilet (apparently I was being unpatriotic!). I think the word treason may have been used as I was being "escorted" off the ship.

I love buying shower gels and the Ocean Terminal shopping mall had just the shop for me, Korres. I bought a 250 mml bottle of Nutmeg shower gel completely forgetting about the 100 mml rule for carrying liquids in hand luggage at the airport! I hear you asking, "so how did you get around it?" well I called down to reception and got them to bring me 6 bottles of their 40 mml complementary shower gels, I emptied the bottles and refilled them with my posh stuff. I did feel bad about the waste, honest ;o)

I really dont get why you cant carry bottles larger than 100 mml but you can bring any amount of liquid though passport control in smaller bottles, if you want to bring through dodgy liquids you are going to no matter what the size restrictions are!

I picked up a copy of Metro on our first day, and thought it was really spooky that the restaurant review was on a place in Edinburgh, I think there was a review on some other place in Edinburgh too. I thought how did they know that I would be reading the paper here and your reviews are coinciding with this (was there strange forces at work?). I got to the letters page, and the letters were all from Edinburgh or Glasgow. I then looked at the e-mail address and yes you guessed it said to e-mail scotmetro. Of course I then remembered that I picked up my copy of Metro at Edinburgh airport and it wasnt likely to feature restaurant reviews of poncey London eateries. How we laughed, or rather I laughed and James looked at me like I was a lunatic...

So what did all this gastronomy do to my weight? Well, I put on three pounds so Im not too upset.

Sunday 1 March 2009

Thrice as nice

Pancake Day was yummy not least because I am not dieting as I was this time last year...

...this year I bought a tub of ready made pancake batter from Marks & Spencer, I limited myself to having two pancakes which I lovingly smothered in golden syrup with a chopped up banana - in the hope of making them healthy (I know, I know ;o)).

Last year I bought a packet of ready made pancakes - I think I used some Starbucks Creme Brulee syrup on them. The year before (pre diet) I had the tub of ready made batter and had the whole lot!

Dont get me wrong, my mindset hasnt changed one iota...

...I really wanted to eat the whole lot but that little voice inside my head said not too (and for once I listened to it!).

I got a leaflet through the post last week from Hotel Chocolat and the tasting club has a members only egg, Ive gone for the mix egg that has one shell in milk chocolate and the other in dark chocolate. I wouldnt normally order something so extravagant, but I thought sod it ;o).

Now I dont have to worry about trawling around the shops to see what I fancy (in all honesty I fancy the whole lot of them except Bounty as I dont like desiccated coconut).

I have found a new favourite shop to look in... London Lite last week there was an article about Paul A Young a chocolate shop in The Royal Exchange. They had sold out of the Pecan Mallows (which was what I went in there for), but I got me and James each a salted caramel chocolate instead (I couldnt taste the salt but the caramel definitely tasted sweeter because of it). I was faithfully told by the French shop assistant (I have a feeling that the amount of times I will be going in there he will become my new best friend) that they will have some more either on Monday or Tuesday. While I was there I was looking at their flavoured chocolate bars (they had loads of them and I fully intend tasting each one ;o)) and bought myself a Venezuelan 70% bar with green peppercorns.

I bought the chocolate bar with me to Starbucks so I could try it after I have weighed myself (incidentally I put on 100 grammes, I was gutted at first then remembered I had the two pancakes on Tuesday and a huge ciabatta garlic bread last night and now am quite pleased that I didnt put on more ;o)). The chocolate bar was really nice and you could taste the bitterness of the peppercorns which was a nice contrast. James tried a bit and didnt like it - Im not bothered about this as it means I dont have to share it with him ;o) and no I didnt buy it knowing that he wouldnt like it - it just worked out that way (honest ;o)).

On Fridays Birleys had again sold out of lamb, so I couldnt have my half a lamb sandwich (it still makes me laugh as it sounds really greedy).

So they actually lost a proper sale this time, as I went to Pret a Manger and got a soup instead. Talking of soups I had three this week...

...On Monday I had Sag Aloo (you will be pleased to know it was as nice as it was last week), on Thursday and Friday I had two new soups.

My first new soup was Five Bean Cassoulet (borlotti, cannellini, kidney, flageolet & butter beans, olive oil, sundried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, organic vegetable bouillon, parsley, sage & thyme) and the second was Chilli Beef & Rice (minced beef, tomato, kidney beans, red peppers, red chilli, cumin, balsamic vinegar & rice), they were both nice but not really nice and would go on my reserve soup list.

Dont forget those of you who can get UKtv Food to watch Market Kitchen at 7pm on Tuesday and Friday this week.