28.11.13

Snuggly Pom Pom Slippers

Dear Laura,







A couple of years ago I found some slippers online which had lovely pom poms on them. unfortunately they were sold out and I have been craving them ever since. Now that the weather is positively wintery, I have been sewing sewing sewing. I ordered some fluffy furry material which I have used in my last three projects. Now I have the most snuggly furry comfy slippers a lady could ask for, they go all the way up to my knee and keep me so toasty warm I am not sure I am ever going to take them off. Today, in front of the Macys thanksgiving parade I made all my pom poms and sewed them on, now I think they are perfect. I am glad I finally got my pom pom slippers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lots of love

Annie

24.11.13

unblocked, but warm

Dear Annie,






I never did get around to blocking the baby blanket, but it keeps him toasty and warm, nevertheless. 

I also had a whole skein of yarn leftover- more about that soon.

Love from,
Laura

PS: Details of the blanket are on Ravelry, as ever.

23.11.13

Winter Warmth

Dear Laura,




The days are turning distinctly chilly over on this side of the pond. We still have the odd glorious sunny warm autumn day when the leaves are luminous and summer seems just behind us. Mostly though now we have the dry chilly wind running through the city, the leaves blown to the ground and everyone bundled up scurrying from place to place. This weather leaves me with little option when it comes to sewing. I need warmth and lots of it so all I can think about is hats, scarfs, gloves and slippers.

My favourite hat of recent years has been my city Russian hat, it is lined with fur (100% polyester, that is some quality fur) and I can wrap my head in it with just a small amount of face peeking out. This hat is grey and black and with all the autumn colour about I wanted to try a more colourful one. So out came the sewing machine and off I went.



Measuring my head


Tying the inside with the outside


Almost done, this is what is will look like if I dont what to keep my ears warm

Toasty as a toasty thing

Now I have a nice extra cosy hat, for the days when I want to be a little more colourful.

Lots of love

Annie

19.11.13

Fennel and Mushroom Risotto

Dear Laura,


R has returned hooray, all this cooking was taking its toll, I have to admit one meal did consist of crisps and wine, I am not proud of it, but well it was bound to happen. So my final dish last night was a fennel and mushroom risotto. As you know one of the very few dishes in my repertoire is butternut squash risotto, you know this because you gave me the recipe and I always cooked it for any guest that happened upon my door. This is not terribly different but it felt more autumnal which felt right. Also there was fennel involved and I love fennel.

Fennel and Mushroom Risotto



Serves 2
one fennel bulb
a box of mixed mushrooms (roughly a handful of chopped mushrooms per person)
1 cup of arborio rice
1 pint of stock
75g butter
a large glass of white wine
4 gloves of garlic
2 shallots

Chop the shallots and the fennel bulb into small pieces, crush 2 gloves of garlic. Put 25g of butter in a frying pan heat until melted and add the garlic, shallots and fennel. Fry at a medium heat for 10 minutes so the onions and fennel turn translucent. add a little more butter, turn the heat up a little and add the arborio rice.  Cook for 5 minutes making sure to mix the rice in and coat it with the butter, stir continuously. Add the white wine and let it cook, stirring all the while. Once most of the wine has cooked through add a ladle full of stock and stir until most of it has gone, keep adding the stock a ladle at a time until the rice is cooked through. Stir continuously and make sure to never let the liquid run out. 

Whilst you are doing this, chop the mushrooms and crush the remaining garlic. Heat another frying pan with the remaining butter. Once the butter is melted put in the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are done (about 5 - 10 minutes). Once the risotto is ready add the cooked mushrooms, some salt and pepper and mix. Serve with a few fennel greens on top.

Thank goodness that is over, back to sitting drinking wine whilst watching the husband do his magic phew!

Lots of love

Annie

15.11.13

Two for One - A Secret Recipe

Dear Laura,


Last night I made cauliflower yackney, I think there might be about 10 people in this world who know what this dish is but all those people know how delicious it is. As you know my backgound is pretty mixed and in there there is a little bit of Lebanese. This means that there are all sorts of dishes that I grew up with that were fantastic mixes of Lebanese and English cuisine, this is one of my favourites. 

Recently when my mum and dad came to visit, mum supervised my creation of this dish and it was a pretty big hit, there were seconds consumed by most of the table and so I have the confidence to give you the recipe. It was one of the few dishes I ate as a child and although not as delicious as Peas Yackney (I will save that for another time) it is still one of my favs. Because this dish involves an entire cauliflower I have doubled up and have had it two nights in a row. It was well worth it!


Cauliflower Yackney
Serves 4

1 bunch of coriander (cilantro)
1/2 lb of beef mince
1 smallish cauliflower
1 lemon
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 cups of water
a teaspoon of Sumac
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups of rice (enough for 4)

Fry the mince in a heavy bottom casserole pan until browned. Whilst the mince is cooking cut the onion and crush the garlic. Once the mince is browned take it out of the pan and put it in a bowl to the side. Add the onions and garlic in the pan that cooked the mince, make sure not to clean it, fry until translucent. Whilst the onions are cooking cut the cauliflower up into florets (I might have just made up this word). Once the onions are translucent add in the beef and 1 and 1/2 cups of water, stir to make sure all the goodness that is stuck to the bottom of the pan is melted into the water, then add the cauliflower. 

Cut up the coriander and add to the dish add the sumac(although it is fine without this just makes it better) and season. Mix everything around throughly, put on the lid and simmer for 20 minutes until the cauliflower is soft, if it is not getting soft and the water is gone add more water to the stew. 

Cook the rice whilst the cauliflower yackney is stewing. Serve the cauliflower yackney with the rice and squeeze a quarter of a lemon on top of each dish.


Lots of Love

Annie

13.11.13

Cheating Dinner

Dear Laura,


So far my experiment has been working, forcing myself to photograph my supper has meant I have fed myself quite well so far. However yesterday I did cheat. I teach on Tuesday evenings and so I tend to get home around 10pm my enthusiasm for cooking is fairly low at this point. So yesterday I heated up some ready made ravioli and ready made pasta sauce with some salad. I am trying to practice my food photography which is why my food styling here is a little odd, I need some more practice.

Lots of love

Annie

12.11.13

Autumn Pasta

Dear Laura,

I love courgettes pasta and garlic, I think I could live off that combination for quite a long time. This felt so autumnal it was lovely I just needed to bring some of those lovely colourful leaves inside to finish it all off!



Autumn Pasta

Serves 2
1/2 fresh pasta
2 courgettes (zucchini)
2 handfuls of cut mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic
some pine nuts
1 desert spoon of butter
2oz creme fraiche
salt and pepper


Cook the pasta and drain. Cut the mushrooms into quarters and slice the courgette. Melt the butter in a frying pan, crush the garlic and add to the pan with the mushrooms and courgettes. Fry until the courgette are browned. Add the pasta, pine nuts and creme fraiche, mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper.


 




Lots of love

Annie

Sunday Chops and Parsnips

Dear Laura,


At christmas I wrangle my mum into making roasted parsnips, they really are my very favourite thing in the world. I always make sure to eat every last one of them, to show my appreciation (not greediness no no). You of course are very aware of my never ending appetite when it comes to roast dinners. Many a time when we were in the same city your brother and I would fight for the last morsels of the delicious roast dinners you would cook us. Biting into the roast parsnips last night transported me home, sparkly christmas lights in the door way my family and warmth all around me. They really are my favourite thing, oh and I made sure to eat every last one.

Lots of love

Annie

10.11.13

7 Days of Cooking

Dear Laura,



As you know I do not really do any cooking anymore, I used to cook for myself all the time but since moving in with R my cooking duties quickly filtered away to nothing. He is such a good cook and, well, I am not. I have a couple of dishes in my repertoire but these days if I put peas on the stove I will generally wonder away and forget about them until they burn. 

Well this week I am on my own food wise and rather than buying take out every night or scrambling around making pasta, tomato ketchup and cheese (yes this was a student favourite of mine and I can just about still stomach it), I am going to cook, actually cook and my incentive is to tell you about it, that way I will have to do it as well as I can.

I went to the farmers market yesterday and bought things that I thought I would need and my supper yesterday is titled Shanthi's Summer Pasta. This is because I stole this recipe directly from my friend Shanthi Sekeran.

Shanthi's Summer Pasta


Ingredients (serves 2)

A lemon
4oz smoked salmon
2 cups of peas
1lb of fresh pasta
8oz creme fraiche
2 handfuls of salad leaves

Cook the pasta and the peas and leave to the side. Cut the smoked salmon into 1/2" by 1/2" pieces (1cm by 1cm). Heat a frying pan with some olive oil, once hot put the salmon in and heat quickly moving the salmon around. Once the salmon goes light pink (about 30 seconds later) add the cooked pasta and peas and add the creme fraiche. Mix everything together throughly and take off the heat. Squeeze a whole lemons juice over before serving and season. Serve with salad leaves.



Tonight I am hoping to make lamb chops except I don't know how to cook lamb chops, any advice would be gratefully received!

Lots of love

Annie
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