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Rebujito, or Why you’re growing mint

17 Jun

Is your mint properly confined or rampaging free through your borders? If the latter, then not only could you take to fresh mint tea infusions or create mint apple and red onion relish or a minty pesto… You could also make yourself a rebujito. I was converted at Morito in Exmouth market. A good slug of fino sherry, san pellegrino lemonade (very lemony, good and bitter), a fist of mashed up mint and more than a few cubes of ice. When the warm weather makes it here this is what you will want to be drinking. Like all cocktails it tastes even better if someone makes it for you. Xxx

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Work in progress: harlequin dinner service

30 Sep

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Thought I would share a work in progress. I am assembling a harlequin set of antique porcelain dinner plates. The advantages being… it is cheaper picking up odd, charming plates; I like not having to choose one design when I like so many; if I break one it is less devastating than if I have created a hole in a matching set. The postman thinks I am strange though. Last weekend 10 bulky fragile packages turned up the same morning. I am picking up large dinner plates, dessert plates and, for soup, desserts and pasta etc, the large style of soup plate with a wide ‘brim’.

That’s Entertainment!

30 Sep

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I love this new edition from Compass Box Whisky: The Entertainer. It’s a special edition only available at Selfridges, so move fast to nab all your Christmas presents in one go. The packaging design of all the Compass Box whiskies is a proper delight. Not only do they make you feel more civilised from the inside out they also bring wit and sensibility to your home. John Glaser, the founder of Compass Box, is a true pioneer and craftsman. He hones his blends to create revelatory experiences that make staunch whisky converts of the firmest sceptics. Actually as I type I am deciding to have our friends over for a whisky tasting. We’ll pop the kids into bed and break out the whisky, the cheese, the chocolate, the cigars. That’s Entertainment!

Blessings of the season

13 Aug

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August means …. The house is full of bright red stems of crocosmia lucifer. This is a perennial that seems to go mad in our garden, gets too big and flops. This year I have thought to bring it inside as cut flowers. Very dramatic. Pics soon. Just cut back the lavender in hopes it will not go rangy next year and popped these in vases too. Heleniums are my next big thing. They look like daisy head rudbeckia type flowers but bigger. Good to have plenty of late summer colour.
Another August treat are deep fried battered courgette flowers. Leave them on their little courgettes so they have a bit more substance… Better to fry, better to eat. Beer batter then fry in sunflower oil. I cannot express how wonderous they are, the crispened delicate flower case yielding to a soft almost liquid inside. Dip some sage leaves in the batter too – a soft new growth sprig of several leaves. These will be a revelation too.

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Marie Merveilleuse’ tablecloth

21 Jul

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How about this for a lovely lovely surprise? My Ma brought me this today. It’s a lovely waffle weave linen cloth from France with wonderfully anthropomorphic M M monogram dead centre. Fits my long narrow chestnut French kitchen table perfectly. Always wonder about monograms… Marie Merveilleuse? Michelle Ma belle? Used an old silver napkin ring today at the party engraved with ‘Inga’. Have a spoon with a very worn ‘Catherine Bennet’ which makes me think of Pride & Prejudice’s silly Kitty.

The grown ups loved… And the kids loved…

21 Jul

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The party went off well I think. The kids are not yet adventurous eaters – we keep trying – but feeding them first on homemade pizza before the grown ups sat down to a then-more-relaxed lunch proved good policy. The grown ups rated the strawberry mascarpone cheesecake and the kids approved the fairy cakes. Thank you Ursula Ferrigno, thank you Hummingbird Bakery.

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Big Red Party

20 Jul

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The folks have been married some 40 years, for which we are truly thankful. Big meal at ours tomorrow to celebrate. 40 years = Ruby wedding so all the food is RED. so we have…

Primi:
Tomato bread (c/o Pink Mister)
Beetroot pesto
Tomato saffron ricotta tart (from wonderful Cafe Paradiso book, see above)
Radishes cut like little toadstools
Lollo Rosso salad
Red cabbage red onion and red apple slaw
Carrot salad with pumpkin and sunflower seeds (orange, I know)
Chicken drumsticks
Speck walnut prune gorgonzola bites
Ripe cheese with tomato & chilli jam

Dolci:
Strawberry mascarpone cheesecake (see Ursula Ferrigno)
Raspberry Eton mess (see my first meringues in progress below)
Fairy cakes with strawberry icing
Panforte
Champagne with berries

The halls are being decked with strings of red felt bunting (see previous post). Now just waiting fr the kids to go to bed so I can tidy the house. Have a good weekend!

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Nearly cocktail hour

15 Jul

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Nearly cocktail hour chez Pink. Lately been serving ours in dinky vintage coffee cups. Has the added benefit of keeping measures modest! Look out for Bottoms Up, a 1950s American cocktail book by Ted Saucier. Let’s just say the accompanying illustrations are cheerful! See above, ‘Bachelor Girl’ involving ‘jiggers’ of Grand Marnier, Brandy, lemon juice, grenadine… & (optional) nude abandon.

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Party decorations

9 Jul

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Back from a speedy run to ikea and have knocked out 10m bunting from felt circles. I just ran them one after the other through the sewing machine without gaps and it seems strong enough. Recommend winding it round a card as it comes out t avoid tangles. Everything speedy this week. This is to jazz up my cherry red kitchen for a small ruby wedding anniversary party next week. Yes – ma and Pa 40 glorious years! The food is all going to be red… This is as far as the ‘theming’ goes. More anon.

“Stitch and bitch” chez Pink Sister

13 Jun
Pink Sister stitch and bitch #1

Pink Sister stitch and bitch #1

Often stitch whilst drinking coffee and chatting with my friends. Nobody minds (I think). Pink Mister gets the same treatment – he knows I cannot watch subtitled Scandi crime drama without his filling in bits missed when my head nods to pick up the next stitch. So combining socialising and making seems like an obvious one to me. ‘Stitch and bitch’ it’s called – we need more practice on both I reckon but for a first attempt this was really fun. V made bunting and got first use out of her excellent and very pink John Lewis sewing machine. E and I helped – drawing round the pattern, cutting out, ironing… but mostly drinking coffee and munching cake and sorrel soup. You can see what Number 2 was about – took me longer picking up his lego than it did making the bunting. John Lewis machines (the mini ones for £50 or so) are really good – I only graduated to a £200 Janome model last year and the little red JL is now on a shelf waiting for Number 1 to get into making like mommy!