Monday, January 31, 2011

Nom Nom Nom

So we had the final of 'Come Dine with Me' last night. I was limbering up for a smug new post about how I managed to get them drunk enough by the time it came to scoring my winning menu when I realised that I neglected to blog about the day I actually cooked. Tsk.  The reason it fell off my blogging radar is probably due to the fact that it was one of those days that it interrupts your train of thought, you feel a wave of exhaustion come over you, and need a good sit down with a cuppa tea (and a hobnob, if you're feeling extravagant) to get your bearings again.

In a nutshell, we've taken the concept of the TV show, added a few Irish accents and got rid of the camera crew. So myself and 4 other budding masterchefs in my social circle take it it turns to cook a three course meal every other Sunday (ah, four free meals to help keep the 'end of weekend' blues away) and score each other afterwards.  Add the scores up at the end and the winner is declared.

I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the morning of my 'night', skipped off to town with my Eco-Warrior Tesco Bags (EWTBs). Checkout workers always give me that 'everytime-i-hand-you-a-plastic-bag-a-baby-polar-bear-dies' look when I forget to bring EWTBs.  Since the only pictures of polar bears I have stored in the cranium are akin to the below, the EWTBs are coming with me dammit.

Run along little bears, run along!

When I arrived back at the apartment several hours later minus a months wages and an estimated 4 stone, my kitchen was fully kitted out with a new baking dish, a baking tray, a measuring jug and a 'revolutionary' pastry roller that I didn't need in the end as the pastry was already prepared and rolled out.  But it is revolutionary, it will have its chance to shine when i finally purchase my '101 Ways with Pastry' book (read: when I make some homemade playdoh).

I started cooking all at once - I figured I'd just go with the flow and wrap the whole feast in a blanket of clingfilm and tinfoil if worse comes to worse and its all done 2 hrs early.  I had things boiling, baking, frying, steaming, melting, simmering, roasting and relaxing all at once. Not sure what that last bit was but it was something edible sitting in the fridge...relaxing. Any questions ask Mr Ramsey yourself.

The dinner itself passed a in haze of paranoia; did i overcook the beef? Did i forget someone's allergy and they are about to drop to the floor clutching their throat and looking at me accusingly any minute now? Why is she only eating 4 spoonfuls of the soup? Is Colm drunk?  The answers; No, not a rash in sight, turns out the poor sod was hungover and yes, yes he was.

I bet you're wondering what the menu was aren't you?  Ah reader, I know thee too well. So here it is, drumroll please:
Starter: Broccoli and Stilton Soup
Main: Beef Wellington with a side of Potatoes Dauphinoise
Dessert: Apple Crumble with Custurd

In fairness, my fellow contestants did put up a good fight and showcased their culinary prowess with burger surprises, special edition chocolate cakes and alcoholic melons (yep, that was Colm again).   Give it a go yourself readers - even if you serve up a burnt mess that would have you hauled up in front of a judge for animal cruelty if you served it to your dog, at least you will have a solid night's craic!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ah January...

Did you know that January 24th was the most depressing day folks? Its a mix of failed New Years resolutions (we're all back on the full-fat mayo now apparently), the painfully long wait til you get your hands on that first paycheck after Xmas and well, its January ('nuff said). Thankfully that sombre little nugget of information just passed me right by as I was too busy yelping at a sewing machine on the day itself.  See below for the fruits of my labour:

Yesyes, its just a bit of fabric masquerading as some pathetic cushion cover at best (or at worse, some kind of towel to dry your springer spaniel off after a long walk in the countryside, in the rain).  Nonetheless reader, this little patch is just the beginning of my furore into dressmaking.  And next week we get to make a skirt! A skirt reader! I'm so excited i'm using italics!!

We spent the start of the class paired up and measuring each other.  I happened to be paired with a pregnant woman (6 months gone) who helpfully decided to compare our measurements as we went along:

"I guess the bust measurement should be good for the ego, but it will all head south of the border as soon as I pop this little one out!"
"Wow, what a tiny waist you have.."
"Yeah i know, i've such such fat ankles now with all the water i'm retaining (sigh!)"

Mercifully, all was well in the end when it turns out she was a bit of a dab hand with the awl sewing machine and lamented on the little cute outfits she was going to make to kit out the new addition to the family (it was at this point in the evening where my ovaries started quivering at the thought of the little one in a matching cardie and beanie hat!)

In other news, the boyfriend did his bit for his country over the weekend and attempted to get a few in the back of the net, all in the name of futsal.  The evenings were largely dominated by helpful reminders from my fellow spectator Lisa to 'breathe!!' when Joe got the ball and was dribbling in the manner of {insert famous futsal player's name here}. I managed to watch 3 games without falling into a hyperventilative state and congratulated him in the end:

In a totally unrelated note, I discovered the most luciously decorated bar in Dublin last weekend when out for a glass of Orange juice (*ahem* hi mum!!).  If Urban Outfitters was a bar/restaurant, this would be it:  If you're in Dubbers this weekend go see, if only for the photo booth and to take style inspiration from the staff!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In through the rabbit hole, round the big tree...

Finally nabbed a place on a dressmaking class 10 mins away from my digs for the bargainous sum of 90 yoyos! This is all in exchange for 10 weeks worth of learning how not to stab myself repeatedly with the sewing needle and produce an elegant creation so delightful that men and women alike will tilt their heads and sigh in appreciation at the sight.  I'm no budding Stella McCartney but if I ended up with something akin to the below, i'll die happy:

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Went to see Love & Other Drugs last night which was nice an all.  Alas, the sex scenes disturbed me greatly due to the fact that Anne Hathaway looks the spit of my best friend's lil sister (uncomfortable, mostly due to the fact that she is still the lil 8 year old that followed us around looking to play, and maybe a lil bit due to the fact that she nabbed Jake, biatch)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Say what?!

So apparently I'm not a Capricorn anymore. This has thrown me slightly I gotta say.

When I was a deluded teen I used to hunt for the goat (my starsign 'mascot' if you will) in the 'astrology' page of Bliss magazine and devoured every word, especially the 'love life' section which satisfied me every time with its mention of 'surprise dates', 'secret admirers' and 'a spontaneous gift of a field of sunflowers in rural Sardinia in which yourself and hunk of the month will frolic in' (okay ,the latter isn't strictly true but I had a good imagination at the time)

So now I'm part of that cool gang of Aquarius'.  Which sounds kinda like some achingly cool mermaid gang out at sea eating their organic seaweed and floating from place to place with a big glossy mane of hair which always seems to follow gracefully behind them so they never end up swallowing a mouthful when they make an abrupt turn with their perfectly sized fins.  Sigh.

I'll ignore the fact that I think astrology is a load of rubbish and run with this little fantasy but if you are pondering your next tattoo, here is a useful guide:

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

hullo 2011 ;)

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this blog is as dead as a dodo but I felt sorry for this little blog with its outdated 'Christmas snow' effect falling sadly in the background so thought i'd give it some blog lovin'. The snow effect will remain until I work out how the heck to get it off, plus its very becoming don't you think?

So Christmas and NYE has been and gone and left my favourite jeans feeling a tad too snug for my liking. Christmas was a slightly tame affair since my childhood digs lie in the middle of the Mourne Mountains; they're very pretty with their snow cap and sunsets in the background an' all, but what with the local residents being a few hundred heifers, sheep and that odd farmer round the corner who opted for a horse in place of a wife, it didn't make for a riotous Boxing Day knees-up...i'm gonna be honest.  I squeezed in a bit of reading, walking and gossiping with the few friends that happen to live within a 10 mile radius before donning my gladrags and escaping to Wexford (South Ireland) with around 30 others.

Wexford was a different kettle of fish altogether.  If there was a cow, I wouldn't have been able to spot it for being distracted by this magnificent house we had rented for a few days to usher in 'twenty one one'.
Cinema! Jacuzzi! Private Irish bar! Big Bouncy Trampoline!
...I settled in no problem as you can very well imagine. Once I got past the fact that the main colour scheme was cream (30 people, alcohol; go figure) I had a large sea mammal of a time I tell thee.

Next up was my birthday on the 7th.  This is quite possibly the worse time to have a birthday what with everyone on some carrot juice detox diet/broke/studying or too depressed over the fact that they have broken their NY resolutions already, although i do know someone born on April Fools Day which is decidedly worse.
Joey exceeded himself by taking me out to my fave restaurant, a surprise gathering at the funfair and ice skating.  The latter was tray amusant as the dude spent most of the time pulling himself around the edge of the rink while cursing the rink supervisor who was putting on quite a show - he only stopped short of doing a full mid-air pirouette dear readers.  Joe contented himself with the assertion that he is very probably better at football than said supervisor and off he went for another long slug around the edge of the rink.

On an unrelated note, its my turn to unleash my culinary genius this Sunday for 'Come Dine With Me'.  So far i've decided on Broccoli and Stilton soup as a starter (mainly because i know they will recoil in horror at the sight of it on the menu and i want to see their terrified little faces around the table) and apple crumble with custurd to polish it all off.  You will find me in the 'Cookery' section of Waterstone's this weekend furiously flicking pages of Nigella, Delia and Gordon's offerings for something to complete the 'main meal' part of my winning combination (*kisses imaginary laminated menu*)