Guardian Girl

Long poos, long face

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on November 11, 2011

The final two days of pouting, quiff-sporting male model impersonation are nearly over.

Studio life

Studio life

Student life

Student life

Clothes rail, clothes horse – same difference. My quiff got a bit of performance anxiety when it saw the camera.

Lightning move

Lightning move

Lightning struck

Lightning struck

And today, a touch of the finger-in-the-electricity-socket. Just never got the hair right, did I.

The food was more successful. Yotam’s fishcakes came up trumps for Wednesday’s dinner and last night Dan Lepard’s bonfire sticks incited the oohs and ahhhs we missed out on by being fireworks night scrooges. That’s a naff analogy and a half. Oh the clevernessless Fridays of the weary blogger, tired of the sound of her own tone of voice.

Bonfire sticks

Bonfire sticks

Bonfire logs

Bonfire logs

You know I’m not talking about wooden logs, don’t you?

Never mind. All the tastiest dinners look like turds.

Conclusions:

  • I’m very busy at work today so there’s not a great deal of time for drawing conclusions
  • Instead, please accept this TOWIE-style catchphrase, which I’m hoping will catch on: “Have fun til Mon”
  • It’s supposed to be a way cool way of saying “Have a nice weekend”
  • Doesn’t really work, does it
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More invisible polka dots

Posted in Fashion, Recipes by guardiangirl on November 3, 2011
Honey nut banana muffins
Honey nut banana muffins
Honey nut banana cinders
Honey nut banana cinders

Witness the results of last night. They could’ve done with five minutes less in the oven, but that is a vast improvement on most of my previous baking attempts, which could’ve generally done with two hours more in the airing cupboard – or a lifetime in the bin.

This recipe was highly agreeable in its easiness. I got an extra sense of satisfaction from already owning both wholemeal and spelt flour (CHECK ME!). Lord, I even felt a bit like some kind of warm-hearted wife who does things properly, opening the cupboard and perusing my flour arrangement diligently. Couldn’t be further from the truth of course, but all the invisible spies in my kitchen weren’t to know that, so I managed to impress them at least.

I added salted peanuts, toasted almonds, a bit of lemon juice and muesli for that wind-in-your-hair reckless sensation we all crave when baking, whether we can admit it to ourselves or not, and splodged the mixture into my six-muffin tray because I don’t have a 12-muffin one (what kind of fool… etc).

I thought they were delicious. I ate three. I brought one in for my workmate and she was very grateful before she ate it and quite quiet after she ate it. Not sure if muffin-related because I don’t dare ask.

On to today’s outfit, which is really perturbing for contextual reasons.

A new spin
A new spin
A new low
A new low

The problem is not so much that I look like a nob, which I’m used to by now, but that I have to look like a nob at a gig tonight. Never in a million years would I wake up and think to myself, “I’m going to see the Melvins – yay, I’ll put on a pencil skirt and a shirt, then sling a t-shirt over the top – it’s a fast track to WELL rad!”

I wouldn’t wear what the model’s got on, but I particularly wouldn’t wear what I’ve got on. I have taken off the shirt so it’s now just a pencil skirt and a t-shirt, but still. Maybe if I just plaster on a lot of black eyeliner I can aim for some sort of office-goth angle. Yeh. Just what I’ve always wanted to dress like.

Conclusions:

  • You just find yourself in these stupid situations

Vietnamese pot-bellied pig

Posted in Fashion, Food, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on November 2, 2011

Turns out Hugh wouldn’t come out of the cellar so I untrussed Yotam instead, and he gave me a masterclass in salad making. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to cover Module 3: Julienning, but I passed Module 1: Putting Ingredients in a Bowl and Module 2: Frying Onions with hovering colours.

I cooked both Yotam’s salads, since one salad can never be enough. I personally found them both quite delicious although the beef contained large hunks of gristle (not Yotam’s fault).

My boyfriend was a little quiet during the eating of the salads, not making his usual appreciative snortings and smackings. It could have been because of the gristle, it could have been because of the abundant pomegranate seeds, which are not to everyone’s taste, it could have been because he was wondering whether he was going to pick up his napkin and find it full of yoghurt.

Warm Vietnamese beef salad
Warm Vietnamese beef salad
Blurry Vietnamese gristle salad
Blurry Vietnamese gristle salad

You can see what I mean about Module 2 here. I have an amazing book that tells you how to do everything properly in the kitchen, so no excuses on this front. Will read julienning section asap.

We didn’t get to eat this salad until something like 10pm because it took so bloody long to chop all the ingredients and fry and mix and peel and all that. Yotam is all about the prep. I dearly wish for a team of people to chop and weigh my ingredients for me, and line them up on the worktop in those little glass bowls.

The other reason dinner was late was that I had been up the Angel trying to buy cheap crombies. My workmate Sophie gave me a careful rundown of what did and didn’t constitute a crombie before I left the office, but by the time I reached the mall I was already confused. Something about wool, something about a collar. I texted poor Sophie a pic from the H+M changing rooms but unfortunately by the time my phone had actually got round to posting it (lazy iPhones) I had already reached the counter.The receipt was flapping victoriously in my hand when I received the response “No, I don’t think that counts as a crombie.” Anyway it’s a nice coat in a CDT teacher sort of a way, I needed one anyway, and it only cost £25.

Today’s outfit is not very see-through, thankfully. I thought about taking my bra off but my workfriendographer Charlotte and I decided the office corridor wasn’t the best place for it.

Spots
Spots
Acne
Acne

This dress makes lots of appearances on the blog because it’s one of the only lightish-coloured dresses I own. Light-coloured dresses in my experience are generally unflattering and impractical. However I might need to invest in a few more as this old maternity frock here (I have never been preggers, I just bought it because it leaves plenty of space for a pot belly after a large meal, and it was dirt cheap in a sale) looks like a crumpled snot rag on account of my never ironing it, and is covered in stains on account of my hopeful overestimation of the size of forks.

Conclusions:

Hellfire and brimstone, beans, and other national priorities

Posted in Fashion, Food, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on August 13, 2011

Good day.

Last week never really picked itself up off its weekend-scuffed knees. Not much to show for it all. I did cook a few bean recipes, all of which were very tasty and one of which is represented here through the medium of unskilled photography.

Fresh borlotti beans with onions and garlic

Fresh borlotti beans with onions and garlic

Fresh not-the-right-beans with onions and garlic

Fresh not-the-right-beans with onions and garlic

Somehow it didn’t feel like International Consumerist Blog Week though, do you know what I mean? When you’re a few roads away from rioting and the shops are boarding up their windows around you, you don’t necessarily take the decision to hammer on their doors and ask them to stay open ten minutes longer so you can buy a punnet of fresh biodynamic borlotti beans for dinner. Hence tinned chickpeas and black-eyed beans above and hence last week’s general quietness on the Guardian-following front.

Not blaming all of last week’s failures on the distraction of the riots, mind. I also had a very busy, not-wanting-to-wear-leather-gauntlets-to-work kind of a week (we all have them, once a decade or so) and the Guardian life dropped off the bottom of the list somehow. So I just busied myself with other stuff instead, like having a job, having a relationship and other such inconsequential minutiae of daily existence.

For all its pain-in-the-arseness though, I have set myself this imprudent challenge and I must keep trucking along. This morning I begrudgingly resolved to get serious again with the Saturday dawning of the new issue, despite really just wanting to have a lie-in and eat a fry up before coming to the office.

In any case I valiantly shambled off to the newsagent to buy the paper, tears of self-pity in my eyes, followed by a trip to Whole Foods to buy buttermilk and sumac () (this is a bold ellipsis to signify a a weighty pause of some kind). The ‘hugelyirritated’ person complaining about Yotam’s failure to explain halloumi here really ought to try swapping places with me for a week. I’ll show ’em hugely irritated. (Seriously though, leave Yotam alone! Get a dictionary!)

I cooked the buttermilk soup for lunch, following the recipe fairly carefully but not doing quite as much cooling as I might have done had I not been in a bit of a rush. The taste was happy. The photo, which I will display to you tomorrow after 24 hours of no doubt unbearable suspense, is sad.

Out of conscientious obedience towards The Measure, I am listening to The Drums/Money on Soundcloud as I type this. Muuuurrrrhh. If I want chittering beats, I generally listen to those of yesteryear. If I want to be cheered up, I generally listen to Peter André (a personal hero – so kind, so tolerant!). If I want mediocrity, I will at least gravitate towards a more gratifying melody than this. It’s all right and everything but it’s not one for the record collection. Or even a Spotify playlist, in all honesty.

Tomorrow I might buy those jodhpurs. Not sure yet. Can’t quite give a fig. Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up all full of the joys of sourdough soup and new clothes, eager to spank a few hundred quid on the sort of garment Lorraine Kelly might wear in a photo shoot to celebrate her recent weight loss in Take a Break. I dunno, maybe they’d look cool on, like, Daisy Lowe or someone, but I bet I look like a bloody horse-obsessed Blyton-envisaged dyke in them. Or Tess Scabius how I imagined her in the book version of Any Human Heart. Worth a poke, but generally just too deliquently equestrian to be any kind of role model. I see they made her quite pretty on the telly programme. Didn’t watch it – Googled it.

OK, well beyond time to stop.

Fondies, then x

Conclusions:

  • Deary me, so morose today, slumped at my desk, now listening to Aerosmith (I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing) with a dramatic air, a belly full of posh chicken soup and the prospect of a new pair of designer jodhpurs seeming so tragic.
  • Deary, deary me.
  • Ah well.
  • Boyfriend just texted me to say soup was nice. That should probably incite some kind of ‘ahhh, that makes it all worthwhile’ response.
  • Nothing makes buying buttermilk before noon on a Saturday worthwhile. LEISURE TIME, rudely interrupted.
  • Foot stamping, lower-lip sticking-outing.
  • Really bye.

The torpedoes that broke the glutton’s back

Posted in Fashion, Food, Recipes by guardiangirl on August 2, 2011
Cheddar torpedoes

Cheddar torpedoes

Cheddar corrr-pedoes

Cheddar corrr-pedoes

The final report from last week’s issue, rather late because I’ve been off having a free will again (it keeps bursting through) concerns these cheddar torpedoes. Yes, mine looked like Iceland garlic bread, but they tasted…they tasted…so good that my boyfriend and I polished off the lot (minus one torpedo we physically couldn’t fit down our gullets [I tried]) in about 10 minutes. It was 11pm by the time I’d got home, mixed the ingredients up in a bowl, allowed the dough to rise in various stages, brushed over the egg wash and all that biz, and by that time you tend to get an appetite for The Thing in the Kitchen.
But check it out – I used an egg wash, and measured the ingredients again! That’s like two recipes I’ve actually followed in the past two years! I really might be turning into someone who does things properly, and it might be almost entirely down to Lepard and Ottolenghi, whose instructions I must finally concede do tend to have reasons behind them. This whole lesson has raised the question: exactly what battle do I think I’m winning by halving rising time, chopping veg three times too big, not peeling stuff, not cooling stuff, not melting stuff and so on? I’m sure it’s not so much laziness as a sort of impotent rebellion. Which leads to the question: are these scenarios the most appropriate way to channel impotent rebellion or should I set my sights higher? Perhaps measuring flour could be a cure for political apathy? Christ, I’ve discovered all the answers!
In the meantime, back to the eating. It is nobody’s fault but my own that I am fervently greedy. Looking at this week’s tart recipe out of the corner of a weeping eye, for example, I didn’t think ‘I could have a slice of that with my Sunday cuppa.’ I thought ‘That’s one step closer to a mobility scooter.’ The only way to get around this is by avoiding the stimulus all together – some people just got their synapses arranged that way. So I’m taking this week off cooking while I go for a few runs and eat a few chicken breasts, maybe drag my crucifix around for a few hours if I can find where I left it.
Outfitwise, last week’s fiction special and resulting lack of the usual two fashion stories meant I ran out of models to copy and had to ape (?) Jess Cartner-Morley instead. This has happened a few times before and it tends to infuse the day with an uncomfortable sense that JC-M is about to walk round the corner in the same outfit and give me a withering look. The fear isn’t helped by the fact that she actually lives round the corner, apparently. Anyway let’s just pray for plenty more fashion pages in future.
Scalloped edge

Scalloped edge

Over the edge
Over the edge
This week’s fashion is, so far, causing a persistent bad mood. Can’t they just have one fashion shoot inspired by Trog or the Sammiad instead of all this Dallas-ish spangle? Filtered through my pathologically unglamorous world, golden vestments and sultry pouts just seem to turn into orange Primark hand-me-downs and gormlessness. It generates a great sense of dejection, it really does.
Golden nuggets

Golden nuggets

Borange muggins

Borange muggins

Conclusions:
  • Doing this thing, there are weeks of great elation during which I genuinely feel I’ve attained a higher level of capable existence, pottering around with sage plants in my manicured hands and wearing accessories. But when it falls down, usually because life can’t always be organised around gold lamé and plum tarts, I feel the lack. Lord knows I feel the lack.
  • Better lighten up a bit.
  • Isn’t it incredible what you can do with an iPhone app these days? Just check out those colour-filling skills on display above. You’d think it’d been done by a professional artworker.

Textural failures

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on July 13, 2011
Take the steps

Take the step

Take the hint

Take the hint

 

Apricot mousse and apricot tuiles

Apricot mousse and apricot tuiles

Apricot slop and apricot stodge

Apricot slop and apricot stodge

I got the colours, I got the taste. I ain’t got the textures.

What can I say? I forgive myself.

There are 40 minutes left of today and I’m going to spend about several of them trying to buy Luxtural moisturiser online, as recommended by the Measure (and Paula Abdul by all accounts).

Conclusions:

  • I could’ve waited until the mousse set properly, but if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have been able to spend the waiting time eating mousse. Catch 22.
  • I also could’ve made the biscuits all dainty and tuile-like rather than cumbersome and oily, but the baking sheet still hadn’t been washed up after last week’s scones so I had to use a muffin tin. And who wants dainty biscuits anyway, apart from maybe Kate Middleton or the person who does Kate Middleton’s hair or the person who grooms the person who does Kate Middleton’s hair’s dog or some such person?

Scale swapping

Posted in Recipes by guardiangirl on June 30, 2011

Thanks to my recent investment in a set of kitchen scales and a similarly novel inclination to actually do things properly, I have just baked my first properly successful Dan Lepard cake. I write this post accompanied by the gentle trill of my stomach happily digesting at least four slices of the thing – or is that the sound of a gall bladder’s swan song?

Glorious!

Almond layer cake with crushed raspberries

Almond layer cake with crushed raspberries

 

Almond layer cake with due diligence

Almond layer cake with due diligence

 

Back after all this time

Posted in Fashion, Food, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on June 27, 2011

I have barely thought about Guardian Girl for the past year or so. Recently, though, I keep bumping into people I haven’t seen for a while who ask me if I’m still doing it and why I stopped. I always tell them it cost too much money, freedom and vascular health, any one of which would be a good reason to stop a blog. Yet despite repeatedly going over the reasons why this is such a stupid idea, just thinking about the subject planted evil seeds of temptation in my mind.

On Saturday I finally got to thinking that it really has been too long since I’ve had a legitimate outlet for my third-rate puns and crushingly unflattering photos. I used to think that reading blogs was only for idiots, so I had no idea of the benchmarks when I first started doing all this business. Since I’ve been away I have read quite a few, which has allowed me to realise that blogs are rubbish, bloggers are morons and I don’t actually have to worry about being a good writer, saying anything clever or having any sense of dignity at all. This realisation has spurred me back into action.

So, here we are.

Happily for posterity’s sake, we begin again with pies and swimwear! As you will shortly see, not that much has changed in the past year.

(We actually began with soup, but my photo of it has got stuck on a different camera, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that making soup out of salad ingredients is actually nice, even if you still can’t be bothered to chop vegetables small and therefore end up with an actual salad floating in some hot water.)

Glade tidings

Forbade hiding

Forbade hiding

A bad start on the formatting. A bad start full stop, maybe. I did put a skirt on before I left the house. Don’t really know what the caption means – is meant to capture a general feeling, I think.

So that’s swimwear covered for the day; now on to the lard.

I should mention at this point that in the time I’ve been away I have managed to shack up with a man whose appetite for a good pie matches – and possibly even exceeds – the indiscriminating gusto with which I cook them. This is a great relief because although eating two portions of pie for dinner isn’t ideal for a person, eating four is very much worse.

Mackerel and lovage tarts

Mackerel and lovage tarts

Mackerel: a lovely start

Mackerel: a lovely start

It hurts to be so positive, but this really did come out good. A great recipe Hugh, ta mate. I used cheat’s roll-out puff pastry obviously, and ready cooked and smoked mackerel. Most of my potatoes had turned green and sprouted like so many limited-edition Shrek Mr Potato Heads (? quip too forced? and also why use ‘so many’ like an american when you from england?) so I chucked those out and just used the remaining couple that were just squidgy, not deadly. Are you supposed to save green potatoes to polish your silver and clean your windows with? I need to ask that woman with the big weird plait who turned out to have buried her stillborn child in a park. Anyway I am digressing into offensive territory here. The pie was delicious, all agreed.

Second outfit of the week and it has been a sweltering day. Needless to say, the blanket only stayed on briefly while Miguel (photographer of the day) took this distracted iPhone shot in which I can’t even keep my eyes open. That’s being wrapped in blankets for you. The rest of the day I resorted to the most pink and blanketlike dress I own, which is just a pink dress.

The wrap

The wrap

The Mummy

The Mummy

Measurewise, I have got on the case in astoundingly conscientious fashion and purchased myself some leg make-up, so as never to stray into the sheer-infested territory of Pippa M’s fashion mishaps, and a collected works of Jane Austen so I can understand what this whole Anna Wintour parallel gag is about. Totally with her on the smileys though.

I have neglected to purchase any Stella McCartney eveningwear (guess why), drink a G&T with cucumber (taking it easy on the booze at the mo) and am not yet sure what I’m going to do about this issue of the Orrefors crystal tumbler or HBC modelling for Marc Jacobs.

Will update.

Off to cook courgette and not-lovage pasta now. Has anyone managed to track down any lovage this week?

Conclusions:

  • Too hot for blankets, too public for bikini bottoms
  • Hooray for pie sharing
  • Salad soup, who knew?
  • Sorry about blurry and malformatted photos etc. One day I will neaten all this up.

Maxi-ed out

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, The Measure, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on May 5, 2010

I’m not very good at maxi dresses. I have only one. This week’s All ages is going to be tricky as a result.

The lengths

The shorts

A rather unpleasant photo today.

I am also supposed to be doing something ridiculous with my hair in the manner of someone from Glee, says The Measure. Achieving this hairstyle would mean having extensions put in my fringe, the red colour stripped out, and the whole lot bleached platinum and cut short. Just thinking about it gives me split ends and a migraine. I do however have this vaguely snarling picture of myself in a blonde wig, so that will have to suffice for today’s effort. Lame, I know.

Sue Sylvester's Vogue

Me being grumpy at a fancy dress party

I apologise. It’s the best I can do. I don’t even watch Glee, even though The Measure’s been telling me to for about six months. I tried once and it just seemed to be full of bad jokes. Maybe I need to give it another go. But when one is trying to cook like Hugh F-W, dress like Jess C-M, be as wise as Oliver Burkeman, live in a show home with a perfect garden, earn enough money to buy the necessary accoutrements and exercise enough to maintain the required dress size, where does one honestly find time to watch television?

Back to dinners, I had to work late last night before going off to a gig and then running home, leaving no time for cooking. I bought me some crisps and some chicken drumsticks, and downed a few pints of cider at the pub. That was as close to papas arrugadas with grilled meats and aperitifs as I was going to get. What I did get was loads of grief off my mate Charlie for being fat. I think I might actually have to go on a proper diet and lay off the baking for a while. AGAIN. Jeez.

Conclusions:

  • It’s always the same – I come back to a Guardian Girl stint with a vengeance and by the second week I’ve totally lost enthusiasm. How do I always forget how hard it is to make life work in this way? Stoopid damn cooking.

Canoes, ponchos, pub dinners

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, The Measure, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on May 4, 2010

This bank holiday I canoed along the River Stour with a bunch of lovely people, several angry swans and no pairs of tailored shorts.

At the precise moment I was supposed to be in River Island (according to the Measure) I was instead on a river, poking affectionate fun at an extremely small island (it was my insecurity that made me do it). A far better use of time, we can all agree – especially when you see the pair of shoes I would otherwise have been buying. For £85. Why?

I’d decided canoes and cameras probably weren’t happy bedfellows so no photos exist of my rivergoing unfashionableness. Even for someone who publishes large amounts of awful photos of themselves on a daily basis, this is a great relief.

On arriving back to London I got back to my rightful duties and cooked up an enormous bowl of potato salad à la Fearnley-Whittingstall for me and my mate Charlie. I used more potatoes and more bacon than the recipe called for and yet we still polished off the entire thing, plus a family sized bottle of chocolate milk each. It was a bit sick but very enjoyable really. Coincidentally we also watched Easy Rider, which is (very nearly) the name of the fashion shoot this week, so in some roundabout way I feel I’ve achieved a degree of success. You may think otherwise. Here’s the evidence.

New potato salad

New potato salad

Huge potato salad

Huge potato salad

Today I woke up early and attempted the shorts/mac/belt ensemble dictated to me by my papery friend. Unfortunately, despite all the miles I’ve clocked up running around London and paddling around Suffolk, there’s no escaping the fact that I enjoy a pint of Stowford Press and a good yorkie more than the next lass. The shorts I was wearing last summer do fit me again, but that’s where the relationship ends. After staring at today’s fashion for a further ten minutes with my mouth open, I realised I was about to be late for work again, put a frock on and ran for the door.

Easy riders

Easy riders

Easy on the ciders

Easy on the ciders

Conclusions:

  • Canoeing is the don of exercise, and River Stour Boating are the dons of canoeing. A weekend to be recommended.
  • I’d rather have the cider than the shorts anyway, so that’s OK.
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