Guardian Girl

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

 

Advertisements

Jumping, fair trade

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on February 22, 2010

Steak salad, fairtrade cake, jumping in a pink minidress. That was the weekend for me. Wasn’t it for all Guardian readers?

Today I took the day off work and went to the Nicole Farhi show, being sure to take a packet of Mini Creme Eggs in my pocket (see this week’s Measure). I found it a curiously pleasing experience to eat chocolate while watching those coppices of bony thighs breeze by. It was like watching The Snowman in front of an open fire.

I also popped into Jigsaw and tried on the drape-front cardigan that gets the thumbs up this week. It was lovely and soft, a good colour and a great shape. But I still couldn’t make myself spend £79 on it.

Tonight, fried pineapple and ice cream. Happy times.

Mango, avocado and steak salad

Mangled avocado and steak salad

Shorts stuff

Warthog

Banana chocolate cake

Bedraggled chocolate cake

Conclusion:

• So far, the week is good and the food is great. The fashion, notsomuch.

Date night

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on February 19, 2010

Weirdly could find no figs in the supermarket, so Photographer Cari (remember? yay!) is sharing date cake with me instead. And taking my photo again, like the old days. Witness the return to form. On one side of the lens, anyway.

Grey

Blee

(Caption dedicated to Smash Hits readers of the ’80s).

Fig, wine and honey cake

Fug whine and hurry cake

Conclusion:

  • A pleasant cake, but was confused for bread more than once, sometimes by people who had a mouthful of it at the time.
Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Sunday: a nice cake, a grotesque photo

Posted in Fashion, Recipes by guardiangirl on February 1, 2010

Sunday involved making a large apple and prune cake. As I spooned a worryingly scant amount of cake mixture into a greased tin I thought I was about to create the first genuine culinary disaster of the project. It looked like a thin layer of gruel with a load of apple slices and prunes dumped indelicately on top. But 40 minutes later I opened the oven door to the most delicious smell of warm, cosy baking and a golden cake looking like a princess’s pillow (what on earth am I writing?). It tasted delicious. Even my actual genius friend Jesse who can’t have lactose ate a few slices and reassured me that she could understand why I’d scarfed down most of the damn thing before she even arrived.

Apple (and prune) pudding cake

Apple (and prune) pudding cake

Grapple (and swoon) for pudding cake

Grapple (and swoon) for pudding cake

Dumbass caption alert.

Jesse also accompanied me trough the rat-infested alley on to my elegant street to have my photo taken against a wired-up window.

This is pretty much the worst photo I’ve ever seen of myself, and that’s really saying something given that I’m famous for producing rank portraits. My friends and I often used to go on the Crazy Mouse ride on Brighton pier, just to blow the cobwebs away and kill some time being spontaneous near the seafront, which is what you do when you live in Brighton. This one time we had particularly great fun and got off the ride whooping and high-fiving before running over to the booth to have a look at the automatic photo they take of you. There was Liv, laughing away next to Elin, who was clinging on for dear life with a big smile on her face. And then, next to them, was what can only be described as a large, brown monster that appeared to be covered in thick fur and had its mouth open in a hideous, deformed roar. That monster was me. I honestly didn’t even look like a human. I just can’t explain it. To this day the three of us rue the fact that we didn’t buy that photo on a weekly basis, but it was £7 and when you’re young you imagine this sort of opportunity will arise every day.

Turns out we weren’t far wrong: if anyone wants to buy a print of the below photo of an inflated grub, send a postal order for £7 to PO Box 101, blah blah blah.

Go, figurehead

Go, figurehead

Go, quickly, you are scaring my young family

Go, quickly, you are scaring my young family

Conclusions:

  • In life, there are good times and there are bad times.
  • I think this post perfectly illustrates that point.

Eggs, flour, crutches

Posted in Fashion, First impressions, Interiors, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on November 23, 2009

A report on the end of last week, shortish on words and longish on pictures.

First, a miraculously tasty and mechanically successful two-course dinner that also provided Liv and I with a Eurostar picnic on Friday: Yotam’s delicious and not that tricky Crespéou omelette mountain followed by Dan Lepard’s bananarama tropicana cake, which was alive-tasting (not in a cannibalistic way), like a lardy version of a piña colada only less saccharine. Mine was a little uncooked in the middle and overcooked – perhaps even burnt – on the top, which I think means I need to get more involved with foil.

Crespeou

Crespeou

Crasspeou

Crasspeou

Tropicana banana cake

Tropicana banana cake

Botty-rama banana cake

Botty-rama banana cake (I despair of this caption as much as anyone, yet can't stop finding the word 'botty' funny)

Next: finally a fashion photo that reveals my new, cutting-edge space boot:

A walk on the wild side

A walk on the wild side

A limp on the mild side

A limp on the mild side

As I traversed Antwerp in this get-up, Liv consistently got the hysterics about how small my other foot looked compared to the hopalong foot. It made me know how the dog feels when the humans laugh at its ear, which has turned itself inside out.

And finally: the results of a tired, late-night interiors styling session. Check out my cosy open fireplace in particular.

Glass extension

Glass extension

Arse extension

Arse extension

Black interior

Black interior

Slack, inferior

Slack, inferior

Raising eyebrows

Raising eyebrows

Erasing eyebrows

Erasing eyebrows

Now a few boring sentences I feel obliged to write for the sake of structural consistency. I wouldn’t bother to read them if I were you.

This week’s first impressions are affected by two significant factors.

1) I was in Antwerp having a wonderful time all weekend so I didn’t buy the paper – Adam is saving me a copy and I checked it out online on Monday instead.

2) I have very little cash this week so I suspect that shipping actual tons of dried fruit and brandy into my flat to bake stuffy Christmas foods that nobody much likes anyway will be low on my agenda, as will buying £250 bottles of men’s fragrance. I’d like to try to make at least one xmas treat as it’s nice to turn up bearing foodie gifts for one’s family and take some of the culinary strain off the hosts, but we’ll have to see how practical it turns out to be this week. I wonder how many Guardian readers pulled their fingers out on Sunday and actually baked xmas cakes.

I notice that the Measure sends mulled wine and minced pies up the list this week so perhaps I’ll be more likely to get in some shopmade delights and eat them instead. Liv is taking me and my busted foot shopping at Tesco’s in her little blue van tonight so I’ll ask her hallowed advice on the matter.

The fashion spread on Hitchcock heroines is one of my favourite looks and I’d usually be in my element, but I imagine the spaceboot will undermine most of the glamour of a pencil skirt.

Conclusions:

  • I love Yotam, I do.
  • Cakes are just as good as they were last time I tried them.
  • Fashion is hard enough to achieve with an average paycheck and an average girth, but just you try adding a leg brace and crutches to the equation.
  • While we’re here, it’s amazing how many people stare at you when you’re in this condition, and even more amazing how many burst into laughter directly afterwards. You get used to it pretty quick. I have of course swiped at a few select people with my crutches in response, which is something I learned in an assertiveness workshop.
  • Interiors schminteriors. ‘Tis is the season of just trying to keep warm.

Tuesday 11 August

Posted in Fashion, The Measure by guardiangirl on August 12, 2009

My magnificent pal Adam had very thoughtfully brought some geeky spec frames with him when he visited me at the weekend, so that I might better replicate this look:

Glasses

Glasses

Farces

Farces

I don’t think I’ll rush out to buy a pair and you’ll be pleased to know I didn’t wear them at my desk – only in the bogs. I think prescription-free specs are just about acceptable but if they don’t even have plastic in them, let alone lenses, they ought to be attached to a fake ‘tache in a dressing-up box.

After work I went on a little Measure-fulfilling mission, which was fun and successful. This experiment hasn’t dictated that I buy too much stuff lately, apart from a million pounds-worth of cooking ingredients each week, so I didn’t feel too guilty. Plus these were actually quite reasonable suggestions – a useful jacket and a white dress to do some small justice to the Ibiza dream despite not having the time or cash to book a holiday. I visited no fewer than four Warehouse concessions before I found the right jacket in the Argyll St branch, but it is a nice blazer, although not especially flattering. Bit Poddington Peas if you know what I mean.

Then I popped to Topshop and found a white maternity dress  reduced to £12. I highly recommened maternity wear to anyone who doesn’t already have some in her wardrobe. It’s so roomy. Admittedly I do look quite pregnant in this dress and you can tell its intended use from the fact that the hem dips down at the front to take up the slack for the baby who’s meant to be there but, in my case, isn’t. It also has an elasticated panel in the front, come to think of it. Is it a bit Hand That Rocks the Cradle to wear a maternity dress when you’re not pregnant? Could it jinx my fertility forever? Never mind –  I’m as barren as a nine-bob bit anyway.

By the time I got home I was ready to fail at the last of Hugh’s fruity recipes. Lemon verbena syrup sounds delicious but I’ve yet to find it on sale in the shops near me and it was 9pm by the time I arrived home from town. As usual I paid homage to his ideas (just to keep up the momentum of the experiment really) by eating some cakes. Heh. Ummm..

Because my performance with the recipes has been unforgivably disappointing so far this week I offer a photo as a peace offering. It’s the back of the t-shirt of a man I was walking behind down Edgware Rd. The slogan is the catchiest thing since Yes We Can.

 

 

aMAZing
aMAZing

 

My second gift to you is a snippet of conversation I overheard as I stood next to a young couple looking at floral dresses in Warehouse. The girl motioned to a particular example and said: ‘How about that one?’

‘Nah,’ said her boyfriend. ‘It wouldn’t suit you. I tell you who wears that sort of stuff a lot and looks really good in it though, and that’s my ex, Lizzie.’

She smiled sweetly and asked ‘Oh, did she?’ as they walked off arm in arm. I hope she was planning to slip some arsenic into his tea later.

 

Conclusions:

  • No geek specs for me.
  • Thank goodness the week of fruit preserves is over, as these recipes almost made me give up the whole experiment. It’s disheartening to aspire to such a distilled mainstay of rural life when you have neither the time, the equipment nor the patience to yield results.
  • Next up is Yotam’s yoghurt pie, which I promise to cook to the very best of my ability.