Guardian Girl

Independent’s days

Posted in Books, film, Television by guardiangirl on November 2, 2009

Life is dramatically different as Independent Woman, it must be said. Last week was great fun, what with being liberated from the obligation to cook a proper dinner every evening and being able to see my friends in the pub, dressed in my own outfits, with just the odd exciting little cultural mission to undertake – even if only buying a bunch of DVDs. Today has given birth to my first hollow moment, though, wanting a comforting evening and finding no winter hotpot recipe awaiting me at home. Could it be that I miss Guardian Girl and am readier than I ever predicted to return to the motherland of Fearnley-Whittingstall and The Measure? Crumbs – the very words put tears of homesickness in my eyes! Anyway, let’s focus on the job at hand. Last week’s exploits have so far gone unreported, so here’s a catch-up episode of the achievements, near misses and abysmal failures since I last sat at keyboard.

First, television. The Independent had a wee spot about playwright/writer Jack Thorne, who has an upcoming telly collaboration with Shane Meadows. This isn’t on until next year, as is the case with many items covered in this On the Agenda column that I’ve perhaps rather thoughtlessly chosen to copy. On the plus side it means I get some forward planning in my life, which is welcome relief after developing the knee-jerk reaction of replying: “I’d love to but I’ll have to let you know after I’ve seen what the Guardian tells me to do” when faced with any invitation.  (My mate Disco Dave’s recent response to me asking politely what he was up to at the weekend: “Dunno until I’ve bought the Independent on Sunday, sweetheart – probably sticking pins in my eyes and taking a shit in a church.” He’s been the first person to give me a bit of genuine stick for this whole thing.)

Because I’m in no position to watch advanced screenings of TV programmes that possibly haven’t even been made yet, I did my best to ‘read around the subject’ instead. The IoS reports it’s our last chance to go up to Manchester to watch Jack Thorne’s play 2nd May 1997 but this isn’t going to happen for me. I’d go for a weekend in Manchester but I wouldn’t try to make it up there on the Megabus to watch a play on a school night and my weekends are busy at the moment, so that was that. Instead I stopped off at HMV after work and bought myself some bargainish DVDs from HMV. I got Shameless and Skins, both of which Thorne has written for but neither of which I’ve seen (well, maybe 1.5 episodes of Skins – enough to know it makes me feel cripplingly decrepit, clinically obese and criminally dull) and Shane Meadows’ This is England, all for the cheaper-than-a-ticket-to-Manchester sum of £26. I haven’t watched them yet but they’ve joined the DVD queue, and I’ve photographed the results as always to prove I’m telling the truth. I’ve already seen This is England and I think it’s superb, so that’s a good one to have for a rainy day:

This is England

This is England

This is a DVD of This is England

This is a DVD of This is England

Marks out of 10: 5

I was also supposed to buy some books – the ones the IoS mentions might not be out yet but I thought I could get the prequels at least. However I put it off until Saturday and in the event book shopping didn’t fit with people’s plans, so I let that one go. I have a book queue at the moment too, with a Paul Newman bio at the front, so that’s no great loss.

Marks out of 10: 0

The main event of the weekend was one regular readers will know I’d been looking forward to all week – the Hammer House of Horror Festival.

It was supposed to consist of three parts: a special screening on Friday night, an exhibition on Saturday daytime and a couple more films later that day. Unfortunately I couldn’t twist anyone’s arm to come all the way to Kensal Rise (I have lots of east, northeast and south crew but northwest-dwellers are under represented among my friends) for the screenings at the Lexi, and after Friday night’s shenanigans I wasn’t sure if I might be barred from any future Hammer events, so I didn’t want to rock up on my own dressed as a vampire and be cruelly rejected.

The Friday night event at The Curzon Soho was a greatly exciting affair on paper but something about it fell slightly flat in reality and, because it didn’t kick off until 9.30pm, several pints had been consumed before it all began. They were serving a highly delicious whisky and ginger cocktail (once glass of which was free), we were experiencing the well-documented liberty of the facial disguise, and we went a bit bonkers.

Phoebe heckled the CEO of Hammer Horror (“Where’s MC Hammer?”), I got the giggles very loudly during an introduction by the organiser, which killed even me because he seemed extremely sweet and nervous (and he was very handsome) – but I just couldn’t stop once I’d started – and we got a few vampirically cool glances from the daughters of the starring actress who did a dull Q&A before the film started. Liv and Phoebe found the film boring after ten minutes and headed back out to the bar to drink more cocktails, while I feel asleep, dribbling in my full zombie make up and only awakening when the room was empty but for the odd tutting horror fan trying to push past my blood-stained corpse. Then a band played. They were called the Dellas and they were fairly mediocre, so Phoebe livened matters up with a bit of dancing while I harped on to anyone who’d listen about how desperate I was for a plate of tagliatelle with quatro formaggi sauce.

All in all it was more hammered than Hammer, and we perhaps should have been more mindful how many of those ginger cocktails we consumed. I blame the organisers, who made it all sound so thrilling that we could barely contain our excitement and then had to try to behave ourselves in a quiet room after getting all whipped up.

OK, I blame us.

On the Saturday I headed to the Idea Generation Gallery on Redchurch Street with Adam, Katy and Thomas – and that was undeniably worthwhile. There are some excellent photos, posters and other bits n bobs on display, it’s a really nice space to walk around and very well presented. It comes highly recommended – and it’s free.

Instead of the Lexi cinema showings we then bloodied up again and spent the day drinking drinks and eating tapas around East London, where everyone inexplicably loves dressing up as the undead anyway, so no disapproving glances there. Here follows the Hammer gore-gore gallery of shame.

Marks out of 10: 7

We really tried on this one and you have to give us all props for it – especially considering that I still have faint rivers of blood running down my face if you look hard enough. Three points deducted for not being thorough – or serious – enough about it, though.

Ten years, ten looks #7

Posted in Fashion by guardiangirl on October 23, 2009

Well this was a bit alarming. I think the model looks great but I was under no illusion I’d be able to pull it off.

I’ve taken off the shades at my desk but other than that the whole thing is fairly office appropriate. I know some say you shouldn’t wear shorts at work but with thick tights, boots and a longish blazer I really can’t see the harm. I don’t exactly look racy. Not feeling too chirpy either after getting through considerable amounts of red wine and port in front of Question Time last night.

Kate's rock chic

Kate's rock chic

 

Kate's got sick
Kate’s got sick

Grand conclusions of the week:

  • How nice it’s been to have a week off, free to dine out and about with friends and family.
  • No great investments needed, no guilty money splashed on idle capitalism.
  • And no particularly ridiculous outfits. It’s been a fantastic birthday week, I saw all my most loved people, got some brilliant presents and entered the Decade of Success. I seem to have been on a rollover hangover most days but tomorrow my mum’s taking me on a birthday treat to a spa, so expect a refreshed, newly focused GG on Monday. (Do these words sound familiar?) Au revoir and have a great Weekend. x

Sheer delight

Posted in Fashion, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on October 1, 2009

My organza jodhpurs are at the dry cleaners today so I had to make do with Primark skinny jeans. Seeing photos of myself in skinny jeans makes me think back to a time many moons ago (when I was actually a lot thinner but that’s almost irrelevant).

I was at a barbecue and I bumped into a guy I’d previously met at a party, at which I’d been wearing a miniskirt. He said: ‘Oh hi, you’re the one with the Robert Crumb legs’. I later gave him hell for this comment and he told me he’d meant it as a compliment. Instead of clipping him about the ear, I decided to believe him, since he is very much below-and-to-the-left of the mainstream in his tastes and since you may as well see the bright side of things. It’s always a good idea to find positive role models for yourself, making the most of what might otherwise be considered flaws (sod having Darcey Bussell as a hero). This way, when an old Jamaican chap shouts ‘Hey big legs!’ at you in the street, you are able to take it as a compliment. As I go about my daily business I constantly screen a playreel of stormin Russ Meyer girls, Robert Crumb drawings, Nigella serving nibbles and Marilyn wiggling around in satin in Some Like It Hot in my mind’s eye. I recommend this to any not-small lass who is vulnerable to the odd guilt pang about taking up too much space. Go girls! Anyway here’s the outfit:

Sheer delight

Sheer delight

Sheer fright

Sheer fright

Conclusions:

  • I spent ages looking for skinny jeans that fit and Primark was the only place to come up trumps, which is a pretty dire state of affairs.
  • I did try more with my pose today, can you tell? A little bit? I still look a bit haemorrhoidal don’t I.

Autumn glow

Posted in Make-up, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on October 1, 2009

What is an autumn glow? A slightly paler version of a summer glow?

Maybe I’m a bad judge of such things but this make-up look appeared inadvisable to me. It’s not really going to fool anyone you’ve just come back from holiday, is it?

Nonetheless I’ve been faithfully recreating it on my own face every day this week. During The Break I was wearing a lot of heavy black eye make-up so it’s been quite nice in a way to see my face again. I do like the way that when you’re used to wearing quite a lot of slap and then you look in the mirror bare-faced, there’s a sort of honest look about your reflection.

I’ve been doing my make-up in the bathroom this week rather than the bedroom as I usually do. I can’t explain this phenomenon, it just came about. Fascinating isn’t it? The reason I mention this is that my bronzer remained in my bedroom for the first few days, and I couldn’t be bothered to walk across my enormous  flat and get it, so I actually brushed brown eyeshadow all over my cheeks instead. Now I’m writing this I feel embarrassed about it but at the time it felt absolutely logical, like when I used to put all my chewed-up Trident gum back into the blister pack it comes in and keep it on my desk, so when someone asked for a piece I’d slide back the cover and they’d see half a pack of fresh bits next to half a pack of gnarled up spitty lumps in varying shades depending on what else I’d most recently eaten, and it was only when several people had reeled back in horror and disgust that I sort of looked at my behaviour from the outside. I suppose that was more revolting than the eyeshadow thing but it my head it seems similar.

I have remembered to use eyeshadow base about 50% of the time, which feels like quite an achievement, but even better is the fact that I’ve been using make-up brushes! Yes I have, because the friend and designer who puts my photos into squares for this blog, Michelle, who I’m sure you’ll remember from earlier posts, gave me the most brilliant present – a tiny box filled with make up brushes and an angled mirror.

I’ve had a bit of a turnaround on the lipgloss front too – it looks less Posh Spice with long fringey black hair, and is edging very slightly closer to Meg White (if I look at myself with my eyes so squinty as to be pretty much closed).

Here are the make-up photos then. Considering how horrified I was when I saw the original, the result is a relief.

Autumn glow

Autumn glow

(I spilt water on the mag and photographed it at dusk, sorry Lozza)

Awful blow

Awful blow

 

Sadly I look like a monk here. Certainly not bronzed. I think this is because my bronzer was originally one of those double ones that has highlighter and bronzer in the same compact, and I went out having fun, dropped my handbag and smashed the powder blocks so they mashed up together. So what I’m now putting on my face is a mixed-up sheen about the same shade as my natural skin tone. It just makes me look a bit more pearly than usual – rubbish, especially on bad skin. I ought to buy myself some cheap bronzer I guess.

Conclusions:

  • I look forward to discovering what a winter glow looks like before long.
  • Putting a bit of lipstick on your cheeks to make them look flushed is one thing, but perhaps streaks of brown eyeshadow’s taking it a little far.
  • Make-up brushes really make things easier.
  • Nothing wrong with looking like a monk.

Dip/stick

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, Uncategorized by guardiangirl on September 29, 2009

Today’s photo is a self-portrait because I couldn’t leave the house in what I was wearing. Would you take me seriously if you bumped into me around the office wearing this?

If I’d only had a coral Margaret Howell blouse, some drawstring moleskin trousers and perhaps a tiny pair of hips, I’d be looking chic today. Oh, and a pair of clear-rimmed specs. But these garms are the closest I could get and, as you can see, tracksuit bottoms (Fat Face 1999 – not really Best Dressed material) an orange top, cropped Primark shirt and fancy-dress glasses do not a professional lady make. I changed into black h-h-h-harem pants and swapped the shirt for my beloved Farhi by Nicole Farhi covering-up mannish shirt thing so I looked less like I’d soiled myself, added a big scarf to make it look like I had some kind of intention for my appearance and headed off to the bus stop flowingly. I do look like a psychodrama workshop facilitator today but that’s probably better than looking like a plain old psychodrama. Today I’d like to add an extra dimension to my snap by providing the soundtrack that was going on in my head as I looked in the mirror. For those who have spotify: http://open.spotify.com/track/1Vchex0xowRj9k59RLvRfo.

Step out

Step out

 

Stay in

Stay in

Dinner last night, on the other hand, was a steaming success. It was Hugh’s Muhamarra recipe, a very tasty affair involving walnuts, bread, olive oil, baked red peppers, chilli flakes, lime juice and caramelised onion chutney because I couldn’t find any pomegranate molasses. Once I was on Guardian Soulmates – why not, since I outsource every other decision in my life to the Guardian, let it choose me a lover as well? I met this guy and Jesus Christ was he a bore. He was even more smug than me. He was sick with the nation because it promoted cultural low-browism by celebrating Harry Potter. I unfortunately hit upon the subject of his difficult relationship with his father within ten minutes of meeting him – purely accidental – and the tense diatribe that followed was a terrifying to behold, and highly awkward to react to over a conversational pint of Strongbow. Anyway I went home after a while and shortly afterwards decided to choose my own menfolk. But the point of this story is that he harped on at great length about how amazing pomegranate molasses is, and how you can use it to add depth to any flavour, and how you can get it any Turkish shop. But I was in Sainsbury’s in my tracksuit (because I’m now running everywhere in order to maintain this experiment without growing out of the last remaining giantsize harem pants) and I couldn’t find any, so I just bought some Taste the Difference chutney instead. It’s a bit soapy to be honest. ANYWAY, the dip is stunningly delicious. You must make it. If you can’t be bothered to do the bits involving the peppers, the paste made with all the other ingredients is delicious in itself. Walnutty oily rich wonder with bread dipped in. I ate plenty of it before I added the peppers. Hugh told me to add the rest of the ingredients after the peppers but I rebelliously ignored him. I was wating for the peppers to cook so I thought I may as well get the rest ready.

Also I used my hand blender! If you’ve been reading from the start you’ll know this is a great thing as it marks my triumph over the emotional scars I earned during an egg white incident.

Here are the photies:

Muhamarra

Muhamarra

 

Muhm-muhm-ahhh

Muhm-muhm-ahhh

 

I know it looks kind of like a feline production here but that’s just any ungarnished dip for you isn’t it? I added extra chilli flakes, chutney and cumin so it’s got quite a kick. It’s making me mildly perspire as I eat the remains for lunch while typing this.

Conclusions:

  • I’m taking a long moment to appreciate the fact that I changed out of that heinous outfit before coming to work.
  • I strongly recommend trying the dip.
  • Peeling red peppers is pretty tricky even after doing the oven/plastic bag trick but the dip doesn’t appear to have suffered by having skins in it.

Resurrection

Posted in Fashion, First impressions, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on September 28, 2009

When I started this blog I decided to pretty much keep the whole thing quiet, bar telling a few friends who helped me take photos or directly asked me what the hell I was doing after walking in on me photographing myself in a bikini with a walking stick between my thighs. Rather than fabricating some phoney story about Hannibal Lecter for the post-gendered/neo-hiking era (I don’t know at all what I mean by this but it sounds like a joke, which is half the battle)  I told them what I was doing and gradually developed a small but loyal following of regular readers with whom I enjoyed sharing my adventures in Guardianland. A few other people happened upon it while searching for Dan Lepard recipes (poor souls didn’t get much help here), Andy Pandy (again, sorry folks) and female humiliation (probably not what they had in mind) .  Some of them kept coming back, and I decided the rest of the world could do without seeing it really.

But a few weeks after I decided to jack the whole thing in I posted the link on Facebook, since it was sitting there all finished with, which then led to something to do with Twitter and something to do with Stumbleupon and some other things I can’t quite get a grip on, which then led to bemusing amounts of people actually asking me not to give it up, while on their knees with tears on their faces. I have always felt it was my calling in life to sacrifice my personal dignity, large amounts of cash, my physical health and all my spare time in order to provide mild entertainment to friends and acquaintances. So it is with a heavy heart, a light wallet and an ambivalent smile that I’m resurrecting Guardian Girl.

My first post back should really be an extra special one, but it isn’t. It’s not even spectacularly unsuccessful. Just an unflattering photo of me in a checked shirt and a fairly insipid but I suppose satisfying rice and meat dish.

On Saturday morning I went off to buy the paper, accompanied by the slightly jaded cousin of my old sense of trepidation.

I sat on a bench and cracked open a can of Special Brew followed by Weekend.

I thought:

Food: same old, same old.

Lauren Luke: Christ alive, no offence to her but she looks like a burns victim this week. Bronzing is supposed to be SAFE.

The interior design bit: hilarious for reasons I’ll elaborate on later.

Fashion: more shirts and trousers.

Not much had changed while I was away – except that they’ve started putting some of their fashion pictures online! Hooray! This makes life much easier as you can see in high-def the look I was aiming for. Maybe I’ll even be able to stop taking rubbish-quality photos of the magazine pages soon.

The Measure was more interesting. I instantly clocked that I wouldn’t be able to afford anything by Dries van Noten but that Topshop was on the list too. Astley Clark jewellery – possible. The Reiss belt is lovely, and in fact I packed myself off to Angel that very day and bought me one, which cost an eye-watering 60-odd quid and made me feel extremely guilty. It’s not that lovely after all – it looks a bit Dorothy Perkins when you combine it with most of my other clothes. That 1971 collection is very nice, a bit Dallasy and a bit Suzi Quatroey, but when I put that sort of jangling stuff on I just look like I’ve been doing guilty trolley dashes down Primark again (which I usually have).

On Sunday it was time to face reality and get back into the cookery properly again, so I tackled Hugh’s first recipe of the week, which was something called Maqluba.

My actual-genius friend Jesse came to dine and ate the food happily but seemed relieved when she found out it was a Guardian recipe, as it was licence to come clean with the truth – that it “could do with a bit more salt”. I quite agreed, especially eating it cold the next day when this kind of dish is usually extra tasty. I perhaps should have used more than one stock cube. Also I chopped my herbs way too big again – bad gal. I forgot to cut them with scissors like a helpful commenter on this blog told me to do months ago.

Coming up soon is the first photographic evidence in a long while. Hold your breath.

First of all a little bonus (I wouldn’t get too excited): the old piccies that damaged the camel’s back last time around in August before The Break.

Strike a pose

Strike a pose

 

Completely fail to strike the correct pose

Completely fail to strike the correct pose

 This makes me wonder about my brain functioning. You can imagine what I’m like in an aerobics class – windmilling around in Studio 2 while the rest of the class is doing press-ups in Studio 1. I think I just forgot to look at the original picture properly. Or at all.

I have also uncovered the last recipe I cooked, weeks ago, to say thanks to the cat godfathers for looking after My George while I was in Hamburg living the unfettered life. It was a lime pie, one of Dan Lepard’s, and it tasted kind of nice but I burned the pastry so it went black and crumbly. Also I made the tragic error of purchasing these squidgy golden kiwi things – a different type from the usuals. I really don’t recommend them. Luckily I also had a packet of bog-standard kiwi fruit (how globalised consumerism has moved on since the rationing era) and they turned out to be enough to cover the pie with.

Kiwi tart

Kiwi tart

It's a start

It's a start

 

Right then, with that out of the way, here’s last night’s dinner (and today’s lunch):

Maqluba

Maqluba

 

Maq-loser

Maq-loser

 

Mine lacks lustre doesn’t it. I overcooked the tomatoes intentionally to try to destroy some of their innate evil. It sort of worked. I also ate most of the delicious toasted flaked almonds I was supposed to scatter on the top before serving, as they were just too tempting and too close to hand to ignore. Altogether it was a pretty drab dish for something that involved so much preparation and so many flavourings. Where did they all go? Stolen by the force of heat.

So on to the moment I’ve been dreading – today’s outfit. I’ll be frank with you; the past six weeks have not been kind to me. I have reappeared in cyberworld looking like a shadow of my former self, if shadows were larger, paler and messier than the original, which would make the world a very different place wouldn’t it? I do hope to return to form at some unspecified point in the future. In the meantime please bear with me. I am ‘everywoman’ after all, it’s all in me.

Get shirty

Get shirty

 

Get surgery

Get surgery

 That really is a hideous return to the project. Nevermind.

My head is going the wrong way because I still have very fragile connections between brain and body even after that half a chapter of The Alexander Technique for Dummies I read seven years ago. And despite photographer-Cari shouting: “Spread your legs wider!” repeatedly at me as I slumped on the sink outside a cubicle in which another colleague was trying to do a quiet wee, I preserved my dignity over getting the picture right. Obviously if I’d been wearing white silk bloomers there wouldn’t have been a problem.

On a happy note, please admire the snazzy bathroom in which I pose for these photos. We moved offices at work, so it’s bye-bye tampon machine and hello clean grouting from now on.

Conclusions:

  • Hugh slacked off a bit on taste this week. Also did you know the recipe called for holding a plate over the pan of boiling meat and rice and turning it upside down? Have you seen the level of success with which I am able to copy a very simple seated pose? Put the two together and you’ll see why I didn’t attempt this – I just used a spoon.
  • Topshop sold out of that amazing UFO dress ages ago, apparently.
  • Reiss does do wonderful accessories but who’d pay £60 for a belt? Oh.
  • Lauren Luke’s make-up gives her the appearance of a Marbella-dwelling ex-pat and makes me look like a sweaty grub.
  • It’s good to be back.

Wednesday 12 August

Posted in Fashion, Make-up, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on August 13, 2009
Lady

Lady

 

...and the Tramp

...and the Tramp

First things first – sorry about the impenetrable block of text below. I’ve gone through putting returns in three times and it still doesn’t work, so will investigate further and sort it out soon.

On this day in history… a simple black dress, ballet pumps and an up-do. Mercy me.

I have no white stockings with origami-like ruffles up the back, but can I be expected to? It’s another case of getting the details wrong, I’m afraid. I might soon resubtitle this project ‘My failure to succeed at becoming a Guardian cliche’, which, for a twenty-something, white, middle-class media professional, is really saying something about my ability to fail.
For all my recent bosating about getting better at doing my hair thanks to Priscilla Kwateng, today’s effort was a bit of a shocker. I pinned the plaits messily to my head so there were frizzy ends and kirby grips sticking out all over the place, and the top knot was more of a top tangle.
Before going home for the evening I had another little Measure mission to fulfil, which was buying the Dallas box set. Or one of them. I planned to find a burgundy silk blouse to really get into the spirit but the only one I found, in M&S, had no shoulder pads. That must be the first time I rejected a possible purchase on the basis that it didn’t have shoulder pads.
I found a kind-of wicked blouse in River Island with crazily big, frouffy shoulders and a nice print and shape, but it wasn’t very silky and or very burgundy – plus, after looking at my reflection for a while and hearing that American baseball game countdown music ringing in my ears,  I wasn’t sure if I was ready for such big shoulder puffs.
I was also haunted by a premonition (if that’s possible) of being sniggered at by my colleagues. I guess around Dalston no one would bat an eyelid but I like to be able to go to work dressed as myself, unedited in the main, and this top would have to get the red pencil. So I didn’t buy it. Incidentally I can’t find the blouse in question on the River Island website but the fact that they classify garments under the heading ‘bar tops’ says a lot about what’s wrong with a) River Island and b) bars.
I resisted another tempting purchase in HMV when I realised there are about eleven Dallas box sets, all at the bargain price of £12 each. I’m not even sure I like Dallas. Apart from some atavistic knowledge of Sue Ellen, who shot JR, the dream thing and the playground version of the theme song, I don’t actually have any familiarity with this programme. I might hate it, although it seems unlikely. So I was good, listened to my retail palpitations and just bought the one box for now.
I also bore in mind the impression it might make on visitors to my small flat when they walked in to discover that the only DVDs I owned consituted the entire history of Dallas, taking up half the sitting room. Bit weird, no?
The one remaining obstacle to success on this matter was that I didn’t have a DVD player or a laptop. I went to Argos and discovered you can get a portable player for £60, with the screen built in, so I bought it. This might sseem a bit financially irresponsible if considered in the context of needing to be able to watch Dallas to comply with The Measure, but I think it’s actually quite a wise purchase. At the moment I survive on a cultural diet of the Guardian (which already pulls more than its weight of influence on my life these days, that is quite clear), my record collection and Resonance FM.
These things are all fantastic in their own ways but they lend an austere atmosphere to my life compared to the days of old when I lived with two boys and got addicted to Dog the Bounty Hunter (purely my own doing). The addition of a film or two in the evenings would be nice, I admit, even if I won’t let a telly through the door.
So I took the DVD player home in the faith it’d add a little technological luxury to my life and baked mysefl a celebratory yoghurt pie.
So far I’ve found Yotam’s recipes to work pretty well even when followed lackadaisically, and this one certainly didn’t taste horrible. But there were a few things I did – or didn’t do – that marred the end result a bit.
First, I forgot to soak the vine leaves and thought it wouldn’t matter too much. But actually without blanching they were a little tough and very salty, as I used the ones in brine. I also missed the part about cutting off the tough bit at the stem, which is a shame as they made the pie difficult to slice – and chew. It was no real obstacle for me but I’m glad I wasn’t cooking for guests that night, as a slightly more fussy eater would have found this texture offputting.
The filling was nice, although a bit thick, I think because  I put too little yogurt in (ate the rest with honey while pie was in oven, surprise surprise). I couldn’t find all the herbs I needed in Sainsbury’s and the filling could have been seasoned better.
Also I topped the pie with a whole packet of dried breadcrumbs rather than only a tablespoon or two, because I thought they’d go off if I didn’t use them, and I don’t like to waste. I guess they would’ve frozen OK in retrospect, as bread does. I thought they’d go all crispy-gooey and lovely but the pie was altogether too dry and it just went very crumbly and sandy, really. Not great.
On the plus side, Yotam’s tabbouleh from last week, which I’d blasphemously made using couscous, made a pretty nice hot dish to go alongside the pie.
Pie

Pie

 

Dry

Dry

 

Mine actually looks kind of good in the comparison here, but only because I photographed my copy of the Weekend magazine so badly. I’m sure the favourable appearance wouldn’t stand up to a taste test.
And finally, this week’s Lauren Luke look.
I’ve really been enjoying this, actually. The photos don’t illustate what it actually looks like but I have some lovely purple Lancome eyeshadow and am finding for once that the primer Lauren suggests is really making a difference to how bright the colour looks and how long it stays on. I like wearing black eyeliner on just the lower lids – it makes me feel, if not look, a bit Bambi eyed. And the addition of some pink lipstick (in my case free lipgloss off the front of Zest magazine about five years ago) is making my face look like more of a sweet shop than a sweat shop for a change, rather than the usual pelted-by-tom-thumb-drops-travelling-at-high-speed look (see last week’s if you don’t know what I mean).
Violet

Violet

Violent

Violent

 

Special gratitude this week to Michelle, who did my photoshopping for me from all the way across the globe in Korea because my new design regular Jonny is poorly. AMAZing girl.
Conclusions:
  • Blanching vine leaves makes all the diffference, I imagine.
  • I’m getting a bit tired of the limited scope of the Sainsbury’s fresh herb selection. Isn’t everyone using them since Jamie Oliver started ripping them up and bunging them in everything? I’m sure they’d sell fine.
  • Experimentation with quantities isn’t always going to work – and with dry breadcrumb topping it didn’t.
  • River Island has the odd nice blouse. As always with that shop, though – stay away from naked flames.
  • Can’t wait to climb into bed early of an evening with that night’s recipe and a new episode of Dallas. Does this mean I’ve become old before my time? Undoubtably.