Guardian Girl

Macsimum relief

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on February 10, 2010

Phew! Not only have I finished the last of the nude tones and suet puddings, but I get to make a terrible pun as well! A heavenly day so far, wearing relatively normal clothes, with my hair down and messy, just how I like it.

Last night I powered off to Sainsbury’s in search of 1kg of parsnips, my heart soaring not only at the prospect of eating vegetables but because I was listening to 1Faith FM’s uplifting tunes. I’m not Christian but I do like to conduct informal experiments on myself, as you may have gathered, and at the moment I’m finding out what happens to an agnostic upon listening repeatedly to Christian pop hits. I find this particularly interesting because few people seem to choose to listen to music they don’t like, so I imagine it to be relatively uncharted territory, which makes me feel like a true pioneer. Last year I spent one week listening to Placebo for 8 hours a day to see what would happen. What happened was I developed a crush on Brian Molko. Weird. I haven’t spared a thought for that dear little goblin since. Maybe I’m on my way to developing a crush on Jesus. Actually, have you seen Robert Powell in Jesus of Nazereth? Anyway, this is veering dangerously off course.

The parsnips. I followed the recipe pretty closely, boiling them in milk (interesting idea I thought), whisking up a dressing, roasting a load of veg, all that biz. It was very nice, very nice indeed. I’m getting a bit bored of saying how nice all this food is, but really – there hasn’t been a duffer for ages now. Oh, except that soapy, insipid steak pud. That was on Sunday actually.

ANYWAY, concentrate girl, what are you trying to say? Keep on track… Oh yes, Flavie was just taking my outfit snap for today and she pointed out that although I got in an almighty grump about suet week, it yielded two of my favourite meals so far, so yes. I am grateful to Hugh. Thanks Hugh.

Here are the pics.

Creamed parsnips with roasted winter veg and walnuts

Creamed parsnips with roasted winter veg and walnuts

I just wrote a really distasteful, uncouth caption for this and have deleted it

I just wrote a really distasteful, uncouth caption for this and have deleted it

Super

Super

Blooper

Blooper

Not a very pretty picture but we’ve seen worse. At least it’s something I’d choose to wear. Failed on the coat-colour front but, as Flavie pointed out, I can’t be expected to own five spring macs in varying shades.

Had a look at the jumpers recommended in The Measure this week and wasn’t angry, just disappointed. Couldn’t see any swan jumpers on the Topshop website, which is a shame as I thought that sounded quite good. I could do with a new jumper but can only afford one, so it was a toss up between Topshop’s Eiffel Tower one – sort of nice-ish I guess – or Oasis’ blue shoe design – absolutely hideous. I will not be purchasing this foul garment, particularly not at more than £50. Might stroll over to Toppers after work and treat myself to a new knit before baking rye bread. But I reserve the right to decide not to.

Conclusions:

  • The parsnip recipe is another one I would recommend people to actually try at home. The end result really is tasty and I don’t usually like parsnips much.
  • Favourite baby-Jesus-related lyric so far: “I love your baby blues / your golden curlicues”
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Bye bye basin

Posted in Fashion, Recipes by guardiangirl on February 9, 2010

I boiled the last in the suet pudding series last night, and savoured every bite. Served as suggested with double cream, it was a) sublime and b) a step towards morbid obesity that I would prefer not to have taken. Tonight it’s roast veg (and more lemon pud out of the fridge), tomorrow a rye loaf, and then I get a couple of days off to eat spinach leaves and contemplate my retreating navel.

It’s so boring going on about stodge and calories all the time – I’m yawning as I type – but it’d be a pointless experiment if I didn’t honestly share my concerns. And I think most people would be vaguely concerned about their health on their fourth consecutive day of suet eating. I am sorry though. I’d love to be able to transcend such drossful subject matter and, once I’m back in my trainers next week (when the broken foot is officially allowed to get some proper exercise again), I hope to set aside my Supersize Me cholesterol fears and chill the hell out.

There’s no photo of the lemon pudding but it is etched forever into the window frames of my mind, for it was truly one of the best desserts I’ve ever made.

Moving on, here’s a photo of me hunched in a loo.

Life's a peach

Life's a peach

You can guess this one

You can guess this one

Conclusions:

  • American football player in drag
  • Tara Palmer-Tomkinson three weeks after being fished out of a canal
  • Office girl on opium
  • All of the above

Also, you probably didn’t even (care to) notice but instead of wearing a small, white watch I don’t have, I wrapped my headphones around my wrist instead, creating an attractive yet functional accessory for the modern woman. And also, I quite like the way my terrible magazine photography makes the model look like a Victorian ancestor (although certainly not one of mine).

Now, enough with the parentheses: I’m off to Sainsbury’s.

Game on, game off

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on February 8, 2010

Oh GOD, when will nude shades go out of fashion? They’ve been on trend for long enough now – it must be at least a month or two since I first had to clothe myself in unsightly pastels. It’s high time we went back to black, please.

I’m determined to pull myself out of my fit of ill humour today but it’s not easy. Last night’s pudding was far less successful than saturday’s leek and bacon delight because I underseasoned it, undercooked it and overwashed the saucepan with this horrid ‘pink petals’ washing up liquid that makes all my food taste of a scene out of Bambi. Yeuch. I think it’s actually got under the skin of the pan.

After a late dinner of suet with a dripping garnish and a side dish of cream, I went to bed early and lay awake until 4am worrying about beige clothes.

Today I feel tired, grouchy and corpulent, so backcombing my hair into a sort of sub-Sarah Ferguson up-do, covering my eyelids in purple shadow and pulling on a crumpled sack of a skirt from the bottom of my wardrobe wasn’t quite the morning routine I’d hoped for. Mind you just putting ‘morning’ and ‘routine’ into the same sentence is something of an achievement for me so I’ll cheer up a bit at this juncture. There.

I’ve got it pretty close with the t-shirt, which is an old favourite my ex screen-printed for his former band, but funnily enough I don’t wear it that often these days and I noticed on the train to work – sadly too late to change – that it smells of the Jorvik Viking Centre. I haven’t been to the Jorvik Viking Centre but I spent much of my childhood in the Oxford Story, and everyone is always banging on about how they smell the same. ‘Blah blah, Jorvik bloody blah blah Oxford Story’ every bloody day. So boring. We get the point!

Hue beauty

Hue beauty

Warren Beatty (?)

Warren Beatty (?)

Conclusions:

  • Not feeling it AT ALL this issue. Request black shift dresses and salads.
  • Measure: hoop earrings are deemed quite wonderful this week, which is fine by me as I have many pairs of right big’uns and wear them all the time. At least I used to, before I started doing this Guardian Girl jape. Have you noticed they rarely put earrings on the models in the Guardian? In fact there’s often no jewellery at all, aside from a few gold cuffs lately.
  • More pudding tonight. It’s painful the amount of suet I’ve ingested over a three-day period. Psychically painful. However that leek pudding was probably the tastiest thing I’ve cooked for the project so far, and it was pretty easy.
  • I really am going to stop complaining now.

A farl cry from Hugh’s recipe

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on November 19, 2009

I’m getting well into the warm fracture booty now but it doesn’t half take ages to get everywhere. Last night I damn near broke my neck and wasted years of my life transporting flour and potatoes to Phoebe’s house for a wee dinner party with Nin and Liv. Not that it was a waste of time to go – it was lovely. I’m just used to racing everywhere in a huff rather than taking time to admire the empty fried chicken boxes and soggening leaf mulch of London’s streets.

I cooked us all a fry-up, which was supposed to incorporate Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s potato farls but ended up starring gluey mash instead.  The bonus was that mashed potato is bigged up in the Measure this week, so I was inadvertently succeeding at one of this week’s to-dos while failing at another.

I don’t know if I mixed in too little flour or what but hell, I think mash goes with pretty well anything and I was more than delighted to eat it with fried eggs, sausages, bacon, beans and toast.

I forgot to ask the girls to take my photo before I was dropped home by kind Phoebe and there was no Guardian farl snap for the day anyway, so this post is sadly unillustrated. Therefore I’m going to keep it short and sweet.

Tomorrow you can expect: booty (not that kind), omelette skyscraper, cake and possibly a home improvement feature ­– but let’s not set our goals too high. I have to do a mammoth cook tonight to get my tasks done before I head to Antwerp tomorrow.

Conclusions:

  • Consistency is key but when it comes to fry-ups you just have to be grateful for what you’ve got.
  • There’s arguably little point in walking around in an unflattering outfit all day in the name of the blog if I then forget to photograph it, but I can tell you it’s still quite pleasant being told what to wear of a morning. I missed that during my recent break and pretty much went around in little black dresses every day. It was boring.

Back to (un)reality

Posted in First impressions by guardiangirl on November 16, 2009

Well, I’ve spent a week at my new place of work and it all seems very great. Unfortunately I haven’t yet mustered the courage to ask my new colleagues to accompany me to the park and photograph me perched on a branch, which is top of my list of tasks this week since I’ve decided to return to Guardian Girl proper.

Let’s be honest about it – this blog became pretty sub-standard when I tried to get reborn as Independent Woman. It just ain’t me. And, as actual-genius Jesse said at at the weekend, The Independent isn’t the same – it doesn’t have a visible halo of sub-culture surrounding it. It just tells you the news, really. Even the recipe pages lack the secret whispers that if you only baked a potato cake on Wednesday you’d be part of This Crowd. The fashion doesn’t lure you in by repeating themes week in, week out until you find yourself wearing your hair in plaits or tucking your scarf into your belt because it suddenly feels like the obvious thing to do. All in all The Independent doesn’t boil down in the same way to a sort of politically conscious Grazia. I still haven’t managed to work out exactly how the Guardian manages it, but it does, and I’m back riding the bandwagon for the foreseeable future.

The other blogly misfortune of my present life situation, besides being the shy new kid on the work block, is that I’ve busted my foot proper. It’s been sore for a while but on Friday night I turned it over on a curb and spent the night causing mischief in A&E. My foot now looks like a hairy plum (sadly I can’t put my lycanthropic toes down to the injury – I have only my lax personal grooming to blame) and hurts a lot. I was given crutches, which made this week’s shopping quite a task, since they leave no hand space for baskets. Luckily my friend Tom was willing to help me out, so I managed to buy my crumpet and farl ingredients despite the gammy foot, but by the time we’d done the shopping and had a few pints of beer and a burger to celebrate, it was too late to rise crumpets. I’ll do my best to cook them tonight, although I must pop by Liv’s on my hobble home and ask her to take my day’s outfit photo. Every time I have a necessary holiday from this godforsaken experiment, I forget what a logistical nightmare it is.

On Saturday I took my crutches to the pub via the newsagent and had a look at what was on the cards for my first week back again, in the company of the as-ever-bemused-by-the-whole-concept Disco Dave. He just looked at me as if I was a complete idiot while I flicked through the fashion pages (“I know a few Mickey Mouses, you could cut their ears off and stick them to yer ‘ead”).

I tried to be patient looking at those ears (you’ll see the photos on here soon if you didn’t buy the paper) but I have to say I felt some degree of exasperation. I instantly knew I’d be substituting a headscarf – or an alice band at the very most.

The recipes look kind of nice in a let’s-pretend-our-bedsit-is-a-cobhouse kind of way. My favourite fantasy, that is. I really like the look of the massive omelette extravaganza Yotam’s done this week, although buying the 15 eggs made my arteries demand I have a friend over that evening, and Dan Lepard excels himself once more by writing a nice cake recipe and then telling you to pour rum/melted chocolate/butter/evaporated milk/liquid calorie over the top of it for good measure. All right, I will.

The life, the universe and everything pages seem to make sense and I think I’m going to practice being angry and enjoying it all week. So watch out. Even the home pages look kind of nice and simple-ish.

Yeh, never mind the crutches, I’m going to do the best I can this week and we’ll see what happens. Photos to follow as soon as I can transport myself labouredly to some familiar photographers (oh Cari how I miss you!), crumpet-ring retailers and Jude-Law-trainer-replica shops.

I’m back, there’s just not much evidence of it yet. Wish me luck.

 

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Banana caramel cream pie and a week off consuming

Posted in Fashion, First impressions, Recipes by guardiangirl on October 20, 2009

On Friday night I cooked the remaining recipe for last week: Dan Lepard’s banana caramel cream pie.

Sainsbury’s was out of bananas but for a load of very green ones or a massive multipack of fairtrade ones, which I bought. When I got them home I realised there was no weight on the packet so I had no idea how many to use. I plumped for one in the sauce and another sliced up under the meringue. I added a very, very liberal amount of rum and brandy, and used a mixture of thick chantilly cream and mascarpone. I made the meringue properly (good girl, no slacking) with my hand blender, which worked a treat.

Liv arrived a bit later, we finished off the labneh with celery sticks (and she pronounced it delicious), then we tucked into the pie in front of a DVD. After one slice each we were pretty tipsy – not sure if this could really have been the pie’s doing alone, as we were drinking the remaining brandy with 7up as an accompaniment. It was delicious anyway, however intoxicating, and a spoonful of mascarpone on top cut through the sweetness a bit. As much as I complained when I had to eat pie every day, you can’t really beat a good one, and this was that.

Banana caramel cream pie

Banana caramel cream pie

 

Rum and brandy pie

Rum and brandy pie

I woke up the next morning to discover that I was 30 years old, so the rest of the pie made a good celebratory breakfast before I popped out to buy the paper. To my delight I discovered the whole mag is given over to a retrospective of the noughties this week, which means no cooking and no shopping all week – just outfits. It was a much-appreciated birthday present. Off I trotted to the pub in my party dress, and there I stayed, with all my pals, for a very long time. What a brilliant night – I have yet to recover. Here follow this week’s outfits so far:

Carrie Bradshaw

Carrie Bradshaw

Barry Bradshaw

Barry Bradshaw

 

Skinny denim

Skinny denim

Chubber denim

Chubber denim

The It bag

The It bag

 

The nosebag

The nosebag

 

Bling is the thing

Bling is the thing

 

Grim is the bling

Grim is the bling

Conclusions:
  • Alco-pie: a grand foodstuff.
  • Labneh: gets nicer with time.
  • A week off cooking, reorganising furniture and searching for elusive garments: sublime.
  • Being 30: yes.

Labneh with olives and pistachios

Posted in Recipes by guardiangirl on October 16, 2009

Dinner: Yotam Ottolenghi’s labneh.

I didn’t strain my own yoghurt to make cheese.

I did this sort of thing with goat’s milk when I was inhabiting an iron age hill fort for a few months and I tell you what, it was foul. I also find that everything you need to know about straining is contained within its name. Leaving something to drip might not require much effort but it’s all those clean cloths and string and thinking about things 24 hours in advance that I find so offensive. I was out for dinner the night before I wanted to eat the labneh so I didn’t even have time to get the ingredients and begin the process.

I might have started off on the wrong foot but I ended on a right one, of sorts. I got a pot of natural yoghurt and a whorl of soft goat’s cheese and mixed them together in a big bowl, then I stirred in most of the other ingredients, including some sunblush tomatoes but excluding lemon zest (I looked at some lemons for a good five minutes, thought about the pile of washing up in front of the cupboard door where I keep my grater, and concluded I couldn’t be bothered), fresh oregano (where do you get this? Paxos?) and chilli flakes (I’d now reached a state of total unmotivation).

Anyway it made this surprisingly tasty dip. I got two crusty loaves – one granary and one white – and tried a bit of each with it. Really quite nice and the whole thing took me about ten minutes.

Labneh with olives, pistachios and oregano

Labneh with olives, pistachios and oregano

 

Lavvy with olives and pistachios

Lavvy with olives and pistachios

I’m sorry about the unimpressive presentation – it looks like an unappetising mess and I hope this does not bring too much shame upon me and my household.

Tomorrow I will not only buy the paper as usual and plan out my next week, but I will also become 30. Expect a new, epic and entirely appropriate level of commitment to perfection.

Conclusions:

  • My bastardisation of this recipe makes a big, tasty dip to share with people. I’m going to have the remainder with Liv tonight before cooking banana caramel pie à la Dan Lepard.
  • With dips, you’re supposed to pay attention to the presentation to avoid that “waste product” effect. Another thing to add to the list of lessons learned from the Guardian: the importance of garnish. I’ll put some herbs on the leftovers for Liv’s benefit.
  • You’d perhaps have thought that yoghurt mixed with goat’s cheese would be a bit bleurghy but I thought it was pretty nice.
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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.

Sunday 16 August

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on August 17, 2009

Big disappointment today as I travelled all the way into town with my French Connection discount chum to buy the blouse in the Measure and found it wasn’t in the shops. What’s the blooming point telling us all how perfect the thing is if none of us can buy it? It looked like a great blouse as well, and French Connection is full of very nice stuff at the moment so it was tough not to cave in and get something. But I didn’t.

Adding to my aggravation was the fact that I was wearing a jumper on a hot day, a requirement of the between-summer-and-autumn fashion shoot this week. Here’s me dicking around in some more undergrowth. The scarf was courtesy of a friend who had it tied around her cat’s carry basket, along with a beautiful Lanvin one. Can you imagine how stylish you have to be to carry your cat around in a Lanvin-trimmed box?

Wheatfield

Wheatfield

 

Whigfield

Whigfield

 

Not really putting my back into it there – relying too heavily on the pastry belly for balance.

And talking of which – here’s dinner. It’s a pie!

I used up a load of vaguely mouldering fruit I had left over from when I couldn’t be bothered to make fruit leather last week. The addition of vinegar to the pastry threw me a bit and the dough stank of it, but the finished product was great. Excuse the blobs of creme fraiche. I forgot to think about aesthetics for a moment.

Apricot

Apricot

 

Money shot

Money shot

Never one to do things by halves (unless they are a pastry recipe), I have an ear infection in both ears at the moment and must leave this desk now to crawl into a dark corner and feel sorry for myself, possibly aided by tonight’s veggie soup recipe and last week’s Dallas boxset. At least the Guardian can look after the poorly among us, even if it can’t consider the skint.  

Conclusions:

  • Ear infection necessitates brevity.
  • Why Measure always so expensive/unavailable?
  • Vinegar in pastry not too rank.
  • Use up old fruit in pie.
  • Creme fraiche not pretty.
  • Nurofen.