Guardian Girl

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.
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Leek terrine

Posted in Recipes by guardiangirl on October 14, 2009

What a night.

The leek terrine was the least interesting thing about it.

The rest will probably be frightfully dull for you but I’ll press on anyway.

First I had a bath and listened to Resonance FM, on which there was a most brilliant Wavelength/William English interview with a man called Captain Maurice Seddon. I recommend you click on that link and listen to it. He’s an eccentric gentleman who owns at least ten dogs and several freezers filled with food six years out of date, which he eats will no ill effects. But it’s his charm and his relationship with the interviewer that make it worth listening to. It was just a really good radio moment.

Then these two fellows came on pretending to be old men, as far as I could make out. The fact that they were preceded by an actual old man, and a very engaging one at that, set them back. They totally bombed really. I wasn’t too keen on the Brian Gittins character. But the Angelos Epithemiou dude was very funny.

There was one really good line in it (“I don’t like how you’re wearing your belt – why don’t you use the loops?”) and they also reminded me what a great tune Jellicle Cats is. I haven’t heard it since I was six. The rousing key changes! The sitcom-lite bassline!

Then I made the terrine.

It was easy – you boil leeks, put them in a clingfilm-lined loaf tin with a load of feta and some mint, and leave it for a while. I nearly didn’t bother with the clingfilm but my conscience got the better of me.

Then I watched the third episode of last year’s Criminal Justice. Then I watched the fourth. Then I turned out the terrine, at which point I was thankful I’d used the clingfilm. If I hadn’t, the whole structure would’ve fallen apart. I downloaded it on to a plate, stood back and felt dead chuffed with myself. The leeks made very attractive pale green lined patterns around the outside of the loaf, and it looked like a real thing. An Achievement. It was now about midnight, and I took some of the terrine with me to watch the final part of Criminal Justice, even though I was tired and it was a school night, because I couldn’t physically or mentally bear the suspense. I can’t believe telly can be this good. It’s also given me a highly inconvenient crush on Ben Whishaw, who is not a useful person to have a crush on for any number of reasons. I’ll allow myself to Google Image him only once today. Then I must move on. I haven’t had an embarrassing and inappropriate celeb crush since I accidentally brainwashed myself into being in love with Joaquin Phoenix while watching Walk the Line. That lasted a year, during which time one half of my brain genuinely believed I was going to marry him while the other half looked on in semi-disgusted pity. It was a confusing time for me and I hope this Ben Whishaw nonsense clears up quicker. 

If you can get hold of the DVD of that Criminal Justice you have to watch it. Pete Postlethwaite rules in it to. It’s just so much better than leek terrine.

Oh yes, the terrine. I should have squeezed all the water from the leeks before packing them into the tin as it went a bit soggy. I also thought it wasn’t worth bothering with the cider vinegar drizzled on top but that was a mistake. I have plenty of terrine left over so I’ll finish it another time with some of the thyme cider vinegar that has sat around being ignored in my kitchen since I made it months ago. I like the way Hugh F-W explains so carefully in the recipe how to slice the terrine. But even following his instructions it all fell apart for me, as is plain to see:

Leek terrine

Leek terrine

 

Freak terrine

Freak terrine

 

Conclusions:

  • Although this constitutes a highly exciting evening by Guardian Girl standards, I realise in instant hindsight that it must sound much like a boring evening in to most other folks. I felt like an Amish kid in Disneyland.

Potted cheese slacker

Posted in Recipes by guardiangirl on October 13, 2009

I bought all the ingredients for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s potted cheese, I went home, I felt hungry, I ate the cheese with oatcakes and chutney, I put the booze on my shelf ready to drink around the time of my 30th birthday next weekend, I watched the second part of last year’s Criminal Justice on DVD, I shouted at it and tore at my hair, I had a bath, I went to bed, I felt no worse off for not having mixed up the cheese with a few other things before I put it on the oatcakes.

And so my rebellion against HF-W’s recipes continues.

I know my promises are looking pretty much empty these days but I will make the leek terrine tonight, or else I’m in danger of slacking off the project beyond all excusableness.

Conclusions:

Potted rabbit

Posted in Recipes by guardiangirl on October 6, 2009

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s potted rabbit became Guardian Girl’s chicken casserole last night. There are two reasons for this: Sainsbury’s had no rabbit that I could detect, and I had no time to cook my dinner for two hours,  shred it up and wait for it to cool before eating it – I stayed late at work and got home at 8pm.

Hugh says that these recipes are not difficult but require plenty of time, during which he suggests also listening to the radio and enjoying hanging around the kitchen. I guess this puts these recipes firmly in weekend territory. The thing is that weekend territory is already dotted with little flags saying things like “do your laundry”, “see some mates”, “get out of the flat” and no doubt in other households, “take the kids swimming” and “take the dog for a proper walk”.

I still have to question who his recipes are aimed at beyond people who live in the River Cottage and I guess jobless folks who also happen to have the money and inclination to press rabbits into pots. It’s a question of priorities as much as time.

For the purposes of consistent documentation, here’s my photo of a very tasty chicken casserole. The addition of a packet of lardons and some mustard comes highly recommended – there’s still much to learn from Hugh’s recipes even though it’s frequently tricky to go all the way.

Potted rabbit

Potted rabbit

 

Not a rabbit

Not a rabbit

 

Conclusions:

  • So little time, so much to do, so many unpotted lagomorphs in the world. On my deathbed I’ll be rueing the times I let them all hop away, foolishly choosing to pursue a career instead.

Game terrine

Posted in Recipes by guardiangirl on October 5, 2009

I cooked this one for the ladeez, Liv, Nin and Phoebe, and we ate it in front of X-Factor accompanied by the red wine and brandy that didn’t make it into the terrine. I do love the way brandy makes you feel like Father Christmas.

I couldn’t find game so what this really ended up as was a very large squashed-up sausage with lumps of chicken, pork and beef suspended in it, wrapped in two packets of bacon. Some people will be thinking that sounds like heaven, others will be leaning more towards burning in hell. It was actually pretty nice. Very tasty. We ate it with the onion chutney left over from the red pepper dip I made the other evening and some salad.

I didn’t leave it to cool or press it.

I guess it’s what you might call meatloaf is it?

Game terrine

Game terrine

Lame terrine

Lame terrine

 

Conclusion:

  • A successful new addition to my top cooking formulas: wrap stuff in paper and bake it, wrap stuff in pastry and bake it, suspend stuff in sausagemeat and bake it.

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.

Saturday 15 August

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

First impressions:

Fashion

  • My lack of a large selection of gilets in differing fabrics is going to set me back a bit here – and finding grass long enough to stand in rather than on, let alone a wheatfield, is going to be quite a challenge in Hackney.
  • Plus another bunch of menswear that, when recreated with my own wardrobe, just means jeans and a shirt every day.

The Measure

  • I popped over to the home of my internet-connected friends to Google most of this stuff in order to gauge how attainable/affordable it was going to be. The French Connection blouse looks lovely and is even more affordable given that I get 50% discount there thanks to my wunder-0-chum Adam, but aside from that every single thing (trainers, jewellery, bag) costs way more than I could afford, even given my determination to follow this experiment faithfully. Disappointing. I wonder how much the average Guardian reader earns?

Recipes

Brain and heart

  • I’ve mostly been avoiding cataloging the more emotional side of the advice in the Weekend magazine because I intend this blog to be more of an experiment about the do-ability of cooking, dressing and shopping as the Guardian suggests than about my psychological welfare each week. After all, there’s narcissism and then there’s narcissism. There’s some very good advice in this bumper happiness issue, by the looks of things, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to use my blog as a gratitude diary. What happens on tour stays on tour (in this scenario the tour is my internal life, and be happy it’s staying that way, since my internal life would probably have at least one thing in common with Aerosmith’s Get a Grip tour of 1993-94).

Make-up

  • No Lauren Luke! I’m relieved to have a break from uploading four close-ups of my face shot in bad light, and it’ll be nice to wear make-up that goes with the clothes I’m in. Only it’s mostly menswear this week, so looks like I’ll be bare-faced this week.

So the outfit today was just shirt and jeans for me as I don’t have a wide range of trousers to get it right. The photo was a little tricky, but my friend Thomas managed to get a pretty good snap of me hanging backwards off a park bench in some undergrowth. You can’t really see the clothes but since they didn’t match very well anyway today, the photo is really just for keeping up appearances.

After summer

After summer

 

Dafter summer

Dafter summer

Dinner for the evening was a very nice chicken pie recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi standing in for Hugh FW. The logistics of shopping with friends on the way home from the pub meant we were limited to Tesco Metro’s selection of ingredients. I used curry paste instead of harissa, boned my own thighs (…), replaced the sour cream in the pastry with soured cream dip (which seemed to work well) and used lemon zest instead of preserved lemon. Because it was late and we were hungry, I skipped the stages that called for letting things cool down – never my strong point anyway. All in all it tasted good – although better cold for breakfast the next morning.
Chicken pie

Chicken pie

Don't judge a book by its cover

Don't judge a book by its cover

I can tell how successful a recipe was by how much I wish I still had a slice in my fridge when I upload the photo later. This one’s making me slaver.
Conclusions:
  • There’s not enough grass in London. Or wheatfields. Could Agnes Denes pay a visit? Perhaps I should’ve popped to Dalston Mill for a photoshoot.
  • There aren’t enough cooking ingredients in Tesco Metros. They’re for those times you just need beer and some filled pasta things aren’t they. Planning, planning, planning.

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.