Ramp up

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So things have started to ramp up for the holiday.  With less than three weeks to now go and the delivery of all tickets excluding our Orlando Flex Pass – we are already to go.    Just printed off details for the booked show, and the travel insurance details, need to go and do some pre-booking and alterations for the car hire in a while and then we are done.  Packing still needing to be done, and dig out Driving Licences, but we are then already to go.

Given this weekend I chose not to study given that is all I have done for the last 6 months, I choose to take a weekend off, so I have transplanted some overcrowded tomatoes, in our little balcony forest.  Discovered a pepper plant hiding both amongst my tomatoes and lettuces – very  surprised as I thought I had managed to kill them all off – wonders will never cease.  Although choosing to do all this dirty work in a white gypsy style skirt probably was not the brightest idea I have every had! oh well!  The shower was good to cool down in  Mr M finishes work in a bit so will go collect and we will wander over to Harris & Hoole and grab a coffee or cooler and some goodies to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.  On top of that  I have now pre-ordered my new Robin Hobb book for the kindle and downloaded the Joe Abercrombie  Half a King.  Having not read any Joe Abercrombie books, interested to see how it turns out, although it comes recommended by Mrs Hobb herself so I am sure it can’t be that bad!

Have fun everyone, enjoy your weekend and chat soon

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Frustrating week, Celebratory week, Ill week

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Well I missed my blog entry for last week, mainly due to playing catch up on my CIPS study.  Then managing to catch up I have promptly fallen behind again, because I was too lazy and tired this week to read 10 pages.  It has definitely been a frustrating week, as I try to manage work, study and healing.  My foot as of late as started to look more look a foot then a holy foot.  This in itself is great, however,  looking at how well it is now healing, it would appear that I wont even have a scar for all the pain I have gone through.  Although this is good news there is a sense of disappointment too.

This week was a special week, as it was my husbands birthday on Wednesday and I have been like a kid in a candy store waiting to give him his presents, which naturally he loved.  Today we are having a birthday celebration.  As a result of this I spent most of last night in the kitchen baking a chocolate cake.  Today I am completing it with a butter icing filling and a milk chocolate ganache covering.  It is going to be a small affair with family and a selection of friends but should be a fun-filled afternoon.

As I had to work for his birthday, I took him our for a special meal for his birthday.  We went to an Argentinian Steak House called Gaucho’s, at Canary Wharf.  The food was divine, the service was impeccable and well worth the small fortune we spent on the two of us to dine there.  Meat was cooked to perfection and with a sommelier to help with wine choices or to go with recommended wines, which were also included within the menu.  The whole experience was exactly what one would expect from a full on fine dining experience.  It is one experience we are planning to repeat with tale of two books knowing her love of food and good cooking.  It will also give her some good exposure to writing some food critic reports for her blog.

Despite all this on the Thursday evening I have ended up with a nasty ear infection which is causing pain and broken sleep.  My foot then started to feel left out and started to irritate me again too, however, I wonder with my foot if it was because I was told I could shower.  My dressing started to lift when I came out and if it has been re-infected.  I guess I wont know until I go to the vascular clinic on Tuesday. Nonetheless it has all been a good week.

Looking forward to moving onwards and upwards and an enjoyable if even busy week to come.

 

Confusion ensued

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Rain rattled the windows as the glass shook in their frames.  My head sunk lower into my over sized chest and unlike Shakira they could be mistaken for mountains.  I reached out for the prescribed sunglasses on the top of the bed side tables and swapped them out for my regular glasses.  I closed the curtains and sank deeper undo the duvet.

This was how my day started.  The intrepid beginnings of a headache from hell – yet again- thank you air pressure.  I reached out for some Solpadeine as I retched over the toilet bowl and my day did not get better,

My mood was lightened close to 1935 GMT as the head started to clear and I managed to review my stats for yesterdays blog and was surprised to see that I surpassed the 25 mark for the first time in a while.  My next aim is 30. Although to be fair I did hit a misnomer 40 sometime back in 2009 when I blogged about my forthcoming wedding.  But then I think weddings produce a fever that can very rarely be replicated. However one of the moments that made my day yesterday so memorable was a lovely comment I received from another blogger my dear bakes, who obviously bakes cakes for a living- deemed my little muffins worthy of a comment – thank you I feel flattered.

My partner on the other hand had great joy in telling me he achieved he had reached 70.  Not that everything is a competition with us but we do like to keep each other on our toes.  It is our way of keeping things fresh and exciting. It is very off but I still have not quite adjusted to calling him my husband as somehow in my mind this seems our of kilter and unbalanced.  Don’t ask me why it just does.  Maybe it is because I see us a partnership and of equal balance which is why I refer to him as so.

Tomorrow we are off to my sister in laws house armed with the minted chocolate fondue muffins that I put up the recipe for yesterday, and potentially depending on when both myself and Lottie Sandstorm arise I may drizzle a small portion of melted dark chocolate across the top.

Miss Sandstorm at this very moment is making her way back to the UK after a day out at Flanders. I am looking forward to hearing about the exploits and what has taken place, before dressing up tomorrow for a Pre-Halloween party.

We are also eagerly awaiting to hear if she has been successful picked to participate in one of 3 weekend events at Imperial College London on an Engineering weekend.  To be selected for this stage is already a great achievement as only 10 girls for her school have been nominated.  I feel extremely proud to know her.  She is a very astute and intelligent young woman, with great poise and wit, and intelligence beyond her years.

In addition to this I have promised to send a batch of the minted muffins to a friend back in Hull so I suspect baking fever will take hold of the household on Sunday as I get Lottie to assist if she is willing and pending on the dreaded Homework- which seems to be taking on greater fever as she heads into her GCSE years.

Timothy is currently in the kitchen prepping dinner which is his usually extremely yummy Lasagne- yum yum yum.  I am sure he will post an image of this up later along with the recipe.

Anyway to go back to the topic in hand I was amused to see that someone was directed to my blog today who was looking for articles on Anemia and I spent nearly an hour trying to work out how Anemia had fitted into any of my blogs, when my darling other half piped-up B12 deficiency.  Ah yes was my response and then oh right.  How random I had totally forgotten about that.  Especially since he is now on Folic acid daily to help with this issue and having had a change of medication from his Byetta to Bydureon. (For more information on these drugs and how they work, please visit Tim Maidments’ site). A similar make-up to the Byetta but only now has to inject once a week rather than twice a day, which for a man with a fear of needles is nice.  Even if he does repeatedly tell me how much bigger the needle is- and no that is not a euphemism for anything else at all.

However on that note and to stop my waffle going into anything more non-cohesive than it already is I wish you a good evening. A merry weekend and images of costumes and get together will follow shortly

Chocolate Mint Fondue Muffins – Yum

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After all the relentless stuff going on this week. I have decided to take 30 minutes away from jobs and computers to do something else I enjoy.  Bake.  This weekend we are off to visit my in-laws who live down the road from us and so I thought I would make some muffins to take with us.  I am currently trying to decide though whether to put a dark chocolate Genache icing on the top what do you think

To make my muffins you will need

4oz of butter

40z of sugar

2 oz of plain flour

2 oz of minted hot chocolate

4oz of self-raising flour

3-4 eggs

vanilla essence

6 blocks of dark chocolate

TO DO

1.  Grease the tray that you are going to bake the muffins in and pre-heat the over on 160 degrees Celsius

2.  Cream together the butter and the sugar so you have a nice smooth mixture – there should be no evidence of sugar crystals in the bowl or in the mixture.  There should just be a very pliable soft buttery texture

3.  Add in a couple of drops of vanilla essence into the mixture

4.  Crack into the mixture the eggs and beat together ferociously to prevent the mixture splitting.  It will also help to get in lots of air and make the mixture nice and light and fluffy.  The mixture should now be a liquid state with air bubbles in there

5. Sieve in the flour and chocolate mixture

6. Stir this into the above mixture ensuring you fold the mixture in well.  There should be no flour residue visible in the bowl and the mixture should have a chocolate colour to it.  You know the mixture is the right consistency when you take a dollop and turn it sideways and it takes 3-4 seconds to drop of the spoon/spatula.  Any shorter it is too runny and more sieved self-raising flour needs to be added.  I would add in sieved 2 oz portions not to over add.  If over then the mixture is too heavy and some liquid needs to be added.  I would recommend Milk but only a glug at a time –  you don’t want to make it to liquid.

7.  Once the consistency is right, take a teaspoon and place a teaspoon into each of the holders.

8. Take your whole chocolate bars and break into small portions and place into the centre of your mixture in the holders.

9. Take another a teaspoon and place this on top of the already existing mixture and chocolate concoction.  Smooth the mixture over so you have a nice smooth consistency

10.  Place these into the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes

11.  You can tell they are done by tapping the top of each muffin, they should have a light spongy consistency to the touch.  If not then cook for another  5-10 Minutes.

12.  Then eat or serve with chocolate sauce or custard

Be warned there is a hot centre from the melted chocolate – BE careful when eating

Enjoy.

Birthday Planning

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Well there is now about 3 weeks until my birthday and I am now being asked what do I want to do.  This is very quickly and shortly followed by “Nothing”.  It is not that I am not anti-social and I don’t want to spend my birthday with friends and family; but history has taught me one thing.  A birthday that arrives as Winter is beginning to bite.  A birthday so close to Bonfire night – is not a good combination.  Most like me would rather stay wrapped up and warm in doors and if possible watch any displays from the comfort of their living rooms. Luckily, as were we are, we usually have the choice of several displays over my birthday weekend.  However it would appear that I am not getting that choice this year and if decisions must be made then I will do something of a long-awaited wish list.

It also has that distinct disadvantage of being the month before Christmas and people’s funds are for better reasons best allocated elsewhere.

Dinner with a close friend first  – location to be decided but I figured it has to be somewhere near the ice bar and just discovering they do what appears to be a good restaurant option I think I will suggest a full evening there for me and friends to sit chill and enjoy afterwards.

With no real pleasant thoughts of my birthday I am reminded of the effort my friend put into last year.  Of which I am so grateful as fun was a plenty and a good night was had by both of us at Benihana’s in Chelsea.

Apart from the fact that I got all giggly because my idol ate there – Brian May.  I had never had Japanese food before and I really enjoyed the experience- especially the attempt to catch food in my mouth- which some would say is surely impossible.   Noticeable below, the catch was not entirely successful.

This year the choice of food and location has been left to me.  The problem being I love my food.  My favorites being Italian, Chinese and Thai.  So someone saying where do you want to eat for your birthday is like leaving a child in a sweet shop with an open purse.  However I also love to experience new foods and styles.  Along the way I have discovered me and Sushi are not a good mix, Swiss food is heavy with oils and fats but are good for the cold winter nights.  Specifically if you have a good fondue –  my personal favorite being a moitie-moitie – this is a split between Gruyere cheese and Vaucheron cheese (literally meaning 50/50) –  with both boiled potatoes and bread for dipping.  To be fair having had this I never opted for any other option when I lived out there.  But be warned it can be very rich if you eat too much.

Italian, a good fish dish with pasta has to be the most refined thing I ate when out in Sardinia.  In Turkey you have your pulses and grains.  My mouth is just watering thinking of it all.  Yet a decision has to be made so I have opted for a European option included and next to the Ice bar noted above.

Feedback is currently waiting upon my friends feedback and a decision or further research will be taken from there.

It does not help living in a city with so much cultural diversity and options that the choosing of food becomes a chore of which end of the city you want to be in and eat at.

With the elusive Edgeware road, sporting Iraqi, Middle Eastern and mainly Turkish dishes, Soho and China Town for the Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese options.  Then surrounding that is the French, European, Greek, and Indian options and a whole load of hidden away gems if you want to go looking for them

So my wish for today is to try something new and let you taste buds do the talking.

Sunday Chillin’

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Well the weekend was much as expected, slow and relaxed.  I suspect next weekend will be less so.  With Lottie Sandstorm arriving late on Friday after a day trip to Belgium and Flanders.  Then going to visit her cousin on the Saturday in Fancy dress for a premature Halloween bash and fun and catch-up.  Sunday will become a day of collapsed bodies and exhaustion.

However between now and then I have the DHSS to address on my usual Wednesday appointment, I have an unexpected tax bill to pay and more jobs to track down and apply for.  As of yet I have yet to manage to do some work for NANOWRIMO which is drawing on close to the start with still little work started.  I have still to start on Christmas presents and am having to leave a majority of the bulk buying to my partner.  Writing and thinking of all this is already getting me in a bit of a tizz about the whole thing.

Hubby is currently cooking dinner of Chicken and Pasta for our tea.  Always good when I don’t have to cook.  There is also that chance he will actually eat something.  Not that my cooking is particularly bad we just have very different styles of cooking.  To the point this weekend we talked about putting together our cook book of recipes and achievements of cooking on a budget.

This weekend resulted in an unexpected visit to the cinema to see Looper.  An intriguing and interesting version on the sci-fi notion of time travel.  It consisted of little of the usually Hollywood contrite way of doing moves and left the watcher having to think.  Parts which made me flinch and close my eyes at times.  Yet enthralling, entertaining and very brain active.  This is not a movie you can go to and switch your brain off.  There is too much happening, that co-insides with each other and will definitely need another watch when it comes out on DVD.  In addition to this I managed to get my first glimpse of Skyfall the new Bond movie which is released on the 26th.  OMG I cannot wait to see that either.

Life I feel is suddenly about to get very interesting.  I have the nervous anticipation of not, that tells of fast joyous moments are soon to be upon us and life changing events are coming.  When 3- 6 months tends to be the normal time scales when things like this happen.  Last time I lost my job.  Moved to Switzerland.  Got engaged tot he man I married earlier this year.  All in the space of 7 months for the sake of accuracy. Although we got together within 6 months and engaged by the 7th.  I love this feeling as I know things are going to work out all right.  Faith is all that is needed to make sure that it happens

Dinner is soon to be served.  So I am going to end this blog now and wish you all to enjoy the rest of your Sunday and say have faith, live life and enjoy it, whatever it throws your way, as you never know where it will lead

The dangerous world of baking

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The sun is shining today and so we decided to have a lazy morning before rising and to go book ourselves on a stable management course at my step-daughters riding school at Goulds Green in addition to prevent us from not turning up as both my partner and I can be somewhat anti-social at times especially if we have had a bad day, we opted to pay for the two definite nights up front so there was no escaping the event.  As a result of the warm weather we thought we might head out at some time soon, but by the time we got back and had breakfast, more like Brunch given the hour and most people were already out and about or not available we ended up making arrangements to go visit friends tomorrow down at Shoreham by Sea.  In preparation of this event and on the last visit they were somewhat disappointed that no muffins materialized a plenty I opted to bake some malted double chocolate cup cakes, except the batch decided to bite back.  Upon taking the final batch out of the oven, the melted middle decided to fight back and I now have what can only be described as a nice blister blossoming on my index finger next to my thumb.

However if anyone would wish to re-make the cupcakes then the ingredients are below

4 oz of Butter

4 oz of Sugar

2 oz of ovaltine- or drinking chocolate can be substituted

2 oz of Plain flour

4 oz of Self Raising

4 eggs

2 oz of chocolate, dark, plain, white or a mix of your own choice, crushed

Cream together the butter and sugar until a soft smoothy creamy mixture is left at the bowl, no sugar crystals should be visible.  beat in the 4 eggs, it may look like the mixture is separating but if you beat hard and fast enough it will all come together.  Once you have a well beaten mixture with lots of air bubbles in there, sieve into the mixture the drinking chocolate, plain and self-raising flour.  Once it is all sieved into the liquid, gentle fold the flour into the butter, egg and sugar mixture until it is all mixed into together.  The result should be a gloopy mixture when a dollop is on the spatula and held sideways it takes three seconds to drop from the utensil into the bowl.  If it takes longer than this add in another egg and mix well until all bound together.  If too wet add small amounts of self-raising flour until you get the right consistency.  Once the right consistency is achieved, grease a muffin tray with butter making sure the sides are completely covered.

The oven should be set to 180 degrees to be heating through

Take two tablespoons and place a dollop of the mixture into each of the containers within the tray and place the tray into the oven for 20-25 minutes.  You will know when the cakes are ready as when you press the top there should be a nice bounce to them, if you are unsure insert a knife into the middle and the knife should come out clean.  If this does not happen place back into the oven for a further 5-10 minutes and then repeat the process for the next batch

The above mixture makes between 12-24 cup cakes/muffins

Right I am now going to make leek cannelloni with spinach, ricotta, mushrooms and black pudding with a white wine creamy Camembert sauce with side salad

Enjoy your evening and hopefully I wont burn anymore of myself in the preparation of dinner

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