Service announcement

I feel like I owe you some real life talk. In all honesty, I’ve avoided discussing this on my blog, mainly because I’d convinced myself that one day I’d wake up and it wouldn’t be a problem any more.

service announcement

Right now I have both my wrists in splints thanks to a double case of tendonitis. My hand and wrist pain has been slowly creeping up on me since August thanks to the side affect of some antibiotics. I was managing day to day with ice and painkillers just fine, then I had a seriously dizzy day. I slipped in the shower a few months back and landed palm down on the floor. That was the deal breaker.

I’m seeing a physio, I’m doing stretches and massages, resting them as much as possible and keeping the splints on but I’m still in a lot of pain.

This is going to be a particularly difficult thing for me to heal. The immunosuppressants I take mean that the initial response to trigger healing, probably didn’t happen. Couple that with my ridiculously poor circulation, and the physio couldn’t give me a timescale in the near future. I now have a 3 month wait to see my Rhuematologist, that could mean wrist splints until February!

So here is my plan. First of all, I have some recipe development work to finish for an awesome company that I can’t wait to show you. That’s my priority right now. It’s exciting and exactly the type of stuff I love to do. Matt will just have to be a very good sous chef.

Secondly, I’m still studying and I’m determined not to put back the 5,000 word essay I have due in. I’ll chip away at that bit by bit and hand it in on time. I refuse to delay finishing my degree for this.

Finally, my blog. I can’t explain how incredibly frustrated I am that this is keeping me from blogging. My next posts will come with Matt’s patience and help as he’ll be typing for me. Hopefully he can help me queue up some content for you but please be patient with me whilst I get this under control.

In the mean time, if you’re looking for recipes, I have a catalogue of tried and tested good food in my recipe file.  Anything you can do to support my blog over the next few weeks would mean the world to me. Just passing a recipe on to friends or family, liking the page on facebook or leaving a comment, it’s all super helpful. The little community we’ve built here just keeps on growing and I never want it to stop, especially not for these silly hands.

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Tea infused panna cotta

I love tea. Plain old english breakfast, jasmine, earl grey, white, green, almost any tea. As a consequence, I have a cupboard of the stuff and despite my best efforts, it never seems to get any smaller. I’ve been looking for ways to work through my stash and decided to give tea infused panna cotta a go.

tea infused pannacotta
earl grey panna cotta
 

Panna cotta is a really simple, make ahead, dessert for dinner parties. Of course you can serve it the traditional way and turn it out on to a plate but I like the simplicity of leaving it in the mould or setting it in tea cups for a nice surprise.

When choosing a tea to use, try and avoid the smokier flavours- I’m looking at you

lapsang souchong. Citrus and floral notes work much better to lighten this rich dessert. I used Kusmi’s Anastasia for it’s bergamot and orange blossom and their beautiful green tea and jasmine for another.  If you’re not a huge tea fan I’ve still got you covered, just switch the tea leaves for the contents of two vanilla pods and you’ll have yourself a classic and equally wonderful vanilla panna cotta.

vanilla panna cotta

This recipe will make 4 generous servings:
 
500ml double cream
500ml milk
50g sugar
6 gelatine leaves softened in a little water (or 20g powdered gelatine)
1 tbsp tea leaves
 

In a sauce pan on a medium heat, combine the cream, milk, sugar and tea leaves and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the gelatine, stirring until it has dissolved. If you’re using powdered gelatine, tilt the pan and make sure you can’t see any gelatine crystals in the bottom.

Working quickly, strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the tea leaves, then divide in to ramekins, tea cups or jars. Leave on the counter top until cool then transfer to the fridge for an hour or until you’re ready to serve.

panna cotta

You’ll find some teas colour more than others, above left to right are Anastasia ( almost the same as lady grey), green tea with jasmine which has a slight green tint and vanilla at the front.

Once you have this recipe under your belt try and play around with new ingredients and develop new flavours. I’d love to know if you try it out.

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Escaping for the night #2

Matt’s favourite thing about staying in a hotel is the breakfast. I can’t fault him for it really, it’s one of my favourite things too, as long as it’s a good one. So, we woke up at Ox Pasture Hall, took a shower under the huge rainfall head and made our way to the dining room to see what was in store for us. Coffee was poured, eggs were chosen and we were both served a full english. There were plenty of other options to choose from, but why wouldn’t you pick the fry up when someone else is washing up?

breakfast at oxpasture hall

Over breakfast we tried to make a plan for the day but with zero mobile signal and the waning Wi-Fi, it was going to involve some guess work. All we knew was that we were heading out of the hotel to explore on this gorgeous day and we had to be back in time for afternoon tea.

The drive in to Scarborough was quicker than I’d imagined. We found ourselves in the centre of the high street, trying to locate the beach. Every so often we’d catch a glimpse in the gaps between buildings as steep stairs made their way down to the sea front.

scarborough bayImpressive as they were, the steep stairways weren’t for us but there are two ‘easy on the legs’ options; a slow meander down from the shops or the cliff lift.

Once down at the sea front, Scarborough is exactly what we expected. A crowd of old buildings, some beautiful, some a bit run down. Seafood restaurants beckoning us in for freshly caught lobster with garlic butter and chips. Arcades and slot machine halls filled with kids. Donkey rides on the beach. Busy fisherman mending nets. The massive expanse of Scarborough Castle watching over the chaos below.

We picked up a bag of freshly made doughnuts, coated in sugar and took in the sights.

scarborough sea frontscarborough buildingsscarborough beachcrabnets scarborough

With an hour to kill we decided to drive 5 minutes North and headed to the Scarborough Sea Life Centre, which is focussed around its Seal Hospital and their rescue and rehabilitation services. My personal highlight was the absolutely mesmerising jellyfish. I could have stayed and watched them for much much longer.

jellyfish

We caught the end of the turtle feeding, I hand fed the crab in the rockpool and just before we left we came face to face with a very playful little seal. All in all, it was a good way to spend an hour. We couldn’t stay though; it was time for the drive back to Oxpasture Hall.

We were the only people eating on a Saturday lunchtime so we had the room to ourselves and the best seats in the house, overlooking their beautiful gardens.

oxpasture hall gardens

As we awaited afternoon tea, the staff were busy tending to the Wedding party. A veil was whipped through the room, a panicked guest asked ‘have I missed it?’. We could hear the excitement of the bridesmaids who were posing for photos just outside of where we sat. Then came the bride, and just after her, our afternoon tea.

afternoontea scarboroughafternoon tea scarborough

Two warm scones, plenty of jam, clotted cream, a few finger sandwiches, brownies, lemon meringue tarts, lemon cheesecake, summer pudding, profiteroles. We sipped coffee and methodically ate our way through the treats. We just couldn’t finish it.

Believe it or not, this was my first afternoon tea experience and whilst it was all lovely, I’m not sure it’s for me. Matt has a sweet tooth so faired a lot better, but as a girl that prefers more savoury things, I was one bite away from a sugar coma. Is afternoon tea just the wrong thing for me? Or have you been somewhere you think I’d love? Is there such a thing as a savoury afternoon tea? If no where offers one, I think they should. I’d certainly go.

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Halloween drinks

Quick! When I say Halloween, which 3 colours pop in to your head first? For me, it’s orange, green and black. Black is of course nightfall, bats and witches cloaks. Orange is the pumpkins and their firey glow. But what on earth is green? Maybe green is the skin of monsters or the brew in the witches cauldron? For this post, the green is going to be Midori.

If you’ve never had Midori before, it’s a liqueur made from muskmelon. Like cantaloupe, muskmelon has a very distinct aroma and although Midori is sweet, its flavour is intense. It lends itself wonderfully to cocktails, particularly at Halloween to make a spooky spiked brew. Read on for my favourite Midori drink and a layered fruity shot.

First up. The spiked brew.

halloween cocktailsmidori cocktailsmidori sourThis screaming green take on a Midori Sours is packed with tongue tingling flavour. Using limoncello, instead of the classic lemon juice, really rounds out the flavours in this drink and when served on the rocks in a sugar rimmed glass, it really looks the part for halloween gatherings.

For one drink, shake the following with ice and strain in to a glass rimmed with sugar:

1 measure of midori
1 measure limoncello

 

Pile the glass high with ice and add a splash of soda water.

Now for the shot. Maybe we should call this the freaky fruit?

halloween shots

For each shot, layer:

1 measure peach puree
1 measure Midori
1 measure vodka
 

If you can’t find peach puree, look out for a good quality bellini mixer like Funkin’s all natural white peach bellini pouches. Store the spirits in the freezer and the peach puree in the fridge. When you’re ready to make them, pour the peach puree in to the glass then pour the Midori slowly over the back of a spoon to achieve the layered effect. Do the same for the vodka.

Do you have plans for this Friday? Matt and I are out on the night with friends for a pre wedding meal which I’m very much looking forward to.

If you’re looking for more cocktails for your halloween celebrations, Ashanti from Adorn Girl has shared some absolute knockouts over on her blog, including a favourite of mine, the ‘Dead Celeb’.

 

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Escaping for the night // Oxpasture Hall, Scarborough

Sometimes a night away can make all the difference. Twenty four hours of adventure and a change of scenery is all it takes to freshen up your perspective and lets face it, we all need that every once in a while. So, Matt and I planned our escape.

With the kind offer of accommodation at Ox Pasture Hall, we were all set for a drive over to the east coast to spend some time in Scarborough. If you’ve ever made the journey from west to east in northern England you’ll know it’s a taxing drive. The roads twist and turn, you’ll crawl through sleepy villages and then climb up to a road that is so high it has permanent gates to close it off in bad weather.  It was hairy in places, but the views were well worth it.

As we neared our hotel, we turned on to Lady Edith’s Drive. We were in the most idyllic country side. Pheasants and partridge popped in and out of the hedgerows and with only a few hundred meters to go, we passed a beautiful lake.

lakelake scarborough

(more…)

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