Category: Food

It’s only Lindy Bop (Lana) but I like it…

As I may have mentioned, it was my birthday on Sunday. I had requested a visit to Grand Cafe (http://www.grand-cafe.co.uk/home) in Southampton. It’s just over the road from where we live and I have been angling to get inside for months now! I walk past it all the time and I am a sucker for an old building. Southampton was pretty decimated in World War Two and it’s lovely old buildings are few and far between, often flanked by some nasty 70s concrete flats. Peeking through the (rather high) windows I could see lovely fabrics, nice hanging lamps and the odd bit of cutlery, but could never get a proper look. This had to be rectified!

Grand Cafe

We decided to go there for Afternoon Tea. Mostly because of cake. And tea. And cake. Did I mention cake? I love the fact that we Brits invented a meal around those two glorious things. I thought I might use it as an excuse to wear one of my new Lindy Bop (http://www.lindybop.co.uk/swing-jive-dresses-c3/lana-playful-polka-dot-50s-style-dress-with-cinch-waist-bel-p858) dresses.

It was served on vintage china, which was a lovely first impression. I ordered a big pot of Assam and Dr P got a coffee pot.

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It was beautifully decorated for Christmas, everything seemed to sparkle, including the crooning gentleman that entertained us for the first hour or so.

GC afternoon tea

When the Dr made the reservation he told the staff I was a pescatarian so they had kindly given us lots of cheese, egg and salmon sandwiches and just a few Italian ham sandwiches for Dr P. I did sample all of the sandwiches, but left the lion’s share for the Dr as I was impatient to get on to the sweet delights. We had 2 scones (with clotted cream and strawberry jam of course) each plus cakes, tartlets and nougat. I must admit I was defeated and only managed half of my cupcake even though it was deliciously light and bouncy. Everything was very tasty and the service was great. And of course it’s not like I had just spent two weeks filling my face with mince pies, Quality Street and Toblerone. Oh no!

I insisted on a few snaps of my Lindy Bop ‘Lana’ dress as we left:

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I loved the weight of the dress – it’s a really nice thick cotton mix, perfect for this time of year (It was quite chilly!) and the skirt is a good length, with a full lining. It was a great fit on my bust, torso and waist and my only criticism would be that the belt doesn’t quite work. I didn’t feel secure that it would stay in one place as the little elasticated bands were quite big for the buttons they looped round, plus it bunched and creased a little when I sat down – but that may be to do with my oddly shaped tummy! It’s easily fixed by using one of my many stretchy belts…

I accessorised this divine dotty creation with a little roll and a dark red hairband in my hair, my beloved Retro Peepers (http://www.retropeepers.com/#!peggy/ciaa) specs, a slick of Besame (http://besamecosmetics.eu) Dark Cherry lipstick, a little black shrug and of course, some Irregular Choice (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HpYgqcWpL._SX395_.jpg) shoes! The piece de resistance was my necklace – a birthday gift from Dr P – a tiny silver custard cream from Lily Charmed (http://www.lilycharmed.com):

custard cream charm

All in all, it was a lovely day, a lovely dress and a lovely meal.

It is with an ever expanding waistline I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only Chutney but I like it…

I’m back, I’m still preserving and this time it’s personal!

i have briefly, mentioned my love of preserves and it’s ability to brighten up my vegetarian sandwiches. I love the tangy, aromatic sludge and it’s contrast with the creamy, crumbly cheddar that is still my ‘go to’ cheese despite having tried many varieties.

I started making my own chutney a long time ago now and was impressed by how easy, how cheap and how consistent it was. I have had many culinary disasters in my time but never in the chutney arena.

One of my favourites is onion chutney – a great balance of sweet and sour, rich and glossy, it’s a real palate pleaser.

I used this recipe with a few adaptations when I made some chutney recently http://realfood.tesco.com/recipes/caramelised-onion-chutney.html .

I’m not supposed to have tasted it yet, but I couldn’t wait – it’s delicious!
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I’ve a craving for some spiced apple chutney – another favourite! So that may be my next project. Until then…

It is with a watering mouth I say:
It’s only Vintage but I like it!

It’s only Pickling but I like it…

This post may divide my readers. Some of you will running for the bathroom giving little dry heaves, some of you will be salivating…

It is strange when you live in another country the foodstuffs from home you miss. Odd things you never ate that often, but knew they were available. Things from childhood that you had forgotten made their way into your lunchbox. Condiments that were the tiny spoonful of deliciousness in an ordinary meal, somehow making it something special.

When living in the Middle East I could get most things I wanted in the large supermarkets there. The things I couldn’t find were Garibaldi biscuits (how can you not love a biscuit named after an Italian General?) and pickled eggs. Garibaldis I used to eat quite a lot in the UK, being low in fat but a surprisingly satisfying partner to a nice cuppa and a sit down. Pickled eggs… I don’t know that I’ve ever eaten them often. I’ve certainly never made my own.

Part of the vintage ethos that I love is making things yourself instead of buying them. In the past I’ve made my own chutney, ketchup and of course, cakes and biscuits. Pickling is new to me.

I had a little google on how to pickle eggs and found this recipe on a Jamie Oliver forum (http://www.jamieoliver.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=75995 ).

Today I hard boiled my eggs, sterilised my jar (10mins in a 140c oven) and chopped up half a scotch bonnet chilli. I popped it all in a jar with some white vinegar and I can’t help but think it resembles a culinary snow globe. Really rather festive wouldn’t you say?

egg

The proof will be in the tasting, which can only happen in 2 weeks time when the vinegar and chilli have worked their magic on the eggs. This may be the daftest thing I have ever made given that I don’t have a high tolerance of chilli. If all else fails Dr P will eat them… I hope!

It is with bated breath I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!