What was that wine called again……?

Aha!  You need an app and I have just the one!
For years I would drink a bottle of wine (usually whatever was on offer) and think ‘Ooh – that was really nice.  Must remember that one for next time’.  Of course, next time came and I would be patrolling the wine aisle of Waitrose looking for it.  Then it would strike me that I actually got it in Tesco.  Or was it Sainsbury’s?  Maybe even the garage on the late night wine run….
Then with the arrival of an iPhone came the world of apps.  And in my newbie enthusiasm I, of course, searched ‘wine’.  The app I found is called Memorable WInes and basically you can photograph and record a wine you like – grape, year, price etc. plus your own notes (i.e. got it at  Tesco!).
It’s not flashy or anything, but works really well and is perfect for what I need it for which is wandering up and down the booze aisles trying to match up the label and wine.  Here are a few pics to whet your appetites…you may know of other/better ones but I’m sticking with this one for now.

Rice Krispie Chicken

This is a recipe from Lisa Faulkner’s book: Recipes from my Mother for my Daughter.  It is basically home-made chicken nuggets, but more exciting and can be done with the help of little people (children, not elves).  Quick and healthy to make, they went down a treat, although my kids were slightly miffed that there was no snap, crackle and pop!

However, the second time I made them a few rogue coco pops had wriggled into the rice krispies so we had a little bit of fusion food…..chicken and chocolate.  Reaction was mixed from ‘Hey!  There’s a coco pop!’ to this face…..

All you need to do is dip strips of chicken in mayonnaise and then into crushed rice krispies and bake at 180ºC for about 20 minutes.  For the exact recipe, please consult Lisa Faulkner’s book (which I hope you all have – it is very good).

I was going to post a photo but we ate them all before I remembered……next time!

I’m a Finalist!

Well, knock me down with a cheese string, I made it to the final 8 in the Tasty! category of the Britmums blogging awards (#bibs)!

How the hell did that happen?

As you can imagine I am chuffed to bits and have been tweeting my delight and then…..wait for it….I GOT A DIRECT MESSAGE FROM NIGELLA LAWSON CONGRATULATING ME!! (sorry for the cyber-shouting, but how exciting is that??!!)  Look…

One word speaks volumes..

Now, to celebrate I might just have to fire up the kitchenaid and get baking!  I am sure my son would appreciate a ‘didn’t Mummy do well chocolate cake’ and I did buy myself a new cake plate and server last week.  I know…but I needed them!  I was slightly irked it was a Kirstie Allsopp cake-server, but hey – it’s candy striped and pretty! Whatever I cook, it’s got to be Nigella and I’m going to blog about it!

M&S, if you’re interested….

*allows self one last burst of self-adulation* YAHOO!

Sausage Rolls

WHY have I never made these before??  They are so scrummy and, as ever, easy to make!

Here’s what to do…
Finely chop 2 shallots, 2 large cloves of garlic and 2 sage leaves and saute in about 20g of butter.  Then in a bowl mix it in with 450g of sausagemeat and thyme leaves (from about 4 sprigs).  I cheated on the pastry and used pre-rolled puff pastry.  Cut the pastry sheet into two rectangles and arrange the sausagemeat mixture in two long sausages down the middle of each.  Then gently pull the pastry over the meat and sealed with egg wash.  Cut each one into 6 pieces and lay on a baking tray, seam side down.  Brush again with egg wash and bake at 180ºC for about half an hour.  Then wait for them to cool a little before scoffing the lot (or offer them to other people too if you are of a kindly disposition).

On my ‘Net Diary’ app I have worked out that it is 134 calories per sausage roll if you use the jus-rol light puff pastry sheet.  Just in case you’re counting….!

My Top 5 Kitchen Gadgets

Ever grateful for some help and gadgetry in the kitchen I was inspired to share with you my top 5 kitchen favourites.

1.  Kitchenaid

I hummed and haahed about getting this, trying to convince myself it was far too much money (and SO much cheaper in the states!) but eventually I succumbed and I am SOOO glad I did as culinarily* speaking I could not live without it.  Besides looking beautiful, it mixes, kneads and whisks with elegance and gusto.  I went for the basic model, not the artisan as the old bank balance couldn’t quite go the extra £s but it is still absolutely brilliant.  Love, love it, love it.

*Not sure this is actually a word, but it should be.

2.  Silicone pastry brush

Funky, tactile and no more hairs to pick out!

3.  Bake-O-Glide

This stuff is marvellous and another thing introduced to me by the domestic goddess herself (alas, not personally).  It is basically a sheet of non-stick.  You can bake on it, line cake tins (there are ‘specially cut templates you can buy), dishwash it, use it over and over again.  No more cutting out bit of curling greaseproof paper or scrubbing oven trays!

4.  Salter Electronic Scales

These are light, accurate and slip nicely into the drawer!  You can keep resetting to zero as you add ingredients which is brilliant and means you don’t have to keep measuring things in different pots.  Mine are battered, spilled on and quite old but still on their first set of batteries and working as well as ever.

5.  Cath Kidston Apron

Now, I am a huge Cath Kidston fan anyway and it really doesn’t matter what kind of apron you have but  I like to feel kitschy whilst I cook!  And you may think an apron is by the bye, but I really use mine!  It protects my clothing, has large stuffable pockets for cloths, spatulas and even the odd egg shell.  It also serves as an oven glove from time to time.  And there’s something comforting about wearing an apron, a bit like wearing your dressing gown.  Is that just me?  Ahem…Taxi!