Thursday, 30 July 2015

Flamiche, and a pastry fail!

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If you live in the UK you will know that last Sunday British summer time went on holiday, and it was the most miserable, rainy day we've seen in a while. Not wanting to leave the house, James and I decided we would go on a culinary adventure instead and leafed through all of our cookbooks to find something to make.

Originally we decided to go for something pastry based as we wanted to try out the gluten free pastry mix Coori sent me, so after I ended up nominated to go get the ingredients in the rain, we decided to make this Flamiche from Paul Hollywood's How to Bake. Now I have watched a lot of episodes of the Great British Bake Off and so it really should not have come as a surprise that pastry is really difficult. But pastry is really difficult you guys! I don't know what went wrong but what we ended up with was completely inedible. It was just sticky, gloopy, bread-y and as unpastry like as you can get.

Wanting to save our dinner I made another dash to the shops and came back with some ready made shortcrust pastry instead, and while this might not be totally home made, it tasted pretty epic, and was actually pretty easy to make if you ignore the several hours spent trying and failing to make pastry!

Ingredients

One pack of ready made shortcrust pastry
4 egg yolks
300ml double cream
400g leeks
grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
strong soft cheese such as Camembert or brie

Saute the leeks for about 10 minutes until they are soft and just turning brown, then mix together the egg yolks, cream, nutmeg and salt and pepper in a bowl.

Grease your pie dish (or brownie tin if you are me!) and line it with pastry. Then add the leeks on the bottom and cover with the cream filling. Add slices of cheese on top. If you are Paul Hollywood you would then blind bake the pastry, but I don't have patience for such things so I just baked it in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the filling has just set.

Paul recommends serving it warm with a salad and a glass of Chablis. I had it cold with vegetables and a gin and tonic. So there Paul. Stop telling me what to do!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Made.com order

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I ordered a couple of things from Made recently, which arrived last week. The lamp was on express delivery, and in the sale (yay!) and the bench I ordered back in June. You pretty much accept when you order from Made that unless it is on express delivery, it could turn up any time, so I haven't ever ordered anything I really needed, like a sofa or a bed from there, it tends to be bits and bobs.

The Casper Bench is in a difficult to photograph spot that is quite dark, so forgive the not amazing quality photos. It provides a much needed dumping ground for bags and shoes when we get in from work (previously a heap on the floor), and will also work for extra table/seating space when we have people over. It feels really solidly made, and didn't involve any assembly, which was a big plus, but it came with sooo much packaging, we've been having to slowly get it all in the bin over a number of weeks!

The Cohen double lamp looks like it is sold out now, but you can still get the single Cohen Floor Lamp one. This didn't seem quite so well made as it took a bit of jiggling about with the lightbulbs to get them to work, and initially when we didn't have energy saving ones in there the lamp would get really hot and then start to flicker. Using LED bulbs seems to have solved the problem though, but I was initially a bit worried we'd have to send it back. Because the living room is quite dark, we often have lights on in the day, and I like having just a couple of lamps on instead of always the overhead light or nothing. It feels much more cosy!

Generally though I have been pretty happy with all my orders. I feel like I am slowly getting the living room to look how I want it to. I still need to. I am still contemplating a second sofa/loveseat to act as a sort of room divider, and I need to get the study half of the room sorted, with some shelving, and maybe a second rug, but it is getting there.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

A picture of the week

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I picked up a trio of new beauty bits recently. From left to right - a new waterproof eye-makeup remover from Mac - my stalwart for removing hardcore liquid eyeliner, Rimmel's Wake Me Up Foundation (I like but the colour isn't quite right), and The Body Shop Argan Oil handcream - smells so good!

I feel like I've done a lot of shopping recently. No big hauls but a lot of little trips which have ended up in quite a few new things. I ordered a few things for the house online as well, over a few months but they all arrived last week and my living room is now full of cardboard boxes! It's a good thing it's payday next week then...

Other than that not much to report. I went to dinner with my friends Rosie and Kat last night, and given they don't live in London their one requirement was 'somewhere we don't have to queue to get a table!' I can't help but agree this obsession with not taking bookings which seems to be everywhere in London drives me nuts. I just want to turn up and sit down and eat, not stand in a queue for an hour to get a table! After scratching my head for a bit for somewhere that wasn't Pizza Express (nothing against it, just didn't fancy it this time around!) I remembered Kazan, which is an old favourite we've not been too in ages. Perfect!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Instagram Lately

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A few instagram photos from the last three months or so. Follow me over @whereisharriet for slightly more regular updates!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Whistles Sales Bargain

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dress - whistles, belt - vintage, shoes - m&s

I am back with a post after a couple of weeks off. James had an operation and has been recuperating at home this week, and I handed in my notice at work (eep!) so it's been pretty eventful! Between those two things and a lot of long hours, I didn't exactly do anything blogworthy, or even get off the sofa much when I did have some down time.

I'm on a long notice period so I will be sticking around my current workplace for a while yet, but it's exciting to be getting ready to move on somewhere new.

I spent Saturday mooching around Selfridges with my mum, which was the perfect pick me up. We both had vouchers to spend, so it was a good excuse, and we went to Comptoir Libanais for lunch (the prosecco cocktails are perfection!) and chatted and put the world to rights.

I spent my voucher on a vase, which I am sure I will photograph soon, but I also ended up purchasing this dress in the sales from Whistles for £33. I am not usually much of a Whistles fan, I find their clothes a bit expensive for what they are, and the materials are often super delicate which means I wear them once and they need dry cleaning already. This dress feels quite sturdy however, and lurking on the 70% off rail, how could I pass it up? Now to find some hot summer sun to pair it with!


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Lazy Sunday Links

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1. A folksy home in San Fran 2. Amazing wallpaper inspiration 3. Advice on hanging a gallery wall 4. I love this whole collection 5. You had me at 'gin' 6. I can never get enough of ballet photos 

Today is my mum's sixtieth birthday, Happy Birthday Mum! My boss asked me last week if we were throwing a party for her and I said 'um, I think she is throwing a party for herself!' None of the rest of my family are super into parties. I much prefer a smaller gathering of just close friends and family to a massive blow out, but my mum is the opposite. So I think she knew if she wanted a party she was going to have to organise it herself!

So we spent last night in my parents' garden with about eighty people (thank goodness the weather was good - I don't think they would have fitted in my parents' house!), which was lovely. So many people I have known all my life. The best thing though was when we had enough we just tootled off home, and left everyone else to it!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Food Lately

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Here are a few of the meals I've been making recently from the Coori subscription box.

Par baked gluten free baguettes with Camembert, salad and a goats cheese and red pepper tapanade; delicious stuffed pasta with red pesto and fried halloumi; cheese and onion pie with roast courgette and sweet potato chips; These really delicious brown bag crisps; Baked salmon with a gluten free breadcrumb and Italian herb crust, with asparagus and roast Mediterranean vegetables.

It's been really easy to fit things from the delivery box into our everyday cooking, and two weeks in we still have absolutely mountains of food left. Everything has tasted really good too. I was a bit concerned about some of the bread ad pastry etc, as I've never been a huge fan of gluten free bread when I've tried it before, but it was really good.

I think maybe having the bread warm fresh from the oven helped, as I really couldn't taste a difference from regular bread. All in all some very successful, delicious and easy meals. I'm sure I'll have even more to post in a few weeks!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

A picture of the week

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Whew, what a week! Work has been incredibly busy and stressful, and it doesn't look like it is going to let up anytime soon. This weekend could not come soon enough!

I am feeling surprisingly chipper today though, a proper restful weekend of pottering about the house and seeing Reda for lunch has gone a long way to putting me back to rights. The print above is by my friend Jess, who had her degree show this week. We helped crowdfund the show and got one of her prints in return, which I just love! It's been tricky finding an A5 photo frame to fit it though, but finally sourced one on amazon last week.

I really need to reorganise my mantlepiece, it's gone from cute-and-quirky-full-of-stuff, to just a dump zone, so please ignore all the other bits and bobs all over it!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Coori Monthly Box Review: First Impressions

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It's been ages since I've shared any food here on Where Is Harriet, and the main reason for that is I have been in a bit of a cooking rut. Long days at work and a lack of inspiration has meant I've really just been digging the same old thing out of the freezer, and not thinking too much about what exactly I'm eating.

I was offered the opportunity to try a monthly food box from Coori, which is a 'free from' monthly food delivery service, and although I am lucky enough to have no food intolerances, I do have a lot of friends who do have various allergies. A combination of wanting some ideas for food to cook for them, and just wanting to cook something a bit different for myself and James meant I was up for the challenge of giving it a go!

This is a first impressions post, and I will talk in detail about the food once I've had a bit more chance to try it out. Firstly here is what was in the box, in its entirety!

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This is the monthly box, which costs £75.50, and as you can see there is a lot in it! Mine was delivered to my neighbour as I was out at the time and I could barely lift it to carry it home! It's mostly dry staples like pasta and rice and bread mixes, which makes sense given its got to come through the post. They also do a smaller weekly box with twelve items. 

I know that free from stuff is usually pretty expensive, so I think this is probably pretty good value, and will definitely keep us going for at least a month. The only thing I was a little disappointed about was that the suggested recipes which came with the box didn't necessarily match up very well with the items I was sent. I had initially thought you would get all the ingredients to cook the recipes, but instead the recipes felt pretty separate, as you'd obviously have to buy all the fresh ingredients separately, and the Coori ingredients they did contain didn't even really match up to what the recipes needed.

I don't think that matters too much, as there were so many store cupboard staples in the box I can see myself easily working most of them into my everyday cooking. Stay tuned for another week or two to see what I have ended up making with everything!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Lazy Sunday Links

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1. The animals are moving in! 2. Love this house 3. It's summer lets make ice lollies 4. healthy food bowls 5. salads 6. and pretend we live in Paris

I feel like this weekend has been a bit of a waste. I was supposed to have a bathroom fitter come over on Saturday morning to give us a quote, but he never showed, and then I was due to go to a barbecue with friends but came over really light headed and headachey, and so ended up cancelling. Womp womp.

Instead I spent most of Saturday laid out on the sofa scratching a cat between the ears and watching The Queen of Versailles on netflix. When I watched it I had no idea that the eldest daughter had recently died of a suspected drug overdose. It just seemed like such a sad family, who just didn't quite get what reality and normal life is for most people. It was originally due to be a documentary about the Siegel family building the largest house in America, modelled on the Palace of Versailles, but when the 2008 recession hits you see them lose their access to borrowed money which kept them and their timeshare business afloat. Overall I felt sorry for them, but most sorry for all the Siegels' employees let go during the film.

Anyway, here's hoping today will be a little more productive!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Vintage Finds



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James and I went to Oxford this weekend for his uncle's 60th birthday, and while we were there his parents mentioned a new little antiques/vintage shop had opened up only a few minutes walk from their house. This is enough to make my ears prick up, but James' dad is not one to pay over the odds for anything, so when he said it was very reasonably priced I knew I needed to get down there sharpish!

The ship is Gilt and Grain and if you are ever in Oxford I highly recommend a trip out to Cowley to visit. It's not a massive shop but its got a lot of lovely bits and bobs crammed in it, and it is both decent quality and cheap. Some large pieces of furniture, loads of mirrors and pictures and a lot of little pottery and knick knacks. I could easily have come away with a lot more than I did (I'll be back litle shop, don't you worry!) but I picked up this little seascape for £7.50, and the little ceramic dish I am going to use as a candle stand for £1.50. Not a bad little haul for under £10.


They also had a load of terracotta flower pots and a few other framed pictures that caught my eye. Apparently the stock turns over pretty much every few weeks so it is probably buy now or regret later.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

A Trip to Margate

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Through a slightly random set of circumstances both James and I ended up having a couple of days off at the start of the week, and rather than spend them at home probably playing computer games and tidying the house (both enjoyable activities to be fair!) we ended up taking a little impromtu trip to the seaside.

We ended up in Margate because I've wanted to go for ages, the Turner Contemporary art museum is there, and I read Take Courage's guide to vintage shops in Margate and that really sealed the deal.

We stayed overnight from Sunday to Monday, at the Crescent Victoria hotel which was lovely. Beautifully decorated, comfy beds and a great breakfast. 24 hours is probably enough to see everything there is to see in Margate at a sedate pace. I think any longer and you'd want to explore the surrounding towns and maybe take a bike and see the coastline.

It's a traditional seaside town, a mix of really run down areas abandoned when the British seaside resorts fell out of fashion, and cute little independent shops and galleries, who have taken advantage of the cheap rents and sprung up throughout the old town.

For eating and drinking we had an epic lunch at the Great British Pizza Company, and then afternoon drinks at the Lighthouse bar, right at the tip of the pier. We visited all the little shops, including my favourite Paraphernalia, and the Danish Collectibles which had some gorgeous furniture. The urge to run away to the seaside and open an antiques shop is strong!

We also saw the Grayson Perry exhibition at the Turner Contemporary museum, as well as popping into the Margate Museum and the Shell Grotto (very cool!).

If you are looking for a nice little seaside town to spend a day in I would definitely recommend Margate. Excitingly the long closed down Dreamland - one of the oldest amusement parks in the UK is getting a new lease of life and reopening in just a few weeks, so hopefully that will help continue to regenerate the town and bring more visitors to the area.