Wednesday, 27 August 2014

S is for September

Another month is nearly through.

So we've come to the time to post September's activities.

And if the first celebration is puzzling you, then all will be revealed in a couple of days!

What else have you got planned?

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3

Anna Maria Russell's Birthday

4 5 6
7 8

UK National Mushroom Day

9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 19 19 20

British Food Fortnight


21 22 23 24 25 26

World's Biggest Coffee Morning
27
28 29

International Coffee Day


30

Sunday, 24 August 2014

W is for Waffles

When I noted that today is Waffle Day, I baulked.  I have quite a large number of gadgets in my kitchen as I have the space and I like them (like father, like daughter).

But I wasn't going to buy a waffle machine.  Years ago my parents used to own a toastie maker which would churn out grilled cheese sandwiches on a Sunday for tea.  They were amazing (apart from burning the top of your mouth every time), but the machine cleaning post cheese heaven was not so fun.  You had to clean it while it was still warm so the melted fat didn't set but not too hot to burn fingers.  It was a right pain!

And waffle machines are in the same camp as far as I'm concerned.  Great if someone else owns one, but one's not going to live a rancid life in my cupboards.  Especially since I came across the recipe for one that could be made in a griddle pan!

Half an hour later and I'm having to use the picture from Jamie Oliver's site as the waffle smelled so good as it came out the pan and was inhaled so quickly, there wasn't anything left to photograph.


Gather:
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 300 mls (whole) milk
  • 225 gms self raising flour
  • 2 teaspns baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100 gms butter, melted and allowed to cool
  • Extra butter to grease the pan

Then...
  1. Whisk the eggs and the milk together
  2. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt
  3. Once combined, add in the 100 gms melted butter and gently fold it in
  4. Do not whisk any more or else you'll have stodgy waffles
  5. Put the pan on a high heat and grease it with the extra butter
  6. Pour in the batter and swirl it around gently until it's covered the pan base
  7. Turn down the heat to allow the mixture to start to set without burning on the bottom
  8. Cook for 6 mins until it's golden brown on the bottom
  9. Flip the waffle on the other side and cook for a further 6 mins or so*
  10. Flip the waffle again and cook for another min or so and then back onto the other side for another min
  11. Serve with your desired topping of bacon/maple syrup/eggs or berries/crème fraîche

* We flipped it onto a plate and slide it back in to the pan the other way up.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

H is for Hawaii

Regular readers of my posts know I don't need much of an excuse for a celebration. That's mostly because I like mixing it up and having different types of evenings.

It's also because while lots of people come around for food, my guests typically include a core cohort of family members. The regularity of their attendance means I want to keep them surprised...and that's easier through themes.

I also firmly believe that an evening is made up of so much more than food.  Having quirky decorations that work with the food and spark conversations also help an evening along.  You don't just go to restaurant for food and for someone else to do the washing up.

This weekend is no exception to the above and sees me shift the celebration of Hawaii Day from 21st August a couple of days back to the 23rd and a Saturday evening for a film night.  The choice of film is going to divide the guests as I'm asking them to choose between From Here to Eternity and Runaway Bride.

And what connects these two...well both incorporate my Hawaii Luau themed food and decorations.  Didn't see that coming, did you!?!  Well you probably did...

So here's the idea board behind my party.


So I've raided Amazon for cheap rattan screens, tacky plastic flower leis, half coconut shells, cocktail umbrellas and paper lanterns.  Tesco/Supermarkets do some great orchid plants which can jazz up the table before spending the rest of their days in the bathroom...they love the humidity of that room.

We actually already have the shirts and flip flops from a pool party a number of years ago.

And the Tiki totem poles are just clip art that I will print off and stick to tall glass handle holders.

And for a menu, I've gone for one featured on Sunset.


Everything's being served as a buffet so people can watch and eat, or eat and chat.  Whatever suits them most.  And here are the food cards I'm using for the buffet, which can be downloaded here and then printed off.


Now where's that Beach Boys' CD...

Sunday, 10 August 2014

L is for Left-Handers' Day

My brother is left handed which puts him in a group that makes up only 10 to 12% of the population.

But when we were kids, I never realized what a struggle he had with every day objects.  Fortunately my parents were not the type to make him use his right hand, but everyday objects are not so forgiving so things like pens, scissors and even tin-openers were a daily challenge.

But having come across the website Anything Left Handed a while ago, his next few presents may see some items work their way into the packages that work for him properly...although after all these years, he may have more difficulty using these left handed design ones than the regular ones at home!

His first present will be a bit of a surprise as am sure he doesn't know that there's a Left-Handers' Day, let alone that it's on 13 August.


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

B is for Book Lover's Day

This Sunday (10 August) is a day I can designate to celebrate two of my main passions: books and food.

Throughout literature, many memorable moments have been marked with meals.

And this book looks to bring to life the food hidden in pages.  It's called Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature's Most Memorable Meals and is written by Dinah Fried.

It's beautiful.  If you do buy a copy, please buy the hardback version. And this is not one for the Kindle.


One of my most memorable meals was detailed in Heidi by Johanna Spyri and features the toasted cheese & bread that the eponymous girl was fed when she spent her first night with her grandfather--cheese that was so golden from its time on the fork near the fire that it was as soft as butter.

And it's faithfully recreated in the book.


As are a number of other meals from many of my favourite reads...


For me, it's something to relax over and the perfect way to spend Book Lover's Day.  But if you need more prompting, check out the book's website before you buy.