Recipe book roulette, week 1 – 10

I don’t, generally, do New Year’s Resolutions.

I think I went for about a decade of saying ‘to quit smoking’ every time I was asked during that first day back at school/work conversation people always have. But people soon sussed I was cheating/not taking it seriously as I don’t smoke anyway.

But like usual, I digress.

My point is this year is different, and I have made a slightly different resolution to go with it. The plan is to cook a new meal from one of our recipe books every week.

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And so far, we’ve loved it.

We both enjoy cooking so have been taking it (mostly) in turns. And we’ve both served up highlights for me – my personal one being tackling, triumphantly, a crab soufflé.

While my partner’s plates of Jamie Oliver’s super squid, feta and (veggie) chorizo with mint cous cous make me smile just thinking of them. Mostly because it was delicious and just minutes after his elaborate marriage proposal was revealed.. but I might have to come to the latter another day.

Time for food..

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^ The aforementioned cous cous dish.

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^ A close up of the crab and ketchup souffle from One by Florence Knight

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We are trying to score them as we go, more to keep track than anything, which can be seen HERE on my Instagram.

I strongly recommend it, we just try to plan ahead – pimp the shopping list – and make it on a weekend so we have more time (usually for the washing up).

Maybe I should have started making resolutions a while ago?…

Wrapping up 2015 with a big bow

There is something almost ironic about not having the time to take stock.

Even when I do try, it always seems to turn into a ‘to do’ list making exercise.
What I’ve done being met by, then clouded over by, what I haven’t – yet.

credit Peppercorn Photography

credit Peppercorn Photography

Being busy is something we can all relate to. It is just the reasons vary person to person.
Lately I’ve been learning a lot, including that I didn’t really know what ‘busy’ was.
Aren’t the lessons which come with owning your own house are numerous and broad?

Anyway, rather than talking about rewiring, textured wallpaper and weeds (you can find more than enough of that in my weekly columns) I thought I would take the chance to look at the shiner side of life – quite literally – and do a must overdue update for my magazine section.

June (I know, I know) is a tough month to pick a favourite article from, namely because it is the month of our food special.
I really enjoyed getting to know the Hastings-based Baked by the Sea girls who offer cream teas by post, and meeting the mastermind behind the wasabi vodka and watercress gin of Winchester’s Twisted Nose.

It’s a tough job isn’t it?

credit Peppercorn Photography

credit Peppercorn Photography

Then there was the beautiful fashion of Shoreham’s Sula, beer making in Brighton, spending time at Caroline’s Dairy’s ice-cream empire and being inspired by the hyper-real artistry of Janine Shute.

In the end, I went with the one I find myself talking about the most – partly for its quirkiness and partly because spirits are having a great time of it at the moment.

So for more of my chat with Paul Bowler, founder of Twisted Nose, and his work to offer a tipple with ‘a real home, real roots, local flavour and a local story’ see HERE.

July was a slightly easier task as I fell head over heels for Christmas Cottage in Hampshire. I mean just look at it ..

Picture: Fox & Sons

Picture: Fox & Sons

Fox & Sons

Fox & Sons

And the amazing interior remodel was inspired by a pub.

AND the owner was really lovely and offered me a game of boules next time I was local.

It was just the full package, as you can find out HERE.

Pic: Mi Elfverson

Pic: Mi Elfverson

Pole dancing, arts festivals and illustrator Lauren Child made sure August was far from dull.

But as someone who spends far too long at their desk, a chance to get out into the countryside made for an extra special piece.

The story was about Walk&Talk4Success, which does what it says on the tin really offering business mentoring and support but on the move.

I met the group at Wakehurst Place and spent a lovely walk sharing ideas and solutions.. it was simply brilliant.

If I am being honest September was a two horse race for the title of ‘favourite’, in the running is Amanda Saurin and her amazing company As. Apothcary  who opened my eyes to natural beauty – in the best sense.

Then there’s The Future Kept which isn’t given justice by the description ‘online lifestyle stop’.
I pretty much want to own everything it sells and live in the photos on the website.

The Future Kept JPEE JPE6 Hastings Sept15

The Future Kept

The Future Kept

The Future Kept

See what I mean?

But, seeing as my list has some home but no skincare, As.Apothecary has to be the victor. And, in a job where I get to meet some amazing people, because I openly admit if I had to work anywhere else it would be for Amanda.

AS.Apothecary

AS.Apothecary

Something arty would have to sneak in my list somewhere, and for October and November I was lucky enough to have my two passions come together – seeing me write about amazing creative people.
Kate Sherman captures time passing through the laborious medium of painting – a contrast I just really, really, like…

Kate Sherman

Kate Sherman

Kate Sherman

Kate Sherman

John Napier might be a name you don’t know, but chances are you’ll know his work.
He’s created sets for the likes of Les Misérables, Cats and Starlight Express. The helicopter in Miss Saigon? Also his.
Not bad for someone who admitted to me for November’s magazine, that he once believed theatre design ‘was about drawing rooms, choosing the colour of the sofa – I thought that was pretty much it’.

John Napier. Picture: Julian Napier

John Napier. Picture: Julian Napier

For someone who edited an annual food special this year.. (me).. I feel like we could do with something edible on the list. For December this is a choice between Kyoto Kitchen, a Winchester restaurant giving its own twist to Japanese cuisine, or the Sussex Food and Drink Awards Young Chef cook off – which was a mouthful in more ways than one.

It seems right to choose the one which made me think more about my cooking, and only one made me want to mousse a pumpkin. .

Stephanie's Pumpkin Starter

Sussex Young Chef Grand Finalists, Stephanie Haywood, Michael Sutherland & Ryan Tomkinson

Seems a good a place as any to end this post, and year.

Roll on the next one : )

2014 ~ The first third

Losing an hour is one thing.

The fact it is April tomorrow is quite another.

But leaving the “how the?” until later here’s a quick catchup.. also known as #lifelately I believe? Since the last time I was here.

February

At work, among other things, I was writing about the tasty toppers from Miss Cake that look a bit like this..

'Love, Love Me Do' Cake Topper £16.99

And the glorious illustrations, doodled shoes and paper worlds crafted by Sam Pierpoint.

JPET Feb14 Sam Pierpoint

Outside of work I went on a Turkish adventure with “the gang” – my parents, my sister and both of our boyfriends – and a lot of more mature people, in a bus, in the rain. Mostly taking pictures of cats on various monuments.. but I’ll blog about that later.

March

Choosing a stand out article this month took me all of NO seconds. I got to interview this bearded beauty well respected tailoring expert.

Debenhams Patrick Grant JPET Feb14

 

Meanwhile, on planet earth, my manfriend moved home! Cutting a long story short – we used to work in the same office but he’s has spent the last two years in Kent as a sports editor, which was a bit weird. And rubbish. And we spent too much time on motorways and too little time together. So WOO!

April

Is still a month of mysteries. But etc-magazine-wise it looks rather swish. And looks a bit like this..

Sarah Moore JPET Apr14

The Exbury Egg

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A sneaky peek at Stanley Spencer ~ Pallant House, Chichester

Without doubt one of the highlights of my job is getting to see things before other people.

I’m not quite Doctor Who, but with a magazine which works two months ahead of real time it can feel like it at times.

To sneak behind the barrier and see an exhibition that is still not quite finished is pretty special. The description plates sit on the floor leaning against the walls and the table is laid for the private view.

It feels sneaky. In a good way.

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Stanley Spencer, Heaven in a Hell of War runs from 15 February – 15 June 2014

Now I’ll be honest. I’d never heard of Stanley. My work at uni was slightly different – more Emin and Durchamp than murals with religious themes. I could probably blag it and not be honest but for me the joy of discovery would be lost then, and I’ve never been good at pretending to be more informed thank I am.

So, for those in the same camp, Sir Stanley Spencer (1891‐1959) is regarded as one of the most important painters of the 20th century. If you look at the image above, the top left has elements that could be seen as pop art…

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See? Now that is pretty cool. While the focus being on “behind the scenes” of war, a comforting side to the horror. Or making beds and breakfast in the war hospitals rather than the wounded I think is refreshing.

ippThe detail is insane and, thanks to the way it can be highly focused in one place and almost abstract in another, it leads the  viewer’s eye to every inch of the canvas.

Spencer is credited with taking the everyday and giving it a “Biblical grandeur” – personally I believe you can often see what you want to.  I learnt that from studying English Lit. But if you put your mind in the right frame and squint a bit I could buy into macintoshes becoming wings and arms spreading a duvet mimicking  the stance on the crucifix…

But mostly I just like the appreciate the staggering scale, vision and subject. I’ll also admit I enjoy the slightly wonky perspective because sometimes paintings can lose the character of the creator and just turn into painstaking photographs I think.

Pallant House has managed to secure sketches by Spencer, belonging to Chichester University, and his most famous large‐scale work from Sandham Memorial Chapel in Hampshire.

The result is a journey avid fans and newcomers can appreciate and it is another reason to tip your hat to this fantastic gallery.

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New things, old things and inbetween things.

Today is my last day of being 25. I’m not too sure how I feel about it.

I’m not too sure how I feel about much – not in a sad way, quite the opposite, in a whirlwind exciting way.

A modest picture of an extraordinary Dubai New Year

A modest picture of an extraordinary Dubai New Year

I’ve only been back in the country since Sunday – having spent two weeks in Dubai with the manfriend’s family. If it wasn’t for the calendar and paper hats you could have been forgiving for forgetting it was Christmas.

Factor 50 isn’t festive. But swimming in an outdoor pool on December 25 and not having any body parts freeze off is pretty awesome.

So yes. I’m back with a bump (or is that a splash?) to Britain, to rain, to unpacking clothes and packing up Christmas. And with a blink of an eye – which opens four hours earlier than it should due to my body clock wanting to stay abroad – it’s here.

I’ll be over the hump of mid 25’s, not over the hill because that’s too negative.

I see it more like entering the shady side, the side Simba and Mufasa would view with curious suspicion from the top of the nearest vantage point. It feels a bit rebellious entering and hopefully it won’t be hyenas laughing when I do.

This is a bit of a tidy up post I suppose. Boxing up 2013, putting a label on it and putting it in the loft for later. Making space for the new things if you will.

With this in mind I have (finally) updated Magazine 2013 over on the left there. It was needed.

So for August (I know, I know) and beyond we have…

 

Cantina's Secret Supper Club, Brighton.

Cantina’s Secret Supper Club, Brighton.

Interview with stage legend Ellen Kent

Interview with stage legend Ellen Kent

Factory Twenty One designer Chris Berry

Factory Twenty One designer Chris Berry

Tukal, a property to thrill

Tukal, a property to thrill

Bigger is best with Brighton's Mr Bake

Bigger is best with Brighton’s Mr Bake

Oh and then there is the new theme, quite swanky I believe.. but who knows what my 26 year-old-self will think.. I suppose I’ll find out in the morning.

Here’s to 2014!

Old-School Flavours ~ Coca Cola Cake

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One of my favourite things about being a member of Chichester’s Clandestine Cake Club is trying new things.
After the first meeting I had used up my reliable Victoria sponge so since then it’s been a tasty journey.
I am not sure about using fizzy drinks in baking, having made a pink lemonade cake  before, the texture is strange, almost like foam pillows.
But anyway, September’s theme was back to school, pear drops, penny sweets, coconut ice, grandma’s classics.. that sort of thing.
So I thought I would go for fizzy cola sweets and found the recipe here.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

250g self-raising flour
45ml (3 tbsp) cocoa powder
5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda
150g soft brown sugar
150g butter
200ml Diet Coke
150ml buttermilk
2 medium eggs
5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

For the frosting:

100g plain chocolate (70% cocoa), broken into pieces
45ml (3 tbsp) Diet Coke
45ml (3 tbsp) buttermilk

Simple enough, the only weird bit was melting the butter and adding the coke to the pan.

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DSCN4269Ever cooked cola?

Then you end up with three bowlfuls –

1. cocoa powder, bicarbonate and sugar.
2. melted butter and coke
3. buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract.

Not great for washing-up-phobes.

You mix 1 and 2 together before whisking in 3.

The recipe says 40 minutes, I baked mine in two rectangular tins and it didn’t take anywhere near as long.

I did it like that so I could do this…

 

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The frosting, made by melting the chocolate in pan with the coke over a gentle heat before removing and stirring in buttermilk, was key.

I’ll be honest without it the cake would have been a bit bland. The fizzy drinks is purely as an alternative raising agent I think. Don’t get me wrong the result is light and spongey, but I think I am a bigger fan of the more traditional.

It was a small gathering in September with two new members – who heard about the club via the cake and bake show in London – and just four cakes.

I quite like the smaller ones and not just because we take home more leftovers ; )

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The next club has an extra special twist, if you want to be a part of it please check out the details here.

 

 

Photographer Kos Evans on capturing James Bond.

The interview with Kos Evans is my pick of my features March’s etc Magazine…

Kos Evans went from taking pictures of sewage pipes to capturing James Bond. Laura Cartledge discovers her story.

Kos EvansEven reading Kos Evans’ biography is enough to wear you out.
An average day for the Midhurst-based photographer could include hanging out of a helicopter going 100mph in a harness or chasing powerboat world champions, all with a camera in hand.
“I know fear if I have the camera away from my face,” smiles Kos. “It can make you become immortal in some ways – you just focus on getting the picture.”
Going beyond the boundaries seems to be her signature style and arguably has helped Kos become an award-winning action sports photographer, regarded among the best in the world.
“It’s not by design – it is about going where the eye hasn’t been before,” she says. “Finding a new way of looking at it.”
Always on a quest for a fresh perspective has seen Kos search high and low – quite literally.
One memorable occasion was at the America’s Cup; a yacht sailing competition believed to be the oldest trophy in sport.
“They suggested, as a joke, that I should go up the mast of one of the yachts,” explains Kos. “I thought it was a great idea but got stuck halfway up.”
The Armada/ Elenora in the harbour of St.TropezJPET March13 Kos EvansHowever, this didn’t put her off, having got to the top and captured her shot the birds-eye angle has become one of her most distinctive. Now Kos has scaled some of the tallest yachts in the world, including the mind-boggling 208ft high mast of the super yacht Maltese Falcon.
To the other extreme Kos is no stranger to underwater photography, with one particular experience serving up more than a dramatic shot.
“I was working for Rolex and was six metres below the surface holding on to the anchor of one of the buoys used as a racing mark,” she explains. “But, as the first racing yacht came past it sucked the buoy towards its keel with me still attached.”
Thankfully Kos managed to pull herself away from the yacht just in time and also got the picture which went on to be used in a worldwide advertising campaign.
It sounds like something out of a movie, and as it happens Kos has worked on those too.
“Bond was very exciting,” she grins. “We worked on The World Is Not Enough.”
Kos was contacted by Eon Productions to see if she could provide a high speed chase boat down the River Thames.
“It meant having a £500,000 camera mounted on the boat,” she adds. “We had an explosive expert with us and foam floating on the water with two pounds of Semtex underneath. They were meant to go Kos Evansoff after the baddy has gone past and before us – but the timing was wrong. We were unbelievably lucky it could have blown the front of the boat off.”
The iconic opening sequence lasts only six minutes on screen but took a staggering six months to film, something which wasn’t helped by a request from parliament.
“We all had radio headsets and were told to stand down as parliament needed to have lunch and the noise from us was disturbing them,” laughs Kos. “There were loads of us just standing around for two hours.”
Despite her amazing experiences Kos regards it as “just another day in the office”. But with that office ranging from the war zones of Bosnia to clinging to a speedboat being driven by James Kos EvansCracknell at 80mph, it is clearly far from ordinary.
Kos has certainly come a long way since she was given her first camera by her father and grandmother, but her unconventional style was apparent from early on.
“On holidays I wasn’t taking pictures of the family but silhouetted sewage pipes and weird things like that,” she says. “I loved the sculptural shapes.”
Later she went on to study at the London College of Printing and honed her art in the black and white darkrooms at the Observer.
“I’ve been shooting for 30 years now,” she smiles. “I used to have bikes outside my house waiting for images but now I can send things across the world via the internet. I’m working on a new book and a new art project and hope to have an exhibition towards the end of the year.”
Walking on Water is Kos’ latest book and is packed with spectacular marine images.
The book is available from Bloomsbury (www.bloomsbury.com) for £30.
Funny fact: Kos’ previous book, 20×20, weighed ten kilos, has a carbon fibre cover and measured a metre wide.

~Originally published in etc Magazine, March 2013~