Laughing at my own jokes + picnic tips and tricks

Laughing at my own jokes + picnic tips and tricks

I’ve just finished watching our latest vid on tips and tricks for picnics. And I’ve got to be honest, it made me laugh. Tragic, I know, to be laughing at your own jokes, but no-one gets my jokes as much as me. I cannot tell you how many hours I’ve spent re-reading the blog, laughing at jokes I’d forgotten I’d made, thinking “Yes! She really gets it!” And then remembering the reason I get it, and know exactly what I’m thinking is that I’m me, so privvy to all my thoughts. Despite not being privvy to all my thoughts, I even think Lucy can be quite funny sometimes. Anyway. Enough self-congratulation. (Yes, that entire paragraph was just self-congratulation, it wasn’t leading anywhere). And on to picnics. It’s June and already 30% of our meals are eaten outside. Picnics used to be checkered rugs, chilled white wine and a variety of antipasti. It was a chance to enjoy the sunshine. Now it’s a chance to avoid crumbs on the floor and minimising washing up. To make sure no picnic opportunity is lost, we’ve got our five top tips. They’re good. They’re very good. No picnic is complete without them. You know that great picnic you had last week? It would have been better if you’d followed our tips. Honest.  Because I’m at work I can’t really write them all out for your delectation, so I urge you to go to our YouTube channel and check them out (unless you too are at work, and then wait til later). Inspirational. Really....
Cherry, cherry baby

Cherry, cherry baby

Cherry stoner. What a lovely phrase. Is it a) a medieval fruit-propelling catapult? b) someone who gets high on cherries? or c) a gadget that no kitchen should be with out? The answer is c, although b sounds like fun too!   Stay with me…. I am a gadget lover, but I am also a ruthless thrower outer, a decluttering Queen. No gizmo that doesn’t pass the muster lasts long in my kitchen drawers. But this stoner – which takes the stones out of your cherries quickly and perfectly is extremely handy if you have a lot of cherries to get through, for  baking a cherry pie or clafoutis, say, and don’t fancy cracking any teeth on errant stones.   I have a cherry tree and so bought my cherry stoner when I was fed up of massacring beautiful fresh cherries, when cutting them in half to de-stone them. It takes about 3 seconds per cherry and if you get the angle right, removes the cherry‘s stone with almost surgical precision.  I know you can only use it for about one week of the year, but Nigella swears by hers, they only cost abut £2 and take up no room at all. If you want to see one in action took a look here at this film we made for our YouTube channel. It is part of a new series, dubbed tired and tested – testing gadgets so you don’t have to. Night night. xx  ...
Fridge Love

Fridge Love

We have a new fridge. I know…. Stop the clock. Our old one broke and the household is now abuzz with the delights of the new model. It has a magnetic door! A chilled water dispenser! An ice maker! I am not sure how we lived without these things before. But most importantly it is much bigger than the old fridge, which was bought when we had little babies who didn’t eat that much. We now have a permanently hungry 8-year-old and a 6-year old who is not far behind (Some times I wonder if they have worms.) and found the old fridge was just too small for a family of four. Everything was stuffed in higgledypiggeldy, it was like a cave because the light was blocked out and you practically had to send search parties in to find a packet of bacon. I really wanted to buy one of these French antique ones, but didn’t because they cost thousands and regardless, it wouldn’t have fitted the rather odd-sized gap the old fridge left. So I got one of these instead. It is quite square, very shiny and capable-looking. An Alan Titchmarsh of a fridge. The old fridge stopped chilling things. So ended up just being a bit like a cupboard, that dripped water and smelt REALLY bad. Nothing was salvageable and I had to throw out the entire contents. Not just the mouldy lettuces and liquefied tomatoes lurking at the bottom, but all the jars of chutney, pesto and lime pickle that we had accumulated over the last few years. There were hundreds of them. Perhaps they were breeding.  Decluttering...
Kit: baby colander

Kit: baby colander

This is one of those bits of kits which may not change your life. In fact, I’d go so far as to say this mini-colander will definitely not change your life. There, I’ve said it. BUT I think it’s a great way to spend a fiver. It’s cute, comes in lots of different colours and gives the illusion, at least, that you are in control of your kitchen/life. Tbh, that’s the most I can hope for.I came across this particular one in my mum’s kitchen this morning. It’s difficult to tell from the picture but the colander is about 15cm diameter, perfect for giving berries and veg a bit of a swish. At first I thought it was a kid’s colander from a mini-kitchen, but actually my mum bought it back from the US from one of her many trips abroad and it’s definitely for grown ups. I had a quick look online and there are loads available in this country too.The reason it’s so great (apart from looking cute) is that if you’re anything like me you use a colander about 10 times a day, to give berries a swish in the morning for porridge, drain pasta for lunch, rinse lettuce for tea etc etc. It means that my extravagantly proportioned colander is permanently on the side or the draining board, hogging loads of room in my extremely unextravagantly proportioned kitchen. This, on the other hand, is quicker to wash up, takes up less room, and, as I may have said before, looks really cute AND costs less than a fiver! I have a feeling it’s going to...
Kit – egg timer

Kit – egg timer

There are few things I love more than a perfectly cooked poached egg. A runny yolk and a neat white are a short road to happiness. Frustratingly the perfect poached egg eludes me. Straggly and waterlogged whites hide a pale yellow bullet of yolk, and yes, I add vinegar to the water, swirling all the while with a wooden spoon. If I was still on my quest to make the perfect poached egg I’d probably use one of these, as my sis swears by them. But I’m not. I’ve given up. There are only so many times I’m going to attempt poached eggs, and I’m afraid I’ve reached my limit. Life’s too short. Instead I’ve embraced the soft boiled egg and I think life’s much better for it. They are equally delicious on toast, topping asparagus soup, or giving some added protein to a plate of zingy refried beans.  And with one of these timer widgets, they are so damn easy. Just whack it in the saucepan with the eggs you want to boil and turn the heat up. A black ring will start around the edge of the eggtimer, showing you how cooked the eggs are. Keep simmering until you get the level you want, soft, medium or hard. The clever widget will adapt the cooking time according to how many eggs and how much water there is, so you don’t have to do any of the complicated maths. And all this for a modest £1.75. The only proviso is that you do have to keep an eye on it as there is no alarm ping. Several online reviewers...
Kit – potato ricer

Kit – potato ricer

When I first discovered that potato ricers existed, I wondered what was wrong with the world? Who would spurn the potato masher – such an effective piece of kit? And what kind of kitchenware addict would welcome the additional clutter of a clumsy ricer in their cutlery drawer? People with too much kit and too many drawers, was my answer.But, people, I do not have much kit (hardly any) and just three drawers in my ENTIRE kitchen, and I have to confess that I have converted. I am now a potato ricer lover. Yes. It’s not an easy thing to confess to. It’s not an easy thing to say. Potato ricer lover. People don’t always take me seriously. More fool them.Not only does the ricer mean I have smooth, chef-quality mash potato in seconds, but I don’t have to peel the potatoes either. Take that you non-potato ricer lovers. I have no idea how the ricer peels the potato, but that just adds to the doe eyed mystery of it all. I pop the boiled potatoes in the ricer, exert a little pressure and, ta da! Perfect puree in the pan. The only fiddly bit is taking the peel out of the ricer before I put more potatoes in it to be riced, but that is far less fiddly than actually peeling them. There is also less washing up – one ricer vs a peeler and a masher. I’m sure the ricer is quicker, it certainly requires less exertion than a masher, and the end result is infinitely better than your normal mashed potatoes. Just remember to mash the potatoes back into the...