Monthly Archives: August 2013

Coffee Time with La Cafetière

We have now been in our new ‘old’ house for a month, and we’ve both been living on instant coffee. Not an ideal way to start the day.
I’ve been putting off buying a ‘proper’ coffee maker, in part because we are going to have an electric cooker and my ideal aluminum stove-top espresso pot does not work on an electric hob, and the cost of a decent expresso machine is out of my budget these days. 🙁
After trawling the internet, and I decided on an insulated cafetière. The best of the bunch seemed to be La Cafetiere Thermique Cafetiere. It was not cheap, but unlike glass it will not break, and I drink a lot of coffee in the morning so the cafetiere being insulated means I can make one pot to last me the morning.

La Cafetiere Thermique Cafetiere, 8 Cup

La Cafetière
Coast Road
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1352 717555

Garlic paste

We are renovating our new ‘old’ house, and the kitchen is nothing more than a portable two-ring electric hob sat on top of a workbench. This was a bit of an issue today, because I wanted roasted garlic to add to a sauce I was making.
The problem was solved by putting cloves of garlic in a frying pan with a little olive oil, frying them for 10 minutes, then leaving the lid on the pan to continue the cooking process.
The best bit was scraping out the garlic paste to add to the sauce. It was a very messy job and I had to keep licking my fingers clean of garlic paste. Delicious! 🙂

Kitchen Craft Goodies for a Kitchen-less House!

Slowly but surely I’m getting stuff for the kitchen sorted. Yesterday I went on and ordered a block of scissors, a three tier steamer, and a colander.
It was purely by chance that I ended up choosing goods from Kitchen Craft. Chance, and the simple fact that they were good value for money, and had good reviews on Amazon.
My new kitchen goodies arrived at midday today, and even though the kitchen is still a building site, I’ll be putting them to use tomorrow.
The goodies that arrived today feel solid and well made, and should stand up well to the rigors that will face them in my kitchen, once it is finished in a week or so.
I still need a ton of kitchen stuff, which I plan to pick up over the coming weeks. I shall decide what kitchen goods I want on the basis of what I feel like cooking, and seeing if I already have the equipment with which to make the desired dishes.

Saucepan steamer
Kitchen Craft Three Tier Steamer Set
Knife block
Kitchen Craft Three Piece Scissor Set and Black Block
Kitchen Craft Stainless Steel Twin Handled Colander 24cm 

Kitchen Craft
Thomas Plant (Birmingham) Limited
Plumbob House
Valepits Road
Garretts Green
B33 0TD

Scottish Chicken

Brand Scotland, or so it would seem.
This is the first time that I’ve ever come across a Scottish chicken. Scottish beef I understand, but not chickens.
I love the fact that is says ‘higher welfare’ on the packaging. Does this mean it claims a lot of state benefits?
Whether or not the chicken was on the dole, it tasted fine.
I rustled up chicken in a lemon sauce, and it never got to see the inside of a deep fat fryer, a traditional Scottish cooking method. 🙂 Nor was it served with a deep fried mars bar.
I washed down the lemon chicken with a Scottish beer. Bitter and Twisted from Harviestoun Brewery.
Scottish Chicken

Jamie Oliver – Perfect Roast Vegetables

Give your humble vegetables the VIP treatment with this great recipe from the Jamie at Home TV series. They will go great with any family dinner all year round. Remember to choose what’s in season at the time and use as much local produce as possible for the freshest flavours.

Regatta – Keeping warm in the North

Winter is just round the corner. Some might say it being the end of August, autumn is just round the corner, but having lived in the South of France for a decade it definitely feels like winter. I’m now busy putter together a winter wardrobe and the other day I added a fleece for Regatta to my WInter Armour. I still have a long list of winter gear I need and fingers cross I will be fully kitted out before winter arrives in full.
Regatta Fleece

Unit 8-9 Mercury Park
Mercury Way
United Kingdom
M41 7LY

Giorgio Locatelli – Wild Mushroom Rissotto

Chef Giorgio Locatelli makes a speedy wild-mushroom risotto. Drawing inspiration from Italy, Ainsley Harriet demonstrates how to rustle up something quick and gorgeous when there’s no time to do the shopping. All he needs are a few handy ingredients in the store cupboard and fridge.

Odyssey Electronic Cigarette

Yet again I’ve decided to quit smoking.
This time I’m not going ‘cold turkey’ like I have in the past. I thought I would give an Electronic Cigarette a try. I did a lot of research online. It was not an easy task because there are a million spammy websites about E Cigarettes, so it was difficult to get reliable unbiased information.
In the end I found some good information on Gizmodo, where I read honest reviews on a number of Electronic Cigarettes.
After digesting all of the information I decided on the Odyssey Electronic Cigarette, I then headed over to the Totally Wicked website to purchase one. It was not the cheapest Electronic Cigarette That I had seen, but I was sold on the build quality of it. The Odyssey Electronic Cigarette arrived the next morning via Royal Mail.

E Cigarette
Being new to all things ‘Electronic Cigarette’ it took me a while to put it together, and get it working, but now I’ve the measure of it, and when I need to refill it with e-liquid or replace the cartomizer, it will be a piece of cake.
The thing that I most like about the Odyssey Electronic Cigarette is that it feels very solid and purposeful, and while I was assembling it, it was obviously a well-made bit of kit. British engineering at its best.
E Cigarette

Pillbox 38 UK Ltd
Totally Wicked
Stancliffe Street
United Kingdom

Water, Water Meter

The guy from Northumbrian Water (our water supplier) arrived this morning to install a water meter in our house in Easington Colliery. I had an idea that this would be a time consuming exercise, but it took all of 5 minutes. The meter was installed on the stopcock by the back gate. It was almost an anticlimax, it was over so quick.
Ironically, or maybe just by fate, a Water saving kit also arrived in the post from Northumbrian Water at about the same time as the guy fitting our new meter. It contains lots of ‘bits and bobs’ to reduce water usage and wastage.
I’ve alway thought it odd, that in the U.K. older properties often do not have water meters, and pay a flat feee each year.
When we lived in Central London, many many years ago this was a very high fee, and I’m sure it’s even higher now. To add insult to injury Thames Water even wanted to charge an exorbitant fee to install a water meter in our property.
Imagine paying a flat fee for your usage of gas and electricity. We would all have every single one of our lights on all of the time, and the gas central heating would be on pull blast too, whatever the weather.