Domestic Sluttery is changing! Visit our new homepage to check out our fabulous makeover.


Monday 31 October 2011

Dream Dress: Silk & Sawdust 20s dress

We've got a bit of a 20s vibe in Sluttery HQ at the moment. Kat and I had a little trip on the Orient Express (more about that later in the week) and as there was a 20s theme I've now gone nuts for beading and silk and all things elegant. Alas, while Kat can pull of beaded flapper dresses, my hips and tits say no. If I'm going to be inspired by the 20s in the dress department, I need something like this beaded lace gown from Silk & Sawdust.

The Deco lace, the scalloped edges, the sexy cut and beautiful fabric all scream 20s screen siren. Despite having never been a fan of navy blue, I would love to take myself somewhere fancy in this dress. It's £139 so certainly over the high street price bracket. But it's also so much prettier than the 'vintage' imitations on the high street as well. Beautiful lace doesn't come cheap. And it would make your cleavage look absolutely phenomenal.

Sluttishly Simple: Teddy Bear Egg White Waffles

My kids love waffles. I love waffles. My boyfriend loves waffles. We live in a waffle-friendly home. So, when I got my new waffle iron in the shape of a teddy bear, here was the perfect excuse for me to teach my kids all about fluffy waffles. The key to fluffy waffles is all to do with the eggs ... so read-up, take heed and get griddling!

You'll need:
  • Three eggs
  • 260g plain flour
  • 480ml milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Two capfuls of vanilla essence
Make it!
  • First, separate your eggs. Keep the yolks to one side (your eggs should always be kept at room temperature)
  • Whisk the egg whites until you've got gentle peaks - you're not making meringue here, but you want there to be a decent amount of stiffness to the mix.
  • Combine the rest of your ingredients and blend until smooth.
  • Fold the mixtures together using a palette knife. The mix doesn't have to be completely blended, just nicely combined. Try your best to keep as much air as possible in the mix.
  • Cook your waffles either using a waffle iron or a hot frying pan with a hand mould. Either way, use a little butter to grease first, and leave the waffle to cook until golden brown on both sides.
  • Serve with honey, or chocolate sauce or maple syrup or, well, anything yummy!
You can buy a whole host of waffle irons on Ebay; my teddy waffle iron was just £1.75!

Sites we love: Where the lovely things are

There are some lovely things on this internet. And this is where they are.

Malory McInnis finds are sorts of treasures and posts them online at Where The Lovely Things Are. Sometimes they're things you can buy, other times they're just quite cool images.

The posts are seemingly random, there's nothing much linking them to one another. Except for the fact that Mallory finds the things awesome. That's reason enough for me.

And also, there are very cool pictures of owls.

Enjoy just looking at the cool stuff. That's basically the reason the internet was invented.

Top Ten Cocktail Recipes

The cocktail hour section on Domestic Sluttery is responsible for a lot of hangovers. We've gone through gin, brandy, vodka and whiskey and sampled an awful lot of tipples over the last two years. Which are more responsible for more hangovers? Here are the top ten cocktail posts for your bookmarking and drinking pleasure.

Porn Star Martini: Of course, the martini with the champagne chaser would be top of the list. We didn't expect anything less.

Elderflower Martini: It might be more of a summery drink, but it's still one of our most popular.

Woo woo: It might have a stupid name, but that doesn't stop us from knocking back a few pitchers.

Bakewell Tartini: It's a cocktail that tastes of cake. It's obviously the most brilliant thing to be poured in a glass.

Sexy Bovril: Yes. Really.

Death in the Afternoon: Hemingway was a fan, apparently.

One While Changing: Because you can't get ready to go out and not have cocktails. That would be silly.

The Hugo: More elderflower. This time with bubbles.

DIY bellinis. Probably the only time that DIY anything is actually fun.

The Sluttery Pitcher: The most dangerously deceptive cocktail on the list. Proceed with tipsy, giggling caution. Or reckless drunkenness.

Stop the Pigeon!

Dastardly and Mutley were the best duo on TV (yes, even better than Sharkey & George, Crimebusters of the Sea). You always knew they'd lose the race, and even with all of their race-foiling plans they never ever won. Dynamite capers never work in cartoons.

I think this racing car china set from White Rabbit is supposed to be for kids (even at £36). It's probably also supposed to be for boys. I say boohockey to that. It reminds me of Dastardly and Mutley and I want it very much. I'll practise my (currently terrible) Mutley laugh while I'm eating my toast. Let's have another video. It's Monday, after all:

Sluttery Scents: Drawing Room Candle by Roost Living

Ladies! Is your drawing room as musty as last year's crinolines? Are your lady guests unhappy about having to withdraw there for needlecraft after supper? Then you need Roost Living's stylish and soothing Drawing Room candle!

Ahem. It also works if, like me, the closest thing you have to a drawing room is a cupboard under the stairs. Combining sandalwood, patchouli and leather creates a very masculine scent which you'll either love or hate. It's cosy and autumnal but a bit heavy for me. This is not a starter candle, and I was never allowed candles as a youth because my parents were insistent that even a tiny naked flame would result in the house burning down, so I think I need something more delicate to ease me in.

I'm tempted to try the December one, which encapsules Christmas by mingling cinnamon, clove and orange zest. They've also got an intriguing Campfire scent - coconut, woodsmoke and vanilla. The pretty packaging and reasonable price - £15 for 50 hours burn time - make them excellent gifts. Check out the range on Roost Living's website.

Friday 28 October 2011

Shop in the Spotlight: Made by Niki

Still on the hunt for cracking smalls that actually fit my *ahem* impressive cleavage, I found myself looking at Made by Niki today. And then feeling a little bit sad when I clocked the prices of the gorgeous and sexy things. But oh! They've got a little bit of a sale on which means that their sexy things are reduced right down to prices that don't make me cry.

This purple bra is a tenner. It goes up to a 34E. A tenner! Also, I really quite like her hair.

The matching garter is a tenner as well.

And the matching thong is a tenner! So for thirty quid, you look a little something like that pretty girl in the photo. Probably. Minus the ugly pink shoes. Larger sizes, smaller prices. I'm really impressed with Made by Niki. And spending all of my money.

The boy and his poison: Jimmy's Caucasian

Anyone who has seen the Coen Brother's movie The Big Lebowski will understand the lure of the White Russian. I defy anyone to watch more than about 30 minutes of that film without developing an inexplicable craving for bowling and the velvety creaminess of a drink which you can knock back like Nesquik. Whilst there's a right way to make them and plenty of variations on the theme, I've been waiting to share this little spin on the recipe until you can all get hold of the main ingredient: Jimmy's Iced Coffee.

Since it first popped up on a packaging blog I've been hoarding cartons of this stuff in my fridge, occasionally even using it as a substitute for cereal milk. Available in full fat or light, its nothing but lovely ethically sourced white coffee laiden with demerara sugar. The simplicity of their recipe is where the beauty of the drink as a cocktail ingredient comes from. Pick yourself up a pint of the skinny stuff from Ocado, Waitrose (or even chill your own coffee) and you have the base of an incredibly light and even more complex white russian, or as I like to call it, Jimmy's Caucasian.

You'll need:
  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Kahlua/Tia Maria
  • A generous slug of Jimmy's Iced Coffee (full fat or light)
Shake it:
  • Drop the coffee liqueur and vodka into an ice filled shaker
  • Give it a firm shake
  • Top up with chilled Jimmy's Skinny Iced Coffee 
  • Give it a whisk with one of those amazing little milk frothers and serve.
And what other drink gives you a cool moustache when you're drinking it? 

Sites we love: Lilly von Pink

Oh look, its another Halloweeny post from Michelle. Well I did warn you yesterday that I was obsessed! As soon as I spied this rather impressive tutorial demonstrating how to turn yourself into a Mexican sugar skull I couldn't resist sharing the Halloween makeup tutorials currently being posted by the multi-talented designer and professional make-up artist Lilly von Pink, over on her blog.

Lilly also shares her tips to recreate the much loved lead character from the Tim Burton classic, The Corpse Bride.

Or if you fancy something a bit more cult how about Blind Mag from Repo! The Genetic Opera. This look would also work really well for a vampire, evil fairy or a general gothy look.

As well as sharing these fab Halloween makeup tutorials, Lilly also shares some of her personal makeup tips, gained from her years as a professional makeup artist. So whether you want to learn how to tame unruly eyebrows or discover the secrets to keeping your makeup brushes sparkly clean, then Lilly is most definitely your gal.

Cute or Creepy: storytelling cushions

Cushions can be quite strange things: overly stuffed, overly flouncy, overly granny like. The already weird world of cushions seems to have got even weirder recently with a new trend that's sweeping the most fashionable sofas of the country. I've tried to put a name to this and get my head round the concept, but the best I could come up with was "storytelling cushions for grown-ups" or basically "cushions that are little versions of things that are normally big". It's like cushion makers have got a bit bored and have started making cushions of whatever they can see out of the window. Bear with me on this one. Here's the first piece of evidence:

These are the Village Cushions from the normally spot on Ferm Living. They are cushions shaped like houses. I've been looking at these for a long time now. I almost get it, but not quite - why do you want your sofa to look like a badly constructed street? (and presumably if you peer through their window, there will be another mini sofa covered with more mini cushion houses) And they're not cheap, around 15 to 30 euros each. Ferm Living are not the only ones at it. Donna Wilson, another of my favourites, is doing it too:

She's also produced a range of house cushions for Heal's but, if you feel your cushion street/sofa is lacking in greenery, she's also got a range of mini trees you can shove on there too. Here's her oak tree (shown alongside a fir tree for scale). It's very sweet and childlike, but, at £35,  is definitely not priced for kids.  I can't help feeling the whole thing is something that Freud and his couch would have fun with.

If you want to try out this 'trend', I advise you to trend carefully (otherwise you might squash a tiny cushion house, ho, ho!) and absolutely be certain you don't go anywhere near this special John Lewis Christmas house cushion.

Me? I'm going to let this creature run amok amidst my cushions:

John Lewis's Dinotastic (that's its real name, brilliant!) is definitely for kids and, priced at £15, is sure to stomp out any tweeness that may be lingering in your cushion collection. Raawwwr!

Win! A signed copy of the Domestic Sluttery book!

*Update* We have a winner! Melanie Heavenly! You've won. Email us, tell us where to send your book (and what to write in it) and we'll post it out to you this weekend.

The Domestic Sluttery book is finally out in the wild! It's pretty, it's real (we can hold it and everything) and we're so excited that you get to see what we've been writing about for most of 2011. We've also got a signed copy to give to one of you!

What's inside? All original content that you won't have seen on the blog before, amazing recipes (including the most magical cake we've ever made), Liberace makes an appearance and there are even quotes from the very wise Dr Seuss.

What do you have to do to win? Just leave a comment below telling us what your favourite book is.  Fiction, non fiction we don't mind, just don't leave an anonymous comment because we won't know who you are. We'll enter you into a draw at 6pm today and post your book out tomorrow morning on our way to buy bacon sandwiches.

Good luck everyone!

Baking for Beginners: Boozy Toffee Apple Cake

It's halloween on Monday, so if you're looking for something sweet to give the trick-or-treaters (or just something comforting to scoff yourself while you're upstairs hiding under the bed and pretending not to be in), why not give this toffee apple upside-down cake a whirl.

It's delightfully sticky, with a good slug of brandy and a sweet toffee sauce. It also looks very pretty if you can be bothered to arrange the apple pieces nicely.

Boozy Toffee Apple Upside-Down Cake (serves 6-8)

You'll need:
For the cake
  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 300g plain flour, sieved
  • 50ml brandy
  • 1tbsp golden syrup
  • 1tsp cinnamon
For the apple topping (bottoming)
  • 2 dessert apples (ones with red skins look pretty), sliced finely (I cut quarters and then quartered those)
  • 50g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 50g caster sugar
Make it!
  • Start with the cake. Beat together the butter and sugar until they're smooth.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Stir in the flour, brandy, syrup and cinnamon.
  • Let the cake mix rest in the fridge while you make the toffee apple mixture.
  • Preheat the oven to 180c / Gas 4 and line a 20cm round tin. Don't use a loose bottomed tin as the toffee sauce will drip out!
  • Put the butter and sugar in a frying pan and heat until it forms a dark brown caramel. Don't let it turn black! And be very careful, don't get it on you and definitely don't be tempted to lick the spoon as this stuff gets very hot.
  • Take the pan off the heat. Add the apple slices. Be careful, it might spit. Stir them around in the toffee sauce to coat them.
  • Arrange the apple slices in the bottom of the tin and pour the caramel over.
  • Top with the cake mix. It's easiest if you put dollops evenly all over and then smooth it very gently to cover all the apple mixture.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the cake is risen, golden and cooked through.
  • Leave it to cool in the tin before turning out upside down onto a plate, so the apples are on the top.

Thursday 27 October 2011

Biscuiteers Trick or Treat Sweets Tin

I love Halloween, in the same way that other people love christmas or birthdays. So this time of year is very exciting for me. So I am sure you can imagine my delight when I was sent a rather spooky looking Trick or Treat Sweets Tin from the lovely folks at Biscuiteers.

Its jammed packed full of lots of spooky sweeties, including ghoulish gobstoppers, edible spiders webs, cauldron dust (thats black sherbet to me and you) as well as some rather sinister looking chocolate spiders. It all comes in a rather lovely tin which I will personally continue to use all year round.

And if all thats not enough to tempt your tastebuds the Trick or Treat Sweets Tin has just been reduced to £25, previously £30, and if you order it over the next few days it should reach you just in time for your very own Halloween midnight feast (because I'm not sharing mine).

Sluttery Travels: The Royal Hotel, Isle of Wight

As if The Enchanted Manor wasn't enough island life for one trip, My travel companion and I hopped, skipped and jumped over to Ventnor for another day of frivolous hotel dalliances (the best kind of dalliance, if you ask me) courtesy of The Royal Hotel, Ventnor.

Once again we were welcomed into the bosom of the establishment by the staff, duly checked in and pointed in the direction of our room (we clearly looked the types to be able to find our own way there as there wasn't any offerings of a show-around).

Our room was just splendid, if not just a touch generic ... but after The Manor, that was something of a welcome relief. Cool, muted colours and all the necessities were present and correct, so we were perfectly comfortable.

What we liked about our time at The Royal, most honestly, was the people. We've rarely been welcomed so fervently anywhere we've reviewed (or stayed!), and we do get around a fair bit!

The folks we encountered at The Royal were courteous, helpful and smiley ... very smiley! Maybe we've been city living for too long, but it seems that the smiles were abundant, and possibly even, dare we say it, mandatory? But, saying that, they seemed genuine. You can definitely tell that the staff like to work at The Royal.

When we stayed, the hotel was hosting a Vintage Weekend. So, to our utter delight we were duty-bound to dress in retro garb for cocktails and dinner. How utterly spiffing! My darling man looked a picture in his tail coat and white dickie bow, and I managed to not embarrass him too thoroughly with my attempts at 40s glamour, too.

The Royal is renowned for its food, having row upon row of awards displayed proudly around the foyer. Now, I'm afraid to say that I struggled a little with my food. Whilst my fresher-than-fresh lobster Thermidor starter was definitely worth dying for, I'm afraid that I didn't strike gold with the rest of my meal. However, it's of note that my dining companions had far better luck, and all that I spoke to could do nothing short of rave about the culinary delights they had encountered. I genuinely think I was just a touch unlucky, and having spoken at length to notorious island food bloggers Matt and Cat, who take their reviewing SO seriously they only do it in secret and have never accepted a freebie in their lives, I can safely conclude that my misfortune was an isolated incident.

In no way did the food put any sleight on my evening ... not least because between courses we were utterly delighted by a fantastic young, debonair sleight-of-hand magician. He was marvellous, and we were duly marveled.

The rest of our time at The Royal passed in a splendid haze of good company, appropriate music and glorious port. So, that's why I have to admit to it being something of a haze. Hehe.

Would I return to the Royal Hotel? Absolutely. If you're looking for a larger-scale hotel on the island that will treat you like family, then you've found it in The Royal. We had a darling time and are, as we speak, planning our next venture across the waters.

Rooms at The Royal start from £175 per room off peak, £195 peak season per room. All images are our own or taken from The Royal Hotel's website. Our stay at The Royal Hotel was complimentary but this ahas in no way affected our review.

Getting to the Isle of Wight is easy with Red Funnel. Vehicle Ferries run regularly around the clock from Southampton, which is within easy reach of the M3 and M27. Return Red Funnel Vehicle Ferry travel to the Isle of Wight starts at £35 for a day trip. For further information and reservations call Red Funnel on 0844 844 9988 or visit

Sluttishly Savoury: Stinging Nettle and Nutmeg Soup

There's something about the onset of winter that makes soups a staple in our diets. Now I live "in the sticks" (a few mile outside of central Brighton is, to a city girl, officially sticks-ville), I have been determined to forage the land and make something wholesome.

Now, I missed blackberry season because ... well, frankly I have no idea when it is. And I haven't got round to crabbing or foraging for cockles and mussels because the idea kinda freaks me out (something that I intend to overcome!). However, at the end of my garden, where neat lawn meets brushland, there are stinging nettles. A whole darn heap of them. So, for your entertainment (and eating pleasure - I promise!) I have been stung about a zillion times harvesting said nettles for this delicious old-school soup. It's actually really delicious.

You'll need:
  • 450g of potatoes (peeled)
  • 225g of nettles
  • One onion
  • Big pinch of salt
  • Big pinch of black pepper
  • Big pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 100ml cream
  • 1 litre stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • Butter for frying
Make it!
  • Get your potatoes peeled, chopped and bubbling in a pan of slightly salted water. You can bitterly consider the insanely disproportionate rise in profits of energy companies whilst you do this, if you like.
  • Pop some butter into a hot frying pan and get it bubbling. Chop your onion and fry until the flesh starts to go translucent.
  • Add the nettles to the pan. I tend to trim the leaves from the stalks and discard the stalks but you don't have to, as they'll all get blended later.
  • You need to fry the nettles for about 10 minutes to neutralise the sting. After about 8 minutes I add the nutmeg, pepper, salt and cream to the nettles, stir briskly then bring off the heat.
  • Take your tender potatoes out of their water and return them to their pan. Add the stock and the nettle mix and blend.
  • Serve piping hot with a sprig of nettle on top for decoration (just remember to remove it before you eat!)

That's all folks! Goodwin & Goodwin Bookendings

Films are never, ever as good as the book (except To Kill A Mockingbird, that's a pretty darn excellent film). It's just always been a given that films and books don't mix, hasn't it? Except that actually, they kinda do. There's nothing better on a Sunday than curling up under a duvet and flitting between films and books, depending on what takes yours fancy. Films and books go together a bit like ice cream flavours. Sometimes they work together, sometimes they don't, and they're usually pretty good on their own. And sometimes you get the really cheap stuff from the corner shop and wish you hadn't bothered.

Goodwin & Goodwin seem to agree with me, and they've created these very cool, film-inspired bookends (or bookendings, as they've clever called them). I'm loving the slogans and the bold colours. Actually, after spotting these I considered putting some new shelves up that would show off their gorgeousness.

They're £19.95 each, and if you really wanted to keep your books and films separate, they'd do a brilliant job at keeping your DVDs on your shelf too.

That's all, folks!

Reading is Sexy: Sarah Utter

Way back in the history of time (okay about 5 years ago), I saw a girl wearing the world's best t-shirt, proudly proclaiming the gospel truth, that Reading is Sexy, alongside a rather nice illustration of a suitably speccy sexy type. "Omigoditsamazingwheredidyougetit?" I cried like a possessed demon, clutching onto her. Her reply, as she backed quickly away? The frustrating "I dunno, just a random shop."

I've been searching for this t-shirt ever since.

I've googled "Reading Sexy T-Shirt" countless times since then over the years but with zero success. I have been subjected to some pretty disturbing sites in the process, and now know far more about the sexual practices that occur in Reading, Berkshire than you could ever think possible. Finally, FINALLY thanks to the gods above, named on this earth as Hannah Zakari, I now know that this t-shirt is the work of one Sarah Utter, and there's a whole range of sexy geek chic to get overexcited about.

Hannah Zakari don't stock this t-shirt (it appears you need to get that from America) but they do have a badge or the matching tote bag for £12. Just think of  how many books you could carry in it, so many books to sexily read.

If you like your accessories to be a bit less sexy, there's the slightly more prudish but still wonderfully bookish Future Librarian badge.

And the wonder tongue twister tangle of knitting is knotty. All these badges are £1.50.

Peek over at this US site and there's plenty more products that I'd like to purchase (the Dancing is my Bag bag is brilliant) so I think we should go on a mission to buy up all of Hannah Zakari's products, and they'll have to get some more in stock.

And, as you are proudly sporting your tote bag/badge,  if anyone asks you where they came from, please just tell them and put them out of a good few years of google sex misery.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Weekly Wine: Five Hearty Reds for Autumn Evenings

Well, it's official: I now have to get out of bed while it's still dark outside. Therefore, I officially refuse to eat salad until 2012, and I'm scouring the Sluttery recipes for the stodgiest, richest comfort foods to keep me warm and snuggly. These kinds of meals all seem to love a nice glass of hearty red, and so do I. Higher alcohol and fuller body tend to come from the hotter climates i.e. South of France and most of the New World (Chile and Australia especially), and younger reds from these places often have higher tannins (or grip in the mouth) that works particularly well with those humdinger meaty recipes.

Here are five of my favourites for slurping with food or sipping on the sofa:

Santa Rita 120 Carmenere 2010, £5.49 from Majestic if you buy two bottles
Chile totally runs the show when it comes to the Carmenere grape, especially examples from a good producer like the guys at Santa Rita. This gives a really authentic taste of Chile, and is soft, brambly and a teeny bit spicy.

Cotes du Rhone Plan de Dieu - £52 for six from M&S (around £8.67 per bottle)

Cotes du Rhone rocks my socks throughout the year as it's one of the most versatile food matches I know (so it pretty much doesn't matter what your comfort food of choice is), but the warm climate and robust grapes (Grenache, Syrah and Carignan in this case) give it oodles of body and round flavours.

Heartland Stickleback Red - £8.50 from The Wine Society

I was lucky enough to meet Ben Glaetzer, producer of these wines, last year, and he's a very savvy fella. His ethos is to be the best of what you are, whether that's an every day wine or the finest in the land. The Heartland Stickleback - as well as having the coolest name ever - is superbly made for the price, and full of warming spicy fruit. A fab food wine.

Finest Cotes Catalanes Grenache, £7.79 from Tesco

I seem to recommend a Southern French wine pretty much every week, but I can't resist: it's where I find stonkingly good value. Grenache is king of the hot climate grapes, producing wines that are almost invariably full-bodied, and this wine is rich, concentrated, and packed full of dark fruits.

Biferno Rosso Riserva 2004, £6.13 from Excel Wines

From the smallest region in Southern Italy, Biferno Rosso is a blend of Italian grape varieties that are particularly suited to the warmer areas of the country. This is an oak-aged, rustic Italian red with velvetty texture. Especially gorgeous with pasta, and a very decent price.

What's the wine you choose to keep you warm and toasty in the evenings? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook (and feel free to send us a hearty stew to eat it with...)

Image from superturtle's photostream under the Creative Commons License.

Wallpaper Wednesday: Andrew Martin

I featured some Andrew Martin wallpaper last month and the rest of the designs are so striking that I thought I'd show you some more.

I love this padded leather design. From a distance it actually looks really, doesn't it?

How cool are these suitcases?

I never get bored of stamp wallpapers, but this one is a favourite.

This is my favourite from the engineer collection. And that chair is pretty sexy too.

Andrew Martin designs are clever. They're unusual without being gaudy and over the top. Eye-catching without stealing attention from the rest of the room. In short, they're £49.50 and some of the best-value designer wallpaper designs that you'll find.

Design Porn: Topoware

Has anyone been watching the BBC4 show on ceramics? It's fascinating. It also goes some way to explaining my obsession with plates and cups. As functional as they are beautiful, there is no other piece of design that pinpoints a time in history or society as accurately - whether it's traditional blue and white china, or something a little more quirky like Topoware.

This is such a cute range, and feels like it's inspired by Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You just get to decide if you're full, hungry, or very very hungry.

I'm writing this six hours after lunch. I'm definitely very, very hungry. But I might be modest, moderate or greedy! There's even a very for father, mother and child (see? totally inspired by those porridge-loving bears).

It's a beautiful range, available at Bouf. Now you just need to decide how hungry you are and how much tea you want tonight.

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry)

Today is Diwali, a festival of light celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. It is a celebration of all that is good in the world. All over the world people will celebrate the occasion with food, gifts, sweets and fireworks. So, all things awesome really.

I am fortunate to be gaining some insight into the family celebrations of Diwali as my boyfriend is Hindu. Like most celebrations food is important to the festivities, particularly vegetarian foods in this instance. So today I am sharing a family recipe for Rajma, a kidney bean curry.

At first glance this unassuming dish does not necessarily captivate the tastebuds, but believe me, you really need to try this dish to realise how wonderfully delicious it really is. The flavours subtly work together, no one spice stands out over the other and the texture is very more-ish. It is healthy, low-fat, tasty and vegetarian - surely a winner on all counts?

Like most Indian dishes, and my cooking in general, the ingredient quantities are rough guides. Feel free to adjust to taste.

Rajma (serves 4)

You will need:
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped and diced 
  • 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of chopped Garlic
  • 1.5cm of chopped Fresh Ginger
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Fresh Chilli
  • Several pinches of Salt
  • 2 Tins Red Kidney Beans
  • Bunch of Fresh Coriander
Make it!
  • Heat the oil in a pan on a medium-high heat and add mustard seed.
  • Just as they start to crackle and pop stir in the onion. Cook until the onion turns a gorgeous caramel colour.
  • In a blender, whizz up the chopped tomatoes until smooth and add to pan. Bring to a slow simmer.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, chilli and salt. Give it a good stir.
  • Drain some of the water from the kidney beans (but reserve a little of the juice for the sauce) and add to pan. Use your own judgement here for consistency but I also added another cup of water.
  • Bring to a rolling simmer, reduce the heat and stir. Allow to cook until the kidney beans are soft (think baked beans consistency). I let mine cook for half an hour.
  • Top with a sprinkling of chopped coriander and serve with either a bowl of steaming rice or a warm chapatti.

Happy Diwali!

Baking for Beginners: Sticky Orange Clove Cake

I know it's still only October, but I'm already feeling Christmassy. I was inspired to make a lovely wintery cake with flavours of orange and clove like one of those pomanders you make at Christmas.This is a super sticky syrupy sponge that's perfect with a cup of tea. It couldn't be easier to make either. There's a little bit of lemon in the recipe, which somehow makes the orange taste all the more orangey.

I like to cut mine into squares and put each one in a cupcake case. It means if I'm eating one for elevenses while typing away I don't end up with syrupy crumbs in my keyboard. Of course you might be much more civilised than me and eat off a plate, in which case there's no need.
Sticky Orange Clove Cake

You'll need:
For the cake
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 170g self-raising flour, sieved
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Splash of milk
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
For the glaze
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 80g icing sugar, sieved
Make it!
  • Preheat the oven to 170c / Gas 3.
  • Grease and line an 8 x 8 inch square tin or a 6 inch round tin.
  • Put all the cake ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. 
  • Put the batter in the tin and bake for about 40 minutes.
  • While the cake is baking, put the glaze ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Set aside.
  • As soon as the cake is cooked through, bring it out of the oven, prick the top all over with a fork and pour over the glaze.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.

Shoe Porn: Beyond Skin Vegan Glitter Shoes

I'm not sure if I'm showing you these because they're vegan, or because they're glittery. Beyond Skin are pretty well-known these days. Natalie Portman is a fan and since their launch in 2001, they've been the go-to ethical shoe company. Because they totally understand that ethical shoes don't have to mean ugly shoes.

These glitter shoes definitely aren't ugly. Oh my goshness, they're just magical. They've look like they've been made with unicorns and rainbows and ribbons. Ethically, obviously. They make me want to go dancing. You couldn't just walk in these shoes, you'd skip.

Ethical shoes aren't cheap as chips, but that's understandable. Actually, these are a rather reasonable £130 from Kindred Sole. A small price to pay for a bit of vegan footwear that's made of magic and might even get you home toot suite if you click your heels together three times. They have the power.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

The boy and his poison: The Citrus Press

Whether its squeezing a few limes for a cheeky Dark and Stormy or that obligatory lemon for your gin sour... the ability to juice the odd bit of citrus is a vital skill for any budding mixologist or domestic bar fly. If you're stuck at a party with limited equipment no one's going to chastise you for pummelling that lemon between two palms, but if you're trying to follow a recipe sometimes its can be a lot more successful if you have access to a more precise juicing contraption.

This is where the citrus press or Mexican Elbow comes in. Its not going to win a design award but this little angel of the kitchen works (as the name suggests) by pressing the juice out of the fruit, rather than pulverising it into cocktail submission. So, what this means for you is lots of precisely measured juicy enjoyment with zero bitter pithiness, not to mention the subtle air of drink-making superiority gadgets like this impart.

It might not be quite big enough for small oranges or grapefruits but that little addition to your home bar tending arsenal is going to make you feel like a cocktail making pro, not to mention the plethora of other situations this little gem could save you… I've been reliably informed by several people that apparently my kitchen isn't just an experimental cocktail laboratory.

You can buy one from Amazon for around £13 which I'm pretty sure is worth the benefit of not having to fish around your drink for pips alone.

Bonbi Forest Lockets

There is something quite special about a locket, isn't there? Inside you can stash a miniature photograph of a loved one, or perhaps a lock of hair kept close to your chest and close to your heart. Oh, how terribly romantic. I tend to be a statement necklace kind of girl, but these beautiful hand-painted lockets might be just the ticket for me.

Lee May Foster is the artist behind Bonbi Forest where her designs evoke whimsical, magical and sweet relationships between nature and human beings with a touch of mythology thrown in for good measure. I have been admiring Lee May Foster’s work for a while now and have been known to spend many an hour swooning over items such as this drawing, this bracelet and this scarf.

The Bonbi Forest shop is filled with delightful jewellery, cute cards and stunning original artworks. Recently these lockets have appeared in the Bonbi Forest shop, and I am not-so-secretly coveting most of them.

These beautiful hand-painted lockets will not only look cute around your neck, but are perfect for hiding away a little picture of your special loved one should you be so inclined. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...