Friday, 26 October 2007

Tea, anyone?

I've been on the look out for some nice vintage tea cups in the charity shops and spotted this lovely tea set yesterday. I wasn't looking for a whole set but this one was really pretty (without being over the top elaborate), good quality bone china, in really good condition and complete (which is quite rare when things are easily broken) so I bought it.

Twenty-one piece vintage tea set, comprising 6 teacups, 6 saucers, 6 plates, 1 serving plate, 1 creamer and 1 sugar bowl.

Tea set

Close-up of green design and gold rim

Hallmark

The whole lot cost me a grand total of £5.25. If I were to buy new ones from the shops, I would probably have to pay around that amount for each individual item, so I am pretty chuffed. Now I just need to have some friends over for tea!

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Friday, 19 October 2007

Bento tally

Andy and I are going down to Kent for a week on holiday with the in-laws. In the mean time, there will be no internet access till Wednesday evening when we get home. So I leave you with this week's bento tally:

My lunch on Monday - Top tier: sundried tomato cous cous with parsley garnish. Bottom tier: Grilled chicken on salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, double gloucester cheese and a chocolate truffle.

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Andy's lunch was about the same, except he got more cheese (which he loves). I think I'll stick with my chocolate, thank you very much ;)

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Tuesday's lunch was for Andy, leftovers from Monday's dinner: three mushroom rice cooked with shitake, shimeiji, oyster mushrooms and tofu puffs, stir fried mange tout and a hard boiled egg.

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I miss the Chinese bakeries in Singapore was delighted to find that Hanson's (local Asian supermarket) have started stocking some items. Nowhere like Breadtalk or PrimaDeli; very limited amounts and variety but at the moment I'm easy to please :) Wednesday's lunch was spring onion bread, beetroot salad with a piggy of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and slices of golden plum.

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Bread needed to eaten before we went on holiday, so it's been sandwiches for lunch. Yesterday: Baked hampshire ham and sliced cucumbers in multigrain bread, cherry tomatoes, edamame and a mango jelly. Not terribly exciting but at least it's healthy (with a treat too).

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This one was for Andy today. More of the same except with sliced kiwifruit.

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Friday, 12 October 2007

A couple of bentos

Lack of bentos this week due to cold and lunches provided at work. But here's a couple:

Yesterday: Potato and egg salad, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, gyoza and black vinegar in fish container.

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Today: Short grain rice, green peppers stir fried with leftover roast pork and cherry tomatoes.

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Sunday, 7 October 2007

Chicken soup and lemon pepper seafood linguine

Dinner was rather experimental but worked rather well, I'm pleased to say. I made clear chicken and vegetable broth the day before and had lots left. So yesterday I decided to make cream of chicken soup (for the first time; I've always made clear soups rather than creamy ones) by blending some of the ingredients into the some and adding cream which I had bought for the pasta but decided not to use.

I really liked this pasta. Lemon and pepper linguine with prawns, crayfish and mussels. Really quick to cook too.

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INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

* Linguine pasta (or spaghetti)
* Olive oil
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 glass dry white wine
* 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
* salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 250g fresh prawns (or mussels and other seafood)
* 20g butter
* chopped fresh parsley and basil
* 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes

DIRECTIONS:

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguine, and cook until al dente.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and saute garlic about 1 minute. Mix in a small ladle of water from the pasta (or chicken broth), wine, lemon juice and lemon zest. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced.
3. Mix prawns (and other seafood items), butter, parsley, basil and chilli flakes into the saucepan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the prawns are opaque and just turning red. Stir in the cooked linguine, and continue cooking 2 minutes, until well coated. Season with salt and pepper.

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Thursday, 4 October 2007

Bento tally

An update for this week:

Monday's lunch was knocked together quite quickly on Sunday night (after getting back from the wedding). Top tier: grapes, mini babybel cheese and two milk chocolate hearts (wedding favours). Bottom tier: cous cous with courgettes, red peppers and coriander.

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I really liked how Tuesday's lunch turned out with a great range of colours. Yummy too. Bottom tier: soba noodles. Top tier: Salmon fishcakes, strawberries and a container of tartar sauce. A side container of soba sauce and sliced spring onions in the lid to be added to soba sauce when eating (so that they don't get soggy sitting in the sauce).

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Wednesday's lunch is more conventional. Half a clementine, some strawberries and sandwiches (egg mayonnaise with salad leaves in multi-seeded bread).

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Sandwiches again for today's lunch. Both of ours were similar except I had one onigiri and smaller sandwich (because I ran out of bread for both of us). Top tier: strawberries, flower shaped onigiri with furikake topping, and edamame. Bottom tier: smoked ham and salad leaves on multi-seeded bread, lemon pepper cheese and container of soy sauce for the onigiri.

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Monday, 1 October 2007

Lemon cream pie

We're having Andrew and Pachara over for dinner tomorrow night. I'm planning to cook 滑蛋河 flat rice noodles with egg gravy since it's something I think they would appreciate. I bought some green chillies last week and pickled them on Friday before we left for the weekend. Hopefully they will be nicely pickled but not too soft by tomorrow. It's the first time I'm making them and if they turn out well, I will no longer crave them so badly!

The lemon cream pie recipe that I got from Andy's mum came is one of the most delicious that I've tasted. She was taught how to make it by her mother, who possibly got it from her mother, so it's something special indeed. The recipe calls for a large 10-inch flan dish. Well, I could halve the ingredients and make a smaller 8-inch one but that makes the ingredients portions awkward. So I could only make it when we have guests, otherwise there's no way to finish the pie unless we have it everyday for dessert for 4-5 evenings in a row, which would a little sick. Andy and I just made it this evening and licking the spoon and bowls was yummilicious...

If you don't have a flan or pie dish, you can easily use any medium sized square or rectangular dish or even a deep baking tray. It just looks prettier in a flan dish.


Pie case

- 320g crushed digestive biscuits (around 20 biscuits)
- 170g melted butter, cooled

Filling

- 1 lemon jelly (I used Hartley’s. You can also use Jello brand.)
- 1 can of condensed milk (I used Carnation's - 397ml)
- 1 lemon (juice and zest/rind)
- Grated chocolate for decorating the top (optional)


1. Dissolve jelly in 150ml of hot water, or microwave in a jug with 150ml tap water on high for 1 minute. Leave to cool (you can pop it in the fridge it if really is too hot, but be careful it does not set!)

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2. Make biscuit base. Crush the digestives in a food processor or, as Andy did, with a rolling pin and sealed bag.

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Pour the butter and biscuits into a bowl and mix well.

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Press the biscuits mixture into the bottom and sides of a flan dish to form a base.

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3. Add lemon juice, lemon zest/rind, condensed milk and jelly mixture into a large mixing bowl. Mix well using either a wire whisk or a handheld mixer. Whisk until the mixture is the consistency of double cream.

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4. Pour into pie case to set in the fridge. Decorate with grated chocolate if desired.

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All this food blogging is making me hungry now... and it's time for bed. Maybe a mug of Horlicks for me.

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Bento tally for last week

Finally found some time to post these.

My lunch on Tuesday: Inari-zushi with tamagoyaki topping. Smoked salmon and avocado on mixed salad. Small container of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing and a bottle of soy sauce. Grapes on the side.

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Andy was away on course on Tuesday and we were having a late dinner so I made a snack bento for him. Top tier: cherry tomatoes and cucumber batons. Bottom tier: Heart-shaped and flower-shaped onigiri with egg filling and furikake topping, divided by a mango jelly.

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Wednesday's lunch, same for us both: Honey roasted ham and salad leaves in whole grain submarine roll. Cherry tomatoes on the side and sliced kiwi fruit in a separate container.

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We were both home for lunch on Thursday so on to Friday: Potato salad with diced cucumbers, spring onions and honey roast ham on a bed of mixed salad leaves. Cherry tomatoes and skewers of tamagoyaki on the side. Not shown: side container of grapes.

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