Saturday, 1 September 2012

Bits and bobs

Afternoon all! I am currently really rather bored due to the fact I ought to be doing terribly important paperwork for university! Anyway I’m avoiding doing it and instead trying to think of something charming and witty to say…unfortunately it’ll turn out as the usual drivel instead but ah well!

Some of you may have seen the recording I’ve done of my first blog entry at the request of some of my friends; why is it that one’s voice always sounds absolutely horrific when recorded! I’m not sure if I’ll be repeating it for the rest of the entries as I feel that I shall be completely and utterly bullied for doing it and I can only withstand so much teasing. 

So what’s new is my world then? We did have our local agricultural show recently which was terribly exciting! My mother of course packed enough food to feed the 5,000 instead of just the 5 people she was feeding for 2 days and I must admit that now I am getting slightly sick of sausage rolls and quiches. It’s always a thoroughly enjoyable event, mainly because one can spend many an hour watching young farriers working (and when I say that I mean literally an hour or more was spent just staring...). That aside we were also lucky enough to go as “Guests” this year, which meant a dress code and entry into the members enclosure (the little snob inside of me did do a victory dance at that!), and it was nice to actually get a seat by the main ring for once instead of trying to juggle a cheese straw, a Pimms and that bag containing the toffee vodka/ chocolate wine that one cannot resist buying whilst jumping up and down in order to try and see the showjumping! Highlights of the 2 days had to be the cavalcade of hounds (complete with a “fox” riding round the ring), the grand parade of cattle (and supreme pig) and of course, the food hall, as I cannot resist a massive tent filled with food, drink and free samples!  I did get terribly sunburnt during the Monday and do currently resemble Rudolph but I’m hoping it’ll eventually fade to brown!
The lovely Jess and Emma with a rather attractive tractor!
Apart from the fun and games of rural shows, I’ve spent most of the past couple of weeks shopping, drinking and trying my hand at roller skating (yes, I did fall over). I was extraordinarily lucky to attend the Paralympics’ Opening Ceremony courtesy of my friend Caitlin K; personally I thought it surpassed the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony and it was such an honour to be present. What’s more I can finally say I was part of a world record…for the most people to bite into an apple at one time! The only thing I thought was a shame was the cost of food and drink within the park…so many people will have saved up for tickets and the cost of refreshments was just ridiculous, even more the capital!

On the food front, I have a recommendation for all of those who like to try new recipes! I recently got the urge to create a savoury dish with chocolate, so, despite the protests of my beloved family, I found some pure cocoa shavings and decided to create some sort of duck, chocolate and orange concoction which was surprisingly tasty! The chocolate adds a really nice edge to the gravy/ sauce and also gives it a lovely glossy, thick texture that I often struggle to achieve. My recipe is a little sketchy (as ever), but if you wish to have a go I’d recommend you start by browning medium sized chunks (such a satisfying word) of duck with some cocoa, salt, pepper, cumin and coriander seeds. I then added a fair amount of balsamic vinegar and a lot of homemade marmalade…I can’t remember precisely what else I threw in but I think I put some bay leaves in! I used cocoa shavings from Hotel Chocolat (, expensive but well worth it I think! They also have a load of recipes on their website including chocolate and venison, chocolate and lamb and chocolate and pork as well as some yummy looking puddings! 

Now there is a little money making idea I’ve had that I’d really like some feedback on…recently I’ve become obsessed with henna and the patterns used in mehendi and have found that often when I’m sketching/ doodling that many of my designs are following that sort of theme. Anyway I got exceptionally bored one evening and decided to brighten up the cover of a sketchbook with the aforementioned patterns…it turned out surprisingly well! I’m now thinking of buying in some plain black notebooks and decorating them to sell locally…so opinions on my prototype would be very welcome s’il vous plait! Ar some point I may also post some photos of card designs that I’ve done to see what everything thinks…but that can wait for another day as I really need to get on with some work now!! Ciao!