Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Mystery Chef (and Jamie Oliver) present: Cumberland Sausage Casserole

There has been no change in the weather. The weekend was freezing. It snowed both Saturday and Sunday, sometimes fluffy flakes, other times, wet and useless, none of it sticking to the ground, but generally just blowing in your face and being a nuisance.

My weekend was quite low key. Dinner and drinks with friends on Friday night, trudging around running errands in the snow on Saturday, and a cozy night in on Saturday night. By Sunday, I was more than pleased to be invited to a friend's for Sunday lunch.

To give you a little background, I had cooked for this friend before, but this time it was his turn. I had also inspected the content's of his kitchen, and as he didn't yet have a cutting board or tea towels to dry dishes with (it should be noted that much to my surprise, those items have since been acquired), I was beginning to question how he was going to turn out a full meal...

But every good friendship is built on trust.... so off I went with some downloaded movies and some Rosemary (Mystery Chef's local grocer was out).

On the menu: Jamie Oliver's Cumberland Sausage Casserole 
(for the original source click here ...but then you'll miss out on the Mystery Chef 
getting his 'cook' on)

You will need:

• 6 thick cumberland sausages
• Olive oil, for frying
10 banana shallots, peeled
• 5 rosemary sprigs
• 1 large glass red wine (get a bottle and then you can drink it while you cook)
• 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
• 2 x 400g tins cannellini beans (sorry Jamie, we used Chick Peas and I'm pretty sure it was better)
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
• 4 small dried chillies, crumbled
• 2 large handfuls breadcrumbs 

Mystery Chef: I don't want to wear the Apron

Me: You have to wear the Apron

Mystery Chef: Jamie Oliver would NEVER wear this Apron

Me: Put on the Apron

Method: (Jamie says it serves 4...but the two of us polished it off quite easily)

1. Put the sausages in a non-stick pan with a drizzle of oil, the shallots, 2–3 sprigs of the rosemary and a few pinches of salt and black pepper. Toss gently, and place on a medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes, moving everything around to brown evenly. Pour in the wine and simmer gently until it’s almost gone, then add the tomatoes and beans, bring them to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. 

2. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Spoon the casserole into a baking dish and bake for 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large pan over a medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil, the garlic and chilli, the chopped leaves of the remaining rosemary and the breadcrumbs, and stir-fry until golden brown. Take the stew out of the oven, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, then return to the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with crusty bread and red wine.

Into the Casserole dish and into the oven it goes...don't mind the slop on the side of the dish.
Chef consults Jamie. 
The topping...don't forget to deglaze the pan.
Sprinkle the topping on top, and back into the oven.
The finished product, gobbled down with some crusty bread and sauteed spinach.

This dish was absolutely scrumptious, and I am definitely going to add it to the rotation. 

After settling into a food coma, we spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch with the rest of the red wine and some Easter chocolate watching 

'The Englishman who went up a Hill but came down a Mountain'. 

Have you seen it?

(Skip to 35 seconds to watch from the good part)

Me (In my best accent): "They came all this way Just to measure our Mountain!"

Mystery Chef: "Stop, you are terrible at accents"

Me: "Welsh?"

Mystery Chef: "Nope, Irish"

Me (In my best accent): "If it's got to be a thousand feet, then by God let's make it a thousand feet"

Me: "Welsh?"

Mystery Chef: "East Indian"

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Ripper Tour / Pat's New Video.

Last night I absolutely froze my buns off. I left a group tutorial and headed to Tower Hill to meet one of my work friends (and the group of CW students she was with) to join in on a 'Jack the Ripper Tour'. For those who don't know, the weather in the UK has been playing tricks on us all winter long. Just when you get your hopes up that it's starting to warm up, the temperature drops drastically. Yesterday was one of those days. BRRRRRRRR!!!

The Ripper Tour was fantastically gruesome, but I was too cold to be scared. Brick Lane was dark and eery. I think the kids really enjoyed it.

I'm sure you realize that Jack was never caught right? The case is still considered open, but due to the lack of forensic evidence at the time, it makes things very difficult. What is really strange is that the killings just stopped.

Some say he died.

Others say he simply tired of the slaying and chose a new career path....

Alright, enough about Jack. I'm actually writing to share something I'm very excited about. I got home absolutely frozen, quickly made dinner (at 11:30pm), had a hot bath, and received a message from my brother with a link to his new video. I'm so excited about it because I thought (you can be the judge) that it was completely awesome. They produced it up at the ranch a few weeks ago. For those just tuning in, the band is called COLDWATER ROAD. Press the link to check out their website / Calendar of shows etc.

Have a look:

What are you up to this fine Thursday? I went for a swim this morning, did some laundry, (am clearly currently distracted by the blog), and hope to work a little on my paper, before heading to work with a group of 'young carers' on an art project.

After that, I'm looking forward to hanging out in the neighbourhood with a tall drink of water I had the pleasure of meeting last weekend (AB- that little puzzle is just to keep your mind wandering, while you wait for that baby of yours!).

I'm curious what everyone thinks of Pat's new video. PRETTY PLEASE, press the comment link below and let me / him know.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Last night I stayed up far too late. I was initially sorting through Inns in the Cotswolds as potential for my parents (any suggestions?), while multitasking with friends on Viber. Before I knew it, it was 11:40pm and I had wanted to watch the latest episode of GIRLS.

The point of my story is....

There was a song at the end of the episode that I really liked. Sight of the Sun by Fun. I was disappointed that I couldn't buy the single off itunes (you have to buy the entire GIRLS soundtrack), but then I realized I didn't have any of their other music on my computer.

Cutting to the chase...I forgot how much I like this song of theirs. It's from last summer, but it's great.

Some tunes for your Wednesday. Today I'm off to meet the CW Art trip at the National Gallery, and then possibly join them (after my tutorial) on a Jack the Ripper Tour. I'm getting nervous...

Monday, 18 March 2013

Brixton Night Out.

I find it funny that last week I was visiting Brixton Village for the first time (see post) and on Friday, I found myself there once again. This time it wasn't for lunch...

..and was a completely different experience.

The covered 'Brixton Village' is open until 11:30pm, and all of the restaurants are spilling out into the market space. On Saturday night there was a gallery opening, and DJ playing along one of the 'avenues'.

My Partners in Crime.
As we mingled outside the gallery (later you'll see why this particular show caught my eye), we were told to eat at (and then physically dragged to) one of the village's Mexican restaurants. While I remain sceptical on London's ability to do Mexican (this was more like Tex-Mex/SoCal street food), the 'Burrito' I had definitely hit the spot.

Off we went to EL PANZON....

Poor photo, but this little series had us giggling. I know. Grow up.
While the food was good, though not entirely authentic, the MARGARITAS were AWESOME!

H's flowers were our 'secret weapon' of choice. Although they were abandoned (in water of course) in the last pub we were in, we enjoyed them while they lasted.

The DJ that really got the party going.
 I think he had us sold when he played THIS.

Can you see why I was attracted to the Art? The young artist's name was Lucie Conoley. Click her name to check out more of her work. It goes without saying that I loved her work. 

'K' even bought a print....and if I had any money, I would have also.

Having lived in Brixton herself, this is the print that 'K' bought:

We left Brixton Village and headed to The Prince (where we left the thirsty flowers in a beer glass), before joining K's sister at Hootananny. A Reggae Club/Concert Venue. 

Sometimes the unexpected evenings are the best, don't you think?

Friday, 15 March 2013

Forget Paris (The Anti-Shop).

Some of you may have realized by my disgruntled facebook posts and sour Instagram pics that I'm not in Paris. Argh!

I'm most upset that I don't get to catch up with my friends, one of which I won't see as she's moving across the country before I get back home to Vancouver.

What happened?

They got bumped from their plane at YVR. Long story short, I would have arrived in Paris with no friends and no place to stay. Luckily, a VERY nice man at the St. Pancras station (sidenote: Have you been there? It's AMAZING), put a note on my account so that I could exchange my non-refundable ticket. I WILL get to Paris before this year in London is over, it's just a matter of when and with who. Tall, ginger, and handsome? Here's to hoping.

How might one cheer themselves up after such a disappointment? Shopping of course!

Unfortunately my current student bank balance will not allow for such extra curricular activities, so I decided to 'virtual shop'. In case you were wondering, this was not therapeutic in the least. This was absolute torture.

Regardless, below are some items I desperately want........and cannot afford.

Is it Spring yet?

Item Details:

Zara shoulder pad dress, £60 / AllSaints print top, £72 / Hollister Co. ankle length jeans, £23 / J.Crew anchor bikini, £32 / J.Crew anchor bikini, £31 / J.Crew retro halter bikini, £31 / J.Crew polka dot swimwear, £29 / Hunter knee length boots / Zara moccasin shoes, £53 / Mango strappy platform sandals, £80 / L.K.Bennett patent heels / Marni color block tote, £595 / Water resistant watch, £130 / AllSaints printed scarve, £97 / J.Crew Girls' cowgirl roll-up jean short, £33

And if you weren't tempted by my 'wants', you can browse Gwyneth Paltrow's gently used items as she Spring Cleans. I'm serious. Click HERE. It's for Charity people!

Any Big Plans this weekend? I wish I could say I had some. I have brunch planned with 'N' on Sunday, and will do my very best to make up for the lack of Paris photos with some London excitement. Fingers crossed!

Lastly, in the spirit of NOT being in PARIS, and so that he knows I actually read his emails, this just in, from my father.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Off to Paris...

By the time you read this, I'll be on the Eurostar heading to Paris. I've got a few stops on my personal check list of things to do, but mostly I'll be catching up with friends from home, and tagging along with our group from school. Hopefully you can expect lots of great photos next week....

Until then, here are some things to keep you inspired:

I've never made these from scratch, but it looks fun.

Feel like reading an interesting love story? Check out this blog. Click on 'Love Story' on the left.

....if you did the above, I'm sure you just lost an hour of your day! Hard to stop reading wasn't it?!!

Sushi Etiquette. I wish I never read this. Pretty certain I've mastered the entire 'don't' list.

Redecorate your facebook with these fancy timeline photos.

A friend of a friend started this custom made dress website. Great classic dresses!

Ready to get your green on? St. Patrick's Day Style Tips.

Back Sunday! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

This and That...

If you've been following along on Instagram, many of these puppies are a bit of a repeat. If not, here are some odds and ends from the last few weeks.

A Sunset from the Library at school.
Me at Black Pine- a mid 80s throwback. Can you tell?
One of my favourite snacks. A bagel with cream cheese and fresh tomato (Salt and Pepper a must!)
The Hope Pub now, and back in the day. 
Northcote Rd and the No. 49 Bus. London was waaaaay ahead of things with the Double Deckers weren't they?!!

It is this kind of image that makes me contemplate riding again :)

Post-swim breakfast on a grumpy morning.
...mango, and rabbyzads (that's what Pat used to call them) to go with above breakfast.
Pub Quiz night.
Another throwback. 2003 maybe?
One of my many 'offices'
The trusty chicken strips dinner.
An image to make me contemplate whether or not to chase the train!
An unlikely pair. Business meeting at the Northcote Pub.
A beautiful walk through the Common (last week when we thought Spring was arriving...turns out, not so much!)
Chatting to some Canadian friends.
...and the warm clothes come out again.

Reading Rainbow.
Spotted along the banks of the Thames as I walked to the Tate Modern for class one night.
On the wall of the Tate Modern's employee entrance.
Happy Memories. 2007?
Can you tell there's some reflecting going on?
Again, another throwback. I must really be in need of some vitamin D!
A dangerous contest at the Bank bar.

Lastly, seen as I have given you a brief history 
of the last couple of weeks. 
Here's a little something similar...