Something for Sunday 3

Short film: B: Not new, but new to me – this is a really great, funny short. I can’t imagine how long it took to set up each of those individual shots for just a few seconds of a scene. Three minutes of your life you won’t regret dedication to watching!

Music: B: On Thursday I went to see Public Service Broadcasting at the National Space Centre – a very fitting venue for the launch of their latest album The Race For Space. This Leicester Mercury review gives a good flavour of what was an excellent evening of music, among an audience heavily leaning towards men in thick-rimmed glasses! Well worth catching live if you can.

Theatre: B: I’ve not seen the musical Blood Brothers, so I only had a vague grasp of the plot before I went to see the original play version on Saturday night. A great production from the amateur group The Festival Players – which unfortunately has finished now, but I’d recommend catching the show if it’s staged near you – very funny script, despite tragic plot points.

reading: E: I stumbled upon this article about productivity, I really think the idea of making a “have done” list rather than a “too do” list is a brilliant way to focus on what you have achieved rather than what remains undone during the course of a day. I’m also looking forward to reading The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes starting any day now, it’s on my “To do” list!

Instagram: E: I just returned from a visit to London and Borough market, I am now officially obsessed with Bread ahead and now I’ve returned to Leicester all I can do is gasp in wonder at their glorious doughnuts via the marvel that is instagram!

Tagged

Make: Rhubarb Rum

shake the rhubarb and sugar together

Its no secret that both B and I struggle on decision making, i’m talking about those game changing decisions like when you need to decide what pudding to choose or which bread to have with your soup, you know? The important stuff. When it comes to ingredients this is where I suffer most from indecision. One of the main problems I have when I strike upon a treasured ingredient is deciding what to do with it, how to make the most out of them and show them in their best light, The annual spring rhubarb discovery is no exception

I always get massively excited about Yorkshire rhubarb, in fact there’s nothing about rhubarb that doesn’t make me smile. Not only is it one of my favourite vegetables it also signals a turn in the seasons, spring is in sight and good riddance to winter! It’s easily foraged, it grows right here in the UK and everything about it is bold, both colour and flavour theres no arguing with it, an all round win in my view.

So, what to make? Luckily on this occasion C and I had a plan. Booze.

We’ve been talking and planning on and off for almost a year, then for Christmas I received a bottle of Rhubarb Gin from a fellow Rhubarb and Gin worshiper H, possibly the finest alcohol to ever pass my lips and this sealed the deal. Then last weekend the plan was finally put into reality. But there was still one big decision to be made, which booze to infuse? Having tried the gin I knew the results would be amazing but we were desperate to try the rum too, in the end we made both just to hedge our bets. Rhubarb rum and rhubarb gin, this is quite possibly the finest homemade booze we have ever made, even if I do say so myself so grab yourself a bottle of rum and or Gin and some rhubarb and get making!

fill up the jar with rum

To make rhubarb rum you will need:

  • 1 litre of white rum
  • 500g rhubarb- the pinker the better
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 100g caster sugar
  • You will need a sterilised Tupperware container to store the booze in, or alternatively this recipe fits perfectly into a 1.5 litre capacity Kilner jar

To make rhubarb gin use the same quantities as the above recipe but omit the vanilla pod

Cut the rhubarb into chunks and place the sugar, vanilla pod and the rhubarb into the container then replace the lid and give the ingredients a good shake. Pour in the booze and store in a cool place for one week so the booze can infuse. The alcohol will slowly take on the colour of the rhubarb and turn a beautiful pastel pink colour. When the week is up strain off the liquid and store in a sterilised bottle, the booze will last for a few months sealed, I think, ours didn’t last very long!

perfectly pink rhubarb booze

So what to make with Rhubarb rum? Rhubarb Mojitos of course!

to make 1 rhubarb rum mojito You will need:

  • 3 stalks of mint
  • 50ml rhubarb rum
  • half a lime
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • crushed ice
  • soda water

Muddle the lime, sugar and mint together in a high ball glass to release the flavours, add crushed ice, pour over the rum and top up with soda water, garnish with a sprig of mint and serve

rhubarb mojitos

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Something for Sunday 2

Short film: B: I can’t promise you a happy ending to this love story – but Sean Cunningham’s ‘This is Where We Met’ is a simple and effective three minutes of storytelling

Radio: B: As I continue to catch up on podcasts, I’m loving NPR’s new offering – Invisibilia. It’s about the intangible things that shape human behaviour and has some fascinating interviews – including one with a woman who can’t feel fear (which isn’t as good as it sounds!)

Instagram: E: One of my favourite weekend pastimes is to gaze in admiration upon the photography and homemade bread wizardry of  Richard Caddick 

Reading: E: I’ve been poorly this week so have been mostly sleeping and reading, it usually takes me a few weeks to get through a book but in the last few days I’ve romped through two!

  • The Fault In Our Stars by John Green the tale of two love struck teenagers who meet in a cancer support group. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and was not disappointed, Its brilliant, funny, tragic and heartwarming.
  • Elizabeth Is Missing the debut novel from Emma Healey is one of the most unorthodox mystery novels i’ve ever read, it’s the story of maud an elderly lady who’s ‘a bit forgetful’ and draws upon childhood memories to solve the mystery of the whereabouts of her friend and ultimately an unsolved mystery from her past too. I really loved this book, whilst portraying a heartrendingly honest account of what its like to age and decend into dementia it’s also a darkly humorous and a compelling read.

Bake: Blood orange, almond and pistachio cakes

DSC00853

As much as I love living in Leicester I’m often a little envious when I see London based bloggers nabbing all the rare and exotic produce. I know the world is a small place now and most ingredients are only a click of a mouse away but today I’m talking about the fresh stuff, the ingredients that won’t fit through your letterbox and that deserve to be selected and packed into a brown paper bag by your own fair hand. This leads me to the blood orange, I’ve been reeling at the torturous sight of all the blood oranges popping up on Instagram lately. From Holly’s beautiful blood orange, bitter chocolate and honey cupcakes to Ed Kimber’s Jaffa cakes there’s been some inspirational baking happening and i’ve been dying to sniff out some of these little tinkers for myself. With the season coming to an end I had almost given up hope, that is until C and I went out to dinner at Carluccios last week.

C spotted them first, I was so distracted by the multi coloured pasta selection I had neglected to check out the window display. Nestled amongst the usual meringues, biscuits and chocolate tarts sat a crate full of Sicilian Moro blood oranges just waiting to be snaffled. They are a lot smaller than your average orange with a red tinge to the skin and crimson red flesh. At 50p a pop they are slightly pricier, but they do have quite a bit more to offer, aside from being the most beautiful orange you could ever hope to cut into they are higher in antioxidants and superior in flavour. The first thing I did was squeeze one and drink it fresh. Amazing. Next job was to deliberate over what I could make with them, a tough decision which took quite some time with so many ideas and only 6 little fruits to play with. Sunday lunch was in the making so I eventually plumped for cake. Not just any old cake, something puddingy and indulgent for a sunday afternoon. This recipe only uses two blood oranges so I had enough left over to make a sorbet toO.

This makes 4 generous cakes or alternatively the recipe will work in an 18cm tin, just increase the bake time to 45-50 minutes. DSC00815

You will need:

  • 4 dariole moulds
  • 100g unsalted butter plus extra to grease the moulds
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g pistachios
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 blood oranges

Pre- heat the oven to 145ºC prepare the tins by melting a little butter and painting it into the inside of the mould. Zest one of the blood oranges and reserve. Thinly slice the other blood orange so you have 4 perfect cross sections, flick out and discard any seeds. Place the slices into the base of the moulds. Juice the remaining blood oranges and distribute the juice between the moulds.

Lightly chop the pistachios and toast in the oven for 5-8 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool.

Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy. Whilst this is happening weigh the almonds, salt and baking powder together in a bowl and keep close to hand. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat with a fork until well mixed. Slowly add 1/3 of the egg into the butter and sugar mix and beat well to incorporate, then add a spoonful of the almond mix. Continue to add the egg and almonds in alterations until all incorporated. Divide the mixture between the 4 moulds and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inverted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

These cakes are best served warm, once they are cool enough to handle run a knife around the outside of the cake to loosen then invert onto a plate, sprinkle with a little ground pistachio (I ground mine in a coffee grinder- a new toy, massive excitement!)

blood orange and pistachio cakesblood orange pistachio cakes

So exotic Leicester wins again and I think I’ve ticked off all my winter food wishes this season. I’m ready for spring now, bring on the rhubarb…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Something for Sunday

Short film: I came across this short doc this week, about the artist Michael Paul Smith who creates detailed vintage-styled scenes of a fictional town from miniature models them and photographs the results. It’s a lovely story and fascinating to see the minute attention he pays to his designs

Instagram: Just started following SymmetryBreakfast today and I’m already obsessed. Although, I can’t help thinking you miss out by having the same thing while eating out – I suppose at least you won’t have food envy

Cinema: There’s a reason that critics have been going crazy over Whiplash – it’s just so brilliant. Great acting, great soundtrack, great cinematography – all building up to the last incredible scene – I wanted to instantly re-wind and watch it all again. Catch it in cinemas while you can!

Radio: I’ve been catching up on some podcasts recently, including 99% Invisible episode ‘Three Records From Sundown’- which is a must for anyone who loves singer-songwriter Nick Drake (or a great introduction for those who don’t know who he is!). Not only is it interesting, but it’s a beautifully crafted documentary. You can hear the podcast and read more about it here

Also check out This American Life episode ‘If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS’ – which starts with a gripping exchange between writer Lindy West and the one troll who has every apologised for targetting her online. Lindy also wrote about the experience in the Guardian this week

What recommendations do you have from the past week?

Tagged , , ,