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12 posts categorized "Food and Drink"

07 March 2013

Meyer Lemon and Rosemary Posset


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Last year we planted a little Meyer lemon tree at the south side of our house by a sheltered wall. 

There had been a citrus bush there when we moved to the house, so we knew one could grow outside, but it hadn’t survived the recent snowy winters. This winter on the other hand has been extraordinarily mild, so we were rewarded with a bumper crop of lemons from our new baby.


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Sssssh all of you folks in California, stop laughing. Words cannot explain how proud we were of the little Meyer Lemon Tree That Could. This is the frozen North after all.

For those of you in the UK, Meyer lemons are an intriguing fruit, which I had never come across before moving here. Thought to be a cross between a traditional lemon and a mandarin, they are softer, sweeter, less acidic and a slightly deeper yellow than a traditional lemon, and therefore highly prized for dessert making within their short season.  Meyer lemons can be replaced by traditional lemons whenever you see them in a recipe.

Anyway, I wanted a recipe where my one tiny lemon would be the feature ingredient rather than being an afterthought and was given a simple and but glorious one by a lovely Facebook friend.

This is deceptively simple but utterly delicious. Your next dinner party is crying out for this dessert.


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A posset is a traditional English dessert where cream is heated and then slightly curdled by the application of an acid, such as lemon juice or wine, so that it sets. The infusion of rosemary adds an intriguing savoury undertone that marries perfectly with the lemon.




Serves 4

2 cups (approx 500 ml)) heavy/double cream

2/3 cup (90g) organic sugar

1 sprig fresh rosemary

5 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice or any fresh organic lemon juice




Bring the cream and sugar to boiling point in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the rosemary. Remember that the boiling point of cream is much lower than that of water, so take care that it doesn’t boil over.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the lemon juice and stir and allow  the mixture to cool for 15 minutes. Remove and discard rosemary. Pour into 4 ramekins or glasses.

Chill until set, about 4 hours.


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19 April 2012

My Hidden New York


OK chaps.  There's another limo waiting to take you to the airport. Places to see and people to do and all that. This time we're off to New York, New York!

I was also delighted to meet Tina at Holly Becker’s NYC workshop. She works for a very well-known interior designer in NYC and has a great eye. Her blog is also very special, full of unusual and creative products and ideas she comes across in her day to day life, so I thought she'd make the perfect guide to the city that never sleeps.  She’s lived in New York for six years now, so you know her recommendations will take you off the beaten tourist path. I want to do another weekend in New York immediately, just to try them out.

Hello mirrormirror readers! My name is Tina Ramchandani and I run the design blog Life in Sketch. I am an interior designer and I live and work in New York, New York. On my blog I focus on all aspects of design as well as highlighting places I visit and travel to. Since I live in one of the best cities in the world, I have tons of spotlights, right here in NYC. Today I'm going to share with you some of my favorite New York City spots. I have a few places to eat, shop and hang out, picked out for you. Hope you love them as much as I do!


To Hang:


One of my favorite things to do is attend the How I Learned series by Blaise Allysen Kearsley. It's held once a month, usually on a Wednesday, at Happy Ending, at 302 Broome Street. If you are in town when the series is being held, you must go! It's a hilarious event where writers, comedians and other New Yorkers discuss their personal stories about the topic of the day. My very first time attending, the topic was "How I Learned to Live in New York". I can't explain how insanely funny it was. I was hooked!


On a Sunday night, the best thing to do is to head over to Upright Citizen's Brigade and watch the Asssscat show. UCB is an improvisational theatre and school that offers affordable classes and shows, which has never failed me. I have friends that have taken classes there, and every single show I have has left me in tears (from laughing so hard, obviously). The Asssscat show is the best of the best and often features comedians you love, that star in 30 Rock, The Office, SNL and more. There is a 7:30 show, which is $10 and a 9:30 show, which is free, but be prepared to wait in line as reservations are not accepted. I promise, you will not be disappointed.


This might seem odd, but I love the IKEA ferry! The ferry, run by New York Water Taxi, sails from South Street Seaport to Red Hook everyday. It's kind of amazing actually. You get on this ferry, virtually for free, and get a short tour of the East River. You leave from Pier 11 in southern Manhattan and get to see Jersey City, Ellis Island, Governor's Island and finally Brooklyn. I always run straight to the top of the boat where you get to sit outside and enjoy the view. The boat leaves every 40 minutes. On Mondays through Fridays, the cost is $5 but if you purchase something from IKEA you get your money back. Just be sure to present your receipt when you check out. On Saturdays and Sundays the ferry is free. When you're done you get to hop on the ferry back. It's a wonderful way to spend a few hours.



To Shop:


There are tons of bookstores here in New York and it's hard to narrow down my favorite. But I had to do it for you and so I will say that Housing Works Bookstore is at the top of my list. Housing Works' goal is to help people affected with HIV and AIDS. In addition to the bookstore, Housing Works has an online shop and a few thrift stores around the city where you can purchase home goods and clothing. 100% of all profits are used to help those that need it. The bookstore is located at 126 Crosby Street and the selection of books is immense. There is a cafe inside with plenty of seating and they encourage you to sit and hang out! That is rare these days. If you needed another selling point - there are book events almost every day of the week.


If I am looking to treat myself or get a one of a kind gift for a friend, I always go to Treasure & Bond. Each item is specifically picked for the New York City downtown market ranging from scented candles, stationery, to clothing and accessories. I recently purchased a PopUp Paris candle from here, that may have a hidden diamond inside! There is a huge benefit to shopping at this store as well. 100% of all profits go to charities benefiting children in NYC.


To Eat:


My favorite chef is Jehangir Mehta and I am lucky to have his two restaurants extremely close by. One is within walking distance of my apartment, Mehtaphor, located in Tribeca. The other, Graffiti, is located in the East Village. While both menus are similar, there are items on each you can't resist. Jehangir's signature is a flavorful modern Indian food. If you go to Graffiti you will notice that he cooks in a 50 square foot kitchen, which we all know is hard to do! Both locations serve my favorite dish, the Graffiti burger, which you must try.


For dessert I always go to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. This place is fantastic. It has traditional and modern Chinese ice cream flavors, and it has been open since 1978! It's one of Chinatown's oldest businesses and it's definitely a place the neighbors love. My flavor of choice is black sesame, but it sells out quickly so if you want it, you have to get there early. The shop is open late so I usually end up stumbling in after a long day and I miss all the black sesame. All the flavors are super tasty, you can't really go wrong. It is located on 65 Bayard Street.

There are so many places that I discover every day, it's hard to just pick a few to share with you. I'm really lucky and I get to see tons of super cool stuff all the time, so if you stay tuned you'll be learning about more NYC gems. I hope you've enjoyed my spotlights today!


28 October 2010

Food Ninja Competition – Vote for ME!




Pretty please?

So voting has opened in the Food Ninja competition.  If you’d like to see me tick the item ‘Win Something – Anything’ off my 101 Things list then please go here and vote, vote, VOTE.  (Actually you should go there anyway, because there are some fabulous blog posts, recipes and photos to browse).

My ‘Peperoncini and Melanzane’ blogpost is entered in the blog post category.  If you don’t vote, you know I’ll be bugging you again and again for some competition or other over the next three years until I finally win something, so why not get it over and done with now? You know it makes sense.

And yes, I hugely appreciate it.  I’ll try and come up with some special celebratory recipe by way of a thank you.

19 July 2010

Fancy Hotel of the Week – Hotel du Clos




On this particular trip we didn’t set out to stay in fancy boutique-y hotels  - our criteria were mostly cost, space for us and the Minx and proximity to beautiful locations, but we really lucked out with the first hotel we stayed in, booked at the very last minute through Splendia, a website specialising in characterful hotels.

The Hotel du Clos is in the little postcard-perfect village of Le Rouret, about 15 minutes from Grasse and 25 minutes from Nice and the bustle of the Riviera, and so a perfect place to relax after our long transatlantic flight to Nice (via Amsterdam).




The hotel – and this is the reason I loved it so – combines the very best in traditional French charm and style with the odd touch of whimsy here and there, which made everything seem lighthearted, modern and fun and added oodles of character. Though frankly the buildings were so beautiful that additional character seemed almost unnecessary.

The rooms are each individually decorated, the staff were absolutely delightful and extremely welcoming to the Minx, and the same people who own the hotel also own a fabulous Michelin-starred restaurant, five minutes away in the village. So, I really can’t recommend this one highly enough.


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The bedroom featured the most beautiful fireplace and was  decorated in those overlapping shades of dove grey that the French do so well.






  I loved the wall sticker of ‘books’ stacked up on the bedside table









the Roman faces fabric on the cushions and curtains


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and the Perspex angel light fitting above our bed (with another angel peeking out in the bathroom).





The traditional Provencal garden – fragrant with roses, jasmine and lavender -  was a big hit with a certain someone, who particularly loved the fabulously UNtraditional sculpture lurking among the olive trees.


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We ate epic breakfasts every morning on the beautiful terrace



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- the fromage blanc with rose syrup was a particularly big hit.




In the mornings when I woke early through jetlag, I would knit on our balcony shaded by an ancient olive tree and listen to the sound of church bells and the kids singing in the school next door. 


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After breakfast we would head to the small but delightful stone pool, made particularly elegant by the use of very dark green tiles, which made it fit much more naturally into the garden landscape.




And we all appreciated little touches such as the antique jelly moulds used as keyrings (and were sad not to get one of the three bears)




and the papier mache cow in the reception area. 



More photos from the Hotel du Clos, Le Rouret and Grasse, on my Flickr here.

I’m back. Sort of normal service will be resumed, though it’s school vacation and a busy time for ‘mirrormirror’ so other things also need to take priority. I’ve been missing you though.

20 April 2010

Some More Photography Links




We’ll be going back to Palm Springs later this week, but I wanted to get these links out there today in case anyone wants to sign up for tomorrow’s CreativeLIVE course (see below).

I’m on a bit of a crusade at the moment to take my photography to the next level. I’m feeling very photographically frustrated as all I can see when I process my photos are the flaws, and other peoples’ work still seems so much better than mine.

I’m not even quite sure why I want to get good – I have no aspirations to be a professional photographer - but it’s going to be useful for mirrormirror photography if nothing else, and it should make the photos on the blog a bit prettier.

The first thing I’ve been doing is listening in to CreativeLIVE’s course on the Fundamentals of Digital Photography, taught by John Greengo. The course is given as as a 10 week series of weekly video lectures and the best thing about it is that it’s FREE, as long as you tune in to watch the video at the appointed time. It’s also interactive, with questions taken via the website and Twitter and there is the opportunity to buy all the videos so you can refer to them when it’s convenient.

The course so far has been a bit waffly – though it was bound to be frustrating when I’m sitting watching them at 11 am on a Wednesday surround by stacks things To Do – but every so often Greengo will come out with a really useful nugget of information that makes the investment in time worthwhile. It would probably be even more useful for someone who’s just starting with their SLR as he really does get down to basics. Week Three is tomorrow (Weds 21st), so I’m also hoping that now we’ve got all the introductory stuff out of the way, there’ll be lots of real meat going forward. Overall I do highly recommend this, especially as it’s FREE. (CreativeLIVE’s other courses also look like they could be worthwhile – might even sign up for the watercolour one).


IMG_5780Last Saturday I also attended a workshop on Natural Food Styling and Photography with Seattle-based photographer Lara Ferroni.  The workshops cost around $100 each but with only six people attending and the opportunity to work in Lara’s amazing new downtown Seattle studio space Spare Room they are worth their weight in gold.

Lara showed us lots of good stuff about manipulating lighting, ideas on composition and clever food styling tricks  and it was fun to choose our own props from her prop-laden shelves to practise styling our own shoots. The above shot is of a wonderful rhubarb crostino that Lara prepared (waiting to get hold of the recipe for that, it tasted as good as it looked). I can’t wait to start using some of the things I learned going forward (the shots for flapjack recipe were done before I’d done the course).

I’m also going to be doing her workshop in Low Light Food Photography on May 17th if anyone wants to meet up there. Lara also writes a really useful blog about food styling and photography called Still Life With…

Finally the world and his wife has been raving about the new Hipstamatic app for the iPhone.  My very first camera was a little Kodak Instamatic which I loved to pieces. I haven’t played with the app much yet, but I’m loving it so far.





UPDATE:  Just want to make clear that the CreativeLIVE course is based in Seattle but available to watch wherever you are in the world. Just make sure you tune in at the right time for your time zone (you can calculate that on their website).

The Food Styling workshops are located in Seattle, so mostly for local peeps (though for the last one someone had driven down from Vancouver to attend).

05 April 2010

A Fun Family Easter


An egg as big as the Minx’s head




Some Easter eggs we made instead




(Remember when I fondly imagined the Minx and I following Martha’s instructions for tasteful natural egg dyes? Yeah right. Naive is not the word. This year’s egg dying kit from the drugstore was entitled ‘Bright & Shiny.’)


Some chocolate cupcakes made that day


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(Chocolate sour cream cupcakes with chocolate buttercream. The Minx was in charge of chicks, Cadbury’s Mini Eggs and sprinkles. Prize Easter cupcake wrappers from Bella Cupcake Couture.)


We opened the ‘Crack Mes’ and shouted ‘hooray’! (Still can’t get over how exquisite these were, and the Minx managed to get one with a HOMEMADE. PAPER. DAFFODIL inside).




We went out for brunch and a movie too. (Both highly recommended).

We had tons of fun, what about you?

Sorry, I’m still in doggerel mode after the ‘Easter Bunny’ put together a hugely successful rhyming clues Easter egg hunt for the Minx. You have never seen two parents more ridiculously proud of their little selves than we were. Sad I know.

14 October 2009


Or fences that grow apples.


Look what we’ve been picking recently!  Small, perfectly formed, and just the right size for the Minx’s lunchbox.

090I first got the idea to use espaliered apple trees as fences when we visited the tulip festival back in 2007 and they’d used them to fence in the car park.















Here are our two just planted espaliers to the left of the picture below back when the garden was new in August 2007.


That first year they sure did look pretty but the one apple they produced was eaten by our garden squirrel.



This year, however, look what we got.



The extremely cool thing about these espaliers – as you can just about see from the picture above -  is that each of the four branches has a different variety of apple on it.  The Gala and Granny Smith apples in the top picture both came off the same tree.

13 August 2009

Little Bo Peep

Funnily enough one of the things I miss most about England is sheep.  There is something so very quintessentially English and homey and comforting about a windswept hillside dotted with fluffy white blobs – a sight I don’t think I’ve ever seen in America, the land of the cow.

Lamb here is an exotic meat - tucked into a corner of the supermarket at the end of the huge counters displaying every possible cut of beef, chicken and pork, and viewed with some suspicion.  It’s rarely on the menu in restaurants, I’ve never had it served by American friends in their homes, and a waiter once told me that I may not like a lamb dish because the lamb taste might be ‘too strong’.

Anyway, I like this story, because it is so very English, so very charming and so very sheepy.  Vegetarians may be aghast to note that not only did sheepbreeder Louise Fairburn make her wedding dress from the fleece of her Lincoln Longwool sheep, but she served lamb from her flock to her guests.




Full article here, {via Rose-Kim Knits}

17 June 2009


The good news. THIS is what you get when record-breaking rainfall in the early part of May is followed by a month of continuous unbroken sunshine and temps in mid to high 70s.




The bad news. These pics were taken from an upstairs window and the tree is so big we will hardly be able to get any of these.  Any ideas on how to get these little beauties down and into our gaping mouths?

21 May 2009

Adventures in Knitting - Spring Things

My knitting seems to be following a springtime theme at the moment.

I managed to persuade the Minx that she'd like a little shrug in, horror of horrors, SPRING GREEN (and not her favourite colours of red or hot pink) by promising to embellish it with little pink beads.  If I'd been left to my own devices I would probably have used lilac, aqua or white beads, or more probably still, saved myself a whole lot of trouble and not used any beads at all.


Most importantly though, the Minx herself seems delighted with the result and may actually deign to wear it. I'm not convinced a modelling career beckons though.

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I'm also working on a crochet scarf for me. I like this as it looks fiendishly difficult but is actually pretty basic (it has to be as it's only the second thing I've ever crotcheted).


The beauty mostly comes from the Noro Silk Garden yarn.  I love watching the yarn unfold in all its different colours and textures. It sort of makes me want to take up spinning and dyeing in all my copious free time (ha ha!).


Apologies for the light posting recently.  Life has been a getting in the way a bit. For those readers who consider the approach of summer to be an excuse for excessive drinking rather than excessive crocheting, may I point you in the direction of my latest post on Shelterrific, where I attempt to educate the US in the ways of Pimms.

18 January 2009

They're Back!


Pssssst! All Seattle readers. The Obama cupcakes are back at Trophy Cupcakes for your inauguration celebrations.

28 October 2008

United Colours of Vancouver


I really, really, REALLY 'heart' Vancouver.  We last visited about thirteen years ago, and can't quite believe it's taken us this long to go back.  And yes, the weather really was something else.

More piccies here and here. There is something indefinably and wonderfully European about Vancouver which we couldn't quite put our finger on. Something to do with the width of the streets, the number of pedestrians and the lack of a dirty great freeway carving through the centre of the city.  We can also highly recommend the Agro Cafe' on Granville Island and Raincity Grill for one of the best meals I've had in North America.