so tomorrow i fly to houston for a friend's wedding. she and her husband are having a traditional indian wedding commencing this evening with her mehndi party. sadly i can't make it down for that, but will be there this time tomorrow in the sunshine. my sari that i ordered several weeks ago is still in jaipur. sigh. even with the best will in the world it isn't going to get to me in time for saturday night's reception. now i have to decide what to wear...for the actual wedding ceremony (that starts at 8am saturday - in a temple, so covered shoulders), the evening reception...and tomorrow night's cocktail party. 3 outfits in 2 days. my dream. or so i thought until i realised i have to i) choose the outfits not to mention the accessories and shoes and ii) pack it all it into a carry-on bag. mission impossible. photos will come in around 3 weeks - after houston we fly to england for 10 days...for the scottish wedding (no outfit for that either, dramarama).
it was rodrigo's 7th birthday yesterday and as is fitting, he got to choose his birthday supper. he chose hamburgers. made by his mum no less. they were huge and tasty. he also got a book called walter the farting dog. excellent. even better (in his eyes) was getting the bible. not the st james version, no. rather it was the limited edition 3 in 1 book of all the Indiana Jones films, complete with photographs of a very young harrison ford. he is learning english and so he will be fluent in epic adventure-speak in no time. i didn't have a favourite birthday meal per se, but i got a black forest gateau cake every birthday as a child. not sure why one would give a child an alcohol-laden cake rather than a chocolate one with smarties, but that's another story.
A television vet has won an award from a charity backed by David Attenborough for her work rescuing mountain gorillas in Uganda. watch the video here.. Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is already known to many UK and US television viewers through her appearances in the BBC documentaries Vets in the Wild and Gladys the African vet. She won the £60,000 Whitley Gold prize for the health and conservation project she is running in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, northern Uganda – one of the last strongholds of endangered mountain gorillas. The project is not only treating sick gorillas but reducing the risk of cross-infection risks between apes and people, while allowing villagers to benefit from increased gorilla tourism. Grassroots conservation groups in six other countries also won cash awards including a project to protect elephants while working with rice farmers in Sri Lanka, encouraging more sustainable methods of agriculture in Kenya and protecting migratory birds in Bulgaria. Edward Whitley, the founder of the award, said: "The DNA of people and gorillas is so similar that many diseases cross readily between them. With her work, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is not only reducing the risk of gorillas falling prey to human ailments but she is also improving the lives of local people, by offering them better healthcare, greater knowledge of their gorilla neighbours and more opportunities to benefit from gorilla tourism without harm to the apes." i grew up addicted to david attenborough wildlife programmes, especially Life on Earth - and having visited the gorillas at Bwindi last year, this is close to my heart.
on the terrace...it was lunch but we started later than usual at 5.30pm... the first grill of the summer. we began with chicharrones, guacamole and quesadillas. followed by caldo de camorones served in a shot glass. main course was short ribs, sausages, flank steak and salad...and we ended with tangerine sorbet and fruit.
chef g made lobster linguine...surprisingly simple... lobster tails, fresh tomatoes, seasoning, stock, and that's about it. delicious. it was the first perfect night to eat outside too.
i have a thing for mini kitchen utensils...this is just a snapshot of a couple... you can't really tell but even the chopping board is mini.
half cup of pine nuts half cup extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves peeled chopped garlic 1 cup basil leaves, chopped 1 cup parsley leaves half tsp fresh ground pepper 1 tsp salt 1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed using a food processor, whizz up the pine nuts, parsley and basil. add the garlic cloves and lemon juice. whizz again, this time slowly pouring in the olive oil as you go.... scrape the sides down regularly. add salt and pepper to taste. i used parsley and basil from the garden (both plants are now bald).
there are numerous schools of thought on how to make perfect french fries, but after some reading up we found the most popular method was to double fry them. i used russet potatoes. for two people, i sliced up 4 large russets, and used a deep fat fryer with inbuilt thermometer. Method: Peel potatoes. Cut the potatoes into 1/3-inch slices and then slice into 1/3-inch sticks. Fill a large bowl with water and soak potatoes, submerged, for at least 30 minutes up to 24 hours. This will help remove the excess starch from the potatoes and keep them from oxidizing. I added several handfuls of ice to keep them extra cool. Heat a heavy stock pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer or a deep fat fryer with oil to 325 degrees F. Remove potatoes from the water, and pat dry to remove excess water. Add 2 handfuls of potatoes to hot oil. There should be at least 1-inch of oil above the potatoes. Par cook until potatoes are light brown, 5 to 7 minutes - they will be floppy and limp. Remove potatoes, gently shaking off excess oil and let drain on rack. Repeat until all of the potatoes are par cooked. Raise heat of oil to 350 degrees F. Cook potatoes again, 2 handfuls at a time, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from oil, shake off excess oil, and season lightly in a bowl with salt and pepper. Repeat until all potatoes are cooked. the fries looked great but to be honest weren't crispy. next time i think i will find a recipe with some kind of crispiness tip in it. they say the temperature is key - too low and the fries will be soggy - i think our temp was perfect and the fries were definitely not soggy - but they lacked that crispiness.
2 cups chicken stock 1 whole shallot 1 cup of sliced or cubed shiitake mushrooms 1 sprig oregano 1 carrot julienned 1 stick celery 1 thinly sliced shallot 1/2 cup of fresh peas salt pepper chicken bouillon powder handful of fresh watercress handful of fresh spinach bring the chicken stock to boil, add the mushrooms, stick of celery, the oregano, the whole shallot, salt and pepper. leave for 2 hours on simmer. add chicken bouillon powder to taste. remove the vegetables but leave the mushrooms. set aside until ready to heat and serve. just before serving, add the sliced shallot, carrots, watercress, spinach and peas...cook for about 2 mins and then serve.
spring vegetables consomme... home made french fries... skirt steak with caramelised shallots... i have been busy with work, and trying to find 2 wedding guest outfits. dramarama. having sent 2 dresses back and settled on a sari from india, the saga continues and i am still dress-less for both weddings...