Saturday, June 29, 2013

Descpicable nails

Ever since Olivia showed us a photo of these guys which one of her nail gurus did, we've been trying to get her to paint her nails this way. (For those of you without small children, these are the "minions" from the film Despicable Me - see below.)  In honour of the release of Despicable Me 2, here are Olivia's nails with 2 minions - she's not doing any more, just the two, as they are very tricky. 

But so cute!!

Go minions!

Dinner (Lunch), 29/6/13: Another bunch of stuff!

...some of it leftovers from last night's dinner. But in addition, we had

courgette and broad bean salad, 

asparagus pastries (with one with peppers as I had more pastry than asparagus) - this recipe was a doddle and I will definitely do it again - really really easy.

Spicy cucumber salad (a regular on our salad days)

potato and carrot tart (thanks again for the tip off to this one, Sharon).

And for desert, strawberry tart with what little remained of the vanilla ice cream from yesterday.  I may not need to eat for another week or so!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dinner: 28/6/13: Selection of Dishes...

...which I forgot to photograph, as we were having so much fun chatting...   My friend Karol-Ann and her mum (who is visiting from South Africa) came down from Yorkshire for the tennis and then came and stayed over with us.  We were joined by Lana, a friend who lives in my road, and her mum (who is visiting from Australia) and her kids (her husband was away for the weekend). I did feel like we were perhaps missing my own mum from this gathering (who would have been visiting from the US - see the connection?) but it was lovely nonetheless. I didn't get a photo of the dishes that Lana brought - a sausage and rice dish with tomatoes and a chickpea and chorizo thing with red wine - both of which were very yummy - but luckily, there were leftovers of the things I made, so I managed to photograph them after the fact...

Warm butterbean salad with bacon & carrots.

Chicken, new potato and artichoke salad.

Spinach and cheese frittata.

There was also lots of cheese and crackers to start (and finish) and some bread, and vanilla ice-cream

which again, I only managed to photograph after the fact...  And the fresh strawberries for the top of the ice-cream? Nope - but I'll let you in on a secret - they looked like strawberries...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dinner, 26/6/13: Teriyaki Pork with Stir-Fry Greens

From Slimming World Extra Easy All in One, with noodles added. And cashews. Geoff wasn't crazy about this, I think due to the citrus-y flavour of the sauce, but the rest of us liked it fine. The kale was very nice.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dinner, 25/6/13: Tagliatelli with pesto and green beans

...and crusty bread, of course!  Always a good way to use up half a jar of pesto (or in my case, two jars which were both less than half full - not sure quite how that happened!). Quick, easy, tasty.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Dinner, 24/6/13: Courgette and Potato Soup

I know, it doesn't look like courgette and potato soup with spring onions, it just looks like alien potatoes...  Can't believe I took a photo of the alien potatoes and forgot to take a photo of the actual soup.  You'll just have to trust me that it was yummy...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dinner, 23/6/13: Toad in the Hole, Cabbage, Gravy

The batter was a little thick on this toad in the hole (sausages cooked in a Yorkshire Pudding batter, for those of you who may be confused) - I think next time I may make individual ones and see how they come out!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A night with the Killers

As those of you who are friends with me on Facebook will probably have worked out, Sarah and I went to Wembley yesterday to see the Killers. We had pitch standing/unreserved seats tickets, and because I am a lovely mum and an extremely nice person all round, I agreed not only to spend a large quantity of the day queueing to get good seats (stands?) but to stand crammed in with a billion people on the pitch for the entirety of the concert. It was a long concert!  I don't think I'd bother to stand again - a bit hard on the old kneed, but the queueing wasn't so bad, and you could get very good seats if you got there early. We were, in the end VERY close to the stage - about 4 rows of people back from the barricades, at the start - by the end of the evening, we were a little further back but still very close. From where we were standing, Brandon Flowers was really really tall on the big screens (and pretty decent size in actual life). Through the whole show, we were actually close enough to see the facial expressions of the people on stage without looking at the screens. It was pretty cool.

These photos are courtesy of Sarah - my phone doesn't take fantastic photos; her's are much better. 

This is a view of the stadium in one song where they asked everyone to hold up their phones on a whitescreen (modern equivalent of lighters!). 

Here's where they shot out tons of confetti from the stage - the confetti was red foil K's and silver foil lightning bolts - yes, we took a few handfuls home with us (we got lots, because we were near the front). 

This is one of my favourite shots that Sarah took. I think this would make a great poster. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dinner, 21/6/13: Fusilli with Peppers and Courgettes

Sarah cooked tonight instead of her more usual Thursday as Geoff had gone out to lunch anyway yesterday, (Olivia and I both have classes on Thursday nights) and as Alex and I were out tonight (Cub Athlete Badge event) it made more sense for her to make the meal tonight. This recipe is from Gino's Pasta and apparently, was very nice. There seems to be some leftover in the fridge, so I might give it a try for lunch tomorrow - it was after 9pm by the time I got home and I didn't fancy it - I had an omelette...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dinner, 19/6/13: Lamb, Ginger and Broccoli Stir Fry

Nice. From Slimming World extra easy all in one cookbook. Most stir fries don't seem to use lamb, but it was a nice change, and went well with the broc.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dinner, 18/6/13: Chicken, Spinach and Lentil Coconut Curry

And sweet potato, too. Funny sometimes how something that's a main ingredient in a dish isn't in the name of it, isn't it!  This is a Good Food recipe, but I didn't find it on their website. It was tasty, though!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Strawberry Tart

The one dessert I get begged for repeatedly from the start of strawberry season until the bitter end. I always make it once, sometimes more. It's not hard!  Also called Strawberry Glace Pie...  And I have a feeling my mother's cookbook when I was growing up called it Strawberry Triumph Pie but perhaps that was something else...

Norths in parks

After lunch, we packed up the kids (both literally, and figurative - my adult nephews and husband, as you'll see in a moment, were nearly as silly as the actual children!)  and headed to Morden Hall Park for a walk. The weather was ok, but not glorious, which was actually a good thing, as it meant we were able to park easily. 

In addition to admiring the scenery and having a walk, there was a fair bit of mucking around.  Most of it, on bridges. No one got wet in the end - not sure if this is a good result or a bad one!

Lunch, 16/6/13: Fresh Lasagne with Pesto

I had fully intended to do "before and after" shots of this lasagne, but we had my nephews over for lunch (visiting from Australia - on the way to catching up to their folks, who were here last weekend) and we totally forgot the "after" shot.  So you are stuck with before! Anyway, it was yummy - we served it with a salad and garlic bread. There wasn't a scrap left.  Here's the recipe on the Good Food website.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dinner, 15/6/13: Carribbean Chicken

This was a lovely, spicy dish - a little too spicy for Sarah, who likes moderately spicy stuff, but nothing stronger than that. It had a Scotch Bonnet chili in it - just one, but that was enough.  She agreed that the flavour was great, though - it was just a little too much heat for her.

The rice is cooked with the chicken (after a while) and then the beans added in the end - it's a nice, one-pot meal, although it does require marinating beforehand, so you need to be a little organised. The recipe is from a book called Good Housekeeping's Favourite One-Pot and Slow-Cooked meals.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dinner, 14/6/13: Pasta bake with pancetta and minced pork

Forgot to photograph this before we ate - in fact, this is the cold leftovers which I had to take out of the fridge.  This was ok, not very exciting - one of those which looked better in the picture than it was in reality. It wasn't bad, just not fantastic - we have pretty high standards for meals in our house!  From the book Gino's Pasta.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dinner, 11/6/13: Salmon Laksa

A recipe from a Slimming World Cookbook - can't find it online, sorry. We've had some other laksa type dishes - this is the best of the lot so far, although some of the others were just vegetarian, so more suitable if you are feeding non-meat-eaters...

In the pan...

some noodles...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dinner, 10/6/13: Bits and pieces

A typical Monday evening meal, composed of something quick which can (if necessary) be eaten at different times by different members of the family, as the kids all go different directions on a Monday... This meal was leftovers from yesterday's lunch feast, as well as some oven chips, little hot dogs and some tinned beans. Ecclectic, but easy.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Community Day at Claremont Gardens

After our lunch with Stuart and Susie, we decided to go out somewhere and have a walk around - somewhere close by and relatively inexpensive - so we chose Claremont Landscape Gardens, which is just 20 minutes or so down the road (when there's no traffic) and a National Trust property, which means that as members, we don't have to pay to get in.  As it happened, when we arrived, we discovered that they were having a Community Day, and that admission was free for all, which made it even less expensive!

Here's a nest in the lake - this bird looks cosy...

There were lots of rhododendrons in bloom still (it's a late spring).

We always enjoy the view from the top of the ampitheatre down across the lake. It's nice from the far side of the lake, up across the ampitheatre as well, but I forgot to take that shot!

Random wildflower!

One of the special events for Community Day was a birds of prey demo - we arrived just at the end of that, but we still had a chance to see some of the birds 

and to stroke the tawny owl. 

This fellow is a Siberian Eagle Owl, and is huge!  

There were also people doing chainsaw carving

including a number of owls

and a couple of throne-like chairs. 

Not a lot of flowers in bloom besides the rhododendrons, but I did like these iris at the water's edge, especially in front of the purple...

There was also a group there demonstrating archery and letting you have a go for a small fee. Alex had a fantastic shot - the one in the centre!

Olivia also had a go - not quite so fortunate as Alex, but still not bad!