Sunday, 25 November 2012

What to eat today - Sausage, kale and flageolet cassoulet

I don't know about you, but in our household on a Sunday, there are three things that happen without fail.

1. Extra hot lattes and honey toast in bed
2. A dash to the shops to get the Sunday Times AND
3. No matter what the weather, something will be put on the stove to cook and bubble away filling the house with delicious and comforting aromas. 

This particular recipe, from Leon, is just gorgeous. I can't claim to have discovered it myself - but when I tasted it for the first time, I knew it would become a Sunday fave (thanks Nick and Fi). For starters, I love anything with sausages and beans, throw in kale and crispy bread and I am sold!

Sausage, kale and flageolet cassoulet Photograph: Tricia de Courcy Ling for the Guardian

Serves 4

2 tins cooked flageolets beans (you can use others, I have used butter beans and they are just as good)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500g sausages (cumberland or toulouse), cut into 2.5cm chunks
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 heaped tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small red onions, cut into large chunks
800ml chicken stock
75ml double cream
300g kale (woody stalks removed), chopped into 5cm pieces
Small handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Crispy bread - ciabatta or a french baguette 

  1. Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based casserole dish and fry the sausage pieces until golden brown
  2. Add the garlic and rosemary, then turn down the heat and stir in the onions. 
  3. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 15 minutes until the onions are soft and lightly browning, giving the occasional stir.
  4. Pour in the chicken stock, add the beans and season.
  5. Bring to a relaxed simmer and cook for around 20 minutes, skimming as necessary. 
  6. I add a bit of lemon zest in here, but that is up to you
  7. Stir in the cream and kale and mix well, then simmer for 10 minutes with a lid on and another 10 minutes without. 
  8. Adjust the seasoning and finish with the chopped parsley.
  9. Serve with crispy bread and a buttery white chardonnay ... mmm

Happy Sunday y'all 

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Photo a day - October

October is my absolute favourite month in the whole year... it reminds me of being a kid again. From the change in season - the crisp feeling in the air - to kicking up the Autumn leaves and the excitement of Halloween, sparkling nights,  mulled wine and fireworks - it all just makes me feel happy. I guess it's also partly down to October being birthday season in my family - one of which is mine.. and also my beautiful Pleasure Treasure counterpart. We are two days apart which always gives us an excuse for two double date dinners (love) AND two parties (double love)!

However,  more of that to come in later posts. For now, this is just a little reminder to say get ready for the new October 'photo a day' challenge from Chantelle, the fab mummy blogger behind Fat Mum Slim

Remember this month the hashtag is slightly different - it's fmsphotoaday - good luck, enjoy and happy snapping.

To read more about how it works or inspiration and ideas go to Fat Mum Slim.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

In the bag - holiday reading

I love reading, but for some reason I never seem to get time to do it in my busy work week (something I am working on). On the odd occasions that I  manage to get to bed as early as possible to read - I get half way through a chapter and bang - I fall asleep. So, if it's a school night I tend to stick to cook books (I have a pile by my bed ALWAYS), online newspapers and the odd interior design magazine.

HOWEVER, as soon as I am on holiday I relish nothing more than, lying by the pool or beach and getting stuck into a good book or two - as does my husband, who on holiday is dubbed the Constant Reader. So, this Friday, as I am jetting off on holiday and don't want to be bored waiting for the Constant Reader to finish his chapter in time to get me another cocktail, I have chosen a few books to have in my bag for both on the plane and by pool. I'm not sure about you, but I like to have a bit of a mix - one serious, one not so serious and then a couple of wild cards... this is what I have in my bag this holiday ... what's in yours?

The inspirational one: Build a business from your kitchen    
Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker

Now I never win anything... .A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G - so when I won this much coveted book in a blog contest, I literally back flipped in my living room! And ever since I have been dying to read it! It follows the story of the two fantastic and inspiring women who founded one of my favourite sites - My dream has always been to be my own boss, run my own business and have something to be proud of, so this one is my inspirational read. 

The saucy/naughty one: Fifty Shades Trilogy  
E L James 
Ok ok ok, now I know I am VERY late onto this bandwagon, but for some reason this book has just not appealed to me at all. However, I've never been one to sit on the sidelines and not give something a go, so I thought - why the hell not. I have read review after review - some good, some bad, some downright hilarious - but will approach this trilogy poolside, with an open mind and a cold glass of vino in hand... 

The 'incase Fifty Shades doesn't work out one': How to be a woman Caitlin Moran

I have only heard good things about this book - one word - excited!

The can't live without one: Red Magazine 

So it's not a exactly a book - but it's my holiday and my rules. No long haul flight is  complete without my monthly bible - Red Magazine. From fashion to beauty, food and the excellent Alpha Male column by Rosie Green (who the Constant Reader thinks is actually my alter ego) - nothing makes the post chicken or beef option more bearable! To be read with a glass of wine before the in flight movie. 

What's your reading style? And what kind of books do you take on holiday with you? We'd love to know. xx

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Champagne Friday

Wishing you all a lovely, champagne-filled weekend xx

In the bag: What to take to the Olympics

We've got it in the bag: Olympics fever

We've got it in the bag: Olympics fever by nkirkmartin featuring a union jack umbrella

We are super excited about the Olympics - London is at fever pitch! The Opening Ceremony was absolutely spectacular and the Games have gone off with a bang - 2 weeks of fun ahead (hopefully in the sun...).

There are strict rules about what you can and can't bring in to the venues - similar to going through airport security, there are restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels. Having watched the tennis and volleyball, we thought we'd compile a short list of the things you don't want to be without:

Umbrella (a small one - golf umbrellas are banned)
Camera (to capture those Olympic moments)
Sunglasses (for when the sun decides to show its face!)
Purse (for coins and cards)
Scarf (to keep you warm and double up as a flag - go Team GB!)
Sun cream (200ml or less)
Empty water bottle (you can fill it up at the events)
Chewing gum (to keep you fresh)
Antibacterial wipes (for emergencies)

The less you take, the better, but whatever you do, don't forget your tickets!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

What to wear - The L B C

Say what you will about Kim Kardashian, but that girl knows how to work her curves! When I saw this photo of her on a beach in Hawaii it made me think - YESSSS - that's it! Everyone should have an LBC (Little Black Costume) in their wardrobes.

Kim Kardashian in her LBC 

As I have a holiday on the horizon I decided instead of going in search of the perfect bikini, which can also be quite a tiresome experience for some (ME) - I was gonna get me a LBC!

Bearing in mind it is end of summer in the UK and most of the stores are full of Autumn/Winter stock and EMPTY of any holiday gear. Anyhow, as I am convinced of the longevity of this addition to my closet - I decided to splurge on it.  Just like its equally sassy cousin the LBD - this is something that just WON'T date.

Jessika Allen for Jets 

Are you switching from separates to a one-piece? Let me know your thoughts?


Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Big 'Three Oh'

Right, so 2012 is a big year. Not only is there the Olympics, Paralympics, Diamond Jubilee celebrations and all that jazz, but ... for me it is also the year of THE BIG THREE OH (shudder).

I still can't really believe 30 years have gone by so quickly, I do still feel about 23 - at a push maybe 25. Anyway, turning 30 isn't actually that scary. It's actually a good time to take a look life and take stock. A chance to think is this where I wanted to be by now? Am I on the right track? To look at what I have achieved and to be proud and then look forward.

Anyway, as my big day is a few months off, I thought I would share a post from one of my best childhood friends, fellow blogger and just all round amazing girl, on her big Three Oh moment. 

Nicki Dadic, the beauty and brains behind the One of the Boys blog has shared her life with us through her excellent and funny mummy blog for a few years now.  I love her down to earth and very open approach to sharing her thoughts and experiences of being a mum - no sugar coating - this girl is REAL and she writes it how it is. We're not the only ones who love her, Nicki has been up for Mummy blogger awards galore and this month is featured in SA's Fair Lady! So I am proud to welcome her and share her '30 days to Thirty' post with you.. enjoy.

Nicki is wife to David, mum to super cute Luca and Mika, digital marketing and social media gal, full-time Gleek, part-time blogger, Wine Gum addict and eternal optimist.

That’s right, in 30 days I will be THIRTY!

I’m not dreading it. I’m not worried about it. In fact, I am, and have been for a while, looking forward to it!

I’ve always felt like I’d be taken more seriously at 30. That I’d REALLY be an adult at 30 … says the woman who’s just bought her SECOND home, has TWO children and has been married for FOUR years and with her HUSBAND for almost TEN years. Yes, being 30 is what makes me an adult

Anyway, after my visit a couple of weeks ago with Rosemary, the incredible Astro-Coach who works out of Moemas every Thursday, I felt even more excited about reaching this notable milestone. Rosemary talked about my first Saturn return being a very important time in my life in particular. Where many may become depressed about their impending adulthood at the age of thirty because previous years have been misspent or even wasted, I feel that my turning 30 will only magnify the great successes that I have already achieved, giving me guidance as to where I’m going for the next 30 years.

I always said that I wanted to have had my children before I turn 30 … DONE! I want my 30s to be the beginnning of new and profound experiences for me. I want to start making a difference. I want to make these differences close to home as well as in the homes and hearts of others.

By signing up to be a donor (and very quickly selected as a donor by a recipient) with Nurture, I feel that these experiences are well on their way. I am SO excited to be doing this – to be making such a huge difference in someone’s life! 

Closer to home, I want to be a better wife and a better mother. I want to cook more (especially healthy, homemade food), bake more (starting with the peanut butter cookies I’ve been dreaming about lately), sing more, dance more. Be spontaneous. Spend more Sunday mornings snuggled up watching cartoons. I want to spend more time with my children, teaching them whatever they want to know. I want to forget about the petty things that may have annoyed me in the past and move on, worrying more about how my family are and what they need from me.

I want to (and this is already in progress) run! I have committed to the #RunSoweto10km in November and I am slowly making progress to this goal. I’m not sure I’d ever have the physical or mental strength to run the insane distances people like Tanya do, but I’ll do what my body allows me to. Don’t get me wrong … I’ll push my body, but I am learning to respect it too. Look what it’s given me! 

My two perfect, beautiful, intelligent and incredible little boys. Thank you, body. I LOVE YOU AND I APPRECIATE YOU! 

So yes … I believe (I’m hoping) that the return of MY Saturn will bring new, positive and life-changing adventures. 

And that was the “heavy” part of this post  

NOW I’m going to get on with the fun part: my birthday list! Hop over to Nicki's blog to see her birthday list in photos!

I have never been big on wearing a watch. I mean, I love them … I’ve just never had a watch that I could wear ALL the time. I saw this GORGEOUS Thomas Sabo watch and I’m in loooooove … 

I’m also obsessing over the Nike+ Fuelband, which Dave Greenway informed me is only currently available in New York. Boo! Guess I’ll just have to *settle* for an iPod Nano then …  

I’d love a treatment or four at the new Rosebank Life Day Spa … particularly the flotation tank, a facial … a massage, a pedi … okay, I’ll have one of everything, thanks

I want need clothes. Seriously! And I’m not fussy either. Woolworths and Country Road have GORGEOUS winter clothes …

And finally (yes, there’s more!) I want to get my … *does quick count* … 9th tattoo. It will be in memory of my late mom, as well as a tribute to my Mika-moo My mom (and, strangely enough) Dave’s mom both collected owls. Ornaments, not actual owls. Dave and I recently bought three beautiful owl line drawings at an exhibition at Wolves. They are GORGEOUS and for a while, I’ve been looking at images online and found this one that I LOVE. I want it to be like a pen drawing – lots of lines and character. 

 Going to work on customising it especially for my mom and Mika, with a little ribbon banner instead of a branch … what do you think? 

If you enjoyed this post - follow Nicki over on her blog One of the Boys

Are any of you thinking about your next birthday - and if it is a big one - share your thoughts with us..