don’t knock french Chardonnay

So after an incredibly lively week in Fayence, South of France, we headed to the middle of France to meet hubby’s family who were holidaying at a fabulous converted barn based in the depths of the Bordeaux region, also known as Gensac. Again, I was blown away by the beauty of the area and the kindness of the locals. Hubby was too happy to be close to his two favorite things in the whole world (apart from his family of course), amazing food and fantastic wine.

Because this was Bordeaux, we had to visit St Emilion, one of the best regions for wine in the world, needless to say it was hugely touristy but gorgeous all the same. I bought soap…again!! Why? Because the price of the wine here was ridiculous and they were certainly catering for the tourist, and they did really good soap – we bought our wine from the local Spa near to where we were staying, which was more like a wine connoisseur’s dream!

Two highlights of this holiday had to be seeing our two girls having such an amazing time with their cousins, and a meal we had at a local restaurant called Le Jardin Des Cygnes – Philippe chose and cooked our food, thankfully we enjoyed scallops, steak and a strawberry sorbet/mousse type thing – he also chose the wine from his formidable cellar – he opened a Chardonnay…I reeled a little as I’m not a fan, but was pleasantly surprised – this was a gorgeous experience and took the stress out of making my own mind up…which was waning due to the amount I’d drunk over the course of the holidays. Anyway, hear Mr MiM ‘do his thing’ and educate on the authenticity of a bottle of something or other, while you snigger at my appalling and slightly cringey presentation! I’d had a glass or two before I did this…(click on don’t knock Chardonnay)…

weekend kitchen radio fun

Sometimes this blogging lark has incredible perks, and today was no exception. I met Nick Coffer last year at Cybermummy11 – he didn’t remember me….silent pause….but we have a mutual friend who reminded us that we kind of know each other via the infamy of the blogging world, (Nick founded the My Daddy Cooks blog) and then Nick had this amazing idea and asked me…yes, lil ol me…to join him and some other culinary guests onto his brilliant Weekend Kitchen Show on BBC Three Home Counties.

I warned him beforehand that I have a tendancy to take over, as I do with the gorgeous Donna Thacker’s show on Marlow FM for an hour on Monday mornings, (see Radio GaGa post)! He agreed regardless, and allowed me to be me – he’s either totally mad or a complete gent…both as it turns out!!

So it is obligatory for Nick’s guests to bring in two dishes and talk food. We were so lucky to be with Patti Sloley who brought in her completely yummy Ghanaian recipes, ideal for today’s freezing weather – she teaches at Jean Christophe Novelli’s Acadamy, she’s published her own book ‘A Plate In The Sun’ and she totally brought in a piece of Africa today – such an inspirational and beautiful girl who brings the sunshine with her. Sadly I called Africa a country…Nick very kindly corrected me and reminded me it is a Continent…a CONTINENT…!! I embarrass myself sometimes!!

We were also joined by Wally the bee keeper, who was fascinating, and I don’t mind tasting honey when its presented – he brought in honey marmalade…YUM! And then it was my turn – I literally used EVERY implement in the kitchen to make a roast chicken with jus and proscutto mash – for pudding I made my version of Rhubarb & Custard until 10.30pm last night…with the help of a nice Sauvignon Blanc – I rustled up a rhubarb & ginger mousse with a rhubarb and whisky compote and custard cream biscuits…it worked!! Everyone ate it…I was complimented…for my cooking!! I thank my mother for being such a great cook herself and teaching me the rudiments.

rhubarb & ginger mousse with rhubarb & whisky compote and custard cream biscuit

All the recipes can be downloaded and the link for the show can be heard from the 3 Counties Radio website – but Nick if you’re reading this, thank you for trusting me to be a guest on your show, I had tons of fun and I think some of my friends did too x

sunday roast post revelry

All day I have been nursing a well earned hangover, gained at a great friend’s house last night – I was finally party to the game of ‘confessions’, (see previous post)…my eyes have been opened – I absolutely recommend this game…I’m still giggling at the others brave confessions, although maybe I should have spared my ‘going-to-the-swimming-pool-in-my-early-20’s-wearing-a-‘body’-with-weak-poppers-rather-than-a-swimming-costume’ story!! Ah well…

So I’d totally forgotten we’d agreed to go to a friends today for a roast…and if I’m honest, this morning was screaming for a recovery day, (dvd, sofa, carbs)…but no, I dragged my sorry self to Emmetts Farm Shop, bought a big fat chicken and made our way over to see our fellow sufferers, who were equally broken.

We were greeted with the ultimate cure – Spicey Bloody Mary’s…perfect! The children played happily outside, and the broken ones discussed last night’s hilarious revelry while we finished cooking the amazing roast chicken, (tip…turn the chicken over every 15 minutes during the cooking time…all the juices run through the meat, making it melt-in-the-mouth)…with Paolo Nutini playing in the background…(not literally…life isn’t THAT perfect) and warmed by an open fire.  I’m not sure we could have wished for a more perfect Sunday and I feel completely blessed to have such amazing people in my life…

cocktails, canapes and chinese elvis…

I do love a good party and just being in a room full of like-minded friends is my idea of heaven – especially once the music kicks in, the drinks flow, (or cascade at two of the most recent bashes I’ve attended), and heels are well and truly put through their paces on the dance floor.

Entertainment and detail are sometimes lost on me, especially if I’m with lots of people I love all in one room, my focus is on the fun we’re enjoying, but I have to mention a couple of brilliant ideas that I thought add that extra bit of sparkle…

the cocktails…

I love them, I’m a big fan of the classics French Martinis, Mohito’s and Cosmos – last night however, I was on the Lychee Daquiris – they get a big YUM thumbs up from me:

This is how you make them:

1½ ounce white rum

1 teaspoon fine sugar

1 ounce of lychee juice

Crushed ice

Place rum, sugar, and lychee juice in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice.

Shake swiftly – do not over mix.

Strain thoroughly into a cocktail glass and serve at once

the canapes…

I’m all for finger food, it’s lots of different bursts of flavour all in one quick motion, with the use of one hand and allowing time to drink AND chat without the bother of too much chewing on the same thing – if they weren’t quite so fiddly to do, I’d live on them. My classics are the fail safe dijon mustard chipolatas and smoked salmon & caviar blinis with horseradish cream cheese. Although I’m always happy when I’m offered these lovely mini quintessential bites:

mini fish and chips
mini yorkshire puddings with cold roast beef
mini candy floss

the entertainment…

I’ve experienced two BRILLIANT entertainers at the many fortieths I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to – the first is Mr B, the Gentleman Rhymer – utterly amazing on his banjalele; his rendition of The Shayman’s ‘Ebineeza Goode’ and The Sugar Hill Gang’s ‘rapper’s delight’ are just genius – also known as Chap Hop. I tried to book him for mine, but fortunately for him, he’s become quite famous…

mr b, the gentleman rhymer

and finally, last night’s Chinese Elvis…or chelvis for want of another name – what a man, I still have ‘Suspicious Minds’ and ‘Hound Dog’ swirling around in my head all day today…that or the daquiris are still taking their effect – he’s incredibly charismatic and just lots of fun and instantly brought out the Elvis in all of us…uh huh…thanyouverymuch

chinese elvis