Friday, 31 December 2010

Here's to 2011....

I have a theory. Sit down, come in close - I would like to expand on it for you.
I fear you may think me a little bonkers, but I do believe it's true..ish.

2009 - looking at this number, it seems cuddly. Curvacious zeros and a circular 9. But the 9 has a whip in it's tail and that is exactly what happened to me in 2009 - my butt got whipped. It was the height of the economic downturn....need I say more!?

2010 - Well I went into this year with far more optimism. I was writing my book and enjoying every moment of it. My daughter graduated from university with a 2:1 in Classics - I'm

a proud mum of a very clever girlie.

Other areas of my professional and personal life were ticking along very nicely thank you. Looking at the date, it has a couple of zeros looking a bit cuddly, and then number 1 - a nice straight line...driving everything forward. Or so I thought - 2010 was me driving things forward as much as possible, but on occasion that bleeding zero just kept taking me around in a circle every so often. A bit mean of it really.

However 2011 - Look at it! Two 1's - two straight lines gunning us all on forward in a very positive manner.

All hail 2011 - it's going to be a marvellous year. Yes, we have to pull our belts in, but that won't do us much harm - we think we need a lot more than we actually do. There are various issues all of us have to deal with - but I firmly believe it's going to be good.

As I come out of two particularly difficult financial years (being honest here... bear with me!)I feel proud that I've managed to keep the roof above me (it was touch and go), I didn't default on anything and yes, I had to sacrifice a awful lot to do this. But that was something I was happy to do.
My cottage is beautiful, but there is only my income holding it together and sometimes it's hard.

I've learnt so much in the last couple of years - but my main lesson?

Family, friends, a love of food, wine and get togethers, will keep you going when you really don't think you can take the next blow. They all helped me and for that I am enormously grateful.

I have some very exciting times ahead. Lots happening and I can honestly say that I am looking forward to 2011 with more enthusiasm than the last few years.

Thank you to everyone who has bought my book this year - it means an awful lot to me. I love the idea that people are reading my words and cooking my recipes. For many years, I've longed for someone, somewhere to say they've done a 'Lotte' as opposed to a 'Jamie', 'Delia' or 'Nigella'..and now people are, and it's bloody fantastic! Big thanks and a Big X to you all!

I wish you too, a very Happy New Year and hope that it is everything you could possibly wish for.
And if in doubt - Drink Gin! Works for me.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

New York, New Porkers..

Because that's what we were - all of us. We ate and drank our way around this amazing city. One day we had two lunches...why? Because we could!

No excuses, hands held up in surrender - we were piggies and porkers - no dish was safe, no restaurant untouched. We came, we saw and we ate New York out of house and home.

There was another reason we were there. To film for a Food Network show which will be screened next year....It's a special British show of a very popular and high rating American food series and we're, not allowed to tell you any more - you'll just have to wait and see!

We all got on so well, having never met before. And we all loved the fact that each was a foodie and so therefore every day was a pilgrimage to the hallowed ground of a food venue, and of course, this involved vast amounts of food..and perhaps a smidgen of wine.

We ate at The Standard in the old meat packing district, Red Cat in Chelsea, Carnegies ... somewhere near Time Square I think, A snitzel street food truck, and The Lamb's Club.
Then of course there was the walk around Union Square Farmer's Market and the stroll across Brooklyn Bridge. We had snacks and copious amounts of fresh mint tea - a Tristan special as we now like to call it. Really, don't ask!
We were spectacularly looked after by the lovely Jess (travel mummy) and wined and dined by Nick Thorogood, both from Food Network UK.
A truly fabulous time was had by all and this week, just doesn't have the same feeling about it. Where is my hourly meal? Why is there no traffic noise and bustling bodies skirting around each other in a hurry to get somewhere, and with such purpose?

As I sit and write this, the only sound is that of a howling gale outside my office window and of my ridiculous cat Honey who has decided it's time to be fed. There are no New Yorkers enquiring as to where my accent is from. No one is telling me to have a good day... and I'm hungry... for a large portion of something naughty, indulgent and American - and probably covered in cheese.
I want to be back in the city that never sleeps....and yes, it really doesn't - I know that from experience now, because as I ever so casually slipped/stumbled out of the 'Please Don't Tell' speakeasy bar somewhere in the city - at 'lord knows a clock'(it was a little hazy!) the streets were still busy with revellers, dog walkers, street cleaners and rubbish collectors. This bar was incredible and fabulously cool, and you can only get to it from inside a Hot Dog joint...and then through a secret door in a fake telephone box! We ate squidgy hotdogs and drank friendly cocktails here after we filmed the show.
So, here are the photos...far too many to label, but suffice to say, you can see we had a glorious time.

Finally, I'd like to introduce you to the boys...via their nicknames...ones which we devised during the trip.
Sir Henry - easier to pronounce than his real name after a couple of cocktails!

Count Juan Carlos - easier to say than his real name - sober!
We all get it wrong.

Street Boy - Because he sells stonking pies....on the street markets...duh!

Pudding - Because it suits me - hopefully not due to the size of my bum, but more to do with my love of making a pud!



Monday, 8 November 2010

Sharon Bolton

This lady can write. Pretty much proved by the fact that she has three bestselling novels - something I can only aspire to.

So when Sharon asked if me she could blog about my cookery book, I must say I was rather over come by it all. And then when I saw what wonderful things Sharon said about MY writing... I had to go and lie down in a darkened room - with a friendly Gin and Tonic!

Thanks Sharon.... you are a complete star.

If you would like to buy my book - Amazon is good. Click here

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Banana Cake

Daisy's Banana Cake is perfect chilly day fodder. With the nights drawing in, and nippy, frosty mornings, I find it is yummy for breakfast, elevenses, teatime and...go on then, bedtime too with some hot,scrumptious, rich and creamy cocoa.

Please have a look at this blog, (my recipe is on there) Maria is indeed a domestic goddess...I love her blog and I love, that she loves my daughter Daisy's banana cake!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Lovely Boy!

A wonderful write up by my dear, dear, gorgeous and scrumptious friend Craig Rowe!
It was indeed a fabulous evening!
Watch Craig Rowe on QVC...he's a star!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Apple Heaven

Mother Nature really is a bit of a poppet.She has come up trumps this year and ensured that every blossom on my beautiful apple trees have yielded fruit. What a star!

I'm not sure quite how it happened...perhaps the lack of a late frost...or maybe the abundant rain last year. Whatever the reason - I've had an Appley year.

My eating apple tree for example - most years this old rickety tree only gives me a couple of dozen apples. Little ones which are bullet hard and stick to the roof of you mouth and dry your lips when you try to eat them.
This autumn however, my wonderful tree has produced at least three or four hundred apples, all sweet, juicy, rosy and shiny. What a clever thing.
Now,there is a rumour that when a tree does this, it's possibly a bit of a swan song, but I'm holding out hope that Mother Nature isn't going to be that mean, and this dear old tree is just in a voluptuous part of yearly cycles.

My cookers are still dropping daily. I'm about to make my last batch of chutney and then I'll leave the rest to the birds and fluffy things that jump over the fence of the bottom field, into my garden for a nibble.

A couple of weeks ago, on a very sunny warm October day, my neighbours and friends got together for an apple pressing day. We've all had more apples than ever, and this seemed the best way of using up natures bounty instead of leaving it to rot.
We hired a local apple press, stood it in my garden and started pressing. It was a mini co-operative. Everyone chipped in £5 for the hire, all helped press the juice and then we shared the delicious nectar between us all. Fabulous.

Lordy, so much juice. Surprisingly sweet (even from the cookers) and absolutely delicious. We poured it into into old milk cartons and bottles,then froze most. (It keeps in the fridge for about 3 days un-pasteurised...longer if you pasteurise yourself). I find freezing best though.

The rest?
Well I've filled two demi-johns with apple juice and they are bubbling and fermenting noisily next to my Aga. I'll give it a bit longer, bottle it up and in six months we'll all get together for a Cider and Sausage night - I fear this potential evil brew might make the evening a little messy...but enormous fun!