Thursday, 26 March 2015


Good Morning to you,

Isn't it amazing how quickly Easter seems to be creeping up on us and like me, I feel sure your thoughts are turning towards your Easter traditions. 

I was thinking last night about how we used to celebrate Easter, when Natasha and Danielle were little girls.

Like many families, one of our traditions, was the visit from the Easter Bunny. This always excited the girls, because they never knew where they would be looking for the Easter eggs. If the weather at Easter time was warm, then the eggs would be hidden in the garden, but if it was cold, the chocolate eggs would be hidden around the house.  Armed with a wicker basket each, Natasha and Danielle had great fun looking for the chocolate eggs.... and as an added bonus they would often find the odd fluffy bunny or chick as well.

I remember one year, deciding it would be a good idea to make the Easter eggs myself. So I wrote to a company requesting the moulds.... remember this was way before the Internet, and after about a month or so, I received a box with the moulds and instructions on how to make the Easter eggs.

When the girls were at school, out came the moulds and so began the task of making the Easter eggs.  I brushed layer upon layer of melted chocolate into the moulds, waiting for each layer to dry before applying the next layer.

I have to tell you, even using a brush I managed to get chocolate all over my hands... now I wonder if that was intentional, because thinking back, there was no reason to get in such a mess.... but you know me and my love of chocolate.

When the eggs were ready, I carefully released them from their moulds.... the first time I did it, half of the egg broke into pieces, so I had to repeat the layering of the chocolate again.

Finally, with great care, I managed to remove the chocolate halves from their moulds and placed a handful of Chocolate Drops and Smarties into the centre of each of the eggs. Then came the sealing of the two halves with a little melted chocolate.

The final flourish was to decorate the eggs with yellow ribbon and little yellow chicks, then I placed the eggs into two boxes filled with shredded green tissue paper.

I was really pleased with the end result and we hid the eggs for Natasha and Danielle to find. When they found the eggs, they came running into the house so excited. They quickly removed the ribbons and the chicks and proceeded to smash the eggs and started eating pieces of the chocolate.

If you could have seen the look on my face, obviously, I was thrilled Natasha and Danielle loved their eggs, but I had hoped they would last a little longer than they did.... rather silly of me, I know, but I had hoped to admire my handiwork for a little longer. 

..... and did I make any more chocolate eggs?

Well, I could say yes, I made them year after year, but I would be lying to you. I never made chocolate Easter eggs ever again. I did what most parents did, I resorted to buying them.... and if I am honest, I really don't think the girls noticed, they were just happy to receive Easter eggs.

..... and the moulds, well I kept them for years and it wasn't until we left Cyprus that I gave the moulds away to a friend who had young children.... I wonder if she ever used them, I will have to ask her.

So with Easter still on my mind.  George and I have an Easter tradition which we enjoy and that is,

a brunch of English muffins, with Labneh, smoked salmon and topped with a poached egg. This is not so much a recipe as the gathering of a few ingredients, but the end result makes for a very nice brunch.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to today is,

the fabulous Edmundo Ros.  I was trying to think of the first time I heard Edmundo's music, but for the life of me I cannot remember, but a couple of years ago I saw the film 'A Good Year' with Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard and Edmundo's music was featured in the film.... and it reminded me of how much I loved Edmundo's music.

This album so reminds me of the time we all went to 'Eclipse di Luna' in Dunwoody, Atlanta, for New Year. We had the most wonderful evening.  The band played Latin music all night long and George, who doesn't particularly enjoy dancing anymore, grabbed my hand, and to my astonishment lead me to the dance floor. I was so surprised to see we were the first couple on the dance floor. So if this music can make George want to 'shake his hips', then I feel sure, once you hear Edmundo's music, you will not be able to help yourself, your feet will start moving, your hips will be shaking and you will be in a little world of your own.

Listen to,

'No Can Do'
'Sorta on the Border'
'Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White'

So whilst 'I Talk to the Trees' is playing, yes it is the song from 'Paint Your Wagon' but sung so differently, I am dancing around my kitchen gathering my ingredients.


Serves 2

1 English Muffin
2 large eggs
4 strips of smoked salmon
1 - 2 tablespoons of labneh
or cream cheese


Cut the English muffin
in half.

Place the smoked salmon
on a plate,
ready to place on the muffin.

Toast the 2 halves
of the English muffin
place in a warm oven
until ready to use.

Boil a kettle of water
and pour the hot water
into a wide pan.
Make sure it is deep enough to cover the eggs
with water.

Place the pan on the heat and
bring the water to a rolling boil.

Whilst the water is coming to the boil.
Remove the English muffins
from the oven
spread each half with labneh
or if you prefer
cream cheese.

Divide the smoked salmon
between the halved English muffins.

Crack the eggs into
a cup

gently place into the 
pan of boiling water.

Return the water to a rolling boil
allow the eggs to cook for  three minutes.
using a slotted spoon,
remove the eggs from the water,
making sure you drain away the excess water.

 the poached egg on top of the salmon.

All there is left to do
take your brunch straight to the table

As you can see, my poached egg cracked when I placed it on the salmon. Why does that happen, I poach eggs all the time with no problem, but I have to say, I was a little disappointed as I bought the eggs on Wednesday morning, so they should have been fresh, but I felt the egg white spread too much.

It did not spoil the flavour, but I was a little disappointed with the final photograph.

If you would like step by step instructions on how to poach an egg I wrote about it here.

I was just thinking, you probably know what Labneh is, but just in case you don't, it is a spread which is made using yoghurt.  I will show you how it is made after Easter, it really is easy, but next week I want to make a Simnel Cake for the Easter weekend.

.....Oh just a thought, do you remember at the beginning I told you that my first attempt at removing the chocolate egg from its mould was a disaster as the chocolate broke into pieces.  Just in case you were wondering what happened to the broken chocolate pieces.

Why, I ate them of course..... I know you are not surprised.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,

Thursday, 19 March 2015


Good Afternoon to you,

Turn the clock back about ten days or so and you would have found me, very excited, talking about going to the Lionel Richie World Tour on 7th March. No, not with George, but with Natasha and Danielle. Natasha flew all the way from India and Danielle from Bournemouth to enjoy the Lionel experience with me.

Move the clock forward a little, and after the Lionel concert, you would have found me very excited to put 'pen to paper' to tell you all about the concert.

Move the clock just a little further forward again and as you know, you did not hear about the concert, actually there was total silence on my part. Why...... well not only myself, but George and Natasha came down with a nasty virus. Luckily, Natasha managed to travel home to India alright, but the following day she was as ill as George and I. Only Danielle managed to escape the clutches of the virus.

..... so as excited as I was to tell you about Lionel's concert, I did not have the energy to tap the keys on my keyboard to share my experience with you.

.... but today is a different story, I am feeling a lot better and I cannot wait to tell you about,

the Lionel Richie All the Hits, All Night Long, World Tour 2015.

On Saturday 7th March, (the day is etched in my mind) George drove us to the Metro Arena to see the man whose music I have listened to for so many years. We were all excited and once we said goodbye to George, we three girls walked arm in arm into the arena.

We found our seats, which were one block from the front of the stage. Danielle was a little worried, because I am much shorter than she is, and she was concerned that my view would be obstructed when everyone stood up .... and she was right, it was, so I swapped seats with Danielle and my sight line to Lionel was then perfect.

The lights went down, and Lionel walked onto centre stage. The lights came back on and the crowd erupted with applause.  He stood there and absorbed our pleasure, for what was quite a few minutes.... and then he started to sing. From that moment he had the audience in the palm of his hand.

He sang all the songs I know and love, actually, I knew all the words to every song. From the start of the concert to the end of the concert his energy never waned.  

He said it was wonderful to see the different generations of people at his concerts..... we were all ages.  Some who had grown up with The Commodores (like myself), some who found Lionel's music when he left The Commodores and some fans who loved his music because their mum and dad had played the albums when they were young, such as Natasha and Danielle.

It must have been wonderful for Lionel to perform on the Metro Arena stage, to see his army of fans enjoying every song he performed.

We listened to his love songs, 'Hello', 'Stuck on You' and 'Endless Love' and we listened and danced to 'Dancing on the Ceiling', 'Brick House', 'All Night Long' to name just a few and we loved them all.

Lionel gave his legion of fans an unforgettable evening, his energy never waned, he was,


I know Lionel is touring Europe at the moment and returns to England on Tuesday 31st March when he will perform at the O2 Arena in London.  I really don't know if there are any tickets available, but if there are, please go and enjoy the show, you will not be disappointed, honestly you will have the most wonderful evening.

When the end of the concert arrived, we did not want it to finish, we wanted it to go and on, but as with all good things, finish it must. We left the Metro Arena along with thousands of other Lionel fans, so very happy and we enjoyed every moment of the evening

..... and the icing on the cake, was George was there to drive us home and he listened to us talk and talk, sing the songs and talk some more about the concert .  Well I say listen, there was a lot of smiling and nodding of his head.

So with a smile on my face, I will take my leave. 

Take care of yourself and I will see you next Thursday.

Thursday, 5 March 2015


Good Morning to you,

As you know, if you have been reading my blog for a little while, I am not a gadget girl

.... or so I thought,

but last week, I discovered that I might actually be a gadget girl.... and how did I come to this conclusion?

Well, I had a burst of energy last week, or you could call it an early form of Spring fever, whatever the reason, I decided it was time to re-arrange my kitchen gadgets. To house my gadgets, I felt the perfect thing would be some new open shelves as they would make life easier for me. For instance, if I needed the rice cooker, it would be there in front of me and I would not need to ferret around inside cupboards everytime I needed to use it. I mentioned my idea to George and he said he would make the open shelves for me. So whilst he was busy hammering and drilling in the garage, I moved everything from the kitchen cupboards and placed the gadgets on my work surface, ready to be moved to their new home on the shelves..... and that was when I was surprised to see just how many kitchen gadgets I really have.

For instance, as I mentioned, 

.... I have a rice cooker, which also steams and slow cooks.   I use this all the time, because it makes perfect rice, whether I want sticky rice for sushi or basmati rice, I can always rely on my rice cooker.

.... I have a food processor, yes it is about 10 years old, actually it could be older, but it works perfectly and it is always in use.

.... I have a toaster, which I don't use, but the girls do when they come to stay.  I love toast which is made under a hot grill, for some reason the toast always seems nicer.

.... I have an ice cream maker, now this I really love, I only use it in the summer when I make strawberry ice cream.

.... I have a blender, again it must be 10 or more years old, but is perfect for blending soups and smoothies.

As you know, 

.... I have a Spiralizer, which I love, love, love and I haven't stopped using it.

.... I have an electric coffee grinder, which is always in use.

.... I have a second coffee grinder which I keep solely for grinding spices.

.... Oh and I almost forgot my KitchenAid which was a gift from Natasha, it is really a fabulous piece of equipment.

.... and I need to add one more thing... a panini machine, which George received as a gift for Christmas. I don't use it, but he loves it so much, that now that he has found his own combination of fillings, he refuses to buy a panini when we are in town, as he says he can make them much better at home.  Yes, I have to agree, he does make a 'mean' panini.

So maybe I should stop saying I am not a gadget girl as we have 10 gadgets which we constantly use.  

What do you think, are my kitchen gadgets excessive?

How about you? Do you have many gadgets which you use in your kitchen or are yours tucked away inside cupboards?

I was just thinking about how many gadgets I used in the making of today's dish..... only one, the food processor.... it blitzes the onions perfectly.

So it's on with the pinnie and the dish I am making today is,

Spaghetti with Meatballs.  Meatballs I hear you saying, there is only one!  Well the reason for this is I am not a huge meat eater, but George is.  I could have photographed George's meal, which had five meatballs, but bless him, he was hungry and ready to eat, and as this was my meal, this is the one that was photographed, so please do not be put off by the one, lonely meatball.  Have as many as you like.

.... and talking of like... I really like the music I am listening to today. If you love the old Crooners, then I have a treat for you, as the album I am listening to,

is 'Classic Crooners'. If you love 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's music you will enjoy this album.

Listen to,

'Blue Velvet' - Bobby Vinton
'Some Enchanted Evening' - Dean Martin
or how about
'Can't Take My Eyes Off You' - Andy Williams

So whilst I listen to, and sing a long with, 'On The Street Where You Live' sung my Vic Damone (I do love this song and I can't help singing when I hear it,) I will  organise my ingredients.


350g ready prepared meatballs
(I know a cheat, but when time is short, 
they are the perfect solution)


1 small white onion
1 small red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 carrot
425g tin of tomatoes
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cups of chicken stock
sea salt
squeeze of lemon juice
1 level teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoons (approx) grated Parmesan Cheese

200g dried spaghetti


Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil
a wide pan

add the meatballs.
Keep turning until the meat balls are

Whilst the meatballs are browning,

finely chop the red and white onions.

Place the final tablespoon
of olive oil into a wide pan
and add the onions.

Cook until golden in colour.

Add the dried oregano.

Crush the garlic
add to the pan.
Cook for a minute or so.

Add the tomato puree
and stir into the onions.
Cook for a further minute.

Chop the tomatoes
and add to the pan.
Stir the ingredients together.

Add the chicken stock,

the sugar,

and the salt.

Stir the ingredients 
whilst the sauce is coming to the boil,

peel and chop
the carrot into chunks
and add to the pan.
These will be removed at the end of the
cooking time.

By this time the meat balls will be nicely
add them to the sauce.

Place a lid on the pan,
reduce the heat and simmer for
30 minutes.

By the end of 30 minutes,
if the sauce is not thick enough,
remove the lid,
increase the heat
and let the sauce bubble away.
Keep an eye on it though as you
want to make sure you reach the
right consistency.  

The sauce needs to be thick enough
to coat the spaghetti.
You do not want a watery sauce.

When the sauce has been simmering
for 15 minutes,
bring a pan of water to the boil,

a sprinkle of salt
and cook the spaghetti
until it is 
al dente.

When the sauce is ready
check for seasoning.
At this point
I like to add,

a little
lemon juice.

Drain the cooked spaghetti
into a colander
and add
the cooked spaghetti
to the pan with the sauce.
Toss everything together,
until all the spaghetti is coated
with tomato sauce.

Remove the carrots
and place them on a plate.
 If you are like me,
you will enjoy
eating them later.

grate the Parmesan cheese
and either add to the pan
to the dish
when plated.

all there is left to do

There you have it,
a delicious supper,
with one, two, three, four or five
It is entirely up to you how many you have,
for me, 
is the perfect number.

So take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,

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