Category Archives: Cooking

Drrrumroll please….ta daaa! My new blog, Sosusie in the City, is up and running.

Hello all,

I’ve moved to

Thanks to all of you that have read this blog, it’s so very exciting when you realise that people are reading what you’re writing and whilst I’ve always written not for an audience but for myself, and will continue to do so, it’s really special to know that there are people that have taken the time to read my ramblings.

I love this blog – it’s going to stay right where it is but please, do come with me to my new home Sosusie in the City where I’ll be saying more of yes and a lot less of no. There’ll be recipes, places to go out, things to do, more ramblings, a bit of style and a bit more rambling.

Thanks so much for stopping by and I look forward to seeing you over at Sosusie in the City.

I’ll leave you with a reminder of two of my most popular posts from this blog:

A Christmas pudding recipe and, an afternoon out in Walthamstow


Grease is the word. A night at the Drive-In at Ally Pally

Last Friday, my sister and I and our children, A, J and Z all went to the Drive-In at Alexandra Palace to see Grease. We were all so ridiculously excited about going, so much so that Z caught an early train back from Paris, C arranged with work to finish early and A and J (who were both only coming home for a week) made sure to be back in London. And, luckily for us, it did not disappoint.

Drive In box office 2

The box office – Rush

When I heard that the Rooftop Film Club was setting up a Drive-In at Ally Pally (which is just up the road from me), I knew that I was going to have to go and, when I saw that they were showing Grease, well, euh (that may be the first Grease-ism of many – I’ll try to resist), it was a no brainer. Both of these are a part of my childhood, I don’t really remember the Drive-In in Antigua (it must have closed by the time I was six) but I have a sense of it and I first saw, and fell in love with, Grease when we still lived there (we left when I was seven). I remember people being astonished by Sandy’s skintight trousers, wondering how in the hell she got them on and whether in fact they were painted on. Ah…happy days.

Drive In projector

Popcorn anyone? Though there were rollerskating hosts and hostesses serving snacks (including popcorn) this here is a Popcorn Projector and NOT a popcorn vending machine.

J and I had actually been to the Drive-In the week before to see Rush (what a good film, still not a fan of Formula 1 but I’m perhaps a bit less of a hater than I was) and on that night there’d been a balls up with the catering (think the organisers were somewhat let down) so I decided that I’d best do a little catering of my own and what better than a Twinkie. After a quick search on Google, I found a recipe that didn’t need lots of ingredients I’d never even heard of (let alone got) and A and I set to making us some twinkies. I kept the recipe exactly the same for the Twinkies but substituted golden syrup for the corn syrup in the filling and WOW, it was delicious.

Making the twinkie moulds

Making the Twinkie moulds.

Twinkie batter

A bubbly and light, vanilla infused batter.

Twinkies for baking Twinkies baked

Before and After

Twinkie eating


Unfortunately for us we’d started on the Twinkies a little late and we JUST couldn’t get them filled in time so had to head off without them! Doh. And, because I was baking up to the last possible moment, I didn’t have time to dress up appropriately (was planning a Rizzo get-up) and ended up having to go dressed in an indoors only outfit. Good job all we had to do was sit in our car then!

Pink Ladies

Absolutely loved seeing these Pink Ladies (though the effort they’d put in did make me wish that I’d planned my time a bit better!).

The Drive-In was in one of the out of the way car parks at Ally Pally and by 8pm (showtime) it was packed full of cars and I swear, all of those cars were full of people as excited as we were. The atmosphere was fantastic. The catering issues had been dealt with, out with the wine and beer (yes really!?) and in with the hotdogs, burgers and jerk chicken??…not quite Drive-In traditional but good, nonetheless.

Buying food is a serious business

The serious business of buying burgers.

Cheerleader Sandy

Urgh…this is one of my favourite scenes – if I’m talking about Grease (which I don’t do THAT often), a re-enactment of this scene always comes in to it replete with excessively salivary lips.

We talked all the way through the film, except for where we were saying the lines or singing along. There is something really great about how relaxed you feel in the (dis)comfort of your own car – you experience the film in a completely different way. I mean…Would you pull this crap with a normal cinema (Grease-ism)? Borrowed from my daughter’s Instagram, this is what it was like for almost all of the film.

As the final track of the film ‘We Go Together’ played out, the Pink Ladies and several other members of the audience (revellers) could be seen dancing around towards the front of the car park and C and I got out of the car to do a little shoo-bop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom of our own. Cars flashed their lights and honked their horns and as we all drove out, I got the feeling we were all losing control (Grease-ism) coz the power the Drive-In was supplying…was ELECTRIFYING. WOW. Hmmm…I think I oughta stop here.

What a great night out. The Drive-In experience worked for me for both a film that I’d not seen before and one that I knew like the back of my hand. If you can get a ticket, definitely go (it’s at Brent Cross for a few more days) while you have the chance.

Getting ready to rumble

Obligatory red cups – models’ own (as are the funny pouts).

The Brent Cross Drive-In is on until the 27th April 2014 and it’s looks as though they’re going out with a corker…….GREASE!!






Cooking with Jamie Oliver…mwah ha, not quite but the next best alternative – an evening out at Recipease..

A and her boyfriend, L, seemed for a while to be obsessed with Jamie Oliver – watching all his shows and cooking from his books (though neither of them is much of a recipe follower). They’re both great cooks and actually, I think L has influenced my cooking – I’m much more confident with using LOTS of aromatics now, so, where I may once have used a measly half bunch of coriander in something (for example), I’m not scared now to throw in a proper handful (and my hands are pretty big!). So, when thinking about what to give L for Christmas I thought why not take him to Recipease Notting Hill (which had reminded me, the first time I went there, of the Teaching Kitchen idea in Jamie’s American Food Revolution (which I absolutely loved) and where A, L and I had previously been for coffee) for a cookery class. In truth, I suspected that the classes might be a bit easy for L but, where food is concerned, he’s always up for trying things out so…why not.

I said that I’d go along too if L wanted (mwah ha ha – oh dear, my dastardly plot is out in the open) and between us we settled upon a class and a date. We picked Vietnamese street food because from the description it seemed as though we would cover a number of cooking methods and I certainly have never cooked Vietnamese food before.

Fast forward a few weeks to the night before the lesson and I thought I’d best text L to make sure he was remembering about the class – good job too as he was actually in Liverpool with A and had forgotten all about it! Tut.

I arrived first and was directed to my class which was at the back of the shop, on the ground floor, and once I’d collected my apron, deposited my personal effects in a locker and washed my hands, I sat down with my group stressing about whether L would arrive in time to join us (his train was delayed and he thought he would be a little late). We were all sat around a long high (breakfast bar height) table at the very back of the room, and most of the group were drinking beer or wine (I stuck to water – that is until the bad influence that is L arrived) a bottle or glass of which was included in the cost of the class.

L arrived just after our teacher, Chef (actually his name was Simon), had assembled us around one of the work stations to demonstrate the first dish, Scrumptious Vietnamese pork balls (the scrumptious is my addition to the recipe title as I think it gives it a real Jamie Oliver twang), that we would be cooking but before that, he went through a few housekeeping notes and, I must say, he was rather entertaining, not least because he bore more than a passing resemblance, voice and face, to Michael McIntyre.

Recipease pans at the ready

Ingredients and pans at the ready.

Chef sounded out our cooking levels and skills by asking lots of questions about ingredients and cooking methods and I think, pitched the class accordingly. I learnt something about chillies, namely, it is the white pith that the seeds are attached to and NOT the actual seeds that provides the majority of heat in a chilli. I was also surprised by the meat used, it was more of a very fine dice than a mince and I think that’s why, in part at least, the finished balls were spectacular – so moist, sweet and juicy.

Pork ball mixture

Pork ball mixture with beer in the background.

Once the dish had been demoed, we were assigned a cooking station and, in pairs, we all proceeded to get chopping, mixing and slow frying (to allow a rich and deep caramelisation to occur). L and I also proceeded to drink several more bottles of very tasty Camden Town Brewery, Camden Hells lager and Camden Pale Ale.

L crushing garlic

L smashing up some garlic (for his dipping sauce, though – I did get onioned and garlicked, was my fault), beer in the foreground.

While the pork balls were cooking, the other dishes, summer rolls and dipping sauce were demonstrated by Chef and recreated by us and the prep for the beef pho (the stock for which Chef had prepared earlier) was done.

Pork balls

Oh my, wish I were cooking some of those RIGHT NOW.

Roll roll roll

A pile of julienned veg and a wrapper, waiting to be turned into a summer roll, with my (sans garlic) dipping sauce in the background.

Once the pork balls were cooked, everything was plated up, Chef poured hot pho stock over our bowls of prepared veg and raw beef (the hot stock being enough to ‘cook’ the tender slices) and we all sat down with a drink to enjoy the meal we’d just prepared. There weren’t enough spaces for all of us around the long table so L and I sloped off to a counter in the window, by the entrance, which had been set up for us and chatted and watched the world go by as we ate.

L plating up

Not entirely sure what L is doing here, but I like an action shot.

I’m a Jamie Oliver fan and I’ll not hear a word said against him…mwah ha, having said that – I do think that there should be space for everyone to sit and eat together if that’s the general vibe, we felt a bit like scolded little school children, banished to the naughty step (which, in L’s case would have been appropriate – though I don’t think Chef noticed him throwing our lime repeatedly in the air, higher and higher each time, while waiting for the pork balls to cook, he did, however, notice L’s rather brilliant knife skills).

Recipease final dishes

The view from the naughty step ain’t too shabby.

All in all, I’d say if you’re already a pretty competent and confident cook these classes probably won’t teach you much, they are only two or three hours long afterall and I don’t think that’s their aim, (though there’s nothing to stop you asking lots of questions) but for a fun outing and an interesting way of cooking lunch/supper I would highly recommend them. And, if you’re not great at cooking, if you’re friendlier with a microwave than a sauce/griddle/frying pan etc…get thee down there! You will learn something, you’ll enjoy it and you’ll get a delicious meal to boot.

After the course you’re emailed the recipes for the dishes that were demoed on the night and, as I write this, I realise that I learnt something else – don’t be afraid (in other words stop being so lazy) of a long list of ingredients, what appears like an essay on the page is often little more than a bit of organisation and a lot of chop chop chopping. I mean, when I was doing the cooking, I didn’t think I was working with lots of ingredients, it all felt very simple but when I now look at the recipes I know that ingredient lists that long would make me turn the page, swiftly.

To Walthamstow…and beyond

Fair warning….this is a LONG post. I’m trying to write shorter posts, break things up into manageable (for the less than truly dedicated reader) chunks but, that’s not what I’ve done here!

Oh, what a good weekend that was (last weekend). The weekend started properly on Friday evening (which, I believe, is often the case) with H, D and I heading to the Southwark Playhouse to watch Superior Donuts. I’d not even heard of the theatre before H suggested that we go and it turns out to be a real gem of a place (though, I do prefer allocated seating) with a couple of performance spaces (The Large and The Little) and ample seating for early-comers to sit and enjoy a drink or a bite to eat. If Superior Donuts is anything to go by, and from a quick browse of their programme for the season, the Southwark Playhouse is somewhere that I’ll be returning to.

H being amazed by the doughnuts

Rather than ice-cream they were serving DOUGHNUTS!!! during the interval. These Glazed and Confused goodies were in gorgeous flavours, mine was sticky toffee and H’s was lemon meringue. Ahh…take a look at their Facebook page – YUM.

Saturday saw me heading to Walthamstow (which I can’t stop calling Awesomestow), stopping first to buy a bunch of flowers from Flowers and Gifts which is a relatively new shop on Stroud Green Road. The tied bouquets were just lovely and the bouquet that the shop keeper (who was an absolute sweetie) made up for me was just right (though my photo of it doesn’t do it justice – as per) and the flowers are absolutely not too costly. It was all that I could do not to buy a bunch for myself too!

Stroud Green flowers Stroud Green bouquets Mothers Hub bouquet

A delightful springtime bouquet for A.

I was heading east to check out  Mothers Hub, a brilliant new ‘concept’ shop (sorry, but it kind of is – it looks more like an art gallery than a shop selling clothes and toys for children, plus, the idea is that A is giving a platform to local makers – a place to sell their wares that works for them (aka, she isn’t greedy) and as a result the stock is a really interesting edit of beautiful little collections) on Wood Street, E17. Less than a year ago I met up with the gorgeous and supremely talented A for coffee and a picnic in the park and she told me about this idea that she’d had for a shop that would be more than a shop, it would be a space for parents and children to come and do activities (and she has more plans afoot) as well as a creative outlet for her (she is a photographer). Mothers Hub is already (and only) in its fourth month (A doesn’t hang about) and seems to be going strong, it’s a beautiful shop and it feels so welcoming (which is no less than I’d expect from an A project). It’ll be my go to shop for gifts for children from now own. And…there’s something for everyone with a brilliant collection of alphabet cards, designed by A’s husband S, that is totally cross-generational.

Wood Street map

Shame I didn’t notice this map before I went off in the wrong direction for a time!

Exterior of Mothers Hub

Ooooo…exciting, my first sighting of Mothers Hub.

Toys and books A playing shopkeeper

A playing shopkeeper. Actually, I think she was attending to my purchase.

Mothers Hub tote

As a little thanks for visiting, I got one of their lovely canvas totes thrown in – normal price £5 (bargainous).

Walthamstow is interesting, there’s such a mix of people there and it’s honestly bustling and vibrant and the council seems to be really encouraging start-ups that have some sort of community involvement/benefit. I love it. I didn’t manage to make it to the main market this time (which is no bad thing as I had on my mind to buy more fabric but I’ve got loads and loads in my stash with seemingly no time to make it into anything….although, I am determined to join in with Me-Made-May this year, if it’s running – that links to last year’s MMM, so…I’d best get on with it) but heading to Wood Street showed me a side of Walthamstow that I’ve not seen before.

Quaint Walthamstow village

How amazing is this? A gorgeous little village, slap bang in the middle of E17.

I didn’t get a chance to really explore Wood Street and the indoor market but I did stay long enough to….oh dear, buy a few things – a little taster (literally) of what’s on offer….mmm mmm mmm.

Scrumptious in a box A cutting the cakes Passion fruit meringue pieUp close with the stunningly gorgeous passion fruit curd meringue tart – Oh My. And that dark slice at the top? That’s a Guinness and pear cake which was out of this world delicious.

These Aura Rosa cakes were faultless, my only gripe was with myself – that I was silly enough to buy an Oreo cupcake (can never resist them though) when so many other cakes and patisserie were on offer.  I’m sure I saw somewhere that they offer cookery lessons!!…I’m after finding out how to make that devilishly good Guinness cake.

Mother's Ruin blackboard The Mother The ruins

Didn’t manage to walk away empty handed from this cute unit. Well, who could resist a tiny little bottle of Mother’s Bitter Helper, a bitters tincture made in tiny batches, to bring out the oomph in any cocktail – particularly good with citrus drinks I suspect.

I definitely need to go back to Wood Street and to the market, not least to buy more Mother’s Ruin concoctions, I’m after the sloe and damson gins, but also, to rifle through the vintage shops and to find out more about Significant Seams which is a really interesting community enterprise in the unit next to Mothers Hub.

Waving a sad goodbye to A and her beautiful family and armed my lovely new tote,  I started back home, via the rather excellent butcher by Crouch Hill station, for an evening of cooking and TV watching.

I began by making Mimi Thorisson from Manger’s milky chicken with butternut squash pancakes, I found that I needed to add a little more liquid than stated for the pancakes (as I did with her galette recipe) but apart from that….heaven! Mimi’s blog is SO beautiful so, check out the recipe in her own words and then…make it. Do save the poaching broth, then you too can make a disgusting looking but lovely tasting soup by caramelising sliced onion and leek to which you could add any mixture of ingredients, I put the leftover butternut squash, carrots, potatoes and a chicken stock cube and ended up with a souped up leek and potato soup..

Milk poached chicken stock soup

Simple, nutritious, filling and a hundred leagues more tasty than it is beautiful.

After our simple but splendid supper, D and I sat down to our Saturday night (for the past month or so) ritual of a double bill of the brilliant Salamander, a Belgian political thriller. The last two episodes aired last night but if you do come across it, it’s definitely worth a watch (as I write, all twelve episodes are available on the BBC iplayer but not for long). I got drawn in by the language, the show is set in and around Brussels and is spoken in a mixture of Dutch (technically Flemish, I think) and French and, by Jove, Dutch is such an odd language, there were often times when I’d realise (subtitles essential) that what had just been said was almost exactly the same as if it had been said in English or French and yet, without the subtitles, I’d have not understood anything.

Sunday morning began with a mid-morning brunch of butternut squash pancakes (waste not want not, and all that) with bacon and a fried egg – such a beautiful combination of sweet and salty topped off with the depth and richness of a half set yolk.

Butternut squash bacon brunch

In the evening D and I headed out, but not before I’d whipped up a batch of Mary Berry Lemon Drizzle slices, to watch Ángel Múñoz who was performing at Sadler’s Wells as part of their annual Flamenco Festival. D and I know nothing about flamenco but we’re both trying to get out and about, to see and do more things and, in previous years I’ve been interested in going but never got off my bum and gone. I chose Ángel because he is part of the new generation of flamenco dancers and I thought that it might be more powerful and edgy. I think I was hoping for a Strictly Ballroom moment but it was quite different to that. Ángel was the only dancer but he had on stage with him, at various times, a couple of singers and three musicians (one of whom played three or four wind instruments including my favourite – the oboe). Although there were costume changes, interesting use of shadows, arms that moved in ways it felt they oughtn’t to and an aural feast, by about half way through I was starting to feel that whilst the dancing had been impressive, I’d probably seen enough. But, by the end of the performance I realised that I’d really loved the show and, I wasn’t the only one as there was an incredibly long standing ovation. It did leave me wanting to check out other performers (online) as, with nothing to compare him to, I don’t think that I appreciated just how good Ángel Múñoz was.

Lemon drizzle squares

Beautifully tangy and moist little squares of goodness ready for a post performance snack.

Stir it up Sunday or…make whenever you feel like it, Christmas Pudding

I’m not normally a fan of Christmas pudding, it’s too rich and too dense and solid for my liking…and I don’t like Brandy butter to boot but, many years ago my sister-in-law introduced me to the pudding she makes each year and I became a convert.

Sometimes we get together and make the pudding, along with her children and mine, sometimes L makes it and sometimes I make it. This year, pudding making duties fell to me (actually it was more like I claimed them) and a week or so before Christmas day, I could be found chopping a mountain of dried fruits and nuts.

Christmas pudding weighing fruitNot quite a mountain, but this isn’t even the half of it!

Honestly, if you do everything by hand, which we always do, it does take quite a while to get all the prep work done but this pudding is SO worth it and…more than that, it’s ridiculously easy and doesn’t need to be made ages in advance. In fact, it really doesn’t matter when you make the pudding because you simply freeze it, uncooked, and when you’re ready to use it, thaw it and then steam for 5 to 6 hours, depending on the size of the pudding.

Christmas pudding fieryThe finished pudding, doused with a ladleful of brandy and set alight (we did manage, as usual, to set a few other things on fire too).

This pudding tastes ultra-rich, moist and decadent but at the same time, with all that fresh fruit and veg, it is light and manageable. Every mouthful is bursting with gorgeous flavour and texture.

So, without further ado, here is L’s

Really, THIS is the ultimate Christmas pudding

Makes enough for 5 pints. I normally make two 2 pint and one 1 pint puddings but this year I made one 3 pint (to serve 12) and one 2 pint (to serve 4) both of which had enough for leftovers.

8oz raisins
8oz sultanas
8oz currants
8oz dates (I suggest getting ones that have already been stoned) – chopped
8oz prunes (again, get ones that have been stoned) – chopped
8oz mixed soft brown sugar and white sugar
4oz blanched almonds – chopped
4oz butter
4oz suet (I always used vegetable suet and the pudding is none the worse for it)
8oz grated carrot (do use organic, if you can, as they really are so much more flavoursome)
7oz fresh breadcrumbs
5oz plain flour
¼ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is best – even in this small quantity)
1 tsp baking powder
1 orange – grated rind and juice
2 apples – peeled and chopped
3 – 4 medium eggs
2 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
¼ – ½ pt stout or milk (I use stout, bien sur)
3 tbsp good rum (or, a good slosh of the stuff)

Firstly, you will need a really big mixing bowl for this. I use a large cooking pot.
Secondly, prepare your pudding bowls by lining with lightly greased greaseproof paper.

Christmas pudding ingredients on tableMost of the necessary ingredients (please note, none of the bowls you see in these photos turned out to be big enough – dunno why I never remember this, and I did have to resort to the cooking pot)

Sift the flour, baking powder and spices

Christmas pudding spicesGorgeous smells of Christmas

Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
Add the breadcrumbs and the suet
Add the sugar, carrots, dried fruit and nuts

Christmas pudding grated carrots in bowl
Grate in the orange rind
Add the chopped apples

Christmas pudding diced apple in bowl

Break each egg separately, give a gentle whisk with a fork and add to the mixture
Add the treacle, syrup, orange juice, rum and stout or milk. Add enough of the stout/milk so that the mixture just drops off a wooden spoon.
Plop the mixture into your prepared bowls, hiding in a few cleaned and foil covered pound coins as you go, cover with greaseproof paper and foil or a lid, and freeze until ready to use.

Christmas pudding finished mixtureTa daaaa….a rather gros looking (and, at the moment, tasting) mixture

Make sure you leave enough time for the pudding to thaw (I’d leave it overnight) and steam for around 5/6 hours, depending on the size of pudding.

Serve however you wish, this year one of the puddings was served with Brandy butter and cream and the other was served with Rum butter. Nom nom nom, as they say.

The pudding can certainly be left in the freezer for a year or so but equally, you can make it and then cook and serve – there is absolutely no need to make ahead. Sorry Stir it up Sunday.


Ally Pally Fireworks display

I went and watched the Alexandra Palace fireworks display from a great vantage point, just one block along from Ferme Park Road the view was incredible. Now, of course, you don’t get the same atmosphere as you would if you actually bought a ticket and rocked up early to the park to take in all the extra entertainment that had been put on (in truth, it never even occurred to me that you’d need to buy a ticket in advance. Doh.) But…I didn’t mind. I went with child number one and we met up with a few of her friends. A bought a couple of packets of sparklers on the way up to meet S and they really made the evening.

Unfortunately I don’t have any good photos of the fireworks as my camera phone wasn’t up to getting photos of quality and distinction (sorry that’s a play on a B.E.F. title, Music of Quality and Distinction) from that distance and in that light. I did however manage to capture this….

A clutching her sparklersA proudly clutching her sparklers and munching on salt and vinegar crisps, or as she used to…heh heh

This is meant to be me with the fireworks in the backgroundThat funny lighting behind me???..That’s a really quite impressive firework.

Sparkler fun 5 Sparkler fun 2 Sparkler fun 1 Sparkler fun3 Sparkler greedSomeone’s being a bit greedy here. For some reason A decided to light all the remaining sparklers at once, I think with a view to sharing them out, but it was so windy that none of us could get close enough to take them off of her.

Sparkler Pom PomsA doing an impression of a cheerleader.

After the fireworks had finished, A headed into Crouch End with her friends and I ambled back to my old house to make supper. As D had already eaten I decided to try out the one pot pasta that I’d seen on both The Londoner’s blog and on Rachel Phipp’s blog (yes, I know, I’ve mentioned both of those blogs in this and my previous post – well, they’re good blogs and I read them most days).

One pot spaghetti rawI added spaghetti, peas, tomatoes, thinly sliced carrots, bay leaf, thyme (it’s all that I had), mushrooms, chilli, a splosh of olive oil AND a knob of butter, and…a stock cube. I added cold water, brought it to the boil uncovered and then covered it, boiling for five or so minutes. I then took the lid off and boiled and stirred for another five minutes or so, until almost all of the liquid was gone – and I was left with a glistening sauce for my throw-together supper.

One pot spaghetti cookedBuried under a generous blanket of grated parmesan, it really was delicious. So simple, so easy, so cheap and easy and convenient. This definitely ought to be in the busy person’s repertoire.

Update – Jan, 2014 – the one pot pasta recipe originated, I believe, here – Martha Stewart. I read the post by The Londoner and the one by Rachel Phipps though and referred to none of them when making my supper. Have just been reading about good crediting form on blog posts so thought I’d best pop that in!

Cooking with Red Magazine and Shelina Permalloo: Part 2 – afternoon

After washing an exceptionally tasty lunch down with plenty of wine, the tables were cleared, returned to work benches and it was back to watching Shelina demo a couple of dishes one of which was our dessert to be and the other, a little take-out treat.

Before making our dessert we assembled (because Shelina had made the filling and we were using samosa wrappers) our potato and pea samosas which were to be fried by the La Cucina Caldesi staff whilst we got on with making and eating the syllabubs.

I must say, I’m a bit of an idiot when it comes to making every bit of a meal but I’m sold on samosa wrappers.

My potato and pea samosas in the frying lineMy samosas, waiting to be fried until golden and crispy.

Mango, rum and lime syllabub

The finished syllabubs, waiting to be devoured.

I really wasn’t convinced by the dessert ingredients which included ginger biscuits (ginger nut stylee), mango, desiccated coconut and rum,  I dunno, it’s the ginger biscuit that doesn’t appeal and even after devouring a sumptuously decadent and delicious tasting dessert I still, intellectually, think nooooooo… It feels like ruining perfectly good mango, it isn’t though – it’s indulgent but fresh, sweet but not cloying and sickly, vibrant (that’s the lime) and also well rounded (that’ll be the vanilla) with a beautiful crunch laid on by the ginger biscuits and the coconut. Honestly, if you’ve got the book, try out Mango, Rum and Lime Syllabub.

Loading up the dessertMango on mango








The only daytime drinking I can get away with is festival beer and my reasoning for this is that it’s so watered down it hardly makes a difference. In any case, I’m somewhat tiddly in this photo as, on top of my wine with lunch, Peta and I had a bloody good slosh of rum in our puds and I believe I snuck in a glug to boot (just to make sure the rum was okay though…).

Slightly tipsy and so happy

Cruncy samosasAhhhh…these were so tasty. Anyone want to invite me to a party? Perhaps I’ll bring some of these along to share.

Shelina and SusieWhat a happy day I had. And it didn’t end here, I went on to meet up with an old old friend that I hadn’t seen in years who just happens to be best friends with a new friend of mine. We were joined by a few of their girlfriends and we spent a most pleasant evening supping beer and chatting away.