A Marathon Journey

Only 73 days till the Brighton Marathon.

73 days… 10.5 weeks… This feels like not a lot.

I’m not really a runner, in fact since I graduated 3.5 years ago I havn’t really been that active at all, and come to write of it final year consisted of sitting, studying and binge eating junk food. But I have signed up for this marathon in 73 days…

This was a potentially poorly thought through decision born out of a wish to do something, anything, to feel like I was doing something helpful following the death of my cousin in August 2016. She was 17. She had a cardiac arrest the day after she received her AS level exam results, 2 weeks before she was going to be a bridesmaid at her brothers wedding. Just 3 months before her 18th birthday. She is the baby of the family, the youngest of 3 siblings, and the youngest of all six of us including me and my brothers.

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Mammoth Embroidery Project

Inspired by my ‘Christmas-y craft weekend‘ with my cousin that I previously posted about, I decided to make a ginormous patchwork cushion for my cousin’s Christmas present. I had the cushion, a really lovely huge feather one that deserved a new home as I tended to avoid using it as its feathers but Ellie loved when she was up here. And I had a lot of fabric. I tried to suss out which of my fabrics she particularly liked when she was here – but wasn’t sure if I had remembered correctly afterwards… So I went with using essentially all my fabrics instead…

The project got a bit out of control. I hadn’t done any embroidery since primary school, and I enjoyed it so much I planned loads of different things to embroider as I went along. I wasn’t really sticking to a theme I just wanted CRAZY patches – no pattern, no matching just a massive explosion of patterns and colour. Now whilst it was November this was fine, but once I hit the second week of December and started laying the patches out together, I realised that it really was a huge cushion (90cm x 80cm-ish) and embroidery, whilst being very enjoyable and therapeutic, was pretty time consuming.

The dreams in my head of every inch of the cushion being covered in multicoloured embroidery alas were completely unreachable.

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I have to admit there was a point where I started putting it together when a little voice suggested that maybe I had gone over board and it was starting to look a bit TOO crazy. But I was banking on whilst it may be too crazy for most of the population, my cousin is a kindred spirit, and would totally love it. I hoped.

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Too Crazy?

I arrived back at my parents about a week before Christmas. I think my mum thought I would be free to help with the tidying and general Christmas presentation but alas… I had to sew. Constantly. I took it to my friends for our Christmas gatherings, I took it to the waiting room of the dentist, I did it all over the place. People continually suggested that maybe I didn’t have to do ALL the embroidery I had planned, or maybe I could do bigger patches towards the end… but i wanted it to be perfect!!!

I’m glad I stuck with it, I think it turned out very well, and it was certainly well received! 🙂

I mean there was the minor problem that I left the cushion itself behind when I drove down for Christmas so I had to just give the cushion cover with the promise of the cushion catching up in January, but seeing as it was the cover that was the real present I think that that was OK.  Cushion and cushion cover have now been reunited so I thought it was time I shared some pictures of the final creation:

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Hope you enjoyed,

TTFN x

First Foodie Post

Yesterday I had my first January Dinner Party. I was so pleased with what I cooked that I really wanted to blog to about it. I’m gutted that I didn’t manage to take final photographs! Once my guests were around I forgot about photographing as I was having such a great time. (That and the fact that its always a rush to co-ordinate/get things on the plate and I was feeling flustered as I almost forgot the crucial broccoli!)

The Starter: Mackerel Pate

  • 20170108_185139A pack of peppered smoked mackerel (around 500g) with the skins peeled off
  • A pack of cream cheese (250g)
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • A punnet of cress
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • I was planning on putting parsley in but I forgot…

Instructions:

  1. Put it all in the food processor
  2. Blend
  3. Serve (or refrigerate until you need it)

I kind off stole this from a Jamie Oliver recipe (minus quite a few lemons, the man is citrus crazy), but I didn’t read the instructions which it turns out WASN’T just blend it all together, I’m not even sure it was all supposed to go in the pate… but it tasted really delicious…. so all good there! I served it with a pot of celery sticks, some crackers and some part baked rolls. Went down a treat 🙂

Main: Stuffed chicken breast, dauphinoise potatoes and broccoli (serves 4… generously)

Chicken: 

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  • 4 chicken breasts
  • tub of ricotta
  • about half a bag of fresh spinach
  • a bag of pine nuts
  • 8 slices of parma ham
  • white wine
  • chicken stock
  • (The photo is pre-fluid addition + pre-cooking)
  1. Chop the spinach up into tiny tiny bits
  2. Mix spinach + ricotta + pine nuts in a bowl – decide the ratios depending on how it looks and personal preference
  3. Season
  4. Lay 2 parma ham on your meat board, place chicken breast on them + score open
  5. Fill with a quarter of the cheese mixture (or as much as you can get it!)
  6. Wrap with the parma ham to try and contain the stuffing
  7. Place in an appropriate dish
  8. Repeat with the other chicken breasts
  9. Mix 100-200mls of chicken stock with some white wine and pour over breasts so they are sitting in a bit of fluid (not drowning though – I had to pour fluid out as I over did it!
  10. Cover with foil, cook for 20 mins covered, 15 mins uncovered at 180 degrees C

This recipe I kind of amalgamated lots of recipes because I couldn’t find what I wanted. I remembered having the chicken with stuffing but no ham at my parents and thinking… if this was wrapped in prosciutto it would be even more amazing… but when i googled it parma ham seemed to be used more, although never with quite the stuffing I wanted. I only found one recipe that suggested the stock which I leapt on because I was really worried about it being too dry especially as I wasn’t serving any sauce.

Potatoes:

I take no claim to this unfortunately as I copied it 100% from BBC Good food (one of my favourite online recipe resources.) The only thing I did was up the garlic quantity!

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My photo is pre-cheese addition and pre-cooking. I’m so gutted I didn’t take one when it came out it was so golden and creamy…. numnumnum

 

 

The Wine

I know barely anything about wine, I don’t even know how to talk about them let alone know which I like, but I am trying to teach myself so bear with me… They were all three completely delicious. (Much to my surprise as I am very fussy about white wine)

I cooked with Tohora Point Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. I realise that this is really too nice to cook with but it was only a splash (it was my only white wine) and the rest was drunk.

My lovely neighbours then also brought round a bottle of Schloss Johannisberg 2014 Reisling Kabinett Feinherb… I wine I had gifted them from south Germany but they saved to drink with us, and a Castillo de Albai 2015 Rioja Viura Blanco

There was a shop bought cheesecake for desert… but no one could eat any we were all so full!!!

Hope you enjoyed my first post about food!

TTFN x

First Bullet Journal

I jumped the gun and instead of waiting for January I tried new me at the beginning of November (see previous post) and it has been… a mixed success. Slightly healthier food I think but sadly no weight loss. I have been doing well with my running plan including a 55 minute run on Christmas day! However I have not manage to save any money, this skill still alludes me. But it was Christmas. Which was always going to be bad for my waist and my bank balance right? Continue reading