Things That Make Me Go Ewwww!

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I never thought of myself as a fussy person when it comes to food, especially when compared to Mr.D, who has a list of food dislikes that’s almost as tall as he is! I considered myself to be the kind of person who’ll eat anything – or at least give it a try. But a conversation about food the other day made me realise that I had an awful lot of food hates myself. In fact after sharing them with you, I doubt I’ll ever be invited to dinner again!

1. Glacé cherries

This might seem a little ironic considering I love cherries, but they have to be either fresh or dried – I can even live with the tinned variety. But glacé cherries for me are a huge non-no. Their bright, tomato-red colour just puts me off as I know that real cherries aren’t supposed to be that colour. In fact for years I thought that they’re weren’t ‘real’ cherries as they didn’t look or taste like the cherries that I love but they are – they’re maraschino cherries that have been stoned and candied in a sugar syrup.

Even as a child I’ve never liked them, and my dislike for glacé cherries still continues. As much as I adore cherry bakewells, fruit cake and Christmas pudding, I always pick out the offending glacé cherries.

Image from glacecherries.com

Image from glacecherries.com

 

2. Smoked salmon

I love, love, love salmon. It’s one of my fave foods. So you’d think I’d be a huge fan of smoked salmon, right? Wrong! Smoked salmon and I never really hit it off. I never liked the taste or the texture. I know it’s considered a luxury delicacy, but I could never acquire a taste for it. In fact, give me a tin of salmon over the smoked stuff any day!

 

Image from wikihow.com

Image from wikihow.com

3. Quiche

Oh my goodness – if there’s a food I really cannot stomach, it’s quiche. I’ve never liked it and they used to serve the horrid stuff  for school dinners on a regular basis. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a whole slice of quiche. I’ve given it a good go but that taste, that smell… no, just not happening!

image from bbcfood.com

image from bbcfood.com

 

4. Green banana

Green bananas are usually served in savoury dishes and feature in Caribbean, South American, African and South Asian cuisines – cuisines I enjoy a great deal.   I don’t come across green bananas very often, thankfully. But when I have, I’ve never really enjoyed them so tend to pick them out. I don’t like the texture – and the fact that I believe bananas should be yellow and sweet probably has something to do with my dislike of them!

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5. Cooked peppers

Now I can eat raw peppers without any problem at all, and I don’t believe that a salad is a salad without them. But for some reason, I don’t enjoy peppers when they’ve been cooked. Unlike many of the foods on this list, I can actually eat cooked peppers but then again I’ve had to – you won’t believe how many dishes contain cooked peppers. It’s just that I’d prefer not to! I don’t really like the flavour or texture of peppers when they’ve been cooked.

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6. Non- peeling oranges

I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with oranges. One of those things in life that just can’t be explained. But even though I’m happy to OD on oranges when I have a really bad cold, they have to be of the peeling variety. I can’t be doing with all that cutting malarkey. And since childhood, I’ve never been able to stand the sight of those navel oranges – definitely not for me!

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7. Soft jelly sweets

Now I’ve always had a sweet tooth so naturally I love sweets. But I don’t like those ultra soft, sugar-coated jelly sweets. I’m not totally sure why – I vaguely remember being sick after eating too many of these as a child so I’m sure that’s got a lot to do with it – but they’ve always made me feel a bit queasy after tucking into a few, so I tend to give them a miss. I prefer the jelly sweets with a harder texture.

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8. Curried/stewed fish

OK, so I love fish, I love curries, and I love stews. I even like fish stews and curries. But I’m very fussy about how the fish is cooked. It has to be in chunks rather than steaks, and there shouldn’t be any huge bones and certainly no skin, as  I hate the texture – all slimy and nasty. Not good!

Image from bbcfood.com

Image from bbcfood.com

 

 

9. Duck

Duck is very popular with many people but I personally have never understood the appeal. It has a rather strong flavour that I really don’t like but if I did have to eat it, I’d prefer to have my duck cooked a bit longer than most people would prefer. I’ve tried to get into it but I’ve accepted that my tastebuds are different to everyone else’s and duck just isn’t for me.

bbcfood.co.uk

bbcfood.co.uk

 

10. Offal

I reckon it’s a small minority of people who can stomach offal – but I’m not one of them. The smell alone is horribly off-putting, and although I’ve tried classics such as steak and kidney pie, and  liver and onions,  it’s not something that I’m in a hurry to sample again.

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If any of you have any ‘food nasties,’ I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

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Nici Wickes’s Trinidadian Chicken Curry And Caribbean Black Cakes

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Travel and food are two things I love. And one of the things I love about travelling is sampling all the local delicacies. So it’s no wonder that I’m addicted to a TV cooking show that combines my two favourite things. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of cooking shows but World Kitchen hosted by Nici Wickes is refreshingly different. Not only does Nici whip up interesting and exciting dishes from around the world – and make it look so easy – but she takes viewers on a culinary adventure as she heads off around the world, visiting fantastic places and learning about the local cuisine. Nici then heads home where she recreates many of the dishes that she’s learned to make from the comfort of her own kitchen. Each episode usually sees her rustling up one main and one dessert from the country she’s just visited.

TV chef Nici Wickes

TV chef Nici Wickes

 

The New Zealand-born chef is an absolute joy to watch with her sunny personality, mile wide smile, abundant energy, and her enthusiasm for cooking just shines through. But Nici is not just a pretty face, and neither is she just another TV chef. As well as being a seasoned traveller, Nici is also a cookery writer,  business woman, actress, motivational speaker, owner of a cooking school, business coach and runs workshops in leadership! Wow – does this lady ever sleep???

Nici has a multitude of fantastic recipes but I chose to include the dishes she made after her visit to Trinidad. I love the awesome flavours of Caribbean cooking, and I was famished just watching Nici cook these! But for more amazing recipes check them out here.  And tune into World Kitchen if you can.

TRINIDADIAN CHICKEN CURRY

 

A delicious fusion of Indian and Caribbean flavours, this curry is perfect for those who prefer a milder, yet flavoursome, curry.

Serves 4-6

GREEN SEASONING:

1 green capsicum, de-seeded and chopped roughly
1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
3 spring onions, roughly chopped
1 bunch of fresh coriander (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
¼ – ½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt

 Curry

3  Chicken Breasts – skin on, cubed
1 cup green sauce (recipe below)
2 tablespoons rice bran oil
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
1-2 teaspoons garam masala
½ cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon mustard (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 fresh mango, skinned and cut into 2cm cubes
Steamed rice and store bought roti

METHOD:

  1. Blend all ingredients for the green seasoning in a blender or food processor.
  2. In a bowl, marinate the chicken in the green seasoning.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium-sized, heavy based saucepan.
  4. Add the onion and sauté until soft then add the spices (cumin, turmeric, garam masala) and fry for 2-3 minutes until aromatic.
  5. Add the chicken and green seasoning and stir until coated in the spice mix and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Finally add the coconut milk, mustard (if using), salt and pepper.
  7. Gently stir in the mango and heat through.
  8. Serve with rice and roti.

CARIBBEAN BLACK CAKES

 

This is one of my favourite cakes. One of the things  I like about this cake is that the dried fruits are blended so you get the flavour but not the appearance. This is great for me because although  I love  which I’m not that keen on! This cake is usually served during special occasions in the Caribbean. Good reason to make every day a special occasion!

Ingredients: 

 2 cups mix of raisins & currants
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup rum
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons aromatic bitters flavouring

Cake batter:

150g unsalted butter
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons lime or lemon zest

METHOD: 

Prepare the fruit: Place the raisins, currant and prunes in a large bowl, pour in rum, warm water and bitters.

  1. Leave for the fruit to soak up the liquor while you make the batter.
  2. Preheat oven to 150 C.
  3. Grease a 12 hole deep muffin tin.
  4. Make the cake batter: In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well to incorporate.
  6. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, mixed spice and nutmeg), golden syrup, vanilla essence and lime zest.
  7. Mix gradually into the creamed mixture to form a batter.
  8. Set aside.
  9. In a food processor, pour the soaked fruit and juices and blend until thick and still a bit chunky.
  10. Now add the fruit puree to the batter and fold in until well mixed.
  11. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins.
  12. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
  13. Serve warm with sour cream sweetened with brown sugar.

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Peggy Porschen’s Swedish Princess Cake (Raspberry & Rose Dome Cake)

Originally posted on The Recipe Box:

I really didn’t think it was possible to fall in love with a cake, especially one I’ve never tried, but that’s exactly what’s happened. It was most definitely love at first sight…

While watching an episode of Great British Bake Off,  one of the Technical Challenges involved making one of Mary Berry’s recipes – a Swedish Princess cake. I’d never seen or heard of such a cake before (neither had most of the contestants by the sounds of it!) but I gained interest as soon as I saw that beautiful dome-shaped cake (representing a princess’s full skirt perhaps?) covered in a delicate pistachio-green marzipan, and topped with a pretty pink rose.

And as soon as they cut into it, well, I would have given anything to reach into the TV screen and nab a huge slice. It really did look like heaven on a plate. Gorgeous layers of sponge, jam…

View original 1,779 more words

Tea party Etiquette: The Rules!

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As much as I’m a cappuccino and cake kind of girl, I do love a good tea party – especially if it’s done properly. I know in the States, an afternoon tea party is considered to be a quintessentially British pastime. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news guys, but most of us here in the ‘old country’ don’t even own a piece of fine bone China, never mind drink from it every day. And I really cannot remember the last time I used a saucer. On the rare occasions I do drink tea, it’s usually from a cardboard cup – just like my cappuccino!

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But I do know a typically British afternoon tea party can be a fabulous occasional treat. We don’t have them every day or every week, but they are very popular for birthdays, bridal showers, little girls dressing-up tea parties, and just generally  when you feel like being a little bit girly and going overboard with the hats, gloves, tea dresses and pearls. Told you it’s not an every day thing!

Tea parties can vary in terms of theme, style and food served, and there’ll be more about that in later posts. Although they are usually considered to be quite formal occasions, they don’t always have to be. They’re just great fun  and a chance to have a cup of tea and a natter with a huge slice of cake. However formal or not, there are certain rules (for want of a better word) which need to be taken into account for a smooth running party.

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So here’s the low-down on tea party etiquette.

TEA PARTY ETIQUETTE

IF YOU’RE THE HOSTESS:

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1. Depending on how formal you want to be, you may want to send out invitations. Make sure you send these out in plenty of time.

2. Greet your guests as they come in. I don’t really think a handshake and a ‘how do you do?’ is necessary as one book suggested. Hello and a smile work just fine!

2. Show guests to the table and invite them to sit down. Whether you give them assigned seating or allow them to chose their own seats is up to you.

3. As the hostess, it’s your job to serve each of the courses and pour the tea. Make sure the conversation is flowing and your guests are eating and drinking.

4. It’s fine to arrange for someone else to do the serving if you wish so that you can concentrate on just having a good time with your guests.

5. If you are not able to get outside help and you have a fairly large number of guests, you can nominate a couple of friends to help serve – especially if you know that they are happy to do so!

IF YOU’RE THE GUEST:

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1. It’s always nice to bring a small gift for the hostess.

2. Take your place at the table and wait to be served.

3. Keep your purse or handbag on your lap or behind your chair but not on the table.

4. When the party’s over, always send a handwritten note of thanks to your host – preferably within a week.

FOR EVERYONE:

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1. Place napkins on your lap. If you need to leave the table, leave the napkin on your chair and not on the table.

2. No reaching across the table for anything. If you’d like something, ask someone to pass it to you.

3. It’s perfectly acceptable to eat with your fingers – no one eats sandwiches with a knife and fork – but anything that has the potential to be messy should be eaten with a fork.

4. Remember that thick cream is for scones – not for tea.

5. Take small bites of the sandwiches no matter how tiny they are. Don’t cram a whole one into your mouth. Now is not the time for party pieces!

6. When eating scones or muffins, break off a bite-size piece, then put a small amount of butter and/or jam on it. If clotted cream is being served, a small amount can be dabbed on after the jam.

7. Don’t dip the sugar tong or sugar spoon into your tea if you are taking sugar.

8. Stir the tea with your teaspoon and then place the teaspoon on the saucer behind the cup.

9. If your tea is too hot, simply leave it on the table to cool. Don’t blow on it to cool the tea down.

10. Slurping is not acceptable!

11. And neither is dunking biscuits.

12. Whatever our American friends might say, nobody here sticks their little/pinky finger out when drinking tea from a teacup. Who does that???

This is of course a rough guide and rules are open to interpretation. The most important rules which go without saying is that everyone should be happy, comfy, well-fed and having fun!

Enjoy!!!

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Triple Chocolate Banana Cake Bars

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I absolutely love the combination of chocolate and banana together. I think it’s a match made in dessert heaven so when I stumbled across this recipe for chocolate and banana cake bars – which contained all three types of chocolate – I knew I had to share it with you.

Guess who’ll be baking away this weekend?

Makes: 16 cake bars

Image from The Examiner

Image from The Examiner

INGREDIENTS:

250g plain flour

130g butter, softened

100g soft brown sugar

3 ripe bananas

2 eggs, beaten

1tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

60g dark chocolate

30g white chocolate

30g milk chocolate

45ml milk

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 160ºC.
  2. Butter and line 2 22cm x 24cm cake tins.
  3. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar.
  4. Mash bananas.
  5. Add to the butter mixture along with vanilla and eggs.
  6. Sieve flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl.
  7. Combine well.
  8. Add all the chocolate and milk.
  9. Stir well.
  10. Spoon mixture into tins.
  11. Bake in the middle shelf of oven for about 20mins.
  12. Insert a skewer or knife into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean it’s ready.
  13. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
  14. Slice into rectangles while in the tin.
  15. Remove from tin and serve.

COOK’S TIP:

  • Instead of making cake bars, this mixture can be used to make muffins. Just substitute cake tins for muffin tray lined with muffin cases.
  • Chocolate can either be broken into chunks or shop bought chocolate chips can also be used.

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Please Rain On My Parade!

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We’re still in August but the cooler temperature of the last few days has been an indicator that Autumn will be here before we know it – and I couldn’t be more thrilled! It’s pelting down with rain as I’m writing this post but instead of feeling dismayed at the grey skies I cannot wait for Autumn to arrive which is most definitely my favourite season.

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As a Summer baby, the irony that I don’t ‘do hot weather’ isn’t lost on me. I put it down to the fact that I’m a Londoner, and that the cold and the rain is what I’m used to but then I know that that doesn’t count for much as most Londoners crave the sun – mainly because we don’t usually have any! But I’m most definitely an Autumn-bordering-on-Winter kind of girl. When planning our wedding, the original date was to be in Winter (Mr. D’s birthday to be  exact) but the reaction from our guests – who acted as though we’d just announced that our wedding was gong to be held in a morgue – made us reconsider. So as a compromise, we held our wedding in the twilight month of September: technically Summer but with a more Autumn feel.

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I understand that to say you don’t like hot weather is like saying you don’t like chocolate, can’t stand Friends or never listen to music! I’m not totally sure where my negativity regarding the Summer comes from because I’m quite sure I loved it when I was a child.  I put it down to the fact that as I got older I became less tolerant to the sun (or maybe the sun became less tolerant towards me!) But I don’t see anything great about sweating like a spa; having your make-up slide off your face; getting heat rash  and sunstroke… I could go on and on. Sure we get to indulge in ice-cream, barbecues, picnics, give our summer clothes an airing, and drive with the top down if we’re lucky enough to own a convertible. But for me, the colder months have more appeal.

So why do I love Autumn so much? Well…

1. If it gets too cold, you just put on extra layers. What do you do when it’s too hot? I don’t live near Miami Beach so running around in a bikini is not an option!

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2. I’m very much a jeans and boots kind of girl, but who can wear boots in scorching hot weather? I love the ballet style pumps I live in throughout the warmer months but it feels so good to be back in a pair of knee-high boots!

b4e6a25b83ef8c80e736e40fc392ece53. I love my snug, cosy jumpers, sweaters and cardis.

b6d50e938049e42d1175d6ed956511464. The colder temperature means lots of frothy, hot drinks. I love the wonderfully flavoured hot chocolates and coffees that are available. Gingerbread, eggnog, pumpkin pie lattes… bring it on!

9dac74f8b853b89380b8696fdc948ac55. All the best holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Bonfire Night, Christmas and Valentine’s Day – take place during Autumn and Winter.

91ef87c27baacc591457da8c505abb1b6. There’s no denying that blossom looks gorgeous in Spring but there’s just something naturally stunning about the simplicity of Fall colours. Plus walking ankle-deep in fallen leaves reminds me of my childhood.

e0e4af7801503de99673e4e9991824ec7.  It’s the perfect excuse to lie around in cosy pjs, with a warm blanket watching movies all day (providing it’s the weekend of course!)

jam8. Comforting soups, stews and stodgy puds were made for this weather!

c22bf7b45c460be365672c6fdcc6810d9. There’s something quite beautiful about a  dark city street, after it’s been raining and seeing the street lights reflected on the glistening ground.

imagesHAY40OMF10. If you think miserable weather means being cooped up indoors, think again. Some of my best nights out have occurred during cold and wet weather.

imagesJNYNTT8111. …but if you do decide to stay in, sofa Saturday nights with takeaways, booze, movies and mates are fab.

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12. You can ditch the exercise plan as you won’t be getting your bikini bod out for a while!

images52SLUESX13. It’s great news for holidaymakers and soon-to-be-marrieds as everything tends to be cheaper around this time.

919cba7fcc60496198876a96b44c36ad14. No one wants to be stuck indoors during the Summer, especially not in a hot kitchen, but Autumn’s great for practising your baking skills.

af17f96ebd70102e575eadee310cb16815. There’s an extra hour in bed!

child-sleeping16. It’s great to fall asleep to the sound of falling rain.

swr17. The crisp, cool weather makes for great walks.

322594c5e6154444c0e2aacd2bec075918. Who wouldn’t like to sit in front of a real log fire?

imagesBS01HPVG19. Packed tubes, trains and buses are way more bearable when it’s cold.

efee4-imagescap4210j20. I can wear my beloved scarves and not look like an idiot!

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I can’t wait to say

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Bring it on!

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Video

Auntie Fee’s Kitchen Rules

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If the name Auntie Fee means nothing to you, then Muthaf***er, where have you been?

Auntie Fee

Auntie Fee

 

As someone who enjoys cooking shows, I am totally blown away by the latest hot, new chef on the cooking scene, who’s most definitely stirring things up in the kitchen. Based in South-Central LA,  her cooking methods are a little unorthodox; she doesn’t use ingredients that you need to order online; she’s not too fussed about presentation, and she’s got a mouth to rival Gordon Ramsay’s. Her video clips which she posts on YouTube have gone viral and I’m wondering how long it’ll be before she gets her own show. I’m talking about new American cook, Auntie Fee, also known as Chef Sista Girl.

Two weeks ago, I hadn’t even heard of Auntie Fee, real name Felicia O’Dell. But now the latest cooking sensation has the world in stitches with her culinary antics and expletive- laden commentary, all filmed by her son Tavis Hunter who acts as cameraman – and often gets an ear-bashing from his mum due to what she perceives to be annoying questions, unhelpful input and dodgy camera work. If you’re looking for the genteelness of Delia, the seductive charms of Nigella, or the perfection of Martha – forget it because as the name of her Facebook page states, Aunty Fee Keeping It Muthaf***ing Real In The Kitchen, Muthaf***er!

 

Auntie Fee's son and cameraman, Tavis

Auntie Fee’s son and cameraman, Tavis

 

Auntie Fee’s choice of language is most definitely a little on the colourful side – and that’s putting it mildly – so she’s probably not going to be a hit with those who are easily shocked or offended. However, most people evidently think she’s awesome, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a TV chef so entertaining since Nancy Lam and her henpecked hubby, Ben.

The first time I happened to stumble across one of her video clips, where she made ‘something sweet for the f***ing kids,’ I watched it three times consecutively and howled with laughter. In fact my laughter could be heard all the way in South Carolina (Mr.D was Skyping his bestie at the time!) At that time there was very little info available about Auntie Fee, but she did have a Facebook page which at the time of liking, had less than ten likes – now there are thousands! Talk-show hosts have been clamouring to get her on their show, but even though Auntie Fee was allegedly holding out for Oprah, she did make an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live via Skype – and we got to see Tavis for the first time – last weekend, where she made a five minute meal using shrimp and garlic bread – and as expected she brought the house down!

My friends and I cannot get enough of Auntie Fee and her antics, and as annoying as it may be for some people, we quote her on a regular basis. Forget literary figures and noble statesmen, this cooking sensation has some real gems. We’ve watched her prepare raisin turnovers, egg rolls, chicken wings, a noodle soup dish, and a strawberry shortcake. A lot of Auntie Fee’s cooking is aimed at families on a budget or people who don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Admittedly, it’s not the healthiest of food and doesn’t always look appealing (sorry Auntie Fee!) If you think Delia got a lot of stick for preparing food with her rings on, wait until you see how Auntie Fee seasons her chicken wings – not for the faint-hearted! And Auntie Fee is well aware of the criticism regarding her levels of hygiene and makes defiant references to it during her clips.

 

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But whatever you may think of her recipes, one thing’s for damn sure: Auntie Fee is a breath of fresh air in an industry where some chefs take themselves – and food – way, way, waaay too seriously. Auntie Fee may be at the other end of the spectrum but she is hilarious with it, and I for one cannot wait to see what else is on the menu.

Someone give this lady and her son their own show!

CLASSIC AUNTIE FEE QUOTES

1. “I don’t know what the f*** this is. It’s just something sweet for the f***ing kids.” – When asked what she was making.
2. “Muthaf***er, this is not no prison food.” -After Tavis cheekily asks if what’s she’s making is like prison food.
3. “I need to get me a f***ing cameraman cos you trippin’.” – Getting annoyed with Tavis’s questions.
4. “Goddamn it, I ain’t got no muthaf***ing name for it yet, muthaf***er!” – Just before she named the sweet treats ‘raisin turnovers.
5. “I don’t give a damn whether they broke or not. You smash ‘em out how you wanna smash ‘em out.” – Clearly not one for following instructions.
6. “This muthaf***er make any f***ing thang taste good!” – On dried parsley.
7. “Cook it for three hours if you want it to fall off the muthaf***ing bone. I swear this s**t will.” – On cooking chicken wings.
8. Aunty Fee: “I meant to say that you was my assistant. But instead I said you was my informant.”
Tavis: “Yeah, don’t ever say that again.”
9. “We had it for dinner last night. I don’t know where your fat ass was.” – To Tavis.
10. Tavis: “So this like the ghetto way of doing things.”
Aunty Fee: “We don’t talk ghetto okay? I’m not ghetto.”
11. “Oh but that Jimmy Kimble, Jimmy Kimmy, what’s his name? Jammy Kimmy…” – Unable to say Jimmy Kimmel’s name.
12. “You got an old Crisco can by your sink, then you a mutherf***ing G.”
13. “Now I can wet this with my hands if I want to, because this is my mutherf***ing shit.” – On sealing pastry edges.
14. “Tavis the camera better be on me. We only got one shot at this.” – Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
15. “Say something so I know we communicating!” – To Jimmy Kimmel

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When It’s The Students Who Inspire The Teacher…

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I feel a little sad today.

I had to say goodbye to a student who had been in my class since April. He was a delightful student and an absolute pleasure to teach. I only wish all of my students could be like him.

I’m thankful that I work in an EFL college and not in a mainstream school as I really don’t think I’d have been able to handle the pressures that go along with that territory – mainly difficult pupils and their even more ridiculously difficult parents. I have family and friends who work in secondary schools so I hear the horror stories. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t come across my fair share of awful behaviour. I’ve had students who are impolite, arrogant, ignorant and thoroughly unpleasant to be around. They’re apparently here to learn English so as to improve their chances of getting work, but who on earth would want to hire people with that attitude who are more than old enough to know better, I really don’t know. There have been times I’ve dreaded going into class – which is a ridiculous thing to say seeing as I’m the teacher – but that just goes to show how miserable the situation can sometimes be. All I can do is hope and pray for the day when the worst of the bunch leave – although I have no idea why it takes so long!

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And then there’s the other end of the spectrum. There’s the kind of student who makes you want to go into class every day. They’re attentive, courteous, eager to learn, full of questions, respectful, and always have time for a laugh and a joke. Basically, they’re smiley, happy people – my kind of people. And you just know that, unlike the above, they have all the qualities that will see them go far in life and succeed. I certainly hope so because the world is in short supply of fantastic people like these and we could do with more of them.

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So my brilliant student who has finished his course and is now heading home to continue with life as normal has inspired me to write this post. But my students actually inspire me in more ways than they know – even though it’s probably my job to inspire them. They’re the reason why I work hard at being a better teacher, and why I try to be more patient, understanding and encouraging. But they’ve inspired me in other ways too. I see what they do and I want to be more like them. No, I don’t mean getting legless at the school parties we have at clubs around the city – although I have no problem with that! But I see the effort they put into learning a language; the experiences they’re having; the countries they’re visiting; their love of travel; the way their eyes light up when they see something new… and it makes me want to experience some of that for myself. So much so I’ve decided to get back into studying languages again and would love to experience time away in another country.

It’s not just the students who are learning…

…teacher is too – and I have my amazing students to thank for that.

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Happy Birthday To Me! Chez Mrs. D Is A Year Old

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I cannot believe that Chez Mrs. D is a year old today! Where has the time gone? thank you WordPress for the reminder!

I’d wanted to do a blog like this one for a long time before I actually got around to doing it. The first few initial attempts didn’t quite work but then I brought it home to WordPress and Bingo! Chez Mrs. D. was born!

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All of my blogs are very special to me in one way or another – after all, they’re all my babies! And I definitely have a lot of love for Chez Mrs. D. It celebrates my love of being Mrs. D which is without a doubt the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s also a reflection of the real lives of women up and down the country around the world! After all we love having a cuppa with our mates around the kitchen or sharing cocktails in the lounge, where we put the world to rights; have a giggle; have a grumble; have a cry; give tips and handy hints to make each other’s lives easier, and share our experiences and the benefits of our wisdom. What I love about Chez Mrs. D is that it’s not about one particular subject. Here, you’ll find posts based on a multitude of subjects, so there’s something for everyone.

Fr. Ray Kelly: I owe it all to him!

Fr. Ray Kelly: I owe it all to him!

 

In the beginning it was very much like shouting into an empty room: I was speaking, but was anyone listening? I was writing, but was anyone reading? For a while, it seemed as though nobody was and I was beginning to lose heart. But then came the post about Father Ray Kelly, the Irish Catholic priest who performed that beautifully moving rendition of Hallelujah at the wedding ceremony of Chris and Leah O’Kane – and the views for Chez Mrs. D skyrocketed! Just as Fr. Kelly couldn’t believe his new-found popularity, I couldn’t believe mine – although admittedly, he definitely had the edge over me!

And since then I’ve seen this blog go from strength to strength. Chez Mrs. D still has a long way to go, and there are still tons of plans that I need to put into action for this blog, but as it’s only a year old, I think it’s done very well.

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I would like to thank everyone who has supported this blog during it’s first year. Thanks for the likes, the comments, the follows etc. The response I’ve had has always been positive and very much appreciated.

Here’s to another fantastic year!

 

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Passion Fruit Mousse

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Passion fruit mousse is supposed to be the closest thing that Brazil has to a national dessert. It’s not hard to see why. Mousse? Great! Passion fruit? Amazing! I absolutely love tropical fruits, so this dessert is right up my street.

Prep: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling time

Serves: 4

Image from Sainsbury's

Image from Sainsbury’s

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 4 passion fruit, pulp and seeds scooped out
  2. 150g sweetened condensed milk
  3. 175ml fresh whipping cream
  4. 4 lemon shortbread thins, to serve

METHOD:

  1. Put ¾ of the passion fruit pulp and seeds (reserve the rest for decorating) in a food processor or blender and whiz to a purée.
  2. Push through a sieve into a bowl, to remove the seeds.
  3. Add the condensed milk and stir until smooth.
  4. Pour the cream into another bowl and use a hand-held electric whisk to whip until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold through the passion fruit mixture, 1/3rd  at a time, until combined.
  6. Spoon into small serving glasses and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
  7. Spoon the reserved passion fruit over the mousses and serve with the lemon thins.

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