Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Perfect Easter Lunch: Jerk Lamb With Guava Sauce

 

Easter’s here! Amid all the chocolate we’ll be scoffing, we’ll most definitely be sitting down to a special Easter meal of roast lamb like millions of other families up and down the country.

But this year I fancied an Easter lunch with a bit a twist. Rather than the usual minted roast lamb, I thought about serving a roast lamb with a jerk seasoning and served with roasted sweet potatoes. I remember watching Jamaican chef Virginia Burke on a food programme where she cooked a delicious looking jerk lamb; a contemporary take on the classic jerk chicken. I remember Burke saying at the time: “We have the best food in the Caribbean but nobody knows about it.”

And she’s absolutely right! I have been a big fan of Jamaican food – in fact all Caribbean – for years and I’m really surprised that it’s not more well known because I’m sure it would really take off in a big way – in quite the same way that Indian or Thai food has.

If you’ve never tried Caribbean food, you really don’t know what you’re missing. Try Virginia Burke’s recipe for jerk lamb with a yummy guava sauce. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

JERKED LAMB WITH GUAVA SAUCE

Ingredients

For the jerk seasoning
•6 spring onions
•2 scotch bonnet peppers
•1 tsp ground allspice
•1 tbsp thyme, chopped
•2 tsp ground cinnamon
•1 tsp nutmeg, grated
•1 tsp brown sugar
•1.5 tsp salt
•1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
•75 ml white malt vinegar, distilled
•1 tbsp oil

For the guava dipping sauce
•1 heads garlic
•1 tsp olive oil
•175 g guava jelly, or redcurrant jelly
•2 tbsp white wine vinegar
•1 tsp hot pepper sauce, (optional, for added heat)

For the lamb

•3 tbsp jerk seasoning
•2.5 kg leg of lamb, boned
•2 cloves garlic, crushed

To serve
•1 tsp parsley, fresh, chopped
•1 tsp coriander, fresh, chopped

Method

1. Place the ingredients for the jerk seasoning into a blender and whiz to a thick paste.

2. Rub the jerk seasoning and salt thoroughly into the lamb. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight.

3. Set the oven to 180C/gas 4.

4. Rub the crushed garlic on the inside of the lamb leg. Roll up the leg and tie in three places to secure. Roast for 45 minutes for medium rare – add about 15 minutes cooking time for well-done lamb.

5. To make the dipping sauce, cut off the top of a whole head of garlic. Pour over the olive oil, wrap it in foil and roast for about 15-20 minutes, until soft.

6. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and crush them in a saucepan. Add the guava jelly and white wine vinegar. Stir until the guava jelly has dissolved, add the hot pepper sauce (if using) and bring to a simmer. Cook for five minutes.

7. Allow the lamb to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Just before serving, stir the parsley and coriander into the sauce. Slice the lamb and serve immediately with the warm sauce.

 

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Congratulations Donnie Wahlberg… And Grow Up, Fans!

 

Most girls never forget their first childhood crush – and I’m no different. I love, have always loved and will always love New Kids On The Block. From the first moment I saw them bopping away on Top Of The Pops, they captured my heart, and even though I’m now very much a hard-rocking chick, there’s a piece of my heart where they still reside and refuse to move from – and that’s fine with me!

Like thirty million other young girls, I was convinced that I was going to be Mrs. Jordan Knight and had my former teenage self had her way, this blog could very easily have been called Chez Mrs. K! But alas it was not to be. Mr. K refused to wait for me to grow up and went on to marry someone else – paving the way for the man who did wait for me. Which is great because becoming Mrs. D is the best thing that ever happened to me – even if Mr. D does question my taste in music!

 

 

Earlier this week, television presenter Jenny McCarthy announced her engagement on The View (the American Version of Loose Women) where she is one of the anchors and flashed her beautiful yellow sapphire ring. And who’s the lucky man? None other than New Kids On The Block’s very own Donnie Wahlberg who McCarthy has been dating for the past year. It’ll be the second time down the aisle for both of them, and I, for one, cannot wait for the glossy ten page spread. For Jenny’s first wedding she wore a stunning vintage-style 1930s gown so it’ll be interesting to see what she wears for her wedding to Donnie.

 

But it seems that not all the fans are jumping up and down at the idea of Donnie finding his Favourite Girl. Some of the nasty remarks and comments I’ve come across are really shocking. I’ve even had to reread some of them twice to make sure that they really do say what I thought they did. It actually made me see red. I suppose mildly catty comments are inevitable. But to say that these comments are mildly catty is like saying that water is a little bit wet! I’m not going to repeat any of these hideous remarks but it seems as though they were written by females who still think they’re eleven years old and back in 1989, where they’re making up dances to New Kids’ songs in the playground. What’s shocking is that some of these women have let slipped that they’re married! MARRIED??? Oh my goodness ladies – it really is time you got a grip!

 

 

True, I don’t think anyone would have thought of pairing Donnie and Jenny together – but then don’t opposites usually attract (definitely do in the case of Mr. and Mrs. D!) And how does Donnie’s love life concern his fans? Shouldn’t they be happy that their idol has found love instead of making derogatory comments about his new fiancée? And did they really think that they had a shot – a real shot – at marrying a New Kid? Furthermore, did they actually think that Donnie would stay single and available while they grew up and moved on with their lives? It’s beyond ridiculous! Whether anyone thinks that Donnie and Jenny are a match made in heaven really isn’t anyone’s business except – surprise, surprise – Donnie and Jenny’s. And assuming that we’re not relatives or close friends of the couple, it’s not as if any of us actually know them well. So who are we to pass judgement?

 

 

 

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at the level of vitriol I’ve discovered. A look at forums and comment boards regarding all things New Kids On The Block have indicated that for every fan who is happy that the band members have the whole relationship and kids package, they are about a hundred haters who have absolutely nothing nice to say. And that’s putting it very mildly. In fact what’s even more disturbing than the nasty name-calling are the most ridiculous allegations against the New Kids members which could seriously put their relationships in jeopardy had they not been married to really strong women who knew well in advance that this sort of spiteful behaviour came in the job description of wife of a New Kid!

I’m absolutely appalled that the people who run these sites and forums have not removed these comments, and I’m even more surprised that the New Kids haven’t threatened to sue. Maybe they’re just too smart to read such comments. Or maybe they do read them and just laugh at how pathetic these women are. I remember back in the ’90s, the New Kids – like many male pop acts at the time – couldn’t admit to having a girlfriend for fear of alienating fans. They couldn’t even admit to having had a girlfriend. But as they are all grown men in their forties, do we still expect them to pretend that they’re still waiting to experience their first kiss just to keep us happy? To be honest, this wouldn’t actually make me happy – I’d just wonder what was wrong with my idols!

 

 

I suppose the real issue here, is that the spite, jealousy and hostility that women are famous for pelting each other with is still there. And I know it only too well – I did go to an all-girls school for five years. If a woman has something that another woman wants, you can bet her Fendi clutch that she’ll feel the full force of the other woman’s insults as they rain down upon her. I suppose what some of these ‘fans’ don’t realise is that they are actually dealing with real people – not just faces on a poster that’s stuck on the wall – and their families. And real people have real feelings and feel real pain. I wonder how I would have felt, had I really become Mrs. Knight and I had to read the most disgusting rubbish about me, written by people who hadn’t even met me. Actually I know exactly how I would have felt and that’s why I think it’s just wrong. I really cannot believe just how childish some people can be. It really is about time some people learned to grow up.

And on a less ranty note, congrats to Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy. I hope they prove the haters wrong. I really loved how Jenny got all emotional when she was telling the girls on The View all about the engagement – she very nearly set me off too! Awesome news and I’m so glad that one of my fave New Kids has found someone who has the right stuff!

 

Passionate About Grenadilla!

 

 

 

 

Everyone who knows me knows that although I try to eat healthy and like fruit, I’m not really an apples and oranges kind of girl. I love anything that’s a bit out of the ordinary so I can’t get enough of exotic fruits. Dragon fruit, mango, lychees, rumbutans… you name it, I’ve tried it. Or so I thought… After being introduced to granadillas by a friend this week, I tried them for the first time. “If you like passion fruit, you’ll love granadillas,” said my friend confidently. And he wasn’t wrong. The granadilla is indeed a relative of the delicious passion fruit and hails from South America. Whereas passion fruits have a tough purple skin, granadillas – which are larger in size – have an inedible, shiny, orange-gold skin which appears hard at first but is actually surprisingly fragile. There is a very spongy pith before you get to the edible part of the fruit. As with passion fruit, the edible part consists of black seeds covered in a jelly-like pulp; the only differences being  that the pulp is more of a pale champagne colour and is much sweeter in flavour – almost like honey.

 

 

 

HOW TO PREPARE

  • Granadilla is orange and firm when it is ripe.
  • Ripe granadilla can be refrigerated for a few days.
  • Cut the fruit into two halves as you would with passion fruit.
  •  Scoop out the jelly-like pulp with a spoon. The skin is not to be eaten.

 

HOW TO EAT

  • Granadilla is commonly eaten by itself but it can be cooked or juiced.
  • It makes a great jelly, jam, pie filling, flan topping or cake frosting and also makes a great addition to  fruit salads.

 

 

It also has great nutritional value and is said to be  an excellent source of fibre and essential minerals, such as phosphorus, iron and calcium.  They are usually available in the spring months so now is the time to try them. You never know – it could be your new favourite fruit!

 

 

Try this recipe for  a granadilla meringue pie – a tropical twist on the classic lemon pudding.

GRANADILLA MERINGUE PIE

 

INGREDIENTS:

200g packet of ginger biscuits

80g butter, melted

385g can of condensed milk

125ml lemon juice

5ml grated lemon rind
3 egg yolks
50ml granadilla pulp
3 egg whites
125ml castor sugar
METHOD:
  1. Put the biscuits in a food processor and remove and place in a bowl.
  2. Add the butter and mix well.
  3. Press the mixture into a greased 20cm pie plate and chill in the fridge.
  4. Combine the condensed milk, lemon juice, rind, yolks and granadilla pulp and mix well.
  5. Pour into the crust.
  6. Beat the egg whites until stiff then gradually beat in the castor sugar, reserving 15ml to sprinkle on top.
  7. Pile the meringue on top of the filling.
  8. Sprinkle with the remaining castor sugar.
  9. Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes or until the meringue is light golden brown.
  10. Turn off the oven and leave the pie in for another hour.
  11. Remove and cool completely before serving.
  12. Enjoy!

 

The No Straighteners Challenge

 

 

 

 

 

Forget the wheel, the motor car and even the mobile phone; for me, the greatest invention ever has got to be… hair straighteners! That’s right, hair straighteners. But then when you’ve got unruly hair that can only be tamed by a good pair of straighteners, you’d think that they were the best ever invention too.

I have been using hair straighteners since I was in my mid-twenties and I could never get over the transformation: I went from looking like a small shrub to looking like a girl from a hair commercial. Amazing! I have a fantastic pair of straighteners by Tresemme and they go everywhere with me.

 

Sadly, I’ve noticed that all this non-stop straightening over the years has left my hair in something of a sorry state. It’s become quite parched, frizzy, static and more unruly than usual. Using styling products is only a short-term solution to the problem. I’ve tried using home-made remedies such as conditioners made from egg and olive oil and switching to different shampoos which are suitable for my hair type. I’ve also limited the number of times I use my straighteners, use a heat-defence spray before using heated appliances, and have reduced the heat setting on it. And it has made a noticeable difference… but it’s not enough.

 

I now have to concede defeat and ditch my straighteners. At least for a while – a long while! I realise the problem are the straighteners and until I stop using them completely, my hair is never going to recover. My hairdresser was appalled by the condition of my hair which she said had been ‘burnt’ from over using heat appliances.

But the question is, after years of being heavily dependent on them, can I leave my house with my hair looking au natural? How will I be able to face my work colleagues with crazy hair? Can I deal with the sniggers from my students? Will Mr. D refuse to be seen in public with me? What will having shrub-like hair do for my confidence? Well, I think my confidence will be in even more tatters if I continue to wreck the condition of my hair which has always been one of my best features and if I want it to stay one of my best I have to take care of it and make sacrifices… meaning no more straighteners.

 

 

So I’m going to give my hair a lot of tlc; continue doing what I’m doing as well as having conditioning treatments at the salon, and not use my straighteners for one whole month and see if there’s any improvement. I’m hoping that some really good hairstyling products will help in making me look ‘presentable.’ But will I really be able to get through a whole month without my beloved straighteners? Watch this space…

…and wish me luck!

 

Ireland’s Got Talent: Father Ray Kelly Rock’s The Wedding Ceremony

I have only just seen the latest YouTube video sensation that has taken the world by storm – and I’m not surprised at why it has become so popular.

Father Ray Kelly stunned guests – not to mention the bride and groom Chris and Leah O’Kane – with a little surprise that he had for them. The ‘little surprise’ turned out to be an amazing rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah with a few changes in the lyrics specially intended for the happy couple.

Many artists have covered this song but Fr. Kelly’s version was so beautiful it brought tears to many of the guests eyes. And yes – I did get a little teary myself as I watched it. But then again, I am such a water cart, so it really wasn’t a surprise.

Catholic priests have a reputation for being a bit ‘fuddy-duddy’. No disrespect to the priests who married Mr. D and me but we did clash a fair bit over our plans for the wedding service. Although my plans were not against church rules, I had two priests who were sticklers for tradition so anything that seemed a bit ‘out there’ was thrown out the window and tradition it was! I couldn’t really argue because it was a case of their church, their rules. So good on Fr. Kelly for putting his own spin on tradition.

It’s such a lovely story to kick start the wedding season and the run-up to Easter. It also reminds me of one of my fave films Sister Act where the power of music brought something of a miraculous change to an inner city parish… I bet Fr. Kelly’s church was packed the next day!

 

 

Cocktail Heaven: Dark n’ Stormy

 

I love cocktails… I adore rum. So Bermuda’s national drink, Dark n’ Stormy is just perfect for me. And it’s so easy to make. Try it and see.

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

50ml rum

25ml lime juice

Ginger beer

Ice

METHOD:

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour rum and lime juice into glass.
  3. Top up with ginger beer.
  4. Drink!

 

 

 

 

Fashion Goes Bust!

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A recent article in a women’s magazine made me seethe. Emblazoned across the top of the page was the headline: WHICH SIZE BREASTS ARE BEST?

SERIOUSLY??? ARE YOU SERIOUSLY GOING TO ASK US THAT??? I had to check the cover of the magazine because for a moment, I thought I might be in possession of a lad’s mag. Nope – definitely a women’s weekly!

“FLAT IS THE NEW BIG THING!” shrieked the pull quote. “HAVING A HUGE BUST IS OUT OF FASHION IT SEEMS!” the intro proudly announced.

Original image from pixabay.com

Original image from pixabay.com

 

Oh OK then. I’ll just remove my big boobs, stick them back in the box, return them to the store and exchange them for a pair of smaller, pert, perkier ones. I would never have known they were out of style had it not been for this feature.

Excuse me, fashionable? Clothes, shoes and hairstyles may go in and out of fashion but not body shapes as far as I’m concerned. I was always under the impression that body parts were functional rather than fashionable. Most parts of our anatomy are not like hair which can be cut, lengthened, coloured, curled, shaved, straightened, teased etc. to best fit what is considered to be the look du jour. What do you do with body parts which are not the right shape or size?

 

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

 

The article went on to state that envy over big-busted girls has gone out the window as women prefer to have a more toned and athletic physique over Jessica Rabbit curves. Yes, breast enlargements are still being carried out but now women are opting for a more natural look  over anything that screams plastic. Small busted ladies are encouraged to thrown out their underwired bras and ‘be proud of those fried eggs!’ Despite the fact that the closing paragraphs encouraged ladies to love what their born with, the overall tone of the article was to big up (excuse the pun!) those who are not massively endowed while diminishing (again no pun intended!)  those who have more up top. I can’t help but feel a bit miffed – and that’s putting it mildly.

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

 

The basis for this feature came from findings from a poll that was carried out by  a company who develops and manufactures implants and expanders in which 2000 people were surveyed. It found that 72% of women said that, if they had to have surgery, they would only go up one bra size, while men also agreed that when it came to boobs, less is definitely more.

That’s all very well when you’re talking about cosmetic surgery and people’s expectations from cosmetic procedures but what about when what you’re naturally blessed with isn’t  necessarily the look that’s being coveted? How does that make you feel?

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

 

SMALL BOOBS ARE BEAUTIFUL… AND SO ARE BIG!

During my teenage years, my mother was alarmed at the rate in which I was moving up cup sizes. I, on the other hand, like most teenage girls, was delighted. And it wasn’t just because they made my jumpers hang nicely! I wasn’t blessed with a flat stomach and when supermodel pins were being handed out, in all the excitement, I fell over and knocked myself out while running to join the queue – so Cindy Crawford got what should have been mine. Therefore, I was naturally quite proud of my chest. Even when I lost the puppy fat, my bust was still very evident even though I didn’t have page three bazookas!

So do I think big boobs are better than little ones? Not at all because even I know that there’s a downside to being bigger on top. You have to deal with spiteful comments from women and goggle-eyed stares from men (don’t even get me started on the drunken comments) You have to be careful what you wear because the wrong items of clothing will over-emphasise the bust area; leave you looking matronly, or have you fearing fall-out! Then there are the problems when you get older where your boobs have the bizarre urge to say hello to your feet whereas ladies with smaller boobs look more youthful. And girls who are massively endowed have complained about back-ache to the point where a breast reduction is a necessity rather than for vanity’s sake.

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

Have there been times when I wished my boobs were smaller? Yes. In order to be taken seriously and to stop the stares. I also got quite frustrated at how certain style of clothes looked so elegant on small busted girls while it just looked trashy on me. And of course I do worry about what they’ll look like after pregnancy – will I be tempted to go under the knife in order to obtain perfection? And when complete strangers comment on them, there have been times I’ve definitely wished I was less curvaceous.

But when all’s said and done, I absolutely love what I’ve been blessed with. They’re not totally in your face but they’re mine, they’re a part of me and they’re what I’m used to. And Mr. D is definitely very happy with them! Hollywood stars Christina Hendricks and Catherine Zeta-Jones have both said how having an ample bosom makes them feel “womanly and sexy” and I know exactly what they’re talking about.

Original image from pixabay. com

Original image from pixabay. com

I didn’t find the article annoying because it seemingly went against what I’ve naturally got. But I feel that talking about what’s en vogue body-wise can have a detrimental effect on women, especially impressionable young girls. Body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders and teenage depression and bullying all seem to be on the increase. You only have to pick up a paper to know that and I don’t feel that features like this help – even though I’m sure it was intended to be nothing more than a light-hearted talking point. It’s one thing to report on survey findings but totally another to debate which breast size is best. And anyway, aren’t we supposed to encourage women to be more than just boobs on legs? Don’t we criticize glamour models, WAGS, and reality stars for being just that? Isn’t it  better, in an age, when breast cancer is a growing concern, that we focus more on having healthy breasts rather than their size?

Image from pixabay. com

Image from pixabay. com

 The truth of the matter is that people are very rarely totally happy with what they have – maybe it’s just human nature. And if my boobs are out of fashion then it’s just a damn good thing that I’ve never really been a follower of fashion which is proven by the number of calls I get from the 1980s! When it comes to loving your body, I would leave all talk about what’s fashionable or not to the catwalks of Paris and Milan and focus on being happy and healthy and making the most of what you’ve been blessed with.

So whether you’ve got pancakes, fried eggs, or melons, stand tall and be proud. Embrace what’s yours and feel totally gorgeous.

 

 

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