Sunday, 15 January 2012

Food photos

Goat cheese tart with balsamic vinegar and tomato salad.
Roast duck breast, caramelised plums and potato dauphinoise.
Pan-fried sea bass fillet with sauteed vegetables.
Passionfruit teardrop torte with pineapple salad.

Here are some of the photos from the menu tasting, they say you eat with your eyes first! Peter took all photos except for the duck one. Here are two more from the belated Christmas/New Year, bring a dish yesterday at my house. We do like food photos, it's wonderful being in the age of digital cameras. I've heard people say that they were born into the wrong time, that they'd rather be living in a castle and ride horses. Personally, as much as I love medieval dresses and harps in a court, I love daily showers more. That and it's not called the Dark Ages for nothing, volcano aside.  
Yesterday's lunch spread.

Last time I saw Sumayah, she was two. One year on, and she's grown so much! She won't remember any of our names but one. Benji the wabbit. To his credit, he did put up some pretty enthusiastic petting, being chased around, having piles of hay thrown near him in her attempts to coax him out. I was worried at first, Benji is a curious but nervous rabbit by nature, only likes affection on his own terms. After the first grunts though, I think he realised that she was a baby human. Animals have a way of knowing things like that. Her parents texted on the way back that she was knocked out asleep in the car, bless. 

Benji cautiously eating out of her hand for the first time.

I realise also that this is the first photo of me shown in my blog. Here's to friends in all shapes and sizes. Whiskers, snot and all.

Friday, 13 January 2012


We've just checked the brochure Ramada Hotel sent before, and it does say menu and wine tasting, good job we asked then! Another reason not to have a traditional receiving line - we're having a tea ceremony.  

Been putting together our invitations last night, trimming card and rubber stamping. It's crazy how much the wedding industry is worth, as soon as you put the word in front of something, the prices go up. We figured we'd do it ourselves. 
Resumed my driving lessons yesterday after the two-three months' gap when I was concentrating on job application and finals. Learning to drive in Birmingham for two hours at a time is no walk in the park. I thought I'd forget everything, also as my instructor got a new car since, but it went pretty well actually. Need to work on my speed on turning corners, I hear the words 'right turn' and my pulse rate goes up. 

Just been addressing a load of wedding envelopes and stamping the last of the cards we had. Ordering some more in a second. Then I'm going to make myself some tea, unload the washing machine yet again (I forget how many loads I've done now), and start ranking every single FY1 job there exists in the West Midlands. I did see the number but I think I managed to blank it out of my head, it's something in the region of 400-500, which sounds horrific. 

Still, 'there is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.' Having a belated Christmas/New Year, bring a dish tomorrow with good friends and looking forward to it. Then the Saturday after, we've having a Chinese New Year bring a dish here as well. Peter and I have been going back to my parents' for CNY the last four years, if we went this year, that would be the third time we'd have stayed in Guildford in the space of a month. So we're having our friends come to us, CNY is quite early this year, only saw my relatives a couple of weeks ago. Next Tuesday is a Bake Soc cupcake competition event, will be baking, tasting, judging, and making extra to sell the day after to fund for more baking events. Think I've got a design in mind, will post photos in due time!

Weather is nice outside, clear and sunny, but cool. In fact, it's my favourite sort of weather and it makes me rather happy. Think we'll go for a walk later to stretch my legs.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Much ado about nothing

At pitch dark o'clock last night, our neighbour knocked on the door to tell us that the leaves in front of our house were 'disgraceful' and that we should bag it in time for the collection in the morning. I think it was fortunate for him that I wasn't the one to answer, or I would have laughed. Talk about curtain twitching and middle class problems - some people simply have too much time on their hands. 

According to the web, the green bin collection won't resume until February anyway. His green bags are sitting outside his house, waiting for him to come home. Poor man, he's going to fume for a while.

Reminds me of 'Fall, leaves, fall' by Emily Jane Brontë.

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree. 

I shall smile when wreathes of snow
Blossom where the roses should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day. 

We haven't had any snow yet, which was good news for everyone travelling over the holidays. Plenty of 'slippery rail conditions' causing delays though, the old leaves again, I presume. That or the rain. I wonder how Russian trains cope and manage to run when ours just grind to a complete halt with a dusting of snowflakes. 

Prior to the neighbour calling, we had just arrived back after a weekend of parents meeting parents for the first time, and lots of wedding planning. Prior to leaving for the trip, I had a week of very late nights trying to finish the report ahead of the deadline, which fell on the day we would be driving back from my parents'. Parents got on well, my dad perhaps drank a bit too much and my mum was aghast by how I joke around with my future in-laws but otherwise, everyone enjoyed themselves and my dad's cooking.

Tasting the menu with Peter and his parents was a nice end to the trip. Surprisingly, we were pretty unanimous in our votes for the big day. The food was lovely, I particularly enjoyed my roast duck breast main course with caramelised plum and potato dauphinoise. Beautifully cooked. 

We also enjoyed a free wine tasting, which apparently doesn't normally happen, according to Lizzie, the events manager, which was the replacement of the replacement of the original wedding planner. Lizzie was much more efficient than the original and much less scatter-brained.

If you have ever seen Hotel Babylon on TV, the food and wine manager was like James. Peter's parents recently got back from their big trip to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand and they were talking about travelling.  It worked out for the hotel anyway, because we decided to opt for the much nicer, but more expensive, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc instead of the house white for table wine. For us, the wine made up for having to pay postage and Royal Mail admin fee to receive the wrong wedding contract.

My future mother-in-law especially enjoyed the wine and we all had a good laugh. The quote of the trip also goes to her - 'I hope I don't put my foot in it too often!' Just glad we weren't there when she 'negotiated' superior chairs for our sit down meal a.k.a. wedding breakfast. Wouldn't have her any other way though. 

Today is Wednesday, the third day of my two weeks off placement before the long haul. It's almost 1pm and I am still in bed, blogging in my pyjamas. How glorious.