Looks Fabulous, Tastes Wonderful
By Linda Parker
I’m a big Instagram fan, and follow some interesting chefs, cooks and foodies through their Instagram pics. One of my favourites is Jamie Oliver, particularly his team pictures and amusing comments, but if you’re all Olivered-out, and want some new inspiration, take a look at these Instagrammers…
Anna Barnett has an impressive repertoire, with special emphasis on gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free options. Definitely worth a look, try the Cheats Risotto with Beetroot Crisps dish, which tastes as fresh and zingy as it looks. One to add to the summer dinner repertoire.
Another creative, funny, interesting and irreverent team well worth taking a look at is The Food Gays, who seem to be fabulous fun, whilst producing some of the most prettiest and most stunning dishes I’ve ever seen, full of colour and innovation. However, some of their dishes are a bit bonkers, to say the least – I’ve just read the recipe for Stinging Nettle, Basil and Hemp Seed Pesto but I’m not sure that it’s one I’ll be trying! Worth a look for the beautiful photography alone.
At this time of writing, it’s pouring down with rain, but I am confident this is but a mere blip in the glorious sunshine we’re enjoying. (And fingers crossed it doesn’t move southwards as we’re currently mid-Wimbledon!) It puts a gloom over planned barbecues, but as mentioned last month I’m getting handy with the cast-iron griddle pan on the hob, a very acceptable alternative to a full-on barbecue, with lovely sear-lines on the steaks/fish/veggies.
The favourite grill pan is the square Stellar non-stick cast iron, 28cm x 28cm, which is available here. Just remember, these pan bases get very hot and I’ve badly scorched a wooden serving board recently, so make sure you use a trivet if you’re plonking it down on the work surface. Cast iron trivets from www.robertwelch.com are a good investment, start from £10, and make very welcome gifts too. The steel ones from Ikea are heroic bargains, at £4 each. My favourite option involves a little bit more forethought and a lot more cash… steel rods inset into either a granite or composite work surface. It’s a very sleek and sophisticated solution, especially if teamed with a grooved drainer.
I’m in full-flow at the moment, planning wise. Having received the keys to the new house, and with the team on a complete mission to strip everything out, we are now awash with quotes and plans, for everything from new electrics to a new boiler, new bathrooms, new kitchen and of course, new bedrooms.
That’s already caused a certain amount of squabbling amongst the sprogs. One of the first tasks, apart from clearing out the loft (where we found five huge, ocean-going trunks, some of which, rather spookily, have my initials on …) was taking all the internal doors out. This was to get a better sense of the space, with regards to flow-through and general ease of movement through the house. Luckily we don’t have to live there whilst all this is going on. But it’s mind boggling to see, once you start looking, just how many types of internal door there are out there, especially if you’re looking for contemporary designs.
I found a picture of a wonderful kitchen by Roundhouse Design, showing just the right kind of doors. Fortunately it took less than two minutes googling to find similar doors, so I’m a happy bunny right now. If anyone’s interested, they’re Palermo in Oak, by XL Joinery, from my local builders merchant, Boys & Boden
If all goes to plan, there won’t be too much woodwork to be painted in the new house, we’re aiming to replace pretty much all the existing interior woodwork, including skirting boards and architrave, with new, pale oak. There will be some ‘old’ woodwork that will have to be spruced up though, so I think we’ll give the new Stay White One Coat paint by Ronseal a go.
Hopefully, it will do what it says on the tin, which is stay white for up to ten years. The last interior woodwork painting I got involved with, two or three years ago, was a disaster. Thanks to EU meddling the formulation of the white paint we used had been changed, with vastly inferior results and a horrible yellow finish appeared within six months. Never again!
And finally, although I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to find a suitable spot to use this, I absolutely adore these Reclaimed Timber wood cladding tiles by Indigenous. Also available in Eucalyptus, Denim Jeans, Oak and Chestnut, these reclaimed wood tiles are quirky, interesting and very different, made from recycled barrels. Around £249 per sq m for the Reclaimed version, it’s an investment buy that would add an unusual spin to a kitchen to make it just that little bit different. Investigate further at www.indigenous.co.uk