None of what i’m about to say is ground breaking, but, consider it a hazard of the change of year. On reflection on 2014, I realise that old friends are the best. New friends are great, but its not until you reach a critical mass of late night talks, boozy weekends (or inappropriately boozy work nights) boyfriend discussions, disproportionately calorific brunches and weirdo text messages that you realise – even though as adults we see each other much less often, if I never saw this person again in my whole life, everything would just be that little bit less sparkly and a tiny bit colder.
In 2014 I got married (more about that later I promise!) and I was blessed to be accompanied down the aisle by my mum, my sister, my oldest friend, and my closest friend. These are women who have seen every side of me and still answer the phone when I call. Thank god! These women have seen me through every stage of my life and to be frank but cliched, I don’t know what I would have done without them. As time (years) and distance (sometimes states, sometimes whole continents) tries to move us apart, there seems to be a whole history of love and midnight giggles shared that cant be broken. Again, thank god.
So, to bring the soul searching and nostalgia back to a relevant point, when I was trying to think of a post to mark the new year I wanted to blog about a cocktail. I have been making so many over the year that I felt I had a plethora still to post about. None of the sparkly new concoctions seemed to fit as well as the old favourite – Gin Fizz. This baby is so refreshing and uses pantry staples so I feel as though she is steadfast and a little bit classy, a little bubbly and sweet but with a bite. If I could mix all these women into one drink, I think the Gin Fizz would be an apt one.
Another good friend gave me this little zester to aid in my cocktail making – and remind me of a timely lesson about lemons and cocktails… or is it supposed to be lemonade?
This was another brief post but one to pay a small tribute to the fabulous women in my life as I reflect on the year thats been and think about the year that is to come. I hope that they will forgive me for putting this final picture up to round out this post. Another thing i’ve learned over the years is that its better to ask forgiveness than permission! Oops!
Love these ladies <3
Gin Fizz Ingredients
2 oz dry gin
1/2 oz lemon juice
4 oz soda water
2 lemon slices to garnish
1. put ice, gin, lemon juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker and shake until sugar is dissolved
2. pour mix into a tall glass
3. top with ice, soda water and lemon slices
4. sit back in your silk pjamas and pretend you’re in an old hollywood film
God I love cake. I love relaxing on the couch eating cake. I love eating cake in summer. I love eating cake while wearing comfy coral jeans. Show me a person who doesn’t like cake, and i’ll show you a really sad person. The saddest person in the world. But, I would like to think that even the most dedicated cake hater might declare an amnesty on this little baby. Its a moist pineapple and coconut cake. Moist and crumbly and sweet. What could be wrong with that?
I’ve never been a morning person. I’m a chronic pusher of the snooze button. In fact, I have been known to sleep clear through my alarm. On several occasions. I frequently miss breakfast, my wardrobe is full of things that don’t need ironing and I snore. Well, snoring isn’t strictly relevant to my morning routine but hey, at least I’m honest.
So it might surprise you to know that for the last term i’ve been getting up half an hour earlier than usual in order to do some much needed exercise. As much as I love baking, I was not loving the squishy unable-to-fit-into-my-clothes feeling. Those of you who are fellow not-morning people will attest that the lure of warm sheets and sweet dreams often counteracts any good intentions re: exercise so I needed to come up with some strategies to tumble me willingly (or unwillingly) out of bed.
Setting three separate alarms was a good start
Opening my curtains so that the sun shone on my face was another good one
But I think the most effective was knowing I had enough time for a delicious breakfast
like this one!
After not being able to find any cereals in the supermarket that weren’t loaded with sugar but actually tasted nice, I decided to make my own granola. After my morning exercise, I sprinkle some of this onto some vanilla yoghurt and then, if i’m super organised (or motivated) I top it off with some stewed rhubarb. Because how delicious is rhubarb!
I started with the rhubarb stewing after I had some rhubarb stalks left over from a cake I made. There were too many precious ruby stems to throw away, yet not enough to make another cake or tart. So I chopped the stems up into 2 inch lengths and whacked them into a saucepan along with one split and de-seeded vanilla bean and two tablespoons of caster sugar. I think that if you really wanted you could omit the sugar to make it healthier, but I quite enjoy the extra sweetness to balance out the tartness of the rhubarb.
it really is as simple as that. Whack it all together over a medium heat
watch the sugar dissolve
and marvel at all the pretty colours!
then simmer for 20 mins or until rhubarb is tender and all the sugar is dissolved.
As the mornings are becoming chilly. you could even reheat the rhubarb before adding it to your breakfast if you need a little bit of warmth. The other thing that you could do is to add warm milk instead of yoghurt then add your warmed up fruit. Either way, this is certainly a breakfast to get out of bed for!
So, my lovelies, are you a morning person? Or do you find yourself similarly cocooned in the warmth of your blankets and unable to wrench yourself free to begin the day?
3 stalks of rhubarb (you can increase the quantities if you want to make a bigger batch, just whack in an extra vanilla bean and a little more sugar)
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and de-seeded
1. Wash and trim your rhubarb stalks, then chop each stalk into 2 inch long pieces
2. Place rhubarb in a small saucepan along with sugar and the vanilla bean and seeds
3. Place saucepan over a medium heat and stir occasionally for 20 mins or until rhubarb is tender and the sugar has dissolved
4. Remove saucepan from heat, remove vanilla bean and leave to cool
5. Spoon rhubarb and sauce over cereal or ice-cream and store the rest of your fruit in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks