Hello there. Today I come to you from my bath, where I’ve been with Stacey Kent and a glass of wine for the past half hour. It’s all very relaxing.
I just thought I’d check in – it’s been a while, after all. Everything’s going well in this little corner of the East Midlands – I’ve got a new copywriting client (a lovely foodie company); a new English language tutee; and my mum’s been over for a weekend visit. It all feels very grown-up and very wholesome.
The rest of this post will come to you in list form as I’m writing this in shorthand, plus my notebook’s getting damp.
Holidays // A week ago we went on holiday for a week in the Cotswolds with Dom’s parents. We stayed in a 400-year-old thatched cottage and the sun shone and we read and walked and barbecued. Then we spent two days with my mad family in a converted chapel in Chichester. I loved it all.
Rural drinking // A couple of months ago I read A Charmed Life by Mary McCarthy. The book tells the story of a middle-aged couple who move to humdrum suburbia. At 6 o’clock every evening they drink one cocktail – never two, even though they really want to.
The truth is they’re quietly afraid that if they have more they’ll eventually becoming functioning alcoholics who disdain each other and their lives. I’m not saying that’s at all representative of my life, but I am finding that an evening wine has far more lure here than it does in London. But what can I say – we all have our vices.
Joining the WI // Speaking of becoming a village stereotype, I’m very tempted to join the WI. Not just because I find the idea of jam-making and organised fun irresistible, but because I think it’d make really good blog fodder. I’m just not sure I can face the fact that I’ll be the youngest there (and I’m not sure it’ll help my goal of making more friends under the age of 75).
Beef noodles and Beetroot puff pastry tarts // I’ve eaten lots of nice things over the last few weeks, but on the large part they’ve gone from plate to mouth without me bothering to photograph them on a DSLR. So excuse the iPhone photos, but these two recipes were too tasty not to share.
The beef noodles were adapted from the Aromatic Chilli Beef Noodle Soup found in Nigella’s How To Eat. I added the some sliced chestnut mushrooms marinaded and fried alongside the steak.
Now for the beetroot and goat’s cheese tart. When faced with a bunch of beetroot, my natural reaction (quite rightly) is to pair it with goat’s cheese and thyme. Caramelised red onion brings in another layer of sweetness. All in all, a pretty perfect lunch.
Finally, please check out my new copywriting site, Content She Wrote!
Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Tarts
One box of ready rolled puff pastry
Half a log of goat’s cheese
A bunch of beetroot (around 4 large ones)
4 small red onions
A few springs of thyme
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar (or balsamic)
a knob of butter
1. Clean your beetroot and roast in foil at 180 for around an hour.
2. Thinly slice your onions and cook on a low heat in the butter and around 1tbsp olive oil. Season with salt, and once they start to give a little add the vinegar and sugar. Cook on low for around 25 minutes, or until soft, sticky and caramelised.
3. Slice your beetroot and goats cheese.
4. Now layer up your tart. Put the pastry on a baking sheet and cut into four squares. Score a box into each pastry square (this will ensure the base doesn’t puff up. Now layer on your onions, followed by the sliced beetroot, a few thyme leaves and finally a few slices of goat’s cheese. Egg wash the edges and sprinkle with Maldon salt.
5. Now bake for 20 minutes at 180 or until golden.