Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Beats being a roadie

According to Sara Cox, of BBC Radio 1, having your own vegetable garden is now officially rock 'n' roll. Who knew? I mean, I spent so many years thinking I lacked serious street cred and here I've had it all along. If you look carefully, you can see Mike Ness and Bono frolicking amongst the basil.

I made a quickie to Altomonte's today, ostensibly to get milk, but let's be real: Either I'm walking out with two bags or I'm just not going in. ;-) I did remember to get the milk but also picked up half of a thinner crust tomato pie, some nice balsamic vinegar, and my usual bulk bottle of Cento olive oil. I like the Cento because it's a good, basic, consistent brand, and it's not too spendy. I like it for sauces and soups and such and have never been disappointed. I save my kalamata extra virgin for salads and things where you really need to taste the oil. Remember, Thursday is Hoagie Day 2009. Last time I tell you. Italian hoagies for three bucks.

You're on your own now. :-)

Speaking of salads, I grabbed some of their homemade fresh mozzarella last week and it blows away the prepackaged stuff you get at the supermarket. Made a gorgeous pizza with it last Friday (grilled chicken, pepperoncini, and raw onions) and my very first Caprese salad. I find it mind-boggling that I've never made a Caprese salad before but there you have it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I love when simple ingredients combine to make something absolutely extraordinary. This proves again that I'm a better vegetarian now than when I was "officially" one.

And I finally got around to making Rachel's PastaWithSpicySausage for dinner on Sunday. One exception was that my chorizo looked rather funky so I chopped up the hot Tuscan salami I had left over and I must say this was yummy indeed. It was also very satisfying having a fresh rosemary plant on the counter from which to cut pieces for the sauce. I made the recipe through without the meat only because the boys wonder really don't like things too spicy right now. Once I mixed the sauce through their pasta I added the salami to mine and Jerry's. I also subbed half & half for the light cream. I'd definitely make this again, and I'm looking forward to using chorizo next time. Or a black pepper salami. I think I like that idea even better.

I gotta have some of your attention

Give it to me!

Oh, wait, someone did.

I'm special. So special. Well, at least to one of my dearest friends, Bridget, who gave me a rather sweet award. If you know me then you know her because we are scary similar in nature except she has an inherent fondness for Mr. Ed that I do not quite understand. Then again, she puts up with my silliness about Mrs. Beckham so we'll call it a draw.

"Blogs that receive the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers."

Now, I'm at a loss to deliver this to eight other bloggers; however, there are several who might enjoy this. I follow these blogs because I share a love of food with them, they make me smile, and it's just really great to know that there are people all over the world with whom you share a common interest. It's pretty much why the Internet was invented (besides William Shatner and David Hasseloff videos). I'd also seriously enjoy sitting down to a bigass meal with them. So, without further ado, may I introduce you to some of my favorite people:

1) TheCakedCrusader makes absolutely gorgeous baked goods, has an excellent sense of humor, and takes the time to respond to comments and questions people have about baking. She makes my day and adds inches to my waistline, and anyone who is as passionate about baked goods as she is is someone I want to meet.

2) Maggie. An ex-waitress and proud of it, I read her blog and feel as if she could be right down the road from me instead of on a completely different continent. She's very warm and friendly and it's just a treat to read her.

3) Rosie. If this site just loading doesn't give you the fuzzywarms then you got nothin'.

4) I have to return the favor to Bridget simply because she's put up with me for so damn long. She's got a really awesome collection of cats, a rockin' husband, and she has the most wicked sense of humor. She's a smashing cook, too, and not one of those crazy veggies who slaps you across the face with a piece of tofu just for thinking about a steak. Much love to her.

So, there you go. Very cheesy, yes, but these are people who truly make my day. And that's just really cool in my book.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Good Food, indeed

By some strange alignment of the planets, I was able to bang out three new recipes today. I, too, am full of shock and/or awe, especially as all three were prepared without any harm coming to house or home (vis a vis the boys wonder). Two are from the April 2009 issue of BBC GoodFood and the the third is from Rachel's Favourite Food.

I made the Sweet Potato Gumbo, found on p. 84 whilst the Chocolate Brownies (p. 128) baked. Haven't tasted the brownies yet but the soup was amazingly good. I must admit that I didn't hold out much hope as several recent attempts at soup have been less than amazing (I don't always mention the failures as it pains me to think of the wasted ingredients). This is not a traditional New Orleans-style gumbo that you may be familiar with (it doesn't contain any meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish); rather, it's vegan but the kind of vegan recipe that doesn't make you wish you were eating something else. It's also something I wish I'd had in my files back when I was a veggie. Cabbage and sweet potatoes are the star ingredients and, whilst it may sound an unusual combination, it's delicious. Also, if you like spicy this is one for you. It takes two chili peppers and a full teaspoon of cayenne. The recipe is too new to be on the BBCGoodFood website but I suggest checking it out next month to see if it makes and appearance.

The brownies you don't need a picture of. They look like every other picture I've posted of brownies. These caught my eye as they called for mayonnaise and buttermilk and, as I've always loved a nice piece of chocolate mayonnaise cake, these look to be a winner. I'll report back later once I've had a chance to sample; the batter was good and even the bairns liked it. We shall see.

Rachel's WhiteSodaFocacciaWithCheese is not, as she states, a true focaccia. But it's delicious nonetheless, and easy. Very easy, no rise, and it made an excellent addition to the soup. Granted, in the picture it looks rather like a wonky fried chicken leg but I think I can be forgiven for my shaping technique. This is another breadly winner from Rachel.

Go forth and cook!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Running amok with Rachel and rhubarb

Made glorious Brown Scones with Seeds on Tuesday to serve with the chicken and mango salad. Oh my, so full of yum it's scary. The addition of eggs to the batter made them good even this morning for breakfast and these are truly something I should make once a week to go with soups and any other salad I may serve. I usually winge and moan whenever I make biscuits, even though I love them, but I've always been lazy about having to rub the butter through the flour, patting them out, cutting them. I usually just pissily throw everything into a bowl and make rather garish drop biscuits. Remember, if they ain't made with love, they ain't gonna taste good. Period. Ain't that the truth. :-)

Anyhoo, I watched Rachel make these and they just screamed out to me so I made them. And they were easy. And I did it without a single nasty thought; rather, I took my time, measured everything carefully, patted them into shape, and used my beloved mezzaluna to cut them into chunky shapes. Voila!

Beautiful, edible, full of yum scones. You can find the recipe here BrownSeedScones and I highly recommend them. Just ignore the Marco Pierre White video that loads (which takes forever). Man's a tool.

This morning was all about the rhubarb. I was at Tanners this last Sunday and was lucky enough to get first dibs on a fresh box of the gorgeous pinkiness. I bought way too much and it's pretty much just wandered hither and yon over my counter; this morning, though, I gathered it up and decided to do something with at least half of it--something that didn't involve another vat of jam as I've got quite enough for now. I went to the always reliable super hero of baking CakedCrusader and found just the recipe I was looking for (although I'm in great anticipation of making the rhubarb meringue pie) that would enable me to spend a little time in the kitchen whilst the bairns were dismantling the DVD player in the sunroom. Without further ado, as follows:

The boys wonder are very excited to try this for their tea and I'm just hoping it doesn't disappoint. I'm all for digging in right now with a spoon but, as it's still cooling, I'm refraining. I'll post a pic of an actual piece later. I have a feeling this is going to be very, very good, if the way the house smells and the batter tastes is any indication. :-)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jandar the Barbarian, or Why I Have the Bestest Husband in the Whole Wide World

1) He eats whatever I prepare for meals, even the travesties that have been my Chinese stir-fries;
2) He's seriously easy on the eyes;
3) He doesn't scream when I sing (snarky comments understandable);
4) He drinks Gentleman Jack with me;
5) He loves the Spenser novels as much as I do;
6) He bought me a Kate Spade for our 10th anniversary;
7) He understands my unholy love for Bruce Campbell, Donnie Yen, Jason Statham, and--most recently--Philip Glenister. So much so that he purchased for moi a t-shirt with the following image:

So, ladies, I encourage you to find yourself a man like mine. Except don't come near mine, because I will kut you.

(Did I mention he was seriously easy on the eyes? Stay away!)

Cook, damn you, cook!

Busy, busy, busy in the kitchen these last couple of days. The weather was a bit crappy yesterday but the weekend was gorgeous. Lots of sun, nice temps. I was able to get some of my peatlets potted; however, I did have to supplement my little table garden with some already-potted herbs and veggies because, for some reason, the peatlets did not take as well this year. Most of the basil, the radishes, and the peppers all came up nice but the mesclun and most of the others gave up the ghost and barely sprouted. It's of no never mind, though, because what I picked up at Lowes and Home Depot more than made me happy. I now have some really nice tomato plants--which include an heirloom variety called Mr. Stripey, how fun is that?--a ton of lavender, rosemary, and peppermint; cinnamon basil, cilantro, dill, and numerous peppers, mostly hot but also a nice sweet yellow variety. I had a lot of fun potting them and, fingers crossed, I'll get yet another bumper crop.

Did the lamb last week, roasted on a bed of dried Greek oregano branches and kalamata olive oil, and plugged all over under the netting with chunks of garlic. I sliced it down and got three good-sized meals out of it. Yes, I taste-tested and yes, it's very, very good. I'm pleased with my first attempt.

Made a really nice, very orange in color soup for the week. Buttersquash Lentil this time around. Very simple and tasty if I do say so myself.

Buttersquash Lentil Soup

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tsp kalonji seeds
2 tsp yellow curry powder
Salt and pepper
1 medium buttersquash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup orange lentils
6 cups water

Saute the onion and garlic with a large pinch of salt in the canola oil until softened. Add the seeds and curry powder with a good grinding of fresh black pepper and saute for a minute or two until you can really smell the spices. Add the buttersquash, sweet potato, and lentils and stir until all are coated with the spiced oniony oil. Add the water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have disintigrated and the vegetables are tender. Puree with a stick blender right in the pot, adding water if necessary until you have the consistency you desire. I like it slightly thick, like a cream soup.

Sweet for the week, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of Rachel Allen. These are good--really good--and I made them tiny because two of them are just enough. The recipe easily made five dozen; however, I made about three then froze the rest of the dough for later. I rolled it into a log in the bottom of a zippy bag so I can cut off slices next time. Very much full of yum and excellent with coffee or tea.

Lastly, I made lasagne. Not just any lasagne, the best flippin' lasagne I have ever made. And I've made a lot over the years, with meat, without, with bechamel, with veggies. You name it, I more than likely have made it. Yesterday, I went out to get chicken and happened across the fresh pasta sheets. So I got them and some fresh ricotta to see how it all would work as a broccoli lasagne.

Awesome. Really effin' awesome. The texture was divine, unlike any I've made with dried sheets and the fresh ricotta really tasted fresh. It's a lot drier than regular carton ricotta, which made it a wee bit difficult to blend with the broccoli, egg, and cheese and spread over the sheets but I blobbed it around and sorted it all out by hand instead of using a spoon. For sauce I just simmered some canned chopped tomatoes with a little paste, some olive oil, garlic, and dried basil and Greek oregano for about ten minutes, just to infuse the flavors. Jerry and I loved it; the bairns not so much because they were tired and hitting the wall. I made the mistake of eating off their plates and died later but it was so worth it.

I'm making Tana's mango chicken salad for dinner tonight, accompanied by Rachel's brown seeded scones. The sun has come out and it's warming up so I want something light and filling that isn't too much work. I've got two packs of chicken cutlets in the fridge I can grill on the cast-iron grill and the scones are really easy with not too much oven time. Plus, it won't be like last night's meal where we're bobbing and weaving from bellies that are way too full.

Oh, and I discovered the dangerous joy of having a box of white wine in the fridge. *hic*

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kings of Leon

Really, you should get "Only by the Night." And alternate it with the latest Killers. Throw in a little Social D, the soundtrack to Oblivion for a palate cleanser, then wrap up with Bowie's "Life on Mars" (the single). Bliss.

Then you should either play these CDs whilst making your very first batch of French onion soup or, if you're like me and can't stay in the kitchen the entire time, listen to the soundtrack in your head as you stir 2.5lbs of onions for the 1965th time, willing them to turn golden and not burn.

Flip on "Human" as you sharpen your lovely Henckels chef's knife, then a little "Crawl" as the butter melts. "Sex on Fire" is excellent whilst slicing the onions. "Sick Boys" would be good for cleaning up then a little Oblivion music to remove yourself from the kitchen and realize that your hair is starting to get a bit reeky from the onions. I'd move on to "Mr. Brightside" and "Can You Read My Mind?" during subsequent stirrings simply because anything too melodic will cause you to fall asleep and ignore the onions until their acrid smell infiltrates your nose and you realize you need to start over. "Ring of Fire" is good for getting your wine and stock out of the cupboards and onto the counter, and I think "Revelry" should play during the measuring of said additions. "Far Behind" can keep you company as the wine bubbles and reduces a bit then you can add the stock whilst humming "Story of My Life" and "All These Things That I Have Done," the latter a bit long-ish and good for bringing the soup to a simmer. Straighten up (again, it's a constant process) to a little more Oblivion then watch the short simmering process and sing out loud "Use Somebody." Out loud is important because you really want people to understand the grand importance of what it is you are trying to accomplish in the kitchen. Hit replay and sing it again as you ladle the soup into the bowls, top with croutons and Gruyere, and lightly broil. This will bring everyone into the kitchen to both complain about your tone-deafedness and marvel at what you've created. Tell them all to get out because you need to set the table and pour the wine. Wrap up with a really loud rendition of "Life on Mars" and envision the scene where Sam is standing on the roof of the police station and the song is playing in the background. You just know he's going back to Annie (because you've seen that same scene 7865 times) but you can't help but get all tense, like it's really going to turn out any different. And he does go back and save Annie and they kiss and Sam and Annie and Gene and Ray and Chris all live to fight another day. GEEK!

This, to me, would be the ideal way of preparing French onion soup. And everything up until the simmering did happen yesterday when I made the soup. The rest is what I would have liked to do but never got around to because we decided to have fresh soft pretzels for lunch, which turned out to be so filling that I fridged the soup for dinner today. Which was good, actually, because it allowed me to go out and get some Gruyere when I went for the pretzels. Also, I cannot sing and, if I make even a feeble attempt, the boys wonder screech at me to stop. Jerry just makes snarky comments, which I ignore. :-)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunday, bunny Sunday

No bangers and mash on Sunday; rather we had Doritos and Coke for dinner. Or should I say Cuke. ;-) We feasted on an enormous amount of lovely leek, potato, and blue cheese soup with homemade bread for lunch and, as I was all kinds of efficient and immediately cleaned up the kitchen and ran the dish machine, I felt no great desire to mess things up. So junk food and sugar bubbles for all! And candy. Mass, disgusting quantities of candy.

The soup was massively good and, if you have any recollection of my recent obsession with Rachel Allen, both the bread and soup recipes came from her books. Which ones, I can't remember, but both came out utterly fantastic. Simple, simple, which is what I'm looking for these days as I'm trying to catch up with the house and need things that don't require a vast amount of work. Here, for your visual enjoyment:

Brown bread, lovely and basic, with no yeast, ergo, no long wait period just mix and throw into the oven. Makes you feel all kinds of lovely and healthy just looking at it.

When you combine leeks and potatoes with glorious blue cheese you get a lunch full of yum:

Unfortunately, I was a bit heavy on the salt early in the cooking process so the end result was a tad over salted once the cheese was added; however, it wasn't like licking the beach. Jandar really liked it and said he'd be more than happy to eat it again because--and I quote--"It's potatoes with cheese, blue cheese, come on!" Another plus was that he loved the bread. One of the boys wonder liked both the soup and bread but the other didn't, no big surprise there because, well, they're four. Ner. I was wrong when I thought this wouldn't be good for keeping because it wasn't as creamy or dense as I anticipated so I think a small batch of this could easily be stored for a day or two. We ate it all in one sitting so I wasn't able to test my theory but I think it's a safe one.

Soup of the week was the recipe from "Living with Ed" with Ed Begley, Jr., the show on PlanetGreen that showcases his uber-green lifestyle. So damn simple (lentils, onions, broccoli, carrots, a fresh hot chili pepper, ginger, garlic, water) but the end result was very tasty. I had a big bowl yesterday for lunch and it partnered well with the bread. Oh, the bread recipe makes two loaves so it's a good way to always have bread around because it freezes well. I actually went out and bought a loaf of whole wheat bread last week to satisfy the bairns' craving for a peanut butter sandwich but, ugh, just didn't like it myself. I've grown so used to a dense, hearty bread that the pappiness of this really bugged me. So I finished the loaf and I'm on a quest to convince them to tolerate mine. I'm thinking thinner slices, maybe toasted might be a start, especially as they loved the homemade jam.

Yesterday I tried homemade ketchup. Hm. Not quite sure this will go over at all with Jerry as it tastes slightly more barbecue-y than full-stop ketchup. It is good, though, whatever it is, and I'm looking forward to trying it out on a burger or with some nice, thick steak fries. I don't think it's a partner for an eggwich. Here is what the finished product looks like:

I really should have cropped that before posting so ignore my sink. :-) The recipe originally called for fresh tomatoes but I used whole plum in a can because that's all I had and, when I get the bug to make something, I make do. Again, I like it, and I can't wait to put it to use. I also made a yellow sponge cake from one of my Tanas and topped it with a simple chocolate ganache. That pic came out completely wonky as all my kitchen light bulbs except one blew and I was too lazy to move the cake into the dining room where there was proper light. What the hell, here is spooky cake:

What I like best about this is that the icing comes off in a block so I can just eat the cake. I'm not the biggest fan of chocolate but Jerry loves it and I like to alternate baked goods with chocolate one week, fruit or vanilla or something else the next. That way, everyone is happy. Which is why I usually have a batch of biscotti on hand because he doesn't like those but they get me through the brownie weeks just fine.

Spoooooooky cake...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Everybody was to-fu fighting, hyuh!

Made rather a dangerous trip to Whole Foods today with my cousin Driss, but I'm loaded for bear with chicken, rice wrappers, oat bran, and other foodly goods. And cheese. Oh heavenly cheese. A gorgeous St. Agur bleu, Kerrygold Irish cheddar, a lovely roll of herby, creamy goat's...and mozzarella and Colby Jack and I think that's it. Spring roll wrappers. A bigass container of Fage Greek yogurt and a pound of a locally produced coffee that turned out to be a wise investment indeed. Thai-spiced 'fu, which the bairns used to be absolutely mad for, and other things like lentils and radishes and fresh mint, oh my!

I've been very busy in the kitchen this week, starting last Sunday when I made a most successful tom yam soup:

I also whipped up a toffee sauce:

Some really gorgeous summer berry and rhubarb jam (20oz rhubarb, 10oz blackberries, 8oz strawberries, 5oz blueberries, one cup sugar, 10oz water, bring to a boil for 10mins, simmer for an additional 30mins, voila! jam.):

This stuff is amazing on the Greek yogurt. Slighty tart and the blueberries are still in good shape so you get a little pop of blueberry goodness when you bite into one.

I also banged out a madeira cake, a Spanish white bean soup with chorizo, another batch of blueberry muffins, and tonight I did some spicy Asian chicken wings. Most recipes were taken from my Rachel Allens as she is my newest girl crush (I've been watching her videos almost non-stop and my head is reeling with ideas). The cake and soup were really, really good and the wings--whilst good--made us realize that we're not all that fond of wings anymore. I'm going to cut some of the chicken breasts I got today into strips and freeze them in the marinade for a fairly quick "I need a fast food fix" kind of treat. I think they'd even be good sauteed with carrots or broccoli or other veggies and served over rice. Either way, the marinade is a winner, and I must warn you: sweet chili sauce can be awfully spicy so be careful. I ate the sour cream off my potato skins to cool the heat. Jerry, of course, felt nothing. He has an asbestos tongue.

I'm going to make Rachel's leek potato soup with blue cheese next week, which is why I bought the St. Agur. She used a Cashel blue, which Whole Foods did not have, but the helpful cheese lady recommended the St. Agur because it's similar in texture (creamy) and taste (not overly strong) and she thought it would do well melded with leeks and potatoes. Here's hoping.

Tomorrow I was going to make the roast lamb but I know Jerry is not quite as enthusiastic as I am about it so I think I might roast it on Tuesday then slice it down and freeze it for Greek pitas later. It's definitely a meat that pongs up the house so I'll wait until it's just me and throw open the windows. I'll most likely go with bangers and mash (my homemade Irish sausages) and a spinach salad for dinner and, if I'm enthusiastic enough, maybe the leek soup for lunch. I don't think it will keep well so it's not something I want to make for my weekly soup; that will be a lentil soup I snagged from Ed Begley, Jr. I'm also hoping to make some scones for breakfast with scrambled eggs and--heaven help me--scrapple. I'm a huge scrapple fan. Huge. In fact, I think I can safely say it is my favorite of all the breakfast meats. Mmm...I'm tasting it now...

And, as proof that I did attend a Thai cooking class, here is me looking all kinds of ravishing (with a certificate of achievement to boot):

Can't wait to get my hair done on Saturday :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What's up at Altomonte's for April?

Glad you asked. :-)

Cheese of the month is Beemster, as represented by the two little mice laying claim to the Tillamook cheddar and a French Brie. I forgot to get a chunk of the Beemster but Valerie and Cindy were sweet enough to give me the little promo mice for the boys wonder. Yeah, like I won't be back in anytime soon to get some. Are we all on the same planet? I thought so. So thank you to Cindy and Valerie and I will be in this weekend for my share of the wheel.

According to my little newsletter, Beemster is considered a premium gourmet Dutch cheese, with a sweet, creamy texture. It supposedly pairs well with cabernet or shiraz whilst it's evil twin, Beemster Garlic, plays nicely with pinot grigio or shiraz. Granted, I pretty much go with whatever wine I have handy but if you allow garlic to make the sweet, sweet love to a good cheese--who even needs the wine? Go to Beemster if you want to get more info. Just don't freak out when the splash page does this weird whistly thing upon opening.

Damn, now I want some.

Moving on, I also purchased a small boneless lamb roast for Easter. We don't celebrate it as a holiday but I like to cook something traditional. I've cooked ground lamb plenty of times and I'm excited to try this. It's tiny, so if I ruin it I won't de driven to despair, and it has a freaky pop-up timer that you so know is getting yanked out. If it does turn out, the leftovers will most definitely make for nice Greek pitawiches. We ate lamb when I was a kid, chops because that's what my dad liked and, when Jerry would sometimes go out of town for business, I would often get a pack of tiny little chops for myself and make them. They are greasy and they do pong up the house but I love the flavor, especially with garlic and oregano. I add cumin and parsley and mint when I make the patties so I'm sure I can come up with something interesting for the roast.

I got fish for the chittlins for tonight and they had frozen packs of tiny salmon filets that I snagged for two reasons: One because I really want to see if I can sneak some past the boys and, since they're small (the filets, not the boys), I can do one to see how they react and two, I want to start eating it once or twice a week and I figure grilled, with my homemade remoulade, some lettuce and tomato, all on a nice roll might be the way to do it. It's not a terribly frightening color, either, it looks fairly natural. Ah, we shall see.

And here is your advance notice: Hoagie Day 2009 is Thursday, April 30th. Large Italian hoagies for three bucks. I don't want any guff if you forget.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The British have dispatched, the British have dispatched!

I have a bad Amazon habit and, more recently, a bad, bad Amazon UK habit. We got smart a long time ago and bought a regionless DVD player and have since built quite a tidy collection of our favorite shows--Spaced, Life on Mars, Garth Marenghi and, most recently, The IT Crowd. We even got the same DVD player for our sunroom so the boys wonder could watch Pingu and we could go Man to Man with Dean Lerner.

Today, though, Rachel Allen arrived in all her lovely blonde Irish glory. I geeked when I found the package in the mail box and gleefully folded mass quantities of laundry just to have an excuse to sit on the couch for 300+ minutes of cooking heaven. And today I got an email that the other set of DVDs had shipped (along with a book I've been pining for) so this time next week will mean more blissful laundry and one happy mama.

The set that arrived today is Rachel's Favourite Foods and is not the partner with the book I already have Rachel's Favourite Foods at Home (that DVD set comes next week) but I am over the moon with both of them. You know by now how very much I love this book--it's the one with the fave recipes for sausages and whole meal bread--and I decided that I simply had to have the companion DVD series, even though I had no idea how she was like, camera-wise. After I placed my order, I figured I could YouTube her and found several videos she's done for UKTV. Here's one:

She's fantastic and the quality of the shows is outstanding. I don't watch cooking shows anymore because Food Network sucks the mighty donkey and there's nothing else on any channel I find at all appealing (okay, so I don't mind Emeril Green). I wish I had gotten this DVD player earlier as I could have gotten some Nigella but the mad love I now have for Rachel eases the pain.

I do have a small collection of Giada and Ina but, quite truthfully, I pull them out so very rarely I often wonder if I should pass them on to someone who will truly love them. They're old Giada, where she often looks just this side of madness. Ina, however, has always seemed fairly comfortable on screen and her posse of besweatered gay men can't be beat; seriously, she has incredibly fun friends and her husband, Jeffrey, is too cute. Maybe I'll hang on to her for a while. How bad can that be? ;)