Cosy up.


Darlings, ” the North wind doth blow and we shall have snow, and what will poor Robin do then?”

( and  anyone daft enough to brave the arctic conditions at the East Wing) It is already cold enough inside to see ones breath and we’ve had two duvets and a dog on the bed for months. My husband resembles the homeless and wears more to bed than to go out. Absolute passion killer, as are the flannelette sheets he insists upon. It has the sexiness of a care home.
That aside when the girls come home I don’t want them to freeze so I’ve been adding duvets and blankets in tartan and cheer to give the illusion of warmth. Bulk buying hotwater bottles next!

We ordered the tree yesterday so ” it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. Some of you lucky lucky chaps already have snow!  I’m keeping everything crossed. Unless they drop off before then from frostbite .

Note to self. Must start wearing gloves to bed.

And maybe a balaclava




You’re welcome.

Darlings, it takes a lot to impress me. I mean can you imagine how many chocolate cakes have passed my lips? Crikey …  One shudders to think, my poor hips are testament to indulging in such delicious  sponges . So if I say that this is the best, the ultimate please believe me. I take my chocolate cake very seriously and this is indeed a very serious chocolate cake. This isn’t one suitable for a  children’s party. It is not a sponge. This is for adults. The espresso equivalent . Deep, dark, rich and very decadent .



Preparation time:

25 minutes

Cooking time:

1 hour 5 minutes


300 g dark chocolate (50% cocoa solids), chopped

150 g unsalted butter, chopped

5 eggs, at room temperature, separated

55 g caster sugar, plus 75 extra

60 ml milk

110 g ground hazelnut

Unsweetened cocoa powder, to dust

125 g raspberries, to serve

Cream, to serve


Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Grease a round 20 centimetre spring-form cake tin and line with non-stick baking paper, extending five centimetres above the side. The collar will support the cake as it rises during cooking and then fall as it cools.

Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside.

Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites and sugar in a clean, dry medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Put the eggs yolks and the extra sugar in a medium mixing bowl and use a balloon whisk to whisk until thick and pale. Whisk in the milk. Add the chocolate mixture and hazelnut meal and whisk to combine. Use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold in one-third of the egg whites until just combined. Fold in the remaining egg whites in two more batches. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.

Bake for 45 minutes without opening the oven door. Turn the cake tin around to ensure even cooking and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the top of the cake feels set. Transfer to a wire rack and cool in the tin. Refrigerate for three hours or until well chilled.

Cut away the excess paper from around the side of the tin. Invert the cake onto a plate and remove the baking paper. Gently place a serving plate on top and turn the cake the right way up. Use a fine sieve to dust with cocoa powder. Use a sharp knife, dipped in very hot water and then dried, to cut the cake into slices. Serve accompanied by raspberries and cream, if desired.

After seeing my husband faffing around with greaseproof paper I realised that he was indeed the best man for the job.

Dense and truffle like you will not be disappointed darlings!


Feathered friends

Darlings , Monday. We made it. After an indulgent weekend it was touch and go.

My hangover lasted 24 hours so today has been an improvement on yesterday . Doesn’t my lovely Ric look fabulous in his feathers?!!! As we were dining on pheasant it seemed fitting to come to dinner with a feathery flourish! So creative. The darling also came with a pair of curtains that he’d just run up for yours truly . We all need a Ric! His other half is equally talented .the gorgeous Matthew. I am blessed. ( and looking forward to fancy bows and Christmas wreaths!) splendid . 

The dining table and some drunk old broad posing up a storm. Me not Rosie.  
Ric , Rosie and Fred the Pheasant looking rather worried. 

Dinner party casualties . 

The morning after the night before. Coming down to face the music and the dishwasher.

As granny used to say ” gay nights make for sad mornings”

I’m feeling all Nanette Newman. My hands haven’t left the sink.

Mag hag.


Darlings, I can’t tell you how dreadful the weather is. Absolute misery. Naturally ones husband is miles away so the wet dog walks and shivering belong to me. Vile. I bet he’s not wet through and stinking of dog in Welwyn Garden City! My geography isn’t up to much but I believe it’s in Hertford, Hereford or Hampshire . Where hurricanes hardly hever happen.

I’m going to bundle myself up in all of his jumpers and sink my teeth into a pile of Christmas magazines.These things don’t come cheap. Totting up the total so far could have paid for lunch. I don’t mind avoiding the glossies all year round but in the festive run up I do a supermarket sweep and by up the lot! I am a mag hag.
I don’t feel guilty as this is a necessary briefing into another fascinating recipe for curried turkey and where to buy monogrammed loo roll for the man in your life.

Now, you wouldn’t want my beloved to be disappointed on Christmas morn now would you?

Bunny girl

Good morning darlings , I like nothing better than to don a pair of ears, a fluffy tail and a pair of fishnets but alas it is far too cold for than nonsense . Shamefully more like Bridget Jones than one belonging to the Playboy Mansion it didn’t stop my husband ( before he was my husband) noticing me at a party . He obviously likes bunnies too.
Nowadays we are invited to fewer and fewer fancy dress parties but the memories and the Polaroids remain.
This is about as bunny as one gets nowadays. From Boden.
Panda approved. X

In the soup.


Good morning darlings, ” in the soup” should be titled ” in the guest room ” My husband doesn’t get on very well with vegetables or pulses en masse and I am without a gas mask. ( adds it to Christmas list)
The struggle is real. Tug as I may on these blasted jeans they are not going to fasten. Don’t get me lying on a bed with a coat hanger , I’m too long in the tooth to suffer for fashion. It’s bloat. Booze bloat. As it was our wedding anniversary yesterday there was rather a lot of Champs to quaff . I did my best . I refused pudding for balance.
Today will be mainly spent drinking water, eating melon and making soup. I lead a very dull life.

Even this desperate housewife can wield a stick blender. Think of it as a power tool and stand back. I’m sure our neighbour thinks we have workmen in. No one can eat that much soup.


Sling anything in soup.
Far nicer than anything regimented. Usually with a surprise at the bottom where the stick blender missed.

Empty your veg drawer and your cupboards and add herbs and spices .
My first attempt had the standard carrot, celery onion mix with peppers, a tin of tomatoes, a tin of beans and a tin of tarka dhal . Surprisingly good! I stuck some oven cooked sausages in it for good measure.

My second even had lettuce in it as I was emptying the fridge drawer. Salad tomatoes, veg and half a bag of red lentils and a tin of tomatoes left bubbling for half an hour was delicious .

Thank goodness we have a guest room .

Not Nigella


Hello darlings, fashion is one thing but food fashion is quite another. Like everything else it has it’s moment. When that moment comes the market will be saturated until we are all sick to the back teeth of it.
Vegan is in, I’m getting a t shirt made with ” my daughter’s a vegan” printed on it. She is by the way.
I’m quite certain it has it’s health benefits as well as the kindness factor but when dear old Nigella tries to tempt us with a vegan cake it’s time to chuck the chia seeds!
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
What next?
She’ll be showing us how to make avocado toast .image

I for one have ALWAYS loved Nigella, a fellow curvy/greedy girl and a bit of a sauce pot to boot.( her obvs) Now we are both thinner I wonder if one loses some of that appeal? One thing’s for sure, it certainly makes my nose look bigger! Gah!
Bring back simple and sumptuous please and lose the trendy fodder. There are enough people out there doing it better ( I’m talking to you Jamie Oliver)
Jumping on the bandwagon is all well and good but to lose ones core followers and fellow fridge raiders may be a goji berry too far. X