Browsing Tag

Kate Middleton

Food, Lifestyle, London

What Santa Really Wanted

December 20, 2011
You went to Whole Foods and left Santa organic orange juice and gluten-free crackers? No wonder he put you on the naughty list. The British Santa expects a good swig of home-made sloe gin and a plate of mince pies – why else squeeze down the chimney? So here are the recipes to ensure your swag bag is filled with top-notch prezzies.

Sloe gin for the Brits is hotter than an Acai berry vodkatini on the beach in Malibu, and you can even make it at home! Here is my flatmate Henny’s fool proof recipe – guaranteed to make you see a few stars. Our flat is awash with bottles of this fine concoction. My New Year’s resolution is to have several bottles ready for next Christmas – sorry Santa.
Ingredients: A 750ml bottle of gin, 350g caster sugar, 450g sloe berries. Tricky to find sloes in the States as they inhabit cold and prickly bramble bushes, which cover the English countryside. Save your manicure and wait for Trader Joes to import them! 
Prick the sloes with a needle, pop them in a bottle (this is how I like to recycle), add the sugar and gin and voila, your sloe gin is ready to start the marination process. The hardest part is waiting… Give the bottle a gentle shake once a week for at least three months, until the gin is Stanford Cardinal crimson. Another reason to look forward to Spring! 

For more immediate gratification, you could rustle up mince pies in time for tea – and still keep on Santa’s good list this year. Here is the recipe that my cousin Izzy whips up – move over Nigella Lawson!
Ingredients: 240g plain flour, 120g unsalted butter, juice of 1 orange, pinch of salt, 1 large egg, 200g mincemeat, icing sugar for dusting (optional). Star shaped pastry cutter is essential unless you really are a domestic goddess.

Serves: 24 – 36 pies depending on the size

Prep time: 40 minutes including pastry

Cooking time: 10 -15 minutes
Mix the flour with the softened butter until you can form a ball. Put the dough in plastic wrap or a ziplock bag, and store in the fridge for at least twenty minutes. Meanwhile, beat an egg and add the juice of one orange and a pinch of salt to the egg mixture. 

Put the flour/butter mix into a food processor and pour the egg and orange down the funnel until the dough forms. Or if you are a gourmet guru like us you can also do this by hand.

Roll out the pastry so it is thinner than Kate Middleton, and using a small mug or glass cut the pastry into circular discs. 
Place the discs into a non stick baking tray (ideally inside a cupcake mold to make your life much easier) then fill with mincemeat. I know it is delicious and tempting, but a little goes a long way so don’t over-stuff them.
Using a star shaped pastry cutter, cut out small stars to use as the lid for each pie. 

With the grace of Tinkerbell, place the star shaped lid gently on top of the mince meat as if it was pixie dust.

Put in the oven (220C or 425F) for 10-15 minutes. Check on the pies after 10 minutes to avoid burning your masterpiece.
Sprinkling icing sugar is optional after the pies have cooled. Fixing yourself a cocktail to go with your mince pies is mandatory. It isn’t just the mince pies that feel like stars…
Merry Christmas from rural England and all the best wishes for 2012. Diets and detox start in January. 

Living Life in The Fast Lane on 2 Wheels

September 19, 2011
After recently making an impulse online bicycle purchase, I’ve come to realise pretty fast that commuting around London on two wheels is about as hard core as I am ever going to get. Skydiving and diving with sharks seem as blissful as a day of body wraps and facials in a five-star spa, after practically rubbing elbows with double decker buses in the bike lane on your way to work. If you’re ready to live dangerously in London, just hop on a Barclays bike during rush hour and prepare yourself for an adrenaline rush!
Boris and The Governator: Bosom Barclays Bicycle Buddies

Factor in the sudden London downpours, which seem to happen on a daily basis, and it’s actually pretty challenging not looking like you have just left a heated Bikram yoga class by the time you reach your destination. When it comes to buying ‘the kit’ for your bike, the sky really is the limit. After investing in a helmet that guarantees you won’t achieve Kate Middleton hair the second it touches your head, a lock strong enough to keep Princess Charlene in Monaco, and a basket to corral and tote your daily necessities, you have practically spent the same amount on bike accessories as the bike itself!

Anyone working at a bike store will tell you otherwise, but here are my top pics of essential bicycle accessories you need in order to get by on your two wheels:

Who needs a backpack when you have a Mary Poppins-esque bike basket to tote your life (and pug!) around in. 
Top heavy certified: Rixen & Kaul baskets
I love my TOMS so much I could be buried in them. They are extremely comfy and are brilliant for biking in – far cooler than cleat bike shoes in my opinion. With every pair you buy, one pair of TOMS is donated to a child in need. Shoe shopping and charity really do go hand in hand after all!
Leopard print: always a yes
For fellow water snobs, Bobble water bottles are the best thing since sliced carb-free bread. One filter lasts for 300 bottles of water, ensuring you are always hydrated even when on the go!

Brita filters are so vintage. Bring on the Bobble!
Dry Shampoo is undeniably a UK product I cannot live without. It is the ultimate time saver and one of the best inventions for hair care. A couple of squirts instantly zaps oily locks, leaving your hair looking as if you woke up extra early just to blow dry it. If Kate Moss’s mane relies on dry shampoo for festivals, you can definitely count on it for helmet hair. Batiste’s light & blonde and Lee Stafford’s Poker Straight are my favourites.
Washed hair in a can: SIGN ME UP!

Geek chic shades have been so trendy in 2011 that even Madge is borrowing daughter Lourdes’s pair to get into her youthful groove.
The Material girl is hung up on nerd glasses
There are multiple purposes for geek chic shades other than looking like you’re up to date with the latest fad as seen in Grazia. Rain or shine, nerd glasses are great for biking as they keep things from flying into your eyes. They also come in really handy for first impressions when you get pulled over by a London policeman on a bicycle for biking on the wrong side of the road. It must have been the geek chic shades rather than my American accent that helped me talk my way out of that mishap! 

Geek chic shades: A key accessory to avoiding a £60 ticket

Lastly, in lieu of London fashion week, save your money and ditch those creepy color coordinated cycling latex outfits immediately. I didn’t think it was possible for those colours to be even brighter and more atrocious up close and personal on the road. Unless you’re sponsored, it is just a look that is never good and certainly not worth paying for.

Happy cycling – stay safe, styling, and latex free!