Friday, 30 August 2013

comfort food

Even though it is still summer, even though we don't need any more calories...we can't help it! Recently we took the plunge and had our first "date" since Baby was born five months ago. To mark the occasion, we treated ourselves to a posh tapas meal in Fino, which turned out to be a-ma-zing. The arroz negro was to die for, as were the croquetas  with girolles. It was a fine evening, and even if it was really hard to tear ourselves away from Baby at first, having a good chat with Mr Lavender like in the good old days had a rejuvenating effect on us. We made a full evening of it and went on to see a show - with a twist. The Drowned Man is totally immersive, Lynch-like, dreamy and a bit freaky at times. Not for everyone, but we liked it. Well, I liked it but did not understand it - the husband loved it, it ticked all the boxes for him.
So now here we are, close to being back to the old routine. Work is only days away from starting again, and with it the irrepressible sense that it might be a mistake to go back. Hence, more comfort food.
Yesterday my husband made a truly lovely paella (reviewed here) from the Moro cookbook. Now that's comfort.
Earlier in the week I made more spanakopita, but this time instead of one big one, I made two individual ones. They were even nicer that way, I think. And no, I am not going to mention those muffins!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

things I love this month...

♥ healthy bowls of food - hers and mine!

♥ the generosity of some of the people living in my neighbourhood - found a box full of aromatic herb bunches, all readily tied up and neatly placed in said box on the pavement with the words "help yourself" scribbled on. I did.

♥ the return of the Great British Bake Off every Tuesday night. This week's breadsticks challenge was really inspiring and made me want to try to bake some. Mr Lavender said no, "bake some proper food!" Spoken like a true man, hey?

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

douce France

Although we have been back for a few days now, the bucolic memories from "back home" are still lingering. Home is a funny notion. They say it's where the heart is, but having been a full-on expat for many years now, I feel like the UK is home, where I work, where my actual home is, where I want to be when I have free time, etc. And yet, "home" is also rural France, where I grew up, and where people never really seem to change as the years go by. Even though it's a pleasure to go and visit, sometimes I can't help but feel like an outsider in the room I used to love so much as a teenager.But then I guess that's everybody's lot, no? Whether you live abroad or not, I mean.
As usual it was good to go, and we made the most of recurring things we miss when in the UK - ├ęclairs, cheese, and merguez on the barbecue, going to the garden to pick your own berries, salads and vegetables, and living life at a much slower pace, visiting the local market, listening to bees flying around and seeing the most amazing night skies.
And as usual, it was equally good to come back, to be able to do the shopping online, get a coffee to go while walking the baby, eat authentic Indian, or Mexican, or Lebanese without having to travel 30 km... the sort of things I have become used to as an expat who grew up in the middle of nowhere wheat and sunflower fields in French countryside and now lives in the biggest capital in Europe. 
The best of both worlds, maybe?

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

new baby quilt

I feel like I promised some sewing on the blog for ages but haven't quite after reorganising my fabric stash yet again (with my little helper, of course!), I started selecting colours and patterns to make a couple of new baby quilts/playmats. I made some progress already and have one playmat top ready to be sandwiched to its bottom - I'm just waiting on my extra-thick cushiony wadding now!

More sewing soon on the blog - it's almost as if now that my maternity leave is nearly over, I am finally getting started with serious projects...sometimes I wish I was different and did less things at the last minute!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

summer comfort food

Rainy summer days are perfect to experiment new dishes. A couple of weeks back I tried spanakopita using this recipe. However, my experiments have their limits, so need I say I bought ready-made filo? This dish is surprisingly easy to make once said filo is out of the equation, and very tasty indeed!

So, why stop here, you ask? The rest is super easy but nonetheless a real treat any day of the week...even for breakfast!
indulgent breakfast with peanut butter toasts
Rachel Allen's coconut macaroons
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