More from my Kitchen.

I’ve talked a bit about my kitchen before; the first large design project I took on single-handedly in our house.

I had to wait over a year after we moved in to replace the horrendous, greasy plastic coated cupboards which had mainly rotted out all by them selves. Brown tile with pears and berries on the occasional, even more disgusting tile here and there only adding to my misery when using the space. The oven we ripped out straight away as my parents had a spare little stainless steel one. The hob was actually fitted the wrong way, with the knobs along the front of the counter when the design was supposed to have them down the left. We had to take off a wall cupboard and trim the counter back to fit our fridge in the tiny space left. It had sat in the living room for a few weeks on the old, cream, badly stained (with what I hate to think) thick carpet on a part of our floor where the boards were damaged and sagged, taking the fridge with it.

I love books, so cookery books are everywhere in our new design. Black units don’t seem so dark when they’re not on the walls too. Plae floors and counter tops brighten it up further with white walls the finishing touch. I don’t know where my inspiration came from and to be honest I didn’t really think about the room from an interior design point of view. It had to be practical, had to fit, had to have certain fixtures and it had to have space for our little luxuries.

It feels a little like a swedish larder; two white open shelves hold (I kid you not) sealed jars of flour/sugar/dried coconut baking things next to all my pots of spices (which we use extremely regularly) pestle and mortar, big blue Denby Azure teapot and our pink Heart-shaped Le Creuset caserole dish, the other holding our cereal boxes, posh champagne and shot glasses and the bottles of Ouzo, Vodka, Rum, Tequila and Bourbon that look so good sat together. Organised chaos is my specialty and you can tell I’d be a bit of a horder if I wasn’t so ruthless. The windowsill is one of my favourite DIY’s. We had a huge gap from the window up to the counter top which should have been level (the extension ceiling is quite low considering the height of the cielings in the rest of the house) but happened to be an inch below the counter level. We had a hole. We have no tiles in the kitchen. I was completely ademant about this. I hate the thought of patterned tiles (hence the plain white in the bathroom) and didn’t want the room ‘busied up’ with them. So we didn’t have a quick fix to the gap problem. Our hob splashback (glossy black plastic panels) were cut in half lengthways and stretched along the wall at the back of the counter. Couldn’t use those either, they’d scratch if you kept putting stuff down on them.

Then I had an idea. My Mam has a bazillion scraps in her garage. I knew she had a spare pack of grey rough slate floor tiles. There was my answer. Chock up the inch gap and cut the tiles so they fit really tight in the window ledge with a little overhang onto the counter, slap down some No-More-Nails and plop the perfectly cut tiles on that. After they had a few days to dry I silicone sealed around all the edges as the sink is very close. Voila!

Here are some pics for you…

The space between the knife block and microwave needed some colour… Books were the only option.

My little baking and breakfast corner…

The window sill needed brightening up too. I have a lean-to outside the kitchen window that encloses the space between my extension and the nextdoor neighbours so I don’t need window treatments.

My collection of esspresso cups and saucers and the slate window ledge.

Coffee Corner is very different to Tea Corner. My two coffee machines here, both bought for me by my wonderful OH.

Above Coffee Corner is our utensil wall. Here I’ve also hung my pride and joy- my Le Creuset chef pan.

So, I’ve pretty much walked you though my kitchen from top to bottom now. I’m sure I’ll keep talking about it as it really is my favourite room. NExt time though, I may tell you about our bathroom…




Guilty Pleasures…

So, first on my list of guilty pleasures has to be baking… at 8 o’clock at night. Eating Double Chocolate Sticky Muffins practically straight out the oven. OH will winge he wants something sweet to eat after tea. I, being the most gracious of little-women, will happily jump up to make him my favourite DCS Muffins.

I’ll post the recipe soon.

Curling up in my squishy ‘Big Red’ chair wrapped in my dressing gown with my huge cat on my knee and one of my favourite books in my hands. I will sit for hours and hours, not eating and not talking, just reading. Heaven. The only problem I have with my reading addiction is the quality of story (and I only read series) cannot be written fast enough.

Then next on my list has to be fried chicken. Cold. Especially cold. With no sauce or fries or anything. I very rarely get to eat this take-out style and NEVER cook it at home. This special little treat is reserved for the rare occasion I have enough dosh and am walking past the big red building at the top of the high street and feeling in a particularly self-indulgent mood.

American TV shows. BIG guilty pleasure right there. From dramas like Grey’s Anatomy (come on, McDreamy right?), Private Practise, Dexter, NCIS, CSI- Miami, Las Vegas AND New York, Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, House, Boardwalk Empire and Justified to Diners, Drive-in’s & Dives, Man Vs Food (see a running theme here?) Ace of Cakes, Ice Road Truckers (ask my parents what they call this program, it rhymes…) Bridezillas (Hell Yeah who doesn’t love watching the crazies now and again?) Well, basically any American TV show. Star Trek. Now that’s one not everyone wants to admit to loving. Any of the vast array of spin-offs and series- Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Next Generation… All of them. Wonderful.

So, what else… Home Wear Stores; kitchen and furnishings… gadgets and art prints. Window shopping ONLINE. Without crowds or noise or fuss. I like nesting.

Shoes. Dresses. Turning the heating on when you know you could soldier on with just your wooly jumper. Coffee. Lots of coffee. Grabbing a taxi home from work when it’s raining. That HUGE extra portion of home made, slow-cooked chile or Musakka.

The idea of building my own home. This consumes me so much and so vividly sometimes that I can see myself walking through the rooms as if they’re already built. The fact that even getting the kitchen done was enough to give me hives doesn’t get a seconds thought.

I know you adore half of these things too. I know you just want to curl up in a big squishy chair with a huge spotty cat, a mug of coffee and the bestest stickiest double chocolate muffin straight out the oven crying to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I know you treat yourself to that extra portion at dinner. I know you secretly want to own a Star Trek ‘United Fediration’ uniform. I know you’d wear your Uggs and PJ bottoms to work if they’d let you.

You know why? Cause I’m just like you.

Valentines Day Food.

Unfortunately for me, OH is away this year for V-day. Again. In the 5 Valentines Days we’ve been together the poor thing has only actually seen me on one. I know, he’s lost out on so much…

But, despite this, he ALWAYS sends a gift home and a bunch of flowers. I’ve always had that. So really, I get the gifts and don’t have to make conversation all day. There’s always an up side 😉

So this is for those of you who have someone to actually make an effort for this Valentines!

The V-Day meal.

Hmm, depends when you are able to see your loved one through the day but here’s some ideas for Valentines food!


A full English never goes amiss in this house but you could mix things up a bit by making up a lovely big bowl of porridge (to share of course) with chocolate chips/a drizzle of maple syrup/fresh red berries…

Check out the recipefor more info on this one!

Or how about a breakfast muffin? Blueberry is a great all-rounder, if you don’t want to make your own then go ahead and BUY them! Don’t feel you have to hand over flat, tasteless, berry-ridden failures for V-Day breakfast if baking isn’t your strong suit.

The recipe for these lovely looking creations can be found here.

Enough about breakfast. How about…


I’m not sure where the idea of brunch came from but I LIKE IT! HAve a look at these ideas for a late morning to early afternoon meal.

This is a Baked Italian Frittata which includes a combination of hardwood-smoked bacon, ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, roasted red bell peppers, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and spinach. Heaven.

Find thid recipe by Holly Hanks here. To be honest I’m a fan just from the fact it’s savoury. I love savoury…

Another classic idea is Smoked Salmon and cream cheese bagels. You can buy cream cheese with added flavours now- Garlic, Herbs… or mix up your own. Chive or dill work particularly well with good quality Salmon. You could make up tiny blinis with this idea, savoury pancakes, toasts, add grilled or blanched asparagus to warm it up, the choice is yours and this is such an easy combo as long as you stick to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) idea you just have to make up a delicious looking and easy brunch.


Now I like the idea of romantic red food… Beetroot soup anyone?

The Veg Box Diaries has a wonderful recipe here for a spiced beetroot soup. You must make sure your beets are small and fresh, they’ll be sweeter and less woody meaning a nicer soup at the end. Supermarkets are catching up with new and unusual recipes so you may find a great ready-made alternative in the shops too.

And who doesn’t love Nachos? You can add anything you like to a topping, don’t just stick to the rules! Chopped grilled smoked bacon, roast shallots, feta cheese… Anything really. Although I do love a good jalepeno pepper or two.

And my FAVOURITE Chicken Club Sandwich. Here’s a great marinated version from

So after all that eating and if you have space for dinner, what should you prepare for a really romantic night in? Firstly, BAN the tv. NO TV for romantic nights. It’s just a zombie-maker…


I think you can go one of two ways here, small foods you can pick and choose and eat at your leisure perched on the coffee table or a full sit-down dinner, three courses and everything.

Personally, I like little dishes, hot and cold, premade and quickly cooked and served. Half the fun in our house is the cooking and preparing, it always takes longer than the eating…

You can’t go wrong with Tapas and has the most fantastic tips and recipes for trying out. The thing with Tapas is to go with your gut, try flavours out that you know have chemistry. I made a tapas dinner for my Parents, Brother and OH with a few measly bits from the fridge- Chicken, Chorizo and Apple fried with a shallot. Simple. Cold cuts of european meat, chunks of delicious cheeses and bowls of hot paprika dusted onion rings, the choice is yours. Add in a Frittata or large chiken, mushroom and chedder Quesadilla and you’re on a roll!

Finish the day’s eating fest with an expensive box of truffles and a large glass of wine and you’re done. You couldn’t not be loved for all of that effort! 😉