Hello and Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my blog.

This is my very first one, so bear with me and enjoy reading about my adventures cooking all of the recipes from Nigella Lawson's new book 'Kitchen'.

From time-to-time I may post about things other than cooking, after all, Nigella does sell a lifestyle that most women would like have a slice of, so I would like to share a bit of mine - not quite as glamorous but fun none-the-less (may I add that most of my ideas and thoughts revolve around food anyway)!

Just to set the scene a little, I am based in Yorkshire, live with my husband and gorgeous toddler who is rapidly approaching his second year. I work in the events industry and love music, books, fashion, culture and of course... food.


Goddess Mx (meant in the loosest possible sense, believe me)!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Key (S)Lime Pie

Had a great time at the kid's Halloween party. My friend who hosted is one of those mums I always dreamt I would be - super organised and brave enough to invite a bucketload of toddlers over for a party in her house. I never seem to find the time or the inclination. Having said that, I probably had more fun at her house today for a mid-afternoon bash than I would do a grown-up party with drinks and nibbles. Must get out more! We played ghost-skittles, decorated pumpkin faces and had scrummy pumpkin soup and lots of other halloween-themed food like ghost rice crispy cakes, beetle grapes and pastry witch fingers. Someone commented on my cool spider fascinator. I am so stylish obviously! On the way home Little M was astonished at the darkness. 'Dark' is one of his favourite words, but I don't think he has actually been outside in it for quite a while. He never ceases to amaze me.

Anyway, back at the ranch I cooked sole (or 'soul' for the purposes of halloween), coated in instant polenta. This was served with a rather cheeky Tartare sauce made up of creme fraiche, gherkins, baby capers, jalapeno peppers and lemon juice/zest. I loved the whole thing. One of the best dishes of the challenge yet and my expectations were not high to begin with. Maybe that is how I should play things in future so that I will be pleasantly surprised.

For dessert we had Chocolate Key Lime Pie which tasted good, but the presentation left a lot to be desired. Basically I reckon I have the wrong kind of pie dish. I used a ceramic one, but think I need to invest in a tin dish which is deeper and larger. The biscuit base was nice but didn't really set in the fridge. The choc chips were a nice twist in the base, and the filling was zesty and refreshing. There is an abundance of it left in the fridge which I hope will be eaten while I am away over the next couple of days in London - a work visit, but still looking forward to it as the last time I was in the capital I was 9 months pregnant so way too long ago.

Due to being away, I am going to be doing a lot of cooking when I come back. This week I am one dish down as I was unable to source baby squid anywhere. A challenge for next week.


Goddess Mx

Spooky Scallops

Well, this is the weekend of Halloween and is it just me, or is the UK going mad over it or what? Everywhere you look there seems to be someone walking down the street with a pumpkin, and the supermarkets are going crazy with in-your-face merchandise. Little M has a spider outfit for the 'cuteness' factor, plus the fact that we have a party this afternoon. I have bought a children's spider hairband so that we co-ordinate - sad huh? Was going to make something to take but have opted for spider cupcakes from the patisserie counter at Waitrose.

I was going to theme my cooking this weekend to relate to the festivities, but as it happens, I seem to be using green food which is kinda scarey in a way (I remember at school having our milk in little bottles dyed with purple food colouring). First on the menu last night we had Scallops with Thai-Scented Pea Puree which was nice. I cautiously cooked the scallops as I didn't want to over/underdo the little luscious coins. They were good, but I think I could do with some practice. As you can see from the photo, it definitely looks like home fodder, especially as there was a ton of puree! I did follow the quantities in the recipe so if Nigella says!

Right, must go and party but more later on Key Lime Pie (more green food) which is chilling in the fridge.


Goddess Mx

Friday, 29 October 2010

Classy Ladies

Nuff said - (nasty) Asti + Guiness = 2 happy ladies

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Walking on Sunshine

Well, yesterday was a sunny old day, and not as cold as normal either. A few little nice things have happened this week which have added a little sparkle in my life. The biggest sparkler was all was the news that a large high-street jeweller - who I have been battling with for the past couple of months - have finally agreed to replace a diamond that had fallen out of my eternity ring which I have only had since Little M was born. They were adamant that it was 'accidental damage' but surely eternity means more than a couple of years eh? Another act of kindness was a colleague at work whose brother got me a signed backstage pass from a James gig he went to in the US. It is pinned up on my noticeboard at work to make me smile, along with other things that make me happy: a 'You are my sunshine' postcard; a photo that my brother had taken of Loch Lomond; and a laminated 'first runner-up' award that I was given for a tongue-in-cheek bake-a-cake competition at work (for chocolate marble cake).

To celebrate all things sunny I made Sunshine Soup. A very humble soup consisting of blistered (in the oven) garlicky, oily yellow and orange peppers, sweetcorn, vegetable stock and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Happy days. Hope the sun is shining for you.

Goddess Mx

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

A Cosy Dinner for Two

On the menu last night was Redcurrant and Mint Lamb Cutlets, followed by leftover Pandowdy. Easy peasy and a nice dinner to make for friends. The lamb is just panfried as it is in garlic oil. After the lamb was removed from the pan, I chucked in my clementine juice, sherry vinegar, salt/pepper, redcurrant jelly and worcestershire sauce and whisked together with the gorgeous lamb juices. I then served up all of this with a tangle of rocket leaves and the newly brilliant (to us) rapid roastini (or shallow-fried gnocchi).

I feel like I now have more knowledge of the basics that you should have in your kitchen cupboard, so might post this soon. At the top of this list though is garlic oil which I have used every day since the start of the project - well, in the savoury dishes anyway. What is the point in crushing some garlic into standard olive oil when you can buy it already done? Another essential is worcestershire sauce (for a bit of zing), followed by spring onions which can easily be snipped into a dish rather than chopping an onion which brings on floods of tears.

Goddess Mx

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Pear Pandowdy

I am writing this blog with a Texan-drawl just to set the scene for anyone reading. This is my kind of pie as the ramshackle appearance is part of its charm - and that is what I like. Home cooking should look like this, and it makes eating all the more enjoyable. I get a bit bored rolling out pastry for hours on end, trying to make sure it doesn't break, so this was the perfect amount of time mixing and rolling only one piece - the lid to a pot (or griddle) of perfection!

I have done a little research but can't really find an origin for the Pandowdy, but have decided that it should be America. In Louisiana to be precise. And to be even more exact, the little town that True Blood is filmed in. That is the image in my mind so that is where it shall be from!

The pandowdy differs from other pies as it just has a crust on the top only. I thought it was lovely. Having had maybe one too many puddings of late, I was actually thinking that eating this would be a chore but it was delicate, consisting mainly of pears rather than apples, although I did throw a couple of apples in. The pears were lovely and grainy, not too sharp, and the pastry nice and plain to balance everything off. We have half left so enough for more tonight. Lush.

Off to face the rest of the day bravely. Had my first session this morning with a chiropractor who told me I have a knot the size of a golfball in my right shoulder. He has corrected my spine, and my neck - with two very loud cracks - and has warned me that I will feel very uncomfortable later today and that I will need to apply icepacks tonight. Hope I have lots of frozen peas in the freezer.

(A sore) Goddess Mx

Monday, 25 October 2010

Pudding, brunch to-die-for, and a nice wintery salad

I am dismayed to begin this post with news of the fact that I do not have a photo of the lovely puffed-up delight that was my Choc Chip Bread Pudding. It was really a Bread and Butter Pudding but let's not get pedantic. It really did look a treat, like a swollen puddilicious crown. I did photograph the dish in its splendour but unfortunately we were broken into over the weekend and the scoundrels took my iphone so the proof (of the pudding) is gone. You will have to take my word for it that it looked lovely, and was equally as tasty.

On Saturday I made a brunch dish which was a nice change - Cinnamon Plums with French Toast. I enjoyed making the compote which comprised of sugar, cranberry juice, plums and cinnamon sticks. The scent really reminded me of childhood, although I am not sure which part. I love smells that transport you back in time. Very powerful.

On Sunday my mother-in-law came for lunch and we made Butternut Squash Salad. I do like a salad but it is difficult to come up with ideas in the winter for warmed versions so this was welcomed with open arms. The squash was cubed and roasted in oil, turmeric and ginger, and then tossed in rocket, pine nuts and golden sultanas. Very good indeed and MIL approved. With happy tummies we all ventured into the City to buy new shoes for Little M: the flashy ones that light-up as you walk; and his first pair of wellies. I don't know who was more excited - Little M or us grown-ups living vicariously through him.

Going to have a go at the Apple and Pear Pandowdy soon, along with some other delights. I bought some cocktail ingredients too to mix things up again.

Goddess Mx

Thursday, 21 October 2010

A big slurp of Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup

This dish is another variation of one we usually make including Shitake Mushrooms, which were sadly missed on this occasion. There is not a lot better though than a slurp-fest of noodley, brothy soup on a freezing cold evening. The one comment I will make is that I don't think Oxo stock cubes add the required magic. We usually buy fresh stock for this kind of dish and it works better. Lime was a welcome ingredient though which added a bit of a twist. Would be interested to try some mint and/or lemongrass to see what this would bring to the soup party, but that might be too much. These are ingredients much used though in Vietnamese cuisine apparently.

No cooking tonight as I have been snacking all day to get me through a difficult day's work. Have an event coming up at the end of November which is going to eat up (no pun intended) a lot of my time, so will really put this challenge to the test.

More food soon.

Goddess Mx

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

A little first-aid and Chops with Couscous

Without much prior thought (well, any actually) I had inadvertently booked myself onto a first-aid course yesterday, during one of the busiest weeks at work of the year. Despite not being able to focus my mind on the training, I did manage to come away from it feeling terrified about all manner of things - choking being the biggest. Little M's party trick seems to be stuffing as much food as possible into his mouth at once so it is always a worry for me. His favourite is a whole banana in his mouth at once - that's my boy. If I could take one thing away from the training it would be that if you can't move an obstruction by performing the heimlich manouvre , you should move onto CPR rather than try and get your fingers in the person's mouth. Told you, scaremongering stuff but something everyone should know.

Anyway, moving onto food for the day, last night I made Indian Rubbed Lamb with Lemon Rocket Couscous which was like a fireworks display for the tastebuds! Christmas chops I am now calling them due to the involvement of ground cloves. I urge everyone to try these NOW.

I'm not cooking tonight as it is just me and the young 'un in our house, so I will just have something easy, and start to write my birthday wish list. Ooh, so many things that I would like, including a live-in cleaner (which 'aint going to happen).

Goddess Mx

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Loads of cooking, and the leaves following off trees...

Hey y'all,

Gosh, it has been a while, and can I just say that I have the believable excuse that I am too busy cooking to blog??

On Thursday I cooked Speedy Scalloppini, which is basically pork pan-fried with lemon, and the most genius foodie idea yet this year for me - gnocchi, also pan-fried in olive oil. So, like teeny roast tatties but taking only 4 minutes to cook. We will be cooking this time-and-time again methinks. This meal is a lovely variation on another Nigella (Express I think) recipe of pork fried in a cider sauce, with mustard-doused gnocchi, only it is fresher. This dinner was a brill end to a hectic week that I doubted I would ever get through (I don't work Fridays).

Friday wasn't the fun-filled day that it always usually is with Little M as I had that feeling of having a dark cloud over me for the day. I am putting it down to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or feeling grouchy due to the summer being long-gone. To cheer things up I made Linguine with Truffle Oil which was scrumptious (my verdict), or 'eurgh, overpowering' (Master M summises). The recipe stipulates making it as a solo meal and I will do so on those evenings when it is just me as it is such a treat. I love the simplicity of the dish, and the creaminess of the sauce. You will note that the photo I have uploaded looks suspiciously like the Spaghetti and Marmite concoction. What can I say? It was a bit more special. Note to self: need to think of ways to spice up my photos. Must buy nice kitchen gadgets!

Saturday I woke up like a bear with a sore head. Not helped by the fact that Little M has reverted back to his 5am wake-up call. I really did have a chip on my shoulder. You know when everywhere you look you are reminded by that to-do list that never seems to be ticked off, including things like buy new capsule wardrobe (yes, I was having one of those 'I have nothing to wear' days). So, out Little M and I went into the crispness of the morning for a spin on his smart-trike, and then I whipped up some Chocolate and Banana Muffins, and can I just say, there is nothing like the fuggy smell of cocoa and warmed banana filling your house to clear away the cobwebs. They were very good and more bready than normal muffin fare.

That was far from 'it' as far as cooking was concerned on Saturday as later in the day I made Irish Oaten Rolls, and then Korean Keema for tea.

The Keema was lovely. It was a journey to get to the finished result though. Master M hunted down the gochuang sauce eventually after searching in Hull, and then Leeds. I then had to hot-trot to the supermarket to change my turkey mince which had started to turn despite the best before date being Saturday - dontcha just hate it when that happens? I also had to pick up last minute coriander which I am glad I did as it was the icing on the cake.

The rolls were really moist and well, homely tasting, helped by the Guinness, yoghurt and honey. Still have some left for during the week and there is something about homemade bread that makes you feel like you are a domestic goddess.

Today I am feeling much more like myself. I always feel a bit low at this time of year. I think it is the cycle of leaves falling off trees that makes me reflective and well, a bit glum about the prospect of six months of winter. But then I sort myself out, start to look forward to Halloween, Bonfire night, my birthday and Christmas, and get a bit giddy again. Cosy, cosy...

We had two walks today, one first thing looking for the Gruffalo in Roundhay Park, and the other late afternoon at Temple Newsam where we said hello to the goats and sheep. I love our family life. We also went for a carvery at lunch time and met some friends that we see a couple of years ago which we always enjoy.

Just made Coconut and Cherry Banana Bread which is heavenly-tasting. I told my mum I was making it and she reminded me that our old Afro-Carribean neighbour, Charlie, used to make this and it filled his house with a really nice rich scent. I did take it out of the oven a little prematurely to avoid the cheesecake debacle, and ended up having to pile it back into the tin for extra time in the oven. The house smells good though so, result.

Signing off until tomorrow. Have got all of next week's ingredients but shall keep the next dish a surprise (don't get too excited)..

Goddess Mx

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Chicken Tarragon and a whole lotta colour

Ta-Dah - last night we had posh chicken and chips! I went against the grain and instead of serving the meat with new potatoes n' green beans, went for the good old oven chip and asparagus just because I love it (and it is on spesh at Co-op)! The chicken was great and really easy to do. Just fry on one side for 5 minutes, turn over, add vermouth, 'erbs and cream and let bubble away on a low heat ferrociously until done. Nice and easy so just the way I like it.

I was going to post a photo that I had taken on my iphone of the beautiful tree outside our bedroom which is more and more stunning throughout the autumn months, until the leaves fall off onto our car and then it becomes annoying! I did take the photo but it doesn't do the tree any justice. Would love a really great camera. The colours that autumn bring are just divine - a gazillion shades of red, green, yellow, orange and brown. The only time of the year that we can truly have a go at rivalling India in the colourful stakes... Oh what the heck, here is the picture anyway.

Not sure about what to cook tonight. Might do pasta or meat with gnocchi but to be honest, am quite full after a lunch meeting in town (of a not-at-all-nice omlette with really fatty pancetta). I am sure I can find some space in that ever expanding belly of mine later on in this fine day.

Goddess Mx

Monday, 11 October 2010

I only forgot the best one...

Yesterday I was poorly sick again - the price you pay when you have a toddler at nursery. I think this made me forget to post about one of the best dishes yet, which we ate on Friday night - Lamb with Rosemary and Port. We have so many half-opened bottles of port at home that I was glad to find this little gem of a recipe. I had bought the 'Essentials Waitrose' lamb steaks and was concerned that these would be like the 'Sainsburys Basics' range (not that hot on quality). However, I was pleasantly surprised. We had the meat with mashed potato and asparagus. I did struggle to find rosemary though, so had to use dried Herbs de Provence which seemed to work ok.

Nigella reckons that she adds port to cooking instead of opening a bottle of red wine, in the same way she would add vermouth rather than white wine to say a risotto. Will be using port more often. Marsala is good too as an alternative to red.

Tonight I shall be cooking Chicken with Tarragon Sauce, and tidying up my messy house.

Goddess Mx

Oh Monday, Monday...

As per the norm, I have been so busy over the weekend that this is the first chance I have had to blog. So here goes...

The fajitas on Thursday where absolutely a-m-a-z-i-n-g, and were a great tonic to compensate for an irksome week! The chicken was so tender and infused with lime, cumin and other lovely flavourings. When I put all the little bowls of additional yumminess out on the table it all looked a bit too healthy. A little bowl of coriander, creme fraiche, avocado salsa, sweetcorn and sweet chilli sauce but it was a taste explosion. Felt sorry for Master M who doesn't partake in coriander or sweetcorn consumption, and indeed doesn't like iceberg salad which I also served up. The biggest surprise was the tortillas which were much nicer warmed in the oven than the usual nuke in the microwave. Will be making these again for sure.

Next up was Friday and if I had blogged then, the title would have been 'Thank Cheesecake it's Friday' as that is what I baked, yes baked! I managed to do it while Little M was having his afternoon nap but he awoke while it was still in the oven in its bain marie (or water bath). I had nightmare images of him toddling into the kitchen, opening the hot oven, and pulling the tray out of the oven so kept us both prisoner in the living room until it was done. Fast-forward to Saturday evening and we had a couple of good friends over for cocktails, dinner (pizza) and cheesecake. Oh, I shouldn't have been so smug. The cheesecake was hideous. Really overdone I reckon. I think it needed a little less time in the oven as it was claggy (is that a word)? The toffee sauce was nice but a bit thick I thought. Will need to do lots of practice with this dish I suspect.

Yesterday we had a lovely day out with friends at Harewood House. Have always been put-off going by the admission price but admittedly I think it was worth the money. The gardens are so beautiful and we saw a silver birch across the lake which looked golden in the mid-afternoon sunshine. We spent the whole day there just meandering around with the ducks in the bird park, penguin viewing, perusing the orchard and vegetable garden and generally soaking up the autumn sun. Will definitely be visiting in future and not just for the Peppa Pig days or occasional concert.

At home I made a humble egg and bacon salad which does what it says on the tin really. Nigella says she boils her eggs for just one minute and then lets them stand in the boiled water for 10 minutes so that the yolk still has a hint of a wobble. This works really well! This meal was plain but satisfying, rather like something your granny would serve up which can't be a bad thing.

To balance out the modest salad, I made Strawberry and Almond Crumble. I really enjoyed it but it had a heck of a lot of sugar in it, which might not be entirely necessary due to the sweetness of the strawberries. I loved the contrast in textures. The soft strawberries combined with the crunch of the flaked almond-topping. A real treat.

Goddess Mx

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Muffin Mania

Was kind of relieved in a way that our guest for the evening called-off so that I could concentrate on the task in-hand - making my first sweet treat Apple and Cinnamon Muffins. Mixed all my ingredients up and realised fatal error that I didn't have honey in the house. After deliberating over whether syrup would be an adequate substitute I decided not (too sugary, and already loads of sugar in the recipe), and made the dash after Little M's bedtime to buy some. 30 mins later and my glorious muffins (just the right size, not like the manufactured bulging sort that make you feel sick) were ready to devour. They were really yummy, particularly the crunchy sugar-cinnamon-almondy topping, and enough to take a batch into work.

Not much else to report of a Wednesday evening. Just telly (The Apprentice, so loads of shouting at the the box) and a snuggle up with my fave glossy - Grazia.

Dinner pre muffins was scrambled eggs and toast - cosy, scrummy dinner a la Master M. Tonight I am cooking Fajitas and am going to do a spot of yoga if it kills me. Need to balance out all this eating somehow, although it is good to have a little extra cuddliness over the colder months which are fastly approaching... Roll on christmas so that I can get making foodie gifts.

Goddess Mx

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Mussels in Cider, followed by Downton Abbey

Well, I was delighted with last night's dinner of Mussels in Cider. I love Moules Marinieres in its original French winey state, but was keen to try this version too, although slightly hesitant after sampling Mussels in Guiness during a recent Belfast trip. I love both Guiness and Mussels but the two are not a marriage made in heaven.

As much as I was dreading the 'debearding', I actually got quite into it. And the byssals are just like little beards - cute. My favourite part of the process was tapping the half-open uncooked mussels against the sink to see if they closed, and dragged this bit out as long as possible. The liquid I cooked the mussels in comprised of olive oil, parsley, sliced garlic, spring onions and vintage (darling) cider. And it worked very well! And yes, the bread dipping was the best bit whilst eating.

After dinner we watched 'Downton Abbey' which we had pre-recorded. As Master M says, no-one does period dramas like the BBC. Think I quite like it. Favourite quote of the programme which got me thinking was when the Earl of Grantham said of Downton Abbey 'It is my third parent and my fourth child'. Can you imagine feeling so passionate about something/somewhere other than your family?

Tonight I need to find the time to make Strawberry and Almond Crumble for tonight's dessert (takeaway treat for dinner with an old friend from our Leicester days), and may make Apple and Cinnamon Muffins to take to work tomorrow. I think I may have gained a few pounds since the start of this challenge.

Goddess Mx

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

African Drumsticks - bang, bang, bang...

What is better on a Monday night than an imaginary trip to South Africa - well, in culinary terms anyway? Last night I cooked African drumsticks - chicken in a marinade of tomato ketchup, apricot jam, onion, ginger and worcester sauce. It was tantalising. I decided to serve it with sweet potato rather than rice which we have had a lot of lately (and because I had one in the fridge asking to be eaten). The only way it could have been better is if it were cooked on the BBQ african stylee, which was never going to happen given the fact that ours hasn't seen the light of day this year. Sign of a bad summer.

I did the big shop yesterday stocking up on ingredients for the week ahead. Slightly apprehensive (but excited) about tonight's menu of Mussels in Cider, as I have to debeard (take away the byssal threads) and clean them. Have researched how to do this and it basically entails of the following (courtesy of http://allrecipes.com//HowTo/cleaning-mussels/Detail.aspx)

- Soak them for about 20 minutes
- Grasp the beard and give a sharp yank out and toward the hinge end of the mussel - sounds brutal!
- Place these mussels into another bowl full of clean cold water
- Use a firm brush to brush off any other oceanic attachments

Wish me luck. I think it will be worth it as I do adore mussels, especially mopping up the sauce at the end with a nice doughy hunk of bread.

Goddess Mx

Monday, 4 October 2010

A lot of food and a sickly cook...

It has been a while since my last blog, so this one may go on a bit... *apologising in advance*.

Thursday brought with it the grand opening of Waitrose - have I mentioned it yet?? - and the TV launch of Nigella's 'Kitchen'. I dashed into Waitrose at lunch time to see what all of the fuss was about and immediately realised when the first thing to greet me was a gorgeous Patisserie counter with adorable cupcakes on display. I had definitely found one of my new favourite hangout places - what has become of me?

Nigella's 'Kitchen' was everything I expected and more. The best bit of the show, as always, was the midnight-feast bit at the very end. This episode saw her sneak down to the fridge to devour some peanut butter cheesecake, piled high with whole peanuts - love her. Other notes on the programme: it reminded me of my wish to have a walk-in larder; every time I see her studio kitchens on screen, I want to hotfoot it to mine and sprinkle it with fairy lights. Best think of the electricity bill...

On Thursday evening we had Chicken Teriyaki which was lovely. I really do like the combination of the chicken with sake and mirin. Master M reckoned the chicken was a bit fatty but I don't know if this is just because it was poached so the textures were different. I am sure he said 4/5 though so can't be bad.

I don't think it stopped raining on Friday and Little M and I had a lot of errands to run. Post Office, gift-buying, quick shot at Gymboree and then visiting a friend and her baby in the afternoon. All the hopping to-and-from the car created havoc with my hair and I had a fetching Afro by the end of it, much to Little M's amusement. Friday was Master M's time to cook and he made a lovely baked cambembert concoction with apples and toasted ciabatta. I've got to let him near the kitchen at times, as he is a rather good cook and I like being waited on hand and foot.

On Saturday we had a lovely time at a friend's son's naming day. It was a very moving morning - lots of readings, and a Bob Dylan rendition on the guitar - followed by a 'do' at the Leeds Club afterwards. I wasn't sure if it was because I had yet to have my morning coffee fix, or if it was the two pre-noon gin-and-tonics that did it, but I had a horrendous headache that stuck for the rest of the day. A walk to good old Roundhay Park helped a little, as did watching Little M enjoy running around 'quacking' at the ducks. Fastforward to later on, a friend came over to sample the Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce prepared earlier, and to take part in the viewing of X Factor formalities - The Judges' Houses. I think the verdict on the meatballs was that the sauce was on the runny side which I agreed with. Couldn't really taste the flavours due to my head cold. Maybe I won't swill the tomato cans and add water as Nigella recommends.

Still felt wretched on Sunday, the headache hanging around and just feeling below-par in general. We went to church and then headed to IKEA to get Little M a little table and chair which he was made-up with for the rest of the day, he looks so grown up sitting at it. A heavily-pregnant friend popped over for a natter, tea and biccies in the afternoon which was just the ticket on another torrentially rainy day. Had the ultimate new comfort food in the evening, a contender for chicken soup would you believe it?, Marmite with Spaghetti. And this is coming from someone who is a 'hates it' girl. Not any more. Maybe it is because you use just a hint.

X Factor rant alert: Was not impressed by Cheryl's X Factor decision to put blondie through to the live shows. Is she insane?? Gamu is amazing and should be snapped up now by a record company regardless. I uttered the words 'I'm not watching this now' but know I can't resist.

I am one day behind on the Nigella challenge but think it is ok due to the man-flu or whatever it is I have. Off sick today from work and every time I move from my duvet I go all hot and dizzy. Back under I go... Until I resurface later to cook African Drumsticks which is just a throw in the roasting tin job.

My final note, which is just more of a shout-out for a blog that has been recommended to me is for The Happiness Project London, written by a friend of a friend. In my feeling-sorry-for-myself state, I looked it up this morning on my iphone and have been hooked on it all morning. More 'chicken soup for the soul' type stuff. I personally am going to take on the rules she advocates - please read more at http://thehappinessprojectlondon.wordpress.com/


Goddess Mx