Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Weekend Away in Torquay?

In 1955 Torquay was a wonderful weekend away- a romantic weekend, a family trip to the seaside, a place to lap up the English Riviera and get an ice cream and fish n' chips to enjoy on a pretty pier. Easily since the 1970s and Faulty Towers, Torquay has become a bit of a joke. It shouldn't be. All its charm remains.

If you like Edwardian prettiness, you'll find it. If you like 1920s and 1930s elegance, you'll be struck by it. If you like 1950s and 1960s slightly Californian beachsides, you'll be in heaven. Nonetheless, Torquay is quintessentially English, pretty, kitch and delightfully sunny. And I was there in February. Now and any time in the summer, it would be the wonderful English weekend away.

Mr Fabulous Mission and I stayed at Trafalgar House Bed and Breakfast for two nights using a Groupon deal for £99. Trafalgar House (pictured below) seems to regularly have deals on, and I would recommend it highly.

The rooms are tastefully decorated, there is a choice of breakfast (Full English with local ingredients, Continental, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, poached eggs and soldiers, whatever you could want essentially) with cereals, and ripe fruit salads.  The deal also included a decadent high tea that will leave you fine for supper.

 Meringue Mont Blancs followed for dessert- they were divine.

Where have you gone that you've loved? Any places that people often forget or disregard worth a visit?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

What do you think of when you think of ribs?

Burley men with beer bellies, wearing wife beaters, and listening to Ted Nugent? A Southern barbecue with corn and Budweiser?

While these images may have some truth to them, ribs aren't just for rednecks or fat people.

Ribs aren't feminine or pretty, but let's face it, your taste in style and fashion is not necessarily your taste in food. Still, ribs are sweet, hard to ignore, delicious and one of the cheapest meats you can buy. I'm a fan.

The formula for flavour is simple: sweet, sour and hot.

The recipe I take pride in making is as follows. It serves four (1/2 rack/person) or 2 meals for 2. Buy the ribs with the most meat on them.

Ribs Recipe:
2 Racks of ribs

Sauce for Ribs
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of ketchup
6 chopped pepper rings or 1 small chili chopped
2 tablespoons of ginger
2 tablespoons of honey
Tabasco to taste (I'm not a person who likes it too spicy and I find 8 drops sufficient)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse ribs in hot water. Boil in water for an hour. Sometimes, ribs will release a great deal of fat in the form of cloudy white bits. Skim these off. I sometimes do this half a dozen times. Cooking the ribs in water will render the fat, cook them and make them moist.

2. Make sauce for ribs as the ribs are cooking in the water. Combine all ingredients and make to your desired hotness. The flavour will mellow significantly in cooking so make it hotter than you think you like it.

3. Preheat oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Cooking them in the hot oven will give them the smoky flavour and 'set' the sauce into them.

4. After the ribs are boiled, baste them in sauce.

5. Cook in hot oven for 10 minutes. Turn over, baste and cook for a further 10 minutes. Obviously, the bbq could be instead of the oven to finish them off.

5. Add the remainder of the sauce to your cooked, great ribs.

Serve with coleslaw and corn on the cob in the summer. My favourite cole slaw recipe is on the way. The one pictured was tasty (cabbage, carrot, apple and pecan), but it's not The One. 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Overshadowed by Accessories

Those of you in the U.K., did you celebrate the first no long sleeves Saturday? I did.

I thought the idea of a maxi dress was that it provided maximum length and maximum impact? I also thought black dresses were synonmous with elegance, instantly dressed-up sexy, strong womanliness. Angelina Jolie I'm not, evidently.

In person, I really do love this dress and feel some sort of statue-esque beauty in it. However, my camera was obviously infinitely more attracted to the pink and blue print and silver chandelier earrings that I wore as an afterthought. They were supposed to be like a bonus shot; something to improve an already great dress. Alas, the black dress seems to have been overshadowed to a dull, plain Jane dress. David Bailey's trademark white walls made his subjects all the more in-your-face fascinating and attractive.

Mick Jagger "Fur Hood" by David Bailey. 

The white backdrop has made my dress into a dark night, without much allure.

Alas, it is still spring and the white snowdrops and yellow aconites weren't afflicted by the same disease called light that seems to have spoiled the photos of my favourite dress. Maybe it is like an old-fashioned vampire, overwhelmed by light.

Outfit: Black maxi dress, Marks and Spencer; printed scarf, Oxfam; earrings, Accesorise.