Delicious fish

11 May

seabass

Sometimes it’s the most simple suppers that have the greatest ‘wow’ factor. These Sea bass are surprisingly fuss-free to prepare and tasted delicious. My talented Mum created this dish, so I took a quick snap as they looked great – ready to have a go myself next time.

 

Kate

 

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Dulche Dreams

6 Mar


It’s over a week since I returned from a trip to Argentina and Uruguay and I’m mainly dreaming of this dulche de leche spread which I slathered on toast. Every day. For breakfast. In the glorious sunshine.

x Loulou

Happily Ever After

10 Feb


A wedding present for a special couple who woo-ed one another over scrabble.

The message is laid out in scrabble pieces on Liberty print paper. I later added their names to the scrabble, as they fitted in perfectly, and the wedding date to the mount.

x Loulou

Bread Bounty

19 Jan


The aroma of freshly baked bread is one of the most incredible smells, especially if you’ve baked it yourself. Having had a go at a few of James Morton’s Brilliant Bread recipes with mixed success, I was really excited to attend the day breadmaking class at Real Patisserrie in Brighton, an amazing cafe/bakery that make the best fruit danish.

Using a sour dough starter, we made focaccia loaves, rye sour dough, white rolls and baguettes, and learnt all the kneading, proving, dusting techniques of a professional. We also had a tour of the kitchens and learnt all about the running of a successful bakery.

Coming away at the end of the day with new bread-making skills, the mystery of sour dough starters revealed – and a little pot of starter to make our own with, and a bag full to the brim of warm bread, was just incredible.

x Loulou

An Italian Christmas

20 Dec

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This year, my work celebrated Christmas by cooking up an Italian feast. We took part in a one day Italian cookery class at Cucina Caldesi, the cookery school attached to Caffe Caldesi in Marylebone. Arriving to the school, down an old cobbled street, felt like stepping into a Christmas carol – the kitchen was strewn with boughs of holy and ivy, nuts and dried oranges.

We were taught how to make fresh tortelli with two types of fillings, stuffed courgettes, pistachio-crusted baked salmon and a dessert of orange and polenta cake, served with baked figs. Once all the hard work in the kitchen was over, we sat down and enjoyed our meal together.

Here’s hoping for a pasta maker in a Pick Me Up stocking.

x Loulou

Happy Birthday, yeah?

10 Dec

For a girl who loves cake – with turrets, please. Happy Birthday, yeah?

x Loulou

Christmas with Narwhal & Co

5 Dec

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Not only does Narwhal & Co, my new papercutting venture, now have a shiny new website, but also some snazzy business cards, just in time for Christmas. That means I’m totally legit, right?

I’m exhibiting at a couple of Christmas markets over the next few weeks so please come along if you’re based in London – find the details on the Narwhal & Co blog!

E

Venetian Food and Dreams

5 Dec

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Venice is a real special place to the Pick Me Up house and in Venezia: Food and Dreams, Tessa Kiros perfectly captures the magic and beauty of the city that we love. As well as featuring delicious cicchetti and trattoria-style recipes so typical of Venetian dining, the book is an open love letter to the city, splashed with memories and notes written by Kiros. The book is also stunningly beautiful – with gold-edged pages and foil detailed typography, and packed with rich photography of the food and scenery.

Along with Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook, this is my go-to Italian recipe book, not only for the recipes but for the memories it conjures of time spent in the city – evoking those evenings of aperol spritz, pizza in Campo Santa Margherita, and seafood by the lagoon. These books feed us week in week out, satisfying our appetites for food and dreams with staples such as polenta and sausages, crostini, risi e bisi, and any number of tasty risottos. We’re working up to sarde in saor.

Venetian cuisine really comes into it’s own when cooking for large amounts of people. For a recent dinner, held to celebrate the (alarmingly) five years since Grace and I were living in Venice, we cooked a family-style feast for our seven guests, with recipes taken from these favourite books. With prosecco, aperol spritz, homemade limoncello and tiramisu for dessert all taken care of by our Venetian friends, we concentrated on the savoury, serving a selection of anitipasti to start, followed by a deliciously slow-cooked chicken. The antipasti included crostini topped with rocket and walnut pesto and anchovy and chickpea, a platter of italian cured meats and caprese stacks of tomato, mozarella and bazil. The chicken, Kiros’ pollo con pomodoro in tecia, was slow cooked in a large dish with a stock made from blended tomatoes, celery, onion, wine, rosemary and parsley and served with a hearty helping of creamy polenta and roasted radicchio and red peppers laced with anchovy and capers. Va bene!

x Loulou

Train Reading

28 Nov

Today I spent 5 hours on trains and a lot of that time was devoted to Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. Reading on train journeys in such a treat. As I’ve been travelling all over the place lately, I’ve worked my way through a tonne of the books I’ve been meaning to read, but there are always more waiting. I have ‘to-read’ lists and post-its all over the place! Here’s a selection from the list that I’d like to read by the end of the year (and a handy *hint, hint* Christmas list for anyone wondering what to get me). There are classics and New York Times bestsellers, recommendations from friends and Man Booker winners….

Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter

The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

NW – Zadie Smith

Dust – Hugh Howey

The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje

All Quiet on The Orient Express – Magnus Mills

The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp – Eva Rice

The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

Wish me luck!

X Loulou

Resort Florals

22 Nov

After an autumn of leather-capped sleeves and all things grey, I’m currently longing for florals, which might explain why I’ve fallen head over heels for Valentino’s Resort 2014 Collection.

Resort collections have always seemed so romantic to me – designed especially for that spring cruise or trip to your private tropical island – and these magical, feminine dresses with bold embroidery and colourful florals make me want to fly away, pronto.

Sadly way out of my budget,  but we can all dream, right? Perhaps it’s time to for us Pick Me Up girls to have another go at recreating a catwalk look.

x Loulou

A Passionate Affair

14 Nov

Move over lemon curd, there is a new preserve in town. We’re not sure how it happened, after the first slice of toast topped with The Bay Tree Passion Fruit Curd, Pick Me Up thought hmm this is nice, but then the second quickly followed…and the third… and then there may have been some spooning directly from the jar to mouth and then sponge cakes had to be made purely so the king of curds could be folded through cream and sandwiched in the middle…sigh.  Passion Fruit Curd + Pick Me Up = True Love Forever.

But then the jar was empty.

Dark times followed.

A quest for a new jar sent Pick Me Up to Devon. Yes, Devon*, and all was right with the world again. It is amazing, but you probably wouldn’t like it. Especially not in the middle of a sponge cake. Or even folded through whipped cream and mixed with broken meringues.

Ellie

*Ok this was not the sole reason for the trip to Devon. But nearly.

Pineapples

21 Oct

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Have I mentioned I love pineapples? My collection of pineapple necklaces is growing at a frightening rate. But they make me happy…

X Loulou

Leather-capped Sleeves

12 Sep

I’m not usually one for autumn – all the sensible boots and muted colour spins me into a case of the SADs – but this year I’ve embraced the season, leather-capped sleeves and all. Celine paved the leather way with this beautiful pleated skirt and the high street followed – I now boast a leather skirt, grey, leather-sleeved dress from M&S, and you can’t get an H&M t-shirt these days without a healthy dose of leather trimming. Zara have always done a mean line in leather jackets and, right now, this quilted number is the one I’m after…

x Loulou

Bookshelf Porn

6 Sep

Inspired by the incredible images on Bookshelf Porn, Grace rearranged some of Pick Me Up’s books.  A couple of us work in the industry and are very fortunate to have access to a stream of new free reading material.  The turnover in books is pretty high, as we all like passing on a good read or sending on to charity shops the titles that don’t quite make it in to the permanent collection.  What I find interesting is how much we all appreciate books as physical objects: not only do they give a room a comforting homely feel (and hours can be spent rainbowing them) but they bear physical traces of our lives – one very faded and slightly battered copy of One Day by David Nicholls has made it round a friendship group, has grains of sand from various beach holidays embedded in the spine and slightly crinkly patches toward the end where someone spilt a drink (definitely not tearstains).

I’ve spotted the book I’ll be reading next in this photo (if I can resist the overpowering urge to bathe in the nostalgia of rereading Harry Potter, that is)

Ellie

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