Month: August 2015

chapter 2: in which Giv makes a life-changing decision

I’m moving to Glasgow. That’s right, people, I’m picking up sticks and moving. Away. Far away. I’m going to have an entirely different life – one which will be hard, one which may fail, one which may see me reduced to peddling my writerly wares to the lowest, most unethusiastic bidder. Essentially: I may fall flat on my face into the metaphorical shit. But, gosh dang it, I’m doing it. As you may remember, I’m a writer living in London: I have a great job, wonderful friends, a beautiful flat, and so on and so forth – so, on the surface at least, there’s no real reason to go. But going I am, because deeper down, there’s every reason to go. I may need to explain. Firstly, don’t get me wrong – London is awesome. Me and London are breaking up on totally amicable terms. The theatre, the opera, the food, the fun; it’s all grand. Really, London – it’s not you, it’s me. (Well, to be fair, it’s a little bit you – over …

bagels: 4 ways

So, this week I had a hankering for bagels. This is not unusual – especially as blueberry bagels can be found in the UK again. Praise be the bagel gods! Personally, I believe that there’s no such thing as a bad bagel topping; these beauties will work with whatever you throw at them. But there are a few combinations that I LOVE. I’m going to limit myself to four of my favourites today, otherwise I could ramble on forever. And, word to the wise, I go for toasted bagels every time. Anyhoo, without further ado, here are four of my beloved bagels: sweet, savoury, hangover-alleviating, and Monday-morning-easing bagels of brilliance! Hangover Alleviating Bagel: Wholemeal bagel with cream cheese and sun dried tomatoes. This is an epic hangover breakfast; trust me, I’ve done the legwork on this one. It’s also best served with a strong cup of coffee made with one’s trusty Bialetti. I’d give you the rundown on how to make it, but it’s literally a healthy shmear of cream cheese, topped with whole sundried …

Egyptian tomato salad

Tomatoes are glorious. There, I said it. Whether fried green ones or cherry ones sliced on buttered toast, in soup or salad, tucked in a burger or the main event – I love them. I’m always on the lookout for new tomato recipes, and I’ve crossed paths with this one more than once recently so I took it as a sign from the universe. (That and I had a big bowl of ruby red tomatoes sitting on my kitchen table). This is a great dish to have up your sleeve for summery lunches with friends, especially as you can prepare it the night before and just liberally sprinkle it with herbs before serving in the manner of the totally cool, collected host that you are deep down inside… deep, deep down, if you’re anything like me. (Just be sure to let it come to room temperature before you eat – it will taste much better for it). I actually made this sitting at my kitchen table on a Sunday night while I was absentmindedly watching …

the “to do” list

First things first: I should tell you that this is probably not a “to do” list I will finish honestly. Not because the intention isn’t there, but because I started it when I was about 7 years old. And when one is 7 one thinks that going into space and getting kissed by Brad Pitt are fairly achievable life goals (this is why I have ticked off No. 15 “Go into space” by adding a small note: “Went to Planetarium on school trip – it counts.”). So prepare for a little creativity in my interpretation of some of these items. The List came into existence on scraps of paper; I would scribble things down when they popped into my head and then hoard the scraps and bits of paper away, or, more likely (I was little), lost them. So at some point over the years, probably around the time we lived in Glastonbury (I’m guessing based on the style of the notebook), I consolidated it all into one book. And thus The List was born. …

chapter 1: in which we meet Giv

Here are some things I know: Great olive oil and good, flaky sea salt will make almost anything taste good; Love will change you; Emma Thompson is absolutely glorious; Pickled carrots are awesome; Pickled garlic is also awesome; Reading a book is an incredible gift to give yourself; Commuting in London will make even the most sane and well-balanced people want to punch random strangers in the throat; Everyday magic exists; Me and mussels will always have a tense relationship; Sometimes it can be hard to be kind, but it’s worth the effort; Sleep will solve almost anything; Nat King Cole’s voice and (most of) Thomas Newman’s music are like balm for the soul; A good laugh and a good cry are sometimes completely necessary and should be actively encouraged; Travel and food are two of the great joys of life; Often doing what requires effort is better than doing what is easy; and Leftover pizza makes a perfectly respectable breakfast. While that’s not quite me bounded in a nutshell, I think it gives you …

Maya Angelou’s lemon meringue pie

I found myself awake and at my kitchen table at 6am this morning – and a Sunday morning, no less. After making coffee and toast, I sat at the kitchen table to read Hallelujah: The Welcome Table, Maya Angelou’s book of recipes and memories. And I read the whole thing – barring, of course, the hour and a half that I’d driven around London (driving lessons in the city, I find, are better when no one else in their right mind is awake and on the roads). So before most of the city was even awake, I’d concocted a plan to make Maya Angelou’s Lemon Meringue Pie. Having not really made pie many times before, let alone one that involved not only pastry, but lemon curd AND meringue, this was a bold decision to make before 9am on a Sunday. But I loved the story that went with it and I had a desperate desire to know what it tasted like. And that’s good enough for me. Maya Angelou’s Lemon Meringue Pie Ingredients Pie 200g …