Friday, 14 December 2012

That's the way the cookie crumbles...

With only three weeks left until the final, it felt like it was time for Nicky to leave Strictly Come Dancing this week. If I’m honest, I am quite shocked at just how long he stayed in given that he didn’t really seem that great although I suppose his improvement since that first week was pretty marked. I know his partner, Karen, was new to the show and I hope she’s back (as does my husband who thought she was a schmoking hottie – a la Charlie Sheen) although she did remind me of a vampire.  I’ve kind of got my teeth bared right now as am watching the Masterchef Professionals Final – I saw about three episodes right at the start and then last night when they went to the Fat Duck, so have no favourite but will say all the food looks and sounds delicious! Not sure about stinging nettles and ox heart but I love the sound of Keri’s pistachio cake (will pretend she’s not using olives!) with marshmallows, raspberries and white chocolate parfait – oooo yum!

On to my baking and my first ever attempt at both choux pastry and piping! Well, I wouldn’t say it was a 100% success, probably close to about 78% - as you can see from the wonderful picture here, they almost looked like proper eclairs and they definitely tasted like them. But for some reason, my pastry didn’t really puff up like it was supposed to – not sure why that was but maybe it had to do with my piping in that I didn’t make my sausages thick enough or perhaps as my piping set didn’t come with quite the right nozzle, maybe that had an effect. Ah well – choux pastry is surprisingly easy to make so will have to practice some more, but think profiteroles might be my next attempt.

However, for this week I think I’m going to stick to something quite simple – simple yet totally irresistible, I hope. I will be creating Vanillekipferl, which are Viennese biscuits normally made around Christmas time which are crescent moon shaped and (hopefully) light and scrumptious! It uses icing sugar instead of regular castor sugar to make it melt in the mouth and provided I can make them look pretty, am hoping to kick start the festive feasting in the Stewart household; not that we ever truly hold back but it really feels like Christmas this week, now we’ve got the tree up, so bring on the over-eating, tummy busting few weeks. I did win three months with a personal trainer at a recent charity ball which I will kick start in January so am using that as an excuse to let myself go over Christmas – and why not!

We were lucky enough to have an Olympian visit our offices this week – the rather attractive Andrew Osagie. What an absolutely lovely man – one of those rare people you meet that as soon as they start talking, you’re at ease and could stand talking to them all day. The drive and desire within him to the best at what he does (the 800m, in case the name doesn’t sound familiar) and his self-belief was pretty awe-inspiring – but then, that’s why he competes at the elite level and is the British No1. I am so sad to see Aviva end their sponsorship as it means, on a purely selfish level, no more opportunities like this, but wider, the foundations that have been laid through the grass roots programmes and opportunities for raw talent to be nurtured through working closely with the ambassadors like Dame Kelly may also be lost.. here’s hoping that’s not the case and we can all feel as proud after Rio 2016 as we did after London this summer.
To make myself feel better about my lifestyle after listening to Andrew, I thoroughly concur with the following sentiment:
“I am not a glutton - I am an explorer of food”

Erma Bombeck


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