Monday, 31 March 2014

Coq au Riesling


  • tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
  • 150 grams bacon lardons
  • leek (finely sliced)
  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • bay leaves
  • 300 grams oyster mushrooms (torn into strips)
  • 1 x 750 ml bottle riesling
  • splash of double cream (optional)
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • tablespoon chopped fresh fresh dill (to serve)


  1. Heat the oil in a casserole or large, wide pan and fry the lardons until crisp.
  2. Add the sliced leek and soften it with the lardons for a minute or so.
  3. Cut chicken thighs into 2 or 3 pieces each, tip them into the pan with the bay leaves, torn mushrooms and wine.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes, stirring in the double cream for the last couple of minutes if you want. Like all stews, this tastes its mellowest best if you let it get cold and then reheat the next day. But it's no hardship to eat straight off. Whichever, serve sprinkled with dill and together with some buttered noodles.

10 Reasons Why Your Dog Groomer Charges More Than Your Hairdresser

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 10.54.41 PM

  1. Your hairdresser doesn’t wash and clean around your butt.
  2. You probably don’t go 8 weeks without washing or brushing your hair
  3. Your hairdresser doesn’t have to remove your eye boogers.
  4. Most likely, you sit still for your hairdresser.
  5. Your haircut doesn’t include a free pedicure and manicure.
  6. You probably didn’t roll in mud or step bairfooted into poo in the last few weeks.
  7. You probably don’t bite or scratch your hairdresser.
  8. Your hairdresser probably doesn’t clean out your eyes for you.
  9. It’s unlikely that your hairdresser trims hair anywhere on your body except your head. (ugh, let’s hope not!)
  10. The likelihood of you pooping or peeing on your hairdresser is VERY slim :)

A Case of the Mondays: Funny E-cards For Hard Workers. {Photos}

Via on Mar 30, 2014


Monday mornings.

Do you love ‘em or loathe ‘em?
Are you excited and energized for the impending workweek, ready to tackle the day’s projects and challenges with gusto?
Or would you rather curl up under your warm blankets, wishing it would all just go away?
Whatever your stance on Mondays, you will find the trials and travails of this much-maligned day are much lessened when approached with a sense of humor.
While this compilation of delightfully sarcastic e-cards may not completely restore your sense of Zen regarding your job, they do address those common work-related complaints and annoyances.
Do any of these office peccadillos sound familiar: a lunchtime Instagramer, a coworker who does creepy office calisthenics or the fact that you seem to be having the same meeting over and over?
Never fear!
Enjoy these e-cards, get laughing and get ready for Tuesday!
e card e card e card e card e card e card e card e card e card e card pleasure-working-workplace-ecard-someecards 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Mixed bean & wild rice salad


  • 375g rice mix, we used brown basmati & wild rice
  • 2 x 400g cans mixed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 340g can sweetcorn, drained
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and diced
  • zest and juice 1 lime
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • small bunch coriander, leaves picked


  1. Cook rice following pack instructions. Once cooked, rinse under cold water to cool down. Once cold combine in a bowl with the beans, sweetcorn, onion and red peppers.
  2. Mix the lime zest and juice, honey and chilli. Pour over the rice mixture and mix well, then season to taste. Stir through the coriander leaves just before serving.

Cheese & Onion Quiche

Yield: 4-6 persons


1 ready made shortcrust pastry
25g butter
500g onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 eggs
280ml double cream
140g mature cheddar or gruyère cheese, grated


1. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a round about 5cm larger than a 25cm tin. Use your rolling pin to lift it up, then drape over the tart case so there is an overhang of pastry on the sides.
2. Using a small ball of pastry scraps, push the pastry into the corners of the tin. Chill in the fridge or freezer for 20 mins.
3. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. While the pastry is chilling, heat the butter in a pan and cook the onions for 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until they become sticky and golden. Remove from the heat.
4. Lightly prick the base of the tart with a fork, line the tart case with a large circle of greaseproof paper or foil, then fill with baking beans. Blind-bake the tart for 20 mins, remove the paper and beans, then continue to cook for 5-10 mins until biscuit brown.
5. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a bowl, then gradually add the cream. Stir in the onions and half the cheese, then season with salt and pepper. Carefully tip the filling into the case, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, then bake for 20-25 mins until set and golden. Leave to cool in the case, trim the edges of the pastry, then remove and serve in slices.

Stunning Photo Series Highlights The Beauty Of Black Dogs That Are Often Overlooked In Adoption

Photographer Fred Levy may have found his most photogenic subjects yet.
The 44-year-old from Maynard, Mass., recently launched the Black Dogs Project, a photo series that photographs black dogs against a dark background. The initiative tells the story of the difficulties these dogs face when waiting to be adopted.
Although he hasn't found any concrete statistics, after speaking to people who work in the pet industry and at animal shelters, Levy found out that black dogs are often treated differently than other dogs -- and are often overlooked by people who come to shelters with the intention to adopt.
Crickett is one of the dogs Levy has photographed
The phenomenon is commonly referred to as "Black Dog Syndrome" or "Black Dog Bias," a stereotype against dark-colored animals possibly ingrained in people through depictions in movies and books, according to experts.
"Sometimes black dogs are seen as scarier by people," Hope Hancock, the executive director of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County in Raleigh, N.C., told ABC News. "It's very, very unfair -- you can get a bite from a little yellow Chihuahua faster than one of the bigger black dogs."
There is some debate among experts about the validity of this so-called bias. In 2013, the ASPCA reported on a study that cast doubt on the phenomenon, and concluded that it may be a myth.
Still, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence from shelter workers that black dogs are routinely ignored, and, as a result, more of them are euthanized due to a shortage of space at shelters, according to USA Today.
Levy decided to do his part to fight against that.
"I thought this project would be a good graphic challenge and everyone has a really great story to tell," Levy told The Huffington Post. "I want to bring awareness to this issue and remind people who are searching for the perfect dog that black dogs have great personalities too."
Now, let's meet the pups:
Meet Bo. He's a blind Lab mix who is still looking for his seeing eye owner. He came from a kill shelter down South, and has been staying with a woman who is fostering him for the time being.
"Since he's constantly moving, everything is always new to him," Levy told HuffPost. "He would run into the wall in the studio, get frustrated for a minute and then immediately get over it and go back to being himself. It's adorable."
Meet Denver. He's a black Lab and therapy dog. His owner takes him to be with people who need that comfort only a dog can give. He spent time with a first responder for the Boston Marathon bombings, giving support to victims as they were dealing with the traumatic experience.
"He's really good at it. When you're in the room with him, he's super happy to be around you," Levy said. "He just wants to hang out with you."
Meet Mercedes. She's a sassy black poodle and therapy dog who spends time with patients in hospitals.
"She has most recently spent time comforting patients at Emerson Hospital," Levy said.
Meet Faith. She used to be all black, but has grayed with age.
"I'm a sucker for senior dogs," Levy said.
Meet Pawnee the German shepherd.
Meet Shadow the Portuguese water dog.
"I love this photo because he looks like a muppet," Levy said.
"Through doing this project, I've found that it's really important to share the idea that there are always so many dogs in need of a good safe home, regardless of what the dog looks like," Levy told HuffPost. "Maybe someone will see this and consider the gravity of owning a pet, no matter what color it is."
To find out more about the Black Dogs Project, click here.
Correction: This post has been updated to reflect that Mercedes and Denver are therapy dogs.

Artisan varieties make plain table salt a four-letter word

Salt is a big deal now. That shaker of Morton’s is cowering in a corner overpowered by status salts with pedigrees and provenances. Mark Bitterman sells salts at his shop, The Meadow, in Portland, Ore., and New York.
He sells 120 different salts to be specific, but trend wasn’t his motivation. When he was a student backpacking in France, he saw that cooks travelled with their own salts. As he traveled the world, he collected the local sodium chlorides, he studied and his opinions evolved. The result is a book: Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper: You’ve killed a culinary icon. Could you please read from the kosher salt entry in your book?
Mark Bitterman: I’d be glad to.
Kosher salt is a processed food, with all mineral and moisture qualities intrinsic to real salt stripped away, and with a crystal structure fabricated by automated processes. The flavor is antiseptic, like the bright fluorescence of a laboratory on a spaceship drifting aimlessly away from earth. The texture crackles and bounces on your tongue like an undead pet, a battery-operated puppy with no hair, trying to comfort you with its soulless antics. When we cook with kosher salt we sanctify the artificial, we embrace emptiness, we become unfit for our posts -- a nakedness far worse than embarrassment.
LRK: You do not mince words. How did you come to have these strong opinions about salt?
MB: Honestly, I didn’t know I had strong opinions until I was speaking more publicly about it. Because to me, I feel passionately about all food and I think that salt is something that has this amazing natural diversity -- this natural authenticity to it -- that we connect to and you can see it and you can taste it. When you find the right salt on the right food and it just explodes in your mouth, you get this incredibly new, more vital and exciting flavor. It’s sort of like an affirmation of this quest for something more authentic and exciting in food.
LRK: This is one of those things that you never think about.
MB: I think that’s just it. We take salt for granted. It’s a four-letter word for this white, homogenous, industrialized, standardized product at the bottom of the supermarket shelves. There is nowhere historically that we have been eating this. This is something that was invented about 150 years ago with the advent of the modern chemical industry. Iodized salt, a lot of these cheap sea salts, kosher salt, rock salts, they are all pure, refined sodium chloride and have nothing to do with the natural food that salt has been for thousands of years.
LRK: What are examples that really make salt exciting?
MB: I think whenever you find a salt that was made with such deliberation, with such intensity of purpose, that’s very exciting. This happens more often than you might think. Where I see it happening most often, sort of on a cultural level, is in Japan. There are a number of Japanese salts that are just truly spectacular in what they put into the salt to make them come out the way they have.
A good example would be Shinkai Deep Sea Salt from Japan, which is harvested with seawater that is 3,000 feet under the ocean. They pull the seawater up; they bring it into a greenhouse; they spray that water onto bamboo mats that are suspended from the ceiling of the greenhouse; and that water slowly trickles down and evaporates as it trickles down. They repeat that process for days until they have a concentrated brine. They then take that concentrated brine, put it in a big caldron over a wood fire and stir it continuously without cease, day and night with a wooden paddle, until slowly the crystals form. All the deep-water minerals of magnesium and other minerals get bound up in the lattice of the crystals and you have this super, super fine -- almost frond-like flakes -- that form. It’s this paralyzing, bright, white with a bittersweet taste. That salt sprinkled on top of something fresh and simple is one of the most incredible experiences there is.
LRK: At 3,000 feet you have minerals that you wouldn’t have at another level?
MB: What’s interesting is that in the ocean there is something called the halocline. As the ocean gets deeper, the water gets saltier and different salts pervade. There are many different kinds of salts in the ocean, not just sodium chloride -- the balance and concentration of the salts changes as you get deeper. The Japanese have a real fascination with this. There are even salts that they have made where they combine water from shallow currents and deep currents to make a salt. They are very, very sensitive to these nuances.
LRK: What does a salt like that cost?
MB: It is not inexpensive by comparison to what we are used to paying for salt. A little jar like that might cost you $10-15 for a few ounces, but you only use a pinch at a time. So the per-serving cost is a couple pennies.
LRK: Most of the salts that you talk about that have distinctive flavors, you would be using these at the end of cooking where their flavors would really make a difference in a dish?
MB: That is something that we generally preach in our store: to skew the use of salt toward the end of the food preparation. This is not to say that you shouldn’t cook with salt, but there are many times when you can use less salt or no salt at all while you are cooking. That gives you the option to put salt on at the end where the salt has autonomy, where it can show its colors, where it can interact and play with the food a little bit more vibrantly.
LRK: I realize this is like asking you to pick your favorite child, but do you have a salt that you like as your “everyday” salt?
MB: We have a sel gris. Sel gris is a type of sea salt that is evaporated in open crystallizing pans under the sun. The crystals form on the bottom of the pan and they are then raked up everyday. They have this beautiful coarse texture -- they have a lot of moisture, like 13 percent residual moisture inside of the crystal -- so it has this very pliant, yielding, crystal crunch to it. It also has this beautiful resiliency on food: You can use it as a finishing salt on hearty foods like steak, lamb or root vegetables, but it’s also inexpensive. It’s readily available everywhere; it’s mineral-rich, all-natural and harvested by hand. You can use it in your pasta water, in blanching your veggie water; you can grind it up a little with a mortar and pestle for your baking -- it’s very versatile.
LRK: It could replace kosher salt.
MB: Absolutely. It takes some adjustment to use it.