Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Le Chiffre

I am having a more subdued day today, having gone to sleep at half one in the morning and been woken up at 8am by some very small children tickling me. Exams are certainly over, I have caught up on my correspondence with pen pals, and have started to organise my work plan for the summer - joy!
Everything I'm wearing is a hand-me-down of some sort.

The reason I was awake so late was because I was drawing. My enthusiasm for Mads Mikkelsen now knows no bounds, and so I decided to attempt a HB sketch of him as Le Chiffre in the 007 film "Casino Royale". Here are some photographs of the work in progress and the finished result. It took about 6 hours to complete in total.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Summer time

About 10 minutes ago, I submitted my final assessed piece for my second year at university, which means... summer's here! It also means the return of more outfit posts, and of more cooking!
First off, here's a picture of what I wore to church on Sunday. You may notice a few things that are different about me, the main one being I'VE HAD A CHANGE OF HAIR! It is now a lot shorter and very extremely black. I'm still getting to grips with styling it, but I thought a '30s bob would be good for summer, especially as there is no air conditioning where I work! Also, I realise that I look a little tired/disheveled, and red lipstick-less...
Dress: charity shop
Cardigan: this got left at our house by a friend of my sister's, so I nicked it.
Bag: vintage store. This was a present from my mam.

 This is what my hair looked like on the day of the Great Chopping-Off once it had been styled by my hairdresser:
 And a couple of days after, in the midst of essay-editing...

What else have I been up to? Well, cooking, for a start. When I say cooking, I really mean visualising doing cooking, as we have had lots of people staying at our house over the past couple of days (including two fantastic American pianists!), so I have decided to spend my time leafing through my new copy of 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, and choosing some recipes from there. I have also focused on making my lunches healthier, tastier, and prettier. Here's what I came up with from earlier this week:
Top left: spinach and basil paste with creme fraiche and tomatoes. Top right: spinach and basil paste with cranberry sauce, walnuts and blue cheese. Bottom: Creme fraiche, spinach and basil paste, gherkins, tomatoes and sesame seeds.
What is "spinach and basil paste" I hear you ask? Well, it is a handful or two of spinach leaves, blended with a couple of sprigs of fresh basil, a glug of olive oil, salt and pepper, and a teaspoon of grainy mustard. It is the most vibrant-looking spread I've ever made!

I spent all of Saturday afternoon in great celebration from finishing the writing of my essays, and decided to do a little bit of sketching/painting/general arty-fartyness. This is the result: a mixed-media piece of Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter:

Well, I think it's time to get out of the house and into the sunshine, so I'll leave it here for now! I'm hoping to make some Hannibal food for my next post so keep an eye out.
Jess xx

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Today's (rather extravagant) looking lunch: asparagus in mustard vinaigrette with parma ham and a poached egg. Please forgive the rather sorry-looking poached egg. This is the first egg I have ever poached in my life! I have recently started watching the NBC series of Hannibal, which stars Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, and have fallen head over heels with the food on it. This dish is inspired, in sort, by it.
Keep your eyes peeled (literally...) for some hannibalism on the blog in the near future. I'm aiming to recreate recipes including liver, heart, loin, and anything else that comes up in the remaining episodes of the series.
Check out the trailer:

In other news, my two-week exam (which I should be doing instead of writing this blog post) is underway. I have just about a week to go, so the stress is starting to pile up. Thanks to Hannibal, I'm eating good stuff rather than junk food, although I've no nails left to bite and sore hands make painful piano practice.
Jess xx

Sunday, 5 May 2013


Hullo! It has been a rather relaxing week - despite the revision and the essay deadlines - and I decided to give rationing a go. I spent a lot of time going hungry, which was not as bad as I thought it would be, and thoroughly enjoyed cooking for the week. This is the weekly ration for one adult per week.
Bacon & Ham: 4 oz
Meat: to the value of 1s6d (generally about 8-10oz, but as war went on the actual amount fluctuated)
Butter: 2 oz
Cheese: 2 oz
Margarine: 4 oz
Lard: 4 oz
Milk: 2-3 pints
Sugar: 8 oz
Preserves: 1 lb every 2 months
Tea: 2 oz
Eggs: 1 fresh egg per week (usually...)
Sweets: 12 oz every 4 weeks (if you were lucky)
These rations were subject to much change as the war went on. Offal - things such as kidney and liver - were not generally part of the meat ration and was often sold quite cheaply. Preserves could be bought, or exchanged for an extra sugar ration to make your own. The egg ration could be exchanged for chicken feed if you kept your own chickens. A child's ration was generally half of an adults, but there was extra provision in certain areas (e.g. milk)
On top of these rations there was a complicated points system, limiting a great number of things (tins of baked beans, for example), and food prices were under inflation of up to 25%.
Monday's dinner was... (drum roll, please) roast squirrel! Yes, you read correctly, I cooked a squirrel - two, in fact - and then ate it. It tastes surprisingly nice, quite a lot like chicken. I served it with the stuffing I wrote about in the last blog post, purple sprouting and beetroot leaves, and potato cakes.

Preparing the squirrel!

On Tuesday, I cooked a dinner for my grandparents, who came round to dinner with us. With the help of my trusty cookbooks in supplying a potato shortcrust pastry recipe (with some rosemary mixed in), I cooked up a liver and bacon pie, served with some cabbage. The cake wasn't a wartime creation, but rather a  gluten-free treat for my coeliac sister (and not made by me - my food is not particularly beautiful).

And to finish off this week's post, here are two photos of what I have been wearing -pretty much the same outfit every day, and a couple of bad-quality snaps of my now clean bedroom!

Jess xx