And They’re Off…

6

No, I’m not talking about Ascot, although I could be, as the racecourse is just a couple of miles down the road from where I live. I’m talking about the building work. The picture above was from the first day back on the 26th April and, eight weeks later, there is still not a lot to show above ground. The problem has been a high water table which meant we had to have piles driven into the ground and a concrete platform rather than the normal foundations. This held everything up, as we had to wait for the availability of the piling company which had a knock-on effect with everything else. The good news is that the steel girders, lying prone in the second picture, are now upright and in place and the bricks and bricklayers arrived early this morning. I’m really looking forward to seeing the building grow at a pace now… I’ll keep you posted.

Sunday was Father’s Day and we decided to spoil Chris a bit this year as he does so much for all of us and we don’t always show our appreciation. He was treated to two pairs of Skechers trainers from the kids and more of a deck shoe style from me (both courtesy of QVC, of course). Another pair that’s very similar to the ones that Chris got from the kids are the Skechers Men’s Flash Point trainers, which even have memory foam insoles in them.

I also made him a broccoli and walnut quiche for his dinner and a coffee and walnut cake. When I make quiche, I always make a bit of extra pastry so that I can do a few jam tarts, but on Sunday I made my son’s favourites instead… Coconut Tartlets. The original recipe was from the Bero cookbook that I was on the cover of as a ten year old but I have amended it slightly, the recipe that is.

Coconut Tartlets

Ingredients:

For the shortcrust pastry:

  • 4oz self-raising flour
  • 4oz wholemeal plain flour
  • 2oz butter
  • 2oz trex
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • Pinch of salt

 

  • Strawberry jam

 

For the topping:

  • 2oz margarine
  • 2oz caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5oz desiccated coconut
  • 0.5oz self-raising flour

 

Method:

For the pastry:

Mix the flours together and add a pinch of salt.

Rub the butter and trex into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the cold water and mix with a knife until the mixture forms a stiff dough.

Roll out on a floured surface and make 12 tart bottoms using a pastry cutter.

Add half a teaspoon of jam to the bottom of each.

 

For the topping:

Cream the margarine and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

Beat in the egg followed by the flour and coconut.

Divide equally between the tarts making sure the mixture covers the jam a connects with the pastry.

Bake in the centre of the oven on 180 degrees for 20 minutes.

You will have some pastry left over – I normally just do a few jam tarts or an apple turnover.

 

Sophie wasn’t able to come round to ours on Father’s Day as Amber had another dancing competition, so she came round on Monday evening after work and we watched England’s first game in the World Cup, suitably attired in old England football shirts from my son’s collection. Despite the negativity of the commentators, I thought we played well – patient passing football, waiting for opportunities to open up – and thankfully Captain Kane was on hand to apply the finishing touch. A performance to be proud of, as shown by usually calm and collected Gareth’s reaction when the winner went in! I’m actually on air for the second half of our next match on Sunday, against Panama, so if we’re scoring goals I will try and keep my reaction more measured.

I will be on with Andrew, from Gatineau, and their fabulous TSV. I was telling Claire, one of our make-up artists, about it as she is a huge fan, and she can’t wait to order. I’m also with Andrew at 11am if you want to order early before heading out to enjoy what the weather forecasters have promised will be a glorious weekend.

So, time to have a look back to 2003/04 in my memories of QVC UK’s twenty-five year history. In October 2003, I was chosen to co-present the Breast Cancer Care live show – I can’t remember if it was with Dale or Charlie. We had started doing the shows in 1998 and I’m not sure but I think I may have presented the first one with Paul Lavers. We were always honoured to present the live shows and this year was particularly relevant for me as my mum had been diagnosed with breast cancer – thankfully she received treatment early and is still going strong all these years later.

This was not the case for our beautiful model Amica, who many of you will remember we lost to this dreadful disease, and this pre-dated Ali Keenan’s diagnosis too. Thanks to all of you who have helped QVC raise many millions for our main chosen charity over the past twenty years. This photo was taken at The Grosvenor House Hotel at the rehearsal for the fashion show where I was honoured to give a speech as part of the evening.

Since fairly early in our history, we have had special event days: Diamonique Day, Fashion Day, Jewellery Day etc, and I thought I would share this photo of Anne Dawson from our Gold Day in early 2004. We had lots of different themed sets but this one was clearly going for the modern look!

In February 2004, I was off on my travels again, this time to Tucson in Arizona. They hold a world renowned gem fair there, but I was also presenting a three hour gem show. It was to be broadcast from the stunning gardens of the hotel we were staying in and, as it was early afternoon, we all expected it would be very warm. We were wrong. I had a strappy little top with me that had to be abandoned in favour of a long sleeved jumper, which we had hurriedly bought at a local shopping mall, but we still needed to have blankets over our legs. You could definitely see the goosebumps in close-up shots despite all the hot drinks we were plied with. Thank goodness I had travelled out to America in my trusty fleece, which I think I ended up wearing every day over several other layers of clothing!

The fair itself was fascinating – thousands of gemstones waiting to be bought and turned into beautiful pieces of jewellery. It was another fabulous experience, topped off by an overnight stay in Phoenix due to flight times. Despite being shattered after the travelling, walking around the gem fair for hours and the live broadcast, I can still remember staying up until the wee small hours having a few drinks in an outdoor courtyard while huddled around a fire pit – sadly I have no pictures but I’ll bet someone does.

Well, almost done for this week, but I forgot to give you the link to the Style Look on last week’s blog – oops! Anyway, here it is, better late than never, as I know you love a Kim & Co jumpsuit, and you’ll get the new one ahead of time on next week’s blog.

I really must dash now or I will be late for The Lunchtime Show, but do join me at 4pm if you’ve been thinking about getting a Dyson hairdryer. We have a new offer at the moment, and the price (the same as previously) includes a carry case. My make-up lady, Roo, is after one, as many of you have been… more than 2000 sold in the past week and there are only about that same amount left in stock.

That’s definitely it for this week.

Have a great weekend,
Love,
Julia x

6 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Keenan June 22, 2018 at 3:53 pm -  Reply

    Hiya Julia
    Glad your building work is getting started now, I am sure you will be pleased things moving. The coconut tarts look amazing, think I might give them a go.
    Nice blog as usual Julia.
    Much love
    Elizabeth ❤️

  2. Doreen Ring June 22, 2018 at 9:27 pm -  Reply

    Julia I have that Bero book and made those tarts so often that the book opens at that page automatically. I will think of you as a child when I next make them.

  3. janet groves June 22, 2018 at 10:58 pm -  Reply

    Yes two lovely models lost to breast cancer Amica & Beulah. XX

  4. JoyMac June 23, 2018 at 6:13 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia,I remember the Bero cookbook so well,brilliant recipes,such a pity I no longer have it, would have been great to see you on the cover.

  5. Alison Freestone June 23, 2018 at 12:53 pm -  Reply

    I still use my mums Bero book from the 60’s …covers missing tho ! Coconut tarts were my dads favs !! Xxx

  6. jackie June 23, 2018 at 7:15 pm -  Reply

    hello julia
    Yes i use the be-ro book on a regular basis and am always making the coconut tartlets as everyone likes them .
    My book was my mum`s book i am sure that using it was my introduction into pastry making many years ago.
    Happy memories!
    regards jackie

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