Outside of QVC
Last Sunday we made the most of the day together as a family and got out in the sunshine. It started with Fred and I both getting some exercise in though! Fred did one of his 2 hr road bike sessions and I managed to get out and do a 6K power walk. It was so nice to get out and get moving as I felt like I had spent a lot of time in the car on the motorway! It meant that I had already nearly hit my 10K steps for the day by the time I got back.
After that we headed to the beach to walk the girls along the promenade all the way to Bournemouth with a promise of the Oceanarium at the other end. This always takes longer than we planned because Ivy and Tilda like to hide behind the beach huts and jump out on us. It makes it slow going! When we got there the Oceanarium was heaving! Like us, everyone had seen the ad that it was half price for locals within a certain postcode.
The queue was practically out the door. It turned out that the best deal was for us to get a family pass for the year as that was also half price so we can now pop in whenever we want. Brilliant! So we did the circuit of tanks and saw the otters, crocodiles, sting rays, turtles, paranahs, sharks and all of our favourites, the penguins!! By the time we walked all the way back to where we had parked I had hit 20K steps on my Fit Bit versa!!! Thank goodness too, because we then went to meet friends for Sunday lunch and I ate way too much but I didn’t feel so guilty!
Every week at QVC our fabulous Head of Guests, Tina, auditions new guests to represent brands. Some are from the brands themselves and some are experts in a particular field who could be potential guests for gardening, fashion, tech etc. I myself have been through the process years back when I came in as a guest with a ‘waterless car cleaning’ product, that seems like a million years ago! It’s set up like a proper on-air sell and filmed with crew and cameras so it really does bring up some nerves for some people.
I remember being really nervous myself as I really wanted to pass! Not everyone does of course. Sometimes cameras and nerves take their toll and it doesn’t work out. Last Friday however we had a special audition as we had the Executive Editor of Prima Magazine, Jo Checkley, in to try her hand at the audition process for a piece. She was cool as a cucumber and had clearly prepped her product, which was two pieces from the Kelly Hoppen jewellery collection.
As presenters, when we do these auditions you can tell pretty quickly within the first minute if someone has the potential to be an on-air guest, I think Tina can tell within seconds, and I have to say that Jo totally surprised us. She didn’t need my help at all to talk about the necklace or bracelet, she was brilliant! I’m sure her years of seeing the best of fashion and jewellery on magazines meant she had a wealth of knowledge to draw on. It was really good fun and a pleasure to have her there to audition. I’m sure we could put her on air if she ever wanted to do it for real!
What I’ve been wearing – Phase Eight Willa Long Sleeve Stripe Dress
I saw this dress on air a while ago and I desperately wanted to try it myself. It’s by Phase Eight and I complete adore it. It’s completely me and works for my body shape. I carry my weight on the hip and bottom so a full skirt works for me when it’s nipped in at the waist. I’m not big on the bust either so this cut works for me, however looking at some of the reviews quite a few people found it too tight in their usual size.
I’m a pretty classic size 12 and I wear the size 12 and it was spot on. If you carry your weight on the tummy or have a bigger bust then you may want to size up. I would team this dress with white plimsoll style trainers for casual and high heels for day time events. You can also swap the belt if you want to. I would swap in a brown leather plaited belt or even a canvas style too just to change it up.
What I’ve been using – Bareminerals Today’s Special Value. 6 Piece Colour and Glow Collection
All you Bareminerals fans are going to love this kit as it’s a great way to stock up on your favourite mineral foundation in one fell swoop. It’s available now on pre-sell so click on through to see more and a fab video from SJ the Bareminerals make-up artist.
You will get 2 x 8g pots of Bareminerals Original Foundation to swirl, tap, buff till you’re hearts content! (you will need a brush if you don’t have one already), a Lashtopia Mega Volume Mineral Based Mascara, BarePro Glow Liquid Highlighter, Gen Nude Eyeshadow Primer and Bare pro Lipstick in Petal.
As you can see from my before and after you get a really natural look. I haven’t added anything else to my face and it is nearly everything I would want, other than some brow make-up perhaps, for a daytime look. Great coverage, luminosity from the highlighter which I applied under the foundation and little extra on my cheek bones after. I then used the lipstick not just on my lips but as a cream blush and even a little on my eye lids too to pull the look tighter. The mascara is really nice, I am not a fan of mascaras that make your lashes feel spiky and this most definitely doesn’t. The pigment is good and strong and lengthens. What do you think? I think it’s a perfect look for spring and summer.
The Weekend Kitchen
I can’t believe it’s already week 5 and the final show of The Weekend Kitchen!! It’s been so much fun so far and I know this week will be just as brilliant. Marcus Bean is back and he has come up with 6 more fab recipes for all the gorgeous food that’s on the show. All the recipes are listed below. As usual I have had a go at doing my own as well. I kept it really simple this week and did a side dish to go with the Toppings Pies Hand Crafted Quiche Selection.
Like Marcus I also used Asparagus because it’s such a good Spring and Summer vegetable which can be done so many ways.
I used –
1 Pack of Fresh Asparagus
Half a pack of baby plum tomatoes
Half a Lemon – unwaxed
I popped the asparagus in an oven proof dish and scattered the tomatoes over them with a drizzle of olive oil. I then grated lemon rind over it and squeezed half of the lemon over it. Then a sprinkling of chilli flakes and salt and pop in the oven for 15 minutes at around 175 degrees. Job done! It’s a nice dish to do for BBQ’s but I obviously had it with the Toppings Quiches.
Fred’s favourite is the Hot Chilli and Sweet Pepper but I love the Caramelised Onion one. We have been working our way through the box of 10 for dinners and lunches and are grabbing them out of the freezer when we want one. It cooks through from frozen in the oven in about 25 minutes. One is the perfect size for one person along with a salad for lunch or something like sweet potato wedges for dinner. The pastry is beautiful and the filling is so full and tasty. You can see them on this Saturday’s show!
The Weekend Kitchen Competition
I have some very nice Weekend Kitchen goodies to give away for the final show!! Let me tell you, these mugs are like gold dust and everyone at QVC who has been working on the show is trying to get their hands on one! So we have the mug and a very nice tote bag to give away. The best bit is that we have 2 signed cook books from Dean Edwards and Ching He Huang. Dean’s is the fabulous Cook Slow for slow cookers and conventional ovens, (I have this one and love it) and Ching’s is the brilliant Stir Crazy with 100 Healthy Stir Fry recipes.
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is answer this question in the comments below:
Q – How many weeks of The Weekend Kitchen did we do this season?
A – 5
B – 6
C – 3
The usual QVC terms and conditions apply and the completion closes at midnight on Monday 1st April 2019. I look forward to announcing the winner in next week’s blog. Good luck everyone and do please do tune in for the final show!
Lots of Love Katy xx
Barnsley Lamb chop with pea & mint Puree, buttered wild garlic, Rosemary & garlic roasted new potatoes
1 Barnsley lamb chop
1 tbsp butter
For the Pea Puree
100g of frozen defrosted peas
1/2 rashers of smoked bacon
1 banana shallots
Small bunch of fresh mint
For the Roasted Potatoes
100g new potatoes, par boiled
1 tbsp butter unsalted
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 sprigs of rosemary
For the Buttered Wild Garlic
50g wild garlic leaves
1 tbsp butter
Few sprigs chives
To make the pea puree, place the peas in a saucepan over a medium heat with enough water to cover the peas, chopped bacon & diced shallot, add the fresh mint leaves. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain off the liquid, but make sure you reserve the liquid.
Then put the peas and the other ingredients that you have just cooked into a food processor and liquidize, then slowly add the cooking liquid until you get the right consistency.
Pre heat your oven to 200C.
Cut your par boiled new potatoes into halves and add to a baking tray with a little oil. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then add a tbsp butter, 2 garlic cloves and a couple of sprigs of rosemary, carrying on roasting for another 10 minutes before removing and giving a stir.
For the buttered Wild Garlic, in a frying pan melt the butter and wilt the wild garlic and chives for a minute or so and remove from the heat.
To cook the lamb, season with a little oil and salt on both sides then place in a hot pan and cook for 2 minutes each side. Add a tbsp. of butter to baste and to colour the lamb, then remove from the pan and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes before serving with the pea puree and roasted new potatoes.
Chocolate mousse & Gower Cottage brownie trifles
For the Mousse
Dark chocolate 200g (around 60-70%)
30g double cream
Egg whites 6 egg whites
Sugar 40g caster
For the Butterscotch sauce
250ml double cream
75g dark brown sugar
Double cream for whipping
Gower cottage Brownies
To make the chocolate mousse, place the chocolate in a bowl with the butter and 30g double cream, place on a pan of gently steaming water and stir until melted then remove the bowl from above the pan and set aside.
If a separate bowl with an electric whisk, whisk the 6 egg whites, when they start to thicken slowly add the sugar and whisk until stiff peaks are formed.
Add half of the whites to the melted chocolate and whisk together, then fold in the rest of the egg whites and gently fold together until mixed.
To make the butterscotch sauce, melt the butter with the sugar, when melted add the cream and bring to the boil, add a pinch of salt and taste, once boiled leave to cool, then use.
Whisk the double cream until it just starts to thicken, but doesn’t go firm.
Finely chop the brownies into small little pieces. Build your trifles in small yoghurt style jars, Mousse on the bottom then brownie, then cream, then sauce. Repeat again until the jars are filled, top with more brownie and serve garnished with a strawberry.
Honey & mustard glazed gammon with crispy hand cut chips & fried egg
Althams 2kg Honey and mustard glazed gammon
1 kilo Potatoes for Chips (Albert Bartlet, Maris Piper or similar)
2 free range eggs
Salt and pepper
Pre heat your oven to 160C, place your gammon joint on a roasting tray and cover with tin foil, cook for 1 hour then remove the tin foil, baste any of the cooking juices back over the gammon and cook for another 30-60 minutes until cooked. Use a meat probe to check the internal temperature. The internal temperature should reach 68C or above.
For the chips, peel your potatoes, then cut into chips, once cut rinse under cold water until it runs clear. This removes the starch from the potatoes. Place in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil, once boiled simmer until the potatoes are part cooked, around 5 minutes. Remove from the water and drain, leave to air dry for at least 5-10 minutes, then refrigerate until required.
Fry the chips at 180C until golden and crispy, drain and season with salt.
For the fried egg, put a frying pan on a medium heat, add some oil and then crack your eggs into the pan and cook slowly until the white is cooked and yolk still runny.
To serve, cut a nice slice of gammon and place the fried egg on top with a side of chips.
Quiche with asparagus, broad bean salad
For the salad
4 heads of new season English asparagus,
20g Broad beans podded
20g tendril pea shoots
Fresh mint, roughly chopped
Fresh chives, chopped
½ cucumber, cut into matchstick-sized pieces
For the salad dressing
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper to season
For the Potato Salad
100g cooked and cooled new potatoes
2 tbsp full fat mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Warm your quiche in the oven, while the quiche is warming, make the salad,
Blanch the asparagus for 40 seconds in boiling water then run under cold water and drain.
Get a mixing bowl and add some olive oil, season with salt and pepper a tsp Dijon mustard and a tsp cider vinegar, whisk together.
Prepare your fresh ingredients in another bowl, slice the blanched asparagus and add the broad beans, sprigs of dill, chopped chives and coriander leaves and mint with the pea shoots and cucumber. Add all the salad into the bowl with the dressing and gently fold together.
To make the potato salad, mix the mayo, with a little Dijon, fresh chopped chives and chopped dill, mix in the potatoes and season to taste.
Slow Roast Tomato & Celtic soft Cheese Arancini with Basil Pesto
Ingredients (Makes about 8-10 Arancini)
20g slow roast tomatoes
For the risotto
50g risotto rice
1 medium banana shallots
1 clove garlic
50ml white wine
100ml veg stock
1 egg, 2 tsp of milk (egg wash)
50g pine nuts
150ml rapeseed oil
2 garlic cloves
50g Celtic soft (Paxton and Whitfield)
Start by making the risotto base, finely dice your onion and finely dice your garlic, add this to a pan with a little oil and about 25g of butter. Allow to soften then add your dry risotto rice and stir until the rice is coated in the butter. Get the wine and add to the rice, stir until the wine has been absorbed.
Heat the vegetable stock then add a small ladle at a time, allowing it to absorb before adding the next ladle, keep stirring to stop the risotto from sticking and making sure it cooks evenly.
Continue to do this until you have used half the vegetable stock; this could take around 6 minutes. The rice should have a little bite to the outside and be slightly soft on the centre. This is the risotto base. Put in the fridge until later.
Make your pesto in any flavour, then mix into your cold risotto base, add some freshly grated parmesan salt and pepper then set aside.
Get your Celtic soft cheese and make into small balls then get a bit of the risotto mix, pat it out in your hand place the cheese inside and wrap around the cheese.
Once sealed, dip in your egg wash mix and then the breadcrumb
Fry at 180C until golden brown.
Serve warm as a canapé, starter or light bite.
Toppings Steak pie with creamy mash and pickled red cabbage
Toppings steak pie
250g Red cabbage
250ml cider vinegar
200g dark brown sugar
1 tbsp mustard seeds
100ml red wine
Potatoes good for mash, Desiree variety
Milk or cream
* Finely slice the red cabbage using a mandolin
* Put the cider vinegar, wine, sugar, mustard seeds and star anise into a saucepan and bring to the boil
* Add the cabbage and leave to infuse then store in jars until required
Pre-heat the oven to warm through the pie
* For the mash, peel and cut your potatoes into even sized pieces. Rinse under cold water to remove any starch. Place in a saucepan with cold water and bring to the boil, cook until tender around 20-25 minutes dependent on size
* Drain the potatoes and leave to air dry for a good while before putting through a potato ricer or sieve
* In a small saucepan add milk or cream and a generous amount of butter, melt then add into the potato and beat together until smooth
Serve the hot pie with a spoonful of mash and pickled red cabbage.