Tuesday, August 5, 2014

We do.....again



Wedding number two was back in Blighty. Yes, I wanted it all, and that meant asking everyone to fly home to Sussex so that we could do the whole thing again. This time with people we actually know and love.

I had my heart set on a beautiful field overlooking the valley. A place where I spent my formative years, hanging out with orphan lambs and helping the farmer with his daily rounds. Bless that man, he agreed the field was ours for the evening and so the marquee was placed just perfectly. When you have decided something at 14 it's hard to let others persuade you that the field behind the local pub is a genuine option....as perfectly situated as it is for the bar.

Little Sister and I spent the night before in the exquisite George Hotel in Rye and we awoke the next morning raring to go. We had champagne and glamourous photos depicting every flower-filled elegant 'getting ready' moment.

My father arrived to collect me and we walked up to the Town Hall ready for the big moment. Pleased to confirm that The Man had indeed arrived and save getting his date of birth wrong, succeeded in answering all his questions from Hawk Eye registrar lady.

It was a glorious ceremony filled with love and good wishes. Appropriately short at a mere 30 mins we had classical music, some excellent readings by various siblings (including a reading of the lyrics of 'Dance Me To The End of Love') by Big Sister.

I insisted on a wedding car to take us to the reception. Yeah um thanks for the offer of the lift in the back of the car but I'll fork out the £150 quid for the vintage Daimler thanks. So in we climbed and wound the windows down, basking in the most glorious summer day. Warm with a breeze. We just looked at each other and grinned in happiness. Great gig all round.

The reception, in that glorious field, was in a marquee decorated with 120 metres of handmade bunting which I had slaved over for the preceeding months. I was a woman possessed. Happily it now adorns the ceiling of the Red Lion - my favourite pub in the whole world.

We had pimms and early evening chit chat before a feast of potted shrimp, pate and crusty bread followed by a hog roast with all the delicious trimmings, completed with summer fruits and thick cream. All catered by Gary and Lindsay from The Lion - just divine. The wedding 'cake' was an amazing display of cheese, lovingly chosen by the parents and decorated with fruits and flowers. Little Sister was miffed as she wanted cake but sucks. It's my wedding.

Next it was time for a country dancing band that was frankly a little ambitious with its expectations regarding guest competence. But hey ho, luckily by then enough had been drunk (free bar essential) to get people up and giving it a bash. Finally Gary and his band got up and performed some great rock and roll numbers to dance the night away. Guests were last seen staggering into the night, aided by the flickering of the tiki torches brought all the way from Malaysia (to the evident delight of the fellow at oversized baggage at KL Airport). In fact at 2.30am I am led to understand that some guests were questioned by the police as to why they were walking in convoy up the main road of my village holding said torches aloft.

The man and I finally zipped up the tent at about 3 and bless him, one of the young waiters gave us a lift back to the hotel for £50 and a bottle of prosecco. Damn, I forgot to order the taxi.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

Wedding number one was an incredible bash here in Malaysia. Colourful, noisy, hot and very exotic. The bride wore red, obvs and didn't sleep a wink the night before. All in all I have a lot to thank my make up artist for, the fab Jeannie McBeanie, who did a cracking job hiding the black bags ... and the fear.

It was a five event job - I know, ridiculousness. It began with henna where the girls you quite like in your life are invited round to have hands, feet and other desirable extremities covered in a rather suspicious squeezy brown paste. Expertly applied by talented ladies, the paste hardens after a few hours (so loo / cocktail making) are impossible feats. You just have to lay under the fan until you sort of begin to crack. Glam. Ultimately all the bits fall off and a beauteous tanned pattern remains ready for the big day.


Event number two was an opportunity for The Man to be pampered. The afternoon took place at Grandmother's house. Aunties (ed: a term used to refer to any female relative remotely connected to the family - hell, everyone's an auntie in this neck of the woods) sung punjabi tales of love and fertility while The Man was lavishly doused in yoghurt and turmeric. Sexy times. Ordinarily the bride to be is def not supposed to be in attendance, however exceptions were made as I am not of that ilk ( erm, Indian) and therefore was not busy entertaining a thousand guests of my own at separate events. 

Bash three was a beautiful evening generously hosted by my incredible MIL. The purpose of this was  for my brother to douse my bangles in milk, bless me and then adorn my arms with said bling. Now tradition dictates that one is obliged to wear wedding bangles ( up to each elbow, I'll have you know) until the wedding and then some inordinate amount of time beyond. Reader, I just couldn't. I'm all for comfort in bed and so, shhhhhh, tucked them up in their pretty bag until I needed them for the big day. I couldn't face wearing them to the office. Too much of a talking point.

Bash four was the Big Day. Oh my.  Make up, get dressed and get me to the temple on time. I was a goddam hour late! I didn't even check my watch. Bridesmaidzilla fail.




I entered the temple, feeling vaguely terrified. Now men and women sit on separate sides so when I walked in I was vaguely horrified to see that there was no one I knew sitting on the bride's side. Talk about Billy no mates. But I took a deep breath and walked slowly. Got to the end and on to my knees (which I thought would be a mission considering dress restrictions, but no - all was well. The trick is to bend, forehead bow to touch ground and rise v.e.r.y slowly. Graceful swan style. I turned to sit and suddenly everyone was there - grinning at me. Turned out my side all followed me down the aisle. Fab. I would have known to expect this if FIL didn't always make us arrive at weddings just in time for the vows and food. Lols. Anyway, ceremony. Some prayers, then we had to walk around the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Bible, fact fans) four times. In each corner a man belonging to my side was waiting to encourage me on my way. I was cheery to to the deed but apparently back in the day their role was to ensure the chick (come tears or tantrums) did the four turns to ensure the ceremony was complete. More prayers some singing and voila. We were married. In a religious sense if not legally. Just don't tell Grandmother eh?

Finally, finally we got to the last hurdle. The big celebratory dinner. Only 800 odd guests and a giant peacock made from exotic flowers. I'm a lucky girl. The Shangri-La was venue of choice and they politely accommodated my request for no ice sculptures. I also declined the smoke machine but our liaison lady clearly was unable to cope with the lack of drama and surprised us on the night. We entered the room escorted by an excellent Punjabi bagpipes band and, well, I don't remember much really. It was just a whirl of food, colour, speeches and glad handing people I mostly didn't know. Still, not a drop of wine touched my lips. NOTHING worse than a drunk Bride. The same cannot be said for The Man.


Fun right?

Xx

It's been a while :-)

It is time to revisit my blog. So much has happened since I last updated and anyway, I am in need of something to focus my mind in a productive way.

So a rundown of notable life moments to be covered from here on in (in no particular order of excitement)....

1) The Man and I got hitched. Twice. Just to make sure it was done properly.
2) I went white water rafting. Eek.
3) Kate and Wills came to Malaysia
4) I climbed Mt Kinabalu
5) I visited Nepal

Fun times dear reader

:-)


Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Said Yes!

The Man proposed - finally! V. excited but feeling slightly sick at the thought of planning two weddings. An Indian affair and a traditional English knees-up are on the cards. I have saris, marquees, fields, hotels, henna, bunting, curry and hog roast creating havoc on my 'To Do' list. Thank heavens for my Little Sister bridesmaidzilla.





Friday, October 29, 2010

Tea For Two With Home Made Marmalade

4 fruit marmalade. Makes 10 x 1lb jars.

I love, love, LOVE marmalade. Not only is it fun to make, but it's a brilliant present for people you love. My favourite type is a little bitter with thickly cut chunks of citrus rind. This recipe was invented by me (mainly because I used the only fruit I could find in the house) and it's yummy.

(3 grapefruit) or 3 limes and 3 tangerines (or satsumas etc) 3 sweet oranges 2 lemons 2 litres water 1.6 Kg sugar.

Collect and wash jars and lids thoroughly in hot soapy water. Rinse well and drain. Place jars upside down to dry on a clean baking tray in a low oven. Put lids in a heatroof bowl, and scald with boiling water. Leave to cool in water, and then remove with tongs to dry upside down in oven alongside jars.

Prepare circles of clingfilm or waxed paper to cover surface of marmalade.

Wash fruit, and scrub well to remove any added wax coatings, and to try to remove any spray residues.

Simmer whole in the water until soft. Allow to cool in the water.....overnight?

Remove fruit from the liquid, which stays in the pan. Halve fruit, and remove pips. Put pips into a fine net bag or tie loosly in muslin.

Hang bag on a stringfrom pan handle, so the pips boil in the marmalade without escaping into it. This releases their pectin, which is the sticky stuff which heps the marmalade set well.

Cut up rinds and flesh to the size you like in marmalade and put back in the liquid in the pan. Start to heat the pan up again.

Pour all the sugar in a steady stream into the centre of the hot fruit and water, trying to avoid the edge of the pan. Stir all well until all the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Beware! If any sugar stays undissolved on the sides of the pan, it might cause all the marmalade to crystallise as it cools.When the sugar is all dissolved, boil marmalade hard.

Put a few small plates or saucers into the freezer to chill.When the marmalade starts to look and feel thicker, remove from heat (to stop it cooking further) and test for 'a set.' Put half a teasp of the hot marmalade onto one of the chilled saucers (removed from freezer), let it cool, and push with your finger. If the marmalade is thick and forms wrinkles as you push, it is ready, and will set. If not put whole pan back on the heat, and keep testing until it sets.

Then use a ladle or a jam funnel to fill the hot jars from the oven. Danger of scalding here....or of tipping over hot jars.....everything v. hot. Cover the surface of each with a circle of pre-cut clingfilm or waxed paper. Then cover with lid , but do not tighten yet. (Jar still very hot). Leave to cool.

When cool, tighten lids down. Wash outside and bottomsof jars with hot soapy water.....stickiness! When dry label with interesting labels done in most artistic, but legible handwriting (or word process).

Enjoy, and think of England. :)





Friday, August 20, 2010

Pumpkin Soup

I made this - an adaptation from a Cranks recipe book. Utter heaven and have eaten it for lunch four days in a row!

Ingredients:

2 lbs/900g of pumpkin (peeled, seeds removed and chopped)
1 large onion (roughly chopped)
1 large potato (peeled and chopped)
1 large carrot (peeled and chopped)
1 stick of celery (chopped and thick strings discarded)
1.5 pts/700 ml of vegetable stock or add two tsp of marigold powder to the same amount of water.
1 vegetable stock cube
1oz/25g of butter
half pt of cream (optional)
2 tbl spoons of chopped chives to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp ‘devil dust’ – available Cold Storage herbs and spices section

Preparation time 25 mins
Cooking time approx. 30 mins

Method:

1) Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed saucepan and add all the vegetables. Cook gently for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Don’t allow the vegetables to brown. Pour in the stock and add the stock cube and stir.

2) Simmer gently until the vegetables are just cooked (about 20 minutes) and then purée with an electric blender.

3) Return the puréed vegetables to the saucepan and season to taste. Add another 1/2 tsp of Marigold if it needs lifting.

4) Add the cream and re heat very gently and thin with more stock if necessary. Sprinkle with the chopped chives and serve.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Peanut Crunchiness

My partner in crime at work, Queen Bee, forces these yummy biscuits upon me fairly regularly. I plead with her to stop but she just won't take no for an answer! I thought I would post the recipe so that you can all suffer too.

Ingredients

125g(4 oz)butter
125g(4 oz)soft light brown sugar
45 ml (3 tbsp) peanut butter
225 g (8oz) plain flour
2.5 ml(1/2 tsp) bicarb of soda
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) cream of tartar
30 ml (2 tbsp) water
beaten egg to glaze
50g (2oz) salted peanuts

Instructions

1) Grease baking sheet. Put the butter in a bowl and beat until creamy. Add the sugar and peanut butter and beat again until fluffy.

2) Sift in flour, bicarb of soda and cream of tartar. Using a fork, work dry ingredients in with water to form a soft mixture. COver and chill for 20 mins.

3) Turn out onto lightly floured surface, knead into a ball and roll out fairly thinly. Cut out about 24 biscuits using a 5-cm (2 inch) cutter. Re-knead trimmings as necesary and roll out again.

4) Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and press a few peanut halves into the centre of each biscuit to decorate. Bake in oven at 190C (375F) Mark 5 for 20 mins until crisp and golden. Turn on to a wire rack to cool for 30 mins.

Enjoy!

P.S Double quantities might be an idea!