Sarah McDonnell, Editor
Planting … A red Chinese Peony bought at Lidl for €6.99 – Donald Trump would call it a “foreign plant”, then quickly row back as it was bullied by the hollyhock beside it and say it was a “really great” plant. It looks like an incredibly healthy, sturdy specimen so perhaps that bodes well. This time next year (Deo Volens as my mum would say, she of the “green banana” school of pessimism) we can look back in wonder. I had gallons of Levington’s organic tomato feed from last year (my mum’s tip – inexpensive, effective and pretty much suits everything) so gave it a good drenching of that.
Grooming … My husband demanded a “Blade 5 All Over” – “Surely Not!” I cried! No, just his hair. So we sheared him in the sunny garden, where too confused by being at home at lunchtime on a weekday to sweep up, figured the birds could pick up some of his locks to line their new nests in soft brown fur with a hint of graphite. I discovered I’m no barber and he didn’t book a second appointment. I countered by taking off my nail polish, cutting my nails short and straight across like a child’s, smothering hands in hand cream and snapping on some latex gloves, which made typing for the afternoon a drag. I’ve never had a lunchtime like it.
Watching … The Getaway (1969) with Steve McQueen in armed robber mode and Ali McGraw, his missus, rather wooden (teak to the tonsils!) and a terrible getaway driver, though she did have a series of different cars to get used to very quickly, but looking just fabulous, even after being repeatedly pummelled by the crusher of a rubbish lorry and tipped off into a festering dump. Takeway? I want a slim waist (HA!), a belted suede coat and altogether different legs. And Dominic West looks a bit like Steve McQueen. I recommend the movie whole-heartedly – stylish, arch and full of (old-school) tension.
Reading … The Baroness by Hannah Rothschild after my colleague Penny recommended her art-world novel The Improbability of Love (light, lovely and a bit of a page-turner) and of course Kindle recommended her other books … The Baroness is a biography of her great-aunt Nica, who turned her back on the Rothschild family’s wealth and standing join New York’s post-war jazz scene, becoming a benefactor to many a musician including Charlie (Bird) Parker who actually died in her apartment, causing a great scandal, and pianist Thelonius Monk, whom she loved dearly but could not save.
Cooking … Madhur Jaffrey’s Duck Cooked in the Delhi Hunter’s Style (on page 110 of Ultimate Curry Bible), also known by its Indian name of Shikar Ki Buttuck! While the recipe called for a whole duck, jointed and partially skinned (HA!) I used duck breasts from Lidl, which we have found to be consistently delicious. It was a total success and lasted two days, the second day’s offering stretched with a tin of coconut milk. The key to these more involved curries is to get the many spices measured out before you start – MJ deals in teaspoons. Nothing nicer than the aromas wafting from the pan, the slim waist receeding once more into the well-fed folds my imagination …
Aislinn Coffey, Style Editor
Watching … Season 2 of Liar starring Joanne Froggatt on the Virgin Media app. I also discovered DublinZoo.ie have webcams in place so we can watch feeding time live. Log on at 2/2.30pm every day.
Listening … Just downloaded the Irish Radio app to tune in the kitchen. Also loving Niall Horan’s new album Heartbreak Weather, it’s really good!
Gardening … Giving a first-cut to my mini lawn with my new Flymo Chevron 32 with Mini Trim, bought online for €100 at Woodie’s.
Grooming … I’m wearing Charlotte Tilbury’s Unisex Healthy Glow tinted moisturiser daily (keeping my Chanel Les Beiges Eau de Teint Water-Fresh Tint for going ‘out out’) over Dublin Herbalist’s Hydrating Face Serum with Argan Oil and Sweet Orange. I cannot explain how happy the scent of this oil makes me #smallwins. Considering going back to my old favourite, the original Estee Lauder DayWear Sheer Tint Release Anti-Oxidant Moisturiser because it’s also got SPF 15.
Cooking … Select Stores’ Energy Bars. I tried a traditional granola bar recipe and couldn’t believe the amount of butter and sugar needed (though still eating my way through the tin ). Here’s the recipe:
Select Stores Energy Bars
80g coconut oil or butter
80g brown rice syrup
80g Mejdool dates
50g dark tahini or peanut butter
80g chopped hazelnuts
140g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower etc)
50g dried mango
Preheat oven to 180C or gas mark 4
Line flat tin with greaseproof paper
In a saucepan melt coconut oil, brown rice syrup, chopped dates and tahini. Stir till smooth and thick.
Combine oats, nuts, seeds, mango in a large bowl. Add in melted coconut mixture and combine.
Spoon mixture into prepared tin and flatten down with the back of a spoon. Bake for 20 mins.
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