Madly in love with meringues

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If there’s one thing I’m totally and utterly guilty of, it’s that I’m absolutely crazy about meringues. I used to make them constantly, switching the flavours, adding toppings, playing around with the proportions of egg white to sugar, testing different cooking times and temperatures (total meringue nerd – I know). I think all the sugar I was consuming was playing with my mind – I was totally addicted! I managed to wean myself off the gorgeously squishy little beauties, only to be suckered back in last weekend when I made a batch to photograph – eek, what have I done!

This time I decided to sprinkle cocoa on top so I didn’t lose the definition (in the shots) of the peaks of the mixture, and boy, were they tasty. So now it seems I have the bug back. I can’t wait to open that new box of eggs waiting for me in my kitchen and get cracking! Next on my list, hazelnut topped meringues flavoured with almond – watch this space!

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The furry love of my life…

I’d like to introduce you to an extremely important part of my life – my beautiful Rough Collie dog Bella.

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We’ve had her since she was 8 weeks old – she’s the most wonderful dog you could ever ask for and I wouldn’t be without her for the world.

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My love of Roughs came about when I was 5 years old, my parents bought me a puppy of the same breed and I instantly fell in love, I called him Lad. This was at a time when Lassie was HUGE on the TV and I thought back then I had my very own protector – I wasn’t wrong ! For 9 wonderful years he was my best friend and companion, always looking over me, protecting me, always there with me through good times and bad. One day though it felt like my world had come to an end, Lad had a little bit of a monkey in him –  whenever he had the opportunity he would sneak off without us and go on his very own ‘Lassie day out’. This time though he didn’t return, 3 days passed, lots of searching and calls to the Police later and I was told he had been killed in a car accident not far from my home – I was utterly devastated, I still am, and even whilst I write this, it churns up all of the old same feelings.

Twenty years passed and every time I saw a Rough Collie in the street it would bring me to tears, once you’ve had a Rough you never get over them, and I certainly hadn’t. But one day my husband Tim asked me if I would like to have another (when the time was right of course) and I jumped at the chance. At that time we both worked together at the ad agency where we met, and didn’t have the time it took to look after a dog, so a few more years went on but all I could think about was owning another Lad.

We were both made redundant from our jobs when our company went under, but this was the best thing that could have happened to us – I went on to start my own design agency with 2 good friends and colleagues and Tim went on to run his own successful 3D/CG imagery business from home. The time was now perfect for us to get a dog.

I Googled Rough Collie pups and the first link I clicked on – I struck gold! I found the most adorable Rough Collie Pups you’ve ever seen, which, at the time, we thought were available to buy – we rang up and enquired only to find out that it was a previous litter that had all been sold, but the breeders were hoping to breed their youngest female once they’d found the right male. Around 8 months passed and we finally had our own little Rough Collie pup – I was absolutely ecstatic – I didn’t sleep for most of the first year of having her, having lots of anxiety dreams and sleepy hallucinations every night, I was just far too excited about finally having her!

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The picture below is Bella fully grown but her coat is still quite short – it’s much longer now and I must process some recent piccies of her – I took some great shots in this very same field this summer, she absolutely adores to play ball here, she’s extremely fast too!

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Bella is such a huge part of our family, even my parents miss her when they go away and can’t wait to return to come and get their Bella-fix! She’s a complete lover of people and is very vocal about it. Anyone who has ever met a Rough Collie will know that they like to talk to you and Bella is no exception – the neighbours always know when we come home from work or we have family to visit, they can hear her squeals of delight!!

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We’re having some fabulous weather at the moment (31 degrees today) but Bella can’t wait for it to snow again – the heat is a little much for her at the moment, so maybe tonight I might treat her to a cool bath!

This post has gone on a little longer than I’d anticipated as I didn’t quite realise (until I started writing) that I’d actually never written this whole story down before and how much I needed to get it out of my system – I’m so glad I did. I’m sure there are a lot of pet owners out there who can relate to the feelings a loss of a dog can bring but also the great joy a new dog can bring too and the years of happiness they can bring!

The rose before the storm…

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Another great love of mine is my garden – I find it very relaxing tending to the plants and plucking sneaky weeds here and there!

A few weeks ago I shot some of my lovely pink David Austin roses, which I’m so happy I did now, as the thunder storms we’ve had over the past few days have left my rose bushes completely bare of flowers – more a huge pile of soggy petals under each plant! They were beautiful while they lasted and smelled just gorgeous! This particular rose is named after the late, much loved gardener – Geoff Hamilton. I hope you like the piccies and they brighten up a your evening!

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A fresh and fruity cocktail

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So, after posting my raspberries image into the ‘Weekly Photo Challenge’ it gave me an idea to make a refreshing cocktail I’d seen in my new favourite recipe book. It’s from my hero in the food photography world ‘What Katie Ate’ by Katie Quinn Davies and is a mixture of Vodka raspberries and pomegranate juice (bliss in a glass) – perfect for these extremely hot few weeks we’ve been having here in the UK. Although, for the first time in around three weeks we’ve finally had rain overnight, so our lawns have been watered at last, thankfully there will be no need to drag the sprinkler out today! :)

Here’s Katie’s recipe, I hope you enjoy it:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1oz/30ml Grey goose/Absolut/Belvedere vodka
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 15ml sugar syrup (see below)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh pomegranate juice.
  • Extra raspberries for garnish
  • Lime or lemon zest to garnish
  • Ice

To make the sugar syrup:

  1. Add 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stir often then reduce heat and simmer until all the sugar has dissolved into the water – approx. 10 – 12 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly. Note this will make enough for a few cocktails.

METHOD

  1. Place vodka, frozen raspberries, lime juice, sugar syrup and pomegranate juice into a chilled cocktail shaker along with a handful roughly crushed ice.
  2. To serve pour strained cocktail into a glass and  garnish with a few extra raspberries and some lime or lemon zest.

I hope you get to make an enjoy this fabulous recipe today, enjoy your Sunday’s, wherever you are!!

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Croissants for breakfast…

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Okay, I admit, it’s far too hot for my usual porridge every morning in this uncannily hot British weather, so something’s gotta give, and I’ve had to change my breakfast routine of a lifetime! :)

I decided to buy some of the softest croissants from the supermarket at the weekend and couldn’t wait to get home to shoot them. I did manage to hold off until the morning though, as the lighting is just beautiful first thing – known as the golden hour! It was quite a tricky shoot though, not because the conditions weren’t right, or the angle was difficult to master, it was the subject matter – OHHH my, I salivated furiously throughout the ENTIRE shoot! I must make a mental note next time to buy extras so I can sample and scoff as I shoot – although I’ll probably end up eating twice as many, eeek! ;)

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Okay, here goes – here’s my first blog/photo post – hope you like! :)

There’s nothing quite like a fresh baked loaf of bread to get your taste buds working overtime! I saw/smelt this bread in my local M&S and had to buy it – it was still warm and I just can’t resist buying a loaf just out of the oven! I loved the floury pattern on the top and thought it would look great with some low-key lighting so I got my new Canon 6D out to take some shots. I’ve only had this camera for a few weeks now and I’m still getting used to it (I upgraded from the Canon 500D) but I’m finding the picture quality amazing! I must shoot bread more often – this was awesome toasted and smothered in butter!!!