Sunday, 26 December 2010

December: My month in photos.





From top to bottom:
The Christmas Market in Lille, France.
Roue Royale, Lille Grande Place
Decorations Stall
Sweets/Candy Stall

Outside X Factor Studios, Konnie Huq. I did actually see more interesting people, like Rihanna and Simon Cowell, I was just rubbish with my camera and kept forgetting to take any photos.

One of my best friends Reem and I, at her Christmas themed Birthday Party.

Christmas Presents:
My sister, Senni, got me a VOGUE subscription.
My grandmother, got me a Citizen Watch.
My mother, got me an Osprey London handbag.
Among various others :)

Hope you all had a peaceful Christmas and a wonderful New Year (which I still don't have plans for!) 
Lots of love, Jenni
xxx




Monday, 29 November 2010

Advent Calendar.

Christmas is without doubt my very favourite time of year, I love everything to do with it! Lets start with advent. Since I've been young, every year, rather than having a shop bought calendar with a chocolate for each day, there has been a riddle of some sort, which will lead to a small present hidden somewhere in my house. My mother always claimed it was the 'elves' that made it. Sadly, those 'elves' had the same handwriting as she did. This year, apparently, me and my sisters are far too old for that. So I decided I'd make myself an advent calendar, with a gingerbread biscuit for each day.

Ingredients:
700g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g butter
350g soft brown sugar
2 egg
8 tbsp Golden Syrup

Heat the syrup, sugar and spices. Add butter to hot mixture and let it melt, stirring occasionally. Allow the mixture to cool. Add the eggs, flour, and soda, and carefully mix, making sure there are no air bubbles. Let the dough stand for the night in a cool place.
Preheat the oven to 200 °. Cover a surface in flour, and roll out the dough into a 3-4 mm thick circular shape.


 Cut the dough into various shapes using cookie/pastry cutters. Bake the gingerbread for 7-10 minutes, depending on their thickness. Keep an eye on them as they can go from golden to black in a matter of minutes. Let them cool and ice. I then drew up what I wanted each biscuit to look like, it makes icing a lot easier!

Personally, I tend to use ready made icing for details, purely for simplicity and less mess. But, you can mix 125g icing sugar with one egg and a few drops of lemon juice, to make a more viscous icing which is easier to decorate with.


I know there are only a few days until advent starts, but hopefully some of you will take inspiration and make your own gingerbread advent calendar!

Love Jenni xxx

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Pippa Whitaker.


She's completely crazy at times, her claws hurt like a bitch, she chews my fingers like no tomorrow, but she's so adorable none of that even matters.

Jenni xx

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Girl with the Flask.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I live on tea and coffee. I have awfully stained teeth because of this, but, its just too good.

I was waiting at the bus station and a girl, who was maybe 18 or so, comes up to me, and our conversation went a little like this:

Girl: 'Excuse me, girl with flask, why do I always, and I mean really often see you in Kingston, with a flask? I mean, I saw you last Tuesday, here, with a flask, on Saturday, with a flask, and now, today, with a flask.'
Me (being super weirded out): 'Err, I like hot beverages,'
Girl: 'Fair do's' - and walks off.

This does just confirm how much I love tea, and coffee. A lot.

Also, if you take your own flask to Starbucks, you get 25p discount for helping the planet. I personally mainly only drink English Breakfast- its got to be Yorkshire Tea, and Peppermint tea, but I'll drink any coffee with open arms!

'The flask'. Bodum, £12, John Lewis

I also got a little kitten, her name is Pippa and she is 12 weeks old and is just the cutest thing in the whole world. Now blogger isn't letting me upload any more photos, so I can't show you her! I will definitely in my next post!


Jenni ♥


Sunday, 17 October 2010

Scarves.

This morning, I raided my mothers scarf collection. I didn't know this before, but she has kept every scarf she has ever owned. As she has moved cross-country and sea, she could never keep any clothes or antiques as it would just be too much to move with, so, they had been abandoned over time. She did however keep scarves, she has pashminas, shrugs, wooly scarves, silk scarves, bandanas, you name it, she has it.

So, this morning, I felt they needed to see daylight again. I took seven, my mother will never see those seven scarves again.


Also, over a month ago, I bought a bird cage from Kempton Market for only £15, it is still not in place as there is very little space in my 7ft by 5'3ft room. Its puny, and unbearable.

At school for French GCSE, we are going to the Lille Christmas Market on 2/3 December, I am so excited, and am wondering whether anyone has been before? The website is in french, but I used google toolbar to help me translate some parts, http://www.noel-a-lille.com/.

Jenni ♥

Monday, 4 October 2010

Eat Pray Love.

Firstly, sorry my blogger hasn't been working the past couple of weeks so I haven't been able to post.

I went to see Eat Pray Love. with my best friend Evie a few weeks ago, and I fell in love. As a start I just have to say that Julia Roberts is my favourite actress ever, and slowly I have been watching every movie in which she stars. Her role playing Liz Gilbert in Eat Pray Love didn't fail to keep up to the high standards she sets herself. 

Liz Gilbert, a married New York writer realises how her life has no purpose and how her marriage is escalating into something she prayed would not come. After a difficult divorce, she decides she wants to travel, to lead her life to a new place. So, she jets of on an around-the-world tour to 'find herself'.
She first goes to Rome, to Eat, then to India to Pray, and finally to Bali, where she finds Love.

Its an amazing film, based on a true story and will not fail to make you feel good. I heavily recommend it!

Jenni ♥



Monday, 13 September 2010

Shortbread.

I started making shortbread long ago, I think the first time I made it was as a gift for my mum, for mothers day, I think? I don't know where I got it from its just kinda always been in my head. Anyway, I love this recipe, it so easy!

Ingredients:

100g Plain Flour
100g Cornflour or Barley Flour
100g Butter
60g Caster Suger- I use Golden, purely by preference.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking/cookie tray with greaseproof paper.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl using your fingers. At first they will form soft breadcrumbs, but after a while, a dough will be formed.

Knead the dough into a smooth ball and gently press and roll it into a round shape, about 1cm thick. 
Cut shapes from the dough using pastry cutters and place on the prefered backing tray. Using a fork or a scewer pierce the shortbread to form patterns on the surface.

Place in the oven and back for 20-25 minutes or until light golden and firm to the touch.

Enjoy!
Jenni ♥

Sunday, 12 September 2010

9/11

With a high interest for history, politics and current affairs, 9/11 came today with more formality for me than as usual. On Saturday mornings, I attend a Finnish School from 10am-12pm. It came as a shock when my mum, the headteacher, hadn't even thought of doing a moments silence for those 3000 people who died nine years ago. So, after realisation, my mum called for each classroom to take a minutes silence at 11am.

The subject spoken about lightly when meeting up with friends, but I didn't really start to think about it until watching 9/11: State of Emergency at 9pm on Channel 4, http://www.channel4.com/programmes/911-state-of-emergency available on 4OD.

The programme was tear provoking, with interviews with Condoleezza Rice, survivors, witnesses and heroes.





I then watched the second half of United 93, an excellent reenactment of the days traumatising events, focusing on the United Airlines Flight 93, hijacked and headed for Washington DC, which, with passengers help and extreme bravery was crash landed. An excellent documentary, and insight to those passengers mind and thoughts.










I then finished the evening by watching Remember Me, its not a film a want to spoil by telling you its relation to 9/11 but my word, it is my favourite film. I'm still crying. I recommend.



Any thoughts? Agreements? Did anyone watch any of these or give thought to those that died?


I started writing this post on 9/11, its now 9/12, I guess I fail.
Love Jenni xxx

More foodie posts will follow hopefully!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Restaurant Review: Adesso

I have recently decide to start writing restaurant reviews, though I am no critic, but hopefully you might enjoy some of my recommendations. My reviews will mainly be near around Richmond/Kingston, in south-west London.

Adesso
Adesso- Italian Eatery. 24 Hill Rise, Richmond, London, TW10 6UA 
Tel: 020 8940 5544

This small sicilian-italian restaurant brings an authentic touch to Richmond town centre. The service is excellent, and often there is a live performer singing or playing an instrument. On my birthday, the whole restaurant sang me happy birthday! The staff are very passionate about food, recommending drinks and deserts to comply with your main. All reasonable priced and fulfilling. The menu could be more diverse but chefs are willing to alter recipes.


I recommend the 'Spigola a Missinisa', a fillet of sea bass served with a black olive, caper, cherry tomato and oregano sauce. Simply delicious.

A School Girls Lunchbox Rating: 4/5

Love Jenni x

Monday, 23 August 2010

Occasions

For the past three weeks I have been visiting my maternal sides family in Finland. During the time I had one very hectic weekend in which was my cousins wedding and my sisters confirmation.



Outfit for my cousins wedding.

Dress- Vintage bought from Clothes Show London 2010
Belt- Beyond Retro
Gladiator Heels- H&M
Flower- Ninja



Outfit for my sisters confirmation.

Dress- Topshop
Jacket/Blazer- H&M
Gladiator Heels- H&M

Regardless to the fact that I don't really like finnish cuisine as it is all very hearty and wintery food, to build up for the coldness to come, there is a brand- Karl Fazer- who make the best chocolate in the world. If you ever travel to scandinavia, try it. You'll thank me.




Drizzled onto strawberries.. mmmmm.

Also, I have to say I am in love with the A/W 10 style trends. Minimalism being my favourite. After reading the latest edition of InStyle while in Finland went to Gina Tricot and bought this camel coloured shirt, which I cannot wait to wear!



Love Jenni xxx

Friday, 30 July 2010

All-in-One.

Firstly, sorry. I have genuinely seemed to neglect my blog, i don't even know why to be honest.

Secondly, thank you very much to Olivia at http://unionolivia.blogspot.com from who I have recieved the Stylish Blogger Award, and am very grateful!



With this award comes the difficult fact of telling you five facts about myself... here goes!

1. I am incredibly self-conscious, more so than many others.
2. I am forever arguing with my sisters for borrowing clothes without permission, and my mum for that matter.
3. A new fact, which recently occured, when i pack a suitcase to go on holiday, it has to be perfectly neat for my outbound journey, and i almost cry when i open it to see thing have moved around. For the inbound journey, i no longer care.
4.I never brush my hair, i can't even say i own a hairbrush.
5. I love Starbucks. Tall Extra Shot Vanilla Late with Whipped Cream, please.

Now, to pass it on, after a lot of thought, I have decided to pass it over to tumblr, to my sister, Senni at http://littlegirllivinginthebigworld.tumblr.com, her style is quirky, boho and very unique.

Thirdly, its summer! My summer is classified by the beginning of my school summer holidays. And as they commenced a week ago, i will be in a good mood until 6th September.

On Monday 19th July, I jetted off to Taba, Egypt with my Dad and two sisters. Though the heat was near to the point it was unbearable, i had an awesome time. Where we stayed, was literally in the middle of a desert. But had amazing views of sand dunes and mountains, and across the waters of the dead sea sat Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.





It was beautiful!

On Monday coming, I then go to Finland, in which at the moment suffering a heat wave, which seems impossible, yet i look forward to it. I hope to see old summer camp friends and am excited to go to my cousins wedding and my sisters confirmation. I love excuses to dress up!

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer!
Love Jenni xxx

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Camping Food.

Sorry for my lack of blogging, i have been extraordinarily busy for reasons I actually don't know.

In the past few weeks I have been camping on two occasions, one with Air Training Corps down in Folkestone, and the other for my best friend Evie's birthday party. The food on these two occasions were both completely different and I realised regedless to my fine taste, daily meals can be made easily.

When I went down to Folkestone, we were just told to bring 'food' for an evening meal. I was just like 'WHAT?! WHAT?!' with absolutely no idea of what to bring. The morning before I left I bought a gas cooker, yet I still had nothing to eat. I raded my Dad's cupboard (he seems to live on the bare minimum for every case-- his kitchen containing a few cans of easy cooks, some bread, marmite, tea bags and milk, honestly) where I found Heinz beef Ravioli. I started cooking it, really quite apprehensive that it might turn out disgusting to be pleasantly suprised. Maaaan, its NICE. I wanted more. Try it ;)


With my sergeant on our 12k walk.

For Evie's, her dad made a good old Barbeque.


It was pirate fancy dress by the way ;)

We had Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Beef Burgers, which were delicious. If however you have a little more time, here's an excellent burger recipe from the young chef Sam Stern's book, Real Food Real Fast. My sister Senni , is the burger maker of the family and if mine dont stick I get really mad and chuck 'em across the kitchen.

For 4.
Slash of olive oil, 1 medium chopped onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 450g beef mince, fresh thyme, 1 small egg beaten, 1 tsp tomato ketchup- you gotta opt for heinz :), salt, pepper, and 4 soft baps.

1. Heat oil in pan. Add onion, garlic, bit of salt. Fry gently till soft. Cool.
2. Slap mince into bowl. Add herbs, egg, ketchup, seasoning and fried onion and galic.
3. Mix well with fork. Form 4 burgers. Fridge for 5 minutes.
4. Preheat griddle or barbeque. Brush burgers with a little oil. Cook 3 miutes each side. Repeat till cooked to taste. Reast for a minute.
5. Stack burger: 1, Barbied bap. 2, burger. 3, slice o' tomato. 4, Rocket or lettuce. 5, Ketchup, guacamole, sweet chilli sauce, mayo or whatever relish you like.

There you have it, serve with a rustic salad to finish the summer night.

Jenni xxx

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Come Dine with Jenni.

Around a month ago, I came up with the idea for me and a few friends to each host our own "Come Dine with Me" style evening, and the weekend before last I hosted the first evening, "Come Dine with Jenni."

I served:
Flattened Salmon fishcakes on a bed of spinach and toasted pine nuts, as the starter.
An unbelievably easy meal to cook, and in a bigger quantity, could be served as a main.

Serves 2:
400g cooked salmon-flaked, 1tbsp mayonnaise, 1tsp dijon mustard, a handful of chopped parsley, 1 egg, olive oil.

Mix all the ingredients together, bar the egg and oil. Shape the mixture into balls and flatten them down to look like an American pancake. Leave to set in the fridge for 20-30 mins. Beat the egg and brush each side with it.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the cakes for 2 minutes on each side, until they are lovely and crispy.

For the main, I served a Parma Ham risotto, which I have previously blogged about.



For dessert, I made Eton Mess with a raspberry and blueberry coulis with whipped cream.
Again, an easy dish to make for a dinner party as it can all be prepared earlier.
I home-made the meringues, but if under pressure can be shop bought.

Serves 4 (but makes extra):
Meringues: 5 large egg whites, 300g golden caster sugar, 1 pinch of salt.
Coulis: 400g raspberries, 400g blueberries.
Other: 300ml whipping cream, 50g plain chocolate-melted.

Preheat the oven to 140C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually mix in the sugar and salt and whisk well until the mixture is the and seems like 'Mr. Whippy' ice-cream. Spoon the mixture into blobs on the baking tray leaving a generous gap between each. Bake for 1 hour.

For the coulis, blend 300g raspberries with 300g blueberries and a tablespoon of caster sugar.

Upon serving, whip 300ml whipping cream. Place the meringue into the bowl first top with whipped cream, then pour a little coulis, add remaining berries and finalise with a trickle of melted chocolate, placing everything equally for each.

We finished the evening with a girly sleepover to finish a beautiful summers day!




Love Jenni xxx

Friday, 21 May 2010

Summer has arrived.

Today has been the first day here in Britain we have finally seen Summer! Regardless to the heat my Physical Ed. teacher forced us to do 1500m, which after trying strenuously, failed. But the day got better, sunbathing at lunchtime, and frappucino's after school!

Later, I went on a bike ride to sainsbury's to get ingredients for my Dinner Party tomorrow, and came back to a still 21 degree garden. From which I am now blogging!

And this is the view from my garden;



AND I have slightly caught the sun on my cheeks, and after having a hairband around my wrist all day, has left a mark!
Happy Days!

I am so glad the forecast is even hotter, and it looks set to stay. Anyone got any got good plans for the nice weather, and hope you will be enjoying it as much as I will!

Lots of love,
Jenni xxx

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Note.

Just a quick note to say a chocolate brownie recipe will be up shortly, hopefully tomorrow, I just have to test it, on request by my friend Reem.

Also, if anyone else has requests, I will be willing to have a go!

Jenni xxx

Real Food Festival

On Friday I had the oppurtunity to go to Earls Court to the Real Food Festival. And I loved it. Who wouldn't love a place where tasters are being thrown at you continuously?! In my opinion it was shear bliss!

This was a little Italian stall selling chorizo, salami, cheese and organic garlic!




Has anyone had this? Firefly Energy Drinks? They are now my favourite drink ever, my favourite being Peaches and Green Tea, and will be the drink of the summer, or perhaps only mine!

I picked up a beautiful recipe there, from Discover the Origin, which is a Parma Ham risotto, not to everyones taste, but in my opinion amazing. Once you have learnt how to make risotto it comes 'easy peasy lemon squeezy'! My mum is still nagging me to teach her how to make it, one day it will happen!

Serves 4
Ingredients: 50g butter, 1 small onion- chopped, 2 garlic cloves- chopped, 300g risotto rice(I use arborio), 200ml white wine, 1.2 litres vegtable stock- hot, Knob of butter, 150g Parma Ham- cut into strips, 4 tbsp. Marscapone(or any mild cream cheese), 1 packet of rocket, 200g peas and Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings- to serve.

Melt the butter, on a medium low heat in a deep pan, add the onion and cook gently until softened. Add the garlic until that too is softened, then the rice and stir until coated in butter, then add the wine and stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Add the stock, ladleful by ladleful, stir each time until completely absorbed. Keep stiring until the stock is finished and the rice is slightly 'al dente' but creamy. Season and leave to rest for a minute or two.
In a second frying pan, heat a knob of butter, and add the Parma Ham and fry till crisp. Add the Parma Ham to the rice, followed by the rocket, Marscapone, and peas. Serve quickly, and top with the cheese shavings.

Not my photography, scanned from the picture on the recipe.

I had a wonderful time and will hopefully be heading back next year!



Enjoy!
Jenni xxx

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Lemon Capri Torte

Ever since I began my lemon fetish at the beginning of this spring, I haven't stopped eating anything 'lemony'. Which is why I set off this morning to the local farmers market in order to buy some fresh ingredients for a lemon tart. Sadly, as I got there rather late, many of the sellers had already gone home after selling their entire stock. I managed to get loaf of bread, some fresh fish, and a bite of lunch. I sat in view of the river eating my Ciabatta filled with crumbed chicken and rocket and decied to do a little bit of shopping. I went straight to Cancer Research and bagged myself a pair of cropped chinos, for £6.50! Anyway, in order to get my ingerdients, I decided to resort to good old Tesco Metro.

The tart I made was a Lemon Capri Torte, which fulfilled my desire for something lemony without fail.





Ingredients: 150g butter; plus extra for greasing, 225g caster sugar, 6 eggs; separated, zest and juice of 4 unwaxed lemons, 300g ground almonds, 115g potato/cornflour; plus extra for flouring.

Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6. Grease and flour a 23cm round cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar(this takes a bit of strength, so I recommend you leave the butter to warm slightly), add the egg yolks in one go, then add the lemon zest and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and add to the mixture. Lastly, fold in the ground almonds and the flour. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 150C/130C fan/Gas 2 and cook for a further 40 minutes- yes, it is extremely annoying as all you want to do is eat it but do be patient, the outcome is definitely worth it. Cool and turn over.



Enjoy!
Jenni xxx

Friday, 23 April 2010

Miss Dahl.

I have recently found a love for model-turned-cook Sophie Dahl. Her 6-part series on BBC2 has just finished but her recipes will live on with her latest book, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights. It is written in five parts, Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer and, my personal favourite, Puddings. Each season consisting of Breakfasts, Lunch and Supper, using seasonal fruits, vegetables and meats.



My favourite savoury recipe is 'Chicken stew with green olives'

Serves 4:
Ingredients: Olive oil, 4 Chicken breasts, cut to strips, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 fennel bulb (but as I am not a lover of fennel, i substituted with asparagus), 250ml white wine, 400g chopped tomatoes, 250ml chicken stock, 150g green olives (if you don't like olives, like many do, this can be substituted with capers, or peppers- if necessary), and a handful of chopped basil.

In a large pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil and add the chicken, cooking for 15 minutes until browned. Remove from the pan and keep to one side.
In the same pan, sweat the garlic and fennel-or asparagus- in a little more oil for a few minutes. Pour the wine over, add the tomatoes, and cook for another 10 minutes on low. Put the chicken back into the pan and cook on medium for 20-30 minutes, adding the stock little by little. Put the olives-or your alternative- and basil in at the end for a few minutes and serve with a small portion of rice.
Enjoy!

Jenni xxx

Monday, 12 April 2010

Welcome.

Well hello.
My name is Jenni Whitaker, and I am a lover of food, history and fashion. I welcome you to my blog with open arms but please, don't make judgements yet as I am still trying to figure blogger out!

I have been brought up by my mother- a Finnish woman, who has taught me independence, and my father- a very English man, who has taught me everything from how to play football to the league of nations, in a quite conservative family.

I've cooked since before I could walk and have suffered cracked heads and bloody fingers for it, but yet I still carry on as it is one of my loves and I may not be too good, but I'm the one eating it!

After years of nannies and au pairs, aged 10 my older sisters and I were left to conquer the house between the hours of 8am-7pm. My favourite chore has always been 'Kitchen Duty' which comes around every third week. I cook the basics, but when in the mood can turn quite adventurous! I love food from all over the world starting with what I've been taught, English and Scandinavian and reaching around the earth to more oriental and asian and back around to the delicacies of the mediterranean.

Please follow my blog to learn new exciting recipes and to fall in love with food.
Enjoy whats to come!

Jenni xxx