I have had the January Waitrose magazine in my house now for a week and haven’t even turned the cover page. It’s one of my guilty pleasures and one I like to get really cosy and comfy before I settle into reading. Gone are the pre-baby days when I used to sit outside in the garden on a sunny saturday afternoon with a large glass of rosè, reading cover to cover in one sitting (usually followed by a mad dash back to Waitrose to pick up ingredients for a newly inspired dish). Now I wait… I wait until Jackson is asleep, until I have swept up the craziness of the day and piled it into the toy box/dishwasher/washing machine, until I have cooked our tea and Dom is nicely settled into some evening work. Then I read.
This week however I have been absolutely shattered and barely even glanced at the cover before falling asleep! But what a cover it is. Popped with the bright crimson pink of beetroot soup and flecked with contrasting greens to brighten up our January coffee tables.
When my mum asked me to bake something for this Sunday’s family dinner, I turned to the cover for my inspiration and dug out the recipe for beetroot brownies, a firm family favourite. You could be fooled into thinking they were a ‘new year, new me’ baking choice given the whole pack of cooked beetroot which features. But sadly not, they are laced with butter, sugar and dark chocolate all of which give a fudgy, rich indulgence, with an earthy flavour hit from the rich beets.
The beetroot flavour is subtle but the grated red root gives a moistness to these little brownie bites which will make you reach for them time and time again, just like we do!
It’s hard to know what to say about Chaophraya… Yes it’s a chain, yes it’s big and yes it’s bold but I can’t help but choose it time and time again.
I once did a cookery day and cocktail masterclass here (organised by my hens for my hen weekend) and it was a really fun experience, although I had been coming here for years prior.
My husband and I often visit some of the less flashy South-East Asian offerings around our area of Leeds (such as Nam Jai Thai in Otley and Bistro Saigon in Ilkley), but when we have occasion to treat ourselves (this time it was our 2nd wedding anniversary, and a child-free lunch!) we sometimes gravitate towards the blingy, opulent and always mouth-wateringly tasty Chaophraya, Leeds.
We have both been to Thailand a couple of times, unfortunately never together, so we are under no illusion that this is very much a Westernised experience, probably equivalent to the Aagrah for Indian, but really, who cares? Some of Leeds’ bearded hipster folk may scoff at this mainstream hotspot, and flock to Headrow House for the next 10 minutes, but I say DINE! Dine in this gold encrusted, orchid filled, politely staffed, fabulous cocktail making, delicious chain… Oh and order the tamarind duck, it’s seriously good.
It’s been a good couple of years since my last post.
My love of cooking and eating has been somewhat sidelined to make way for a meticulously planned wedding, a pregnancy ruled by fig biscuits and then the arrival of our son – Jackson, who is now 4 months old.
It has been a whirlwind 3 years and only now do I find myself not just missing the time in the kitchen (my true relaxation) but also the process of blogging. I was never the best photographer or writer but it gave me a great creative outlet and a hobby to call my own.
Of course now even with the best will in the world Squeeze of Lemon will always take a backseat to family life, but for the last few years my passion for writing my little blog has kept niggling away at me… Maybe my posts will be simpler, maybe they will address my new mum lifestyle ‘how to make a cup of tea with no hands and then watch it go cold’ or maybe we will add a Mini-Squeeze section where I can marvel at my greatest pureeing achievements. Who knows? But with a promise of technical resurrection from my husband, I am back!