Monday, 7 January 2013

4. Learn to cook a Sunday dinner

As a woman in my mid twenties I feel that I should know how to do this. Not that I like to conform to the female stereotype but one day I may have a husband, possibly two children and I will want to whip them up a roast dinner on a Sunday from time to time. Now this won't be happening for a long while yet so if I start perfecting my technique now then I can enjoy the outcomes of my cooking attempts with myself and my friends in the process.

I asked my three BFF's who I was sharing a post Christmas hot tub and cabin in the woods break with if they minded being taste testers for my first ever roast dinner; they were very obliging! I can categorically say that the only help I got from them was instructions on how to make cheesy leeks and a little help setting the table. The rest of the time they were enjoyed drinks and snacks in the hot tub. However I documented their post dinner feedback in my phone while we were sprawled on the sofa (which is a good job because I proceeded to get pretty merry to celebrate the success.) The food tasters were pretty wrecked at this point too but their feedback was as follows:

Laura (a seasoned chicken connoisseur)
Comments: "is this what food tastes like in heaven because if it is kill me now"
Improvements: "more leeks and a bigger chicken" - there will never be a bird big enough

Lyndsay (a notoriously picky eater)
Comments: "I wish my boyfriend could do to me what this dinner has"
Improvements: "Thicker gravy" - this was down to the lack of gravy granules and corn flour!

Buttness (a sausage fiend)
Comments: "Holey hell life will never been the same again"
Improvements: "Sausages" - someone should set up a sausages anonymous group

So readers if you would like to get these kind of results follow my methodology below:

Step 1
Read Delia Smith's roast dinner recipe and compose a shopping list and instructions for cooking a roast.

Step 2
Go shopping for your ingredients (I don't have a photo of this step because apparently you get kicked out of supermarkets for taking photos. . .

Step 3
Prep the chicken by massaging butter under and over the skin.

Step 4
Chuck the bird in the oven on top of some veg.

Step 5
Have a drink to take the edge off. My chosen drink of choice Cava and Disoranno.

Step 6
Par boil the veg and chuck in in a pre oiled roasting try, whip up some cheesy smoked bacon leeks, make the Yorkshire's and check the chicken!

Step 7
Take the bird out the oven to 'rest' and make the gravy 

Step 8
Carve the bird

Step 9
Plate up

Step 10

Here's to the next one *raises glass*


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

15. Paint a canvas

I'm writing this blog entry at 3.00pm on Thursday 27 December 2012 with a glass of wine in my hand (there are few exceptions apart from Christmas time when you get away with cracking open a bottle this early!)

I have a very creative personality and I've always been partial to a bit of artwork – though this was not always encouraged by my art teachers at sixth form (I won't name names but they know who they are), so having never painted a canvas I thought I would add it too my list.

I knew I wanted to paint a landscape to reflect my love for the outdoors but I wasn't sure about how to present it, so I visited a few galleries in the Toon and was finally inspired by an exhibition at the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle upon Tyne by Julie Dumbarton ( - at this point if anyone would like to buy me one of her prints then I'd be a very happy person. Although trained as a fine art painter the exhibition could be described as a series of abstract landscapes, I was particularly attracted to her use of bright colours. I do like traditional landscape artists such as Turner and Constable but I don't think my talent is up to scratch yet to try and replicate the style in their paintings. 

I used acrylic paint to make sure I got vibrant colours and the thickness of the paint allows the addition of texture to the canvas. As far as technique is concerned there was none. I just whipped my brushed out, squeezed some paint onto a plate, started mixing and slapping it onto the canvas (and not necessarily thinking about what the picture would turn out like.) After a series of painting sessions, normally on a Sunday afternoon when you don't have the work demands of a weekday or the stresses of sorting your life out on a Saturday (or having to be a bouncer for Santa!) I finally finished and decided to give the title of “the path of dreams” to the painting - as a testament to my friend who will hopefully always follow her dreams.

Now at this point I would love to say that the canvas is no hanging up pride of place in my house but its not. I really appreciated receiving a painting from my friend Laura Wilson for my birthday about three years ago so I wanted to give my painting to a very important person in my life. Now there are three very important people in my life who I do secret Santa with each year therefore this year I decided my lucky secret Santa would receive a Kathryn Wilson original – I think all three of them would appreciate the gesture (or they would at least have the courtesy to at least pretend to like it in my presence, the test will be when I turn up unexpected on her doorstep one day to make sure its hanging on her wall!) This is the moment she opened the painting.

Anyways watch this space, you never know it might be a series of my paintings hanging up in The Biscuit Factory one day and yes I am available with very reasonable rates for commissions if you would like some of my work in your life.