Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get yourself some real Juzzi Jewellery by CP

Looking for something to give at Christmas.?
Have a look at these beads, bracelets and earrings made from recycled paper by fair trade communities in Kenya
Here is the website link www.juzionline.com

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jacqueline knows a couple of Handy Men...

Stephen Watt - plumber and bathroom installer ( can do kitchens too) extremely skilled at all aspects- perfect tiling, plumbing and electrics. Highly reliable, perfectionist and thoroughly nice chap.
He fitted my bathroom and has since done work for Fiona - who I know will endorse him too.
tel: 07951 529358.

Malcolm Ward ( I think that's his surname)- plumber - Safe Gas registered ( aka Corgi) so great for fitting boilers, central heating etc. Like Stephen - reliable and does a superb job. Also very good price - he was significantly less expensive than other quotes and did no less a job!
Tel: 07815 320876

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Honey Glazed Chicken and Bacon Bites from James

Here’s a recipe SO good it will make your
eyelashes curl all by themselves

Ingredients: boneless chicken breasts (one per person)
20 thin bacon slices

3 tbsp honey
2 tsp coarse mustard
fresh lemon juice
Optional: salt

Cut the chicken breasts into thin strips. Not too thin, the bacon has to brown and if the chicken is too thin it’ll get dry before the bacon gets crispy. That would be a sin. Grab a bowl and combine 3 tbsp honey with 2 tsp coarse mustard. Squeeze in some lemon juice. Not too much, about a tbsp or so. I think orange juice will be great, too. Take the lovely bacon and wrap a piece around each strip of cut chicken. Place them in a roasting tray or on a cookie sheet. If you’re afraid of cleaning up, line the tray or sheet with some tin-foil first. I’m hard-core (And own a dish washing machine. It helps). Brush the chicken bites with half the marinade. Bake them in a preheated oven at 425F (225C) for 10 to 13 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. As soon as one side is done, take the tray out of the oven. Does this look good or what??? Flip them over and brush them with the remaining marinade. Put them back in the oven for another 10 to 13 minutes, until the other side is crispy as well. Keep an eye on them.

Don’t these just scream: love me, bite me, chew me, eat me, devour me?
If I can give you a tip, a really useful one, it would be to fix twice the amount you think you’ll need. And then some…..

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Love it or hate it.. from Andy & Nigella (move over Wayne!)

An exclusive preview of something hot involving from Andy, Nigella & Marmite!

Check the link and see ...


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Best holiday accommodation offer EVER from Christine

Want a visit to the great British seaside this summer for a STAYCATION?

We have a two bedroom flat in St Leonards (sleeps 4 1/2) with a fully fitted kitchen/living room and balcony, right near Warrior Square and just 5 minutes walk from the beach. We absolutely love it there and are happy to let friends from Stopgap use it for up to a week for a few bottles of nice wine and the promise to look after it and leave it as you found it.

Have a look at my blog to find out more.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I randomly popped into Paradise Bar last week to find the manager of my lovely local pub in Twickenham behind the bar. The two guys that own it admitted that they have handed it over to a set of people that had no idea what they were doing and have now asked Alan to come in and sort it out.

He would love to get us all going back there and the Stopgap 10% discount button is still on the till!

New chef, new menu (Nice salads, wraps, sandwiches, pizza oven, fresh pizza, they make their own bread etc), wines are good too.

They will be putting in a new kitchen and creating a restaurant upstairs, will offer the room up there for meetings and will not charge us for the hire.

His name is Alan Rickets - 020 8332 7122.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Chocolate Truffle Torte
400g good quality dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa) broken into pieces
6 large eggs
400g caster sugar
250g butter (unsalted) in pieces
100g ground almonds

* Preheat oven to 160c (fan)
* Melt chocolate and butter in bowl over a pan of simmering water - when melted allow to cool slightly
* Beat eggs and sugar with electric whisk for around 10mins until pale and thick.
* Gently fold in chocolate and almonds into the egg mixture.
* Pour into a 23cm x 7cm baking tin lined with baking parchment
* Bake in middle of the oven on a baking tray for 45mins
* Allow to cool in the tin - the cake will sink and crack
* Chill in the fridge once cool before turning out to serve.
Enjoy! Especially nice with really good quality vanilla ice cream

Ma's Meringues from CP

(4 egg whites makes 15 - 20 meringues)
One egg white to 2 ounces of caster sugar
Put the oven on a low heat - No. 1 if possible
Line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper
Beat the egg white to peaks and then SLOWLY add the caster sugar..this can be done in a blender
Use about a dessert spoon of the mixture for each meringue
Put the trays in the oven for an hour..Turn the oven off and leave to cool over night

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Landing in Normandy from Ian

A friend of mine has an excellent house in Normandy which is available for holidays rental.

They are lovely and warm people, who would be pleased to hear from anyone interested. The site is very comprehensive and has received excellent testimonials from previous holiday makers.

Monday, June 21, 2010

You CAN have your cake! From Stephen

For those who remember the lovely Bea, an ex SG'er, she's now producing the most spectacular celebration cakes in her spare time!
Please take a look, they're works of art!

If you would like to contact Bea
for a quote please contact her on beacowley@hotmail.co.uk


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Eat like a Princess! from Claire

The Princess Victoria
- Great 'Gastro' Pub ( www.princessvictoria.co.uk)

On Mel's recommendation Bill & I met some friends here on Friday night and if Shepherds Bush area is good for you, then I highly recommend this pub. It doesn't look much from the outside, but the food - and wine list - are fab! It's all quite simple fare, but they focus on really good ingredients, cooked perfectly and served in a generous portion. We started off by sharing a wonderful plate of cold meats, dressed crab and goats cheese and rocket salad. The boys followed this with a wonderful steak, I had rabbit and wild mushroom pappardelle and my other friend had a plate of roasted cod. Dessert was one Sticky Toffee Pudding, two Chocolate Mousse with Peanut topping and four spoons! It's not expensive - probably circa £25 per head for three courses excluding wine - and worth every penny.

A Room with a View


One of Hannah and Eloise's candidates has a house in Italy which she has just finished renovating and it's almost ready for renting (end of May).

I said I'd pass on the details for the blog, in case anyone is interested.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Looking for the right decorator....

Andy 'my house is the Forth Bridge' Young is now looking for a good (no rubbish please) painter.

Can anyone recommend one to him?

Thank you

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Place in the Sun

Near Florence, Italy
A friend of mine has told me about a villa run by friends of hers about half an hour out of Florence. I should imagine you would need to rent a car although there is a train station that takes you to Florence not that far away. It's in a beautiful location on a hillside amongst the vineyards...


Patara, Turkey
Patara View Point Hotel, not far from Kalkan. This is definitely more affordable for people with a smaller budget. £300 a week for bed and breakfast. It's a great place. Near lots of sites, markets and the sea. I've been there twice with the boys and loved it. Here is the website link www.pataraviewpoint.com

Does anyone know of a similar small family run hotel in Italy? I thought we'd have a change this summer...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Zesty Recipe from CP

Seville Oranges are only available for three weeks of the year. You can still find them in Sainsbury's and Morrisons Seville orange marmalade - Nigel Slater's recipe I made two batches this year. One with organic fruit, the other not. The flavour of the organic one shone most brilliantly and took less time to reach setting point. This is enough to fill about 5 or 6 normal jam jars.
12 Seville oranges

2 lemons

1.25kg unrefined golden granulated sugar

Using a small, particularly sharp kitchen knife, score four lines down each fruit from top to bottom, as if you were cutting the fruit into quarters. Let the knife cut through the peel but without piercing the fruit.
Cut each quarter of peel into fine shreds (or thicker slices if you like a chunkier texture). Squeeze each of the peeled oranges and lemons into a jug, removing and reserving all the pulp and pips. Make the juice up to 4 litres with cold water, pouring it into the bowl with the shredded peel. You may need more than one bowl here. Tie the reserved pith, squeezed-out orange and lemon pulp and the pips in muslin bag and push into the peel and juice. Set aside in a cold place and leave overnight. The next day, tip the juice and shredded peel into a large stainless steel or enamelled pan (or a preserving pan for those lucky enough to have one) and push the muslin bag down under the juice. Bring to the boil then lower the heat so that the liquid continues to simmer merrily. It is ready when the peel is totally soft and translucent. This can take anything from 40 minutes to a good hour-and-a-half, depending purely on how thick you have cut your peel. (This time, mine took 45 minutes with the organic oranges, just over an hour with the others.) Once the fruit is ready, lift out the muslin bag and leave it in a bowl until it is cool enough to handle. Add the sugar to the peel and juice and turn up the heat, bringing the marmalade to a rolling boil. Squeeze every last bit of juice from the reserved muslin bag into the pan. Skim off any froth that rises to the surface. (If you don't your preserve will be cloudy.) Leave at a fast boil for 15 minutes. Remove a tablespoon of the preserve, put it on a plate, and pop it into the fridge for a few minutes. If a thick skin forms on the surface of the refrigerated marmalade, then it is ready and you can switch the pan off. If the tester is still liquid, then let the marmalade boil for longer. Test every 10 to 15 minutes. Some mixtures can take up to 50 minutes to reach setting consistency. Ladle into the sterilised pots and seal immediately.

Seville orange tart
For the pastry:
8 oz (approx 250 g)
plain flour
3 oz (approx 100 g)
icing sugar
4 oz (approx 125 g)
1 egg Or you can use ready-made pastry if you prefer
For the filling: 2 oz (approx 50 g)
5 oz (approx 140 g)
caster sugar

2 eggs

2 Seville oranges
To make the pastry: Cream the butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Beat in the flour to form a dough. This quantity of pastry is enough for three 7-inch tart cases, so divide the dough into three and freeze what you don’t need immediately. (It’s the same pastry that I use for strawberry cheesecake). Wrap one portion in cling film or foil and refrigerate for about an hour. Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface, and line a greased tart tin about 7 inches (approximately 18 cm) in diameter. Don’t try to roll it out too thin. If the pastry breaks or tears when you lift it into the tin, don’t worry too much. Press the broken edges back together like Plasticene and you’ll probably get away with it. Bake the empty tart case in a hot oven (about 200 C) for about 15 minutes until golden brown and set. You can go through the palaver of blind-baking with the pastry weighted down with beans or marbles if you like, but I never bother. To make the filling: Put the butter, sugar and orange rind in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Remove the bowl from the heat, and beat in the juice of both oranges. Pour into the cooked tart case.
Bake at about 180 C for about 15 minutes until the filling is set.
Serve hot or cold, with whipped cream if liked. The cooked tart will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature, if it gets the chance.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Dry Cleaning & Tailoring - Fast Stitch
If you need dry cleaning or repairs done, I have found Fast Stich (just under the office on Eton Street) to be very good. I'm not sure how they compare price wise, but I don't get the impression they are any more expensive than anyone else. But they are good and they are very convenient!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Grab a Slice of the Action...

Not exactly the most high-brow of offers (apologies) but 50% off at Pizza Hut for those of you that fancy it!

Click here to claim the offer.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to use your Black Garlic from Sapphire

Below is a web site that gives you some great ideas for your Black Garlic.

Monday, January 11, 2010

An 'Electrifying' Experience from Ann

For all film buffs who enjoy a bit of luxury, you should definitely try the Electric Cinema in Portobello Road. Restored to it's former glory several years ago it has an atmosphere of absolute decadence! Relax in the gorgeous leather seats with footstools whilst enjoying a glass of champagne or wine, (available at the bar inside the cinema), which can be taken back to your seat which has a small table with wine cooler. If you're feeling really romantic there are two leather sofa beds at the back of the Theatre. They also have 'Electric Scream' sessions so that parents and carers can enjoy full length features with their babies on their laps without worrying about paying babysitters or disturbing others.

For a real art-house cinematic experience go to