Wednesday, 30 October 2013

How to make: Duck ragu

I love duck but if truth be told, I usually have it in duck and pancakes form. Lately I've started seeing duck stocked in my local supermarkets, so really wanted to try something a little bit different. I love fresh pasta - my favourites being tagliatelle and linguine - so one day decided to make my own ragu.

You will need...

- Duck legs. I usually go for one per person
- Bottle of red wine
- Mixed herbs
- Fresh pasta of your choice
- Seasoning
- 1 large onion
- Garlic
- Chopped tomatoes / passata
- Tomato purée
- 1 tsp of sugar

Method

1) Open the wine and let it breathe. Taste some to make sure it's not poisoned


2) Score the duck legs and sprinkle with a little sea salt before putting in the oven. The sea salt will make the skin go lovely and crispy. I find duck legs easier to shred, but you can use duck breast instead if you like. Roast.

3) Once out the oven and cooked to your taste, let it rest for a few minutes. Then shred with a knife and fork. It's up to you if you use the skin or discard it.

4) Chop the onion and cook on the hob until softened. Add the garlic.

5) Add the shredded duck to heat it through and to absorb all that garlicy wonderfulness. I like to drizzle a little bit of wine in there early so that it infuses with the duck as soon as possible


6) Add the chopped tomatoes / passata. Use passata if you prefer a smoother sauce. 


7) Start seasoning to taste and add a dollop of tomato purée. I usually add a teaspoon of sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes.


8) Add a splash of wine and as many mixed herbs as you like. I taste as I go and will continue to adjust the seasoning until the balance is just right.

9) Leave to simmer. Meanwhile start cooking the pasta. Cook until al dente then serve everything up. You can either pile the ragu on top like this:


Or mix in:


Tasty, simple, and a perfect autumn / winter meal with a warming glass of red wine

Come say hello on Twitter: @Lucy_Angele

Monday, 28 October 2013

Barcelona - in association with HolidayGems.co.uk

HolidayGems.co.uk recently contacted me about a competition they're running where one lucky blogger will win a trip to Barcelona. I've been to Barcelona before but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I'd like the city that much. Or that I'd have a burning desire to return. I would head back with my favourite travel buddy Martin as there were so many things we didn't get to see / do. Also I have a new camera now - which has far better video capacity - so it'd be great to take the Nikon with me. We would spend our 4 days and 3 nights as follows:

Day 1

Visit a playa. We only saw one at night so it'd be nice to see it in daylight, dip our toes in the water, and relax a little after travelling. Whilst in the area I'd definitely want to re-visit Barcelona's chocolate museum and sample some more of their deliciously thick hot chocolate:



We'd wander around a little - because that's when you find the best places - and maybe head back to the playa for the sunset. As it was a pretty amazing sunset:


When I'm travelling I always like to play it safe with food on the first night. We had amazing burgers at Pura Brasa so this would be my restaurant of choice:


Nearby there is an amazing fountain show at night which would be rude to miss:


Day 2

We would be up at the crack of dawn for our Gaudi day. We'd start by visiting the Sagrada Familia - before the queues get too long - and then afterwards head to Parc Guell. These were by far two of my favourite places and you cannot visit Barcelona and not see them


In the evening we would end up around the port which had the best paella and sangria we'd ever tasted. You paid a little more for food here, but it was worth every euro. A lovely atmosphere and attentive restaurant staff who always made sure your wine glass was never empty:


Day 3

Como Caxia is Barcelona's gem. Entry was really cheap and you could go in and out as many times as you pleased. It was a lot quieter than the main tourist attractions so it was a breath of fresh air. 


This time round I'd love to try a special dining experience at one of Barcelona's top restaurants - this one has some amazing reviews - and go in search of some sugary goodness. Like Escriba to see their amazing cake art, Papabubble for extraordinary candy, or bubo for dessert one day.

Day 4

For the final day I wouldn't want to do anything too strenuous before the flight home. I would visit St Josep la boqueria market for lunch - fabulous hot food plus cups of fruits for only a euro - and to pick up last minute souvenirs:


And a wander around Las Ramblas of course.

So there you have it. How I'd spend my time in Barcelona and why I'd love to go back. If you'd like to read up on any of my past Barcelona posts, or get some Barcelona travel inspiration, you can find them here:  1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6

#BarcelonaGems

Thursday, 17 October 2013

River Island sale now on!

The River Island sale started today and once again, I have failed to add any colour to my - very monochrome - wardrobe:

French print sweatshirt - £17 - anything with French on it and I'm SOLD
Lace maxi dress - £20 - toughen up with a leather jacket and biker boots
Mesh ballerina top - £10 - pair with a skater skirt for a ballerina / ladylike glam inspired look

Embellished cream top - £12 - perfect for those with magpie tendencies
Houndstooth belted skirt - £10 - this screams autumn / winter
Textured sweatshirt - £12 - will look amazing with statement jewellery layered on top

It's official. I need to go to some form of black & white clothing rehab.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

#8 Life as we know it

Autumn is closing in on us fast. I have a spare disposable BBQ which I'd love to have the chance to use, but we all know that's not going to happen. Instead I foresee film nights, hot drinks aplenty, and swapping beer gardens for pubs with roaring log fires.

Here's what I've been up to lately:

These were a wonderful gift which helped brighten up a rubbish week. 
Sunflowers are my favourites and I think they always will be.


It's now officially the season for chunky knitwear. 
Meaning that our cats love me more than usual:


Work has been stressful to say the least. 
Which has resulted in Mum leaving me these sorts of notes:


After work cocktails have been an absolute godsend


Had a really random night out where after playing poker in a wine bar in Blackfriars, we were put in taxis and taken for drinks on a boat. Seeing London at night from the top deck was awesome. As was this Captain Morgan glass I drank from:


Miranda Hart goes on tour in 2014 and I went to a sneak preview the other night. It was rib achingly funny and if you're a fan of the show, you'll love it.


This last week I have also been drinking disgusting looking smoothies all with the aim of being healthier. Spinach, kale and kiwi tastes a lot nicer than it sounds!


I like to have 1 / 2 nights a week where I sit in bed and catch up on all the latest magazines. The latest Asda catalogue really impressed me - they have such a strong clothing range at the moment and I want virtually all of their bedding! Ironically in the pic below all magazines are on an Asda duvet cover which I first mentioned here


Lovely work lunch at Ping Pong where we sipped various flowering teas and snacked on seaweed crackers whilst deciding what to order from their extensive menu


Hope you all are having a lovely week! x x


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

London Fashion Weekend 2013

The other weekend Alison and I headed to London Fashion Weekend. Everywhere you turned you saw fashionistas in towering heels, people eyeing up other people's outfits, and people posing for street style photos. I won't lie, I experienced wardrobe envy numerous times. To start, we wandered around Somerset House where you could shop the designer collections for discounted prices, and buy various other products like cosmetics and hair and beauty treatments. Shoes & Bags was my own personal mecca. I still to this day need the suede tan ankle boots in my life.


and also these white cut out ankle boots....


Check out these head turning brogues....


We had a little bit of a gap before our catwalk session so made use of Canon's 360 degree studio. The queue was long but it was worth it! When it was your turn, you had to create a dynamic pose - like jumping in the air, a spin, or hair swish - so that it was caught in 360 degree photographic wonderfulness. Being in a short pleated skirt, I decided against spinning so we went for the default that lots of people decided to do.... pretend to be in some sort of action movie and look like you're sending someone flying! Afterwards they took your details and emailed you the 360 degree "video" plus all individual frames. All this for free! Here's a taste of one of our frames:


We went to the last catwalk show of the day - and season. What's nice about London Fashion Weekend is that compared to LFW there's no seats allocated for the catwalk. So we very luckily were able to get seats in the second row. There were two shows to choose from - "designer" or "trend" - but I'd really recommend "trend" over "designer". With "designer", you are seeing one designer - and you have no idea who - within the space of 15-20 minutes. For "trend", it's a 40 minute showcase of various new season trends.


Our trends were "Pretty In Pink" "Back To Nature", "Shape Up" and "Victoriana". All the models walked quite quickly and it was extremely bright in there - wish I'd brought my lens hood - so unfortunately none of my photos came out very well......


My favourite collections were Back To Nature and Victoriana. I loved the neutral shades, fur trim, lace detailing and monochrome pieces the most. After an amazing show we left laden with all our London Fashion Weekend freebies - two bags worth! In one bag we received a free make-up set from Maybelline:



In the main goodie bag itself we had tea, collagen boosting sweets, coffee, Maybelline lipstick, Maybelline nail polish, Maybelline mascara, and dry shampoo. And with Elle being one of the main sponsors, I picked up the latest edition for a mere £1. Bargain.


Have you ever been to London Fashion Weekend?