a teenie-weenie after-dinner martini

Chocolate martiniThis lovely little bit of sweet velvet debunks the notion that a martini is an aperitif. You won’t need dessert if you opt for one of these chocolate martinis.

30 ml vodka
15 ml frangelico
15 ml white creme de cacao
3 dark chocolate drops

Add the liqueurs to a well iced cocktail shaker, shake, then pour into a chilled martini glass with 3 chocolate drops at the bottom.


falling down hurts: the vintage daredevil

I’ve reached the age where I’m reluctant to undertake activities that could result in me falling over. I’m not sure exactly when I developed this heightened sense of physical caution. I suspect it was a slow-creeping condition like the wrinkle in the corner of my eye.

Some sports lend themselves to the vintage daredevil. Take surfing for example, you’re never too old to take a mouthful of brine and a sand-facial. And even if you’re not feeling up to it today, you can always opt for the less-frequented calmer waters and leave the big waves to the whipper-snappers. No one would be the wiser as you ride your long board on a 2 footer (that’s a 2 foot high wave).

On the other hand, take the recent re-emergence of roller derby. I quite like to idea of casually rolling around the rink but if someone tried to (and lordy-forbid, succeeded in) push me over, darn-straight I’d have a hearty case of rink rage. Not to mention a bruised tush that I would nurse and whinge about until well after the next bout in the competition cycle and perhaps even for the entire season.

The older we get the more firmly planted our feet are to the ground.

This fear of falling down extends into my life in other ways. I’m reluctant to ever have a hangover again.

But the point that needs to be made is: although hurting yourself really hurts, and the wait in the emergency department is boring, and the itch inside the cast is annoying, your life is for living, and if you’re not riding your kid’s skateboard at full downhill speed on an uneven surface with a dog attacking your wheels, you’re not living, are you?

*Readers assume all risk in participating in activities, indemnify, hold harmless and promise not to sue barelypoppins who is released from any and all liability, including but not limited to, liability arising from the negligence or fault of the activities, for death, disability, personal injury, property damage, property theft, or actions of any kind which may hereafter occur and including traveling to and from this activity.

leg cast foot

image: http://www.ehow.com/how_2077765_care-leg-cast.html

tagliatelle with pea and broad bean pesto

tagliatelle with pea and broad bean pesto

We all know that peas and mint are a match made in heaven but try adding broad beans to the mix and you get a wonderful depth to the flavour. This recipe comes from Donna Hay and is worth sharing.

2 cups frozen peas
2 cups fresh shelled or frozen broad beans
½ lemon, juiced
1 cup mint leaves, plus some pretty ones to garnish
1 cup parmesan, finely grated
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic, clove
1 packet fresh Tagliatelle pasta
2 chorizo, sliced

Put the water for the pasta on to bring to the boil.
Blitz your peas and broad beans in a bowl of water in the microwave to blanch then set aside. When cooled to the touch, shell your broad beans if they aren’t already shelled.
In a food processor add peas, broad beans, mint, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Blitz to a chunky paste. Then add parmesan to gently combine.
Cook the pasta (fresh pasta will only take about 2-4 minutes). Test a piece before you drain.
In a hot pan, fry chorizo until crisping on edges. Remove to kitchen paper.
Gently combine the pesto with the pasta.
Serve and top with chorizo and mint leaves to garnish.

tofu pork and eggplant hotpot

This Chinese inspired dish is a quick alternative to take away. It took me 20 minutes to make this meal.

tofu pork and eggplant hotpot1 eggplant, sliced to large batons
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp ginger, finely grated
1 tbsp garlic, crushed
250 g pork mince
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp shou shing wine
1 tsp sambal / chili paste
1 tsp cornflour
250 g firm tofu, drained, cubed
¼ cup shallots (green onion), thinly sliced
rice to serve
coriander leaves to garnish

Put your rice on to cook in your preferred method.
In your wok, add the oils over medium-high heat.
When the oil is becoming hot, add eggplant and stir frequently until soft when pierced and lightly browned, or about 5 minutes. Use tongs to remove the eggplant and place on paper towel.
In the remaining oil in the wok, add ginger and garlic and stir frequently until fragrant.
Add pork mince and stir until crumbled and browned.
In a jug, mix soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, chili paste, cornflour and ¼ cup water.
Pour the sauce mix into the wok and stir until mixture is simmering and beginning to thicken (for about 1-2 minutes).
Gently stir in tofu, eggplant and green onions to heat (for about 1 minute).
Serve with rice and a garnish of coriander.