Thursday, 25 April 2013

Baby Lister is on the way...

Tom and I are very excited to announce that Baby Lister is on the way! Due in late October, our first born will be an Australian citizen before we can claim passports ourselves. We are happy to be expanding our family from two to three, and look forward to the delights of parenthood.

Naturally this will provide significant blog content, so stay tuned for updates :-)

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Come Dine With Me - the final...

So, the final round of Come Dine with Me had arrived - and it was our turn. 36 hours in advance we had no menu, no shopping, an untidy flat, and I had a weekend of work ahead of me. It felt like we had a mountain to climb, but luckily for me, when it comes to dinner parties, Tom is an Olympic champion climber!

Our theme for the dinner was 'A road trip around Britain' - with each course featuring a dish from a different part of the British Isles. To kick off and set the 'road trip' theme, we served a 'lunch box' for our starter. Here is the full menu:

We opened the evening with a champagne toast.. under the guise of it being the final of our four rounds of Come Dine With Me and that being a good reason to have a toast. After a clink of glasses we revealed a second toast however - and announced to our Australian friends that we are expecting a baby! There were many congratulations, lots of male back-slapping, and a sprinkling of tears - Tom and I were totally surprised by the reaction and it was really heartwarming.

Next it was over to the table and on to the starter - a packed lunch box featuring homemade scotch egg, tomato chutney, dressed rocket and a wedge of homemade bread. Tom had made the scotch egg and chutney, and my contribution was the bread. It all went down well and several people had seconds of the scotch egg!

For the main course, we (well, lets face it, Tom) served beef wellington with roast potatoes and vegetables... plus - gravy in an individual gravy boat. Oooooh, fancy! The wellington was a high risk strategy, because you never know if on the inside it's going to be overdone or red raw.. Luckily, it turned out just perfect, and was gobbled up in no time.

Finally for pud, I served my usual contribution to a dinner party - pavlova! I named it 'reconstructed Eton Mess' however, because I didn't think pavlova was very British, but Eton Mess certainly is! I also had an attempt at a union jack in berries, although with hindsight I could have made a better job of this... nonetheless, it all got eaten up!

With the food consumed, it was time for our friends to record their thoughts on video. After that, we watched back the comments from the previous three dinners - much hilarity ensued, and scores were tight!! Finally we watched the scores for our dinner and with a couple of tens we took home the win! As the only couple not hindered with children or a late-stage pregnancy, we perhaps had an advantage... and after announcing our baby news our friends were quick suggest a repeat competition when we have a newborn, just to throw a complication into the mix!

It topped off a wonderful evening of sharing good news, good food and fun times with our Aussie friends. Here's to the next CDWM competition.. coming your way sometime in.. erm... several years time!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Come Dine With Me - the third night...

So.. we reached the third night of four in the ex-pats Come Dine with Me challenge. I'm going to call it CDWM from here on out because I'm already fed up of typing the full shebang out.

Tonight was the turn of Lou and Sam, famous for their cooking. Sorry, Lou's cooking. Expectations were high to say the least.. and they delivered! With a British 'oop North' theme, we knew to expect hearty delights, and they more than achieved this.. although I have one bone to pick which is that haloumi cheese is not native to the North of England now, is it Lou? They also served mouldy raspberries which was so hilarious (and got blamed on their 3 year old son!) that we all forgot about it by the time scoring came around....

Here is the menu:

Entree: halloumi stuffed mushrooms

Main: braised lamb shanks in red wine with mash and steamed greens

Dessert: chocolate truffle torte

And here are the photos!