Monday, 4 August 2008

Trekking Toasty Triangles

The family at Friendly Cottage escaped to the wicklow mountains today to end the bank holiday on a high. Of course, the only way to get me to the top of a huge mountain is to lure me with food...trekking toasted triangles, yeeeaaahh! During the trek, I tried not to moan too much (at least not as much as in the himalayas!) and sugar levels only started to critically plummet during the final ascent....nothing a few cherries left over from the flicks last night (rubbish movie - mama mia) couldn't sort out in the big wait for the toasted triangles!

Makes about 20 triangles

4 Soft flour tortillas
4 tablespoons of your favourite tapenade or pesto
6 sundried tomatoes, cut into slivers
75g cheddar cheese, grated
2 slices parma ham, shredded into strips
handful rocket leaves
1 tablespoon roughly chopped coriander
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat a cafe style flat sandwich toasting machine (or frying pan wide enough to take the tortillas).
2. Halve the tortillas to fit the toaster if using.
3. Spread the tapenade or pesto evenly over two of the tortillas.
4. Scatter the sundried tomatoes, cheese, parma ham, rocket, coriander and chilli flakes over and season well with black pepper.
5. Pop the remaining tortillas on as lids and toast for a few minutes until crisp, golden and the cheese is beginning to ooze out (if toasting in a pan, dry fry for 2-3 minutes each side).
6. Remove and leave to cool and set. Cut into triangles and package up before they get eaten!

Really you can use anything you fancy in these toasty treats. Substitute cheddar cheese for goats or blue cheese, parma ham for regular ham and coriander for your favourite herb. Olives are also delicious in these - we had ran out!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

The Hot Seat

Having just flown back to the nest yesterday from a hard weeks work in Yorkshire, I was thrilled to find a lovely welcome home gift in Central HQ. I totally love it! Mart is calling it the hot seat because 1. its red, 2. he reckons thats where i'll get all my 'business deals' and 3. he got such a bargain at the sales, he says he virtually stole it!

The Birth of Friendly Cottage

Well, so far the birth of Friendly Cottage has been what I only imagine child labour to be like - long and painful - apparently it will be rewarding some time soon.

I can't believe that it has been exactly a year since we quickly snatched the keys from our solicitors hands and skipped excitedly to our new love nest. Once here, the shock sunk in - we were now owners of a very expensive heap of old falling down bricks, not to mention old lady net curtains! But with the enthusiasm of the famous five cast on a new adventure, we got stuck in straight away on the August bank holiday weekend. First things first, the Holy Mary water (brought back from Lourdes by our spiritual mother Maria!) was out and the house was christened 'Friendly Cottage'.

Since then, its been like our own real live horror movie working towards our 'happy ever after'. We have battled to get our electricity switched on and gas plumbed in. We have pulled walls down, fallen through floors (that was me - I had lost my marbles one very late night, forgot to walk on the joists and fell through from the bathroom to the kitchen, grabbing onto the joists for dear life, ouch - the hole was handy for not having to go upstairs to ask mart if he wanted a cup of tea!). We have fought with tradesmen and fed them also (mart is still laughing at the time I offered the plumber lemon & lemon grass granita after his kebab lunch!). How many more take-aways can we eat? (bursting for our kitchen to be sorted!) And, if we have to shuffle one more box, our bed or central HQ (my desk) from room to room one more time! Also, weirdly every thing we have gone to do that has seemed relatively straight forward, hasn't been - it's like opening up a can of worms - and always costs way more than we thought it would. (All things other people warned us about!)

Things eventually take shape though and we have reached many landmarks. Getting the bathroom to a liveable condition (no more showering in flip flops in a grotty old shower with tiles falling down on top of you, yeah!) was the first. Then the walls being plastered, central heating, new windows installed, walls painted, alarm & Sky being installed (that was a very happy martin day), wardrobes being fitted and floors going down. (I did have a mid life crisis when i had to buy carpet though. That was hard to deal with and even harder when the sea of beigeness stared me in the face from the bedroom floors! I'm over it now though as they have stopped the dirt dragging up my clothes when getting dressed!). The neighbours were also very happy not to witness the nightly strip show anymore since our shutters went up recently. The 'list of things to do' continues of course but there is hope we are getting there as a stream of new furniture turns up at the door!

So, thats the update of how the bones of Friendly Cottage have taken shape - the walls have echoed lots of other things in the past year besides renovation work - the comings and goings of lots of different people, eating and drinking, tears and laughter, fun times, tough times, work and play. Hopefully we will keep our blog more updated this year with our adventures as we continue to nest in Friendly Cottage.