A perfectly lovely day

Yesterday, (Saturday) we had visitors. My dear friend Jay and his family came to the seaside. I don’t like to think about how long I’ve known Jay, as it makes me feel old but in case you’re curious we met at University in 1997. Jeez Louise. Anyway, we didn’t become friends until after the first year and I like to tease him that it was because he had really long, straight black hair but when he cut it short before our second year started he obviously looked more like friend material to me. To cut (ha ha) a long and frankly boring story short, we’ve remained very good friends over the years and I consider him family, as supported by his label of ‘brother’ on my Facebook page. Because, as we all know, it’s not official until it’s on Facebook, right?!

Now he has an adorable nearly two year old called Noah, which makes our get togethers even more fun.

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Brighton was on form yesterday and we had a gorgeous day. Which was good really, as all of us had had a totally rubbish morning. Poor Noah was under the weather and he let his parents share his pain by waking before 6am and crying pretty much non stop on the two hour drive down here. Arijus and I had rowed about everything and nothing. And I realised as I told them why we weren’t ready (even though they were an hour late) how grateful I am to have friends in my life who I didn’t need to make up some lame excuse for.

We went to the marina for lunch and ate at Pizza Express. That particular branch does seem to have made quite an effort with their customer service of late as the waiters and management are very attentive! Noah finally settled down and we managed a lovely two hour lunch – pretty good going for a poorly bubba. Nami and I set the world to rights with a few rants and felt better immediately. It’s possible her beer and my cocktail helped too.

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We then headed into town and wandered down to the beach. Arijus was distracted by the Brighton & Hove speed trial on Marine Drive so we left him to go and look at cool cars and sat on the beach for a bit.

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That’s me and Jay and Noah. Not my best angle, I apologise. Hmm..might try and dig up an old photo of Jay and me just for kicks. Whilst on the beach we all (Noah being the exception) giggled at a couple, probably roughly our age, who seemed unable to stop kissing. Seriously do not think they came up for air. Then we ruminated about how long it had been since we were in that rose tinted romance stage with our respective partners!

By this time some of us were peckish again so we headed to Pho, one of my favourite restaurants for a light dinner. We bumped into my brother there (he also lives in Brighton) having dinner with his friends and when Nami introduced Noah to Oli, Noah held his hand out to shake hands! Really adorable. Another trick of his which I found too cute for words was the way he lifts his drink to clink yours when someone says ‘cheers’!

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After such a long and relaxing day one little snot bundle had to go home, sadly. Looking at these photos really hi-lights what an angel he was as he was pretty grumpy and yet we have all these sweet pictures of him smiling!

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Noah had a go on my piano. No doubt he has loads of burgeoning musical potential and he enjoyed himself immensely! Not entirely sure how Nami managed to avoid the camera all day! We’ll remedy that next time.

All in all a perfectly lovely day (from about 1pm onwards).

Food, glorious food!

Je suis une gourmande! I apologise. The word just looks better in French. I also love musicals, as you may note from the title of this post, but I digress. I love food, and I love to eat well. I love to cook and bake and this is something I share with the love of my life, so we are happy cooking and eating together.

Tonight I made nasi goreng for dinner. It’s an Indonesian dish, which basically uses up left over rice and veg. Although I made it with fresh rice, it is better if you have day old rice. It’s one of my ‘throw it together’ dishes, so I basically work from a love of a dish I’ve been eating since I was teeny tiny. When I cook and eat this dish, it reminds me of my other home.

My guide to making it is based on about 4-6 portions. Adjust the amounts to suit your needs.

Ingredients:

roughly 100g rice – white, brown, whatever takes your fancy.

vegetables

chilli

garlic

wok oil

sesame oil

soy sauce

eggs

 

 

Method:

Start with cooking your rice, unless, as stated above, you have day old rice. Then just hop on to the next bit.

Gather together any veg you have lying around in the fridge. My favourites are carrots, spring onions, red pepper, peas, Chinese leaf and purple sprouting broccoli (when it’s in season) but pretty much anything will do. Oh, and don’t forget the chilli. Unless you don’t like chilli. Chop everything pretty small. Heat a glug of wok oil in a pan and about a teaspoon of sesame oil.

Fry the spring onions with the chilli for a couple of minutes. Add 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed. Give the mix another few minutes then add all the chopped veg. If adding frozen peas I keep those until last as they don’t need as long. Give it a stir now and then. You want the veg cooked through but it’s nice to have a bit of crunch to your carrots and broccoli. I usually push it around for about 10 minutes. Don’t forget the peas!

Now, this is a good point to add some protein, if you want to. As I’m a pescetarian (irritating, isn’t it, when people have variations or levels of vegetarianism?!) I like to add prawns at this point, or some chopped up Quorn frankfurters go really well. However, if you eat meat then chicken works. In Indonesia it is quite tricky for me to get a dish of nasi goreng without some form of meat in.

Once your protein is cooked through, chuck in the rice and mix everything well. Now I add dark soy sauce, or ideally kecap manis, if I can find any decent stuff. That reminds me, I need to get down to the Chinese supermarket and get the decent stuff. I also have some Indonesian seasoning sauce that my mother once left behind after a visit and lots of her delicious Indonesian cooking. But you’ll do fine without that.

Finally, decide if you want a fried egg on top or if you want to make it more egg fried rice and mix the egg in. This evening I mixed the egg in. Just make a well in the centre of your pan of ricey veg, whisk some eggs and pour them in. Let them start to cook and give them a stir before starting to mix it into the ricey veg. I didn’t take a picture of tonight’s dinner so you get to see one I made before with the fried egg on top. It’s all good.

Serve it up!  Arijus loves to add sweet chilli sauce or tabasco. It looks pretty with coriander on top.

Nasi goreng

Nasi goreng