Exciting things have been happening around here. Not just in the kitchen.
We had our lovely pals Sam and Livvy over for dinner before going away at the weekend, which was glorious and fun and possibly a bit too alcoholic for our early start the next morning. These two somehow manage to combine incredible foodie skills with a love of craft and living relatively nearby, thus curing my We Don’t Have Any Friends Nearby phobia and my need for crafternoons and homemade biscuits.
I made a big ol’ Moroccan feast including a chicken and chickpea tagine, some jeweled couscous and some baked chickpea fritters. I’ll come back to those.
We headed up to Sheffield early enough for me to photograph my beautiful friend getting ready for her wedding. I’ve managed to edit 24hrs of shooting down to a nice round 100 photos to work on, and only stopped snapping to briefly collapse in to a puddle of tears in the middle of the city centre when my best friend appeared from round the corner.
She had flown over from Sydney as a surprise, especially for the weekend. Although the bride knew. And some other people. But I had no idea – although oddly on the way to St Pancras, I saw a whole chain of ‘us’ stuff – meaningful little things that make no sense to anyone but me and her – to the point that it became uncanny enough for me to send her a text telling her that “it’s basically like you’re really here”, thinking she would read it late Saturday night Sydney time. Spooky, eh?
It was January 2013 when we saw each other last, so she had never met my boyfriend before – something I always thought should be a big deal, but which went (obviously) brilliantly and hilariously well. Mainly because they are both brilliant and hilarious. Hooray!
Not only did I get to go to one of the sweetest weddings for one of my sweetest pals, but @larazallen flew over from Oz as a surprise and now my 2 best people ever finally got to meet and now love each other too and despite being KNACKERED I can't sleep because I keep remembering she is here and keep remembering how lucky and brilliant and full of love and happiness I feel and oh bloody hell crying again
This was the halfway point in our Year Of A Billion Weddings and we’ve both felt so fortunate to not just be considered part of so many couples’ special days, but that none of them have felt like a chore or been anything other than absolutely gorgeous and fun. I worked my arse off taking photos from 10am-10pm, and have made a tiny dent in the huge job of editing a selection.
I’ve taken a cue from the bride’s tea-length 1950s-style frock and the groom’s (amazing) blue suede shoes (at the risk of sounding cliched but hey – cliches are so for a reason, right?) and applied a bit of a vintage finish to the few I’ve worked up so far…
Chewy & Matt had a church service (my first ever!), followed by an awesome party in a tipi in the middle of the Peak district. All of the flowers for her bouquet, the buttonholes, and the decor were home-grown, and all the veg for the meal came from the groom’s allotment. The music was awesome, the views were breathtaking and the cake was cut using the bride’s grandfather’s sword from the first World War. And best of all, I got to party with my bff.
Back to the food. I was so excited when the nibbles came out during the reception. Not only was I absolutely starving – seriously – hats off to pro wedding photographers (I think I aged about 12 years waiting to hear that she was happy with the few finished samples I sent over this afternoon) – shooting weddings is properly exhausting and I felt like I’d done an entire days’ work by the time we hit the venue – but I spotted a tray full of chickpea fritters being handed round. Having made them the night before, I was eager to compare. They actually turned out to be way more moist and warm than mine, as they had been freshly deep-fried. I oven-baked mine and kept them warm at a low heat whilst the rest of my dinner cooked, so they dried out a bit. It’s a good recipe, but I reckon they are at the best fresh out of the heat. Or fried…
Baked Chickpea Fritters (makes 12 fritters approx)
1 can chickpeas
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
A little dry polenta (or rice flour) for coating (about 3 tablespoons)
1 – Heat the oven to 180 degs.
2 – In a large mixing bowl, use a potato masher to shmoosh up the chickpeas. If you have some sort of fancy food processor, you can probably just chuck everything in there in one go and be done with it, but I don’t have one, so you have to sit through my slow manual instructions.
3 – Mix in the onion and garlic, season with the spices, some salt and pepper, and the fresh herbs.
4 – Beat in the egg and breadcrumbs and stir to combine. The consistency will be similar to my Thai Fishcake recipe, or any other sort of fritter/burger-type thing. You should be able to form little patties on a tablespoon and have them hold their shape.
5 – Coat the holes of a muffin pan in a little oil – I put some oil on a paper towel, then wipe the oil in to each hole to coat.
6 – Roll the mixture in to balls – you should be able to make approx 12-16 depending on the size. Roll each ball in to the polenta to coat.
7 – Place a ball in each hole of your muffin pan, and cook for about 20-30mins. When they are brown and a little crunchy, they are ready.
Serve with some yoghurt for dipping. I topped yoghurt with crushed pistachio kernels which was a bit yummy.
We’ve come home to what passes for ‘normality’ to find that my beloved’s entry in the Comic Sans for Cancer competition has been selected for their exhibition in August (amazing!), and that I have a few exciting content/writing-based job interviews and meetings lined up – including a food-related one. Good times. (Incidentally, if you’re hiring, here I am on LinkedIn being all professional and job-hunty.)
Now I just need to decide what to make for dinner tomorrow night…