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Summer-time means barbecues and picnics. Clarissa gives the lowdown on outdoor grilling. And, just for good measure, here are some large sardines grilled on a barbecue!

Bin Fishin' Greeting Card Bin Fishin’ Greeting Card

Take care and keep laughing!


Dishing It Out With Clarissa

Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to go outside and get your grill on.

What ?

You have never grilled or lit a barbecue?

No worries it’s not that bad or complicated. Despite what some experts may say, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Both have pros and cons to grilling methods, it really comes down to preference.

Today were grilling bone in “New York Strip Steak”.

First thing before you even fire up the coals get your steaks out as they need to be at room temperature before grilling or you will have steaks cooked uneven through out.


Pick up a good meat thermometer and no matter what happens during the grilling process DON’T CUT INTO YOUR STEAK OR FORK IT TO SEE IF IT IS COOKED!

On any bone-in steak nearest to the bone will always be the rarest. Ideally for best flavor and tenderness you want a medium rare steak, but if you…

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Food and art are the stuff of life.

Take care and keep laughing!


The Flash Cook

Those of us who have been to art museums lately (ahem . . . or some time in the not-so-distant past) have squinted at our share of incredibly literal titles for works of art. You know, Woman with a Hat orVase with Twelve Sunflowers.  I’m sure someone who knows a lot more about art than I do can provide some reasonable explanation for this but, as a layperson, I find it curious that an artist would take so much time to paint something and then choose to give it a title that reduces it to its components.  There was a time when paintings were given titles that directed your viewing experience in some way – The Happy Accidents of the Swing  or Starry Night. Those two titles help you interpret what you are seeing. In case you thought that the woman in the swing was freaked out…

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Is there anything quite so delicious as toasted Hot Cross Buns dripping with butter? I don’t think so.  Just writing about them is making me salivate!

Sadly, the supermarkets and bakeries – in the UK, at least – only sell them at Easter.  This photograph, however, is available all year round! You could hang it in your kitchen and be inspired to make them throughout the year.  Here follows a recipe link!

Take care and keep laughing!

About Sarah & First Night Design

Sounds delicious!

Take care and keep laughing!


This ‘Depression Cake’ recipe should prove useful at a time when we’re all struggling to survive on so little … and it actually looks delicious!

Take care and keep laughing!


Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

This Sunday will be my husband’s birthday. Each year, Brett looks forward to just one thing; a cake that his grandmother made him every year since he can remember. Even when he left home in 1982 to join the Navy, Grandma Johnson would bake this cake and ship it to where ever he was station. When she passed away in 1997, I pick up where she left off.

The cake that she would make was called an “Eggless, Butterless, Milkless Cake“. What it really is a Depression Era cake. Depression cakes, also known as “War Cakes” date back to World War I. The recipe  was in a pamphlet distributed by the United States Food Administration in 1918 entitled “War Economy in Food“. War Cakes are listed under “Recipes for Conservation Sweets.” The United States Food Administration stressed the importance of reducing sugar…

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Need some advice on a cure for the Christmas hangover? Try this advice and make sure you put bananas on your holiday shopping list!


Did you wake up with a throbbing headache, a general feeling of physical misery, a tiger in your bathroom and a bit of left over turkey stuck somewhere on your shirt?
Before you choose to finish that cold turkey or opt for the Bloody Mary, try
these tips instead:


Alcohol is a diuretic – a chemical that kicks your urinary system into overdrive, and unless you managed to alternate your alcoholic beverages with water in between (which never works does it?), your post-drinking symptoms are most likely due to dehydration. Rehydrating is key when it comes to recovering from a hangover and cannot be stressed enough. But I’m not talking coffee, Red Bull or hair-of-the-dog here. Caffeine is an acknowledged stimulant, and while you might hope caffeine can perform its miracles of giving some much needed focus and alertness, it’s another diuretic. Red Bull isn’t much better (and requires…

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Source: via First Night Design on Pinterest

I adore Sweet and Sour Chicken.  Actually, I adore anything sweet and sour!  Click here for the recipe.

Take care and keep laughing!


Hey Lovelies

We are well vested into finalizing details for our holiday events now that the Turkey has been pardoned for 2012.

Check out these gorgeous eye-catching cocktails.




1 ½ oz. citrus vodka
¾ oz. pomegranate juice
¾ oz. defrosted lemonade concentrate (strained of pulp)
2-3 drops orange blossom water
Cava (or any dry sparkling wine)
Shaker and strainer
Martini glass
Garnish: Equal parts red, white and green decorative sugar
Pomegranate seeds
Orange twist

Directions: Rim half the martini glass with sugar. Combine all ingredients except cava. Shake and strain into glass. Top with cava. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds into drink and garnish rim with orange twist.






Photo sources Pintrest ,The Refined Chef  & Vita-mn 

Until Next time

Love to you all !

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A delicious-sounding potato and yam accompaniment to any meal or a stand-alone dish for vegetarians.


The Celiathlete

As I mentioned, my CSA bin was exploding this past week with treats to help make any Thanksgiving feast complete.  Honestly…everything in there would go in a Thanksgiving meal.  And if I was making a Thanksgiving meal…that would be ideal.  As it was, being the token vegetarian among my roommate’s family, I am always asked to supply a vegetable dish.  And as I had green beans in my bin…I went with that.  Although, I honestly could have provided a healthy and fresh side item (forget canned yams and cranberry sauce…I could have made it from scratch with fresh and local ingredients), I stuck with what I was told to bring and let them open up canned yams and cranberry sauce.  That’s their tradition.

But I’m a firm believer in fresh is best and therefore now had a plethora of Thanksgiving fruits and vegetables to play around with.  As a result…I…

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An apricot and its cross section

An apricot and its cross section (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This apricot delight has to be one of the most delicious of mousses and I’ve been making it for years.  Just looking at the list of ingredients makes me salivate!  It also makes a great option during the holiday season when you want something sweet but cannot face a helping of Christmas pudding or a mince pie.  On the other hand, it makes a welcome change to brandy butter or cream on either of the latter!


1/2 cup • 4 oz • 115 grams Dried Apricots
3 Eggs
3/8 cup • 3 oz • 85 grams  Caster Sugar (superfine)
1 cup • 1/2 Pint • 284.13 ml Double or Whipping Cream
Amaretti Biscuits


  1. Soak the dried apricots overnight in a pan of water that just covers the fruit.
  2. Cook the apricots in the same liquid until tender.
  3. Strain the fruit and blend to a purée.
  4. Beat the eggs and the sugar until the mixture is thick enough to leave a trail.
  5. Whisk the cream until it is thick (soft peaks).
  6. Fold the apricot purée into the egg and sugar mixture.
  7. Fold in the whipped cream and place either in the refrigerator or the freezer.  Or eat straight away!
  8. When you are ready to serve, sprinkle with crushed Amaretti or Almond biscuits.

Please note that if you freeze the mousse, you will need to defrost it for at least 6 hours.

Take care and keep laughing!


Guinness Cake

© First Night Design.  Adaptation of White Roses, Chrysanthemums in a Vase, Peaches and Grapes on a Table with a White Tablecloth by Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) from Wikimedia.

I love food!  In whatever setting, whether on the sofa in front of the television, a picnic in the park, a family get-together or an informal dinner party (I’m not so devoted to the formal).  Combine good food with stimulating conversation and copious amounts of laughter and I’m in heaven.

I have an extremely sweet tooth.  Actually, that’s a lie.  I used to have a very sweet tooth but it has lessened the older I’ve become, to the relief of my waistline.  But give me Bread and Butter Pudding,  Tarte au Citron, homemade Banana Ice Cream, or Raspberry Trifle, and I’ll follow you anywhere!

It was a Twitter conversation about favourite cakes with Maree Gecks of Marzipants UK, and a shared love of Lemon Drizzle Cake, that inspired this post.  Thank you, Maree!

While I now find many cakes and pastries too stodgy and have never liked fruit cakes (too dry, for the most part), Guinness Cake touches my soul.  I can’t pretend it’s my recipe for it was given to me by the actress Mary Conlon when we were both training at drama school in the 1970s.  It is sublime.  And it doesn’t matter if you abhor stout (I loathe it myself) for you will still enjoy a slab or two or more of this exquisite concoction.  It also makes a great alternative to Christmas Cake (I tend to eat only the Royal Icing and marzipan on one of those!), iced or not.


1lb self-raising flour
1lb sultanas
½ pint of Guinness (or more!)
3 eggs
½ lb butter
½ lb brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice*

Melt the butter in a saucepan with the Guinness and sultanas until the latter are swollen with the stout. Allow to cool. Beat the eggs and sift in flour and mixed spice, and fold into the mixture.  Line a round/oblong tin with greaseproof paper (unless it’s non-stick) and spoon into mixture. Place in medium oven (l60¬∞C (325¬∞F) Gas Mark 3) for 2 hours until cake is cooked.  Test the centre with a knife and if it comes out clean it’s cooked.

Mixed spice is a British blend but is similar to the American Pumpkin Pie Spice.  According to Wikipedia, it typically contains Cinnamon (or cassia), Nutmeg, and Allspice, although Ginger and Cloves, among other spices, are often added.

  • Delicious if eaten warm with double cream, ice cream or brandy butter.
  • Needless to say, I always make double the measures and sprinkle the mixed spice in with abandon.

Enjoy!  Take care and keep laughing.

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