Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Almost Fat Free Diet (Quorn beefsteak - meat protein)

My husband is on a fat free diet awaiting his gall bladder operation.  He has been waiting over two months now and is getting tired of boiled turkey and boiled rice with a side salad, minus any dressing.

So last week he decided to try Quorn beefsteaks.  What to do with it?

1 Quorn beefsteak (meat protein)
1 onion finely chopped OR a few spring onions cleaned and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped in chunks
A portion of green beans (fresh OR tinned)
A portion of broad beans (frozen)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 or 3 oven roasted red peppers from a jar
Spray oil can

Spray a deep frying pan with a tiny drop of oil.  Use a ceramic pan if you have one.  Add the onions and garlic and cook on a low heat until softened.  Then add the Quorn beefsteak, turning after a minute or two.  Put in the tin of tomatoes, together with the red peppers.  Add the green beans and broad beans.  Simmer for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked through.

Serve with boiled white rice or boiled baby potatoes if you are on a fat free diet.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Acting with Nigel Barber who will be in Mission Impossible 5 with Tom Cruise - Part Two

Sunday, I woke at 5 and jumped in the shower at 6.  I went through the same make up, hair up, hat on etc.  Then the director told me where to get some breakfast.  Meanwhile Nigel Barber came in and introduced himself and shook my hand and asked if I had been in the business as long as he had and I quivered and said, "Er, I'm just an extra, first time yesterday".  He said he liked my look, he said it was perfect for the 30's.  There were no mirrors so I have no idea what I looked like.  He was so imposing, his accent, posture, beautiful clothes including an amazing mac, just couldn't place him... googled him when I got home he was in The Bodyguard which I saw at the theatre with friends in the West End of London. He was also in Magnum PI, TJ Hooker, Baywatch, Knightrider and more recently on Hallmark TV in The Sweeter Side of Life.  Well, we were sharing a makeshift dressing room so I went to have a coffee to give him some privacy to change, and prayed I didn't have a speaking part....came back up when he had changed into his 30's suit and was chatting to the director who is a very young guy but with a certain charisma....sure he will be famous one then I was called on set to come downstairs and walk to reception almost bumping into Nigel Barber carrying a goldfish in a bowl, so the timing had to be spot on....then the receptionist introduced himself to me and asked what I had been in before!!! He was Joe Grossi from The Da Vinci Code.....I mumbled something about working in the offices of television and yesterday being my first day on set, never mind with a speaking part.  We did about 8 rehearsals and then went for was a take in 2.  Then I had to walk across set again for a fresh scene, with me in the background....meanwhile there was a stills photographer taking lots of pictures.  I had my own camera up in the dressing room but felt embarrassed to ask these actors for a picture.  I attended the premiere at The London Film school with my husband a few weeks later.  It was hectic and very strange seeing myself up on the big screen, especially in the speaking part.  The short film is now doing the rounds of the film festivals and has been listed on IMDB. 

Since then, I have worked as an extra in a banking corporate film which was paid and such fun too.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Acting with Nigel Barber who will be in Mission Impossible 5 with Tom Cruise - Part One

Since returning from Spain and closing the boarding cattery, I have been trying out different ways to earn a living, including pet sitting.

On a totally different level, I always fancied being a film extra and last January I  managed to find work as a film extra (unpaid) which turned into a speaking part.  The audition was low key and I met the Director, Producer and Casting Director.  It was a short film at The London Film School in Covent Garden, a bit Downton Abbey meets Fawlty Towers set in the 1930’s.   

I so enjoyed the whole experience and I just cannot get over what happened.  It all seemed so unreal and still does.  I arrived at the London Film School early one Saturday morning in mid-winter.  Some of the actors I worked with are quite famous....I kind of recognised their faces but couldn't quite place them.   A nice girl did my make up and put my hair up and helped me into my costume and hat, then the director came in all friendly, "Hello, have you ever had a bad night's sleep?"  "Well, I want you to come on set shortly and start complaining about the bed and your back to the bell boy in the lift (it is set in a hotel) I walked onto the set and was shown to the back of the lift....the bellboy was at the front and I recognised him as the actor Joseph Macnab (Anna Karenina and The Borgias as well as the Suzuki advert)....after saying hello in a friendly way, he turned his back on me and I was instructed to talk to him and I complained he wasn't looking at me and the director, said that was the point.....I am a moaning guest and he is looking forward to the camera rolling his eyes with they let me do 2 rehearsals waffling on about what a bad night I had, the uncomfortable mattress, my poor back, my day's sightseeing ruined and now I needed to spend the whole day seeing a doctor or even a chiropractor (causing the crew to laugh at that point)....I complained about the drafty window and the sirens outside keeping me awake all night etc....just ad-libbing my way through it thinking back to a noisy night in Boston....then we had a practise at filming and by then my throat was dry as a bone from nerves as all eyes were on me and the director came and stood next to me and asked me to look at the light on the wall, not at the bellboy or into the camera....they were very kind to me.  Then it was "Lighting rolling, cameras rolling, actors ready," and "Action" ....I had to do it all again, remembering it best I could without a script and then I heard the words "It's a wrap" and Joseph turned to me and said "Well done, you did really well."  I told him my throat had constricted with fear!!!  Then we went to see the rushes are they called??? and I saw myself at the back of the lift moaning.  So that was that....I went downstairs to leave and met Angela Chirtofilou an actress and the producer then asked me to return on Sunday at 8 a.m. for make up, hair etc. and on set at 9.

Part Two coming shortly.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Chicken and vegetable soup - Great news if you have a cold

1 packet of Telma chicken noodle soup
1 large carrot, cleaned and diced
1 stick of celery, cleaned and diced
3 baby potatoes, cooked, peeled and diced
A few chunks of breast taken from a boiled chicken
Lemon to serve

Pour 1 litre of water in a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil and add the chicken noodle soup.  Stir gently with a whisk and simmer until the noodles start to cook.  Add the carrot, celery, chicken chunks and potatoes and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the celery and carrot to cook.

Serve with whatever bread you have to hand and with wedges of lemon.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Cats in films and books

Lots of cats appear in Aesop's Fables.
Lady MacBeth in MacBeth mentions The Cat in the Adage.
Si and Am are the two Siamese cats in Disney's Lady and the Tramp.
Raton was in La Fontaine's The Monkey and the Cat.
Jake was the cat in Outer Space.
Catwoman filmed an Egyptian Mau named Midnight.
Monty was the tabby cat in the Stuart Little films.
Sergeant Tibbs was a cat in One Hundred and One Dalmations.
The 1985 film Cat's Eye had a cat hero called General.
Thomasina in The Three Lives of Thomasina.
Escape to Witch Mountain had a black cat called Winky.
Lucifer was Cinderella's stepmother's cat in the film Cinderella.
Antonio Banderas was the voice of Puss in Boots in Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third.
Rufus was the cat in the film The Rescuers.
Midnight in Cat Woman was an Egyptian Mau.
Sassie (a Himalayan) was in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

My version of Carluccio's Layered Panettone

Over the festive season, I didn't want to make many puddings as my husband is on a fat free diet awaiting the removal of his gallbladder.  So I bought a Christmas pudding which he was able to eat but without custard or cream.

I saw Carluccio making this pudding on television and was very tempted to try it.


Serves 6
  • 1kg ricotta
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 70g candied fruit, finely chopped
  • 40g flaked almonds
  • 50g plain chocolate shavings/chips
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
  • 600g panettone, cut into
  • 2 round discs and the rest lengthways into slices lengthways 2.5cm thick
  • 175ml Vin Santo


Mix together half of the ricotta with half of the sugar in a medium-sized bowl until creamy. Then fold in half of the candied fruit, half of the almonds and half of the chocolate chips until well combined, and set aside. In another medium-sized bowl, mix the remaining ricotta and sugar with the cocoa powder until creamy. Stir in the remaining candied fruit, flaked almonds and chocolate chips and set aside. Line a 15cm diameter pudding basin or a deep bowl with clingfilm, leaving quite a bit of excess around the edges.
Line with the slices of panettone and, using a pastry brush, brush about three-quarters of the Vin Santo over the cake slices. Fill with the chocolate ricotta mixture, which should fill half the basin. Take one of the round panettone discs, place over the top and press, then drizzle over some of the Vin Santo. Fill with the white ricotta mixture and cover with the other panettone disc, then drizzle with the remaining Vin Santo. Bring up the overhang of clingfilm and place a weight on top (a plate with a bag of sugar on it, for example), and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
Remove from the fridge, take off the weight and the clingfilm over the top. Turn upside-down on a plate. Carefully remove the pudding basin and peel off the clingfilm. Dust with sifted cocoa powder and serve.
30/10/11 Desserts, Two Greedy Italians Recipes

I don't like almonds so changed those for chopped hazelnuts.  I think some glace cherries would be a nice addition and maybe some raisins.