Friday, March 4, 2011

Fridays, Feasting With Friends- Featuring Rachael Smith

"One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends."
~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

Rachael Smith

My guest for today's Fridays, Feasting with Friends is my sweet friend Rachael Smith.  Rachael and I have known each other for simply ages, something like 7 or 8 years.  Which may not sound like a long time except for the fact that she and I have never met in person!  I first met Rachael on a Tori Amos forum (my most favorite musician ever).  This was my very first experience making online friends.  In the begining on the forum everyone mostly just talked about Tori, but after a while these "online people" started to become actual friends.  We had a common bond in this musician but soon realized we had more in common then we first would have thought.  I have made quite a lot of wonderful friends through this website and I will be forever grateful for the sincere friendships I have built with these online buddies.  Some I have had the opportunity to meet in person, but alas Rachael isn't one of them (at least not yet!  I am still holding on hope it will happen one day!!)  Rachael lives in England, so it isn't as easy as hoping in the car for a quick visit.  But thanks to the power of the internet, online forums, social networking sites and blogs, she and I have remained close after all these years.

Rachael and I both share some funny facts- we were pregnant with our first children at the same time.  They were both born with FULL heads of hair. I mean, we are talking some serious hair!  We always joked that they should start a rock band because they were born looking like naturals for the job.  And now, four years later I just had another baby and Rachael is now pregnant with her second.  My Owen again has a headful so I am super curious if Baby Smith with also be blessed with it!  If we lived closer our little ones would be the best of friends, I am sure.

Rachael is an amazingly strong woman, full of compassion and also just as much silliness.  She has this job that I am blown away with- she is a mental health nurse for children 10-18.  Wow, talk about challenging!  But in the meantime she also makes time for some wonderful outlets; she is a dancer and writer, takes stunning pictures and also bakes the most delicious looking cupcakes (do you think it would make it in one piece by airmail for me to have a little taste?!)  Rachael has started a fun blog called Little Cupcake Dreams where she shares her recipes for all the yummy treats she bakes.  Be sure to pop over to be inspired!  I promise you leave with a serious cupcake craving.  So without further ado, I bring you Rachael Smith.

What is your favorite thing to cook?

How about your least favorite thing to cook?
Cottage pie.... I find it a vey boring meal. (I asked Rachael what Cottage Pie was, I had never heard of it.  It sounded very Brittish to me.  She told me that it is like Shepards Pie, but with beef.  And all this time I thought Shepherds Pie was supposed to be with beef, but I guess tradionally it is made with lamb. Learn something new every day! Thanks Rach!)

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
My favorite local restaurant is La Vista which is Italian or Loch Fyne (fish)

Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
Jack Johnson happy chill out music :)

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
Ooo very tricky.... crab linguine... or chinese food?

What are you currently reading?
Derren Brown - Confessions of a Conjurer, I am slightly obsessed with Derren Brown at the moment. His illusions and mind tricks are flawless!

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
hmmmm.... I love my stone bake tray. Its really good for meat, as it absorbs all the juices/fat then you wash it... then when you use it again it makes it cripsy goodness :D

Do you have a signature go-to dish?
Curry, I love cooking curries! You can put anything in them and they are so quick to make!

What is your favorite thing about where you live?
I live about 30 minutes on the train from London, so it's really easy to get to for theatre (and I go to the theatre a LOT!), its on the coast... its a rural town, so though there are big cities near by its still in the country side. There is everything you need here :)

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
Hmm... thats really tricky. I love food, dont know if I could pick one. My mum does awesome Christmas dinner! I've never cooked Christmas dinner because we usually go to my Mums :)

Top 3 Movies of all time?
Finding Neverland
Most Disney films

What was your happiest moment in life?
Getting married, or having my son.

the handsome men in her life 

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
Tesco supermarket.....

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
I have an awful sweet tooth.. I frequently have days where all I eat is chocolate...

Can you tell me about what you are most proud of?
My family. They are amazing and I wouldn't be where I am today without them.

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
Hmm, too cook more. I work shift work so sometimes I will go a few days without cooking a proper meal.

One word that best describes you is: Scatty :)

Rolo Mini Tarts 
This is a GREAT recipe to do with young children! My 3 year old loves moulding the pastry in the tray!

White chocolate buttons

1. Make or buy some desert pastry.
2. Break off small pieces of pastry and roll into little balls. Place in baking tray. I am using a mini cake tray.
3. Use the end of a rolling pin or simular to squash your pastry balls into tart shapes!
4. Place a rolo in the middle of each tart, and top with a chocolate button.
5. Place in the oven (150'C) for 10-15 minutes. (which comes to 300 degrees F)

Please visit Little Cupcake Dreams for some pictures demonstrating the technique for these yummy tarts- super helpful!

**Don't forget to entre my giveaway to win the cookbook Best of the Best Vol. 11: The Best Recipes from the 25 Best Cookbooks of the Year and a vintage inspired apron! You can find the contest {here}**


  1. Thankyou so much for featuring me!

    Its slightly obvious I completed this on a night shift! Spelling mistakes much? Hahaha

    Thanks again Amie!!

  2. Oops, sorry Rach! Usually my editor picks up the spelling stuff. It missed a few for some reason. I fixed them all I think :)



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