Archives for category: Writing

Grace Coddington stares up at me as I type. Her pale skin intricately lined with experience and a no-shit determination emphasises the piercing pin-point eyes. They stare up at me from my thumb while I deal with the praises and complaints of the nation.

it sounds a bit odd doesn’t it? I suppose it is really. To have an idol on your thumb. Let me explain.

Whilst wandering the open road of Regent Street, I was asked whether I would like the face of a woman of influence as a nail wrap. Was it free? The lady who answered had a 20s bob cut and bright pink lips. Yes. Great. Out of the images that were available, I chose Grace.

Artist Phoebe Davies has collaborated with women’s groups across the country in order to question the attitudes of women today and to explore the expectation of female figures in society. After accepting the portable art and walked off on my way, I began to wonder what this little figure on my thumb meant to me. Any woman (or man come to that) who have met their own expectations and who are able to say truthfully – I have done well for myself  – is someone who I hold with the highest respect.

Grace Coddington – “All I know is that if I continue in fashion, no matter what, my head will always remain firmly attached to my body.”

Bam. That’s it. She creates for fashion and for herself.

Dorothy Parker, an American  writer and poet I have recently discovered wrote prolifically about the life and the loves of people – real people. She sculpts her characters with such masterful fingers that the reader can hear the charge of the voices and see their faces – drunk, debauched, depressed but always animated – “But I shall stay the way I am, Because I do not give a damn”.

Delicious rebelity to remain truthful to yourself.

Words of wisdom from wise women.

What has this got to do with food? Can we eat words? No. Do we read food? No. But we consume both.

Creativity can come from all over the place and with both of these incredible women producing work that remains fresh and beautiful, there is the constant hope that food can be created with this continuous excitement.

Food of Fortune

Broad beans, Courgettes, Lemon, Godminster Black Pepper Brie, Parsley, Mint, Lettuce


Rosie x


I have tried writing this post so many times over the last 6 months.

I could try and pretend that it was due to early mornings and nine o’clock bedtimes. I could say that perhaps it was due to my new miniature bedroom not having a desk to speak of. I could say that I have had writer’s block and have been unable to find the words.

I could say all of these things and yet all of these would be excuses that mean little to you, the reader, or to my neglected Champagnewithrosie. So. I will tilt my nose to the sky and stride myself past these useless excuses, barging my way towards the second half of 2013 with eyes wide open. Please bear with me while I refocus my lens.

A New Start.


July has brought the Sun. Talk of the air feeling ‘humid’, ‘stuffy’ and my personal favourite ‘muggy’ has hit the streets of London with great gusto. My walk to work every morning takes me through a confusing sensory tunnel. Wild roses, exhaust fumes, new tomatoes, chlorine, baked bread and freshly applied deodorant, elbow and tussle each other, in the manner of the 8 o’clock commuters, towards my nostrils. Where the morning’s frame of mind decides whether the pleasant or unpleasant will succeed.

It is the British way to complain in whispers, with a slight pinch of the lips, or with just a carefully practiced look. Get them to voice that complaint and it is highly and phenomenally embarrassing. We just can’t handle it. For the last few months, I have been trying to distract myself from any such sour thoughts by surrounding myself with ‘things’ that at that time will make me happy.

Though I have purchased books, posters, treated myself to manicures, developed an unhealthy addiction to pitta bread and hummus, the only thing that has completely succeeded in making me obscenely happy are my tomato plants. Don’t say it! I know. It’s sad. My relationship (and I did just call it that) with my tomatoes has been lengthy and turbulent. They have been nursed from lanky sprigs of unpromise to the towering pillars of opulence that now stand so proudly in my South London courtyard garden. So much can be said for home-growing and I feel genuine pride at my accomplishment. (Please don’t laugh!)

However, I had to leave my budding tomatoes for 5 days while I went back to my parents. It was tough, and I worried almost obsessively for their welfare. But we got through it, and I arrived back to find them as cheery and happy as when I left them. This ‘weening’ from my tomato plants forced me to look again at the life that I have created for myself in London. Focussing on small sections of it in great detail has led to a huge neglect in other parts. A refocus is necessary and this is the beginning of it. How I shall do this is not quite certain at the moment. But it will be done! (And champagne with Rosie will become a reality!)

Rosie x


I fancied a little baking sesh this afternoon. After hearing a reference on the radio to some poor celebrities muffin tops, I thought I would bake the humble muffin as a mark of respect. For there is nothing wrong with a bit of muffinishness.

Unfortunately, in the same way that a too small pair of Levis fail to hold in the cosiness of a waistline, my muffin cases failed to withstand my extreme overfilling…

This is the result.

A Ginger's Muffin Tops

A Ginger’s Muffin Tops

Although it may resemble some kind of bizarre contemporary artwork, I think I rather like it.

What elegance!

What elegance!


And it really does taste blooming good.


Gingerbread Muffins


280g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 heaped tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

A fair scraping of nutmeg

  • Sieve all of the above together in a large mixing bowl. Pop to one side


1 egg

85g granulated sugar

85g melted butter

6 tbsp black treacle

2 tbsp honey

200 ml water

  • In a separate bowl, gently whisk all of the above ingredients. Add to the dry ingredients until there are no lumps.


5 big chunks of stem ginger chopped up really small

  • Stir into the mixture, share between 10-12 muffin cases and bake in a 200°C oven.

It’s probably best to share them out between 10-12 medium muffin cases unless you would prefer them looking slightly overexcited? I say, embrace the muffin tops!



Rosie x



The Haunch of Venison is renowned for its support of internationally acclaimed artists working across a wide range of eclectic art forms. On her first UK solo exhibition, Patricia Piccinini displays her reality-meets-dreamlike sculpture inThose Who Dream By Night from 28th November 2012 to 12th January 2013. Her past exhibitions include the critically acclaimed RelativityWe Are Family and Hold Me Close To Your Heart. She has also had solo exhibitions in Australia, Spain, Peru, the United States and Japan.

Currently living in Australia, though born in Sierra Leone, Piccinini’s art world is a hypnotic examination of humankind’s relationship with technology. The artist aims to depict the modern day reliance upon science as a way to explain the complexities of what it means to be human. Juxtaposing these ideas with her fascination of biotechnology and gene therapy, Piccinini has created works that allow us to relate to the strange, fleshy sculptures that without this narrative cannot be easily explained.

Downstairs, with the regal shape and structure of a sphinx, a mound of skin and a glistening orifice is displayed on a bronze plinth. A combination of both revulsion and respect is demanded by this hybrid sculpture; its nudity evoking a sense of vulnerability. The Carrier, a life-sized fibreglass sculpture of an old lady being lifted by a naked half-animal, half-human male is the main focus of the upstairs gallery space. Like all of the sculptures, the figures are created with such astonishing realism that we are compelled to edge closer, examining every hair, every mole, every wrinkle on the skin. The workmanship by Piccinini and the fabricators who apply these effects with such scientific precision, lends itself to further the objective of the artist’s work. Both ugly yet oddly compelling, it is our ability to relate to these alien forms that is most disturbing.

Haunch of Venison at 103 New Bond Street is a cool but intimate space in which Piccinini’s work appeared at ease. Providing the freedom to see the sculptures and artwork from all aspects further coupled the peculiar relationship between the viewer as the human, and the art as technology.

Though Patricia Piccinini’s work may not be entirely to everyone’s taste, the works offer a chance to see art and technology collide in a truly original way. It is well worth a visit.

Verdict: ••••

Rosie Hillsdon

For further information about Patricia Piccinini visit her official website.

Those Who Dream By Night is exhibited at Haunch of Venison, New Bond Street, from 28th November 2012 to 12th January 2013.

Click on the following link to see some awesome pictures by Sarah Tsang:

For the first time in 150 years, the V&A’s astounding collection of furniture is on display for the public on 1st December. From the beautiful to the bizarre, from the functional to the downright uncomfortable, curators – Nick Humphrey and Leela Meinertas – have worked with architect Graeme Williamson from NORD architecture, to create an exhibition that encourages us to see the history of art and design that make up the objects that we use every day of our lives.

Either side of the tall and serenely lit space, perfect examples of furniture have been handpicked to show the complex techniques of carving, upholstery, lacquer and many more that have contributed to Western design and style. Accessibly positioned on a white background, the objects are strikingly framed by a dark surrounding; for there is something almost magical about the way that these fully-functional objects have been presented. It feels as if you are small enough to fit into the numerous draws of a seventeenth century table cabinet, exploring the little personal histories of this quirky and very charming collection. With 90% of these items being from the museum’s own archive, this seems to have been created as a labour of love. “This is not a gallery of famous names”, Nick Humphrey says. “This is a furniture biography”.

Humphrey, Meinertas and the wonders of NORD have taken into consideration the temptation for us to reach out and touch the precious objects. Glass cabinets and brief descriptions are replaced with audio clips, films and interactive screens showing close-ups and 360° photos. Even the bright, young things of the Techno Age will be blown away by the “Materials Table” – a 3D information and interactive table top that allowed the visitor to see how and why various architectural materials were used to make up the new gallery.

So, who is it for? Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts? Table fanatics? Experts of polypropylene? Well, it’s for all of these people really. But most importantly, as a museum for the people, the V&A have created an exhibition gallery for anyone who has an interest in shape, colour or texture, or for those who just have a curiosity in the way things are made.

Whether an hour or five minutes are spent in the Dr Susan Weber Gallery, it is well worth a visit – a magnificent permanent addition to a museum that is dedicated to art.

Verdict: ••••

Rosie Hillsdon

 For further information on The Dr Susan Weber Gallery, visit the website. 

The amount of sugar and cinnamon roasted almonds I ate on the stall of Rubies in the Rubble in Duke of York Square, was nothing compared to the completely NUTS week that I have had!

I have been lucky enough to be on trial as a writer and reviewer for The Upcoming – an online publication that allows young writers to experience some seriously amazing opportunities. Whether or not I get accepted as an official Upcoming writer, I have been to some amazing exhibitions at the Haunch of Venison, the V&A, I went to a crazy theatrical production at the Camden People’s Theatre, and the holy grail for any budding food writer… a top-class restaurant…  The food – oh the food!

So to follow this post, I’m going to pop up three of the reviews that have been published on The Upcoming website – I’m so chuffed! Bear with me Fellow Foodie Fanatics, for not serving up some delicious delights, but these are some examples of a different writing style that I’d love you to see.


Rosie x

With the help of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, a mega-bowl of mincemeat is on the mingle…



I’m not going to mention the ‘C’ word as it’s way too early. But it’s feeling (and smelling) distinctly autumnal in here…


Rosie x

You are wrong Mr Gok Wan. No matter how many times you screech “It’s all about the confidence!” through the TV at me, I will not ever agree.

For me, daaaaaarlings, it’s all about the condiments!

On Thursday, I spent all day in the small but highly productive Rubies in the Rubble kitchen. As I stood in the middle of a car park in front of a huge warehouse, I feared that my early morning Hampshire to London fayre was going to be wasted on bad planning and my shocking sense of direction. This luckily was not the case, and I had in fact reached my final destination!

The brainchild of Jenny Dawson, Rubies in the Rubble is a business built on a ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ ethos. Sitting snuggly next to a wholesale mega-shed, Rubies seeks the unsellable. Torn toms, bumped about blueberries, maimed mangoes! Whatever is cheap and useable, Jenny and her lovely team magically turn into chutney, jam or smoothie that leaves the taste buds tingling and the stomach satifisfied.

Sick of staring at my laptop for days, I was so pleased to be part of a team. I chopped tomatoes, sliced onions, stirred mega-vats of bubbling chutney and got involved! As Radio One looped in the background, and Jenny, Rose and myself productively bustled around the kitchen, I got my first taste of Rubies ridiculously tasty red onion and chilli chutney. A deep and rich caramelised delight! The initial sweetness quickly developing to a firework of spice – phwoar!

It was not only the large jar of red onion chutney in my pocket and the spicy tomato smell that I left with that day. It was also the total inspiration of seeing someone who had followed what they wanted to do. Nothing airy fairy about dreams or aspirations or whatever. Jenny just seemed to believe in Rubies in the Rubble, believe in herself and what she could do with the community, and the phenomenal press that has followed has been a product of that.

After all…it is all about the condiments! (Pffftt!)

(Today I tried Jenny’s spectacular red onion and chilli chutney with Swaledale Cheese from Waitrose,
piled high on freshly made bread…)

Thanks so much to Jenny and Rose for letting me get under your feet. I had such a great time and hope I can pop back to see you at some time soon!

See the Guardian for another raving review and check Rubies in the Rubble out here…

Rosie x

Is your glass half full or half empty?

I don’t think it matters. Particularly if your bottle of sloe gin is half empty. After drinking half a bottle, I don’t think that question would slosh around in your head for too long!

This week has been an odd one. I made the first serious steps to making the move to London. I finished my job in Hampshire, I sent out numerous job applications, I have not bought one coffee in any lovely coffee shops…no matter how sorely I was tempted! I won’t go into loads of detail because I have learnt that the majority of people have been in this situation – a cocktail of cheeriness and sheer misery – and to waste a WHOLE blog post on that would be dull.

Instead, I will tell you about what it is like when you return home after a week of maps, pound signs and oyster cards, the re-emergence of the bastard wisdom tooth, blisters ( – bare feet and new shoes) and so many pieces of advice that you feel as slow as a four year old laptop wheezing between clicks.

At the risk of sounding like a total cheese ball (my sister’s favourite snack choice), I could have the worst week in the whole of London and to be at home is the best feeling in the world.

Martin’s Book Sale with my dad. Wrecking another pair of tights playing with Monty. Lots of bread. Annnnnd…
The grand bottling of sloe gin.

The struggle was deciding whether to choose a good picture of Monty or the Gin… I chose Monty. I am fast becoming a Mad Dog Woman. Please employ me.

Having seen (and smelt) the product of almost a year of marinading (?) in mega kilner jars in the depths of our garage,  I have set  myself the task of realighting my excitement for foraging. And this is the time, is it not?

So to conclude.

A half full bottle of sloe gin provides at least another hour and a half of sloe tippling. A half empty bottle of sloe gin means you’ve probably had a really good time of tippling already. There’s no need to be greedy now…

(Some sort of foraging recipe to follow this weekend)


Rosie x


I know it’s old, but here’s some autumn listening…

Two Weeks by Grizzly Bear

It may happen that every so often that EMployment makes you feel almost as shoddy as UNemployment does.

This is horrendously UNgrateful.

However, with my lunchbox challenge still not accomplished, my job provides little to no opportunity to be creative. Even my clothes have dulled to a drab navy blue combo; red lipstick lies abandoned at the bottom of my make-up bag… Frustration takes over and I am left desperately seeking solace in fairy-liquid coffee and an unnecessary cigarette. This is not me.

Yesterday, I stomped home, my whole evening dangerously compromised by my ‘Moping Playlist’ (Little Bear by the Guillemots playing a major role on this emotional cliff-hanger)…

Thank god for Pat Benetar. I don’t know what that Queen of Empowerment looks like, but if I knew, and if I saw her I would actually kiss her!

I don’t know if she likes fish, but she inspired this recipe and she made me feel better. Cheers Pat!

(This is an interpretation of a Rick Stein recipe – but I reckon mine might be a bit healthier…)


50g butter (or healthier equivalent)

Seeds from 3 split cardamom pods

¼ tsp turmeric

½ cinnamon stick

3 fresh bay leaves

Pepper corns

450g basmati rice

3 fillets of fresh trout

2 handfuls of green beans

A good pouring of peas

2 handfuls of fresh spinach

3 eggs

Small bunch of parsley

½ a lemon

Pre-heat the oven to 75°C (ish) and put a shallow dish to keep hot.


  1. In a heavy bottomed pan melt the butter with the cardamom seeds, turmeric, 2 of the bay leaves and 2 pepper corns (semi-crushed). Put to one side.
  2. Cook the rice.
  3. In a separate saucepan, boil about 2 inches of water with the remaining bay leaf, 3 pepper corns, a good squeeze of lemon. Once boiled, place the trout fillets, skin side down, for about a minute. Place into the oven-hot dish, cover with foil and put in the oven.
  4. Add a little of the fishy water (!) to the spicey butter. Add cooked rice and stir until completely yellow! Cover and keep in the oven.
  5. In a clean saucepan, boil a load of water and cook the green beans. Don’t overcook! When they still have a bit of crunch, add the peas. Strain over the spinach to partially cook.
  6. Add the veg, flake the fish, snip the parsley and stir all evenly into the spicey rice.
  7. Boil a couple of eggs to perfection. (I’m rubbish at this – so ask Delia on timings!)
  8. Pop on some plates and feast!

This made me feel a lot better.

Word Of The Wise: Apparently, kedgeree is a great hangover cure… Please note, it might be better to be organised and cook this before you’re hungover. Otherwise it could just cause a big old mess. And cooking and handling fish is not what you want to do with a queasy-belly.


Rosie X