one pie, two pies

i recently made a big girl purchase – my first, suzy homemaker-style pie dish. pale blue, with frilly fluted edges, i feel like a domestic goddess just looking it.

overly excited, i set about making pies, both sweet and savoury.

my mum’s unbeatable apple pie was the obvious choice to break my new baby in. so simple, so delicious – like a hug from her on a plate.

you need:

350 grams (2.5 cups) plain flour, 175 grams butter, diced. you can alter the amounts based on the size of your dish, as long as its half the amount of fat to flour.

four tablespoons ice cold water

one egg

(pre-heat oven to 200 celcius) pulse the flour and butter together until they form a breadcrumb consistency, add the egg and water and pulse again. knead the pastry on a floured surface into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.

divide pastry into one third for the top and two thirds for the base. roll out on a floured surface. lay the base into the greased dish and chill again for ten minutes in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

for the filling:

2 large (3 medium) granny smith apples, peeled and diced

squeeze of lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

a few cloves, or if you don’t like them, a teaspoon of nutmeg

combine all the ingredients in a bowl, pour into pie base and cover with the pastry topping. press the sides of the pastry together, and pierce a steam vent in the centre. brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle some extra sugar on top. bake for approximately one hour until the crust is golden brown and juices bubbling.

serve warm with fresh cream or vanilla ice cream.for the savoury pie, i chose my favourite: chicken and leek. i generally follow this recipe, and add in whatever other vegetables i have to hand. this time it was carrots and mushrooms. i also add pancetta at the start for that sticky, salty flavour. 

i allow this pie to sit for about 15 minutes under a foil blanket to allow the filling to set a bit. if you can’t wait, i suggest serving in bowls, as the creamy sauce will be runny.

sweet or savoury – what’s your favourite?

barry’s bootcamp

to counteract all the peanut butter i consume i’m a big fitness enthusiast and always eager to trial different ways to exercise. so when the opportunity to test out barry’s bootcamp came along i didn’t miss the chance to get my arse kicked and work up a sweat.

barry’s is an hour workout favoured by the likes of jessica alba, amanda seyfried and christina applegate not to mention kim kardashian who featured the new york studio on her reality show. don’t expect any tracy anderson-style teeny tiny weights or grapevines here – the workouts mix up medium to heavy weights, fast sprints and little to no breaks in between. you will be pushed, you will feel like quitting, but you will walk out with a huge sense of achievement… and a few aching muscles too.

working up a sweat

i visited the class five days in a row over the course of a working week, taking in two full body classes and three ones that target different parts of the body. to learn a little more about the class i spoke to barry jay who had the idea for the bootcamp back in 1998. he told me what makes the workout different and said: ‘the instructors are the best in town and the bootcampers are hard working willing souls who love to push and be pushed. there’s a sense of community from your first class that is rare!’ he added: ‘ it’s a workout-party where you work harder than you ever dreamed you could and laugh through the pain.’

joey teaching at the NYC studio

inside barry's class

joey, who has trained the likes of kim and kourtney kardashian, claims each class can burn up to 1000 calories an hour through the high intensity interval cardiovascular work and strength training. he told me: ‘cross train, cardio, lift, stretch. do it all. and always shock your body, that’s what barry’s gives you in just one class.’

by the end of my trial i felt fitter, stronger and happier plus i had plenty of ideas to take into the gym for my solo workouts. i attended the hollywood studio but there are barrys across america, one in norway and the fitness craze is even coming to london with a studio hoping to be open in time for the olympics.

working the weights before hitting the treadmill

to read my in-depth review of the class for work see here and you can view a video below, it’s a little cheesy but true!

thirties glamour

last week i was invited along to the first salon society, hosted by BAFTA partner charles worthington, for an evening of glamour, glitz … and tap dancing.

the debut salon society event saw the stunning flagship house of charles worthington salon transformed into a 1930s beauty parlour, in celebration of oscar-winning film the artist.

we arrived at the three-story georgian townhouse in covent garden and were met by beautiful girls in flapper dresses, vintage champagne glasses filled with bubbles, and bowls of pick’n’mix and popcorn. good start.

before we could settle into some serious girl time, we were ushered upstairs for a quick tap dancing session to get us in the ‘the artist’ spirit. we threw back a couple of glasses of the good stuff before braving the moves, and were giggling masters of the jazz hands in no time.

next we were treated to thirties-style makeovers courtesy of armani. now i’m a fan of the bright red lip, but have always been under the impression that anything darker would make my pout appear thin and severe. how wrong i was. rouge d’armani plum 402 is my new beauty staple. dark and luxurious, it takes your day make-up to night in one sweep.

next i was left in the capable hands of the dapper mathew soobroy, part of the BAFTA red carpet hair team, who managed to transform my office-stale limp hair into fluffy, flapper curls in under 20 minutes.

mathew curled great chunks of my hair tightly around a curling wand, before dragging a bristle brush through it to fluff up the wringlets. he added texture and smoothed the crown into a severe side-part, secured with a crystal clip and a can of hairspray. my friend’s blonde tresses were twisted into a bouncy up ‘do.

with little effort, i had serious glamour going on, completely achievable at home. will definitely be bringing the hairstyle out for my next big event, and the berry lipstick is already in high rotation in my make-up routine.

not a bad way to perk up a rainy midweek evening and a learn a few new beauty tricks.

(extra pictures: the weinstein company, giorgio armani)