Brunch today at the Wild Cafe in Bath. Avocado on sourdough toast; pancakes with bacon and maple syrup; fresh orange juice, and Earl Grey tea. Making the most of my leisure time before starting a grown-up full-time job on Monday. Eek!
Thursday, 5 June 2014
Today I went for coffee with a friend, and received this belated birthday gift. It's full of traditional recipes that remind her of growing up in Sweden, and I can't wait to give some of them a try. Just need to decide whether to make cinnamon buns or tosca cake first...
Oh yes, it was my birthday last week! And before that I took Little P to Paris! We have a lot to catch up on. I'll post again tomorrow.
Monday, 19 May 2014
Before you get mad at me, I have a good reason for not blogging in almost a month - well, two good reasons perhaps. The first has been finally finishing my degree (only four years behind schedule after having Little P), so as you can imagine I have been trapped at my desk for the last few weeks. The second is that, after my final exam a week ago, I have been busy celebrating. The weather has certainly helped, and I've enjoyed sunny pub garden drinks, nights out with uni friends, and a great weekend with my guy that included a very late night, and a very lazy Sunday at the spa. Think I need to make the most of this before real life kicks in...
Saturday, 26 April 2014
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Monday, 14 April 2014
This recipe comes with an(other) apology. With my dissertation deadline looming ever closer, I'm afraid blogging has taken a bit of a back seat...so has cooking, for that matter. But last week saw my final EVER lecture, so I'm now studying from home and trying not to get too distracted by a) the sunshine b) trashy TV or c) cleaning the oven, aka anything that seems more appealing than sitting at my desk.
To celebrate our last lecture, I took in a batch of these muffins. They went down well - although a bunch of sleepy students at 9am will probably appreciate any snack given to them. They're perhaps not as healthy as your average breakfast muffin, so leave out the chocolate if you like, or eat with abandon as they are:
Makes 12 muffins
150g self raising white flour
100g self raising wholemeal flour
100g caster sugar
1 tao bicarb of soda
1 medium free-range egg
90ml vegetable oil
200g white chocolate, broken into chunks
Heat the oven to 180°C.
Combine and mix together all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, except for the blueberries and 150g of the white chocolate. Try to do this in as few movements as possible, otherwise you'll knock all the air out of the mixture.
Using a metal spoon, stir through the blueberries and chocolate.
Pour the mixture into a 12 hole muffin tin lined with paper cases, and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. You can check with a skewer to see if the centres are cooked.
Remove from the oven, take the muffins out of the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 50g chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water - or in the microwave, on a VERY LOW setting for no more than 30 seconds. I burnt my first batch by forgetting Mary Berry's wise words: "chocolate will melt in a child's pocket". Oh Mary, why did I forsake you?
When the muffins are cool, embrace your inner artist and drizzle the melted chocolate over them in a fancy way. Leave to cool and harden.
Tuesday, 18 March 2014
Confession: I had to Google (or 'google' - is google a verb nowadays?): "Is polenta a carb?" in the making of this post.
Does that sound stupid? Carbs are a confusing place.
Well it turns out that polenta is a wholefood, and one of those 'good carbs' that is full of fibre and protein. So we can feel good about that.
We can also feel good about cutting it up and pretending that it's potato.
These crispy fries are actually baked not fried, giving them more healthy little brownie points. They're also wonderfully easy to make, even more so if you use ready-made polenta.
If you're using the grain from scratch, just cook it according to the pack's instructions to make a firm polenta. The quantities I used were 100g polenta combined with 400ml water, a generous amount of grated parmesan, and approx 1 tsp dried rosemary. Heat in a saucepan for around 4 minutes until thick. Leave to cool a little, then turn out onto a flat surface and shape into a square-ish shape - this is quite a satisfying job if you do it with a few pats of your rubber spatula (!)
Heat some olive oil on a tray, in an oven heated to 200 degrees.
Slice your polenta into thick or thin fries, depending on what you fancy. I went for thick but would try thin next time, as the resulting fry has a firm texture that would hold it's shape well.
Place onto the hot tray. Season with sea salt and black pepper, and toss to coat them in the oil. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden and crisp.
Sunday, 16 March 2014
This morning - Rene Humphrey and I grabbed some fresh orange juice and blueberry muffins from the Holburne Museum café, and took a morning stroll along the canal. So nice to chat goals and plans for the future with this lady, she always inspires me. Oh and I think I got a little bit sun-burnt, which I didn't mind because it feels so good to have the sun back!
Saturday, 8 March 2014
London is becoming something of a hotspot for burgers these days. Ever keen to try out new restaurants, there's a few that I've been wanting to visit for some time - from Burger and Lobster, to Byron, to US import Five Guys. On a recent visit we decided to tick one off the increasing list of 'best burgers in London' and headed to MEATliquor, in a convenient position near Oxford Street but positioned beneath a rather bleak looking car park.
Don't let the exterior put you off, though. Once inside the restaurant, with its dark lighting, graffiti style paintwork on the walls, and jumbled mix of old wooden tables and leather booths, you feel as if the place has always been there. We liked the relaxed vibe and, unlike some places in London, it didn't feel like it was trying too hard to be hip - the best example of this being the unceremonious roll of kitchen paper on each table for diners to use as napkins!
But of course, most importantly - the burgers were pretty near perfect. We both opted for the bacon cheeseburger, which came thick, medium rare and fried in butter (so wrong, yet so very right) and were generously topped with American style cheese, mustard, ketchup and pickles. The bun wasn't of the increasingly common brioche variety, but an old school soft white bun, lightly grilled in butter also (*drool*). A definite highlight for me were the fries, which - and this is a complement by the way - had the satisfying saltiness and crispness of a McDonald's french fry. The highlight for my partner was that the ice cold Buds were served in ice frosted glasses - and it's the little touches like that that will guarantee a return visit. And with the bill coming in at just under £30, it's pretty reasonably priced by the capital's standards.
Looks like next time we'll have to try and visit a few other places for comparison. Purely in the name of research!
Where are some of your favourite places to grab a burger in London?
Sunday, 2 March 2014
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
One morning after a particularly late night out in Bristol, I decided to cleanse myself with a quick stop at The Better Food Company in the St Werburgh's area.
Although all my body was craving was a dirty burger, it did lift my spirits a little to browse the aisles of organic and wholefood produce, and buy myself a few things. The store also sells lots of locally produced items, from West Country cheeses to sausages from nearby farms. I was also craving sausages by this point. If you do find yourself peckish, there's a welcoming little cafe and deli on site.
The store has a delightfully stocked scoop-and-fill area, filled with anything you could need whether its rice, oats or lentils. I scooped up some very reasonably priced 'deluxe muesli', and could feel my body thanking me already!
There is also a (somewhat excessive, if you ask me) selection of rice cakes. But I was excited by all the crackers, so who am I to judge?
I couldn't resist these hazelnut waffles, nor could I ignore the chia seed superfood trend any longer. I have no idea what to use them for though, so I'll just be off googling that now.
Here's to Spring and all its health and vitality!
(Disclaimer - I'm going to a 'beer and hot dog night' tomorrow - so here's to everything in moderation!)
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
This is mostly one of my apology posts for not blogging in a little while! The next few weeks are crammed full of uni deadlines (hooray!) and some exciting plans, so I'll try my very best to stay in touch. It's half term this the moment (not the best timing, if I'm honest) so I'll be making sure I fit in some quality time with this wonderful little guy.
Hope you're all well!
Love, Miss P x
Monday, 10 February 2014
This morning: a quick coffee and croissant date with my guy, before we both had to get on with some work and real life.
(Bertinet Bakery do the best almond croissants in Bath, I feel you need to know that)
Sunday, 9 February 2014
We've just returned from a night away in the Cotswolds to celebrate our anniversary. We stayed in the charming little market town of Tetbury, which we has driven through in the past and thought it looked a nice place to stopover, do some antique shopping and enjoy some food and drink.
I'll soon be posting a longer review of the hotel we stayed in, but first here's a little lunch recommendation - The Snooty Fox, apparently a hangout of Prince Charles who lives nearby on the Highgrove estate. Right in the heart of the high street, this local boozer strikes the perfect balance between a traditional pub with roaring its fires and dark wood-paneled rooms, and a modern eatery, with its tempting - but not self-conscious - food menu.
There was a very pleasing sandwich menu, all served with chips and reasonably priced at around the £7 mark, as well as hot food which included local sausages and mash, burgers (we can highly recommends the chicken and bacon burger), and beer-battered haddock and chips. The hand-pulled pork pie ploughman's would also go down a treat with a cold pint of local ale! Dinner options include 'fancier' dishes such as steak, sea bream with crushed potatoes, and duck breast in honey and orange sauce - so it would also be a lovely spot for a quiet dinner and bottle of red wine by the large fireplace.
One added bonus was George the Great Dane who seemed to lap up the attention from visitors, and another was the wonderfully warm service we received from Paula our bartender. From letting us sample the beers to giving us a number for the best local cabbie, it's those little touches that really make you feel welcome, and reminds you what's great about traditional British pubs.
Monday, 27 January 2014
Tonight's dinner was king prawns with stir fry vegetables, cooked in fresh chilli, garlic and ginger, with a little and honey and soy sauce. Served with brown rice, and eaten on the sofa with a pile of books that I have to read for uni. Reading under pressure is NOT FUN, but eating with chopsticks is.
Friday, 24 January 2014
I have a theory that almost any meal can be greatly improved by sticking a poached egg on top of it. Think about it - there are fewer things in life more enjoyable than the feeling of cutting into just-firm whites, and letting the oozy yolk smother your dinner with its golden comforting warmth.
Last night I made a salad of leaves, petits pois and smoked streaky bacon lardons, dressed in lemon juice and olive oil, and topped it with a simple cod fishcake. Then I proudly placed my poached egg on top, and suddenly dinner got a lot more exciting.
What do you like having poached egg with...salads, steaks, pasta, pizza? Or are they strictly for having on toast?!
Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Some of the weekend...
We celebrated our cat Lulu's birthday by giving her a whole tin of tuna, sticking a candle in it and singing to her. She loved it, I could tell.
We went for a sunny walk along the canal, fed some intimidating swans and got a bit muddy.
We treated ourselves to a carb-laden lunch at The Wild Cafe in Bath...and the next day a Sunday roast at The Porter (which I demolished before taking any photos!).
Hope you all had a good weekend and are ready for a productive week!
Thursday, 16 January 2014
What better way to kickstart a healthy regime than with a substantial smoothie, followed by a run on a cold sunny day? It was my first in about 6 months (run that is, not smoothie) so it took some effort to drag my unwilling feet out of their slippers and into my running shoes. But I'm glad that I did it, because even though my thighs hated me the next day, I can't help but feel satisfied with the pain - and with the ridiculous hills around me in Bath, it's only going to get more gruelling!
So here's how to make a smoothie that will give you a long-lasting energy hit - whether you're going for a run, or just off to work or school for the day. It'll easily keep you going until lunchtime.
Makes 2 smoothies
In a blender - or in a bowl, using a hand-held stick blender - whizz together 2 bananas, 2 very small handfuls of porridge oats, 4 chopped dates, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 1/2 cups of almond milk (or whichever milk you prefer - if you're watching the calories, almond is a great choice). Make sure all the dates are thoroughly blended as they can be a little tough!
Pour into glasses, adding a little more milk if the consistency is too thick.
Monday, 13 January 2014
Well well well...it's my first blog post of 2014, and here I am still reminiscing about last year. I'm just about getting myself out of the indulgent haze of Christmas and New Year, and starting to embrace January and all it's talk of healthy eating, yadda yadda yadda. So before my blog becomes full of healthy recipes and good intentions, I thought I'd share with you some moments from our Christmas. There were mince pies; a painstakingly homemade gingerbread house that we took to Little P's school to share with his class; a starring role as Joseph at the school nativity; a wonderful Christmas at home, which I managed to host without having a meltdown, and roasted a glorious duck (and a honey and marmalade glazed ham the next day); waaaaaaay too much cheese and red wine; almost as much Prosecco; lots of lego building and Uno playing; a night of dancing for New Year's Eve; and quality time with family and friends. To be honest, we didn't want it to end!
So it's been back to reality with a bit of a bang...I had an exam to welcome me into the year, and a huge workload that I somehow completely ignored over Christmas. And yes, I will be trying to be healthier for a little while - although I'm definitely not detoxing, I'll be upping our fruit and vegetable intake, saving treats for the weekends, and cooking meals that aren't mostly based around pasta. I've even taken up Zumba again -it's entirely necessary after all that cheese. So you can expect some leaner recipes to follow, and unfortunately, rather a lot less baking. At least for now.
So Happy (belated) New Year, folks! Let's make it a good one! x