What I Ate In A Day #8

Today started like any other day with my cat jumping on me far too early in the morning. It’s a good job I love her as I don’t tolerate anything else waking me up before my alarm. Unless it’s to bring me breakfast then I can occasionally allow it.

Unlike other days in England though, today was filled with glorious sunshine and soaring temperatures. I started my day with a glass of orange juice and a nice summery breakfast. I toasted a bagel (this is actually a new ‘bagel thin’ from Warburtons) and spread it with some cream cheese then topped it with a diced peach and a drizzle of honey. It was nice.

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Despite suffering with an annoying head cold and sore throat, I made the most of the sunshine and went to Sevenoaks for a browse around the food festival and a walk around Knole Park, one of my favourite places to visit. It has wild deer wandering around and they will come and sit with you! I was treated to a few little tasters from the food stalls then enjoyed a Twister lolly in the sun.

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Back home and time for lunch. We’ve been feeling very Mediterranean lately so we laid out a bit of a spread. I had a huge mound of salad (lettuce, cucumber, radish, red onion, yellow pepper, tomatoes and crispy onions) with ranch dressing plus Jersey Royals dressed in extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and wholegrain mustard, some roast chicken, homemade tzatziki, a few olives, marinated garlic and pickled ginger that I picked up at the food festival and crusty bread with oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s not summer unless you start eating salad.

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After lunch I knocked up a few cinnamon swirls (recipe coming soon!) and enjoyed a couple with a cup of tea. Honestly they’re only little!

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That, remarkably, is the end of my post. I did have a couple of sweets during a Game of Thrones marathon in the evening but I didn’t fancy anything else to eat. It could have been the blood and gore of Joffrey’s death (yes I really am that far behind) or the irritating flu that is plaguing me. Either way, a good food day.

 

Recipe: Berry Rose Smoothie

Sometimes I struggle to fit some fruit into my daily diet. This is where smoothies come in as they are a quick and easy way to get some of the good stuff in. A Nutri Ninja isn’t just for Oreo Milkshakes you know. (Although they are, indeed, incredibly good.) The rose water in this smoothie just adds a touch of the exotic and makes the summer berries seem even more sweet and fragrant.

Serves 1

What you need:

  • 5 heaped tablespoons of frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 200ml milk

What you do:

  1. Chuck all of the ingredients into a blender and whizz away until it is smooth and creamy. Drink right away when it’s wonderfully cold.

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This is a good smoothie recipe to have as we go into the summer months and makes a wonderful light breakfast.

Enjoy!

 

April Roundup

So McDonalds Monopoly happened. Damn you McDonalds. I’m annoyed not only with Ronald and his minions but also at myself for being so easily bought. Here I am collecting stickers by the hundreds (OK, probably not hundreds) and the most I won was a cheeseburger. Give me the chance to win a luxury holiday or a new car and I’m anybody’s, especially when there’s a Big Tasty involved.

Thankfully for my waist line Monopoly is over and I can stop trying to kid myself that gorging on burgers is going to make me rich. It didn’t and it won’t. All I gained was an extra few pounds of weight and lost a few pounds of money. Real money, not the Monopoly kind.

Because of this trickery from McDonalds, and the fact that I’ve had a really lazy month with takeaways and meals out galore, I’ve barely cooked lately. And I’m just getting fatter.

I’m going to make some new month resolutions for May. It seems like a good time for a new start just before summer begins. Here’s what I want to try to achieve:

  • I’m going to try to exercise three times a week, even if only for ten minutes. Trust me, that’s more than I’m doing at the moment.
  • I want to make more exciting dinners and use my cookbooks more. It’s so easy to become set in your ways and turn to simple food instead of trying new things.
  • I’m really close to 100 followers on my blog so want to reach that milestone next month!

I think that’s enough goals to work towards for now, I don’t want to be an overachiever now do I.

April has seen me post less than normal due to taking a week off blogging whilst on my holiday. There was still lots of recipes and foodie ideas though, so if you missed any you can catch up here.

Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous / Recipe Review: Nigella Lawson’s Nursery Fish Pie / What’s In My Fridge? / Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs / Help – I’m A Food Addict / Recipe Review: Jamie Oliver’s Insanity Burgers / What I Ate in a Day #7 / Recipe: 3 Ingredient Chocolate Bark / A Week in Devon! / Recipe: Churros French Toast / 100 Things About Me!

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Don’t forget to go follow me on Facebook!

 

 

A Week in Devon!

Right, I’m back. My lack of posts last week was due to me taking a little holiday, well deserved if I do say so myself. Tyler and I drove down to Devon to spend a few days by the sea and enjoy some quality time together. Yeah right, we just wanted an excuse to drive the new car and eat chips on the beach. And that we did. I thought I would share with you some of our adventures, lots of them involving food of course.

We stayed in a beach hut in Ilfracombe overlooking the sea. It was beautifully decorated but teeny tiny so we had to live like hobbits for the four days we were there. It was worth it though for the stunning views. We were also blessed with glorious sunshine. Day one really just involved popping to the supermarket nearby and getting some bits to munch on. We stayed home on the first evening and ate sausage rolls, pork pies and chips and dips. I decided half way through our little picnic feast that I was going to become a vegetarian.

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I ate cereal for breakfast every morning, either Golden Grahams or Curiously Cinnamon, which was such a treat as I only ever have boring adult cereal at home. If there is ever a time to eat sugary cereal its on holiday.

This perfume from The Library of Fragrance was the most perfect choice for the week as it smelt like a nicer, less fishy (in fact zero fishy) version of the outdoors.

I love this mirror.

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The scenery in Devon is absolutely gorgeous so we spent much of our first day our in the sunshine exploring the area. Tyler made me do a load of walking, which he always does on holiday and I always then proceed to moan about.

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Obviously any walker knows that a walk must be followed by a pub lunch, and we were more than happy to oblige. The pub we visited turned out to be a Wetherspoons but the food was actually really good. As it was my first day of being a vegetarian (and also the fact that I was in serious need of some vegetables) I went for the superfood pasta salad with some garlic bread. And a pear cider, to up my fruit intake of course. I got a bit tipsy.

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Here’s some more scenic snaps and the keyring for our hut which is ever so cute.

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We took a drive to Woolacombe which has the best beach in Britain. Again the sun had his hat on and we were hip hip hooraying for a taste of summer. I can’t tell you how good it felt to walk barefoot along the shoreline even though I then had to spend the rest of the day with sand in my boots and soggy trousers. It was worth it.

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Lunch! Chips (standard)  with this oddly designed bottle of peach iced tea to complete the holiday vibe. I always had iced tea on holiday as a kid and you so rarely see the peach one in this country. Devon just knows what we want. I then had this lovely Nutella waffle which I had to protect from the flock of seagulls hungry for a bit of the action.

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Car Selfie. Because I’m on holiday so the why the hell not.

A smashing game of crazy golf was had. I won. Tyler let me cheat.

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Our first dinner outing was to a place called Hele Billy’s just down the road from the beach hut we were staying in. I wasn’t expecting much but actually the food was really good. I decided I didn’t want to be a vegetarian anymore so went out in style, having three different meats in one meal. Hardcore, me. We started with a platter to share which had ribs, some chicken strips and onion rings, then I had a beef and mushroom stroganoff with sweet potato fries and some vegetables on the side. It was all really tasty washed down with a glass of white wine and some quizzing courtesy of the trivia cards they had all around the tables for diners to use.

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We took a trip to Exmoor Zoo during our break. It was a lovely day out and we saw the Exmoor Beast which is a black leopard, he was stunningly beautiful. My absolute favourite thing though was the peacocks and peahens they had roaming around the paths. I got super excited when I saw the male with all his beautiful plumage, I never expected to see him display all his feathers but lo and behold he got excited by a sexy little female and graced us with his full beauty. It was awesome.

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When in Devon, one simply must have a proper cream tea. We went to a town called Clovelly which is a really steep village with no vehicular access. In all honesty, I hated it. It was cobbled and really hard to walk down then so steep it killed to walk back up. But I did see some donkeys and did have a lovely cream tea. The scone was warm, fresh and delicious, served with jam and good old clotted cream, my favourite.

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We saved the best culinary experience for the last evening and had one of the best meals of my life in a tapas bar in Ilfracombe called The Terrace Tapas and Wine Bar. I adore tapas anyway but this was all beautifully cooked, super tasty and each element complimented each other brilliantly. We had a meat and cheese platter with breads and salad to start, then meatballs, pork skewers, spicy prawns, patatas bravas and croquettes for mains. The serving sizes were ideal meaning we had room for dessert, a Toblerone fondue with churros, marshmallows and strawberries. I also had a mojito. Everything was so good I did a little happy dance in my chair. A must go if you are in the area.

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Our last day was met with heavy rain so we decided to have breakfast back at the Wetherspoons then head home. I went for the eggs Benedict which was actually really lovely. I shall not overlook Wetherspoons again.

We drove home via Exmoor National Park and saw so many little lambs. We had to stop and go see them. I say we, it was really me just whining at Tyler until he couldn’t take anymore and pulled over to shut me up. But how cute are they!? I decided again to try being a vegetarian once more.

We stopped at a service station on the way home (best part of any journey, right?) and I had a burrito which was delicious. Unfortunately I forgot about my vegetarianism and had slow cooked chilli beef. Oops.

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A pit stop on the way home to get this little one from the spa retreat (our own word for the cattery). As silly as it is she makes coming home from a holiday much more bearable as she is just so cute when she’s missed us.

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My usual blogging schedule shall resume now I’m back to my normal, mundane life.

 

 

 

What I Ate in a Day #7

I do love to be beside the seaside, oh I do love to be beside the sea! We made the most of the hottest day of the year so far and had a little drive down to Folkestone for some fish and chips and a coastal walk. And what a lovely day it was too.

Before setting off, I tried these new breakfast biscuits from Sainsbury’s. They were OK. I made myself a mocha in my posh Vera Wang travel mug to enjoy on the journey. How lovely is that?

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When we got to Folkestone we took a nice walk through the coastal park and made the most of the fresh air. It was full of kids though which hurt my ears and general well-being.

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Second breakfast (my favourite meal of the day) was a tropical cooler and a blueberry muffin in Costa. These drinks are amazing and make me long for hot summer days.

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The sun came out properly in the afternoon and I went coat free for the first time this year. It was glorious. We had THE BEST FISH AND CHIPS EVER from a place called The Smokehouse. If you’re in the area you have to go. The chips are cooked in beef dripping which made them amazingly crispy on the outside and perfectly fluffy within. I do wonder how many vegetarians have missed the sign advising of the beef dripping and munched their way through a portion of chips in total ignorance? The thought made me chuckle.

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SUNSHINE!

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I had the best nap when I got home as I was suffering with a tummy ache from the chips. They always give me tummy problems but alas, I still eat them. I munched through some coconut yogurt with blueberries, passion fruit and coconut flakes to settle my tummy. Plus, it was delicious and made a nice picture for my post!

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I’m totally addicted to spaghetti at the moment so had a late night bowl of spaghetti tossed in a sauce made with red onions, red peppers and tomatoes, enjoyed on the sofa watching TV.

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I finished my lovely day off playing Unchartered on the PS4 as apparently I’m a geezer bird now.

Recipe Review: Nigella Lawson’s Nursery Fish Pie

Disclaimer: I don’t really like fish. I like sea bass and prawns and calamari but the rest of it, as far as I’m concerned, can stay in the water and off of my plate. But, I’m a very good girlfriend you see and when the man indoors wants a fish pie for dinner, I deliver. What I’m trying to say is that this recipe is great if you don’t really like fish but for whatever strange reason you kinda have to eat it.

We all know how much of a Nigella fan I am and she is my go to woman when in need of a recipe. This fish pie was featured in Feast, otherwise known in my house as the ‘Every Occasion Bible’. I used to rent this from the library almost constantly before I got my own copy, it’s such a great book. The recipe is also on Nigella’s site, which you can find here.

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I had no need to cook for 8 people so I halved the recipe and made a few changes so the instructions below are inclusive of my amendments.

First things first, peel and chop enough potatoes to make the mash. I didn’t weigh my potatoes, but used about 5 regular sized ones. Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are really soft then mash them with a splash of milk and a big chunk of butter.  At the same time, hard boil two eggs (Delia says 7 minutes, and Delia knows her eggs so trust in Delia) and boil about 80g of peas for a minute or two.

In a large pan, lay roughly 250g each of cod and smoked haddock, top with a couple of bay leaves, a tablespoon of peppercorns and half an onion then pour over 250ml of milk. Bring this to the boil then reduce to a simmer and gently cook the fish for about 5 minutes until it starts to flake. Remove the fish to a plate and drain the milky liquid into a jug.

Now to make the sauce. Melt 40g of butter in a saucepan and stir in the same amount of plain flour. Cook down for a minute or so, then remove from the heat and whisk in the fishy milk. Yes, that’s right, fishy milk. Lovely. Put the pan back on the heat, add a pinch of grated nutmeg and heat through until thickened. Remove from the heat again and stir through about 100g of grated cheddar cheese.

To assemble, flake the fish into the bottom of an ovenproof dish, keeping it quite chunky. Next, add 150g of cooked king prawns, then pour over the cheesy sauce. Use a spatula to spread out the sauce and ensure even distribution. Sprinkle the peas onto the sauce and fish layer then lay slices of hard boiled eggs on top. Add a bit of chopped parsley. Dollop your mashed potato on top then use a fork to rough it up, before adding a good handful of grated cheddar cheese. Pop the fish pie into the oven for 30 minutes on about 190°c. It should come out bubbling and creamy.

I must admit, this was rather lovely, even as a non-fish fan. Good old Nigella delivers again. But, I do have two issues. One: There is an absolute f**kload of washing up. That’s even more than a shitload. Two: My kitchen smelt of fish.

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March Roundup

It’s Spring! Yay! I love when the days get longer, the skies get bluer and the lambs get…well….tastier. Sorry vegans. Don’t know about you but we still have the heating on daily and I’m still always cold but it doesn’t matter, because the end is nigh. The darkness has fallen and summer is just around the corner. My skin is in desperate need of a break from the central heating and a good old dose of vitamin D and my feet are itching to make their way into a pair of sandals. It’s time to paint the toe-nails, shave the legs and make a last ditch attempt to lose 2 stone before beach season is upon us. Maybe. Maybe not.

So that’s a quarter of the year done. Already. The older I get the more I find myself saying things like “I just don’t know where the time goes anymore” or “that month just flew by”. I’m only one step away from looking outside and commenting “oh what a lovely day for drying washing”.

Even though March really did fly by, I got up to a few nice things.

  • I went on my very first spa day, how very grown up of me! Breaking my spa day virginity was, unlike losing my actual virginity, everything I had hoped for and more. I swam, steamed and lounged in between having a lovely facial and drinking the best hot chocolate ever. You knew there was going to be a reference to food in there somewhere right?
  • I also got a brand spanking new shiny big girl car. No more rusty little Golf for me (no offence to other Golf drivers, mine was just old and lacking the crucial element of brakes that work), I now have a beautiful white crossover that makes me feel like I’m driving a bus. In a good way. There is no food reference here as food is absolutely forbidden in the new car. At least for the first few weeks.
  • I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate. I mean, Easter, come on. Even just the build up to Easter meant there was chocolate shoved in your face from every angle and I’m weak, helpless even. It wasn’t my fault. One of my work pals re-intorduced me to the delights of a Cadbury Flake. Am I the only one who thought they were extinct? Well apparently they’re not and are just as delicious as I remembered but don’t have the wrapper that twists at the ends anymore, which I must say was very disappointing. Sort it out Cadbury.

I should also introduce you all to my new Facebook page! If you like my blog you can also follow me on Facebook to keep up to date with my posts and see some extra foodie stuff. The link to my page is right here.

If you missed any of my posts from the last month, fear not, as they are all listed below.

Recipe: Chocolate and Pecan Banana Bread / What I Ate in a Day #5 / How to Host a Dinner Party / Recipe: Huevos Rancheros / Recipe: Rhubarb and Rose Bellinis / #Foodporn: Episode Two / Recipe: Pork Fillet in a Mushroom Cream Sauce / Recipe: Chocolate Nest Cakes / What I Ate in a Day # 6 / Recipe: Sweet Potato Bowl / A Little Kitchen Haul / Recipe: 3 Ingredient Oreo Milkshake

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See you in April! x