How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?

Happy Easter everyone!

Easter for me means only one thing, and sorry Christians, it’s not Jesus. It means chocolate! The only other time of the year apart from Christmas day when it is acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast.

I’m fussy about my Easter eggs. They have to be Cadbury. There’s something about a Cadbury Easter egg that reminds me of childhood. The purple foil wrapper peels away to reveal that milk chocolate egg embossed with the famous Cadbury logo. I like to smash my egg into shards and put them into a Tupperware box and store it in the fridge. Literally the only time I like fridge cold chocolate. My friends and I had a debate about how to eat an Easter egg this week. One likes hers at room temperature dipped into a big mug of steaming tea whilst the other likes to melt hers and have it with ready salted crisps. Both were very against my fridge cold offering.

The chocolate of an Easter egg just tastes so different to a standard bar. It melts beautifully in the mouth and the thickness varies throughout the egg, with some parts being really thin and delicate and others being chunkier and more toothsome. Its like a two in one deal.

Year after year Easter eggs become more and more extravagant. Good Housekeeping named the Co-Op’s Single Origin Ecuadorian Milk Chocolate Cocoa Pod as the best Easter egg in the milk chocolate category this year. It’s not even an egg! Marks and Spencer have a few showstoppers available, including a camper van shaped treat (why?) as well as a huge chocolate bunny. Hotel Chocolat have provided a quirky option in the form of an ‘egg’ sandwich, presented in a classic triangular shaped sandwich box. Waitrose launched an avocado Easter egg which has sold out across the nation. When will this avocado hype end? We can’t even get through Easter without one of the little green gremlins popping up.

Don’t get me wrong, if I were presented with one of these Easter eggs come Sunday morning I will gladly eat it, but sometimes tradition wins out and the good old reliable Cadbury egg is all I really want. It’s unassuming, simple and never changing. You know what you’re going to get. There’s no risk of biting into it and finding popping candy or salted peanuts. It’s just pure, sugary sweet milk chocolate. And on Easter Sunday, when it will likely be raining and a bit chilly, that is just the perfect breakfast to eat in my dressing gown whilst reading a good book.

My cats are even getting in on the Easter action this year. Yes, you can even buy Easter eggs for cats. Apparently, they are purrfect.

Whatever you are doing this Easter, enjoy!

Tania x

 

 

Brunch Club

Amongst the endless stream of chores, bills and responsibilities that come with adulthood lurk some rather lovely perks: Not being forced to eat your vegetables; choosing your own clothes; having brunch. As a teenager I would roll out of bed halfway through the day and just lay around in a fluffy pink dressing gown eating jam on toast and regretting my life choices thus far. My initial years of adulthood were largely spent doing things that I’d never had the financial freedom to do before such as going out for dinner and planning lovely holidays. Nowadays, I’m happy to accept the fact that my favourite place in the world is home and I love nothing more than being in my kitchen in a comfy t-shirt making friends and family something lovely to eat. I’m very comfortable with being an adult and to celebrate I invited my equally adult friends round for brunch expecting us to have very adult conversations whilst sipping tea from China cups with our pinky fingers sticking out. What followed, however, was nothing short of chaos.

It turns out that a host who isn’t actually that good at adulting, three friends with varying skills in both parenting and cat-parenting, a toddler, a newborn baby, an angry cat, a playful kitten and a really tiny dining table can create absolute carnage.

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I got off to a good start by setting the table with some nice cups and saucers for the tea, cute bottles with straws for the smoothies and champagne glasses for the water because frankly they’re the only type of glasses for which I have a matching set of four. Jess (expert mother of three children and three dogs, very little cat experience) got to work making everyone tea and quickly realised that the inept host (me) hadn’t thought to check the date on the milk and we were now faced with a dilemma. Jade (surprisingly good with children despite not being a parent, hates cats) drove to the shop that is a 30 second walk from my house with her Louis Vuitton handbag and tried to use a credit card to pay for a 90p bottle of milk in a cornershop that looks like it hasn’t changed since World War 2. Milkgate eventually involved Jade driving the 2.8 seconds back to my house, me begrudgingly having to go outside in my Ugg slippers to deliver change all in 10ps that I had scraped together from the back of the sofa, Jade going back to the shop looking like a tourist and finally bringing the milk back. All for Jess to never actually finish making the tea.

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We had smashed avocado on toasted rye bread with crispy streaky bacon and poached eggs to start. Normal bread wasn’t on the menu as Jade imposed her allergies on the rest of us but actually the rye bread was delicious. To make this most-basic-bitch-on-instagram brunch dish for yourself, just mash two avocados with a good pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime juice and spread this onto 4 slices of toasted rye bread. Top each toast with two slices of crispy bacon and a poached egg. I poach my eggs by bringing a pan of water to a gentle boil, adding a dash of cider vinegar and gently dropping the eggs in one by one from a ramekin. Cook for three minutes then transfer to kitchen towel to remove the excess water. You can drizzle the toast with some hot sauce to be extra hipster.

As we ate, Maggie (Jess’s youngest) decided to play in my vegetable trolley and throw my onions around the kitchen because that is of course the most fun one can have with onions and Bear (my kitten) took great pleasure in terrorising Jade. We’re all quite OK at this point and having a giggle about life before children and cats. Jess picks Bear up for a cuddle and drops him clean on his head. They say cats always land on their feet. That’s a lie.

The next course was a green smoothie. I made this by blending together 2 pears, one apple, a chunk of cucumber, two balls of frozen spinach, half an avocado and some apple juice until it was smooth with a vibrant green hue. We drank this out of dainty milk bottles with star patterned paper straws because I like to waste my hard earned money on shit.

Lulu (my older, grumpier cat) spends the entire time licking the cellphone wrapping of a gift that Jade bought round for Ellen (brand new human mum, experienced cat mum) because that’s her most favourite thing to do.

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We moved on to our final course, a rainbow fruit salad with honey orange dressing. I mixed together blueberries, green grapes, halved strawberries and chunks of mango and poured over a dressing made from a heaped tablespoon of warmed honey and about the same of orange juice. We had this with shop bought coconut macaroons and more chats about nipple pads, smelly nappies and cat poo. Bear decided this was the perfect time for cuddles and joined us at the table trying to eat a strawberry as it travelled from my bowl to my mouth. My friends decided to never come to eat again.

Brunch turned into a chilled afternoon involving the trivia game on the Google Home Mini, a selfie stick (yes they still exist) and a game of ‘put that where Maggie can’t reach it and the cats can’t lick it’. My house ended up looking like Changing Rooms had been in, with everything below hip level in a different place and onions in unimaginable locations. Teddy (Ellen’s baby: cute but does the smelliest farts) had some lovely cuddles and managed to leave with all facial features in tact despite Lulu’s best efforts. I had a mountain of washing up and a lot of gone off milk to dispose of but it was worth it for a lovely day of fun, friendship and food. This is adulthood at its most special and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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Speak soon,

Tania x

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Vegan Bircher Muesli

I’ve known about bircher muesli for years but have only just recently discovered how amazing it is. If you don’t know, let me fill you in. You mix together oats, fruit, nuts and seeds with some kind of liquid such as milk, yogurt or fruit juice, then leave it in the fridge overnight. What you get in the morning is a delicious, creamy cold porridge that you can then top with berries and yogurt for a complete, healthy balanced breakfast. Plus, it can be made to be totally vegan so good for you and for the planet. If you’re not sold, make a small batch to test out and I promise you you’ll be converted.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 50g oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp mixed seeds
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 1 tbsp sultanas
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 grated apple
  • pinch of salt
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • yogurt (dairy free to be vegan) and berries to serve

What you do:

  1. Very simply, mix all of the ingredients except the yogurt and berries together in a bowl and stir well. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
  2. To serve, top with some yogurt, any kind is fine but the vegan coconut yogurt is amazing, and then some mixed frozen berries that have been defrosted. Tuck in!

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This is one of my favourite things to eat at the moment and I’m really pleased that I’ve been able to create a recipe that is so easy yet so tasty. Do let me know if you make this one!

What I Ate In A Day #12

I went to an amazing wedding on Saturday, probably the best wedding I’ve ever been to even though the lovely couple already got married officially abroad last month. The weather was gorgeous and set off the beautiful venue perfectly. Of course my main concern was the food. I’m pleased to say that it was absolutely delicious, all Indian in style and really tasty. I ate a lot and drank a lot of Pimms. Like, a lot. Naturally, I was feeling a little worse for wear the following day so dragged myself to my local Wetherspoons for breakfast. I went for the vegetarian option as I like the sausages better than ‘real’ ones and washed it all down with an ice cold apple juice which worked wonders for the hangover.

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Watermelon is also a pretty amazing hangover cure so I munched on some of that as an afternoon snack, followed by some cherries.

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It was another hot day on Sunday so we wanted a simple, light dinner that didn’t involve the oven as we just aren’t coping with the extra heat that generates into our kitchen. Lazy admission – we bought a ready cooked chicken and had that with new potatoes dressed in butter and lemon and thyme sea salt, mixed salad with Caesar dressing and a little bit of Blackstick’s Blue cheese. This cheese is amazing, a little goes a long way as it’s pretty powerful stuff but the taste is unlike any other cheese.

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After dinner I had a watermelon slushy made by whizzing some frozen watermelon chunks with a little sugar syrup and a splash of water.

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And then, my favourite part of any Sunday. Putting my comfy clothes on, tying my hair up and relaxing on the sofa with a naughty snack. Tyler and I shared this Cadbury Dairy Milk with Daim bar. No really, I honestly did share.

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I love a selfie me.

July Roundup

July. The month that felt like the early 2000s with everyone talking about Pokemon and Blink 182. Not me though. I’ve been harping on about Celebrity Masterchef, the lack of decent strawberries in the supermarkets and how summer just doesn’t feel like summer when you don’t have a 6 week holiday.

Oh the good old days of school when life’s biggest worries were getting a ladder in your tights or not having a boyfriend like all the cool kids. I thought my teenage years were such a struggle. I knew nothing. I used to come home every day to my bed made, a home made dinner on the table and my washing done and ironed for me. Now, I come home to a messy house at whatever time the traffic allows and have to engage the brain enough not to mix my dinner up with the cat’s. I tried a cat treat once. It was a terrible, terrible mistake.

I’ve made some damn good food in July, though I do say so myself. I’ve recapped all of this month’s posts below in case you missed any or want to have a re-read.

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Recipe: King Prawn Linguine / Recipe: Steak’n’Stuff / Recipe: American Pancakes with Bacon / What I Ate In A Day #11 / Recipe: Masterchef Style Smoked Haddock / Top 5 Must Have Cook Books For Eating Well / Recipe: Peanut Butter Brownies / Recipe Review: Gordon Ramsay’s Bread and Butter Pudding / Recipe: Chicken Tikka Salad / How to be a Better Cook in 5 Easy Steps

See you in August!

What I Ate In A Day #11

Otherwise known as what I ate in a day whilst feeling sorry for myself because I have a cold. It really is only a cold, a cough here, a sneeze there, one of those annoying little niggles of an illness where you’re not too sick to be off work but really want to do nothing more than watch trashy tv and eat cake. No room for self pity here though, I had a full day at work followed by a two course dinner when I got home all made from scratch. One could argue that I’m mad, but I’ve had this most evil craving for bread and butter pudding and it simply had to be fulfilled so that was had for pudding.

Anyway, I should probably start with breakfast. I’m almost bored of saying it now such is the regularity of it, but I started my day with granola, yogurt, coconut flakes and fresh fruit. I then had a banana shortly after.

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Lunch was one of my favourites. There’s a sandwich place near me called Francombs who do really lovely pasta salads made to order. This is my take on their New Yorker boxed salad. It contains a base of pasta and Romaine lettuce then has pastrami, stilton, cucumber, gherkins, jalapeños, crushed tortilla chips and a dressing made with extra virgin olive oil, wholegrain mustard, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and salt. It involves a bit of prep work but I make enough for a few days, leave the prepared ingredients sitting in individual boxes in the fridge then toss them together with the dressing the night before and take the tortilla chips separately to add just before eating. It’s really good.

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I had a homemade peanut butter brownie with my lunch. Recipe coming soon!

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To tide me over until dinner I snacked on a satsuma and a fake Penguin biscuit from Sainsbury’s. These are hilariously called Polar bars but don’t have the terrible jokes you find on a proper Penguin. Sort it out Sainsbury’s! I did eat a nectarine too but I forgot to take a picture.

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Dinner was one of my favourite things to eat at the moment, my king prawn linguine. The recipe can be found here. The two slices of garlic bread on the side were there for aesthetic value. I actually ate 4 slices. I get really hungry when I’m ill.

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And now, what I’ve been waiting for all day. Nay, all week. Bread and Butter Pudding with double cream. *insert excited squealing here*

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I’ll tease you with this for now and treat you to the recipe soon! One thing’s for sure, I’m totally having some of this for breakfast tomorrow.

Recipe: American Pancakes with Bacon

Hell to the yeah. Who doesn’t love a good old American style breakfast binge? I make the easiest pancakes in the world and serve them up in a plethora of ways but sometimes traditional is best and you can’t go wrong with a stack of warm, fluffy pancakes, salty crispy bacon and the smokey sweetness of maple syrup. Sure, there are ways to make even better pancakes but mine are always good and I prefer a bit of easy prep first thing in the morning. My pancake recipe makes enough for around 12 pancakes, I will leave it up to you to decide how many that serves. Not that I would condone eating 12 pancakes. I only did it once OK!

What you need:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of self raising white flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 rashers of crispy smoked back bacon per person
  • a vat of maple syrup

What you do:

  1. Very simply, crack your egg into a jug and add the flour and the milk and whisk until there are no lumps.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a pan on a medium heat and once hot and melted pour little puddles of the pancake mixture into the pan. You can make them as large or as small as you like but the smaller they are, the less guilty you feel for eating more of them than is really acceptable.
  3. As soon as bubbles appear and pop on the surface of the pancakes, turn them over and cook on the other side for a minute or so.
  4. When ready, stack them up, put some crispy bacon on top and serve with maple syrup on the side so you can keep pouring as you make your way to the bottom of the stack. Enjoy!

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Bossy note – please don’t use the maple flavoured syrup you can buy in the supermarket. Yes, its 500% cheaper but there’s a reason for that, it’s synthetic and gross. So just suck it up and spend the dosh or don’t even bother. Many thanks.