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

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

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

 

Recipe: Sweet Potato Bowl

When you’re eating for one it can be tempting to reach for a loaf of bread and head straight to the toaster, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but Marmite on toast isn’t the most exciting dinner now is it? I quite like just cooking for me, it means I can eat what ever I want and don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone else. This recipe is perfect for solitary eating. It doesn’t take long to make, tastes great and begs to be eaten from the sofa whilst watching trashy TV.

Serves 1

What you need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • a large handful of greens (I used shredded Spring greens but you can use any kind of cabbage, kale or spinach)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese

What you do:

  1. Boil the sweet potato cubes in salted water until they are very soft. This will take about 15 minutes if you cut the potatoes small enough, just check them.
  2. If your greens are a little tough, blanch them in boiling water for a minute to soften, then drain. This is what I did with my Spring greens but you wouldn’t need to if you used a softer leaf such as spinach.
  3. Slice your bacon into thin strips. Heat the oil in a pan and add the bacon strips along with the garlic and cook until the bacon is gloriously crispy. Add your greens and stir fry them with the bacon to combine.
  4. Once your sweet potatoes are soft and cooked through, drain them then add the teaspoon of butter and most of the parmesan and mash until you have a smooth mixture free from lumps.
  5. Transfer your mash into a nice serving bowl and top with the bacon and greens mix. Add the last little sprinkling of parmesan and dive in.

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This is warming and comforting but still a bit healthy. You can change it up to suit your mood too so is a great recipe to play with. A fried or poached egg on top would be wonderful.

A Spring in my Step

Yes people, Spring is nearly here! My third favourite season after Autumn and Summer. When the days start to become longer and the grass gets greener I know that the worst is over for another year and I can look forward to long, hot days in the sun, picnics in the park, ice cream at the beach and of course, Christmas. But before then, we get to enjoy Spring in all its glory, full of daffodils blossoming, lambs being born and some clean, fresh air that’s at least a couple of degrees warmer than it was during the winter. Or so we hope.

I’ve certainly got a spring in my step and am looking forward to a nice new start. The winter spiced candles are being replaced with fresh, citrus fragrances, my blue and white snowy themed sofa cushions are going into storage and I’m bringing out the florals. I’ve already got a few bunches of vibrant daffs brightening up my home, their gorgeous sunny hue making me smile every time I enter the room. I’m lucky to live in a wonderfully bright and airy house and I can’t wait for some more sunshine to stream through the windows, illuminating the dust on the windowsills that really needs tending to. Maybe that will be my inspiration to do so, everyone loves a good Spring clean!

Food gets a little lighter as we move into Spring, I start to enjoy salads and lightly cooked vegetables more than before and don’t feel the need to comfort eat quite so much. Here’s a few things that are in season from March that I’m looking forward to eating:

  1. Rhubarb! Oh how I love their vivid pink stems. I recently had a rhubarb royale cocktail in a restaurant, made with a rhubarb syrup and prosecco. It was so good and tasted like an old school rhubarb and custard sweet. I need this in my life.
  2. Spring Lamb. I don’t always eat seasonally but there’s definitely something about Spring lamb that feels just so perfect to eat at this time of year, when the meat is sweet and tender. I’m planning a nice Sunday roast with all the trimmings and plenty of mint sauce. Yum!
  3. Spring Greens. As above, I don’t just eat these during spring as they are my favourite type of green and so good for you too, but they are my favourite vegetable to have with lamb alongside some glazed carrots so expect to see more of these.
  4. Chocolate. OK, not exactly seasonal but with Easter coming up, it’s only natural to include chocolate in my list. Now I don’t need much of an excuse to munch through a chocolate bar or four, but Easter, like Christmas, is when it is wholly acceptable to have chocolate for breakfast. I like to break my Easter eggs up into shards and store them in the fridge ready to snack on when the moment takes me. OK, I lied, I usually eat the whole thing in one sitting then pass out on the sofa.
  5. Hot Cross Buns. Same as the chocolate thing really, an essential part of the Easter celebrations and perfectly OK to eat a whole packet for dinner, smothered in butter.
  6. Purple Sprouting Broccoli. If you’ve never tried this then you are missing out my friend. It’s wonderfully tender and has an amazing vivid colour once cooked. I really like it in salads for lunch or served as a side dish with butter, lemon juice and some black pepper.
  7. New Potatoes. These aren’t technically in season until the end of April but you can usually find them in the supermarkets a little earlier. Jersey Royals are my favourite so I will wait for them to appear to have warm with so much butter on them it should be illegal. I can’t wait to sit in the garden with a spread of roast chicken, buttered new potatoes and salad with a glass of something cold and refreshing.

Spring does have it’s downsides too. As the weather gets warmer I have to ditch the tights meaning my poor work colleagues are exposed to my pasty legs. And I have to shave them which is a chore I manage to avoid for most of the colder months. Other than that I am raring to go!

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What’s your favourite thing about Spring?