The Week My Sister Came For Lunch

Hello internet!

I am back in the blogiverse!

It’s been a long time since I last blogged, my last post was December 2016! In the 14 months since then I’ve just been working hard, had a couple of holidays, turned 30, got a new cat, had cancer, beat cancer, all the normal stuff one does. I’m sure you’ll hear more about cancer gate as we go on. It was a really fun time! Disclaimer: it wasn’t.

Anyway, I’ve decided to treat you all to a little glimpse inside my life for the past week. I re-discovered a love for Pink Lady apple wedges dipped in almond butter and learnt how to use Instagram stories. I also had an oncology check up which involved a gloved finger and a speculum. The cancer was in my vagina, just so we’re clear.

I made myself a very lovely, very healthy (yes, this does sometimes happen) dinner in the week. I peeled and chopped two sweet potatoes and zapped them in the microwave for a few minutes to soften before shoving them on a baking tray along with a chopped red onion, whole garlic cloves, olive oil and some Spanish seasoning for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes I added some par-cooked broccoli and halved cherry tomatoes and cooked for 10 minutes more. I put some cooked cous cous in a bowl (I used the lazy packet type with Moroccan spices) topped it with the roasted veg and then drizzled over some natural yogurt that I had mixed with harissa, lemon juice and a bit of extra virgin olive oil. This made enough for dinner for me and lunch the next day.

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I really wanted to add some pine nuts for a bit of crunch but they were in the back of my cupboard and I had to move a jar of honey to get to them. The honey was literally stuck to the shelf by it’s own oozing stickiness and quite frankly, I couldn’t be arsed to get my hands dirty. That is a problem for another day.

The Spanish seasoning I used was this one from Schwartz. Always want to say Schwarzkopf then remember that’s hair stuff. Yes, I did just Google how to spell that. This has peppers, onion, garlic, paprika and all that jazz in. You might spot a little something in the background. That’s Bear. He’s my 10 week old kitten and is in the photo because he literally doesn’t leave my side. Ever. Cute thought isn’t he. (lots more kitty photos on my instagram @taniaadrianne if you happen to be that kind of person)

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On Saturday my sister came to visit and we made tapas. That’s a joke. She sat drinking tea whilst I made tapas. The Spanish seasoning came out to play again, this time to make patatas bravas, which I think is one of my most favourite things in the world. I peeled and cubed a few potatoes and par cooked them in the microwave. This was a revelation to dear sister who has vowed to never par-boil a spud again. You’re welcome. I then coated the potatoes in some olive oil and a little sprinkling of the Spanish seasoning before roasting them until crisp and golden on the outside and full of fluffy, starchy promise on the inside. Meanwhile, I cooked some chopped garlic, chilli and mixed herbs in a pan with some olive oil for a couple of minutes before adding in a carton of passata then seasoning with salt, pepper, sugar and, yep you guessed it, some more of the Spanish seasoning. I allowed that to cook down so it was rich, sweet and spicy then spooned it liberally on top of the cooked potatoes and dolloped on a bit of aoili. I bought that as I have more money than time. And voila, patatas bravas a la The Gammon Kitchen.

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We wolfed those down along with crispy prawns (quite simply king prawns coated in flour and fried in olive oil), garlic mushrooms (mini portabella mushrooms roasted in the oven with garlic, mixed herbs, salt and pepper and olive oil), potato croquettes (lovingly made by Sainsbury’s), chorizo slices pan fried with garlic and butter beans, garlic stuffed olives and tomatoes marinated in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar which we spooned on top of grilled ciabatta. La Tasca can do one mate.

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I saw in the supermarket last week that you can now buy bigger share size bags of Cadbury buttons. Proof, if I ever needed it, that the normal share size bags are, in fact, single servings. I’m going into the next week safe in the knowledge that I haven’t been overeating chocolate buttons at all.

Have a lovely week everyone!

Tania x

 

 

 

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.