Sunday 31 August 2014

Photo a Day: August

August - the eighth month of the year, the month my mum celebrates her birthday and also when the Edinburgh Festival takes place.  Did anyone manage to go?  I've always thought it would be fun to not only visit that part of Scotland but to also flit from venue to venue in search of laughs at the Fringe shows.

August saw National Burger Day (27th) and burgers were the topic of the very first #fdbloggers chat that I hosted.  I can't think of anything better than talking about everything "burger" for a whole hour and getting to discuss food with some brilliant bloggers - it was so much fun!

Look up…see that burger?  We went for a rare dinner out to Relish in St Albans and have to say the iPhone photo doesn't do it justice - it was probably one of the best burgers I've ever had…brioche bun though!  Why?!  I'm not a fan of brioche for burger buns…

Monday 25 August 2014

Beetroot & Red Pepper Soup

Bright, earthy and full of nutrients, this beetroot and roasted red pepper soup is the perfect way to start the autumn months!

My bestie, Loops, spent a couple of years in South Korea and as we both love making and eating food we talked about getting in the kitchen together when she came back.  I'm happy to say that yesterday we finally did it and it was lots of fun (even if I hogged the kitchen…I'm not used to having kitchen guests!) AND we made something using my new favourite ingredient AND it was inspired by a recipe my other bestie, L, sent me from a Swedish newspaper.

This weekend being a typical English bank holiday weekend (rain), this was the perfect recipe to get into that autumn feeling - it's healthy and simple but is really comforting and filling.  This recipe is for about 4 servings so is great to make for dinner and then have enough for lunch the next day or add to your freezer stockpile!

Saturday 23 August 2014

Red Rice

Another "ingredients" post, this time having a look at red rice.  It's not something that I'd come across until recently when I visited an Asian supermarket in Exeter.  I thought it looked interesting so picked up a bag and it's now the only rice I use!

Besides the red husk, the rice looks pretty much like the white long grain rice you can easily buy in the supermarket and is cooked in exactly the same way.  So what's the big deal with red rice, you ask?

Saturday 16 August 2014


I spend a lot of time making and eating food but thought it was about time that I also paid tribute to the ingredients and produce that make my (our) recipes a success!  I rarely think about where everything comes from, any health benefits, interesting facts or stories, anything behind what goes in my belly...

So my first exploration into food is...

Blackberries - to me they symbolise the start of the end of summer.  These hedgerow fruit are at their finest from now (mid-August) until when the trees start turning golden and we start to add a cardigan to our shoulders to keep off the evening chill.

Sunday 10 August 2014

Chicken and Avocado Causa

Chicken & avocado causa - a twist on the classic Peruvian chilled potato and chicken salad.  Lime and dill add a fresh taste to the mash which is complimented by the cornichon, red onion and tomato in the chicken salad.

This recipe really takes me back to when I first really started blogging.  It all started when I was in London with my mum and sister for mum's 50th birthday.  We found a lovely restaurant tucked away overlooking the Paddington Basin and I had my long time favourite agedashi tofu followed by my first bento box.  I made a comment about how I wish I could make it myself so I could eat it all my time and my sister simply said...

"why don't you?'

...3 little words which were like a wake up call to me.  Why should I only eat my favourite foods when I find a restaurant that makes them?  I'm a perfectly capable and intelligent girl so what's stopping me from making food I love rather than just making average meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Saturday 9 August 2014

Rosemary Roasted Roots with a Balsamic & Maple Drizzle

A simple dish of rosemary roasted root vegetables drizzled with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup topped with crumbled feta.  A welcome addition to any Sunday lunch!

Ok, I'll admit now that I've not really got into the summer thing this year.  I know it's a great time to eat salads and fresh tasting foods, the perfect season for cool cocktails - all to be enjoyed on your patio/balcony/local park.

Summer has been weird here in England.  It got off to a rocky start and with intermittent showers between the sun so it's been hard to get into the swing of the season.  Of course it doesn't help that I'm not much of a summer girl to begin with!

I'm one of those lucky people who can wander around a supermarket with an empty tummy without grabbing everything in sight - I like to have a good think about what I actually want to eat so can easily spend a lot of time perusing the aisles until something catches my eye and triggers that "yes!  That is my dinner!" moment...which is what happened today when I spotted some beetroot.  It can be a summer-y veg if you use it in coleslaw but has that lovely earthy flavour you want to team with parsnips and carrots and eat all Autumn long.

Friday 8 August 2014

London with L, Pt 2 - Shoreditch, Barbican & Soho

So after a morning of thrifting and with bellies full of a delicious Peruvian lunch we headed down the Shoreditch High Street towards Calvert Avenue.  When we found it we were completely underwhelmed as L had found it online and it sounded like a "buzzy" destination full of stylish little shops.  Well, it is but not the second you turn the corner so keep walking!

With it being a weekday it was less "buzzy" as it might be on the weekend but it gave us a chance to browse the gallery and shops without crowds.

Thursday 7 August 2014

London with L, Part 1 - Whitechapel & Shoreditch

I met L when I started sophomore year at Cleveland Heights High School after moving from Colorado Springs.  Fast forward 19 years, various house moves and life events and here we are again!  I'm ashamed to say that the last time we saw each other was in January, 2004 but when I met her at Heathrow it was is no time had passed at all - I always say that the sign of a good friendship is when you just pick up where you left off!

The plan for day 1 was to go into London.  As I live just down the train tracks from Euston, most visitors want to do the tourist-y things - Big Ben, Hyde Park, Oxford Street...I've seen them so many times!  I was pretty impressed when L sent me a small list of things she wanted to do, none of which were remotely tourist-y!

Sunday 3 August 2014

Ping Pong Dim Sum, Soho

Ping Pong Dim Sum in Soho review - Why not try one of the 8 locations around London to try some steamed, baked, fried or grilled dim sum (the cocktails are pretty good as well!)

If you hadn't noticed I am partial to Asian food and dim sum is pretty much my favourite so when my good friend of 20 years came to visit and she suggested a couple of places to visit for dinner there was no question in my mind that Ping Pong would be where we would have to go!

There are 8 locations around London to choose from however as Ping Pong was our last stop of the day it made sense to head to the flagship Soho restaurant which was quite central.

Saturday 2 August 2014

Photo a Day: July

When I started this "Photo a Day" project at the beginning of the year, did I really think I'd make it all the way to July without skipping a day?  Nope!  Definitely not!  But I did and even though it's such a small thing, I'm pleased I've stuck with it!  It's made me look for memorable things in every single day and it's a great way to quickly look back over the year.  I have a terrible memory but having a small snapshot of something from each day makes it easy to trigger my memory about what I've done each day.


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