3. Let someone else cook dinner. Go on, it’s Monday, you’ve done a day at work, and there’ll be lots of offers around. You don’t have to go mad, but it’ll just feel really good to not cook or wash up tomorrow night.
4. Plan a trip. Doesn’t matter if it’s just a day trip or a full blown holiday, just having something to look forward to is a great feeling. There was a good guide in the Guardian of the places to visit in 2016, including Nottingham, Dublin and Penzance, for places that won’t necessarily break the bank. Do some research and make a table reservation or two as well.
5. Plan some good meals for the rest of the week, and organise your shopping to be delivered on Tuesday evening so you’re ready to go. You’ll be too busy being out at dinner on Monday night.
December was about getting ready for Christmas, whether the fun, with festive cocktails, or the practical, with funky tea towels for the drying up ahead. Not to mention my usual roundup of options if you had forgotten that Christmas was just around the corner.
Definitely a year of contrasts, and new adventures on several continents, but some great eating with good company, at our own tables and away from home too. Here’s hoping for more of the same in 2016. What are your food memories of 2015? Would love to know.
I really wish I was back in Edinburgh, as MGG and I had an amazing time there last year. As well as incredible shows, from dance to circus, drama to Zombie science, we managed to fit in some great eating, food shopping and space for one or two kitchen mementos.
If you’re going to be there for any amount of time, then you might want to check out a few of these, or just need something to ponder on as you eat and dash between shows.
Whilst this was a Christmas post, in Buy Them Experiences Not Things I talk about the great food walking tour that we did. Definitely recommend this for getting to taste some great food and discover some places a little more off the beaten track.
The Tour de France passes through the next village to my mum’s in Brittany this weekend, and it’s not too long until we head out there. It’s made me think about the many wonderful food stuffs and meals I’ve had in my many trips out there.
Don’t get me wrong, I love British produce, and producers, and this is no longing for one cuisine over the other, just enjoying the best of everything. I wrote a couple of years ago about the things I stock up on in France, from brioche to Speculoos, and it’s good to see that more things are available more readily here now. And even gone one better in that I’ve never seen the crunchy Speculoos in France, but can get it in the local supermarket here now.
I still like to try and channel Juliette Binoche on days I need a little added something, and the older we both get, the more I admire her. That, and that I could rewatch Chocolat every day and not get bored of it. Let’s face it, with Juliette, Johnny, chocolate and beautiful French scenery, that’s a tour you’d never get bored of!
Can’t wait to start my own tour of France, though I shall be steering clear of Lycra and two wheels in any form!
MGG and I are back from our incredible trip to Australia, with a couple of days in Hong Kong as well. Many tales to follow, but needless to say much good food and drink was consumed, tales were told and memories made. No better recipe for a trip anywhere in my book!
MGG and I have been in Australia for nearly two weeks now, and loving every moment, even the few rainy ones. Of course I always expected to come out here to great food and drink, and given the amount we’ve packed in so far, caffeine has been required.
So, when in Rome and all that, switched my normal coffee to the ubiquitous, local flat white. With varying degrees of success! First up:
No surprises that this wasn’t great, but we were straight off the overnight flight from Hong Kong, it was warm & caffeinated and they have free wifi. First and last from them!
A few hours later, and a coffee shop in Manly served up much better, though this is apparently a three quarters latte. Didn’t care, almost downed it in one, was beginning to flag!
This was a scenic one, at The Box in Ettalong on the Central Coast at the end of a great lunch. Loved this place, hoping to go back.
But for most iconic, got to be this one:
Opera Terrace at Sydney Opera House, in case you couldn’t guess. Thanks to my assistant/hand model for the visual clue! Perfect location for a first timer to Sydney, great coffee too.
I’m not sure where this started or who started it, but I love the idea of a day of celebrating macarons! And if I can only have one, it would be this one:
Ok, cheating slightly as this was practically a cake, but it was my birthday. But I’m not passing by the market in Vannes anytime soon, so will have to live on memories. Or hope that somewhere in terminal 3 we might find some!
Happy Macaron Day anyway, hope some treats find their way to you!
I had two trips to London this week, which is always a good opportunity to try new things, or at least new to me things. Especially when I’m on the slower train back to Nottingham at lunchtime, which means an opportunity for a train picnic from Sourced Market at St Pancras.
I’m trying to eat a gluten free diet, because I feel better without it, so all the delicious bread and sandwiches were off the menu. But no loss, as I had these chicken teriyaki lettuce wraps from Tanpopo Japanese Food. It was fresh tasting, crunchy and I loved the peanut sauce.
It does feel like an endless journey, so needed something for snacking too, and so had Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup popcorn from Portlebay Popcorn. I have to be honest, this left me underwhelmed on the flavour front (particularly given these are two of my favourite flavours). I wouldn’t be in a hurry to buy it again.
I had Elderflower Green Tea from Daymer Bay to wash it down. Can’t find much about these, inspired by a bay in Cornwall, but with a Kensington address. Hmm. Not much benefit to Cornwall as far as I can see, but happy to be put right.
I saved my last purchase till I got home and did share it over a couple of nights with MGG, and we’ll definitely be treating ourselves to Peanut Butter Chocolate from Nomnom again. As part Welsh, she was happy to discover a Welsh chocolate company, I was just happy to eat great sweet, salty, nutty chocolate. I would imagine we’d like the Salted Caramel version too.
So, it was a mixed picnic, some things will definitely be on my shopping list in the future, but even the less good ones were better than a British Rail sandwich!
It’s British Pie Week, and they are certainly popular in our house, with chicken pie always having ranked as one of MGG’s favourite dinners. If we had to choose, then these would definitely be our favourite pies:
Bray’s Cottage – given our proximity to Melton Mowbray, then it’s always felt slightly wrong to love a non Melton Mowbray pork pie more than a local one, but we do. Let’s face it, we love them so much, MGG even did a 40 minute work experience on the stall with Sarah on our last visit to Norfolk. I bemoan the fact that there are no local stockists, and more that I am not organised enough to order them by post. In spite of many imitators, the onion marmalade one is still my favourite.
Hartland Pies – our second favourite pork pies, and definitely more local and easier to get hold of. The pork and stilton sums up two great local flavours, and also fond of the slightly more exotic for Melton pulled pork version too. Available in London and further afield from here too.
Pieminister – having long standing connections to Bristol, then we adopted these pies fairly early on, and am happy to find them all over the place now. To combine the two localities, then it would have to be a Moo and Blue pie for us, which is steak and Long Clawson Stilton. Although we’d prefer Colston Basset Stilton in this house.
Great North Pie Co. – I’m from the north, and pie does seem a very northern thing. And I love the Great North Pie Co for really taking the pies to the next level. Big winners at the British Pie Awards last year, and I’ve no doubt will be this year too if they continue to turn out things like Ox Cheek, Stout, Pearl Barley and Redcurrant. If you’re in the North West, find one of the markets they’re at and stock up!
I’m with MGG in that this is great comfort food, perfect for cold days, and therefore this week feels like the perfect time to indulge. Although we’re off to Australia soon, and apparently they like a pie or two, so we may have to test the southern hemisphere versions too.
Photo by Donna Sutton on Flickr. Sounds like my kind of school!