Nights in and a weekend on the town!

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The first week in December was a good (and full on!) one.

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Monday night I had Shake Shack for dinner and tried their new truffle burger. Which was OK, but I prefer the regular Shack burger!

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Tuesday I had another night in with more comfort food; frankfurters and mash!

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And scented candles, new Vogue and some TV.

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Wednesday night and more comfort food. This time pizza (store-bought) with bearnaise sauce and a really good book!

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Thursday I had frankfurters again and an ice cream for pudding. So nice with several nights in in a row!

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But Friday night I ventured out and had a little date night with my city!

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I had a lovely dinner at Barrafina Adelaide Street with my favourite croquetas…

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… the best ever tortilla (honestly it’s fantastic!)…

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…and some scallops!

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Then it was time for Le Mans ’66 at the IMAX Leicester Square. Absolutely loved the film and seeing it on that screen added another layer of amazement. Wow!

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Saturday I did some Christmas shopping and took pictures of all the Christmas lights I came across.

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There were so many pretty ones!

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When I got hungry I popped into The Wolseley for a quick bite to eat and had a lovely supper in the café.

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Such a lovely Croque Monsiuer!

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After some sustenance I did a bit more shopping, checking out Burlington Arcade…

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…and Fortnum’s.

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Back home I had a little treat from Ladurée for pudding. Love their salted caramel macarons.

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Sunday I wrote Christmas cards before once again heading out Christmas shopping.

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And was rewarded with this sunset view!

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I then braved the queue for the Glossier pop-up!

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It was so much fun trying all the products and to see the amazing space they’ve created. It had Alice in Wonderland vibes and was all pink and floral. Lovely!

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Then I went to see my friend Gaby and we had a lovely dinner of steak, mash and a madeira mushroom cream sauce and vegetables.

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Followed by a cheeky glass of Baileys on the rocks! Such a lovely weekend!

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wrap with Rice, Avocado and Blue Cheese Dressing

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Apparently there’s an American chain that make Buffalo Chicken Wraps?! I found this out on Instagram and immediately felt I needed to make this. Sans celery though (shudder).

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So below is my version of a buffalo chicken wrap, with chicken wings (although chicken thighs or any dark meat will work but I had wings in the freezer- just adjust the cooking time), hot sauce, rice, homemade blue cheese dressing, avocado and cherry tomatoes.

It was just as lovely as I had hoped it would be, but much easier to eat than regular buffalo chicken wings! Score!

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Buffalo Chicken Wrap with Rice, Avocado and Blue Cheese Dressing, makes 2

2 large flour tortillas

100-150 ml cooked basmati rice 

6-8 chicken wings

1 tbsp vegetable oil

salt and pepper

Frank’s hot sauce

200 ml soured cream 

ca 50 g Saint Agur cheese

1 avocado, sliced

8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Start with the chicken wings. Put them in a colander and pour boiling water over them. Pat dry with kitchen roll. Pour oil into an ovenproof dish and place the chicken wings in it. Add salt and pepper and place in a 200C oven. Turn them as they have turned brown, after approx 10-15 minutes and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Leave to cool slightly and pick the meat and skin off the bones. Place in a bowl, add hot sauce after taste (it IS hot!) and stir.  

Mix soured cream and Saint Agur with a stick blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Divide rice and chicken between the tortillas, top with sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes and blue cheese dressing. Add extra hot sauce, roll up and eat! 

Recipe: Whipped Brown Butter

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You know how sometimes the bread and butter in a restaurant can be so incredibly good that it puts you in a great mood straight away?! Because you know that if they care that much about the bread and the butter the rest of the dishes will have gotten as much care and attention and you’re in for something truly special.

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Oh, how I wish I could recreate that moment at home! But I don’t have the time (or knowledge) to experiment with butter and I’m no Paul Hollywood when it comes to bread making.

So what to do? Use the power of browned butter to your advantage!

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Make sure you use good quality butter and buy some really nice bread to go with it. And maybe some Italian fennel salami too, like I did. And you’ll have that restaurant moment in your own home!

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Whipped brown butter, for the table

Adapted after and translated from Jessica Frej’s recipe.

 

200 g unsalted good quality butter, at room temperature 

sea salt flakes

Brown 100 g butter in a large saucepan.  Pour it into a bowl to cool down and set. Whip the browned butter with the remaining butter with an electric whisk until really fluffy approx 1-2 minutes. Season with salt, mix and serve with nice bread. 

Recipe: Beef and Ginger Stir-fry with Rice and Sesame Broccoli

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This recipe is so easy to make that I managed it when I was tired and shaky and almost wished I had ordered a takeaway. But it doesn’t take long to make at all, and tastes so good it just can’t compare to a takeaway.

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It’s full of flavour and feels silky and light although you’re eating steak. It’s so delicious it has become one of my new favourite recipes – especially suitable for Friday nights in when we want something fast but delicious enough to celebrate the end of a work week and this fits the bill perfectly.

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Beef and Ginger Stir-fry with Rice and Sesame Broccoli, serves 4

Adapted from Bon Appétit’s recipe.

ca 450 g skirt steak (I used bavette which worked really well)

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp + 1 tbsp soy sauce 

1 tsp salt + more

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium sweet onion, sliced 

7cm ginger, peeled, very thinly sliced

ground black pepper

80 ml water

3 tbsp butter, cut into pieces

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

To serve: 

cooked rice 

Cut the steak into large strips. Toss in a bowl with sugar, sesame oil, 1 tsp soy sauce, and 1 tsp salt to coat and let sit 20 minutes.

Heat up oil in a frying pan on high heat and let it coat the bottom of the pan. The oil should be shimmering and you should see some wisps of smoke—if it’s not hot enough, the meat will steam instead of getting deeply browned.

Add the steak to the pan in an even layer and cook, undisturbed, until brown around the edges, about 2 minutes. Turn steak over and add onion, ginger, lots of pepper, and the water. Cook, tossing often, until onion is just tender and ginger is softened, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and add butter, lemon juice, and remaining 1 tbsp soy sauce. Toss until butter is melted and coats the steak. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Divide rice among bowls and top with beef stir-fry and serve with sesame broccoli. 

Sesame broccoli, serves 4

2 packets tenderstem broccoli (approx 300 g)   

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil  rostad sesamolja

4 tsp sesame seeds 

1/2-1 lemon or lime, the juice 

salt and pepper 

Trim the dry ends of the broccoli. Place in a large frying pan and almost cover with boiling water. Add salt and cook for about a minute on high heat. Drain and return to the hot pan. Add sesame oil and squeeze with lemon. Toss and add sesame seeds and season. Serve alongside the rice and beef stir-fry. 

Sunshine, Cinema and a Weekend in Norfolk!

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The last week of November was a good one! Monday’s are never my favourite day of the week, but with comfort food in the shape of frankfurters and leftover homemade mash, it was not bad.

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Tuesday I had my hair cut after work and treated myself to Shake Shack when I got home. And finished the evening with a few episodes of the latest season of Bosch.

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Wednesday was lovely and sunny and I took the train down to The New Forest for work. So nice to see the sun again, I didn’t even mind the cold train!

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I had forgotten lunch, but had at least remembered to bring snacks, so Pom Bears and a Snickers was my very nutritious midday meal.

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Thursday I went to the cinema after work and found some pretty lights amongst all the commotion on Leicester Square. The film I saw was Last Christmas which was sweet (but a bit unexpected too!).

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Friday night we drove to Norfolk to spend the weekend there but had dinner at East Putney Tavern first. I had roast chicken with all the sides (fries, Mac ‘n cheese, salad) – yum!

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The next day the sun was shining again and I loved sitting at the golf club reading for a while. Such a lovely view!

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After that we had a lovely lunch at The Victoria Inn in Holkham. I had mussels and the boyfriend had pheasant! Really lovely and cosy place!

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The plan was to go for a walk along the beach after lunch but it was already dark so we only did a short walk. But so pretty seeing the sun setting over the horizon.

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After tea and Pointless we had dinner at The Ship and I started with one of my favourite things; Norfolk oysters!

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Followed by steak with fries and peppercorn sauce.

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The breakfast the next morning was lovely too!

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I stayed for lunch too and had fresh prawns with aioli and grilled bread. Yum!

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Another lovely beach sunset but too windy and cold for a proper walk.

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So we went inside and warmed up with blankets and cups of tea. And watched Killing Eve!

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And before we went back to London I cooked us dinner. Roast chicken, roasted new potatoes, broccoli and gravy!

London: Burgers at the Theatre

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Before I met my boyfriend I didn’t go to the theatre a lot. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I thought it a bit weird to go by myself and none of my friends seemed that keen to go. I had no problem going to the cinema alone, dining solo, or even travelling and I went to lots of exhibitions on my own. But the theatre, for some reason it was harder to face this alone.

So I’m so grateful I now have somebody to go with. Someone who likes the theatre even more than I do myself. But because we go quite often, it’s become less of an event and often we meet up straight from work without much time to eat before the play starts. So quite often we tend to skip the pre-theatre set meal (because we simply cannot fit it in; dining at 5pm for a play that starts at 7pm) in favour of some good old fashioned fast food.

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And that’s why we were so happy to discover that they now have a burger restaurant actually IN the National Theatre. Amazing!

We had our first burgers there with a mere 20 minutes to spare before the play was about to start but it was no problem getting served and eat in that time; they were so speedy! But of course it would have been lovely with a bit more time to spare next time.

The pop-up burger restaurant is called Burgerworks and can be found on the ground floor in the café area (walk through the main entrance, head straight in and then left). It’s set up like most burger places: you order by the till and wait for your food until it’s ready.

They have a variety of burgers (beef, chicken, vegan…) to choose from but also salads and a halloumi sandwich,  but we settled on a classic beef burger. A the beef one for him and a little beef one for me. And of course fries and cokes too. The holy trinity.

The burgers were really nice, and felt more pub-y or restaurant-y than fast food chain-y, which was nice. The patty was juicy, the bun nice and chewy (in a good way) and the fries nice and crispy!

I really hope this pop-up becomes a permanent fixture so that we can now grab a burger and a play all in the same place!

Burgerworks at National Theatre, Upper Ground, Lambeth, London SE1 9PX

Recipe: Parma Ham-Wrapped Dates with Balsamic and Honey

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Here’s another winner of a canapé! Also from the Christmas party. These parma ham-wrapped dates with balsamic and honey are a more sophisticated version than the bacon-wrapped dates, and therefore so much better.

The idea is the same; sweet meets salty but with less punchy flavours (i.e. ham instead of bacon) and a little depth from the vinegar and honey. It truly is a winning flavour combination and one of the easiest nibbles you can make, so keep it in mind for the festive season of 2020!

Parma Ham-Wrapped dates with balsamic and honey, makes 20

With inspiration from Sophie Conran’s recipe.

10 dates, stones removed and cut in half lengthways

10 slices Parma Ham or prosciutto, cut in half lengthways 

20 cocktail sticks

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp runny honey

salt and pepper

Wrap each date halve in a thin slice of ham and secure with the cocktail sticks. Place in an ovenproof dish and drizzle with vinegar and honey. Add salt and pepper. Bake in 200C oven for approx 10 minutes. Leave to cool and serve at room temperature.