Halloween and bonfire night

Everyone knows that the holiday is only over when all the food you brought back is gone right?

31/10/2015: Steak Bearnaise

We drove back from France today and got home just in time to catch the kick-off of the Rugby World Cup final with Australia against the ultimately victorious New Zealand. There wasn’t time for it to really feel like Halloween. Somehow we ended up bringing a LOT of food back from France because we were the only ones with a cool bag to transport cold foods in. So tonight we used up some yummy french super lean steaks with some Bearnaise sauce and frites.

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01/11/2015: Homemade tapas

Tonight we were visiting some friends and one of them has spent a lot of time in Spain and prepared us a beautiful array of homemade tapas including fresh tomatoes, asparagus, chorizo, patatas, and some yummy anchovies on small toasts. I had to include the bottle of Rioja we had in this photo as well because it was heaven in a bottle!

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02/11/2015: Soupe de Poissons with rouille

Fish soup is one of our favourite things to get when we’re in France and so we got a bottle locally made in Brittany. It was beautiful, fishy, crustaceany and packed full of flavour which I just love and took me straight back to the rocky Bretagne coastline! I decided to try and make a rouille to go on the top which is a sort-of pepper mayo with a bit of a chilli kick and it’s meant to go really well with seafood and fish soups. I wasn’t totally sold on this recipe because it had an overriding flavour of olive oil, but I’ve never had it before which makes it hard to know what to expect. I think it still went really well with the soup and added a bit of something different. I topped the soup with a selection of seafood to finish it off and served it with some bread – of course!

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03/11/2015: Chicken katsu curry – Kokoro, Wimbledon

http://kokorouk.com/

We were visiting the travel agent again and this time we booked our honeymoon! I’m so excited – we’re going to be going to Sri Lanka for 2 weeks, followed by a week in the Maldives – Lush! Mark and I have held out for SO LONG and tonight we just couldn’t do it any longer so we stopped of at Kokoro on the way back from Oxford Street and picked up a chicken katsu curry to take home and enjoyed every last bit of it!

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04/11/2015: Chestnut hotpot – Eat, Old Street

https://eat.co.uk/?=favourite

Mark and I have a super busy week so evening dinners weren’t going to work for every day. Mark found this chestnut hotpot on the festive menu at Eat and so we both had it for lunch. I loved the chestnuts, the cranberries, the seasoning and flavour of it…but I wasn’t completely sold. There was just too much sludgy potato in it for me. I think I was expecting some sort of broth with chestnuts and maybe chunks of vegetables, and not a pot of mash with some bits on top. This wasn’t for me but I loved the idea.

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05/11/2015: Crispy duck with pancakes and hoi sin sauce – McChina, Wimbledon

http://toladverts.co.uk/mcchina/

Bonfire night! This is one of my favourite holidays-that-isn’t-actually-a-holiday in the year because there’s always so much going on and everyone out enjoying the fireworks, but also because it’s my half-birthday! (yes that’s a thing – no questions). Mark and I went with a friend to Wimbledon Park to watch the fireworks display there and then stopped at McChina on our way home and picked up some duck pancakes! This was so exciting and indulgent for me because normally you order this as part of a bigger meal or as a starter and get perhaps one or two pancakes, so to have this as a main meal just felt so decadent!

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06/11/2015: Bangers and mash

And from decadent to…very simple! Bangers and mash tonight after another busy day. You can’t go wrong with yummy British pork sausages, creamy mash, and Bisto gravy!

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07/11/2015: Cous cous royal

This is another French meal that you can actually buy in a tin with the meaty stew in the main part of the tin and a pot of cous cous with a spice sachet on top – suuuuper lazy! I mentioned that it was a busy week right? This is another really easy one to prep, but the real issue for me here was the bones. The meat in the stew comes on the bone which means it cooks beautifully and is really tender and delicious, and then the idea is the meat falls of the bone and you can remove them because they’re big and very visible. All good in principle, but I had a real battle on my hands with some frankly dangerous fragments of bone that had somehow splintered off into the stew which could have been a much bigger problem had we eaten any! We’ve had this dish before in the past and I don’t remember having the same issue then, so perhaps we were unlucky this time.

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08/11/2015: Six-bean soup

Firstly I must apologise to my parents who bought use this bean mix aaages ago as a present and its taken us until now to eat it! This was such a great gift idea and one I might try to recreate in future. It was just 6 types of dried beans in a bag with a sachet of spices tucked in the top – such a simple idea but it looks really good because the beans are so colourful. I want to try and recreate this maybe in a nice jar that can be wrapped up nicely as a present. The soup itself was so good I was actually really surprised! I thought it would be overly bean-y (you know what I mean!) but once you’ve added the water, chopped tomatoes, and spices to it and simmered it for a few hours it is absolutely gorgeous and a perfect comforting bowl of warmth for an evening on the sofa to recover from a hectic week!

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