Cheesemember

cheese

I am a cheese freak. I’m not ashamed to admit it, I love cheese more than life itself. If I had to make the decision to choose between what I have in my life now or losing cheese forever I would choose cheese. (not strictly true, but you get my point). I am like the cheese version of Goldmember.

So herein my quest begins……the search for the best cheeseboard in London, or anywhere in the UK for that matter!

So today I had a pretty good one down what was formally known as The Bolt Hole in Suffolk Street EC4, now part of the Jamies chain, which included one of my favourites – blacksticks blue, which very kindly my boss offered to refrain from eating, (after I stabbed him with my knife and, whilst tilting my head in a creepy fashion, said, in my best scary voice ‘IT’S MINE’ ). Appraisal time, so admittedly maybe not the best timing, but it’s done now, what can you do? Like I said, I love cheese!

Vivat Bacchus is always up there with its wonderful smelly cheese rooms, you can choose your own cheese so you can’t really go wrong, but they never give you quite enough, in fact not even close to enough for a cheeselover. If I’m in the mood for cheese I want lots of it, and that’s pretty much er…always!

Cheese in Leadenhall Market – great for buying but no comfy sofas to snuggle up on. You have to sit outside in the freezing cold on uncomfortable chairs, bum getting cold and numb – an epic cheese experience it is not, which is a shame because it’s where Beardy buys me my other favourite, Mont D’Or. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a feeder, he just knows that if I find out he’s walked past it without bringing some home, his life won’t be worth living.

I’d like somewhere where I can slump on a sofa, large glass of red in my hand, massive selection of blue, soft, hard, smelly, all kinds of cheese in front of me, rosy cheeked bliss emanating from me, preferably in my pyjamas……hold on, I have probably just answered my own question, the best cheeseboard in the UK, or anywhere for that matter, has to be your own home? BUT I’m still going to continue looking for that special spot you can tuck yourself away with friends for an evening (no chance of kids disturbing you), to endure (my) life’s other wonder of the world – CHEESE!

Please comment if you have any recommendations!

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Salmon & Broccoli Bake

salmon and broccoli

Creamy Salmon and Broccoli Bake

Being a semi-working Mum (3 days a week) I’m always looking for quick easy dinners to do the kids. I find myself getting annoyed and frustrated at myself when I put the same things on the menu because I just don’t know what else to cook, so I try to find or create new dishes, just to satisfy my own irritations really.

I don’t want to spend ages cooking them as kids and new food just doesn’t mix, whenever I put something new in front of them, I get met with an ‘urgh’ face or an ‘I don’t like that’ (obviously before they’ve tried it), it infuriates me, BUT I persist because I like to write something different on my blackboard. I’ve even created a reward chart now where one of the rows is to try to new food and they get a little monster against the row if they eat it, 10 monsters = little treat.

So quick, easy, new dishes is the key for me. I can’t wait to see what the kids think of them and get quite excited when they like them. I couldn’t really go wrong with this as they both love Salmon, Broccoli and Potatoes (especially new potatoes). This was a bit of a mish mash of stuff I had to use up by the best before date so I got a big pat on the back for this one (by myself obvs coz no-one else will).

I haven’t put any measurements on here because I didn’t measure them, I just kinda chucked it all in, when I’m making up my own recipes I very rarely measure!

By the way, I forgot to take a photo of it after I cooked it so this photo is just a generic Salmon and Broccoli Bake, not my one, but it’s the picture that looked most like it (apart from my cheese on top was a bit more browned!)

Ingredients

Salmon fillets (2 – cut into chunks) (you could also use chicken)
New Potatoes (or you can also use pasta)
Broccoli (or any veg really!)
Cheese (you can use cheddar, which is what I used but could equally use any other, blue cheese I think would be especially nice if you’re using chicken!)
Garlic
White wine (1 glass)
Double cream or Cream Fraiche (as much as you want really!!! – I use loads)
Onion (finely chopped)
Breadcrumbs (if you want to)

Method

  • Boil your potatoes in a pan of salted water.
  • Whilst potatoes are boiling, put a few glugs of oil in a pan and add in the garlic and chopped onion, fry for a few minutes.
  • Cut up the broccoli and give it a quick 2 minute blast in the microwave with a little bit of water.
  • Add the broccoli, salmon, white wine and cream to the pan and fry for a few minutes. I also add a bit of water at this point, not much, just maybe 2 or 3 tbsps.
  • Take out your potatoes and cut them in half or thirds/quarters if they’re particularly big.
  • Add your potatoes to the other mixture and mix it all up. Season the mixture to your liking.
  • Transfer, in layers, to a baking dish, covering each layer with some grated cheese. When you put on your top layer I put another layer of cheese on top and then breadcrumbs on top of this.
  • Put into the oven for approx 10 mins.
  • Enjoy!

With the cheese, if your using blue cheese I wouldn’t bother putting a layer on the top with this as it’s such a strong taste and I’d just crumble a few bits in between the layers.

If you’re using chicken, I’d add this in with the garlic and onion at step 2.

I love this recipe as you can change so many aspects of it, it’s so versatile.  I might try chicken with leek and pasta next time. If you don’t like cream or cheese or are lactose intolerant you could also substitute them with tinned tomatoes and a bit of chili or tomato puree and lemon juice.

So, results: Bear gave it an 8/10 and Boo, always one to give high marks – 100/10! (she’s still not got it).

 

It’s funny now……Rocket Teabags!

teabag

So, easy peasy lemon squeezy, cut the top and bottom off a teabag it says (yes, you guessed it, Pinterest again – you’d think I’d learn!), empty the contents into the bin, set fire to the top of the teabag. The fire burns and the heat that gets captured inside the teabag lifts it into the air, like a burning rocket. When I read this out to the kids we all looked at each other and said ‘Coooooool!’ Loved the sound of this. Couldn’t be easier right? WRONG!

What they fail to mention is that this will only work with those posh teabags that are stapled at the top, the long ones, like the Twinings herbal teas! (who buys those? I thought they were ‘special’ teabags that you only get at work!) We tried 3 times with a ‘normal’ teabag. It burned. We watched in anticipation, very excited…….it went out. We tried again. Same thing happened. Then once more, not having learnt our lesson the first two times we watched, again, excited. The teabag fell over and we all screamed, Bear ran over and tried to blow it out and blew it right off the table, headed straight for Boo! She screamed. Bear shouted. I batted it out the way and burnt my hand. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME (unless you have a posh teabag).

Books – Personal Favourites

51Rp5QimjYL._AA160_Unknownowen meanyyes man

I’m a bit of a erratic reader, if I’m in the mood, I’ll get through a good few books in a couple of months or I’ll go for months without reading one! I always see people asking for recommendations around holiday time and although some of these are not a ‘light, fun, holiday read’ I would recommend them nonetheless (give them more than 3/5).

Although these are in no particular order, Wonder is way up there and is the one book that affected me most by rendering me a blubbering wreck on the train on the way home from work (packed train at 5.30pm – not too embarrassing!)

I’m very much an ‘if a book doesn’t keep me interested by the end of the first chapter I’ll give up’ kinda person, I haven’t got time to waste on books which don’t grip me.

No doubt I’ll be adding to this list as and when I find more books I can recommend. I’m reading Birdman at the moment, by Mo Hayder, it’s started well, I’m through the first chapter and still going so looks like I’ll finish this one!

  • Wonder – R. J. Palacio
  • A million little pieces – James Frey
  • A prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
  • Yes Man – Danny Wallace
  • The Bear went over the Mountain – William Kotzwinkle
  • Golden Boy – Abigail Tarttelin
  • My Friend Leonard  – James Frey
  • Jim Giraffe – Daren King
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – Mark Haddon
  • The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
  • There’s a Boy in the Girls Bathroom – Louis Sachar
  • The Julian Chapter (A Wonder Story) – R. J. Palacio
  • The Art of Fielding – 
  • That Bear Ate my Pants –