Monday, 2 June 2014

"Food is, actually, very beautiful in itself"

I should write a lot of reviews but because time is running away almost as quickly as my memory I'm just gonna sum up the last three months (since the baby appeared) of various food adventures in twelve photos. Enjoy.

A colourful farfalle at Kro Bar by Piccadilly Gardens, one grey and tired Sunday afternoon. Kro is spacious so it works well in terms of a pram. The atmosphere is relaxed, prices reasonable and the food decent, although on this occasion a little poor. The beer was better.

Jon had penne and mushrooms and was even more let down. 

Someone said to never eat out on Sundays because restaurants use their worst chefs. Maybe that was the explanation for our disappointment.

Coffee and sandwich at Pret A Manger, hats, sunglasses and summer in the air. What a lovely Saturday.

That evening I made caramelised onions and peppers, butter fried broccoli, quinoa and veggie patties. A really good meal indeed.

The day after at The Wharf in Castlefield, with lots of people optimistically dressed for summer and a lot of cold breezes, nuts and drinks.

A lovely vegan stir fry at Teatime Collective, one sunny Tuesday afternoon with the mother in law. Baby life doesn't always allow for proper preparations so you've got to seize the opportunities while you can and go running, so half an hour after the meal that's what I did, and had to stop and nearly throw up after a mile. Not so lovely.

A visit to a baby crowded Teacup. Herbert was the loudest, in a mainly happy way. 

Asparagus, new potatoes, poached egg and hollondaise, like a dream.

Jon's food. Very British if you ask me.

And the not-quite-so dreamy cake. There just wasn't much flavour to it at all. Not what you'd expect in Teacup.

Finally, another vegan stir fry at Giraffe at Manchester airport. Giraffe is really nice, baby-friendly, good prices and delicious food.

And that was about three months of eating.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Sunshine, running and empty plates

Last weekend I thought it was time to welcome the summer and what better way of doing so than eating, drinking and running?

Saturday morning sunshine, wide open balcony door, sleeping baby, coffee and scrambled eggs.

Bare arms finally, and legs eventually. I actually had to nip into Oxfam to take the tights off, not one of my smoothest moves.

Then it was time for coffee, pineapple juice, milk and quiche. After being rejected at Home Sweet Home, we ended up just around the corner at Oak St. Cafe Bar. Such a good spot with a baby. Calm, quiet and shaded. Only problem was the questionable service, but let's blame the heat.

 Loading for the big day. Ha, not quite.

Sunday morning. After a night of everything but brilliant sleep (whoever thinks they've got a busy life should try and add a four month old teething baby to it) I woke up with an eye infection, and it was the hottest day of the year, great. To be honest, I didn't feel like running 10k at all, but as soon as I arrived at the assembly point with all the other runners I got in the zone immediately. The atmosphere was almost as motivating as the thought of the food I was gonna eat after the race.

I didn't feel overly happy with the result, but it was okay, considering it was four months after giving birth. What's more important however, is that it triggered an ambition to improve, I'm ridiculously motivated to get faster and stronger.

Afterwards me, Jon and Herbert went to Solita. A hidden little diner in the Northern Quarter that most food bloggers I've read have been bragging about, so I was pretty excited. I had a bean burger with sweet potato fries and bbq sauce, a great meal after a day of too much sun, sweat and adrenaline, but nothing outstanding. My expectations were too high, no doubt.

Although saying that, the food went down that quickly, I didn't even have time to take a photo of it...

All in all, a perfect start to the summer. Cheers.

Asparagus + Cheese = Love

I don't like coming home to rotten food, and I certainly don't like wasting a whole packet of asparagus, so here's a little meal that I composed from everything in my fridge that needed to be used up because I was leaving for a week. Theoretically this dish should turn out nice I thought. Two different cheeses, asparagus and pesto. In reality it turned out freaking fantastic. Even better; it's very very simple.

For two servings I used:
2 pieces of wholegrain toast
150g of small asparagus
1/2 packet of halloumi cheese
Green pesto
Some grated cheddar on top
Basil and oregano
Olive oil

Heat the oven to 175C. 
Fry the asparagus in olive oil in a pan for about 5 minutes. 
Chop the halloumi in strings and add to the pan for about 2 minutes.
Grate the cheddar.
Spread out the pesto on the bread and place them on an oven tray. 
Add the fried asparagus, halloumi, cheddar and herbs.
Into the oven until the cheese has got a nice brown colour. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Easter south of our comfort zone

You know what's good medicine to a tired soul; a week of morning coffees in a sunny conservatory, with a sleeping baby in the fresh air - with emphasis on sleeping. It allowed me time to read the newspaper, eat breakfasts uninterrupted and take long showers. Luxury on a different level.

Last week was the first time we left home for real, got on a train down south and slept in someone else's sheets, since Herbert was born. The day of departure was a nightmare, the journey was anything but quiet and the first two nights weren't easy, but we settled bit by bit and after a few days we were all like content little babies. I still wonder if any baby in this world actually "sleeps like a baby" though, or if that saying comes from an ironic comedian..?

We went for a birthday meal with prosecco, green pizza and stripy outfits. We took walks, read books and bought baby-clothes from my favourite charity shop. We cooked vegetable lasagna, had Easter roast and apple pie and drank more coffee. Me and Jon had our very first baby-free time together and Jon took me on a run around Watford. Herbert generally behaved like babies do most, ie. loved wriggling around on the floor and exercising his legs, charmed everyone that showed him the slightest attention and wasn't satisfied until he had puked in every room in the house. I had a Tilting ale on the train down and bought the most expensive chewing gum ever on the way back.

A very good holiday... from my maternity leave. I'm returning, not less tired, but somehow revitalised. Full of food, in bigger need of coffee and inspired to build muscles and read books. Lots of muscles and books.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Heartache, NYC and endless amounts of wine

Last time I answered these type of lists was more than a decade back, in the early days of social communities and my teens. Then it was mostly about boys, love, and Friday nights. Now it's a little less exciting, but nonetheless, here it is...

What's the last thing you ate?
A soft boiled egg on crispbread with a cup of coffee.

The last ever meal, if you were to decide?
Pasta bolognese with lots of parmesan and endless red wine.

The best food city?
Without a doubt; New York City. It's got everything and has reasonable prices.

(Come to think of it, perhaps the main reason I have such nice food memories from NYC is because I've always been there for competitions, which means I've finally been allowed to eat and drink whatever I want, after a few weeks of strict dieting.)

My second visit to NYC, June 2010, with a silver medal in submission wrestling around my neck

The best restaurant meal?
A saffron ravioli I had at a super fancy golf club in the outskirts of Marbella when I was there babysitting in July 2008.

The best snack?

Nuts and tomatoes.

What caused the last hangover?
Heartache and hops, somewhere between February and April last year.

Food you love to have at home?
Beans, cheese and garlic.

What's for dinner?
A Friday regular; Moroccan veggie burgers with halloumi and roasted new potatoes.

Food you hate?
Meat, or rather the industrial production of it.

If you only got to eat one dessert for the rest of your life?
Carrot cake, of course.

Typical school lunch?
In Sweden we have free school lunches and I mainly have positive memories of them. Couscous and mixed vegetables, pasta and tomato sauce, potato and veggie meatballs, thick pancakes... I can't think of just one typical.

What's the weirdest thing in your fridge?
Film, not that weird though, just old school. I keep knee pads in the freezer, that's a little bit more bonkers.

And what do you have in the veggie box?
Film, in one of them. 21 new potatoes and a carrot in the other one - but normally I have more carrots, asparagus and peppers. Sometimes parsnips and sweet potatoes too. Going shopping tonight.

And cheese?
Parmesan and halloumi. I need to get cheddar too. The fridge isn't complete without at least three cheeses.

Food that you wish you were allergic to?
Ehh, none?

Who can eat from your plate?
Everybody, the bigger food party the better. Herbert seems particularly keen to try some of my solid food soon though.

(list taken from Niotillfem)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Wet bibs and an honest chef

For those of you who believe that the house smells of freshly baked bread and roses just because you're on maternity leave, I'm sorry but I'm gonna have to disappoint you. Our home has a strong odour of dried vomit consisting of breast milk and bile. Lovely. Our new interior is drying baby clothes and bibs, hung on whatever we can find. "Don't worry, babies puke", the midwife told us when H had just arrived. I wouldn't have imagined quite how much though. Wow.

Scrambled eggs, tomatoes and toast with cheese and Irish marmalade. Having the best meal of the day together doesn't happen often nowadays. Treasure the little things, and so on.

And finally it happend, the person profiled in Financial Times Magazine didn't pretend that life is just glitter and gold and weekends of brunch parties. To the question where he most like to be, Ollie Dabbous replied "bed". I can really, REALLY, relate to that right now. Somehow liberating. 

Red onion and chive bagel for Sunday breakfast. Delicious. Alone this time though, because Jon had to look after the baby...

as we had what we in Sweden call "sjukstuga". Google it, but don't trust google translate.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Green Gold and Roasted Potatoes

Firstly I had been dreaming of ice cream, a Daim cone more precisely, and as I have this idea that I should eat whatever I feel like (within reason) during my months of breastfeeding I went to the local shop to satisfy my craving. When I got there however, I changed my mind and wanted roasted new potatoes instead. I left with a bag of mixed leaves, a lemon and a bottle of red.

Secondly, I had been on Twitter, where I found a recipe of melted butter and lemon juice drizzled on top of roasted asparagus. My brilliant mind immediately put one and one together and I ended up with a bloody delicious meal.

Roasted new potatoes in olive oil, thyme and salt
Roasted asparagus (no oil)
A beetroot bake with goat's cheese from Asda - and let me tell you that I've never enjoyed their frozen ready-made veggie selection as much as now
A bed of mixed leaves and edamame beans
Topped with parmesan and a dressing of melted butter and juice from half a lemon

Who said you should be happy with just seven a day, hey?