BBQ weather

Yesterday evening my father cooked on the BBQ rather than making a roast dinner. I was more than happy as I love BBQs and the weather was gorgeous last night. We were originally going to have a roast lamb dinner with all the trimmings, but my father sliced the joint of lamb and cooked it on the BBQ. The lamb was so delicious and juicy, and cooked just right.

While my father cooks the food on the BBQ, I usually prepare the salad. I boiled some new potatoes and green beans, and added a little bit of butter when I served them. The taste of melted butter on new potatoes is just divine, like melted butter on a jacket potato. I also prepared some vegetable skewers which were cooked on the BBQ. The skewers consisted of courgette, mushroom, yellow pepper and halloumi. I sprinkled some mixed herbs on top of the skewers before they were placed on the BBQ.

Before cooking…

I couldn’t wait to try the vegetable skewers- I like halloumi and hadn’t tried it grilled on the BBQ before, so I was keen to see how it tasted. The vegetables tasted really nice, and the halloumi was very tasty too.

… after cooking

Just before the BBQ prep started, I noticed a small bee on the floor outside of my house. It was very docile and didn’t move when I stood very close to it. I’ve seen quite a few videos on social media recently of what you should do if you see a bee in this condition. I made up some sugar water and placed a teaspoon of it on the floor next to the bee. I had to softly nudge the bee with the spoon as it was very weak and didn’t seem to notice the sugar water at first, but with a little bit of persuasion, it started helping itself to some much needed nutrition.

Giving this bee a helping hand

Normally I wouldn’t dare go near a bee, as I’m not a fan of creatures that can sting you (especially wasps), but this bee was harmless and I wanted to offer my help for a much needed insect which sustains our ecosystem.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

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Update #26

How are we already half way through the year?!

I know that I tend to mention a lot about how time seems to fly by, but it really is true. The older you get the faster time whizzes by! I mean it’s already been just over a month since I started my new job.

May was well and truly a foodie month for me. I went to a cheese festival and most recently the StrEAT food festival in London. Both events were very enjoyable and I got to sample some tasty food.

Last month I also ran my first parkrun in almost a year. It was good to see some familiar faces again and run a fairly gentle route (expect for the steep hill halfway through). My 17th parkrun was the slowest one I’ve done so far, in a time of 36 minutes and 50 seconds, but I’m sure that I can get back up to speed again. The fastest I’ve completed a parkrun in so far is 32 minutes and 1 second which I achieved in March last year.

I know that I’ve been quiet on the feminist front recently, I just haven’t had the chance to write about it. The most notable event that’s happened recently is the Northern Irish referendum which saw abortion being legalized. Abortion is of course a controversial topic, but I believe that Northern Ireland has taken a huge step forward. Northern Ireland has now given women choice over their bodies, especially those whose pregnancies are life threatening and now they can terminate it without having to travel overseas to Great Britain.

Another recent news story outlined the ‘excuses’ made by male bosses about why women aren’t hired as directors. It sickened me to hear some of the reasons why many companies have no or very little women in senior positions, such as ‘Women don’t belong in the board room‘, ‘Most women don’t want to the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board‘, and ‘I can’t just appoint a woman because I want to‘. With the move towards gender equality, sexism is still glaringly obvious within the workplace and the majority of senior positions are held by men. I’m sure that one day we will reach the point where equality is achieved in businesses and it won’t matter what gender you are.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Bank Holiday Foodie

May is a great month of the year- in the UK we get to enjoy two bank holidays which means two longer weekends. Both May bank holiday weekends this year have been lovely for me, with beautiful weather and spending time with family and friends. I’ve also enjoyed eating tasty food, with a cheese festival in Melton Mowbary at the start of May and recently attending a food and drink festival in London for the bank holiday just gone.

For the third year running, I have been going to the StrEAT Life festival at Alexandra Palace. It serves as the ideal reunion with university friends, as we get to catch up and enjoy quality food and drink. As with last year, there was plenty of choice to tantalize everyone’s taste buds, including Caribbean, Greek, Italian and Indian food, as well as your standard burgers, ribs and chips. I decided to go for Spanish paella this year, which had chicken, chorizo and a mixture of seafood, including squid and prawns.

Mixed paella (looks like orange mush, but it was tasty!)

I also had for the third year running a churro filled with banana custard and shared a large pitcher of Pimm’s with my friends. We had the chance to relax on the grass by Alexandra Palace, which is a treat for Londoners and visitors with a stunning view of Central London. The weather was stunning for the majority of the day, so I was able to soak up some rays and top up my tan.

A stunning view of Central London

After enjoying my third StrEAT food festival, I was in for a treat the following morning. I rarely eat out for breakfast and what better way to do it than going to a lovely little cafe in Hornsey? The cafe has only been open for a few months and hopefully it’ll stay open for many more months/years to come. My breakfast was the best I’ve had in a long time, which was scrambled eggs, tomatoes, homemade smokey beans, garlic mushrooms, halloumi and two slices of brown bread. The whole meal was delicious and I also had a fresh banana and berry smoothie on the side.

Breakfast in style

And if that wasn’t enough, I had a lovely afternoon tea later that day! I absolutely love a good afternoon tea, especially scones smothered in clotted cream and jam (or is it the other way round?). There was a nice selection of cakes including red velvet cake, Victoria sponge and profiteroles. I also enjoyed a few glasses of prosecco and of course, plenty of cups of tea.

Yummy afternoon tea

The last May bank holiday of the year has certainly been a fantastic foodie weekend however, I’ve been very naughty by not getting up early enough for the gym since starting my new job. I definitely need to go to the gym soon as I can feel the effects of very little exercise and sitting in an office all day.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

parkrun #17

What a coincidence that I’m writing about my most recent parkrun when I did my last one a year ago today!

It had been far too long since I last did the Braunstone parkrun, so I was determined to run my 17th parkrun on Saturday. I was awake in plenty of time (thanks to my adjusted body clock due to starting a new job recently) and had a free Saturday morning. It felt great to be back at the parkrun as it was nice to see some familiar faces with many of them dressed up in style (for the royal wedding) and the sun was shining.

I completed my 17th parkrun in 36 minutes and 50 seconds, just two minutes shy of my last parkrun (which was 34 minutes and 47 seconds). I came in 419th place out of 467 runners. My latest parkrun is my slowest time so far, but it doesn’t surprise since it had been a while. There are a couple of alternations to the route but otherwise it’s still mostly the same, so that didn’t affect my running too much. It was rather warm as well on Saturday morning, so I’m glad that I had plenty of water with me.

I have many reasons for why it had been almost a year since I last ran 5km. This time last year I was very focused on training for my first half marathon, so when I had free time at the weekends I’d usually go out for a long distance run. Some Saturdays I simply wasn’t up in time and other Saturdays I already had plans which didn’t allow time for going to the parkrun first.

I’d like to get back into parkruns again, as 5km is a nice short distance to run when you don’t fancy running longer distances. I guess I could incorporate the parkrun into my second half marathon training by running to the parkrun, completing the parkrun and then running some more afterwards. I’ve seen many people making their way to the parkrun by running there.

I promise I won’t leave it so long until my next parkrun!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

 

P.S. Sorry that it’s been a while since I last posted on my blog! I’ve not forgotten about the cheese fair I went to in Melton Mowbary, I’ve just not had time to write about it yet. I may have to mention it briefly in my next update post.

Update #25

Happy May bank holiday weekend!

The weather is absolutely gorgeous. It’s about time the UK had some decent weather as it usually rains during bank holidays, so this makes a lovely change and an opportunity of course to soak up some rays. When I took my dog for a walk this morning, there were lots of dandelions all over one of the fields we like to walk across. This made a lovely start to my day to see an array of yellow flowers, the blue sky and sunshine.

Bright beautiful dandelions

Looking back over April, I made a start running again. I went out for a 10km run which went pretty well despite not having ran a long distance for some time. I also managed to get down to the gym on a few occasions, making sure to do high intensity cardio exercises.

I also mentioned last month that I got a new job, which I started on Monday. I must admit that it’s been a bit of the shock to the system going back into full time employment and having to wake up earlier every morning. However, I intend to get into a routine and aim to go to the gym at least twice a week in the morning before work, starting from next week. I will have to consult my blog on adaptability when I went into full time work for the first time a few years ago.

The first Cheese Fest was held in Leicester which I went to with my sister. It was great to sample so many different types of cheeses with some interesting flavours, and I devoured a mac n cheese waffle with BBQ sauce. I’d definitely go to another Cheese Fest; hopefully it’ll come back to Leicester again in the near future.

On the subject of cheese, I’m off to yet another cheese event tomorrow, which is the Artisan Cheese Fair in Melton Mowbary. I imagine that there will be a lot of Blue Stilton cheese as Melton Mowbary is renowned for it, as well as pork pies and Red Leicester cheese. Expect a blog about this cheesey affair next week!

I will also be off to the StrEAT Life festival at Alexandra Palace in London, which takes place annually on the second bank holiday weekend at the end of May. This will my third time going to this street food and craft beer festival, where I usually reunite with friends from university and enjoy some tasty food and drinks. The weather was glorious last year so here’s hoping that the weather will be the same again!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

A little out of practice

With six months to go until the Leicester Marathon, I ought to get my running shoes on and get back into training. I mentioned recently that I’ve not been out running as much as I was this time last year for several reasons, but I’m glad to have made a start again today.

With some free time on my hands, I went out for a 10km run this morning. The last time I went out for a longish run was just after Christmas last year with a friend, and we ran 7km together. I went along one of my classic routes along the canal into town and back again, where the path is now mud free and relatively dry. I also wore my fitness tracker which I haven’t used for a while, in order to keep track of my time. I also had my snazzy headphones which stay in place when I run, and which I’ve had for just over a year now.

After leaving long distance running for so long, I was prepared to expect some difficulties regarding my fitness. For example I had to walk on a few occasions for a minute or two at a time after the 7km mark, and my shins did feel a little sore at one point. Despite feeling a little out of practice, I don’t think I did too badly time wise and my shins were ok after I carried on running. I managed to run 10km today in 1 hour and 12 minutes, which is a time I’ve achieved before on previous occasions when running 10km and reaching the 10km point when going for much further distances.

Overall I was happy with the run this morning, although I could’ve done better. Now that I’m getting back into training and into the swing of things, I will be aiming for longer distances in the hope of beating my time last year, which was 2 hours and 47 minutes for my first half marathon.

I’m also excited to announce that I’ll be starting a new job at the end of the month! I am currently in part time/term time work, and will be moving back into full time employment. This will of course affect my fitness and training, but I will work around this and aim to run more at the weekends and even try to go to the gym before work, which will mean getting up at 6am!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Cheese Fest

Last weekend was a cheese lover’s dream: a paradise full of different types of cheeses, freshly cooked street style food loaded with cheese and cooking demonstrations using, you’ve guessed it, cheese. I went to the Cheese Fest in Leicester last Saturday, a festival celebrating the taste, beauty and glory of cheese. I treated my sister as she avoided eating certain types of cheeses while she was pregnant, and she is a big cheese fan.

Cheese lovers were in their element at the Athena where the festival was held. There were plenty of stalls including local producers and much loved French and Italian cheeses. All of the stalls had samples of any cheese you wanted to try, from fresh feta to crunchy cheddar in various strengths. There were also many odd but interesting flavours to try, including charcoal, raspberry and prosecco and sticky toffee pudding cheddar. I wasn’t overkeen but it was fun to sample unusual flavours.

Look at the cheese!

There were also stalls selling accompaniments that complement cheese, such as homemade chutneys, crackers, biscuits and olives. I do love chutneys so I bought some locally produced ale chutney which has a beautiful taste. There were other foods you could buy for those less inclined to cheese, including rocky road brownies, baklava and ice cream. I bought an Easter theme rocky road slice full of Cadbury Creme Eggs and Cadbury Mini Eggs, which was delicious.

A funny name for cheese

We watched one cooking demonstration while we were at the festival. There was a cook on stage who prepared a pizza with a stuffed crust oozing with cheddar. He put all sorts of ingredients on top of the pizza, including sliced and grated mozzarella, fresh basil and drizzled it all with olive oil. From what we would see the finished pizza looked nice once it was cooked, but we didn’t get to try it.

My sister and I decided to have some lunch while we were at the Cheese Fest. It was hard to make a decision and we both wanted to have something which you can’t usually order at a restaurant. We could’ve had grilled cheese sandwiches, halloumi fries or nachos drizzled with cheese sauce. In the end we went for a mac n cheese waffle, which was macaroni cheese cooked in a waffle iron and then cut into four pieces, served with BBQ sauce or maple syrup. It was very tasty and a different way of eating the much loved macaroni cheese.

Mac n cheese waffle

I’d definitely go to the Cheese Fest again! My sister and I both really enjoyed ourselves and it was great to see so many different types of cheeses to sample. You could’ve easily filled yourself up on samples if you liked. You can find out more about the Cheese Fest here and see if it’s heading to a city near you!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂