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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

Update #24

A belated Happy Easter to you all!

I was away in a lovely seaside town called Sheringham in Norfolk for a week with family and friends. My nephew was on his first holiday and even went swimming for the first time at a local leisure centre! It was nice to have a week away and the weather wasn’t actually too bad; I realise that other parts of the UK had it much worse over the Easter weekend.

First day in Sheringham

I am now back to being a carnivore after a successful third year of giving up meat for lent. I had a fry up on Easter Sunday morning, which included bacon, sausages and black pudding, I devoured a hog roast pork bap after swimming with my nephew and enjoyed a juicy rump steak last night when I got back from Sheringham. Each time I eat meat again I remind myself that I couldn’t give it up entirely and become a full time vegetarian- meat just tastes so good!

What a hog roast!

However during the period of lent, I don’t miss meat too much. I have the odd occasion where I fancy a bacon sandwich or a lamb roast dinner, but otherwise I enjoy trying out vegetarian options. Last month I had a go at making dauphinoise potatoes and veggie burgers, two new food cooking ventures for me. I also enjoyed making quinoa during lent and quite often had it in salads for lunch or mixed with sweetcorn and other beans for dinner.

Since giving up meat for the first time three years ago I have cut down my meat intake. I generally try to have meat just once a day for one meal, opt for vegetarian options and eat more fish.

Last month also marked three years since I started my blog! I find it crazy that it’s been that long, it doesn’t feel like three years to me. I really do enjoy keeping a blog and I will continue to post about my three favourite topics: feminism, fitness and food.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Veggie burgers

Lent is almost over, which means I can eat meat again on Sunday! The period of lent always seems to fly by; sometimes I don’t get to be as experimental as I’d like to as I don’t always have the time, but when I do I like to push the boat out and try cooking something new.

So last weekend I had a go at making vegetarian burgers for the first time. I looked over a few recipes online for a general idea and had a browse through the fridge and kitchen cupboards. In the end I decided to go with red kidney beans, chick peas, sweetcorn, cooked quinoa and spinach. On reflection I won’t use quinoa again for making burgers as it was very hard to work with and it made the burgers dry up a bit when I was cooking them. Nevertheless, they were still tasty!

After draining a can of red kidney beans and half a can of chick peas, I mashed them together using a potato masher. I don’t have a blender but I didn’t want the beans completely mashed up, so using a masher worked for me. I then stirred in the cooked quinoa, sweetcorn and lightly chopped spinach. I also added a splash of lime juice, a little sprinkle of seasoning and a dash of cumin for flavour. Finally to combine it altogether, I added a beaten egg. I’ll probably just use a little bit of egg wash next time as the mixture felt quite soggy from using a whole egg.

Veggie burger mixture

Once all of the ingredients were combined, I made six patties. The quinoa was a bit tricky as it was mostly all over my hands and was hard to combine. I managed to make six patties in the end though, which I then coated in breadcrumbs before placing in a frying pan lightly coated with oil.

Cooking in the frying pan

I cooked the vegetarian burgers for about 15-20 minutes. I wanted to make sure that they were done thoroughly as I used kidney beans and chick peas that hadn’t been cooked. As the burgers were cooking a few of them started to fall about a little bit, but most of them held it together. I turned them over gently, until they were golden brown on each side.

Veggie burgers ready for eating!

I had two of the six burgers for my dinner, with rice and lettuce. I didn’t bother serving them in a burger bun, as they had fallen apart and were nice to eat with the rice. At least I know now that quinoa is best eaten with a salad, and not made into a burger! I’ll definitely have another go at making vegetarian burgers in the future, as they were a great and healthy alternative to the usual beef burgers.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂