Lately: Hello Long Weekend

We’re in the middle of the last bank holiday weekend until Christmas. We’re chilling out around home after camping at Eweleaze Farm last weekend. Eweleaze is a lovely costal spot just outside of Weymouth. It’s only open during August for the summer and school holidays, outside of that it’s a working farm. It’s a pretty special place. I celebrated my 29th Birthday down there too. Blog post and pics coming soon.

This weekend we have company too. We’re dog sitting a mischievous labradoodle called Scruffy.

Isn’t she cute?! She’s obsessed with chasing balls and finding sticks and loves lots of attention. I think we’ll miss her when she goes home.

20160827_For_Blog_0151It wasn’t practical to take a cake camping with us but I couldn’t go without a cake for my birthday, so this weekend I made myself a birthday cake. My second attempt at Red Velvet cake.. and slightly better than the first, but still not as light and fluffy as it should be.

Tastes good though.. nom!

I spent the day lazing about in the backyard and reading Lonely Planet guides for travel inspiration for next year.

Sigh… so much to see, so little time (& money).

We had a pretty full on week before our road trip down south. Friends visited over the weekend so there was lots of London touristy things to be done.Somerset HouseWe saw the premier of Captain Fantastic at an outdoor screening at Somerset House. A lovely film that highlights the disconnection we have from nature and the amount of wasted time we spend in schools and in front of the TV. There is lots of hilarious moments and lots of really touching ones, too. I definitely recommend checking it out.

We also celebrated our 9 year anniversary at Gaucho- my request. It’s an Argentinian steak house. Ben ordered a marinated fillet steak which was huge and super tasty. But I won the night by ordering a plain rib eye steak. It was perfect, the best steak I have ever eaten. We didn’t take any pictures sadly but it was nice doing something fancy together and chatting the night away.

I have discovered this fantastic new podcast and blog by Emma Ganon, Girl Lost in the City. It says a lot about finding your way online and self-promotion which interests me for blog writing. I also find her social commentary totally on point and I’m getting a heap of book recommendations through following the blog. Also, sign up to the newsletter, she finds some great links on the internet. Seriously you will enjoy it.

Through Girl Lost in City I have discovered Irish author Louise O’Neil and I have just read Only Ever Yours which was fantastic but harrowing. I felt really body conscious after reading it, which is not ideal, but shows how deeply you can identify with the character. I’m now reading Asking For It,¬†which is a story of a girl who goes out to a party one night, and in the morning can’t remember the events of the night before. But they’re all over social media for the world to see and now teachers and police are taking action. Again, not the brightest of subject matters but so important to have these works out there. You can follow Louise on Instagram @oneillou or her blog too.

Hope you’re enjoying the last days of summer, or winter if you’re in the southern hemisphere. I know I will be lapping up all the sunny days I can get before the nights close in and the days get crisper.

 

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Peanut Brownies for my Dad

20160814_Peanut_Brownies_0700Today is my dad’s 60th birthday. Happy Birthday Dad!

Over the weekend I was messaging my two sisters who live at home in New Zealand as they were buying presents and getting ready to bake dad’s birthday cake. It’s always these times I find the hardest about living so far from home; the times when families and friends gather and celebrate. These are the times when I feel most homesick. Also when Whittakers releases new chocolate flavours and my Marmite supply runs out, but mostly on big occasions for the people I love and 60? Well that’s a big occasion!

So rather than wallow in my homesickness¬† I got up on Saturday morning and made my dad’s favourite biscuit, and of course it’s an Edmonds Cookbook recipe, Peanut Brownies. I haven’t made this recipe since I lived at home but luckily they turned out alright, a little less chocolatey than I remember them. But still sweet and nutty and good.

I don’t remember when I first learned to bake, but my sisters and I were always baking something in our house growing up. There can’t have been many weekends where someone didn’t make something and that would often be Peanut Brownies at dad’s request. Dad is a huge fan of peanuts so there would always be bags of them in the house ready for snacking on or baking with.

20160814_Peanut_Brownies_0733The quality must have been hit or miss though, revisiting this recipe made me realise how far I had come with my baking. I’m sure I used to melt the butter for this recipe, although it calls for the butter and sugar to be creamed. I even remember accidentally cooking the egg in the mixture by adding it to the hot butter and sugar too early. The egg white whitened in the mixture and you could see flecks if it throughout like you do in egg friend rice. Mmmm.. eggy… I have always been weary of doing that since.

When baking these on Saturday all I could find were roasted salted nuts in the supermarket, I thought the salt would be too much so rather than being defeated, I bought them anyway and took them home to wash them. All I did was rinse all the salt off through a sieve then places the sieve in the pre-heating oven to dry off while I made the mixture. It worked a treat. I think at home we would quite often make this with peanuts with the husks on too, it gives them a bit more texture and the skin would go crunchy in the oven.

20160814_Peanut_Brownies_0736Peanut Brownies

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 11/2 cups standard plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1 cup peanuts, roasted and husked

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa together. Mix into creamed mixture. Add cold peanuts and mix well. Roll tablespoonsful of mixture into balls. Place on greased oven trays. Flatten with a fork. Bake at 180 degree Celsius for 15 minutes or until cooked. Makes 20.

20160814_Peanut_Brownies_0708Dad I wish I could just pop over there and share these with you and give you a big 60th birthday hug. But know that I’ll be thinking of you as you celebrate this huge milestone.

See you in four months, and if you’re lucky I’ll make you another batch then.

Love you xx

Weekend in Torquay + Brixham

20160729_Torquay_Weekend_Trip_0057Here is a quick photo round up of a recent weekend I spent in Torquay and the surrounds. The trip was almost wholly unplanned and as most spontaneous ideas are, completely and surprisingly brilliant. I really has no idea what to expect of this little seaside town in Devon, but as most around me can attest, I have been raving about it ever since.

We started off checking out Brixham, a small fishing town across the bay from Torquay.

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We wandered the small village then sat on the waterfront with fresh mussels for lunch and watched the kids catching crabs off the wharfs. I wish I had taken a good photo of them because I was so intrigued by this quintessentially seaside hobby. A fruitful hobby too as they were filling up their buckets pretty quickly. You could buy bait, a line and a crab bucket at all the local tourist shops – I very nearly gave it a go myself.

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In the afternoon we sat on the stony beach and watched those braver than us plunge into the less than tropical waters while the sunshine flickered in and out of the clouds.

20160729_Torquay_Weekend_Trip_0054For a moment it looked like the weather was going to well and truly crash in on us, but luckily it passed with just a few sprinkles of rain.

IMG_6937On the hunt for the best fish ‘n’ chips in the area for dinner we also stumbled across the best view of the weekend, Babbacombe Bay. Good spot for a picnic huh?¬† I can highly recommend Hanbury’s Fish ‘n’ chips, they do live up to the hype.

Finally we arrived back at Torquay harbour to finish off our bottle of Cava. The sun really put on a show of setting too. I was kicking myself for not bringing along my big camera. These iPhone pics do not do it justice at all.

Red sky at night, shepard’s delight….

Waking up to sunshine the next morning, our first mission was to get some more pictures of Babbacombe Bay and venture down to what looked like a sandy beach from above.20160729_Torquay_Weekend_Trip_0061

20160729_Torquay_Weekend_Trip_0069But alas, once we got closer we found it was pebbles.20160729_Torquay_Weekend_Trip_0074You go down to Babbacombe beach by a very steep cable car.20160729_Torquay_Weekend_Trip_0083Ice creams are a must at the seaside.20160729_Torquay_Weekend_Trip_0089Nice spot to watch the world go by…. and serenade it.

After resting on the beach for a while we got up and started on the hunt for our last meal. After a quick pit stop at Cockington first. I happened upon Cockington in a guide map that described it as ‘a village frozen in time’. It sure was! With lovely grassy woodlands and thatched roofs as far as the eye could see, it certainly looked untouched by time.

I fell in love with this little pink one. 20160729_Torquay_Weekend_Trip_0102When can I move in? Even the roses match!

We had envisioned stopping at Paignton for lunch, another seaside town along the coast from Torquay but after discovering a fun fare had come to town and there was no parking we decided to head back to Torquay and find some more seafood on the beachfront. We had delicious crab at On the Rocks if you’re interested.20160729_Torquay_Weekend_Trip_0104

Then it was back in the car to make the trip back to London, with a little pit stop at Cheddar Gorge on the way.

20160729_Torquay_Weekend_Trip_011220160729_Torquay_Weekend_Trip_0116Unfortunately we arrived too late to pick up any cheese! Better planning is needed next time.

I’m off on a camping trip to Weymouth next weekend, so I don’t have to wait much longer for my next dose of the English Seaside. Have you got any tips on what to do and where to eat around Weymouth and the Jurassic Coast?