I never anticipated how tiring growing another human could be, and recently my diary hasn’t reflected this added burden. Wednesday evenings are NCT evenings nowadays, which gives us 2.5 hours of baby ‘training’: how to hold a baby (using a doll), the realities of labour (scary), and of course the opportunity to meet seven other couples from the same area who are going through the same experiences as you. It’s been good so far, but the 10pm finish is past my bedtime, and after a day at work it’s quite exhausting.
Last week I also spent three days in Paris for work, which left me very tired. I did manage to squeeze in a delicious dinner with my friend Leonie, where I tried this pregnancy friendly (not) carbonara:
I also enjoyed a Salade Parisienne for lunch on Tuesday … this is Andrew’s kind of salad: topped with piles of sauteed potatoes, with ham, cheese and egg!
On Tuesday night I was invited to dinner by my colleague Odile, with her husband Philippe. While they explained to me their love of Downton Abbey, I enjoyed a delicious meal of beetroot with cream cheese and crushed biscuits (an idea which I stole and used last night for dinner with a friend!), pork wellington, cheese (de rien, we are in Paris) and stewed rhubarb with my favourite thing IN THE WORLD, fromage blanc (basically fromage frais).
I didn’t take pictures of the dinner but I am still reminiscing about them in my mind! What’s better than a truly seasonal meal with friends?
On Wednesday evening I had a bite to eat on the Eurostar before heading straight to the NCT class, and then after a day back in the London office on Thursday, we had dinner with our lovely Canadian friends, who are sadly (for us) heading back to Toronto in the summer.
Steph had picked for us to visit The Fat Bear – an American-style restaurant just by our office in St Pauls. It’s above the Rising Sun pub and if you didn’t know it was there, you’d definitely walk past it. Luckily we were directed by Steph, and settled ourselves in for a night of American-style binging (which I can almost manage despite the fact that all my insides are squished up around my chest … I am not called greedy for nothing).
For starters we each chose something different so we could share. Beef tacos (a bit spicy for my current taste), deep fried pickles (strange, but nice, although I wouldn’t want a whole portion to myself), pimento cheese (amazing: flavoured cheese on crackers), and corn dogs (beef sausage stuffed with cheese, and fried – also one of my favourites).
For main courses, Andrew and Mike both chose Juicy Lucy burgers (you may remember Andrew’s attempt at these), with poutine (a Canadian dish of chips with gravy and cheese curds).
Steph and I picked the buttermilk southern style chicken burger with fries. I asked for blue cheese to top mine, as I miss blue cheese at the moment and they cook the cheese onto the top of the burger which kills any risky bugs and allows me to chow down.
Although the burger was tasty, there was a spicy sauce which wasn’t completely to my taste (I have not been a spice fan during this pregnancy). The chicken was deliciously juicy and moist, and the chips were crispy, so I managed to eat it all despite the spice!
When it got to pudding time, none of us were hungry but we greedily decided to share an Oreo cheesecake and a peach cobbler.
I didn’t try the peach cobbler, but the cheesecake was rich with soft cheese and full of oreo cookie flavour. Definitely one worth replicating at home.
I’d go back to The Fat Bear – it’s not the cheapest option but the service is efficient and friendly, and the food is excellent (although the menu is somewhat limited). You are definitely not looking at the cheapest option (although compared to nearby Barbecoa – Jamie Oliver’s BBQ joint – it’s not bad), but I’d say it’s worth a trip if you are nearby.
After a restful Friday night, where I fell asleep in front of the television by 9pm, we had our friend Eve to dinner yesterday. I was really pleased with the menu, which started with my beetroot dish inspired by Odile – beetroot with goats cheese and crumbled biscuits:
Firstly I dressed the beetroot in some rapeseed oil, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and served it on some lamb’s lettuce with pieces of soft (pasteurised!) Welsh goats cheese, with crumbled Tuc biscuits on top. The earthiness of the beetroot mixed with the creamy sharp goats cheese is a lovely combination, and the crunchy saltiness from the Tuc biscuits is a great added texture.
For our main course, I simply roasted some cod with vine tomatoes. I served this with a dish inspired by Galton Blackiston (from Morston Hall): boiled jersey royals mixed with crispy lardon and onion, with green beans. The green beans were supposed to be samphire, but I couldn’t get hold of any. However, the potatoes were delicious and the salty lardons were a great accompaniment to the simple cod.
I also made a strawberry cheesecake for pudding, but as we ate this in front of last night’s Eurovision (not my favourite show to watch when sober!), I didn’t take a photo.
This week won’t be much quieter, as I have my mum over on Monday and a Manic Street Preachers gig on Tuesday (luckily I’ll be sitting down at the Royal Albert Hall so should be comfortable). On Wednesday we’re back to the NCT so a quick meal is in order. The rest of the week will be more peaceful, and I even have a day off work on Friday to attend an NHS parenting class. So the rest of my time will be spent nesting!
Food is going to look a bit like this:
- Monday – sausages, jacket potatoes, veg (a comfort meal!), along with leftover cheesecake
- Tuesday – something out before the gig
- Wednesday – a speedy pasta dish of some kind before we rush off to the NCT
- Thursday – prawns with rice and vegetables
- Friday – fish fingers
- Saturday – chicken schnitzel
- Sunday – inspiration has failed to strike so far, but there’s plenty in the freezer to work from, so I’ll have a rummage and decide
Now, I intend to spend the rest of the day in my comfy clothes in front of the telly. Bon week-end!