My birthday celebrations have been brilliant, but carried on longer than expected. This week we have a brief break from birthdays before starting the celebrations for Andrew’s 40th, which will include a birthday party and trip to Rome (mmmm, pasta and tirumisu).
I am very much looking forward to a rest as we’ve both felt like our candles have been burning at both ends, what with celebrations and parties (fun), house organisation (not so much fun) and lots and lots of work (definitely not fun). So the plan for this week is:
- Monday – homemade chicken and vegetable pie using the hot water crust pastry from this recipe
- Tuesday – beef chilli, guacamole, tomato relish and coleslaw (all homemade)
- Wednesday – Vietnamese rice salad with prawns
- Thursday – chicken kiev, jacket potatoes, peas
- Friday – salmon, new potatoes and vegetables
- Saturday – homemade pizza
- Sunday – TBC depending on our post-party hangovers
Lunches last week were in my beautiful new Monbento lunchbox, a generous birthday present from my colleagues. How gorgeous is it? Not only gorgeous but also dishwasher and microwave safe, and BPA-free, so hopefully that little bit healthier too. I made a big batch of Persian jewelled rice, which I’ll share the recipe for soon, which was a tasty and substantial lunch every day. I have frozen a batch to test whether it defrosts well (as the recipe I followed makes a HUGE portion), so I’ll be keeping you posted on that too.
Tomorrow I am at a review lunch at Slug & Lettuce, but for the rest of the week I’ll be making myself a beetroot and goats cheese salad (think of this Nigel Slater recipe, bulked out) in my lovely Monbento.
On Monday evening we went to see ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ at the Adelphi theatre in Covent Garden with my brother. Having previously tried a Five Guys burger at the O2 a few weeks ago (delicious, but the chips were too salty), I wanted to treat my brother to some American-style dirty burgers, so we went to Shake Shack for a pre-theatre meal. How disappointing. The standard Shackburger with a bit of bacon was just shy of £8 and was pathetically small … add cheese fries (standard fries with barely a squirt of cheese sauce on top) for just under £4 extra plus drinks and you have a tiddly but expensive meal.
Andrew had a double Shackburger and wasn’t impressed with the size of that either, and my brother chose a Shack Stack which had a standard cheeseburger topped with a mushroom burger which he didn’t enjoy. Such a disappointment when we had high expectations about the dinner. Although everything tasted nice, it really was not worth the cash. I want to try Patty and Bun and Flat Iron (and Honest Burgers and Dip and Flip …. I am sure there are many more too) and hope to have a better experience at one of them – on my quest for the best American style burger in London.
Our mum had very kindly given Jason enough money for ice creams for pudding, so we took ourselves off to Gelatorino just around the corner for some hazelnut icecream (our new favourite), and then pushed off to the theatre for a night of comedy (it’s very good by the way and on until 5 July so you still have time to see it).
On Wednesday I was back in Queensbury for yet another Indian feast with Deena and Steph … this time at Everest Spice. We left the ordering in Deena’s capable hands once again, with the one demand that we had to have fried cassava as one of our starters. The deliciousness we experienced included a mixed grill of lamb chops, shish kebab, chicken wings and chunks of tandoori chicken, plus little chickpea pancakes with tamarind and yoghurt, then main courses of minced lamb curry (Deena described it as Indian bolognaise) and chicken thigh curry, plus rice and peshwari naan.
I loved the meal, but Steph and I both agreed that The Regency Club was our favourite so we’ll go back there next time, although I will miss the incredibly camp dragon who greeted us on arrival at the Everest Spice!
On Thursday I was up at 4.45am to head off to Brussels to teach our Belgian office about social media. Eating a (large) two-course Indian meal the night before meant that I did not sleep well (I was still awake at 1.30am) and so I started the day feeling exhausted and also very full up. Nigel Farage was on the same train as me and hearing his dulcet tones (not) didn’t fill me with joy either.
My Belgian lunch was not entirely typical (sushi) but I did manage to treat myself to some proper Belgian chocolates AND some chocolate spread to add to my collection. After a surprisingly tasty meal on the Eurostar home (rabbit cooked in beer with new potatoes and fennel, plus a coffee eclair and macaron for pudding) I went almost immediately to bed when I got home.
Andrew has been working all weekend so I have been gardening, cleaning, shopping and blogging – essentially catching up on real life! And as Andrew is still at work this evening (he just text me to say his pedometer is showing that he has walked 18,000 steps today around the office!), I have treated myself to a meal for one of asparagus, soft poached egg and hollandaise sauce – he would be disgusted but it’s a perfect light meal for me as I may have sampled one or two of my new chocolate spreads this afternoon.