Week 23 – birthday countdown

A two-pinter - only in Wales!On Monday 15th June I’ll be celebrating my 39th birthday, which is quite exciting, especially as this time next week I’ll be starting my celebrations by having dinner care of Galton Blackiston and his crew at Morston Hall in Norfolk. I need to make the most of the festivities you see, as it’s Andrew’s 40th birthday this year so from 16 June the focus will turn to him … he loves birthdays and this special one is no exception.

I will also be out and about a fair bit this week so won’t be doing much cooking. However, I’ll make up for my meals out on Saturday night by cooking a much-promised ‘Michelin-style’ meal for our friends Eve and Paul. This promise came about because they bought me a Michel Roux Jr book for my birthday a couple of years ago and even went to the trouble of getting him to sign the copy for me, which was such a lovely thought. I offered to cook them something from the book, and then for various reasons we’ve had to cancel or postpone the actual meal. So the pressure is on to make sure I produce the goods … luckily one of my favourite things is planning a menu for when friends come to dinner, so when I am at home this week I’ll be researching things to cook – if you have some suggestions for menu ideas then of course let me know in the comments.

IMG_2448.JPGWe’re on our way back from a weekend in Wales today so I am taking advantage of an Ocado offer for tomorrow’s dinner – they offered a Swedish feast vouchercode with my shop this week which included some Nordic goodies for free (follow their blog for the chance to add regular freebie goodies to your basket), so I’ll be eating them tomorrow night as everything can be prepared quickly and easily. So the week is looking a bit like this:

  • Monday – Swedish feast
  • Tuesday – Cafe Rouge blogger event
  • Wednesday – I am going out with Jo for a birthday dinner to Dishoom
  • Thursday – Yo Sushi blogger event
  • Friday – something easy from the freezer …
  • Saturday – Eve and Paul Michelin dinner (I hope!)
  • Sunday – Morston Hall

IMG_2482.JPGThis week just gone has been lovely (apart from us losing at the Tug of War on Tuesday), finishing off with a weekend in Wales with Andrew’s family. We drove down on Thursday after work as we were seeing the Manic Street Preachers at Cardiff Castle on Friday evening, so we got the chance to spend Friday in Cardiff with Andrew’s parents. We had some lunch at a Nicholson’s pub in the city centre – very nice but a shame they don’t serve Welsh food – and then lined our stomachs at the Manics gig with a delicious cheese toastie from Mr Croquewich (you would expect it to be good for £6!).

IMG_2478.JPGThe Manics said they were going to try to recreate the best of Welsh food and drink in the castle grounds and whilst the idea was admirable, in practice it wasn’t that great as just a few food stalls for 10,000 concert-goers meant long queues and food running out. After several hours of standing around, my back was giving me gip and it was freezing, so I decided to have a coffee (laced with Baileys) to make me feel better. The 45 minute queue for coffee at Brodie’s Coffee Camper did not make me feel better …

IMG_2495.JPGYesterday we went to Swansea and to Wales’ largest indoor market. This I was impressed by, as the market was filled with stalls selling fresh and delicious local fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. My eye was also caught by the various stalls selling faggots and peas, Welsh cakes, Bara Brith, laverbread and cockles. I couldn’t resist a bag of freshly griddled Welsh cakes and a tin of cockles and laverbread … I am going to use the latter to attempt to create a Welsh breakfast.

IMG_2498.JPGNot to try and give you the impression that we spent the whole weekend eating (we did, but what do you expect from someone who titles their blog ‘It’s not easy being greedy‘?) but we returned to the valleys (via a pub selling local brews called the Ancient Briton in Pen-Y-Cae, Brecon) for a home-cooked meal of very traditional corned beef pie, which Linda had made, followed by apple pie and cream also made by Linda. We didn’t manage to squeeze in any of this gorgeous birthday cake for Andrew (I told you he tries to get in with his IMG_2499.JPGcelebrations early) but I *may* have eaten a scone with jam and clotted cream before bed, to go with Linda’s favourite tipple of brandy and lovage (very nice it is too, and certainly helped to send me off to sleep!).

Today we’ve finished our Welsh adventure with a mega Sunday roast thanks to Greenfields pub which is just down the road from Linda and Martin’s Treorchy home. Perfect to sustain us for the trip back to London. See you on the other side!

A whopper of a Sunday lunch
A whopper of a Sunday lunch
The Greenfield pub

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