restaurant

A New Decade.

So today I turn 20. No longer a teenager.

I know some people dread the turn of the decade and long to stay 19 forever but not me. I never really felt like a teenager anyway!

This new decade feels so much more exciting, so much more full of opportunity, of possibility. I can’t wait to see what comes with the next ten years, I can only imagine how much my life will change. I will (hopefully!) graduate from university, I will decide what I want to do with my life, I will move house, probably move city, meet new people, do new things…

Today was a lovely day, I started out getting my hair done, met the lovely Baiba for a very speedy lunch, and then this evening I went out with Tom and my family for a delicious meal in town.

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Tempura battered squid with chilli jam

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Grilled gilt-head bream with salsa verde, french fries, and tenderstem broccoli

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday a lovely day, especially my sister for a very special present, my parents for lovely presents and a fantastic meal, and Tom for joining us to make my day more complete!

Sophie x 

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Not Much Tops Noodles…

…Especially when you don’t have to pay!

On Wednesday evening I got a real treat, my sister and I decided to go out for a meal at one of our favourite restaurants, Wagamama. I’m fairly sure that I’ve blogged about going there before but I have to reiterate, the food is delicious.

Plus, my sister paid for the whole meal, I clearly have the best sister ever!

It’s one of those restaurants where you seem to find a dish you adore and then you just don’t want to stray from it. That’s certainly how Alice and I am anyway. She has a thing for rice so her choice is obvious – Chicken Raisukaree which is chicken stir-fried in coconut curry sauce with a nice big mound of rice.

The sauce in this curry is absolutely divine, I always have to dip my chopsticks in it a couple of times to steal some!

Now my dish is not a curry. But it includes several of my favourite things… courgettes, mushrooms, mangetout, tofu…

The dish is called Yasai Chilli Men and is basically made up of stir-fried tofu and vegetables with a chilli sauce and whole wheat noodles. I am somewhat addicted to this dish. I should probably branch out and try a different dish but I every time I’m in there I think I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t stand up to this! (Oh woe is me)

Usually we’re more starter and main kind of girls, however there are a couple of dessert options here that particularly float our boats.

Alice only ever has dessert in a restaurant if it’s something chocolatey so she always goes for the chocolate fudge cake. I’m more of an ice cream or fruity kind of person so this bowl is perfect for me:

The coconut reika is basically three balls of coconut ice cream, drizzled in mango sauce and topped with toasted coconut flakes. Delicious. Seriously.

Then to finish the meal Alice had the most exciting tea I’ve ever seen (I don’t get out much haha):

Jasmine flowering tea. The flower starts off as a bud and slowly unfurls inside the cup which is fascinating to watch.

We had a lovely evening and left the restaurant feeling suitably stuffed as there’s no pretending that these are light meals. But boy are they satisfying! I definitely recommend taking a trip there if you’ve never been.

Have you ever been to Wagamama?
Do you always eat the same thing in certain restaurants?

Do you go for starter and main, main and dessert, or all three courses?

Sunday Pub Grub.

Yesterday evening my Granddad came over and we drove to a lovely pub in the countryside called The Plough. The premise of the meal was mainly to celebrate my sister’s results with him, as well as my end of year results from earlier in the summer and it was really nice to see him. The pub is really light and open, with a stylish and comfortable decor, it’s definitely the ideal place for a nice relaxing informal meal.

 

My Granddad, my dad, me and my sister, Alice, (my mum took the photo). It’s always really nice to get the family together and spend a few hours chatting and enjoying each others’ company.

As none of us fancied a full three-course meal on a Sunday evening, we went for a sharing platter to start with:

 

This is the Mediterranean Mezze which was made up of beetroot & walnut houmous, tzatziki, fregola, salted lemon & feta salad, dukkah, and stone baked pitta bread. We all loved it so much, especially the houmous, that we asked the waiter for another plate of pitta so that we could finish it all off!

 

For my main I chose the Linguini which included crab, chorizo, chilli, spring onion, and tomato. It was absolutely delicious and one thing that was excellent is that you could choose to have a smaller portion which is great for me as I always find restaurant portions enormous.

Lastly, dessert…

 

By this point I was pretty full but as I’m not often one to turn down a sweet treat my dad and I opted to share. We went for three different flavours of ice cream: coconut and chocolate, tiramisu and amaretto. So so tasty.

The pub atmosphere was relaxing, the company was lovely and the food was pretty good; all in all we had a great evening and it was a really pleasant way to end the weekend.

What did you get up to this weekend?
Have you got anything planned for this week?


Celebrations – Sisterly Pride.

If you’re wondering where I was last night the answer is out celebrating. Celebrating what? My talented little sister’s fantastic GCSE results (for my non-English readers these are exams you take aged 16).

She did really really well, especially with the ridiculous situation with students being marked down. The best bit of all? In her favourite and most inspiring subject, Art, she achieved 100% overall! I clearly have an artistic genius for a sister. Can you tell I’m rather proud?

So of course when we got the great news my parents immediately suggested we go out for dinner to celebrate. My sister is a big fan of Japanese, Chinese and Thai food so she went for Wagamama, a lovely restaurant with a Japanese-inspired menu. It’s a clean, modern looking restaurant with a menu full of amazing food. It’s one of those places where I can’t help but always order the same thing, despite the huge variety on the menu. I can’t help it, I love the dish! (I will be more adventurous next time, I swear!)

I started the evening off with a glass of apple, mint, celery and lime juice. It was so refreshing and had a really interesting flavour – there was definitely a strong taste of celery but the overall taste was sweet with a lovely hit of lime.

For my main, my favourite dish: yasai chilli men. A dish of “stir-fried tofu, courgettes, red onions, peppers, mushrooms and mangetout in a spicy tomato chilli men sauce, served on whole wheat noodles”. So, so delicious!

Tom joined us for the meal, we hadn’t seen each other in over two weeks as he’s been away on holiday in Turkey. His main looked really good too, he went for the mandarin and sesame chicken salad. It was a salad of “marinated chicken with mixed leaves, mandarin, coriander, red and spring onions, mangetout and cashew nuts with a sesame, mandarin, thai basil and mint dressing. garnished with sesame seeds”.

Finally Alice’s main: raisukaree, a curry of “tender marinated chicken breast or prawns stir-fried in a coconut and lime curry sauce with mangetout, peppers, red and spring onions, fresh ginger and garlic. Served with rice and garnished with mixed sesame seeds, red chillies, coriander and lime”. She thoroughly enjoyed her dish too, the sauce smelt fantastic.

Although I was stuffed by the end of the meal I couldn’t go without dessert as Wagamama does what is possibly my favourite ice cream dish…

Coconut reika. It is made up of “three scoops of dairy coconut ice cream topped with a fresh, tangy mango sauce and toasted coconut flakes” and it’s just so so moreish. I adore coconut flavoured desserts and the mango sauce is delicious!

It was a really enjoyable way to go out and celebrate my sister’s achievement and spend some quality time together.

Do you enjoy Japanese food?
What is your favourite type of cuisine?
Any plans for the weekend?

We’re All Going on a Summer Holiday.

Hey lovely readers!

I am back from my holiday in France and am really looking forward to catching up with you all 🙂

Before I start this I just want to say an enormous thank you to all of you who commented on my Practice Makes Perfect post, I was so touched to read everything you wrote and I really really appreciate your kind words of support and encouragement! I will be replying to all of your lovely comments and I have to say that I feel really grateful to be part of such a supportive community.

Now, onto the holiday. We spent a week in the south-west of France, staying in a house right by a river. It was an absolutely beautiful setting and it was such a relaxing holiday. I was there with my parents, my sister and Tom and I really enjoyed the week.

We ate some absolutely delicious food – sunset drinks and nibbles, barbecues in our courtyard garden, delicious pastries…

We visited some fantastic places and saw some beautiful scenery.

We spent time having fun on the river! I was so so proud of myself for pushing myself and deciding to go canoeing, yes it hurt but it was just so much fun 🙂

We visited a lovely food market.

And we went out for some absolutely amazing meals. The three course meal of tomato tarte tatin, cod in butter sauce with little vegetables, and a concoction of meringue, ice cream, cream and strawberries was just out of this world!

All in all it was a wonderful holiday and I have come back feeling really rested and content.

I hope you all had a brilliant week and enjoyed your weekend! I’m sure lots of you are watching 2012’s fantastic Olympics unfold, I definitely enjoyed the past two days. I have a week off work now before I start again for three weeks so I have lots of lovely plans 🙂

Have you been away this summer?
What is the best thing you’ve eaten at a restaurant recently?

What do you love doing on holiday?

What I Ate Wednesday No.38 + a Fitness Update.

Okay so I said you would be getting lots of posts from me and then I disappeared for two days so apologies. In my defense I’ve been having a really lovely couple of days, I was too busy enjoying life to blog!

I can’t stay away from here for too long though. In the year that I’ve been blogging now I’ve come to absolutely love the blogworld, it’s such a great part of my life – so fulfilling and enjoyable. I love writing my posts, reading other people’s blogs and getting to connect with others all over the world 🙂

I owe some of this connection to the fantastic WIAW!

Go check out the lovely Jenn’s blog to find out what this is all about and to discover heaps of other foodie bloggers…

Breakfast this morning was my typical sort of start to the day:

Weetabix soaked in milk and topped with blueberries and cinnamon. As is fitting with this month’s WIAW theme of food and fitness I enjoyed breakfast with a side of this month’s Women’s Fitness. I’m not that much of a magazine person, I tend to prefer home decoration magazines to fashion but I do rather like receiving my monthly dose of glossy fitness info. It’s a little treat as I never really expect it.

Today was centred around a great trip into town to meet my friends from my old sixth form for lunch and then to see Ice Age 4 (don’t mock our film choice, it was a nice bit of light-hearted fun!). I love meeting up with my lovely girls (plus a couple of boyfriends) and I was having so much fun that I completely forgot to take any photos of my food! It was such a fab lunch, we chatted away for about two hours and I had a brilliant dessert – a cinnamon waffle with vanilla ice cream. I wish I could show you a photo but I was clearly a useless blogger today…

This month’s WIAW is all about the fitness as well as the food so I thought I’d update you a little on my exercise at the moment.

You may have noticed an absence of ‘Weekly Workout’ posts over the past couple of weeks and this is because at the moment the physical aspect of my life has had to change a little. Last week I had an appointment with my physiotherapist and we discussed how I have been over the past few months, looking especially at my energy, activity and pain levels. Now first of all let me tell you something, it is really really difficult to give your energy levels as a percentage or to express your level of pain as a number out of 10! We established that at the moment the thing I am struggling with the most is my energy levels on a day-to-day basis so this is what we want to target.

However, this is easier said than done. I won’t bore you with all of the details (if  you’re particularly interested drop me a message and I can explain in full!) but basically we’ve brought things right back to the basics and I am on a fairly strict regime of 15 minutes of medium cardio, 5 times a week. Those of you who know me reasonably well will know that although I often struggle to workout lots, I actually really enjoy exercising! So you can imagine it’s pretty frustrating to only be able to do a tiny 15 minute workout, especially on days when I’m raring to go. But this being said, I am willing to give almost anything a go if it will help me to have an easier life!

Anyway that is what I am currently doing and I am also keeping an hourly activity log (time-consuming and pretty dull) which should hopefully help me to be able to gradually build up my activity levels and therefore my energy levels!

Now, back to the food 😛

This evening’s meal was almost as enjoyable as the lunch with my friends.

This beautiful bowl is full of potato gnocchi, slices of delicious chorizo and shredded courgette. It is such a fantastic dish – I love the mixture of flavours and it just tastes like summer.

I’ve ended up posting this really late so I am going to say goodnight and tuck myself in to get a good night’s sleep!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten today?
Have you seen any films recently?
Do you have an exercise routine? If yes, what’s it like at the moment?

What I Ate Wednesday No.34 – Rather Delicious.

Yep, you guessed it! It’s time for another round of WIAW…

As always a massive thank you to the lovely Jenn for creating this link-up! If you’re new to this, go check out her blog to see what it’s all about 🙂

Rather than share a typical day of food with you, I want to show you some photos of the rather fantastic food that I’ve been eating with Tom this week. You are definitely in for an absolute treat!

Breakfast here is my usual staple, bowl upon bowl of weetabix… I thought you wouldn’t be interested so I’ll go straight to lunch:

A rather tasty tomato chicken pasta salad bought from Boots (along with a couple of lipsticks I just couldn’t resist!)

Along with pretty nice lunches I’ve also been enjoying several cups of this stuff:

Caramel lattes are the best way to warm up when the rain is falling heavily outside. As you may have guessed, Tom and I have spent many hours sat by cafe windows watching the world (and the rain) go by.

However, the real treat I’ve been eating this week has definitely been dinner. On Monday night a group of Tom’s friends decided to go watch the football in a pub and then take a trip to the cinema to watch Men In Black 3. We thought the time in between would be a perfect opportunity to grab some dinner 😉

Scampi and chips from a local fish n’ chip restaurant. The scampi was lovely and fresh and the portion was perfect – I ate the entire plate. Well we wouldn’t want it going to waste would we? 😉

I was a little apathetic about the film beforehand but it actually turned out to be pretty funny, I enjoyed it and it was fun to go out with Tom’s friends.

Now, I have definitely saved the best till last!

Last night Tom booked us a table at a really lovely restaurant and we dressed up for our three course meal together, to celebrate the end of exams and the start of our summer together. It was easily the best meal I’ve eaten in ages. Tom wore his gorgeous new blazer from Zara and I wore my favourite maxi from FCUK, I think we make a pretty smart couple…

To start with I went for a dish of spicy aubergine crostini which was fantastic.

Tom decided to have an avocado and prawn starter which looked really good too, it would have been my second choice!

For the main course the choice was clear and we both went for the same thing. A dish of fresh trout served with gorgeous greens and a special potato mash. It was just wonderful, the butter sauce was absolutely delicious!

Finally, what could better complete a beautiful dinner than an amazing chocolate pavlova (mine) and the perfect crème brûlée (Tom’s)…

It was such a brilliant evening, we strolled back home around 10pm when it was still light and settled down with full and happy stomachs. I only have a couple of days left here with Tom before I head back home for a week. I have been having the most amazing time and I am so lucky to have Tom, he makes me feel like one very lucky girl!

I hope you are all having a lovely week and that it has been raining less where you are than here!

What is the best thing you’ve eaten this week?
Have you eaten out recently?