Happy Friday

October 28, 2011

Today is my last day at work for 3 months.

3 months off!

I am going on a MEGAmoon with my Husband.

I haven’t seen him for a whole month.

This weekend I will be hanging out with my Bristol crew as much as possible, and packing.

At some point I definitely need to pack!

Forgive me for this boastful post. I am a little excited.

(Gif spotted here on Swiss Miss)

The Ethicurian

October 27, 2011

So most of Bristol know and love this place already, it took me a little while longer to get out there…

I finally made me when Mum and I made a trip to Cornwall and I suggested we have breakfast here before hitting the road.

It was such a good idea, even if I do say so myself.

The cafe is in a beautiful walled garden just outside of Bristol.

This is view of a beautiful Somerset valley is one of my favourites, some friends have recently moved out this way and I absolutely love driving over the hill past the airport and into this valley.

So I was hoping to make another visit before I left to eat lunch so I could show you more than breakfast, make it a proper blog but alas there will be no second visit this year (sad face)

Seriously love it here. I am definitely going to visit in the spring when I return. I bet it’s lovely here in spring.

My Mum had eggs Florentine which she enjoyed very much, with a proper hollandaise, no gloopy sauce here.

I of course had the full english breakfast, the bacon and sausages were amazing (I need to find out where they get them from) and eggs perfect, and served on my favourite Marks Bread. Delicious, just enough to make me fall asleep in the car, all lovely and dozey. Sorry Mum.

It was quite large and I will admit I saved a sausage for later in my bag, it was even better cold, starving off my lunchtime hunger till even later.

Maybe I should have given the lovely dog my sausage. But I thought that would encourage bad customer bothering behaviour so I kept it for myself. Sorry Dog.

I am such a loser I even loved the toilets here, very cute mirrors and photographs in a little building outside.

They also have their very own orchard.

Where they make their own juice! We brought a few bottles for presents to our Cornwall friends.

A lovely outdoor area that I bet is a lovely place to spend a summer’s day.

There was a wedding here the night before, you can tell… there was a marquee still up (looks like a very pretty place to get wed) and a secret bottle of Jack Daniels we found in the bushes. (we left it there by the way, I hate Jack)

I would love to go to a wedding here.

Seriously let’s take another look at that view. I could never get used to that beautiful valley, even on a moody autumn day the view is amazing.

I love West Country I do.

So yes go visit! I haven’t even touched on the food and how they run their cafe… visit their website to find out more.

They have won awards too you know.

Check them out here; The Ethicurian and The Walled Garden

Quinta do Francês Vineyard

October 14, 2011

On a day when the rest of the family has gone off to find a beach the Husband and I decided to head into the countryside to check out a spa town in the mountains called Monchique (which was so lovely, but a little remote and felt very cut off from the world) and then on the way I was saying how it didn’t look like we were going to be able to check out any vineyards… then my Husband spotted a sign…

To Quinta do Francês, a vineyard with wine tastings, so we drove up to take a look.

This was the view off to one side of the valley, it was the only cloudy day we had the whole time we were there, and even then the sun broke through a lot and it was still warm.

These are the vines.

We had a little tour from one of the owners; run by a Husband and Wife team, he is French, she is Portuguese. He is a doctor and still practises I think and she runs the vineyard day-to-day.

They have been going since 2002 and producing wine since 2008, winning awards in their first year and most years since.

This is their cellar and producing building. I love its traditional look.

We had a tour of the small winery and Fátima explained their processes and how much wine they make etc, which was all so interesting. They have done so well in such a short time.

Then we had a little taste of the four wine they produce.

The white and rose they make using grapes they buy from others, the reds are their own grapes.

All of them were delicious.

They had to sell a vintage from 2009, which had won an award and a red from 2010 which was about half the price, more of an ‘everyday wine’

We got bottles of each to take home, and to give to my Father in Law who really appreciated a good red.

Check out these bottles! Good for a wedding don’t you think?

I didn’t know anything about Portuguese wine but learnt a little here, about the markets and that not much is exported and I did notice that good wine was really good value in the shops. We never spent more than £6 and a lot we bought was around £3-4 and it was all really great.

You should go visit! Or you can buy online – Quinta do Francês

Cauliflower Cheese

October 12, 2011

I have been craving this for weeks, and last weekend I worked a lot, so on Sunday with the wind blowing a gale outside and drizzle coming down so thick it was like fog, I finally got round to making it.

It is more than comfort to me, it’s a dish my Mum used to make a lot for me as a child and so I will always love it.

I found it hard to write my recipe though as I make my roux by eye and don’t measure anything!

How cute is my Emma Bridgewater dish? A present from my Mama!

You need;
1 large white cauliflower
50g flour; use whatever you have, I used a little buckwheat and a little plain but normally I would use wholemeal
50g butter
1-2 pints of milk – depending on how thick you want your sauce
150-200g cheddar – I use the strongest as I can get, you can totally use whatever you like here as well, a little bit of Stilton takes it to a whole other level.
2 tbsp double cream (not important)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1-2 pinch’s of freshly grated nutmeg – to taste
sea salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
Cook the cauliflower in boiling salted water until just tender – 5-6 minutes. Don’t underdo it either – crunchy, al dente cauliflower is not right for this dish.) Drain thoroughly and put into your baking/serving dish.

2. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium-sized pan. Spoon in the flour and stir, do not let it burn. Cook for 4-5 minutes to cook the flour off.
Remove from the heat and gradually beat in the milk, a few spoonfuls at a time at first, then increasing the flow as the sauce thins. Make sure you taste the sauce to check the flour has cooked.
Return to the heat and heat gently for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and creamy.
Keep stirring!

Then add in the cheese, cream, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper and adjust to your taste.

3. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower, sprinkle over some more grated cheese (and breadcrumbs if you have them) and bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbling!

I also grill mine for a further 3 minutes to get those delicious burnt edges.

I even had enough leftover for my lunch the next day.

No Solo Agua Beach Club

October 11, 2011

This is the sister restaurant/beach of the place I blogged yesterday, they are linked but are two separate places.

The beach venue is more of a casual party place I think.

It’s a great beach, very quiet.

Again there is a mix of tables, cabanas and sunloungers.

The menu is pretty much the same, but they also do more snacks and it is all a little more relaxed.

This was where we spent our last day in Portugal, and as I was driving to the airport there were no cocktails for me but I wasn’t left out as they made delicious smoothies here.

There so amazing.


We had to have another Caprese salad!

The chicken satay was amazing.

I loved it here too, burger and fries and smoothies. Delicious!

I had to try another flavour!

One again the club promoter in me so wanted to take it all up again and throw a party here, the dj booth was right in the middle of the tables with a small dance floor; what could me better than a party on the beach? Shall I do it?!

More profiteroles…

It was a great way to spend our last day, although because we were right on the beach with the sea breeze I fully got sunburnt, I was so careful all holiday and then on the last day fried my bottom!

No Solo Agua Club