Tag Archives: food

Trivia Questions for Facetime Trivia Night!

Skype Trivia

If you are sitting at home bored in isolation I highly recommend throwing a virtual trivia night with friends and/or family. This has become the thing we look forward to each week as we wait for life to return to normality and has been so great for lifting the spirits!

If you’re long distance it can also be a great 2-player game to play with your significant otter 😉

Below is a list we came up with of general fact, geography, food, funny, film and tv, and 90’s pub quiz questions – perfect to use for a Facetime or Skype trivia night with friends during lockdown (or anytime!).

You may notice we especially love Big Bang Theory, Harry Potter, Inbetweeners and food! There are also many Canadian and UK-themed questions as we were playing with friends from both places. The great thing is you can find or create questions to suit those playing so feel free to use our quizzes or use some for inspiration in creating your own!

*FaceTime and Skype each allow you to have video with 6 people at a time. WhatsApp allows 4. FaceTime also allows up to 50 people on a call (without video enabled) and has worked really well for us. This is the most fun we’ve had in isolation – it’s been such a good laugh and I hope it will be for you too.

Try it!

TRIVIA QUIZ 1

1. What is used to flavour Earl Grey tea? A: Bergamot
2. Which 2007 Hollywood film (the 3rd in its series) was the most expensive ever made? A: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
3. Which UK food brand has not changed its packaging since 1881? A: Lyle’s (golden syrup)
4. Which country eats the most pizza (per person ratio)? A: Norway
5. The highest grossing painting ever sold was called ‘Salvador Mundi’ – who painted it? A: Picasso
6. Which small black and white mammal known to Africa, Asia and India doesn’t give a damn? A: Honey badger
7. Who is the richest person in the world and what company do they own? A: Jeff Bezos – Amazon
8. Which character was the first to go missing on ‘Stranger Things’? A: Will
9. What was the first team to ever win the FA cup? A: Wanderers
10. What spell does Harry cast on Draco in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince? A: Sectum Sempra
11. What is the highest rated film on IMdB? A: The Godfather
12. What is the most expensive herb to buy? A: Saffron
13. Which country celebrates the ‘Monkey Buffet Festival’ which includes giving fruit and vegetables to the local monkey population? A: Thailand
14. Which country has the highest number of female doctors? A: Finland
15. What is the hottest pepper in the world in Scoville Units? A: The Carolina Reaper
16. How many wives did King Henry the 8th have? A: 6
17. Which Bond actor suited up as a Stormtrooper for the Star Wars film ‘The Force Awakens’? A: Daniel Craig
18. What does the computer tech term ‘CPU’ stand for? A: Central Processing Unit
19. Nanaimo bars – a chocolate, custard and coconut tray bake – are named after Nanaimo in which Canadian province? A: British Colombia
20. What swims 1/8th of an inch per hour? A: Sperm
21. Who wrote Winnie the Pooh? A: A.A. Milne
22. Which famous person has been likened to the North American snack of ‘Cheetos’ and is sometimes referred to as a ‘man baby’? A: Donald Trump
23. What sport has been played on the moon? A: Golf
24. “You go Glen Coco!” is a quote from which teen movie? A: Mean Girls
25. What is the longest running tv series in the world? A: The Simpsons
26. ‘Heroes in a half shell’ is the tagline for what 80s/90s tv series? A: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
27. The French ‘Coq au Vin’ translates to what culinary dish? A: chicken in wine
28. What is the main ingredient in gin? A: Juniper berries
29. What food chain has the most locations globally with 42,998 locations? A: Subway
30. What is the most sexually active nation in the world? A: Greece
31. What is ‘Lord Hereford’s Knob’? A: A mountain (in Wales)
32. Which actress appeared in Love Actually, Pride & Prejudice and The Duchess? A: Kiera Knightley
33. What was the name of Ed Sheeran’s first single released in 2011? A: The A Team
34. Since the 70s what food is generally eaten in Japan on Christmas Day? A: KFC
35. What does the word ‘Brobdingnagian’ mean? A: large, big, enormous etc,.
36. What Inbetweeners character says: ‘I thought it was a fart sir!’ A: Will
37. In which country did the Michelin Star rating system originate? A: France
38. ‘Takeout woman’ could be considered the opposite name of which classic arcade game? A: Pac Man
39. What is the main ingredient in a frittata? A: Eggs
40: Doc Brown is a character from what iconic 80s film? A: Back to the Future

TRIVIA QUIZ 2

1. Who was the first person to swim the English Channel? A: Captain Matthew Webb
2. In what year was the first Harry Potter film released? A: 2001
3. In what country do they hold a tomato food fight in the streets every August? A: Spain
4. What hugely popular 90s toy involved cleaning up virtual poo? A: Tamagotchi
5. George Bailey is the main character of which classic Christmas film released in 1946? A: It’s A Wonderful Life
6. Which pancake-like relative of the shark could be described as a ‘majestic sea flaf flap?’ A: Stingray
7. What is the most common flavour of pie served at Canadian Thanksgiving? A: Pumpkin Pie
8. What is the next word in this line from the 2001 movie Shrek – ‘Please don’t stand on the grass, wipe your shoes, wipe your _______ ?’ A: Face
9. What is the name of the ancient network of trade routes established during the Han Dynasty between 130 BCE and 1453 CE? A: The Silk Road
10. The most expensive commercial ever made was a 2004 commercial featuring Nicole Kidman and cost 33 million. What product was it advertising? A: Perfume (Chanel No. 5)
11. An orchidometer is a medical instrument used to measure what part of the body? A: Testicles
12. What does the tech/photography term JPEG stand for? A: Joint photographic experts group
13. In 2018 which country launched the most vegan products, knocking Germany out of the top spot? A: United Kingdom
15. Which Inbetweeners character tells Will he won’t be known as ‘briefcase mong’ anymore but will be known as ‘The Lion, The Witch and Speccy Kid who Shit Himself.’? A: Jay
16. ‘Tagine’ refers to both a type of stew and a cooking vessel in which country? A: Morocco
17. Who was the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic ocean? A: Amelia Earhart
18. In what city did Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches originate? A: Philadelphia, USA
19. What are the names of 3 of the 5 D-Day beaches? A: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword
20. What is the smallest bird species in the world? A: Hummingbird
21. Which Star Wars character famously shouted ‘It’s A Trap!’? A: Admiral Ackbar
22. Which football player has scored the most goals in the English Premier League? A: Alan Shearer
23. Who was the first president of the United States? A: George Washington
24. Which chocolate confection has the provocative trademarked tagline: ‘Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.’? A: M&M’s
25. In January 2018 one of the many slang words added into the Oxford English Dictionary includes a word which crosses something found in a baby’s diaper with a violent weather event – what is the slang word? A: Poonami
26. What is the only animal in the world where the male gives birth? A: Seahorse
27. The tradition of afternoon tea was introduced by the Duchess of which British place? A: Duchess of Bedford
28. What does Harry Potter say when travelling by floo powder for the first time after Mrs. Weasley instructs him to ‘speak very clearly?’ A: Diagonally
29. The first hot air balloon flight launched from which city? A: Paris, France
30. What was the first animated film ever released by Disney? A: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
31. Who wrote Moby Dick? A: Herman Melville
32. This species of penguin is known for its striking blue eyes and though it is one of the smallest breeds of penguins is known to be the most fearless – basically, who is the Chuck Norris of penguins? A: Adelie
33. Which country exports the most coffee? A: Brazil
34. What movie is the following quote from: ‘I’m sorry I ruined your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR’? A: Elf
35. What are the last names of all 4 of the main male Big Bang Theory characters? A: Raj Koothrapali, Howard Wolowitz, Leonard Hofstadder, Sheldon Cooper
36. What is the name of the region of the North Atlantic where a number of ships and aircraft have disappeared? A: The Bermuda Triangle
37. Finish this Lord of the Rings quote: ‘One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and _______________? A: In the darkness bind them
38. Can you name 1 of the 2 countries in the world where you will NOT find Coca-Cola? A: Cuba, North Korea
39. Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote which famous series of books for kids which features an orphan girl? A: Anne of Green Gables
40. This animal features in a 1953 Christmas song and while its name is derived from the Greek word for ‘river horse’ a more apt description might be ‘angry river cow’ – what animal is it? A: Hippopotamus

TRIVIA QUIZ 3

1. What is the tallest mountain in the UK? A: Ben Nevis
2. Which British politician said “Champagne should be dry, cold and free?” A: Winston Churchill
3. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum in which Indian city? A: Agra
4. Ben & Jerry’s flavour ‘Bourbon Pecan Pie’ can only be purchased in which US state? A: Texas
5. Which ancient civilisation used the symbol of winged penises to ward off sickness? A: The Romans
6. What is the tallest species of penguin? A: Emperor Penguin
7. Which Inbetweeners character says “There is nothing funny about testicles.”? A: Mr. Gilbert
8. In what country was the Lord of the Rings trilogy filmed? A: New Zealand
9. The writer Darles Chickens was born in what UK port city? A: Portsmouth
10. ‘Dhaka’ is known as the ‘city of mosques’ and is the capital city of which country? A: Bangladesh
11. What is the most popular Dominoes pizza topping in both the UK and USA? A: Pepperoni
12. Star Wars character Mace Windu wields a lightsabre of which colour? A: purple
13. Which Big Bang Theory character says “the robot hand got stuck on your what?” A: Leonard
14. What is the name of the deepest place on Earth located in the South Pacific Ocean and measuring 11,000 meters deep? A: The Mariana Trench
15. In what country was the famed Titanic built? *Bonus point for the city* A: Belfast, Ireland
16. What is the deadliest creature to humans killing approximately 725,000 people per year? A: mosquitos
17. Which London Bridge is destroyed by death eaters in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? A: Millennium Bridge
18. Which museum is the most visited in the world with over 8 million visitors per year? A: The Louvre
19. The natural reflex in babies to fan their toes out when the bottom of the foot is stroked is known as what? A: The Babinski Reflex (or Plantar Reflex)
20. What are a group of lions called? A: A pride
21. How many characters does Mike Myers play in the Austin Powers films? A: 4 (Austin, Dr. Evil, Fat B*stard & Goldmemeber)
22. What plant does Harry Potter eat to allow him to breathe under water in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? A: Gillyweed
23. What is the name of the round, colourful cardboard disks which were wildly popular with 90’s kids? A: Pogs
24. Which one-hit-wonder band released the song “Jump Around” in 1989? A: House of Pain
25. In Star Wars Episode 1 Anakin Skywalker is discovered working for Watto as a slave on what planet? A: Tatooine
26. What is the highest-selling chocolate bar in the United Kingdom? A: Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
27. In what country did the legend of the Easter bunny originate? A: Germany
28. Who wrote “To Kill A Mockingbird”? A: Harper Lee
29. ‘Bulgogi’ is a dish of thinly-sliced, marinated stir-fried beef or pork (usually served over rice) which originated in which country? A: Korea
30. This circular, stringed instrument is heard most often in country music; Taylor Swift plays one in the video for her song ‘Mean’ – which instrument is it? A: Banjo
31. What is the name of the South Carolina fort where the first shot of the civil war took place? A: Fort Sumpter
32. What was the first ever flavoured potato chip flavour? A: Barbeque
33. What are the 3 things that don’t impress Shania Twain much (in her 1998 hit ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’)? *1 point for each* A: rocket scientist, Brad Pitt, having a car
34. Which Canadian hockey player legend has scored the most goals ever with 894? A: Wayne Gretzky
35. Which popular beer brand promised and delivered a free beer to every British soldier of WW2 the Christmas of 1939, and was also one of the first brands to introduce employee benefits such as medical, dental, pensions and 2 free beers per week? A: Guinness
36. What does the computer term ‘RAM’ stand for? A: Random Access Memory
37. Ornithology is the study of what? A: Birds
38. What is the name of the popular tourist road in the USA which takes you through small, scenic towns from the state of New Mexico to Missouri? A: Route 66
39. ‘Dump,’ ‘floater’ and ‘wipe’ are techniques used in what team sport? A: Water Polo
40. Which Big Bang Theory character, after being asked what beverage they have served, says “There was a single cube of chicken bouillon in the cupboard when we moved in and it’s been bugging me for 8 years.” A: Sheldon

TRIVIA QUIZ 4

1. What is the busiest holiday for Dominoes pizza delivery? A: New Years Eve
2. ‘Peshwari’ naan is an Indian oven-baked flatbread of what flavour? A: Coconut
3. Which Forrest Gump character says this iconic quote: “Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.” A: ‘Bubba’ (Benjamin Buford Blue)
4. What is the longest bone in the body? A: Femur
5. What is the most popular doughnut flavour in America? A: Glazed
6. Bali is known for its volcanic mountains, Yoga retreats and rice paddies and is actually made up of 3 islands belonging to which country? A: Indonesia
7. The Titanic had 2 sister ships with identical passenger facilities, one of which went on to be used as a troop ship during WW1. What are the names of the two sister ships? A: HMHS Britannic, RMS Olympic
8. Which bounty hunter captures Han Solo in Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back? A: Boba Fett
9. British Swallows migrate to what country for the winter? A: South Africa
10. ‘Spotted dick’ is a British pudding (dessert) made of suet and what? A: Dried fruit
11. ‘Wiarton Willy’ is a famous Canadian mammal – what type of animal is he and what is he famous for? A: Groundhog, his shadow
12. This spice is a type of seed (but can be ground) which originated in Iran and the Mediterranean and is the most-consumed spice in the world – which spice is it? A: Cumin
13. This fortified steel and concrete structure holds a large portion of the U.S.’s gold and sits within a Kentucky army base – what is it called? A: Fort Knox
14. In Harry Potter what is the name of Hagrid’s former pet spider who lives in the Forbidden Forest? A: Aragog
15. Which keyboard letter do you press alongside ‘Ctrl’ to undo an action? A: Letter ‘Z’
16. The U.K. football teams ‘Harts’ and ‘Hibbs’ both come from which Scottish city? A: Edinburgh
17. What is the most popular Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour? A: Cookie Dough
18. Which Disney re-make was the highest grossing movie of 2017? A: Beauty and the Beast
19. What are a group of Ravens called? A: An unkindness
20. What was the name of the woman who began the suffragette movement in Britain, founding the WSPU in 1903? A: Emmeline Pankhurst
21. Teabags were created by accident in 1908 in the United States and were originally made of what material? A: Silk
22. ‘Shrove Tuesday’ is another name for which holiday? A: Pancake Day
23. What spell is used in Harry Potter to disarm an opponent – usually of their wand? A: Expelliarmus
24. What is the full name of the Canadian NHL hockey team for Montreal? A: Montreal Canadiens
25. Black Beauty was written in 1877 by which English author? A: Anna Sewell
26. In 1991 ‘Right Said Fred’ released the hit song ‘I’m Too Sexy’ – name as many things as you can that the singer is ‘too sexy’ for. *1/2 point for each* A: His love, his shirt, Milan, New York, Japan, your party, his car, his hat, this song
27. What is an ampersand? A: The ‘&’ sign
28. Which mythological creature is said to inhabit the Scottish Highlands? A: Lochness Monster
29. What is the highest grossing Broadway musical with a net of over 1.6 billion? A: The Lion King
30. How many calories (under 10) are in 1 gram of alcohol? A: 7
31. This dog breed also refers to a cocktail made with vodka and grapefruit juice – what is it called? A: Greyhound
32. What are the names used to refer to the extra-terrestrial, robotic ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in the Transformers movies? A: Autobots and Decepticons
33. Who led the Scottish army to victory over the English at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314? A: Robert the Bruce
34. A young woman in the 1920’s who behaved and dressed boldly was called what? A: A flapper
35. What is the name of Dustin’s pet from the upside-down in ‘Stranger Things’? A: D’Artagnon (Dart for short)
36. Who painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican? A: Michaelangelo
37. What is the fastest flying bird in the world able to dive at almost 200 miles per hour and can be found on every continent except Antarctica? A: Peregrine Falcon
38. Which Inbetweeners character describes ‘caravaning’ as ‘a sense of shitting in a bucket in a cupboard you don’t get with other holidays’? A: Will
39. This cooking toy which used a lightbulb to cook processed food bought in packets at Toys R Us was lusted after by many a 90s kid – what was it called? A: Easy Bake Oven
40. In her 2012 song Katy Perry ‘has heard it’s beautiful’ and wants to see your what? A: Peacock

How have you all been staying sane? 🙂

 

 

 

The Best Mac & Cheese in London – Mac Factory

46291550_772888363064749_6365101009655562240_n.jpg

Me and my other half are kind of Mac & Cheese fanatics – so much so that on a whim we bought a 16 foot food truck and planned to do it up & serve all different variations of the gooey goodness. Then we realized with two full-time jobs it probably wasn’t the best time just yet.

Until then we just sample as much of the stuff as we can because a great mac & cheese is street food nirvana. And the best bowl we’ve had so far was in the hub of Old Blighty: London.

Camden Market is famous for its street food and if you don’t mind being crushed in a sea of people it is so worth it for the myriad of flavours on offer. You can sample everything from Persian to Greek and everywhere in between – its the perfect place to make food you’ve never heard of into food you can’t live without.

All day and into the evening sweaty chefs in 5×5 foot stalls sling out the most tempting bites to hungry mobs but for me, it was all about the mac.

macfactory2.jpg

Mac Factory is one such stall squeezed between a Venezuelan and an Indian kitchen. Their mac positively oozes; noodles bathe in a saporous, creamy three-cheese sauce with all the heavenly flavour and gooey texture one expects of an extraordinary mac & cheese.

And it gets cheddar and cheddar. How you ask? How could noodles smothered in a lip-smacking cheese sauce get any better? With toppings says I!

Now, I’ll be honest; when I visited I was a recently (mostly) converted vegetarian and I was much more enticed by toppings like pancetta and beef chilli but I unconvincingly opted for the “La Med Babe” (£7) which was topped with sundried tomatoes, mozzarella balls and basil pesto – all things I love but on a mac & cheese? I just couldn’t see it coming together.

But I’m happy to report that I was super duper wrong (just don’t tell my husband). Who knew pesto, tomato and mozzarella were a top-notch pairing with mac & cheese? It was seriously delicious – so delicious I had to fend off my one-and-only as “one bite” turned into “how many bites can I get away with?”

46362147_557134478069768_9103108756383727616_n
Me holding (fending) my La Med Babe Mac

But if you’re not convinced that a Caprese Mac & Cheese is the best thing in the world you can always opt for one of their other delicious options:

Nostalgic – classic 3 cheese mac (£6)
Super Mario – Sauteed mushrooms, garlic & truffle oil (£7)
Posh Spice – Spicy chorizo, harissa & caramelised onion (£7)
Hey Mac-arena – Beef chilli, tortilla chips, sour cream & jalapeno (£8)
Mambo Italiano – Smoked pancetta, mushroom & garlic (£8)

macfactorygooey
Posh Spice Mac & Cheese

If you’re ever in London definitely plan a stop at Camden Market and don’t forget to say “cheese!”

5/5 spoons licked clean

 

The Quirkiest Restaurant in London – Sarastro

sarastro

I’m always on the lookout for the quirkiest and most delicious places to eat so when I read about Sarastro in the heart of London’s theatre district it shot straight to the top of my list.

Perhaps the most unorthodox joint in town it has been kitted out with glittering theatre boxes and West End props and as if that isn’t enough musicians and opera singers serenade you as you eat. Imagine Aladdin’s cave sneezed all over Harry Potter’s Night Bus and that’s pretty much Sarastro.

59636643_10157183303789328_5794091691837227008_o

We happened to be in London on my birthday and as I had been dying to go for months we made a last-minute reservation. They generally take reservations for around 7:30pm as they want you to be able to experience the live performances which take place Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings starting around 8pm.

We arrived a bit early and were seated comfortably in what felt like a fireplace.

59436034_10157183303999328_2077119877394464768_o 59478846_10157183304024328_3596358507021991936_o.jpg

The food is ‘broadly Mediterranean’ with a Turkish flair and can be ordered from a set menu or the regular menu. We chose to order from the regular menu which has everything from mezze to steak – having never had Borek (£6.49) but loving both flaky phyllo pastry and cheese we started with these and were not one bit disappointed with these stars of the show. Where have they been all my life?

My only complaint was that I could have eaten a dozen of them. Before we could snap a picture we’d inhaled the warm parcels and hollowed out every drop of the tahini-yogurt dip which accompanied them.

The wine we chose was also a perfect fit – not at all bitter and with a sweet note left on the tongue. We’d order the same next time (£31/bottle).

59495385_10157183303729328_4322917259535187968_o

As I’m a hopeful vegetarian (I do sneak a bite in here and there) I ordered the tortellini in a creamy basil sauce (£14.95) plus a Mediterranean salad (£5.95) and my other half ordered the Mediterranean chicken skewers (£18.45).

59519249_10157183303664328_1441730309774114816_o

I was feeling a bit hesitant about my choice to order what seemed an Italian-inspired dish in a Turkish restaurant but was very pleasantly surprised. The sauce was full of creamy, zesty flavour and the pasta cooked perfectly. It really was delectable.

While my man’s main didn’t look like much when it arrived he said it was the best kebab he’s ever had. The chicken was expertly tender and flavourful, served with a side of potatoes gratin and Mediterranean salad. Personally I think it could do with a sauce but my OH had no complaints.

59613558_10157183303804328_7487833966527905792_o.jpg

For dessert I ordered the Pumpkin Mousse but would have traded it in for the blissful Apple Tarte Tatin (£9.95) which my man chose.

I have fond memories of eating apple blossoms at fall fairs in Canada (on the years I could get one before they sold out) and this had all the same sweet cinnamon flavours and the perfect pairings of warm, velvety apple and crisp, airy pastry. As two people who live to eat my man declared it the best thing he’s ever eaten and I have to say it is up there for me as well.

59595885_10157183303944328_7372641852727492608_o.jpg

And the dessert on top of the dessert was the music. I’m not usually one for classical but the musicians were so engaging and funny and their music absolutely suited the place. Once they’d finished we were serenaded by two opera singers and the whole evening was unusual in the most magical of ways.

Music at Sarastro – Youtube

The art choices in the bathrooms also offered an interesting talking point – make sure to visit the loo before you go. No wonder my husband kept visiting the little boys room!

60034127_10157183303924328_4728680601152913408_o

It is a rare thing for the food to live up to a place with such an atmosphere but Sarastro had it all – for an unforgettable experience in London take a stroll up Drury Lane and book yourself a box at “the show after the show.”

5/5 final curtains

*Be aware that a gratuity charge of 12.5% is automatically added to your bill.

What’s your favourite place to grab grub in London?

A Bite of Blighty: Welsh Cakes

BiteOfBlightyWelshCakes.jpg

Moving to Wales these past two years has opened us up to a whole new array of British foods. As we are moving back to England in less than a month’s time I thought it was time to finally write this long-overdue post as a bitter-sweet farewell to the sprawling, green hills I’ve come to know as Wales.

welscakes1.jpg

A Bit of History

Welsh cakes are heralded in Wales as being an old tradition, however upon some research these mildly sweet, floury little patties seem a fairly recent culinary practice. The first mention of these cakes in the literature wasn’t until 1932.

It is widely understood that the Welsh cake originated in Wales, however some claim that it was invented by Welsh pioneers in Argentina escaping British rule in the latter 1800s. They have also gone by the names “cage bach” and “Welsh miner cakes.”

Wherever they originated, we do know that during the 1900s these sweet, round desserts made their way into the pockets of hungry schoolchildren and miners alike. They were a cost-effective treat comprised of ingredients easily found in the Welsh pantry: flour, sugar, milk and butter.

They are cooked on a griddle and usually come plain or with raisins, but today come in a variety of flavours.

My Thoughts

The first time I tried these floury desserts was at Cardiff Bay from a little shop called “Fabulous Welshcakes.” These are still the best Welsh cakes I’ve had anywhere, as they are griddled fresh in the store everyday and come in daily-changing flavours such as: maple, chocolate chip, white chip & cranberry, orange & vanilla and many more. Typically they carry 4 flavours per day.

welshcakes2.jpg

While they are unlike any other dessert the closest thing I can compare their texture to is a shortbread cookie crossed with a scone. They are a little bit sweet (comparably less sweet than most North American desserts) and fall apart in your mouth. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg add a lovely hint of christmas-cookie type flavour and they can be enjoyed warm or cold.

Overall these are a lovely, mild-tasting dessert perfect for snacking on as you walk along the coast… or to tide you over after your graduation ceremony!

welshcales3.jpg

Perfect if you want something a bit sweet but not sickly. A Welsh win!

 

The Maple Leaf, London

mapleleaf.jpg

When I heard that there was a Canadian pub in the heart of London I knew it was something I just couldn’t pass up. The Maple Leaf is located in the Covent Garden area  one door down from the oldest restaurant in London (Rules Restaurant).

It is bedecked with stereotypical Canadian things: hockey jerseys, baseball memorabilia and of course, maple leaves. You can also always find a Canadian or two with a brew in hand (that is a beer in Cannuck speak, not a tea).

mapleleaf2

They serve your typical North American pub grub: burgers, steaks, hot dogs, ribs and wings but I had my heart set one one thing. Poutine! Glorious chips with cheese curds smothered in gravy.

l3

The poutine was good and reminded me of home. Poutine fanatics will be pleased to know they use the traditional cheese curd and not just shredded cheese. My only complaint was that I could have eaten two bowls. To be fair the portion in the photo below is half eaten as I inhaled half before I thought to stop and take a photo.

l5

It’s £6.49 for a bowl of classic Poutine, but you can change things up by ordering one of their more unorthodox combinations such as the “Hot & Spicy” (topped with chilli beef and hot chilli sauce) or their “British Poutine” (topped with chicken and pulled pork in a BBQ and peppercorn sauce) among others. (£7.99)

My man  had the hot & spicy poutine with a starter of wings (£4.99) which were good but haven’t knocked our favourite Florida wing spot out of first place. Overall, I would definitely go back for the friendly atmosphere and a bowl of cheesy gooiness.

4/5 maple leaves.

Expat Life Lately: Gorgeous Yorkshire, New Novel and I’m Going “Home” :)

Two weekends ago we had a weekend staycation in Yorkshire. I have been dying to see the place since I moved over a year ago, not only because it looks storybook beautiful, but also because I feel a familial attachment to the place since the Wilson’s I’ve descended from originated there.

At the top of my list of places to see were the Bempton Cliffs and they did not disappoint. Photos honestly can’t do this coast justice. If you ever get the chance, go!

bemptoncliffs

We were also lucky enough that we were just in time to see the last of the Puffins before they migrate in mid July. Puffins are tiny and geisha-like around the eyes, with orange webbed feet and beaks. They look quite funny when they fly, as being water birds, they aren’t all that suited to flying. As you can’t make them out in any of my own photos I’ll include an internet photo below.

puffins

We walked out onto the three platforms and along the Bempton Conservation area paths, and then ventured further on, to the more wild part of the cliffs. It was there we found the most serene spot atop an impending bit of cliff, and we sat there in the grass a while marveling at the sea and the cliffs and at how wonderful it was to be there together.

bemptoncliffstogether

After our fill of salt air we drove onto York where we spent the night. York is a gorgeous cathedral city, filled with offbeat bustling side streets and vendors in market squares. It’s absolutely buzzing with life, from young hippie’s to decked-out Ghost Walk actors to blissfully drunk bachelorette’s; even the leaning old buildings look like they’ve had a few.

yorkminster

I was so excited when I stumbled upon The Shambles; a street which has survived since the fourteenth century. I was mainly entranced because it was apparently J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley, and as soon as you see it, you can see why.

theshambles

While it was once a street of butcher’s shops and the original hooks still adorn the buildings, it is now a tourist spot filled with knick-knack shops, tea parlours and candy stores. My favourite shop on Diagon Alley was the one with free potion… I mean, tea samples. Accio teacup!

hebdentea

I had to take home some Berry Beauty as it was too delicious to pass up.

We also visited the famous Betty’s tearoom. I love that the wait staff look straight out of Downton Abbey (they even sound like them!) and it definitely felt like a fancy experience. I have to say the afternoon tea just couldn’t measure up to the lovely tea shop right here in town (I love a really moist scone) but my man’s Swiss breakfast was out of this world. He said it was the best breakfast he’s ever had and having had a bite or two… or three, I have to say he wasn’t lying! That potato rosti was a revelation.

swiss breakfast

The queue when we left curled around the block! Popular place.

bettys

We spent the rest of the day walking the old stone walls of the Roman fortress that surrounds York and then popped into the sunny garden at Grey’s Court Hotel for a drink and some Italian aperitivo. I was astounded at how lavish this hotel and restaurant was (we were totally NOT dressed for it :p).

yorkwall yorkwall2

greyscourt

greyscourt2 greyscourt3

This little getaway concluded Josh’s 3 weeks of holidays which meant he stayed in Yorkshire where he’s working at the moment and I caught a very delayed train back to our home. It’s definitely been hard going back to only seeing each-other at weekends, but at least we are no longer oceans apart.

We spent this past weekend eating good food, chilling together and going to a friend’s birthday. It was our last one before I head off to Canada for the better part of August. I’m gutted my sweetheart can’t come but work calls. He told me to make sure I come back 🙂 I told him that my home is wherever he is. I’m seriously going to miss him.

He also mentioned the other night that while he was away with work he was listening to my old singing videos on Youtube which I thought was the sweetest thing ever. Even after three years together he amazes me all the time. He’s still so proud of me and so constantly loving and I absolutely adore him for it. I wish every man could be like him. There aren’t words for how much I love him.

And, if I’ve been a little MIA recently it’s because I’ve just started writing the sequel to The Long Distance Diaries! I know, I still have to go about properly trying to get the first book published but I figure now that I’m off work on school holidays and bored out of my noggin I may as well take advantage of the opportunity to write.

Annnd when I come back from my Canada trip we will both be moving to Wales as that’s where his work will be based for the next couple of years and I’ll be going to Uni there to become a teacher. We will be living together and going home to each-other every night for the first time ever and I can’t wait :).

Cheerio old chaps!

 

 

Expat Life Lately: Home Decor and New Recipes

The past couple of weekends have been quiet as I’m still feeling under the weather. Friday night my sweetheart picked me up from work as usual only this time I showed him around the school and he helped us change our displays for next term. We built a big airplane together out of cardboard for the kids to sit in. It was really nice having him there to help out :).

We spent Saturday doing a bit of shopping in Cambridge and brought home these lovely couch cushions. I am in love with the duck wearing Wellingtons pillow as it looks so quintessentially British. Like the embodiment of a Beatrix Potter story.

pillows
£14.99 Dunelm.

I also thought this ornate beaded pillow was really beautiful. Although if you fall asleep on it you get the beaded pattern pressed into your cheek.

pillows2
£14.99 Next

This weekend I also tried my hand at baking scones for the first time. I realized after adding all the ingredients that the person who gave me the recipe (who makes the best scones ever) must have forgotten an ingredient or two in the directions as there were no liquids to make the floury mixture into a dough. I improvised and added in some milk but they aren’t nearly as good as I was hoping. I shall try them again soon.

scones3

I did have some culinary success this weekend however. My man and I decided to cook a big roast dinner on holiday Monday and I thought I would try and make Spaetzle. It’s a German dumpling/noodle that a good German friend of mine used to cook when I was little and I loved them. And it turned out fab; just as I remember. It goes wonderfully topped with gravy alongside a nice roast.

spaetzle

My other half insisted on having some Kraft stuffing with it (I’m now down to one lonely box!). I’ll have to see if some of my lovely friends and family back home will send me some more from Canada.

We picked up some strawberry plants and some flowers for our hanging basket but the weather has been dreadfully gloomy so haven’t been out in the garden this weekend. I hope we will get a few sunkissed, lemonade-filled summery days soon so I can get back out there in the dirt!

I did however pick these lovely buttercups from the lawn before my sweetheart started mowing last weekend. I’ve always loved buttercups.

buttercups

“A flower is a weed seen through joyful eyes”
-Jonathan Lockwood Huie

What’s been your biggest cuisine-related success as of late? Or food disaster?

Cheers!

Expat Life Lately: Sisterhood of the Travelling Trousers

Life lately has been wonderful 🙂

Even after 9 months (where does the time go???) the beauty of England isn’t lost on me.

I spend many quiet moments by our bedroom window in the dark watching a peacockish sun wax and wane it’s wings in the sky. Sometimes I see it peek over the flat green pastures, setting the unending creek ablaze in luminous oranges and pinks, from the top of a double decker. Flashy pheasants peck away in the black soil of abandoned corn fields near winding country roads. Sometimes I count them on my way to work. The other day I counted seven.

I’m not saying I always see things through rose-coloured glasses (just last week I had to wait in the cold at the bus stop for 2 hours because a bus broke down making me hopelessly late for work). I find England can be a very stressful place and the most irritating thing is that it doesn’t have to be. But I do so enjoy the little things.

Nature, good food, being with my other half.

And I often still think, is this really my life? Am I really here?

We had a very relaxing, lazy weekend together playing video games, picking out more paint for the home, watching movies and shows (Hello Big Bang Theory now on Netflix!), snuggling and hanging out with one of Josh’s good friends. I miss him like crazy through the week, but the weekends come quickly now that I’m so busy. Unfortunately the weekends pass just as quickly!

Today was a bit of a stressful day at work, but alas, I unexpectedly found a pair of flared yoga pants… err trousers… as I was waiting for the bus tonight! Get in! I have been looking for a pair of plain, black, stretchy flared leg pants for the past 9 months. All that they sell in the UK is skinny fit, skinny fit orrrrrr if you like something different -TOO BAD!-skinny fit!

I have been wearing the most worn-out, stained, stretched-out, holey pair of well-travelled Walmart yoga trousers (that my man is not particularly fond of) since I arrived because I refuse to go skinny (unless we’re talking dipping). Having given up on ever finding a pair here I was on the cusp of begging dad to buy a pair at Walmart and ship them when *cue music* there they were! In a store I stopped in mainly to warm up for a few minutes.

Usually my UK shopping trips end in frustration but tonight I found one thing after another that I’ve been meaning to get, and these were the cherry on top.

This must seem insanely trivial, but to me I struck gold today. It really is the little things sometimes :). I also saw a purple flower that my grandpa always used to have in his garden back home, bought it, and planted it tonight. There’s something about digging in the dirt with a spade that feeds your soul.

salad
Contrary to popular belief good food can be found (or made) even in England! Last night’s Caprese salad with balsalmic vinegar we bought at the Campo Dei Fiori market in Rome.
flower3.5
Digging in the garden and planting a little bit of home…
us4
And most importantly, spending time with the boy that makes everyday the best day of my life. 🙂

Is there an item that you’ve ever been really happy to find while abroad?

British words of the day:

Doing my head in: really annoying me

No skin off their nose: It shouldn’t make any difference to them

In a pickle: In a predicament

In a muddle: confused

Kip: nap

Buckshee: playing hooky, free of charge , easy               ie; “Sounds like it could be quite a                                                                                                                                    buckshee week at work!”

Truancy: the action of playing hooky

Bubbledogs, London

bub2

When I heard there was a London restaurant specializing in the unorthodox pairing of hot dogs and champagne I just had to give it a try. Especially because I had my father visiting who is a self-professed hot dog addict.

Bubbledogs is a short 2-3 minute walk from Goodge St. station in an area of London that is a culinary mecca. Sprouting with busy gastro pubs, cafes and deli’s, this is the place to find good eats in London.

Bubbledogs is a small hot-dog bar, and if you want a proper table you must make a reservation, otherwise you can pull up a stool at the bar or counter.

bub6

bub7

Dad ordered the “Fourth of July” dog (left) which has as it’s topping spicy BBQ sauce, slaw and crispy bacon (7£). I had the “Mac Daddy” which had mac n cheese, crispy onions and bacon bits (8£).

bub

I really expected more from an 8£ hot dog. The dog itself didn’t have a good, meaty texture; it was soft and reminded me of the cheaper brand hot dogs you might buy in a pack of 12 at the store, not those nice firm, sausage-style dogs you get at a good hot dog stand. The flavour of the dog tasted mildly of jalapenos. The mac and cheese was also disappointing. I absolutely adore a creamy, homemade mac n cheese but this one tasted like an artificial orange sauce. My dog’s one redeeming quality was the crispy onions.

Dad enjoyed his Fourth of July dog though we both felt that the price was steep.

The sweet potato fries were lovely; crispy and the perfect balance of sweet and salty (3.50£). And the Champagne, though overpriced, was bubbly and sweet and surprisingly, went wonderfully with hot dogs! (8£ each)

Overall verdict: I love that this place is doing something completely creative with food and atmosphere and I’m glad that we stopped in to experience something out of the ordinary. However, the price and the quality of food won’t have me running back for more.

Rated: 3/5

Next time I’m in London, I think I’ll be checking out the Sal Capone Italian cafe which is right near the entrance of Goodge St station. Their pasta and pizzas looked fantastic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Review: Royal Exchange Tea Parlour (March)

My dad and I recently paid a visit to the Royal Exchange Tea Parlour in March, Cambridgeshire and were very impressed with their extensive tea menu and lush homemade scones and cakes.

They have more than 50 different loose leaf teas on the menu from the traditional Breakfast Blend to chocolate tea to exotic fruity blends. They each come in a modern teapot with timer so that each tea steeps for the optimum amount of time.

REtea

I had my first-ever Afternoon Tea and it was lovely. For 12.95 per person you get a pot of tea each, selection of finger sandwiches, scones and a slice of cake brought out on a tiered stand. The price is right considering a “cheap to mid range” afternoon tea in London can cost 30£ each and up.

REtea2edit

The choice of sandwiches are: egg mayo, tuna, cheddar and ham. If you go for the Sparkling Afternoon tea option (27.50 for 2) you get a flute of Champagne and extra sandwich choices.

REtea3

The sandwiches were tasty and the homemade warm scones were absolutely the best I have ever had, smothered in clotted cream and choice of preserve. Having tried all of the cakes I have to recommend the rich, moist homemade chocolate cake though the carrot is a close second favourite.

I have also been by on occasion for the classic cream tea which is 4.25£ for a pot of tea and scone with clotted cream and preserve.

It is worth a trip to the little Fenland town of March, Cambridgeshire for these decadent scones and an exquisite cuppa tea.

Rated: 5/5