Glynn Purnell's Duck with Spiced Plum Jam

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Did you all have a wonderful Christmas? Happy (almost) New Year too  can you believe that's almost 2015 done? It's just flown by.

I love a challenge so when Stoves asked if I wanted to recreate a chef's recipe from their website I spent ages perusing it for something luxurious which would work for a special NYE dinner party. The dish I ended up choosing was this duck and spiced plum jam recipe by Glynn Purnell. I always think of duck as a real luxury as I rarely cook it at home so it's perfect for a New Years treat. This dish was really easy to pull together and looked super special on the plate. The original recipe can be seen here.

Glynn Purnell's duck with spiced plum jam and watercress
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The mighty BTA sandwich.

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My third breakfast related post on the trot. You'll see now that the only time I successfully navigate breakfast is when I'm not in a rush. We've covered holiday breakfast and attempts at being organised on busy weekdays. So here, to finish the hat-trick is weekend breakfasting at its finest.

My twist on the BLT – the BTA - Bacon, tomato and avocado. The perfect sandwich for a lazy weekend breakfast treat. Make this, or even better, get someone else to make it, and take it back to bed with a cuppa and a paper. It’ll only take ten minutes and really couldn’t be simpler. Sometimes I’ll make it with bagels but it works really well on seeded bread too. I love sourdough as it soaks up the tomato juice without getting soggy.

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Overnight Soaked Oats - honey, banana, mixed berries & other lovely things.

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I'm useless in the mornings. Really useless. My alarm goes off 30 minutes before I need to be out of bed so that I can get the maximum snooze time in. Once the dark mornings set in, it all gets much worse, and to be honest, there are only two reasons I'd ever choose to get out of bed before day light - 1) because I'm going on holiday (and need to get to the airport) and 2) because I need to get to the airport (because I'm going on holiday). 

As you can imagine, my struggle to get out of bed in the mornings has a real impact on my ability to eat breakfast. Over the years I've tried all sorts, porridge, toast wrapped in tin foil to scoff in the car, breakfast biscuits, cereal bars.. nothing has really stuck. In fact, I often don't eat before 12-1pm in the afternoon. Bad Gingey. So, my new years resolution will be to EAT BREAKFAST! 

Perhaps overnight soaked oats are the answer to my breakfast woes in 2016! 

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Review: Blumencafé, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

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I'm terrible at eating breakfast.

Actually - let me correct that.  I'm terrible at eating breakfast most of the time. I'd rather stay in bed for that extra half an hour. I know it's bad but I'm 31 years old and I doubt I'll change a habit of a life time now!

There is one exception to all of this. Holiday breakfasting. 

A lazy, luxurious breakfast/ brunch is perfect for whiling away some time, planning adventures and just relaxing whilst you can. On our recent (and much documented) trip to Berlin, we found a great brunch spot which ticked all those boxes. And, bonus, it was just down the road from where we were staying in the rather wonderful district of Prenzlauer Berg. 

Omelette and bread roll at Blumencafe in Berlin
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Beef Taquitos & Chunky Avocado Salsa

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Who says Christmas is all about turkey & stuffing? Let's heat things up!

The lovely folk behind Mextrade UK have sent me some of their products to try. They are specialists in importing Mexican food stuffs to the UK and supply lots of Mexican restaurants here, including Wahaca. The good news for us is that you can also buy their products online and in some Mexican delis around the country.

ingredients for beef taquitos with La Costena sauces
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Homemade Mat Kimchi - 김치

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My other half used to live and teach in South Korea - one of the reasons I've been eating this cuisine more than I used to. I've always loved Asian food anyway but just recently dishes like bibimbap, kimbap and kimchi are right at the top of my list! 

We decided to try and make proper kimchi (김치), having tried some suspect examples over the last few months; notably a 'vegan' kimchi at the Sneinton vegetarian market which was essentially vinegar and white cabbage in a jar. True tradition dictates that the kimchi be made by an Ajuma and buried in the ground in a clay pot so it was never going to be totally authentic but we grabbed the bits we needed from a Korean supermarket in Beeston and got started.

Home made Mat Kimchi
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Review: Spreegold, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

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Have you ever walked into a place and just fallen in love with it? I want to take a giant forklift truck to Berlin and lift Spreegold from it’s corner on Schonhauser Allee & Stargarder Strasse in Prenzlauer Berg and drop it right down on my doorstep.

beef burger with pumpkin, fries and a beer
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Review: Pieminister, Stokes Croft, Bristol

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Have you heard of Pieminster? If not, where have you been?  This brand of what are essentially 'pie and mash’ shops with a large sprinkling of cool urban styling, is something of an institution in it’s homeland of Bristol.

Pieminister has restaurants and cafes in several locations around the UK but nothing in the Midlands. However,  I'm happy to report that the rumours that they are coming to Nottingham are all true. Set to open early next year, this is music to my hungry ears!  My other half is Bristolian, now living in Nottingham (another excellent export) and on our last trip down there, we made a lunch stop at the original Stokes Croft restaurant.

Pieminister in Stokes Croft
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