Five on Friday!

Its been a funny week here on The Glade and, I for one,  am so ready for the weekend.

My Five on Friday seem to  mostly reflect my need for comfort this week.

It is definitely chiller and darker around here now.

Here are five things that have irked and pleased me in equal measures this week.

One

image

The leaves have started to fall off the trees around the Chapel this week.

It looks so autumn and pretty.

For those of you who don’t know, the Chapel is opposite our house and is supposed to be our community centre.

However, we have lived in the house for 16 months now and not a tap of work has been done on it by the builders.

It remains boarded up and deemed unsafe.

This is very disappointing because the Chapel was a part of the deal when we bought our houses..

We were all sold the idea that the residents on this development would have exclusive use of the Chapel.

Alas, we remain locked out – it really is a poor show by the builders.

Two

image

The spiders have been busy all over The Glade this week.

These spectacular webs have appeared all over the place, don’t you think it looks very Halloween like?

Three

image

We have had slow cooker dinners almost every night this week.

It is such a great way to cook, throw everything in and come home to a lovely hot dinner.

I do tons of things in my slow cooker from lasagna to crumbles to mulled wine.

In fact, although I already have two, I invested in another this week. I am sure I will get lots of use out of all three.

The recipe for the sausage casserole that is cooking in the picture came from Lucy BakingQueen74‘s blog.

Honestly, if you are looking for inspiration, pop over to visit her, she is fab!

Four

image

I have been burning this candle all week.

It is gorgeous and does smell very summery. It is as good as my usual expensive brand.

However, this little beauty only cost £1.49 – an absolute bargain!

Five

image

When we were taking Jack for a run yesterday, we were rewarded by this magnificent sunset.

Isn’t it a beauty?

image

image

Thank you to Amy & Stevie for hosting xx

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

When in Rome………or Spain!

One of my favourite things to do on holiday is to go food shopping.

Three out of four of our contingent is vegetarian, so with the best will in the world, some meals have to be self catered.

Vegetarians get a raw deal in the UK, however we always come home from our holidays grateful that at least most places here have a vegetarian option.

image

During our recent trip to Spain, we found a particularly lovely Carrefore supermarket.

It was clean and airy with a vast range of everything we could possibly need. It was easy to navigate and even the girls didn’t mind visiting.

There was an abundance of choice of everything that we could possibly want to eat.

image

We were particularly taken with the produce section.Just look at those tomatoes and aubergines – wonderful!

image

As you would expect, the Tapas section was huge.

image

We enjoyed the feasts we created from our finds!

imageOne of my many guilty pleasures is crisps and we all giggled when we saw this packet with my name on ha!

Am I alone in this slight obsession with foreign supermarkets  because don’t every get me started on Publix in America, my favorite ever!

image

Have a lovely day!

 

Casa Italia – Liverpool!

Recently, the little Miss caught the bus from school and met me for dinner in Liverpool. Given that Italian food is her favourite, we decided to introduce her to Casa Italia.

imageMy first ‘proper’ job was in Liverpool City Centre and Casa Italia was always a favourite haunt of myself and my friends. However, we hadn’t been there for years and so were  interested to see whether it had changed because the ‘Casa’ was always an experience……

image

The restaurant is nestled in Stanley Street just off Matthew Street where The Cavern Club was once situated. It was always very busy!

We had not booked and so were lucky to be shown to an empty table. It was still very busy! Ah! how reassuring it was to recognise the familiar decor and table cloths. Equally, the atmosphere was the same, we could hear the same excited buzz of conversation intermingled with peals of laughter and felt, the happy vibes of an early Friday evening,  always a hallmark of the ‘Casa’.

Nevertheless, this is not the experience that I mentioned earlier, no the experience for years at the ‘Casa’ was the style of service literally dished out.

The waiters offered a surly, dump your plate on the table, style of service in a very functional way. They made no secret of their objective to seat you, serve you, get rid of you. It hasn’t changed. I think I even recognised some of the waiters.

If you know this and can appreciate it, it can be very amusing watching them in action.

imageClearly then it is not the service that brings the customers through the doors in their droves, so it must be the food!  The food was always good, freshly cooked, no-nonsense Italian fayre and, I am delighted to report that it hasn’t changed in the slightest.

We started with Garlic Bread and cheese , now of course called Foccacia. However, that is the only difference, it was as gorgeous and cheesy as always and, dumped on the table in front of us ha!

 

It doesn’t matter what you order, it is always served pipping hot, fresh from the oven and tasting delicious!

imageI enjoyed Penne Genovese, himself the Tortellini Italiana and the little Miss, Penne Arribata. It was all lovely and the portions plentiful, myself and the littlest didn’t finish. Therefore, I am unable to report on the Tiramisu, but it did look good. Of course we were quickly bundled out as soon as we had finished ha!

To conclude, I am delighted to report that the service at the ‘Casa Italia’ remains as robust as ever. Customer care is still not a priority for the management but good, nutritious food is.

Therefore, if you can take the service with a pinch of salt, the food at the ‘Casa’ is still fabulous and definitely worth a visit!

 

Have a lovely day!

 

 

 

 

Tea bread

image

 

When I was baking for the party last week, I decided quite late on that I wanted to make a fruit cake or two  for the adults, although that said, Miss Glade loves a slice herself!

I confess that I usually throw the ingredients in, mix and bake, it mostly turns out ok. This time I measured everything because I knew I would want to share it.

Orange marmalade is included in my tea bread recipe because it makes it so lovely and moist. I copied the idea from a fruit cake recipe that was printed in a book about The Archers that I was given a long time ago. I always include it now and I think it makes a real difference.

This cake will keep for days in an airtight container, given half a chance!

Ingredients

250g dried fruit

1/4 litre of strong cold tea

225g self raising flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon mixed spice

75g granulated sugar

2 table spoons of orange marmalade

Method 

1. Soak the fruit in the tea until most of the liquid has been absorbed. I find overnight is best.

2. Pre heat oven to 170ºC and line a 2lb loaf tin.

3. Add flour, baking powder, mixed spice, sugar and marmalade to the cold tea and fruit.

4. Mix until it is all well combined.

5. Pour it all into the tin and bake for about 1hr but keep checking after about 50 minutes. It’s ready when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

6. Enjoy!

 

I am linking this post to Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesday on a Wednesday because that is how I sometimes roll ha!

 

image

 

Have a lovely day!

 

 

 

 

Hanover Street Social

I wrote on Saturday about having restaurant reservations with friends at somewhere I had been wanting to try for a while, it was here at Hanover Street Social.

image

It is based in the centre of Liverpool City Centre. From the outside it looks very unassuming. Those three sets of windows constitute the outside view.

imageWhen we arrived late on Saturday afternoon the restaurant was full and had a great atmosphere. We had to wait at the bar for our table and it took a while to get a picture without catching too many people in it.

There were Gins and Bellini’s of every flavour on offer. The bartenders looked to be experts and they were all beautifully prepared. My friend order a Gin and Tonic which was served with cloves floating on the top, she really enjoyed it.

image

 

We were there in time to order from the LunchTime Menu. It offers two courses for £10.95. This is the Chicken dish with a seed mustard sauce that himself ordered. He enjoyed it but it seems to have been served with sweet potatoes as opposed to the daphanoise potatoes that it was advertised with.

imageOur friend A chose the steak which was served with a dressed rocket salad. We didn’t see the French fries as advertised and, they were not mentioned by the waitress.

He said he enjoyed it too,  both him and himself didn’t indulge in too much conversation until they had finished ha!

imageDisappointingly, there was only one vegetarian choice on offer so, the remaining three of us ordered the Gnocchi with  roasted pepper and tomato sauce, with herbed creme fraiche. When it arrived, it was only warm but I think that might have been the creme fraiche cooling it down.

It was delicious and the sauce was very tangy but not sour, as can sometimes be the case with tomatoes. It tasted like fresh ingredients had been used and I could certainly taste the peppers.

However,  the portions were small and we were very hungry. I forgot to get pictures of the cheesecake that I ordered for desert or the ice cream chosen by the youngest. Nevertheless, my cheesecake was delicious and had a very strong lemon flavour but not zingy which is how I like lemon deserts. Again, it was a very small serving.

I enjoyed the meal, but was left feeling a bit disappointed. The atmosphere was great. The service was pleasant but my  friend was deprived of her second gin because the menu was never brought to her as she had requested. This too was disappointing.

imageThe people watching from our table, we were in a window seat, was very entertaining, these chaps caused particular amusement.

However, as soon as we got home, himself popped out and brought us a takeaway back. We were starving! There are so many fabulous places to eat in Liverpool City Centre, we probably won’t rush to return.

image

 Have a lovely day!

 

Broccoli, Cauliflower and Pasta Bake!

image
This dish came about completely out of necessity and I am so delighted with it, that I might actually plan to make it again and shop for the ingredients next time.  As always you can swap and change the vegetable element to your heart’s content.

I put recipes on here in the hope that my daughter, who is at university, might be inspired and have a go. It has worked on occasion. This is a perfect one for you to try Ms Glade X.

It can be made in advance and popped into the oven whenever your ready!

 

Ingredients

1 head of Broccoli cut into spears

1 head of Cauliflower cut into florets

500g Pasta cooked in accordance to the instructions of the packet

2 sliced of Bread cut into breadcrumbs

50g Extra Mature Cheese grated

White Sauce

50g Butter

50g Plain Flour

900ml Milk

Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Method

1. Cook the Cauliflower and Broccoli in a steamer or boil until al dente.

2. Add the cooked vegetables and cooked pasta to a large oven proof dish.

3. To make the white sauce, add all the ingredients together in one pan.

4. Put the pan on a medium heat and stir continually until it boils and thickens.

5. Pour the white sauce over the top of the vegetable mixture in the dish.

6. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese on top of the dish.

7. Cook in an oven preheated to 200 degrees for about 30 minutes until the top is browned and crispy.

8. Serve with garlic bread and salad.

Enjoy!

image

image

 

Have a lovely day!

 

Picnic Food – Cheese and Onion Pasties!

image

 

Now given that I am always going on about picnics, I thought I would share with you the sort of food I sometimes make for a picnic.

Himself and the youngest both take sandwiches for lunch each day, so at the weekends I like add a bit of variation to their diet if possible. These pasties are ideal for picnics and are very filling.

You can also vary the fillings, I added ham to himself’s and made it a different shape so I knew which was which 😉.

I am not really sure what has happened to this photograph, the pasty looks burned but it wasn’t.  I have included the recipe for pastry but of course you could buy it ready made.

Ingredients

Pastry

225g plain flour

100g butter

Pinch of salt

Approximately 30ml cold water

Or a packet of ready made pastry

1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of milk to make an egg wash

Filling

1 glug of olive oil

1 white onion

1 sprig of thyme (optional)

Pinch of white pepper

150g  cheddar cheese grated (I used 50g smoked cheddar because I had some left over)

Ham (optional – quantity to your taste)

Method

1. Make the pastry first by either popping all the dry ingredients in a food processor.

image

2. Pulse until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.

image

3. Then add the water a little at a time until it comes together.

image

4. Place it in cling film in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Don’t miss this stage out because it will be much easier to work with if chilled.

5. While it’s chilling, you can prepare the filling. Sauté the onions, adding thyme if using and white pepper,  until they go translucent but then carry on until the liquid around them has dried up. Leave to cool.

image

6. Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees.

7. After 30 minutes, assemble the pasties by rolling out the pastry. I use a cereal bowl to cut out the circles.

8. Add onion, cheese and ham (if using ) to one side of the circle.

9. Use the egg wash around the outside of the circle, then fold the pastry over to make a half circle. Use a fork to press around the matching edges to seal the pasty and cover the outside with the egg wash.

10. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up and bake for about 20 minutes until browned.

Enjoy!

image image

 

Have a lovely day!