So long farewell

I’m sure everyone has noticed that we’ve been pretty absent around these parts lately. The fact that there’s been no new post since 25th June will tell you that. Sorry for that, but the pair of us were feeling a little bit lost when it came to writing here. Along with CBE we both also have individual lifestyle blogs which meant that we were running three blogs between us and it just wasn’t working. Something had to change. So we decided to take a step back for a couple of weeks and soon realised what we wanted to do, and since then we’ve been making it happen. 
So what have we been doing I hear you ask? Well we’ve been creating a whole new blogging space that will combine our previous three blogs, including this one. This and That is now live so head on over there to read all about our adventures. There’ll be recipes, travel memories, running chatter, book and restaurant reviews along with other rambling posts.
Hope to see you there.
Lau & Fi

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The land of frites, pancakes and bagels

Last month we were extremely lucky to spend a long weekend exploring the beautiful city of Amsterdam. As well as doing all the touristy stuff – Anne Frank’s House, the Van Gogh Museum, a canal boat trip, searching for tulips, etc – we had a few foodie things we wanted to tick off our list whilst there.

We obviously had to experience frites and mayonnaise, which is practically an obsession in Amsterdam. On pretty much every street there’s a small takeaway shop selling them in paper cones – so cute! We didn’t go for the paper cone serving option, mainly because we were in torrential rain all weekend and paper and water aren’t the best mix! Instead we opted to shelter in a small pub during torrential rain and have them then. Let’s be honest we weren’t even slightly disappointed – the combo is a winning one!

One surprising thing we discovered whilst there was a cafe chain called Beans and Bagels, which as the name suggests is all about the coffee and bagels. I’d recommend this to anyone fancying a simple and filling breakfast. We got coffee and bagels (with numerous toppings) for about 10 euros which wasn’t bad considering how much we had. Also it introduced me to the idea of cream cheese and chocolate sprinkles on a bagel – genius!

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Before I mention the best foodie thing about the whole trip   I need to mention the sheer amount of cake and coffee stops we had on our weekend – it was almost obscene! But hey a good tourist survives on a full stomach so multiples coffees and cake – in particular this banana bread, which lets be honest is basically a breakfast food is essential!

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The absolute crowning glory of our trip occurred on our final day when we trekked across the city to experience one of the most highly recommended pancake places, at least according to the internet and multiple guidebooks. We were not disappointed by The Pancake Bakery in the slightest. Not only was the restaurant cute and quirk, it also happened to make the most amazing pancakes. They were huge and the toppings weren’t just toppings they were embedded in the pancakes, yes embedded in the pancakes. I really have to try this out myself one day! After much deliberation I settled on a banana, apple and raisin topping, with lashings of maple syrup and molasses – delicious. Lau went for bacon and apple and our friend had a random concoction of onion, bacon, mushrooms and cheese. I definitely think mine was the most superior pancake. Hands down.

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So that was our Amsterdam culinary experience – anything you would have suggested/added from your own travels there?

– Fi xx

Delving into our childhood recipes

This battered book is my mum’s trusty recipe book. (Isn’t the cover just awesome?!).

Mum's recipe book

As a child the sight of this book being pulled off the shelf and my mum flicking through it in the kitchen would instantly make me smile. It meant I’d get to crumb flour and butter in a bowl, flatten batter with a fork or lick the bowl clean!

This book is synonymous with fun times spent with my mum, sisters and, if I was extra lucky, my Nanna and/or Grandma.

This is one item I’d run back into a burning building for. It represents
hours spent with my mum having so much fun and generally making a mess.

I spotted this on my mum’s shelf on a recent trip back home and it sparked all these memories and got my thinking about some of those recipes from my childhood – Victoria Sponge, Scones and Hungarians – and when I last made any of them. When I realised it was a while back I decided to start a regular post on the blog and share these recipes with you all. It’ll be great to take a trip down memory lane to the family recipes of my childhood and I can’t wait to see what recipes I’ve forgotten! So starting later this month we’ll be sharing recipe number one. I do hope you’ll join us and enjoy the Harvey/Evans family recipes.

Do you have something similar that you remember from your childhood or hope your kids remember from theirs?

– Fi xx

Our brand new picture wall!

So today’s post is a little different as I’m sharing a non food related post with you. WTF I hear you shout! Well yes I am sorry it’s not food related but it is a good ‘un so I hope you’ll forgive me and indulge me on this post! Anyway Let’s get back to the post, a DIY one in fact, that I’m sharing with you today. For this post we need to travel from the kitchen to our living room, home of the bright pink owl cushion and the £5 wallpaper!

We’ve had a picture wall in there since we first moved into the flat but over the last couple of years some of the frames have broken and as we’ve taken the frames off the wall to dust them or change the pictures we’ve failed to replace them correctly and so it was starting to look like a total mess. So a change was needed. We brainstormed a lot if ideas and realised we needed something that would allow us to change the photos regularly, add more photos easily and most importantly something inexpensive as we hope to move soon and need to save the pennies. With this in mind whatever we did had to be movable to the new house and ‘go’ with that decor too. Not much to ask for right?!

After some thought we settled on a washi tape frame with the sophisticated combo of paper clips and string. It sounds a bit crap right? but with the addition of photos and fairy lights I think you’ll agree that we totally nailed it! And it meets all our important criteria, huzzah!

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So what do you think, do you like it and have we inspired you to rethink your photo wall/display?

Discovering cheaper supermarkets

Since our younger sister started her second year of University she has been raving on (and on and on) about shopping at Aldi. This cheap food shop obsession is shared by Fi too, as she frequented Aldi herself when she was at Uni. I on the other-hand was all about Asda, as the cheaper shops of Aldi and Lidl hadn’t made their way down to Leicester when I was there. Anyway when the three of us had a sister getaway to the Peak District earlier this year we headed to Aldi for all of our food shopping – If I’m honest the fact that I was with two huge fans meant I didn’t really have much of a choice! So we went to Aldi and stocked up on everything we needed; garlic bread, crisps, sweets, lots of cereal, drink and £3.50 worth of pork to make this pulled pork recipe.

Since this weekend and the discovery of delicious cheaper ingredients I have been obsessed with both Aldi and Lidl, which is perfect as Fi and I have just discovered a new Lidl that has opened up in our London neighbourhood. Talk about perfect timing, right?!

The other day we did a quick food shop and spent a total of £15 on the following items; tortilla wraps, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, grapes, strawberries, spinach, blueberries, melon, bacon, yogurt, biscuits, croissants (chocolate and plain), Easter chocolate and toilet roll. Yes, all for £15! Now you know if we’d gone to our usual supermarket it would have been at least £20.

The thing about supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi is that they are all about unknown brands, rather than the big names you see everywhere else. Now I’m discovering that these brands are just as good, if not better than their well known counterparts. We’ve also managed to find our favourite Portuguese biscuits in our local Lidl, now that’s exciting and dangerous all in one!

So if you have one of these supermarkets I’d definitely encourage you to go check it out. Have a wander around and see what’s available. Here’s a couple of points to remember if you are heading shopping.

1. Be prepared to weasel your way around people or walk quite slowly around the shop. The aisles are quite narrow – I guess to fit in more stock, so it can be irritating if you want to zip around quickly.

2. Remember that you can’t pay by credit card, it’s cash or debit card only.

3. Also when you get to the till it’s all about being quick. So throw everything back into your trolley, pay and move along to the packing area to arrange all your bags.

4. Also remember to bring your own bags or be prepared to pay for what you need. But remember you’ll be packing your bags away from the till, so you won’t know how many you’ll need until then.

Happy shopping. Lau xxx

A little February round-up

So another month has flown by and we’re now about to embark on March – what the actual what is going on with that?! How on earth is this year going so fast – crazy times indeed! As is the CBE way we need to round-up all our cooking, baking and eating loveliness in one post, so here goes!

We started this month with an awesome long weekend in the Peak District, which basically revolved around food… We started with a Wagamama’s, where we all tried something new, all of which were scrumptious. My dish was the Chicken Teriyaki, scrumptious! This was swiftly followed by (in no particular order) homemade lasagna, American sweets, coffee in our wellies, pulled pork, cooked breakfasts and pancakes, homemade veggie soup, doorstop sandwiches, a chinese takeaway, crisps, biscuits, bourbon brownies and a rediscovery of scrumptious Shreddies. It really was an amazing weekend of food stuffs!

Apart from a weekend of food in the Peak District our foodie month has been made up of:

  • Cooking a ham, chicken, leek, mushroom and mushroom soup pie
  • Blending tonnes of smoothies
  • Treating ourselves to a cooked breakfast (for lunch) after epic runs
  • Sampling our very first Chicken Balti Pukka pie at the football
  • Baking chewy chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies (recipe here)
  • Eating out at Bill’s, Wahaca, Nando’s, Del’Aziz and Camellia’s Tea House
  • Tucking into the biggest roast chicken with all the trimmings courtesy of the parentals
  • Being good and taking salads for lunch
  • Remembering how perfect an iced coffee can be with our first ones of 2014

Phew, what a month for food – no wonder I’m so exhausted after all of that lot! What about you what have been your top food moments from the last month?

– Fi xx

A Sunday kitchen wishlist

Happy Sunday lovely people, I hope you’ve had a lovely day! We’ve spent the day running (an 11.2 mile half marathon training run), eating and being lazy – it was blissful! At the moment Lau and I are in the process of moving house. I say process, what I really mean is that we’re stressing out on how complicated it is to deal with estate agents and find something decent for our revised budget – check out this waffley post from last week to read more about my frustrations!
To cheer myself up during a stressful search I’ve taken to dreaming about my new kitchen. ‘Tis the only thing stopping my from losing my mind over this house search malarkey and also stopping me from calling it off when I remember we’ll have to get rid of our rhubarb and custard kitchen – sad face indeed as I love our kitchen, it’s my favourite room in our house. But I’m not allowed to get maudlin today, so let’s carry on with today’s post where I’m sharing some of the things that have made it on to my new kitchen wishlist so far…
kitchen wishlist 1

Teapot / Le Creuset Dish / Pearl Drop Plates / Kitchen Aid Mixer / Tea Towel

kitchen wishlist 2

 ‘Garden’ Cake Tin / Orla Kiely Jar / Gold Dipped Cutlery / Glass Jar / Salad Bowl 

So let’s discuss some of these items shall we… First up yes I am one of those people who dreams of owning a kitchen aid mixer. Deal with it! I just wish they weren’t so expensive as this metallic cider one is beautiful, and I don’t just love it because the colour is called ‘apple cider’ – honest! Also how did I not know there were purple Le Cresuet items in existence – I need!

I’m a big fan of storage items, so a few new jars would be good. I’m currently torn between Orla Kiely’s beautiful iconic jars or the glass/wood concoction – both so awesome. Also I need that tea towel in my life! And gold dipped cutlery, after all doesn’t everyone?

If you were looking for new kitchen items, what would be the first thing on your list…

Good luck for the next week.

– Fi xx