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Friday, 28 April 2017

Spicy baked dippy eggs

I tried these for the first time a few months ago and now they've become a regular weeknight staple; thick crunchy bread, dippy eggs and melted cheese served in a spicy tomato sauce. Delicious. You've got to try these if you haven't already but definitely add lots of spice - it makes the dish. I made this for my friend who immediately demanded the recipe so I thought I would share it with you as well.

I'm going to have to make it when I get home now I'm looking at these pictures haha. It's a great weeknight dinner but also lovely for a lazy weekend brunch.

There are a lot of baked eggs recipes on the internet but it's the spicing that makes this dish so delicious. A fragrant mix of cumin, garam masala, paprika and cayenne makes this addictively good.

This dish serves 2 with leftovers for lunch the next day but scale up or down as you need.

You can mix and match ingredients how you like but the essentials are:
-2 tins of chopped tomatoes
-1 tbsp of cumin, 1/2 tbsp of garam masala, 1 tbsp of paprika and 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper, mixed
-1 clove of garlic, finely diced
-4/5 eggs depending on how hungry you feel
-1 onion, diced
-Fresh crusty bread
-1/2 palm-sized block of cheese (cheddar/lancashire)
-1 fistful of basil
-Natural yoghurt
-A good pinch of salt and pepper
-A pan you can put in the oven

Optional (but highly recommended!):
-Chopped black olives
-Diced/sliced chorizo
-Sliced peppers

Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until the onions become softened. If you are adding chorizo/olives/peppers then add with the onions at the start.

Next pour in the two tins of chopped tomatoes and add the salt and pepper. Simmer the mixture on low for 20 minutes or until it becomes thick. You want the mixture thick enough that you can make a hollow and then have time to crack an egg into it; this is the only way to make sure the yolks will be runny whilst the whites cook. Don't get ahead of yourself and try to crack the eggs in if the mixture is still runny; I've done this before and you'll end up with set yolks by the time the whites cook.

At this point, turn the grill onto high. Next, add the spice mix to the sauce and stir it through. I learnt in a cookery class that spices aren't meant to be cooked for a long time but added closer the end of cooking for maximum flavour so I try to follow that whenever I remember (which lets be honest, is like 2% of the time haha).

Make 4 hollows and crack your eggs into them. It helps to have the heat on high to help the bottom of the eggs cook quickly. Crumble/grate the cheese over the top and cook over the heat until the egg whites are almost set.

Then put the pan under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and the top of the eggs are set; keep a careful eye on them and take them out quickly - remember they keep cooking off the heat and you don't want to ruin the runny yolks! Scatter the basil leaves and natural yoghurt over the top. If you want to add pesto then this is the time to do so.

Two different meals, both delicious.

Serve with the crunchy bread and dig in.

Until next time,


Thursday, 27 April 2017

From Russia with love

A post from Russia with love!

The last few days have been spent wandering around this beautiful city and taking in the wonderful sites. I am in love with St. Petersburg; it's so lovely and the people have been so friendly. Let me take you on a tour...

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First stop is the beautiful palace square. Housing the impressively tall Alexander column.

When it was installed, no attachments were created to fix the column to the pedestal. Our tour guide explained that when it was erected the architect walked his dog by the column everyday to show people it was safely fixed in place by it's weight alone...but no one believed him for quite a while so people were madly swerving it haha. It stands opposite the triumphal arch, built for soldiers returning from defeating Napolean which I think looks a little similar to the Brandenburg in Berlin.

Next lets wander into the winter palace. Read all about it in my separate post here.

After all that walking and sightseeing it's time to eat! We went to Gras which I would definitely recommend. Most of the food in Russia is nice but as a typical rule it's lukewarm. Gras was not only an exception to that (a rarity) but also happened to be one of the most incredible meals I've ever eaten. If your in Saint Petersburg then you have to go and eat everything.

We started with cocktails; honey, bee pollen and grey goose which came on this platter and made us feel all fancy and tha'.

There is an English menu but that still doesn't mean you know what you will get as the dish names are obviously Russian and I've never eaten them before. We ended up trying the pittum, it was a little like a cross between a creamy pasta and risotto. Like everything else we ate here - it was really bloody nice.

The pittum was followed by an array of beautiful plates - steak with bone marrow mash and pork belly. I didn't take photos because I felt like a grade A moron and yes, I'm kicking myself about it! You have to go here. It cost just under £50 for two of us to have cocktails, starters and main courses. I am filled with regret that I was too full for desert, hashtag cry for me.

Now it's time for us to visit...

...the Fabergรฉ museum. One room is dedicated to the famous jewelled eggs; it's incredible because you can get right up to each one and see the detail. This beautiful tree egg was one of my favourites.

Alongside the coronation egg. I learned that each egg took an entire year to finish which seemed a bit OTT until you see all of the craftsmanship in each piece, then it made sense!

There were other rooms housing silverware and everyday pieces for incredibly wealthy people, like this rather fabulous gilded my plainly covered kindle some serious side eye right now.

The museum is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours, especially as its located in an old palace which would be worth going to see regardless of the exhibits.

The tickets are cheap - I think on the basis that you will then buy an audio guide. I didn't and had mild regret because there's no information in the museum; Where museums normally have a few words on an item (i.e. Exhibit 23: Coronation egg of Tsar Nicholas II) there was only a number and a big box of giant outdated index's that were not fun to look at. I think it would be better to get an audio guide for the trip. Another tip would be to get your ticket online if there's a long queue outside so that you can skip it, we did that and it felt so smug walking past about a hundred people all freezing outside.

Next is the main shopping street of Nevski. A great place to spend a couple of hours as it's filled with locals doing their shopping and of course, beautiful buildings. The further down the street you wander the less touristy it gets.

After wandering and eating our way around the city there is time for a late night stop off at the church of the saviour on spilled blood.

Built over the spot where Alexander the II was assassinated. It was commissioned by his son who decided the position of the river was in the way of the building, so he had it moved. Naturally haha. What remains is a beautiful tribute and by far my favourite monument in Saint Petersburg. I can't wait to show you in my next post.

After all that walking, it's time for a nap. 

I hope you enjoyed our little tour.  Until next time,


Monday, 24 April 2017

Opulence: The winter palace of Saint Petersburg

I'm currently in Saint Petersburg and I can't even deal with how pretty it is. The highlight for me is definitely the winter palace. It's incredible.

There's opulence. Then there's this:

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I loved seeing the palace. It was built by an Empress who died before the building was complete. Catherine the Great moved in and began accumulating art for her personal gallery. So many paintings were purchased that they had to build a separate building just to house them! I feel like I could possibly do that with shoes one day haha.

Future Tsars continued to collect the paintings and the collection became the largest art gallery in all of Russia. The hermitage (that spare building) now connects to the palace creating vast corridors filled with art. It reminds me a little of the Vatican, just everywhere you look there's amazing things. My one complaint is that there's just too much to take it all in, but I really enjoyed trying.

It's not just the paintings that are artwork; the entire building is covered with intricate gold details. From the ceilings... the chandeliers... the doors.

Before I came to Russia I read that if you spent a minute looking at each painting you would need to spend 11 years there. That doesn't include the rooms though, which are so lovely. I was taking so many pictures I am surprised I didn't get rsi from my shutter finger haha. 

The rooms are so lavishly decorated it's difficult to take in everything. One room houses a life-sized gold tree with a peacock but because that's so big the chandelier doesn't quite fit. Yes, you read that right; a lifesize gold tree and peacock. Naturally.

My favourite was the red room, with the library a close second. 

The palace is incredible. If this post wasn't enough to convince you to go then I will have to pull out my trump card - they also have cats in the palace. Seriously. The museum dedicates a day every year to talk specifically about the cats of the palace and there's a floor where they get to run about freely.

If you haven't been, then go. I'm not a museum person but this is something else.

Until next time,


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Super-quick prosecco cocktails


I was celebrating my anniversary with my boyfriend and wanted to make something quick but impressive looking. These prosecco cocktails are so easy to make and taste great.

First mash up about 4 raspberries in a prosecco glass. You want to release some of the juice so it makes the cocktail pink.

Then add some flavoured syrup - I used elderflower presse as it was on offer in my local shop, and I bloody love a bargain, but you could use any fruit-flavour you wanted.

Then top it up with prosecco.

That's it!
So easy but look how pretty they look. Pink ombre is the best.

I laid it all out on a board with some after eights and it looked really nice; a fun to way celebrate something special when you're broke like me haha.

If you don't want to drink then it would also work well with lemonade or tonic water. I don't drink that much really but for special occasions I do think it's nice to have something a little fizzy.



Thursday, 13 April 2017

Hot air ballooning

Recently I headed to the Derbyshire countryside for a hot-air ballooning experience. It's been on my bucketlist for years and years so I was really excited and happy to finally make it.

That's my boyfriend on the left, not smiling as he is terrified of heights and me on the right, grinning because I love heights haha.

It was a really great experience and I would really recommend it to anyone thinking of going. We had been waiting so long to take this flight because the weather was never right on the days we had booked so we were so relieved that finally we were setting off! I think this was either the fifth or sixth time we had booked days and it actually took so long to work out that I ended up having to buy an extension because the tickets ran out.

If you have days in the week off anyway then this would be the perfect experience for you. Alternatively you could pay a bit extra and go at the weekend.

Our flight was really exciting and there was some beautiful scenery along the way which made-up for our eye-wateringly early alarm haha.

Right at the start, the landscape looked really hazy with dew which I thought was really pretty. Then as it heated up the mist lifted and we could just see beautiful greenery. Without sounding like the cheesiest person ever, it really was an incredible experience. It was peaceful and the journey was so smooth it was like boating about in the sky. I was so excited to be finally hot air ballooning that I didn't feel as tired as I thought I would which was really nice.

 The balloon was ridiculously massive:

That's the balloon man checking out the inside for damage (I'm really not sure what the technical term is haha). This photo was taken by my boyfriend and that's his thumb- he's so rubbish at taking photos but I found it funny so I've not cropped it!

All in all - it was a great experience. Having said that though - it took ages to pack the balloon at the end which was a bit of an anti-climax. I'd recommend going but only doing it the once - it's weather dependant and frustrating when you've booked the day off to then be told it's not going ahead. When we eventually took off there were quite a few balloons in the air with us, making the most of the beautiful weather.

At the end we got given a glass of champagne which was nice but tbh my boyfriend probably needed it at the start for his nerves haha.

I had a great time! If you've not been then it's one for the bucketlist.

Until next time,


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