Bruges with Children, in a Weekend

bruges with children belfry

We’ve just come back from a little jaunt across to the continent.  Ross starts his new job this week, so we decided a European city break with the children would be just the ticket.  And so, a couple of weeks ago, feeling enthused over a cup of coffee in bed on a Sunday morning, we found a good deal on the ferry (Dover to Dunkirk) and a nice hotel and whacked a little visit to Bruges on the credit card. 

YOLO, as the kids say.  

Basically, Ross and I like beer and we all like chocolate.  Belgium is famous for both (and more), everyone is a winner. 

bruges with children beer wall

bruges with children architecture

Here is how we did Bruges with children

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Love Your Leftovers – Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

slow cooker pulled pork.jpg

slow cooker pulled pork.jpgI know! I can hardly believe it myself, but it’s true, we did indeed have some leftovers after our pulled pork dinner last night.  And we had lettuce (a humble round lettuce, nothing fancy required), avocado, creme fraiche and hot sauce, and taco shells. 

And so, pulled pork tacos were constructed, and devoured, in a matter of mere moments. 

I’ve blogged about pulled pork before (really, hasn’t everyone? It’s rife on Pinterest.  That’s not a topic I’m ever going to get high on Google rankings.) but this time I cooked it a little differently as I did it in my slow cooker instead of in the oven on low. 

So, here is how to make slow cooker pulled pork:

First things first, make up a fairly standard barbecue sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of tomato ketchup (I use cup measurements for condiments when I am using more than a tablespoon of the stuff.  Confusing? Moi?)
  • 1 tbsp of tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup soft brown sugar (packed or not, depending on how sweet you like it).  For a sweeter sauce, use light brown sugar, for a more treacly sauce, use dark brown sugar.
  • 1 tsp each of garlic powder or granules, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
  • 1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce and mustard.

Then slice up a nice large onion and pop it into the slow cooker with a splash of water.  

On top of the onions goes a boneless pork shoulder joint.  Mine weighed just under 2lbs, so not a massive joint by anyone’s standards, but good enough for the four of us.  You don’t need to spend a fortune on this since you’ll be cooking it til it falls apart anyway (If I recall, the meat was only about a fiver from Sainsbury’s). 

Spread half the barbecue sauce over the meat, and cook on high (or auto) until you can easily shred it with a couple of forks.  This does take around 8 hours – there is no getting around that.  It’s ok, just go about your day and don’t peek at it too often.  By the time it’s ready to pull, the onions will be soft and the whole thing will be swimming in the barbecue sauce and the pork and onion juices. 

Discard the flabby fatty skin.  No one wants to eat that, and then fork that pork.

Thats what I said.  Fork it real good.  Make sure you keep it in the slow cooker pan whilst you get your shred on. 

Once pulled, mix in the rest of the barbecue sauce, and turn the heat down to low for an hour or so.  You don’t HAVE to do this, but it’s much much better if you do.  

We had ours in soft white rolls with coleslaw, lettuce and tomato.  Standard. 

slow cooker pulled pork

And here is how to make slow cooker pulled pork tacos with the leftovers:

You’ll need:

  • Taco shells, or soft tortillas.  I’d usually go for the soft tortillas, but Saino’s were all out, so taco shells it was. 
  • The leftover pulled pork
  • Lettuce, shredded.
  • A couple of avocados (why not make guacamole?)
  • Creme fraiche or soured cream and hot pepper sauce, if you like.  We like.  
  • Cheese, if you like. Again, we like. 

Tacos are really a do-as-you-like kind of meal.  I like to put the meat in first and then a little shredded lettuce, guacamole, a dollop of creme fraiche and hot sauce, and then a sprinkling of cheese.  The kids just pile it all on in whatever haphazard fashion they please, and Ross likes a lot of meat, a little salad, and liberal quantities of cheese.  Really, anything goes.  It’s just a tasty way of using up leftovers that everyone enjoys!

Best enjoyed with a nice cold beer.  

slow cooker pulled pork

Cherry Sundae

Cherry Sundae

This week has been a good week.  Despite all the rain and wind and generally terrible weather I’ve seen a lot of the positive in most things (not all, the middle of the week was a bit pants, but you can’t win them all).

Cherry Sundae

1) Gammon, mushroom and pea pie, with onion sauce.  Best use of gammon leftovers ever.  I blogged it, and you can find the recipe here.  The sauce was perfectly seasoned and the consistency was spot on.  There was enough gammon left over from our Sunday lunch that the pie was substantial.  The puff pastry was crispy and crumbly and golden and yummy.  All in all a perfect pie, and let me tell you, Internets, it was not just me who had a smile on their face on Monday night. 

2) I’ve started reading Ruby and Elliot Karlson on the Roof.  A book from the 1950’s, there are translations used that might not be used if it was translated today.  The paragraph above had me laughing hard like the juvenile I really am.  The world’s best cock painter eh?! très amusant!  If you haven’t read Karlson on the Roof, then you really ought to.  The whole book is funny and a lovely lovely piece of children’s literature. 

3) I have also written about this earlier in the week.  I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my trips to the gym of late.  I thought I’d hate it, I begged for a gym buddy on facebook, but really, as it turns out, all I need is a pair of headphones and some banging tunes and I can run like Mo Farah. 

Well, not quite, but 5.6km is nothing to be sniffed at, and I think Mo would agree.  My total last week was over 12km, which I am mighty pleased with.  I am looking forward to more runs to nowhere this week like you wouldn’t believe. 

4) Finally, a trip to 7 Bone with one of my oldest and dearest friends.  I’ve known Katherine since we were 10, and we’ve had some badass times over the last 20 years.  You know you have a great friend when you don’t see each other for months (or in our case, sometimes over a year) and when you do finally hang out, it’s just like you saw each other yesterday.  Friendship like that is rare and something to be cherished.  We had an afternoon game of Monopoly with Ross and the kids at the pub, then scooted on down to our local Dirty Burger Bar, 7 Bone, for a nosh up.  7Bone was featured on BBC2 the other week and now it’s nigh on impossible to get a table without a wait at the pub over the road unless you go at lunchtime on a Wednesday.  But we got a table and had an epic dinner.  Chicken burgers and dirty fries, incase you were interested. 

Lovely lovely! 

 

Cherry Sundae

Cherry Sundae 2

After a really busy day in London yesterday, I had a home day today, and kind of regretted it.  I wish I’d gone out because now I feel like I haven’t achieved anything and it’s Sunday night and, well, blah.  

Ahh hindsight. 

Anyway, this is what has put a smile on my face this week.

Cherry Sundae 2

1) I’ve been listening to this song a lot recently.  And by a lot, I mean, all the time.  I’m not usually into One Republic much, but Counting Stars is banging! I’ve listened to it at the gym, whilst I’ve been cooking, on the way to collect Elliot from preschool.  It’s really cheered me up. 

2) Eggs Royale at Bottega Wapping.  A perfectly poached egg on smoked salmon is enough to make anybody smile, right?!  Dee and I went took advantage of the South West Trains winter sale and took a day trip to London for a tenner.  We met my sister at her flat and had brunch at Bottega.  Delicious, delicious, delicious. 

3) After our brunch, we went into town, and mooched around Covent Garden.  I haven’t been to Covent Garden for ages.  I picked up some Supergas, and a beautiful blazer from H&M.  We had a pint in the Punch and Judy, listened to the people standing next to us moan about the street performer (mean-spirited grumps), and then had a mooch around the Moomin shop, where I got entirely too excited.  But come on, can you blame me? MOOMINS!  I bought Finn Family Moomintroll for Roo. 

4) Finally, dinner at The Diner.  I had wanted to go to Five Guys, but they had a) a huge queue, and b) no hard shakes.  At The Diner we ate burgers and fries and drank boozy milkshakes.  Mine was a chocolate shake with rum and loads of chocolate chips.  Too good.  

Halfway through our meal I noticed I was being stared at and getting some serious side-eye.  I could feel her eyes boring into the side of my head and she was kind of sniggery.  At what?  My ability to pack away a burger and fries? My awesome friends?  I did not like it.  Fuelled by booze and laughter and burgers, these juvenile (yet amusing) tweets may have been sent.

Eyes on the Fries

After our dinner it was time to come home, so we walked to Waterloo in the dark.

London is pretty in the dark.  I miss London. 

 

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All the Small Things - MummyNeverSleeps

Tips for the Perfect Roast Dinner

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No matter how busy or hectic the week might be, the perfect Sunday roast is definitely a highlight to look forward to, and one with a lengthy tradition. Whether you go for a juicy, succulent joint of beef, or maybe a roast chicken with all the trimmings, there are some things that just can’t be messed around with. To make sure you create the Sunday roast you’ve been dreaming of all week, here are a few things to think about:

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Cherry Sundae

cheery sunday 1.jpg

Since I’ve been a bit of a Stepharoo-SADpants lately, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to sit back and think about things that have made me smile this week.  I might do this every week, but then again I might not.  I’m fairly rubbish at weekly posts (see 5:2 Friday and Juicy Tuesday, both weekly posts that went where blog posts go to die.) 

So, we’ll see where this goes. 

cheery sunday 1.jpg

1) Post workout gym face.  This is a big one.  I joined a gym on a whim on Monday morning.  I say, “on a whim”, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a little while, and on Monday I had run out of excuses not to.  I don’t like new situations much, and doing new things or going to new places all on my own is quite a big deal.  Whatevs, I’m a big almost 30 year old baby, I know that.  Anyway, I just did it, and it felt good.  So good, in fact, that I went back Tuesday morning as well (when that photo was taken), and yesterday morning.  I’ve done 3x 20 minute runs, totalling almost 10kms, I hammered it on the exercise bike til my legs felt like jelly, and I did some random weight machines, but don’t ask me which ones because I don’t have a clue – they were for my arms. 

2) Getting a Waitrose card, and meandering around the shop shopping for celeriac and garam masala whilst sipping on a latte like a boss.  Yeah, I could have gone to Sainos (my usual haunt) but do they have a coffee machine that dispenses free coffee?  No, they do not.  And I do like a nice, civilised shopping experience. Pretentious? Moi?

3) Veggie korma with cauliflower rice.  This is in the Save With Jamie book, and was, hands down, the best dinner of the week.  He says to use Pataks korma paste, but I don’t like premade curry paste, so I got my food processor out and MADE MY OWN.  It was lovely.  And the cauliflower rice was pretty good, too.  Especially with the addition of cardamom pods, cinnamon and cloves. It almost tasted like takeaway, but without the added self hatred come the next morning. 

4) Yesterday we randomly watched cycling at our local velodrome. Ross and I do enjoy a bit of cycling, and it was fun to watch people race around the velodrome on fixies. Kind of made me want a go… maybe one day. 

And incase you were wondering, I called this post Cherry Sundae because I Googled “Cheery Sunday” to see if I was inadvertently stealing someone’s preexisting meme, and it threw up results for Cherry Sundae, which, frankly, I thought was cuter.

 

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All the Small Things - MummyNeverSleeps