A Perfect Weekend

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The title sums it up exactly: this has been a perfect weekend.

It began after I arrived home after finishing an hour late at work and then getting stuck in traffic on the drive back, to find the boy waiting for me with a selection of cheese, crackers, chutneys and bottle of wine. He then pulled out two new cookbooks for me too! I’m a very lucky girl 🙂

He's a keeper!!

He’s a keeper!!

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We didn’t have any room for the cheese and biscuits after our dinner of leftover coq au vin but they made a perfect brunch on Saturday (along with some toasted buttered crumpets), and lunch on Sunday with some still left for me to nibble on during the week! I can definitely recommend the Pinot Grigio Rose (that interestingly looked more like white wine!) – it had a nice delicate taste and was very drinkable, and I’m afraid I can comment no further as I know nothing about wine!

On Saturday we were at a bit of a loss about how to spend the day. I’d suggested wandering around St Albans so we had a look on the info website and I spotted an advert for their annual fireworks display that happened to be that night. As fireworks are my favourite thing in the world this pretty much made the decision for us!

So we hopped on a train to St Albans and had a wander around the market and some of my favourite shops I persuaded the boy to let me go in! I managed to find some pretty new dresses and a blouse for work which is handy as I’m always on the lookout for new work clothes.

A bit later on we headed to the restaurant that we’d picked online before we’d left. I’m not a big fan of choosing restaurants online but as the firework display was happening we expected it to be pretty busy in St Albans! We chose a restaurant called Tudors Restaurant in The White Hart Hotel – I’ll do a proper review of it in a separate post so for now all I’ll say is that it filled our bellies well!

By the time we’d finished eating it was perfect timing to head to the grounds of the cathedral for the fireworks display. I’d been lured into a false sense of security with the weather when leaving home as it was so warm and sunny. However by the time the sun went down it was much less so and I started to get a bit chilly! But as soon as the fireworks started I forgot about being cold and just admired them – I was grinning ear to ear, they really make me so happy!

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On Sunday after a lovely much-needed lie-in we scoured my many cookery books and decided what to cook. After much deliberation we chose chicken with chestnut and garlic stuffing from my Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course book. The only (minor) issue with choosing this recipe was that it required a deboned chicken. Neither the boy nor I had ever even considered deboning a chicken before. However after watching a few youtube videos, we figured we should give it a go. It turned out to be quite fiddly but not impossible, although I nearly did lose a finger in the process! In fact it was more difficult trying to roll and tie the joint without losing all of the stuffing out of the ends. It probably didn’t help that we just had run-of-the-mill string as my local tesco doesn’t sell butcher’s string!

Not the neatest of debonings but once it was stuffed and rolled, no one could tell!

Not the neatest of debonings but once it was stuffed and rolled, no one could tell!

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A bit of stuffing, rolling, rustic tying, drizzle of olive oil and some seasoning and it’s oven-ready!

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The finished article.

We had the chicken with the parsley dressing that’s also in the recipe plus some rosemary and garlic roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, pigs in blankets and brussel sprouts with smoky bacon. If I made this again I think I’d leave out the parsley dressing and have gravy instead – it was definitely missing some luscious thick gravy to soak into everything.

If anyone wants the recipe it’s available online here: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/chicken-with-garlic-and-chestnut-stuffing-8198444.html

I have a LOT of leftovers, some of which have been packed up for lunch tomorrow to make all of my colleagues jealous. I’ve also got a good amount of stock that I made from the bones, which will sit nicely in the freezer until I decide what to do with it.

It’s gone 11pm and I should probably be heading off to sleep now. Tomorrow is going to be a longgg stressful day. On Friday we discharged over 1/3 of our relatively large ward, which is always a recipe for disaster as we’ll spend Monday getting to know all of the new patients. And as if that wasn’t enough tomorrow evening we’re having our crazy landlord come round for an inspection. Unfortunately our hoover decided to give up the ghost during our last minute power clean this evening so the house will be far from perfect but I’m sure even if it was pristine the landlord would find something wrong with it.

The only positive spin I can put on it is that, after tomorrow, I’ll only have to work Tuesday and then I have two whole days of annual leave! I booked them off specially as it’s November the 5th so I can travel to stay with the boy and his family and see some more fireworks!!

Farewell for now,

TFD x

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A food-packed day

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A little grey but nonetheless iconic view of London as I got off the train

A little grey but nonetheless iconic view of London as I got off the train

After another sleepless night (thanks, body clock!) I headed into London as planned. We started off by going to Camden Market for a browse around the many many stalls. Being that it was a Sunday and a complete tourist trap it was absolutely rammed but it didn’t matter too much.

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Once we’d worked up an appetite we headed to the food stalls. After a few circuits trying to decide what to have I plumped for an Argentinian steak sandwich with potato cubes and the boy went for a duck confit brioche roll. They were both delicious – my steak was cooked lovely and rare like I requested and the potatoes were perfectly crisp and herby. My only complaint would be that there wasn’t enough garlic mayo in the roll but then anyone that knows me knows I’m a total garlic fiend and there wouldn’t be enough unless it was spilling out of the sides! Not only was the squidgy brioche roll stuffed full of duck confit and duck skin crackling and mustard AND onion chutney, there was also a grilled slice of Applewood smoked cheddar to top it all off – my favourite!! Basically it was food heaven in a roll and it was all I could do not to steal it and eat it all.

Argentinian steak sandwich with herby potatoes

Argentinian steak sandwich with herby potatoes

A master at work!

A master at work!

The boy with his duck confit roll

The boy with his duck confit roll

Lunch overlooking the canal

Lunch overlooking the canal

We then jumped on a tube and headed down to Covent Garden for a wander. We had a look around the market there (are you sensing a theme?!), passed the time watching some street performers and saw the floating building… A quick google search informs me the reason for this was that it’s a piece of art by Alex Chinneck. I think it’s pretty cool!

A building made to look like it's floating...

A building made to look like it’s floating…

By this point it was time to head back to start cooking dinner so we hopped on a bus to take us back East. I couldn’t resist getting off at Tower Bridge on the way though to have a look at the sea of poppies around the tower!

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For dinner we made Transylvanian meatballs, so-called for the sheer amount of garlic they contained! The recipe came from my new cookbook that arrived a couple of days ago after I preordered it as soon as it appeared on Amazon – the new Hairy Bikers diet book. I have both of their other two diet books and knew this third one wouldn’t disappoint, and so far it hasn’t! The recipes look great and I know from previous experience they taste great despite being so low in calories.

I thoroughly recommend this book!

I thoroughly recommend this book!

The meatballs were a perfect mix of beef, onion, pepper, breadcrumbs, paprika and natural yoghurt. We had them in flatbreads with some lettuce and, yep you’ve guessed it, a garlic sauce! They turned out really well and were super speedy to cook, requiring only 15 minutes in the oven.

The boy had also bought the ingredients for us to make salted caramel popcorn but sadly time ran out and before I knew it it was time to head home to get ready for work tomorrow. I’m back on my usual ward after 2 weeks away (due to a combination of life support training, annual leave and my night shifts) and if I’m honest, I’m dreading it. Recently some of the slightly more senior doctors changed around and the new ones, although being good doctors, just aren’t as fun to work with – they seem to be in work just to work. Mix that with me not knowing any of the patients having been off the ward for so long, plus the slowest consultant in the world doing a ward round, I’m in for a long, stressful day! At least I’ll have a great lunch of leftovers to look forward to all morning 🙂

Farewell for now and keep your fingers crossed I get some sleep tonight!

TFD x