Sunday 27 April 2014

Visiting Lagos, Portugal, in April

Me and James have just come back from Lagos (I know, it's a tough life). With both of us about to start new jobs, we fancied a mini holiday to rejuvenate... and get a tan in the process.

Lagos is a beautiful corner of the world with, in my opinion, basically everything going for it - golden sands, a marina, a mountain range close by, cheesy but amazing bars, great fresh sea food, good bike routes, boiling sunshine and friendly locals.

Weather wise, we couldn't have asked for it to be nicer! I've only ever been in July or August, so didn't know what to expect in April. It was around 20 degrees, with a slight wind, so nice in the day but you'd need a jumper at night.

In Lagos, lunch is best spent on the beach front which is exactly what we did each day. There are about six or seven beach huts that serve food and drinks so you're spoilt for choice.

Day one was all about the prawns. After little to no sleep, a flight still at night and an hour in the sun (I fell asleep, massive tan line no-no), it was time for some fresh, rich seafood.

It's worth noting that I didn't like prawns before visiting this little hut on the beach two years ago, so if you're a little unsure (or a full blown prawn lover), this is the place to get peelin'.

It's the hut's special dish. The prawns are HUGE and come sizzling, swimming in an unbelievably tasty dressing - which is mopped up of course, with freshly baked crusty bread and washed down with a Superbock.

We were joined by a little friend; how funny does he look with his eyes shut - so stubborn about the camera!

On Wednesday we tried out a new beach restaurant that's been revamped. With its glass fronted, minimalistic vibe, it's definitely the most upmarket looking restaurant on the beach.

If you're a fan of cocktails, you need to stop by the Yellow Hotel. It's stunning, with great views out to sea.

We're always in the marina, and Quay Lagos is a definite winner for dinner in my eyes. It boasts proud position on the marina front; the food reflects its prime location but without the price tag.

The wild mushrooms and pancetta on toast with a poached egg was one of the nicest starters I've ever had.

Duck liver pate with toast and chutney (AMAZING).

For the main, I had lamb with Mediterranean veg.

James chose the pork belly & crackling..

We finished things off with the ultimate cheese board..

...before heading off out into Lagos for cocktails at Bon Vivant, and a bar crawl with absinthe shots and too many rum and cokes!

I honestly can't recommend the place enough.


Sunday 20 April 2014

Happy Easter!

There's nothing quite like being at home for the holidays.

My Twitter profile has been fighting it out over tweets about running vs. chocolate and wine. I think we all know who won:

"Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned..."
My little sister played around on the camera and I'm a bit embarrassed to say I think these two are probably better than the pics I take!

I've basically just sat out in the garden, eating & drinking for three days straight.

Running by the Clifton Suspension Bridge

 I can't believe after sunshine ALL week it chooses to p*ss it down today... Still, that didn't deter our annual Easter egg hunt (nor did it stop my mum shrieking "you're hot... COLD, colder still.." at us for the whole neighbourhood to hear. It doesn't matter that I'm nearly 24...).

I <3 Easter. I also need motivation to get back on the health wagon as SOON as today is over...

Monday 14 April 2014

Prawn & Pearl Barley Risotto

I've only recently discovered pearl barley, the complex carb full of B-vitamins, iron and fiber.

It tastes and cooks very similar to rice, so I thought I'd have a go at making a risotto with it.

Ingredients (serves 3, easily):
  • 150g peeled king prawns
  • 1 cup of pearl barley (I bought mine from Tesco - 55p for 500g, BARGAIN.)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 stick of celery
  • Bowl of spinach
  • 5 closed cup mushrooms
  • 2x tablespoons turmeric
  • 2x tablespoons cumin
  • 2x tablespoons chilli powder
  • Grated raw ginger (about 1 inch)
Firstly, cook your pearl barley in a saucepan with boiling water. You cook pearl barley on a 1:5 water ratio, so use 5 cups of water. Let it cook for 45 mins.

You'll know it's cooked when it starts to look like this:

After 30 mins, chop up your veg and heat a pan with olive oil. Fry the veg off until the onions sweat and then add the prawns, coating them in the spices and raw grated ginger.

After 15 minutes, add the pearl barley in to the stir fry after draining any excess water.

Add in 1/2 cup water to the prawn and veg pan, then slowly mix in your pearl barley.

(sorry about the appalling quality of the picture above.. steam and auto-focus aren't the best of friends!

Add the spinach...

Leave is simmering on a low heat for about 15 minutes, until the water has been absorbed.

Serve with a wedge of lemon.

In my opinion dishes like these always taste better the day after. I left this in the fridge overnight and had it for lunch today.

Do you have any other must-try recipes using pearl barley? 
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