Thursday 29 September 2016

Sunday @ Altrincham Market

You've probably already been to Altrincham Market. Needless to say, I'm a little late to the party. I'd been hearing good things for months but couldn't seem to find the time to fit in a visit, and I'd seen so many Instagram posts about the place I almost felt like I'd been..

So last Sunday after a cheeky river run, we made our way down to enjoy the markets in all their glory - they are so lovely! The whole place has a really village-y feel, and it was buzzing. It made it even better that the sun was shining, so each market stall just looked even more appealing (got to love the sun for that).

I was craving pizza so we ambled over to Honest Crust (I've never had their pizzas before but again had heard good things). I can't remember the name of the pizza I went for but know it had fresh tomato sauce with mozzarella and lots of nduja - my fave, and James ordered the Salami pizza; topped with fresh basil and mozzarella too.

I think this picture sums it up pretty well. How good does it look? It was insane.

Even the crusts on their own were delicious; warm, soft, chewy dough. Honest Crust only uses flour, water and salt in their dough, and sources all ingredients from small scale British suppliers - thumbs up from me.

We were really impressed with the portion sizes - I was expecting an 'artisan' sized portion (i.e. not very big), but the eight slices we got were absolutely ample; I couldn't finish mine (much to James's delight), which is pretty much unheard of for me and pizza.

There was live music right in front of us, which is always a winner in my eyes.

James opted for a pint, whilst I had a lovely, creamy cappuccino from the Chorlton based passion fruit coffee roasters. It was an ideal little pick me up for the afternoon. FYI if you're in Chorlton, they have a really great cafe called Barbecue, you should check it out.

We also took home a chocolate brownie to share from a stall that I unfortunately didn't catch the name of, which is annoying as it was so good. Gooey, sticky and really fudgey, you know the type.

I love the fact it's not just open on weekends. It runs Tuesday through to Sunday (it's closed on Wednesday) and each day has a different focus, with the weekend editions combining as many stalls as possible. Tuesday is grocery day - meat, fish, fruit, veg, local delicacies, cakes, smoothies etc. Thursday is 'thrifts and antiques', and fresh fish. Friday houses the farmer's market, and flea market every third one of the month. Saturday is a mish mash of the best of everything...

On Sundays the market rotates on a weekly basis so each week there's a different focus - the first Sunday of the month is design, then there's food (there's food all month round FYI), then vintage, then crafts. We went on a craft week, and I can't tell you how sad I was that it was the week before payday as I literally wanted *SO MANY* pieces of jewellery and homeware.

As well as being yummy mummy heaven, there were groups of friends catching up over wine and pizza, hangovers being soothed by coffee and couples eating crepes - basically, it's a great place, whatever your age.

I'm already itching to go back, and can't believe it took me so long to go in the first place!

Sunday 25 September 2016

Mint & Beetroot Yoghurt Dip

I'm holding on to the last few days of summer with this one, I know. It's such a good addition to salads (warm chicken salads especially), and being used as a dip with warm, crusty bread, that I couldn't not share it. It would, in my opinion, make the ideal BBQ dip accompaniment, but even if we aren't lucky enough to barbecue for a fair few months, this dense little dip is a great side plate to add to your antipasti platter, which I'm sure you'll agree is a delicacy to enjoy all year round...

This recipe makes a large tub full, so it's perfect to make on a Sunday and include in your lunches throughout the week.

You'll need:
  • 2 beetroots (I used pickled ones here)
  • 400g Greek yoghurt (I use Fage)
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt
Chop your beetroot and place in a food processor. Tear off your fresh mint leaves until you have a decent handful and add with the beetroot. Then, chuck everything else into the processor and blend until you have a smooth consistency. I like seeing bits of mint flaked through the dip.

I love it with:
  • Torn chicken
  • As a dip with chopped carrots and cucumber 
  • New potatoes
  • Baby spinach salad  
Provided you keep this refrigerated in an air tight container, it should keep for around four to five days.

I came across this article on the NHS website about the benefits of beetroot, and it's really interesting - there's quite a bit of evidence to suggest it can help lower cholesterol and has also been linked to an improved performance in sports - give it a read and let me know what you think...


Saturday 24 September 2016

Life Lately...

Interior porn... new plants & candles in our new living room 
I haven't ever done one of these types of posts before, namely because I've usually been lucky enough to be able to fit blogging into my normal schedule. However, over the past eight weeks or so, life has been a little mad, and I haven't been able to work on my blog as much as I'd have liked to - but that's because some amazing things have happened recently that have taken over. BUT, I'm back, and there are some really, truly great things I've got planned on here - so watch this space!

So what's been going on?

Well firstly, I got a new job!

New routines 

You know what it's like when you start a new job, your brain is fried for the first few weeks taking everything in and in some cases you have to adjust routines which is what I've been doing.

I'm working on some incredible projects at the moment that are really igniting a big passion of mine and I feel really lucky to be working where I am.

Home sweet home...

Secondly, we decided to do a 'bit' of DIY on the house which turned into a pretty mammoth series of tasks... including two 100 year old fire places being knocked through and a complete repaint of the whole downstairs, stairway, hall and landing. We lived in the house whilst this was going on, which meant that for a few weeks our lives were surrounded by dust sheets, rubble and thick, black dust. That dust gets everywhere, I swear.

Because we didn't move out whilst this was going on, it meant our little space was turned on its head, with armchairs and shoe racks in the bathroom and having to eat in the bedroom.

All the painting and redecorating and getting stuff back to normal was done after work and on the (rare) weekends where we didn't have any plans, so it took longer than expected.

Most of it's all done now, and I can't tell you how pleased I am to be sat writing this on my sofa without a dust sheet!

Vitamin Sea

Also.... In August/early September I was away in Portugal for just over two weeks, so naturally, blogging took a back seat (there was sun to be soaked up and gin to drink). It was so nice to go away with all my family and just chill. We ate so much good food both in restaurants in just sat out in the sun on our patio. I missioned it on a few sweaty runs on the beach and hilly sessions around our villa. I also read loads, and have managed to keep this up since coming back which I'm proud of, as it's something that nearly always falls by the wayside, but I think it's so important to take ten, fifteen, twenty minutes for yourself and lose yourself in a good book. I find it helps me go to sleep too so I've been reading before bed.

So, anyway, that's a little life update on where I've been at over the past few weeks and keep your eyes peeled for lots more; I've got a load up my sleeve!

Franks xx

Thursday 1 September 2016

Sunday Roast @ Saison, West Disbury

When I left university and waved goodbye to my student house, Didsbury became home. West Didsbury to be precise. It was the first place outside of Bristol that felt homely and comforting and like the sort of place I would like to live.

I must've liked it, as I lived there for three years and am still a huge advocate of everything it has to offer - Burton Road, the river, the cafes, independent shops and restaurants that keep popping up, I love it!

One restaurant I was particularly intrigued by was Saison, having known it as the Violet Hour when I lived there. Anyway, they got in touch with me via a group on Facebook and asked if I'd like to come down and give them a try - and I jumped at the chance to get back on Burton Road!

It was the day after we'd got back from Portugal and although it was still (surprisingly) warm in Manchester, we were both craving something really hearty and homely, so roast dinner it was.

BUT before we tucked into roasts, we ordered drinks & went to town on the starter menu.

We shared two dishes - the five spice chicken lollipops with a hoisin glaze, and the Didsbury eggs.

I was a little nervous about getting the chicken dish as anything meaty described as a lollipop doesn't quite sit right with me but oh my god these were delicious: just look at the detail in the picture above! The meat was so tender and the sauce was a perfect addition.

The Didsbury eggs were phenomenal; I'm partial to a Scotch egg most of the time but these were fab - crunchy on the outer edge, with a soft black pudding sausage middle, wrapped around a boiled quail's egg, with a runny yolk - ideal!

After some lovely rioja and beer for James, our roasts arrived. I went for chicken, and James went for beef. The beef is cooked medium rare and both come with Saison's 'signature stuffing' So so good.

You also get a heap of seasonal veg, crispy on the outside / fluffy on the inside potatoes, and a huge Yorkshire pudding. Oh and an insane red wine gravy.

Now, I love holiday food as much as the next person (fresh seafood, abundance of bright fruit & veg etc), but it was so lovely after a week of eating this to tuck into a warming, wholesome roast; I was craving it massively.

We definitely didn't need pudding, but when we saw the specials board mention a chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice-cream and raspberries, we had it have it.

We dove right in and finished it in minutes (there's always room for dessert!). My favourite bit was the gooey layer on top of the cake, mixed with a spoonful of ice-cream. It was delicious. The perfect way to round off a roast!

We sat in the window and watched Burton Road bustle away; it was a great way to see of a Sunday. The atmosphere in Saison is soo chilled and relaxing, I'd absolutely recommend going for a roast, or a cosy drink in the window. Thanks for having me, Saison!

*Saison very kindly paid for my food. I paid for my drinks. All opinions are genuine and have not been influenced by their generosity - they really do do great roasts!
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