Saturday, December 24, 2011

Monday Hyde park run at Garmin Connect - Details


Testing out the upload from my lovely Garmin watch to the bloggy blog.

What do you think, not bad eh ? This is one of my favourite runs, which I only do on a Monday lunchtime with my BB, so it's special. Ah....

Monday Hyde park run by kookygirluk at Garmin Connect - Details

Merry Christmas everyone, I'll be out there running off that big dinner on the 26th! :o)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Kai Mayfair

Despite having all (well, most) of the Christmas shopping done and wrapped, I can still feel Christmas fatigue setting in.

However, let's move on to one of the nicer aspects of Christmas today, the office lunch. We went to a restaurant called 'Kai' in Mayfair, London. It has one Michelin star and serves Chinese cuisine. I guess you would call it 'fine dining'. We went for the tasting menu, with a choice of starter, main and desert with a variety of 'amuse bouches' on the way through. Here's what I had.

1) Miso broth - A lovely heady, fragrant broth flavoured with soy and laced with tiny cubes of silken tofu. It was lovely.

2) Starter - pork and prawn wanton. This was dropped with chilli oil from a pipette at the table. It was nice and spicy and it came in a little concentrated jus which had spring onions and chilli in it.  The jus was also poured at the table, as I recall. It was a little spicy, but very yummy.

3) A palate cleanser of a little pineapple granita with popping candy(?). Lovely.

4) Main - 5-hour roasted pork belly - this was served with rice. The pork came in a lovely sauce and had an almost jelly-like, melt-in-the-mouth layer of fat. I usually abhor fat layers on meat, but I ate this. It tasted sublime. The pork itself was really like any pulled pork that you might have done yourself. I know I cook belly pork for hours at a time in soy, honey, spring onions, chinese 5 spice, for a not totally dissimilar effect. Other than that fat layer, of course. Who knows how they do that ... ???

5) Desert - Chocolate and peanuts 'done 5 ways'. Actually, this was something of a layer cake, each layer made up of various variations of chocolate and peanuts. There was some more popping candy in there too. I love that stuff! I could defnitely have eaten more of this.

6) A little selection of chef's chocolates, or petit fours, were brought to the table for our tasting pleasure. I tried another chocolate/peanut combo and also a chocolate fudge. My lunching friends also tried passion fruit marshmallow, and something with raspberry. They all looked delicious.

We paid an additional £12.00, on top of the £35 for the food, for 3 small glasses of wine which were matched to the threee main courses, respectively.

Next time, I will definintely go 'a la carte' to try specific items from the menu, but the taster menu was the perfect introduction today. I would definitely recommend this for a lazy, indulgent, yet still light lunch.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Easy Christmas Entertaining

It's only a couple of weeks before Christmas, so it's time to bring on the Christmas Entertaining.

Kicking off this weekend, we have my parents, sister, brother-in-law and my little niece and nephew along for the day on Saturday. They have a three hour car journey each way, so by the time they arrive, they will be hungry and thirsty. Of course Christmas entertaining is all about the food isn't it ?

Trouble is, I don't really feel much like cooking this weekend (Oops!), but that's only because I feel like I'm coming down with  a cold or something. My body feels exhausted and drained. But then I was thinking that I have a couple of options which don't require a lot of work.. Here's option 1:

Option 1 - Roast

Roast a great big chicken, chuck in some roast potatoes and parsnips, serve with some carrots and brussel sprouts, with some stuffing and bread sauce on the side. That's just like a Sunday roast, no ? Other than the chopping and peeling, there's really not a lot to it? It doesn't need a nursemaid to stand and stir it or watch it, so I will be able to get on with chilling with my family. We will be six adults and 2 children, so that's not massive numbers to cater for. This is also the less expensive option. Desert will be Apple pie (courtesy of Costco) served with custard, cream or ice-cream. Yumlish!

I quite like this because we can all sit round the table and serve ourselves and pull a Christmas cracker. It will be quite convivial and fun, and well, like a Christmas meal.

Option 2 - Buffet

There's not a lot of work involved in this one either really... but, to me a buffet is something you have later in the day after you have eaten something warm, and not then main foodie event.... but if I go that route this is what I will serve

Roast chicken
Prawns with dip
Warm Pesto pasta with bacon
Mixed salad
French bread
Nibbles - Sausage Rolls/Onion bhaji

Desert will be the same. apple pie with various accompaniments

Which one would you choose??

An Update

In the end I served Roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, Roast potatoes, Roast parsnips, carrots, sprouts, sage and onion stuffing and beef gravy. It was really yum, and went down really well with all the family. I made my easy tiramisu for desert, or there was apple pie and cream.

I took the easy way out on Sunday and baked some pizza and garlic bread and then freshened things up with a big bowl of salad and salad dressing. We also had some chicken goujons, and stuffed, breaded mozarella sticks. It was perfect for the occasion.

Next week...

One more set of entertaining next week when my friend travels down with her hubby, 3yr old female twins and 14 yr old son. Of course, there will be myself BB and CC. What to cook that will suit us all and still give us time to chat and chill out. They will have driven for a few hours so will need a good feast before they hit the road again...

Suggestions anyone ??

Monday, December 5, 2011

Non Such Park Run

I'm on the search to better my recent 5K PB of 25:41 which  I achieved a couple of weeks ago in Banstead park run. Banstead's rather a hilly course, so I'm seriously hoping I can break the 25 minute mark, enter then 24:?? and give myself a new challenge... and of course work my way up the finisher's list. I have been told that Non such is nice and flat, so I have added that to my 'to do' list for this weekend.

I have just had a lovely 40 minute run in today's chilly weather. It was really nice to get out there instead of succumbing to the ironing pile and a cuppa. not forgetting the warmth of the indoors. I donned  a hat and gloves, but I didn't really need then. I say that now of course, had I not worn them I probably wouldn't be able to type!

On the subject of running, I am currently on the look out for some new race goals. So if any of my running friends know of a good 10K, half marathon or marathon that they would recommend then drop me a comment and let me know. Maybe we could go together ?