I've been super busy lately due to moving this month and popping home to catch up with family and friends. In between the madness, my best friend and I hopped on a plane and had a few days off in sunny Spain. While we planned to spend most of our time in Salou soaking up some rays by the pool or on the beach, cocktails in hand, after a couple of lazy days we couldn't resist the opportunity to get the train to Barcelona before flying home.
After figuring out the public transport and stocking up on hay fever tablets (I love Spain but it turns out it doesn't like me!), we arrived in Barcelona, ready to explore.
As we only had a few hours there and were oblivious to what was actually in the city, we wandered around narrow streets, getting distracted by each new one until we'd completely lost all sense of direction.
In need of refreshment we drifted through the market, in awe at the mountains of large colourful fruits, before deciding on passion fruit ice cream to head back into the sunshine with.
We didn't get chance to check out many of the sights of Barcelona, but I loved what I saw of the city and will definitely have to come back to discover more of it's hidden shops and try out lots more food!
Hope you're having a lovely summer!
Saturday, 14 July 2012
Being back in Plymouth for a few days while flat hunting, after not being here for over a year, would be a crime if we hadn't treated ourselves to a meal here. One of my favourite restaurants, the Bar and Grill is located down in the Barbican, the historic, quaint part of Plymouth next to the sea, and a bustling hotspot for food, drink and music. I fell in love with the tourist frequented part of Plymouth from my first visit. While my feelings for the rest of the city have waxed and waned during my first two years of university, the Barbican reminds me why I originally chose to move to Plymouth.
The Bar and Grill is slightly apart from the rows of restaurants and bars that line the length of the Barbican, next to the harbour. Inside awaits two floors - the main bar downstairs with tables and sofas, and a corner allocated to the night's music act. In the evening the upstairs is opened, extending the restaurant capacity.
The wood-panelled walls are adorned with photographs of blues legends - Billie Holiday, Robert Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughan - complementary to the choice of music. There are also live acts playing most evenings, including regulars such as Vince Lee and Al Wallis (a.k.a The Wildcards), Jill Cole and Thomas Ford. My fiancé, having a huge love for blues music, is in heaven in this place, and being introduced to local musicians is definitely a highlight of living in Plymouth.
And now onto the most important part. The food is, quite simply, amazing. Everything I've tried here has never failed to impress (and believe me, that's a fair few meals). Lots of the dishes are American inspired (think Cajun spices and Tex Mex sides) and there is plenty to choose from - pasta dishes including huge homemade meatballs; nachos smothered in salsa, sour cream and guacamole; and seafood dishes making the most of the restaurant's fantastic location.
But the must-try part of the menu is the burgers.
Juicy, thick homemade burgers chargrilled to give an incredible smokey taste, served in buns with chips and quite possibly the best coleslaw I've ever had. And if that wasn't enough the burgers come with a variety of toppings to choose from.
On this occassion, Tom went for the bacon, cheese and barbecue burger.
I opted for a burger topped with a generous helping of perfectly spiced chilli and sour cream.
Much needed and appreciated after a day trawling through Plymouth looking for our new home for the year!
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
So this is now officially my summer holiday, and I have time off since finishing placement last Friday. Well, if flat hunting subsequently followed by moving, writing my placement report and starting my dissertation work, as well as trying to get as much overtime at work as possible can be considered time off. But let's be honest, I'd be bored otherwise.
I thought I'd share a recipe I discovered a while back now and have made many times since - it's so easy as it's all made in one pan, can be as filling or as light as you like depending on what you have with it, and it's versatile as to what herbs/spices you fancy throwing in there. And it's vegetarian, so great for sharing amongst a group.
The main ingredients are eggs, peppers, onions and a tin of tomatoes - I tend to have these in anyway as usually they're the base of almost everything I eat (also on my summer to-do list: try out new foodie things!). Add in a sprinkle of oregano, some paprika, chilli powder, parmesan - whatever you have to hand or are in the mood for. To satisfy meat cravings, fry some bacon pieces or a couple of sausages (skins removed and meat chopped) along with the onions. Chorizo would also be brilliant in this.
If you're hungry, serve on top of a plate of pasta with garlic bread on the side. To enjoy it for lunch or as a lighter meal, make some couscous and salad to go with it. This would also make a good brunch with some warm, crusty bread.