Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Monty's, Plymouth

Watching Pulp Fiction always makes me crave breakfast. Towards the end of the film, when John Travolta is tucking into a huge plate of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup = instant craving for my own plate of sticky fluffy pancakes topped with crispy bacon. Ok, so I'll admit that's probably a bit weird, and not the reason why I love Pulp Fiction (if you have yet to get round to watching this film, do it!).

I've always found American-style breakfasts a bit strange, and I couldn't understand what the attraction was of putting bacon on to one of the sweetest breakfast dishes you can get. So obviously I had to try it.

I first popped into Monty's for just a quick coffee break while out and about in the Barbican during my first couple of years studying in Plymouth, and checked out the menu while I was there to see if it looked good to revisit. Monty's is a modern cafe serving breakfasts and lunch all day, along with a selection of drinks and cakes. And among the numerous tempting breakfast options they also offer pancakes, bacon and syrup - I had finally found somewhere I could try the dish that had intrigued me for so long. I dragged Tom back a few days later and we indulged in an amazing, beautifully presented breakfast. I must admit pancakes with bacon is pretty damn good, and I'm slowly coming round to the whole mixing sweet and savoury thing.

We started off last weekend trying out some of the other options on the menu.

I had a bagel topped with bacon, cheese and poached eggs. The bagel was soft with a lovely toasted crunch, perfect for soaking up the runny yolk oozing out of the fluffy eggs.

Tom had the breakfast bap, a huge floury cob encasing thick rashers of bacon, sausages and mushrooms.

Monty's is great if you want something a bit different from fish and chips or pasties that are everywhere around the Barbican, either for a coffee and cake break while exploring or a tasty lunch somewhere more modern and distinct.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

"Hey Puddin'!"

So, obviously Batman is one of the best super heroes (in my eyes anyway) - what with his awesome fighting skills and fancy gadgets, plus that brooding dark side - but I think it's safe to say that one of the things that really makes Batman so good is the fact that the villains are bloody brilliant. I first properly got into Batman when I saw The Dark Knight, and it goes without saying that the Joker is the star of the film. My boyfriend and I got obsessed with playing Arkham Asylum when it came out (I'm still working my way through Arkham City - damn real life getting in the way of important things!). The Joker is once again the main bad guy, but due to the games being a bit more in line with the comics his sidekick girlfriend, Harley Quinn, also has a substantial role. And ever since I started playing I have been in love with the crazy, quirky and lovable character that is Harley.

Harley Quinn in the animated series and her makeover for the Arkham Asylum game

Her background of falling in love with the Joker while analysing him at Arkham, inspiring her change from the psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel to the insane criminal Harley Quinn complete with jester outfit, is probably a big part of why I think she's one of the best characters in Batman. Don't all wannabe forensic psychologists dream of having their heart stolen by a sociopathic criminal?! (Just me? Ok...)

Harley's naivete regarding her relationship with the Joker and quirky comments adds humour to the games, which are otherwise quite dark like Christopher Nolan's interpretation of the films. Plus who doesn't love a badass female who can handle a gun but simultaneously just wants to spend time with her Puddin'? 

This is my awesome necklace I got from Geekropology on Etsy the other day and I love it. What with Halloween coming up it's made me really want to put together a Harley Quinn outfit, complete with my boyfriend as the Joker. We've dressed up as Batman and Batgirl for a party previously, but I think this pairing would be even more fun. I think I'd go more for her look in Arkham Asylum - the outfit below would be perfect! Arkham Asylum Harley Quinn costume

One of these eye makeup looks would be great too if I didn't feel like wearing a face caked in makeup or a mask.

Are there any characters you also have a bit of a geeky obsession with?  What outfits are you planning to put together for Halloween?

*All photos apart from the necklace were found on google and are not mine*

Thursday, 18 October 2012

'Sink the teeth and bat your eyes..'

Just a quick post before I get back to uni work, so much to do but hopefully I should be able to start running my experiment for my dissertation project from next week, so it's pretty fun at the moment. On placement I got to administer neuropsychological tests to patients most days and I really miss it, so it'll be nice to get back into something similar for a bit but this time working with students instead. Bit evil but it's so much nicer when you're in the experimenter chair and not the one being tested!

I'm also getting really excited for the new Deftones album, 'Koi No Yokan', released November 13th. These guys have been one of my favourite bands for so long now, since I was like 13 or 14, and their new stuff just seems to carry on getting better. I listened to the first 30 seconds of the new song 'Tempest' and had already fallen in love with it. Go to their website to check out the first couple of songs from the album, 'Tempest' and 'Leathers', or click on the video above for the audio for Tempest.

And before the last of the warmth and sun disappear into Winter, I whipped up a Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake for friends yesterday. (Excuse the wonky photo above though - was in a rush to tuck in!) I probably shouldn't have - this cheesecake is so deliciously fresh and light tasting that it doesn't feel like I'm eating dessert at all, so 'yes' to another slice seems like I'm almost making a healthy decision. Despite the fresh lemon and dairy from the ricotta and yoghurt, I realise the biscuits, butter and sugar probably aren't gonna feel so good in the long run. But hey, hard work equals more cake, right?

Monday, 8 October 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

It's one of those times where I wish I didn't need to sleep so much; I have so much to do and the days just aren't feeling long enough. As it gets colder I feel even more like burying myself in oversized jumpers and getting comfy in front of the tv with a big mug of tea - however my degree is kinda of getting in the way of those plans. It's final year though and amazingly I have been really enjoying uni so far, so I have no choice but to just get on with it. 

Of course this means making sure I'm full of delicious hot food full of healthy veg (especially because of all the bugs going around recently!). Which brings me onto the recipe below. 

I always want to try and learn how to make my favourite dishes. This has meant delving into numerous cookbooks in search of a sweet and sour recipe that I can shut my eyes and just for a moment maybe think I got this from a takeaway or restaurant. 

I think I'm there with this.

Obviously it had to be easy (and student budget friendly!) to put together. This uses mainly storecupboard ingredients with just a couple of fresh vegetables and chicken thrown in, so whenever I fancy this it's not long before I'm sat down in front of a fluffy pile of rice topped with steaming hot sauce.

Cheap, easy and healthy! And most importantly, warm and filling enough to get me through the ever-accumulating book chapters and journal articles that keep piling up!

Feel free to swap the chicken for pork, or extra vegetables can be easily added for a veggie version. This also goes well mixed in with some cooked noodles and served with chinese nibbles on the side.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken
This sweet, mildly spicy sauce is quick and easy to make and full of delicious flavours, and goes perfectly with either chicken or pork. 

Serves 2


  • Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Small piece of ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp chilli sauce
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1-2 chicken breasts, cut into equal sized pieces
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 432g tin of pineapple rings in juice, rings chopped into eighths and juice reserved
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 heaped tsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1 level tsp cornflour (optional)
  • Boiled rice or egg fried rice, to serve


  1. Heat oil in a wok. Add garlic, ginger, chilli sauce and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. 
  2. Add the chicken and a couple of tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice to the wok, and cook through. 
  3. Add the pepper and pineapple pieces and continue cooking for a further 2 minutes or so.
  4. While the pepper and pineapple is cooking, make the sauce. Add the soy sauce, tomato puree, 5 spice and the rest of the pineapple juice to a bowl. Stir until evenly mixed. 
  5. Add the sauce to the wok and let it bubble for a few minutes until thickened. If necessary, add a teaspoon of cornflour and heat through until the sauce is thickened to your liking. 
  6. Serve over plain or egg fried rice.
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