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Restaurant Review – The Milk Churn

A couple of weekends ago, we fancied trying a new place for lunch so I booked us a table at this Hall and Woodhouse pub. Part of the Badger Brewery chain, Ian loves their ales and, although their menu isn’t exactly fine dining, it offers really good pub grub.

I can’t say the pub itself is in the nicest setting but The Milk Churn is housed in a gorgeous building which has a converted barn feel to it.

We started off with a couple of their ales – I love ‘Golden Glory’ which is a light ale with a peach flavour and reminds me of summer holidays camping in Dorset!

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For my lunch, I ordered a Buffalo Chicken Burger which was coated in Frank’s hot wing sauce and served with a blue cheese mayo. This reminded me so much of the chicken wings we enjoyed in America and although the bun fell apart a bit, the chips were really good!

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Ian opted for a Fish Dog which is basically a hot dog with beer-battered cod goujons in place of a sausage, with mushy peas and tartare sauce. It may sound a bit strange but it really worked and reminded me of a slightly fancier fish-finger sandwich (one of my favourite comfort-food lunches!)

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We also shared some hot wings which were a little on the small and dry side for me.

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I always save some room for a pudding and The Milk Churn offer ‘mini puds’ which I think is a great idea if you are torn between two desserts! I ordered a mini toffee cheesecake and a mini chocolate pot.

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The cheesecake was OK but the ratio between the toffee sauce, biscuit and cream were a little off. My favourite by far was the chocolate pot which had a rich dark chocolate mousse topped with vanilla panna cotta. This was a perfect combination and I could have eaten two or three of them!

We had a lovely lunch here at The Milk Churn. I probably wouldn’t come back here for an evening meal as it has a bit of a ‘chain’ feel to it and I much prefer a local, country pub but it was a great lunch venue and we are big fans of the ales served here.

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Recipe – Chicken, Courgette and Cranberry Couscous Salad

Anyone else love a bit of alliteration?!

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I’ve only been back to work for a few weeks and I am already craving more variety for my lunches. This salad is really tasty and one I will be making a big bowl of in the coming weeks. I love giant couscous but this would work just as well with the normal variety as well as quinoa.

I have purposely left the ingredients fairly vague as it is a real ‘throw-it-in-as-you-go’ recipe and if I made it again I’m sure I would find something else in my fridge to add!

Ingredients

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3 courgettes, sliced

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded

A small jar of black olives, halved

A handful of cranberries or pomegranate seeds

Half a block of feta, cubed

Fresh coriander

A couple of radishes, chopped

Four servings of giant couscous (or other grain)

How to make it

  • Begin by lightly frying the courgettes in oil until they have started to soften then allow to cool

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  • In a large bowl, add the courgettes, chicken and black olives and season well

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  • Next, add the cranberries, feta, radishes and coriander and mix well

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  • Add the couscous and serve with hummus and flatbreads

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Recipe – The Best Ever Sandwich!

You may wonder why something as simple as a sandwich has made it onto a recipe page but this lunch was so good I felt I had to share!

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Ingredients

A glug of olive oil

1 chicken breast

1 teaspoon of honey

2 slices of bread, toasted

Mayonnaise

One ripe avocado

Salt and pepper

A pinch of paprika

A pinch of chili flakes

Salad leaves

2-3 cherry tomatoes, sliced

A handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

How to make it

  • In a frying pan on a medium heat, gently fry your chicken breast in the oil until cooked through
  • Drizzle over the honey and allow to slightly brown before removing to cool then slicing
  • Take your toasted bread and spread one slice with mayonnaise
  • On the other slice, crush the avocado and season with salt and pepper than add the paprika and chili flakes
  • On top of the mayonnaise, add the salad leaves
  • On top of the avocado, add the sliced tomatoes and chopped coriander

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  • Lay on your chicken pieces

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  • Carefully put your two pieces of bread together and enjoy! x

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Recipe – Coca Cola Chicken

After indulging in chicken wings on an almost daily basis whilst in America, I was craving chicken again so had a play around with this recipe. I call it Coca Cola chicken but it is akin to a very mild, sweet barbecue sauce and one that makes the meat almost fall off the bones. You can make this with drumsticks, wings or even thighs.

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Ingredients

A glug of olive oil

9 chicken drumsticks

One can of Coke (I used Diet Coke)

One tin of chopped tomatoes

One teaspoon of wholegrain mustard

Salt and pepper

Some fresh coriander

How to make it

  • In a large pan, add the oil and chicken and brown for a few minutes on each side on a medium heat
  • Pour over your can of Coke, bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and mustard, season well and stir
  • Lower the heat slightly and allow to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring regularly, until the sauce has reduced and thickened

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  • Remove the chicken legs and scoop up the rest of the sauce
  • Serve warm with some fresh coriander and my Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

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Sunday Catch-up #32

This week I have been…

Making: pie!

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Going: to watch Bristol City play with my bestie

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Wearing: my new winter boots…in August!

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Eating: one of my Spanish omelettes

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Drinking: this Earl Grey Tea Latte

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Reading: To Kill a Mockingbird

Watching: Jurassic World (for the second time!)

Buying: lots of fruit and veg

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Planning: on making the most of my last week off

Cooking: a new Coca Cola chicken recipe

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Baking: white chocolate and chai tea bread

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Writing: my holiday posts and reminiscing

Favouriting: the Dismaland website, then we decided to just try our luck queuing up and we had the best day here!

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Working on: the three essays I need to do

Trying to decide: who my favourite is on GBBO…Tamal maybe?

Wishing: for a few more weeks of light nights and pink sunsets

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Enjoying: our new lawn

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Needing: to remember the words on my new mug (thanks Lu!)

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Feeling: strangely happy at the thought of going back to work

Giggling at: my lovely colleagues (we had a grown-up sleepover and a lot of sangria!)

Travel Diaries – Washington DC

Washington was our fourth and final stop on our East Coast road trip – you can read Part One and Two of our New York trip and all about Atlantic City and Philadelphia by clicking on the links!

Day Eleven – Thursday 6th August

I couldn’t have left Philadelphia without running up and down the ‘Rocky Steps’ so I dragged myself out of bed early, put on my trainers and ran out to the art museum, up those famous steps, posed for a quick pic with Sly then headed back to our hotel room to pack our bags again.

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We caught a bus to Washington which was fine (it had free wifi!) then taxied it to our hotel – you know it’s going to be an interesting ride when you tell the taxi driver your hotel address and he asks you “Where’s that?”

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We stayed in Hyatt Place and we loved the room. It was a pretty new hotel and had a lovely little lounge area to chill and watch TV and a really modern, cool bathroom. We weren’t that impressed with the area our hotel was in. NoMa is apparently very up and coming but I just don’t think it was quite there yet and although it seemed quite vibrant in the daytime, it didn’t feel the best place to be walking about at night.

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We decided to head out and do some exploring that afternoon so walked down to the Capitol Building (which was stunning but covered in scaffolding!), wandered through the parks, saw the Washington Monument and had a great dinner of prawn, crab and lobster rolls – yum!

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Day Twelve – Friday 7th August

After breakfast at the hotel, where I tried my first ever ‘biscuits and gravy’, we spent the morning at the Newseum, a museum dedicated to the media. Outside, there is the front page of every main US State’s newspaper as well as some from the UK, Spain, Brazil, China, France and so on.

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This was a fascinating museum and there was such a good variety of exhibits including the Berlin Wall, the history of comic strips in newspaper, a huge archive of the most important headlines over the past two hundred years, a September 11th exhibition, the challenges journalists face in different parts of the world, the dogs of the White House (loved this one!), the Washington Nationals and my favourite which was all about the Vietnam War and the influence the media had on changing public support for it. There was also a section where you could record yourself as a news anchor on screen which was really fun! This was probably my favourite museum of the whole trip (OK, maybe joint favourite with Ellis Island in New York and the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia!)

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We refuelled with some chicken wings and pizza before a wander through the Sculpture Garden on our way to the Museum of American History. On paper this place looked cool but it was very much aimed at a younger audience so we only did a couple of exhibitions…obviously the one including food and a visit to Julia Child’s kitchen!

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That evening we caught the metro over to the Nationals Park to watch a baseball game. This was so much fun especially the firework display at the end of the game.

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Day Thirteen – Saturday 8th August

After a few days in Washington DC, we started to realise how huge and spread out it was so in order to cover it all and not add to our blister count, we bought tickets for another hop-on/ hop-off tour bus. Whilst it wasn’t as good as the Philadelphia one as it was a recording and felt a lot less personal, it did take us everywhere and also to places and memorials we probably wouldn’t have gone otherwise such as Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon which are over the water in Virginia.

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Lunch was my first ever Shake Shack and was as good as I had hoped! That afternoon we visited the Vietnam and Lincoln memorials before heading to Chinatown for happy hour cocktails and an amazing Mexican meal where our waiter made our guacamole at our table…I grilled him for his recipe!

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Day Fourteen – Sunday 9th August

Our last full day in America! It was Liverpool’s first match of the new season and I read about a Liverpool supporters’ bar not too far away from us. We spent the morning there and it was such a good atmosphere and a chance to chat with some locals too. We left a bit tipsy and realised it was still only about midday!

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That afternoon we went to Georgetown, one of the oldest parts of Washington and one I’d heard was a bit less touristy and cool. I loved it here and wish we could have spent longer wandering around the shops and trying out the bakeries and bars. We had a really nice lunch here (ribs!) before hitting Sephora where I got so excited running up the stairs that I tripped and fell! I was so embarrassed and ended up overspending to hide my shame – like in that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie falls over in Dior and ends up buying loads to make up for it!

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We spent our final night packing, eating doughnuts and watching Sons of Anarchy and I also cracked open my new Essie polish to try out!

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Luckily our flights home were a lot less stressful than when we left the UK, although I suffered with horrendous jet lag for the next few days and was a bit zombie-like most afternoons!

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So that is the end of this ‘Travel Diaries’ series. I think you can probably tell we had an absolutely incredible couple of weeks and I feel a bit lost now I don’t have something to spend my spare time planning for…I may have to get our next trip booked soon! x

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Sunday Catch-up #31 (US Edition)

This is my first Sunday Catch-up since our holiday and I was going to fill you in on what I’ve been up to this week but then realised I could sum it up in a few words – jet lag, naps, running, unpacking, laundry. Done.

Seeing as I missed a couple of weeks of this feature, I thought it would be much more fun to do a version based on our holibobs!

This fortnight I have been…

Making: the most out of every day

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Going: running in Central Park

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Wearing: my playsuit

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Eating: a ridiculous amount of chicken wings (buffalo, medium spice, blue cheese dip)

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Drinking: some amazing craft beers

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Reading: To Kill a Mockingbird

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Watching: the Washington Nationals

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Buying: a lot in Sephora

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Planning: as much as we can fit into each day

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Cooking: nothing

Baking: ditto

Writing: in my diary each evening

Favouriting: the Trip Advisor app – so handy when you’re away and don’t always have wifi

Working on: my tan

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Trying to decide: which shoes will give me the least amount of blisters each day (we did A LOT of walking and my poor feet suffered!)

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Wishing: this trip never ends

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Enjoying: exploring new places

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Needing: to fit all our new purchases in our cases

Feeling: like my thirties will be awesome

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Giggling at: Ian being flipped upside down in a particularly big wave!

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