Monday, 31 January 2011

LANCASHIRE

I'm in the Lake District, after having a wonderful weekend hosting Laura in Bristol. We drove to Lancaster last night and dropped Laura off at her University and met up with the Morrison's for some quality catch up time. Ailsa made reservations at The Borough, an old Georgian building that has been everything from the Mayor's residence to a working men's club. I loved the quirky rooms. Great for cozy conversation with a dark ale, northern cider or a bottle of wine. Though, we missed out on their legendary Sunday lunch, we still enjoyed the Lancashire menu specials.

Friday, 28 January 2011

BRISTOL VISITOR

My Canadian 10km running room partner Laura is in Bristol for the weekend. We are looking forward to showing her around tomorrow after a killer game of Monopoly. Connor ruled the board, he just may be the next Donald Trump! Have a great weekend. xoxo






Thursday, 27 January 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AILSA

The perfect pot of tea for my awesome friend Ailsa! 1 bag per person plus and extra one for the pot. ;) Happy 31st xoxo

THE SHOE GALLERIES

I went to Selfridges to pick up some sexy tights for the cocktail party and stopped in The Shoe Galleries. Selfridges is such a FUN store! I spent a lot of time on Oxford street enjoying the London post season sales!

WELLY WEDNESDAY

Joules has some fabulous wellies but this design is one of my favourites! The Pillar box red is just like my Hunter wedding wellies. Beautiful!


ADELE 21

I bought Adele's new album 21 and I love it. Here is a preview, let me know what you think. Want to hear more of her? I bought my album from Itunes for £7.99 xoxo



Monday, 24 January 2011

LEGALLY BLONDE

We booked tickets to see Legally Blonde tonight. I've seen this production on Broadway and loved it! I am so looking forward to seeing it in the West End. I've been hearing great things about Denise Van Outen as Paulette. Happy Monday xoxo

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Monday, 17 January 2011

BLUE MONDAY

Today Jan 17, 2011 is meant to be the most depressing day of the year "Blue Monday" (also know as Black Monday) This date allegedly falls on the Monday of the last full week of January. This is figured out by weather, dept, time after Christmas, time since failing our new year's resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of need to take action.


I don't know about you, but I had an amazing and productive day. I went to the gym, cleaned up the dead leaves in the back garden and got some house work done. Hmm, maybe because I've been out of the country since Christmas it feels like I'm still in the first week of January? Which would make my most depressing day of the year February 7, 2011 in 3 weeks. Ha!

JAMIE'S TURKEY AND SWEET LEEK PIE

At Christmas time we watch Jamie Oliver's Christmas special. He had so many great recipes and we drooled through the show. Steve tried out this one last night but replaced the turkey with the roast chicken we had made on Saturday. It was too delicious not to share. Leave me a comment if you try it out please... xo


Ingredients


2 rashers smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped

½ bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked

Olive oil

A large knob of butter

2kg leeks, washed, trimmed; white end chopped into chunks, green end finely sliced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

800g cooked white turkey meat, torn into big chunks (brown too if you want)

2 heaped tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting

2 pints turkey, chicken or vegetable stock

2 tbsp of creme fraiche

1 x 500g packet puff pastry

12 jarred or vac-packed chestnuts, roasted and peeled

2 sprigs fresh sage, leaves picked

1 egg, preferably free-range or organic, beaten

METHOD

How to make Jamie's turkey and sweet leek pie

1. Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Put your bacon in a large pan on a medium heat and add your thyme leaves. Add a lug of olive oil and the butter and let it all fry off a few minutes. Add all of your prepped leeks and fry them off for about 3 minutes so they are well-coated in the butter. Add a pinch of salt and pepper then pop the lid on top, turn the heat down to medium and let them cook away gently for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure they don't catch. There's going to be enough moisture in the leeks to keep them happy in the pan so they should be soft and melt in your mouth once they're done.

2. When your leeks are ready, add the turkey meat to them and stir. If you've got a bit of stuffing mixed in there you can put that in too. Add the flour, mix it in well then pour in your stock and stir again. Add the crème fraîche then turn the heat up and bring everything back up to the boil. Have a taste and add a bit more salt and pepper if it needs it then turn the heat off. Pour the mixture through a sieve over another large empty pan and let the wonderful gravy from the mixture drip into the pan while you roll out your pastry.

3. Get a deep baking dish roughly 22 x 30cm. Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with a bit of flour and roll your pastry out so it's about double the size of your dish. Crumble the chestnuts over one half of the pastry then tear a few of the sage leaves over the chestnuts. Fold the other half of pastry on top then roll it out carefully and evenly so you have a rectangle big enough to cover your baking tray. Don't worry if a few bits stick out here and there.

4. Spoon that thick leek mixture from your sieve into the pie dish and spread it out evenly. Lay your pastry on top, tuck the ends under then gently score the pastry diagonally with your knife. Add a pinch of salt to your beaten egg then paint this egg wash over the top of your pastry. Pop your pie in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown. When the pie is ready, re-heat the lovely gravy and serve with your pie, along with some peas tossed in butter, lemon, salt and pepper and everyone's happy!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

WELL DONE WINTERSLEEP

I have blogged about the band Wintersleep a few times and I'm glad to hear they have been doing so well. After seeing them in Halifax and again in Glasgow I was excited to see they performed on Letterman.
Another Nova Scotia gem!

OVAL

I have been hearing great things about skating at the Oval, located in my old stomping grounds, Halifax, N.S., so I did some reasearch. It's making me miss home; I used to live minutes from The Halifax Commons and this is fitness I could definitely see myself doing every evening. I have huge envy for all those Haligonians enjoying this masterpiece. The skate rentals are free and they even offer free lessons!! What an awesome way to get the community out using the Halifax Commons this winter and also to draw up interest in the 2011 Canada games this February.

OLD FAITHFUL

My computer has finally kicked the bucket. I've been through a lot with my Dell 1501 Inspiron since winning it in a work draw. I have dropped it many times,  left it out on the deck once and it actually crackled when I turned it on! It's lost keys & has some great bumper stickers on it. I am so impressed with my Dell that today when it was time to get a new one I wanted the exact same computer. The only difference, I greedily added color for an extra 20 pounds. I bought a nice sleeve for it with a bartered discount.  I'm excited to get it all set up tonight and Steve will be happy to get his computer back. xoxo

Saturday, 15 January 2011

HEALTHY JANUARY

I just borrowed this great fat free protein shake idea from project husband who's blog I heard about from a neighbor. Lisa has inspired me this year. I'm keen on starting her 21 day challenge although I'll miss wine terribly. I hope you get a chance to check out her blog, I love it!  My sister in law and her husband take a break from alcohol in January which always seems to be when we get together. I think many people detox in January after the hard partying months leading up to Christmas, as well as fulfilling resolutions. Here is to a healthy January! xoxo

Shake Recipe: cottage cheese, blueberries and lots of cinnamon

Thursday, 13 January 2011

LEAVING THE SNOW

We are flying back to Bristol tonight. I'm sad to be leaving Steve's family & the beautiful snow. It's 12 degrees in Bristol which would be nice if it wasn't raining. It's time to get back to life in England. We took down the tree before we left but all of the gifts and ornaments still need to be put away. I will especially miss having Steve's grandmother Chris to hang out with. I've really enjoyed her company this week. I forgot how wonderful it was to have a grandmother and I'm happy to have been able to spend the time with such a special woman. xoxo

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

LYNN'S FRENCH STRAWBERRY PIE

My mother in law made this beautiful pie this morning Steve's grandmother is coming over tonight and we are having Raclette for supper and French Strawberry Pie for dessert. The recipe I've linked isn't Lynn's but close. This will be my first time trying both recipes but surely not my last as both are a favourite in the Gillespie house.

LOVE YOUR FRIENDS

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

LOVE IS...

BIG DADDY'S


































This is my one of my favourite restaurants... Mmmmm Oysters!

MARBEN

We are in Toronto staying with family for a few days. Steve's two sister's live in the West End with their husbands. Last night we checked out Marben Restaurant. Our waiter Taylor let us know that they have an in-house butcher and all the meat is cut fresh.  He suggested we meal-share and with the menu being small and there being six of us, we enjoyed almost everything including both desserts. The girls shared a bottle of Ben Marco Malbec;  a great choice paired with our entrees of venison, cured meat, rib stuffed burgers and gnocchi. It was really great to go out and have a laugh with family and also treat ourselves to a quality meal in Toronto. The ambiance, food and service is top notch. For a second, I wanted to move to Ontario~!

Friday, 7 January 2011

EARLY MORNING JOG

 Whenever I come back to Canada I'm up at 4am for the first week. Steve took me out for a snowy run this morning. We jogged around his neighborhood and he told me stories of growing up here. " I was the crossing guard in grade five at that corner" I was enjoying the sentiment of it while Steve looked around for changes in the neighborhood. Lynn told us a story how the girls across the street were selling lemonade this summer and she ran out to show them an article in the newspaper about her own daughter's having a lemonade stand at the same age, which I thought was awesome. I love that he's lived in the same home almost his entire life and a lot of the neighbors still live here too. I know we won't have that life, ours will be different but I'm glad my husband experienced this and can share the great stories on our visits here. Lynn is dividing the property this year, selling her home and building a house in the back garden. I'm glad I was a part of the memories of this beautiful home and am excited to be a part of it's past and experience the new build. We will be back in September for Brie's wedding and the house will be finished by then. We won't be sleeping in the room my husband grew up in but we will always come back to the same lot.

PS. I've never seen a man shovel a driveway as fast as Steve, he made it look like a sport and when I asked him if he had shoveled it a thousand times, he said "Oh, way more!" xoxo

WEATHER CHANGE

In the last week I've gone from beautiful hot sunny sun dress temperatures to doomy & gloomy rain to shoveling the snowy drive way at the home where my husband grew up. This reminds me of the conditions at the Polar Bear Club in Saint-Sauveur, Quebec.
The Thermotherapy Spa takes you from hot to freezing cold in a therapeutic and relaxing ambiance.

DO THE BEST YOU CAN

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

CANADA BOUND

We emptied our suitcase washed our clothes, put them away and packed our suitcase with winter clothes. We are flying to Canada tomorrow.... I'll be back in a few. xoxo

NEW YEAR PROMISES

 This year I will exercise more and worry about my weight less, be kinder to my family, myself & the Earth. Work on the hobbies I love, use recipes more and travel as much as I can. Find patience and be more decisive.

Tell everyone who has an opinion that I don't like and didn’t ask for to keep it to themselves. ;) xoxo

Monday, 3 January 2011

Feliz Ano Nuevo

We spent New Years Eve day on a beautiful catamaran soaking up the sun, snorkeling & jet skiing. After a yummy dinner, we rang in the New Year in Lanzarote eating 12 grapes for each chime of the clock, wearing new red underwear (to bring good luck) and toasting with cava. I hope everyone has had an enjoyable Holiday Season. I'm looking forward to more great adventures in 2011.. Happy New Year xoxo