A Strong Coffee

Sunday, 7 February 2021

[Ad] Looking Ahead To The Summer Holidays

In collaboration with Hotels.com, but all views are my own

I can safely say that our travel plans for this year have once again changed. When the pandemic hit last year we moved out holiday to Mexico to Easter 2021. Maybe we were being naive at the time, but I think we can now safely say that Mexico is on hold indefinitely. This year a holiday at home or a staycation as some may call it is most likely to be on the cards for us. All our plans will depend on the current government guidelines at the time and no one really knows what they will be.

I am optimistic that this summer we will see some ease of restrictions and hopefully we will manage a few days away, so we can see somewhere different. Top of my list on places to visit is London. I should probably add here, that I live about an hour away from London, but would love to stay for a few nights. Walking around the city can be exhausting and I think a hotel for the evening would take some of the stress away and make it more enjoyable for us as a family.

I don’t really know what to expect. I mean I know what pre pandemic London was like with all its hustle and bustle and tourists. However, I think a stay there this year may be different. But that is not to say that different is not good, it is just likely to mean some booming in advance.
Something we are all used to having to do these days.

So what would l like to do?

I am hoping that by the summer we will see some of the fantastic restaurants in London are able to open their doors. A few years ago we took the boys for afternoon tea at One Aldwych which they loved. So an afternoon tea would be a great choice.

I would like to take the boys to the Tower of London. I haven’t been since I was 14 and have usually stayed away from the tourist attractions like this as they are so crowded in the school holidays. This summer may be a great opportunity to experience it without the usual hoards of tourists.

A few years ago, I went on a RIB down the Thames and absolutely loved it. A tour from the river is so much better than an open top bus. We got to see loads and it is an experience I would love to repeat now the boys are old enough to experience it.

A little further out, I have always fancied Up at the O2. I know they had smaller groups last summer and is something I would like to look into.

I have now accepted that this year will be a little different to the one I had planned. I have accepted that things can change at the drop of a hat. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t plan and get excited about the future. Different can be good.  Have you made any plans yet? Have you got any more recommendations for places to visit in London? I would love some more ideas to get me excited.

Meal Planning Monday

Back to meal planning this week in a hope to try and feel more organised. Since we hit lockdown 3, all I seem to do is think about what food to make and I have to admit it is getting me down. Work has been full on and I have hardly had time to homeschool let alone blog. My keto diet has become more low carb and the pounds have been starting to creep on. I will try and be good-ish for a couple of weeks, and then get back on it. The reason for the wait is that there are another 2 lockdown birthdays in the house and absolutely nothing today except make them revolve around food. We then have half term - hurrah! But yet again nothing to do. But baking is bound to creep in. Hopefully a years worth of hard work wont be undone in a couple of weeks.

So what will be on the menu for this week.

A Sunday Roast complete with keto Yorkshires.  - All the family like these and they are so easy, just whisk 16g arrowroot, 3 eggs and 120ml double cream. Lovely!

Smoked salmon with poached eggs - one of my favourites and so quick and simple.

Lamb meatloaf, on salad for me and in pittas for the rest of the family.

Peking duck salad.

Creamy mustard and sausage pasta - I will substitute the pasta for cauliflower.

Then things so a little downhill for middle mans 11th birthday where we have said that we will go for a takeout McDonalds, KFC and a Pizza Hut!

What have you got planned for this week?


Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Swede Hash Browns

 After having a few weeks of carbs over Christmas, it is back to the low carb lifestyle. One thing I realised over Christmas, is that carbs really do make me feel sluggish. I don't really miss them (except for chips) but I do hate that I have to cook so many different meals. I generally try to adapt meals so that the whole family can eat them, but it always involves cooking carbs for the rest of them.

These swede hash browns taste great and can be used instead potatoes. They can be cooked in a few minutes too which is great if you are in a rush. This recipe should make enough for 4 as a side to a meal.

I used swoodles to make these as they were at their use by date. However, they would also work with grated sweede.

Swede Hash Browns

Swede Hash Browns

  • 1 packet of Swoodles (or 250g of grated swede.)
  • 1 onion finely diced or grated
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Take the packet of swoodles and cut the "noodles" into smaller pieces.
  2. Mix with the grated onion, egg and season with salt and pepper
  3. Add oil to a pan and spoon the mixture in to fry.
  4. Flip over and cook until golden brown.

Looking for some more low carb recipes?

These low carb crackers taste great with cheese.

Low carb cajun chicken cups. These are packed with flavour.

Keto sausage rolls using fat head dough from Diet Doctor.

Cook Blog Share

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Goodbye 2020 - The Year Like No Other

It seems like yesterday that I phoned my husband to ask him if we needed to worry about COVID 19. My sister had called and asked me if she needed to stock up on things. She said everyone in London was panicking and worrying her. My husbands answer was no.

Fast forward a week and I went into Morrison’s. It looked as though it had been looted. Empty shelves everywhere.

A few days later. Lockdown.

I had already panic bought the bearded dragon home from school. Along with purchasing a house for the locusts I had got him. 

And still I was naive, thinking it would just last until the Easter holidays. How wrong could I be?

So, it turns out when it comes to pandemics, I know about as much as the government. The first lockdown wasn’t too bad. Being told we were moving into tier 4: stay at home, this Christmas, was a different matter. 

But I won’t dwell on everything that has gone wrong this year or hasn’t happened. Let’s look back at what was good.

I got to take my biggest boy on Stealth for the first time. His face after was a picture. We had a fun trip to Alton Towers. It is my favourite of the theme parks. I just need the younger two to grow a bit more.

I got to punt. Now that’s much harder than it looks. Clearly I am not an ex Cambridge student. 

I got to have a fleeting visit to see my parents. Now, I can’t wait to be able to visit again and hug them.

I found out we have a hedgehog. I mean It sounded like a man in the garden when I was camping out, but thankfully not.

I became an Auntie to a gorgeous baby girl....puppy. Now I hope 2021 lets me see her for cuddles.

I got to go back to work. Who knew that would make the list!?! It turns out that I really like teaching kids face to face. Remote learning is ok when you have to do it, but it is just not the same.

My quiz knowledge has improved. Well slightly.

So my hopes for next year are that my nearest and dearest stay safe. That’s pretty much it. No resolutions. No list of things we will do. Lets face it, I can just use last years! Goodbye 2020 and please treat us better 2021.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Festive Treats Fit For Santa #CookBlogShare Week 48

It is the 1st of December! Time to get the advent calenders out and officially time for eating lots of delicious festive treats. This weeks round up includes some treats and tipples that Santa would love on his plate  Christmas Eve, but don't forget the carrots for the reindeers!

Welcome to cookblogshare week 48. Last weeks linky was hosted by Recipes Made Easy. There were some great recipes ranging from aloo gobi to beef bourguignon. However, as it is now officially the month of Christmas, then these festive treats for for Santa have made it into this weeks round up.

Vegan Chocolate Snowman Truffles

These vegan chocolate snowman truffles from The Baking Explorer can't help but bring a smile to my face. Made with almonds, coconut and dates, they are a healthier treat for the children and I am sure that Santa would appreciate one of these on his plate on Christmas eve.

Easy Peasy Mini Mince Pies

Mince pies are a firm favourite as a treat for Christmas and we all know how much Santa appreciates them on his plate. These bite size mini mince pies from Easy Peasy Foodie are easy enough for the children to help make and taste delicious

Christmas Vodka

We all love a little tipple at Christmas and this festive Christmas Vodka from Recipes Made Easy, is perfect paired up with Christmas pudding. Infused with figs, mixed fruit and dried peel it makes a great homemade gift for adults and you could pop a small amount in a glass for the big man to enjoy himself.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Biscuits (Gluten Free)

We all know Santa loves a cookie, I mean who doesn't? These gluten free peanut butter and chocolate biscuits from YUM eating look delicious. I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter and these would be perfect with a warm mug of hot chocolate.

#Cookblogshare 2020 Week 48

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Sunday, 29 November 2020

Meal Planning Monday

Another week has flown by. I caved in this weekend and got some of the Christmas decorations out. The tree is ordered for next week. If you are looking for some festive treats, come back on Tuesday when I am hosting Cook Blog Share and have some great recipes to share with you.

Roast beef and yorkshire puddings (keto style) Luckily all but one of the boys can't taste the difference so I just make the ones that I can eat too.

Salmon. I am not sure what will go with it, but it was slightly cheaper in Tesco this week so I bought some for now and some for the freezer.

Spaghetti bolognese

Thai green curry I like this as it is mild enough that the boys can enjoy it too.

Chicken Kiev and chips. 

What have you got planned?


Sunday, 22 November 2020

Meal Planning Monday

Apologies for the radio silence recently, but life has been hectic to say the least. Last week saw my youngest turn 9 and this week my eldest becomes a teenager. (He has been acting like one for the last 6 months so won’t come as a great shock.)

My youngest has been bust this weekend making a birthday cake for his big brother. Chocolate cake, with oreo buttercream. Perfect for our chocoholic.

I have spent the weekend eating way too many carbs for someone on a low carb diet and with a takeaway for tomorrow’s birthday celebrations being pizza it will continue. Come Tuesday I need to get back on it before I undo all the good work. I know it’s unlikely I will put on 13kg in a week, but it feels like I will. I also have to say it has made me realise how much better I feel when I eat low carb. I feel rather sluggish and bloated this weekend.

So what will we be eating this week, other than Dominoes?

Sausage and mash. Real comfort food and I can substitute potato for swede.

Tacos - or taco salad for me. I love the red onions soaked in lime and orange.

Chicken drumsticks with a Maggi BBQ coating. I haven’t tried this before but it looked nice.

Steak with pesto and rocket from Jamie Oliver’s 5 ingredients recipe book.

What will you be having this week?