Saturday, 13 April 2013

DIY Fashion...

Charity shop find... reconstructed! 

I picked this top up in a charity shop for £4.95, cut it up, changed the sleeves and voila!

To make the quilted sleeves, I picked up some light iron-on wadding, and cotton jersey from a fabric shop, all for about £8. (1/2 metre of each)

After ironing the cotton jersey to the wadding, I sewed in the quilted pattern. 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Pesto Perfection

This recipe is not a conventional green pesto, my Spinach and Pumpkin Seed Pesto has a bolder flavour, perfect if you want to add more richness to any dish.

  • 2 handfuls of pine nuts
  • 2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds
  • A bunch of spinach leaves
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of basil
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil 

Firstly, fry the garlic for about 1 minute in a tablespoon of oil, then add chopped spinach leaves to frying pan until withered. Leave to cool.

Slightly crush pine nuts and pumpkin seeds and mix together in a bowl. Add spinach and garlic.

Stir in olive oil and basil. Whisk into a thick paste. Add more olive oil if it is too thick. 

This will last in the fridge and can be added to many dishes...

For example I used 2 tablespoons of the pesto to make this healthy, green pasta.

  • Broccoli
  • Petit-pois peas
  • Spinach
  • Spring onions
  • Cherry tomatoes 
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • 1 tablespoon of Light Philadelphia cheese 
  • A sprinkling of pumpkin seeds
  • And of course 2 tablespoons of Pesto!
Steam broccoli and peas, transfer to pan and add the pesto, spring onions, tomatoes and spinach. 

Fry until tomatoes are soft. Stir in pasta, along with the Light Philadelphia cheese, until all has melted.

Transfer to plate and sprinkle pumpkin seeds for added crunch! 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

What I Ate and What I Saw In Barcelona...

Tuesday 2nd April 2013

The day started early (a 2.30am wake up call alarm to be precise!) and with the suitcases in the car we headed to London Gatwick to catch our 6.40am flight to Barcelona.
With an hour to spare before the flight, we lounged in Jamie's Italian drinking tea and eating breakfast. 

I had oatmeal with banana and toasted coconut flakes.

And for him, pancakes and bacon of course. 
We shared tea, which came in a small authentic teapot.

Upon arriving in Barcelona around 9.25am, we caught a taxi from the airport to our hotel, a short 10-15min journey costing €24. 
Our hotel (Madanis Liceo, Barcelona) was a 5 min walk to Camp Nou and Palau Blaugrana and the metro station (Collblanc) was situated right outside! So convenient.
We got 2, three day travel cards for 
€38 that allowed us to travel through all lines. 

With the sun shining we headed to Port Vell (Metro: Drassanes).
Upon exiting the station you are greeted with Columbus' Monument, h
is famous statue pointing east, leading you to the beautiful waters by the port. 

We leisurely walked over the bridge, stopping every 5 minutes or so to bask under the sun. 

We found a lovely set of restaurants with alfresco dining  by the port. As it was our first day in Barcelona, we had to try out the paella.. and of course the seafood variety! Shrimp, squid, scallops, mussels... delicious! 


We made our way back to the hotel as the sun began to set...

Wednesday 3rd April 2013

We visited the famous 'La Rambla' (Metro: Liceu) firstly to gaze upon Gaudi's architecture...

And secondly to sit by the fountains at Plaça de Catalunya, before wondering down the backstreets away from the busy touristy boulevard. 

Thursday 4th April 2013

With an earlier start to the day we made our way to 'La sagrada familia

There are beautiful gardens and waters behind and in front of the famous church. The romantic settings are perfect for strolling around.

As the weather didn't look too promising we hastily headed to Park Güell (Metro: LessepsThis was my favorite part of Barcelona. The further we walked up the hills the more magnificent the views became...

On the way back down we passed Gaudi's viaduct.

For dinner we went down to the beach (Metro: Ciutadella-Vila Olímpica) Although the weather was wet and windy we enjoyed a lovely dinner by the beach in oriental inspired Carpe Diem.
I had a green tea and a king prawn curry, which came in a coconut shell like bowl and was filled with jasmine rice, mango, green peppers, banana chip and king prawns in a lovely fragrant coconut sauce. 

And for him, steak with a sweet mash...

Very expensive, but well worth it!

After clocking up miles of walking around the city we were verging on tired. But the day wasn't over yet as I had booked tickets to watch Barcelona Regal basketball team play against Tel Aviv at the Palau Blaugrana arena. 

The arena soon filled up as we watched the team warm up. As the game tipped off, the crowd came alive cheering and chanting. A close game but Barcelona came out on top! 

Friday 5th April 2013

Home day :(, but still lots to do before catching our 7.25pm flight! 
We decided to go back to La Rambla and explore 'La Boqueria' market. 

The market is so dynamic with bright colours of the fresh fruit and vegetables, the variety of smells from stall to stall and the hustle and bustle of the locals and tourists. 

The fruit stalls were my paradise, with each one selling cheap but fresh natural smoothies. I ended up buying 3! My favorite was the mango and coconut.

Fresh fruit ice lollies!

An array of nuts

And of course we had to try the chocolates...

Oh and the crepes...
When we asked the crepe maker which was one was best, he replied "Me!"
With Louie Armstrong playing in the background, like a dance routine he poured the mix on the griddle, flips it over, sprinkles chocolate, strawberries, white chocolate drops and nuts, folds it, boxes it and smiles. Yum!

We had the best time in Barcelona and would love to go back and do it all again. Although we had some lovely weather the first couple of days, I would love to go back during the summer months for a warmer climate and maybe even a dip in the sea!