My husband and I decided not to buy each other presents for Christmas in 2016. It wasn’t from any grand anti-materialism gesture. It was more that we both prefer experiences to possessions and as we’re visiting my brother in Hong Kong soon, we felt we’d be better off saving our pennies for dumplings and well, mostly the dumplings.
So when it came to choosing him a present from the children, I suggested we planned their dad a treasure hunt style tour of Gloucester complete with his favourite food. The kids loved the idea and all clues were written up with a Star Wars theme to them.
First stop was Gloucester Studio of course! I lit a fire and we cooked breakfast.
Then we wrapped up and walked the mile into Gloucester. After a series of fun clues and the purchase of a horn (I hate shouting up the stairs to call the kids for dinner and was charmed at the idea of using a brass hunting horn) we called into Tank for much needed refreshment.
While the food at Tank is great (their pizzas are suberb), the kids and I had agreed that the best choice for lunch was tapas in honour of last summer’s trip to Menorca so we headed over the road to Portivo Lounge.
I love both Tank and Portivo Lounge for their lovely staff and the fact we can take Lola as well as the kids.
Fuelled on classic dishes such as meatballs, chicken skewers and spinach croquettes with sides of chips, onion rings and garlic bread (yeah, sometimes I pander to the children) we headed home, arriving just as it began to rain.
I lit another fire in Gloucester Studio. I wondered whether the kids would be as enthused a second time (we usually watch Dr Who with the older two on Sunday nights) but if anything they were more so. Tired from their walk they just sank into the reindeer hides.
There were three courses to dinner. First was something I regularly throw into the fire for my diners; baked Camembert.
The kids have their fussy moments but are absolute cheese monsters and loved it (good news considering they’ve chosen France as our summer holiday destination and given aforementioned fussiness I plan to just feed them bread and cheese).
Next up were melt in the middle cheeseburgers with homemade coleslaw. After much barbecuing last summer I was surprised to discover that we all preferred pork to beef as our meat of choice. The cheese is absolutely essential as it adds fat to a lean meat (nobody wants a dried out patty) and I flavoured the meat with my smoked salt blend, mustard and fennel seeds.
As a quick side comment, each month I send out a box of goodies to my subscribers. For £10 + £2.80 p&p they get something sweet, something savoury, something scented and a surprise. These contents include things like my smoked salt blend and the spicy smoky Seville orange sauce that I’ll be using in the restaurant this weekend. To get your monthly box click here.
Finally we had toffee popcorn cheesecake. It’s hardly a sophisticated dish but that’s the joy of cooking for family.
I hope you had a great weekend.