If you were to come round to my house and find me sat in front of the TV, you would likely find me watching one of three things – true crime documentaries, Impractical Jokers, or a programme about food. True crime is totally my jam, IJ is the best comedy show on the box by far, and food shows are like a warm, cosy blanket – full on comfort.
Before we got together, Ben never used to watch any sort of cookery programmes, but now I’ve got him hooked too. Great British Bake Off is on our screens at the moment (I don’t know who I want to win yet), Great British Menu has given me a huge list of chefs whose restaurants I now want to visit, and Masterchef has been my TV addiction ever since it came back to our screens in its current format in 2005. Add to that the Hairy Bikers, Jimmy and Jamie, and Nigel Slater, and honestly, I could spend all day watching other people eating delicious food.+
It’s Friday, the final day of the working week and there’s just a few hours until I can leap up from my desk and run screaming into the street thankful for another 2 days of freedom from the daily grind.
This weekend Ben and I are off for a day of adventures ticking off some of my 33 Before 33 list, but before that we have my favourite time of the week – Friday evening – and one of my guilty pleasures at the end of a long, hard 5 days in the office is a cheeky little tipple as I kick back and relax on the sofa.
Earlier in the year we went to Lake Garda in Italy for our friends’ wedding. It was a brilliant holiday full of laughter, food and drink, and the area itself is absolutely stunning (dedicated post about it to follow).
While we were out there, as well as making the most of the incredible local pizza’s and pasta dishes, I also decided to branch out from my usual tipple and try some of the more localised wines.
I make no secret of my love for The Royal Hotel Southend; from the first time I visited it got well and truly under my skin and I’m always looking forward to the next time I get to return.
Being my favourite restaurant and bar in Essex, I’m constantly recommending it to people for family gatherings, celebrations or nights out, so when I was offered the chance to take some fellow Essex Bloggers along with me to sample the delights on offer, I was very excited!
If I was told I could only eat one more meal for the rest of my life there is no question which one I would opt for – a roast dinner. Meat, vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes. Oh boy, roast potatoes…
During the colder months of the year, a roast dinner is my go-to for dinner on a Sunday and, always, the most important thing on the plate for me is the spuds. I have practiced and practiced them for years and I’m now pretty happy with how I’ve got them – peel, boil for 15-minutes, drain, shake, put into roasting tray of hot oil, and cook for 1-hour, turning every 10-15 minutes. Crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle… I could honestly eat only roast potatoes for the rest of my life and be happy I think.
So, when Lower Barn Farm in Rayleigh, Essex, invited us down to sample their Sunday roast I obviously jumped at the chance.