After a very long period of heatwave and sunshine, it looks like a storm has finally arrived! ☔️☔️☔️🌧🌧 But most importantly, we got to stuff ourselves with cake first before this happened! 😂😂 #happydays
In the Hobbit, Gandalf said to Bilbo Baggins, ‘The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there.’ There is something about travelling to different places that is vastly different and so much more exciting than simply seeing or hearing about them on TV and on the internet. Compare to the old me who preferred the comfort of staying at home, I now often find myself not being able to stay still on the same spot!
Hence, yesterday, my mum and I headed out for a brief 2-day trip to Glasgow by taking a bus from home. (It was quite last minute as we only decided for sure a few days ago.) The weather, however, was not on our side as the roads were all drenched by the heavy rain all day. But we still made sure that we made the most of it after we arrived.
Marching our way through the rain ☔️ , we dropped by Lychee Oriental for lunch. It is a renowned Chinese restaurant in the area run by Jimmy Lee who once appeared in the Great British Menu on BBC. The restaurant offer a nice two-course lunch every day for a very reasonable price of £11.90. No surprises here except it was a nice, rustic, homey meal that quickly filled us up for the day. (I personally quite liked the chicken satay and the fried noodles.)
The weather though really wasn’t appealing enough for us to stay any longer outside, so we decided to check into the hotel and rest a bit first before the evening.
We stayed at easyHotel which was a very cheap stay, costing under £44 for a twin room for one night. When we arrived though, we were still an hour too early for the official check-in time (3pm). This meant we ended up wondering some more in the rain before hiding inside the hotel opposite to it for the time to pass! 😂
Though the room was generally pleasant and very clean, the shower was very tiny (there was no actual cubicle and the curtains kept sticking to me as I was showering 😅), and also annoyingly (which I only noticed after booking…) WiFi and even the TV are all extra charges. However, for those of you who may be just looking for a quick night of sleep, this is the ideal place for it!
While I was napping, my mum was looking at the tourist information leaflet she got from the hotel reception and found this Japanese restaurant called Ichiban. We decided to head there for dinner, squeezing together under one umbrella ☂ (the rain was even worse at that time… 😓😓) We ordered the signature ramen and a mixed sushi platter, plus some char siu (roasted pork) on the side. The ramen was good with a hefty portion and a good broth, and the sushi was also well-made. The char siu though we found was a touch too salty.
It would be unlike me (or rather us lol) that we didn’t have some desserts after meal. The restaurant also offers Yee Kwan ice creams on their menu (which I knew before from watching Dragons’ Den 😂 ). We ordered the black sesame seed ice cream and pink guava & passion fruit sorbet. The sorbet was perfect with its lightness and sweetness with a slight tang, and the black sesame was very flavourful with the nuttiness from the seeds. (My mum was loving them both lol.) If you see these ice creams for sales anywhere, I would strongly recommend you to grab one! 😋 😂
Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel just as the rain thankfully died down. My mum especially was ready for bed after a long day, but it seemed that our day was not over yet when we discovered there was no hot water in the shower… 😓❌❌ (P.S. we ended up moving to the room next door. 😛)
After waking up with a temperature and a runny nose this morning, I must say I didn’t have the best start to the day being bed-bound at home. 😷 Paracetamols and sleep quickly became my best friends. Have you ever felt though the more you sleep, the more groggy you get? (Not to mention the fact that I also need to constantly get up to clear my blocked nose! 🤧)
I finally woke up from my long nap as the rain started to fall outside. However, instead of staying in, I swiftly went for a shower to clear my head since I already made some dinner plans with friends for tonight before this week. I stepped outside, jacket on and umbrella ready in my hand.
The place we visited was Flour & Grape, not so far from the London Bridge station. (Though it was a bit of a walk, especially in the rain…) The restaurant specialises in fresh, homemade pasta and has a small menu for that reason, though it is definitely one place not to miss out by pasta lovers like me. (On a side note, this restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so come early if you can to avoid waiting in long queues.) My friends and I decided to share several pasta dishes from the menu. (Definitely a reason to have a big party when you visit this place haha!) It was literally like a fun pasta potluck! My favourites were definitely the pork shoulder tortellini and tiger prawn trottole thanks to the rich butter sauce and prawn bisque that were served with the pasta. Certainly was glad that my appetite wasn’t affected by the cold!
As my friends and I enjoyed the good food and chatting about all the things in our lives (work, family and men LOL…), I realised I didn’t feel so ill after all. I guess good food and friends are the best cure to any sickness you have! 😊 (We also went for coffees and have some of my homemade marshmallows after. More on that later!)
What is your favourite thing to do on a sick day?
The sun might have gone and rain is falling, but the picnic is still very much going on uninterrupted. The buttery texture of the salmon & avocado quiches, followed by the richness of the raspberry & mango Bavarian cream is sure enough to put a ray of sunshine in anyone’s heart.
Salmon, Avocado and Cherry Tomato Mini Quiches
Quantity: 8 tarts
210g plain flour
105g unsalted butter
130g fresh, skinless and boneless salmon fillet
½ an avocado
100g cherry tomatoes
Garlic olive oil
142ml double cream
Pecorino cheese, grated
Dried herbs (optional, I recommend basil)
- Rub butter into flour with hand until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add a little cold water a table spoon at a time to bring the mixture together. The mixture should be just combined and be careful not to overwork the pastry. Chill the pastry dough for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and shape into the tart moulds. Make sure the pastry is pushed into all the corners of the moulds. Chill the pastry in the fridge for 20 minutes before baking.
- Chop the cherry tomatoes in halves and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle garlic olive oil on top, and season with salt.
- Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Cook the cherry tomatoes at the bottom of the oven while baking the pastry.
- Using a fork, lightly prick the base of the tarts. Place baking beans on top of baking paper on the tarts to prevent rising. Blind-bake the tarts for 20-25 minutes. Remove the paper and baking beans, and continue baking for 5-10 minutes, or until they are biscuit brown.
- To make the egg and cream mixture, beat the egg in a bowl. Add the double cream gradually, and then stir in cheese, herbs and salt.
- Dice the avocado, and chop the salmon fillet into tiny bits. Season them. (I suggest adding a bit of lemon juice too.) Remove the tarts from the moulds once they are cooled. Place the salmon, avocado and roasted cherry tomatoes in the tart shells. Pour the egg and cream mixture into the tarts, and sprinkle more cheese on top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set and golden brown.
Raspberry and Mango Bavarian Cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
150ml double cream
2 egg yolks
7g leaf gelatine
Dried banana chips, chopped
- Place the raspberries (save a few aside for decoration), water, lemon juice and 20g of the sugar in a saucepan, bring them to a boil. Crush the raspberries as you are cooking. Pass the puree through a sieve and leave to cool.
- Soak the leaf gelatine in cold water and set aside.
- Beat egg yolks in a bowl with the remaining sugar, and whisk until it is smooth and pale yellow.
- Add the milk to the egg mixture and whisk. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook on a low heat until thickened. Continuously whisk as you are cooking to prevent the mixture solidifying at the bottom.
- Take the softened leaf gelatine out of the water and squeeze out any excess water. Add the gelatine to the custard and mix well until it is fully dissolved.
- Take the custard off the heat, and pass it through a sieve.
- Add the raspberry puree to the custard and mix until well combined.
- Whisk the double cream until it is airy. Fold the cream into the mixture until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into wine glasses. Chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours, or until fully set.
- Add the mango pulp on top of the set Bavarian cream. Decorate with raspberries and dried banana chips, and serve.