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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Mini Bites: March

Very sorry that I've been neglecting you all lately - the past month just seems to have flown by with very little chance to sit and write.

A Foodie Garden

The garden continues apace with the bean plants now moved to outdoors and supported on their little cane wigwams.  Carrot and radish seeds have been planted and herbs are starting to come out of their winter hibernation, with green shoots peeking through the soil.  Tomato and strawberry seeds have been planted and are growing steadily on our windowsill before being transplanted outside when they are a little hardier.  Next month we'll get this year's salad crop started and should hopefully be eating the first of this as early as May and continuing through the summer months and into September.  I've not bought supermarket salad since growing our own last year and recommend everyone to try growing their own - whether it's in a garden bed or in a pot on the windowsill - I promise you won't go back to that chlorine-washed, plastic wrapped stuff.

Bonkers Baking

My Twitter followers have been intrigued and mortified by my recent baking exploits.  You see, I bought a couple of jars of this as Christmas presents for friends but due to the snow, strikes and general incompetance it didn't arrive until well after the big day.  Suddenly I was faced with 2 jars that had a shelf-life of just a week.  What the heck was I going to do?  Luckily my other half got online and found a whole heap of recipes and we set about cooking:

  • Bacon Sandwich - a good first start - very rich so use sparingly
  • Scrambled eggs - added a good smoky flavour but made the mix a bit wet
  • Breaded Chicken - This was probably my favourite thing.  Didn't taste bacony but added a lovely flavour to the chicken and kept it very moist.
  • Chocolate Cupcakes - This is the recipe that caused such a stir on Twitter - some wanted to try it and eagerly swapped the recipes with other bacon afficianados, others called for my head.  How did it taste?  Moist, rich, dark and chocolatey with a smoky aftertaste that was unpleasant at first but mellowed as the cakes cooled.
  • Bread - My other half then tried to add it to his usual bread recipe.  Whilst it tasted good, the mix was too moist and crumbly.

As you can see, some things worked better than others and I'd certainly encourage people to have a go at the chicken and cupcake recipes with regular mayonnaise if you don't fancy the baconnaise.

Out and About

I've managed to get out and eat at a few nifty places but haven't managed to do a full review yet.  Here's a mini-review to whet your appetite:

  • Bangkok Cafe - Great lunchtime menus for a tiny price.  If you like your food with a bit of spice then this is the place for you.
  • Bar 33 - Brains pubs aren't exactly known for great food but this is definitely worth a visit if you want a city-centre, child-friendly pub that serves a bit more than chicken nuggets and chips.
  • Cardiff Bay Bakery - Quickly becoming the lunchtime venue of choice amongst those of us working in the bay who are a bit fed up of the big chain offerings.  My favourite is the blue cheese and walnut baguette.
Coming Up

Stay tuned for some springtime recipes, perfect for the start of the picnic season, a review of Ffresh in Cardiff Bay and a visit to the opening of Krispy Kreme in Cardiff next month.

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