Food & Adventures

Monday 28 November 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 6 "Swear"

If I'm honest, I'd totally forgotten about Tara. I mean she's an ok character, sometimes funny, kinda cool but she's not exactly an essential member of the group. I don't know how many episodes it's been since she was last in but I'm guessing it was before the start of this season as she doesn't seem to know what happened with Alexandria and the Saviours.

I think they're introducing too many new groups now. I've spent 7 seasons rooting for the original group and I'm on board with the Saviours coz Negan is Bad Ass. I also have time for Hilltop coz Jesus is cool and The Kingdom as Ezekiel has a freakin' pet tiger. But now another group I mean, come on! it's too much.

This was definitely a filler episode and it seemed like it was there for no reason but to extend the season. They need to get back to the main story I want to see more of Negan, I want to see Rick get his mojo back, I want to see united Alexandria/Hilltop/Kingdom and I want to see a big show down!

Well, that's all for now.



Monday Munchies: Christmas Mince Pies

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

A few years ago I wouldn't have touched a mince pie, but now they're my favourite Christmas snack. This recipe is for both the mincemeat and the pies themselves. Mincemeat can be made in bulk and used for many different festive recipes. I made 10 pies but I still have loads of mincemeat left over.


For the mincemeat:

175g Raisins
110g Sultanas
110g Currants
110g Mixed candied peel
225g Bramley apples (Cored and chopped)
25g almonds (Sliced)
110g Shredded suet
175g Soft dark brown sugar
Zest and juice of a Lemon
Zest and juice of an Orange
2 tsp Mixed ground spice
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
100ml Amaretto
100ml Dark rum

For the pastry

225g Plain flour
100g Unsalted Butter (cut into cubes)
75g Icing Sugar
2 Egg Yolks


The mincemeat is really easy to make, start by adding all the ingredients except the Amaretto and the Rum to a bowl and then mix together. Next transfer the mix to a pan and simmer on a medium heat for around 10 minutes. Leave it to cool and then add the alcohol and leave it to soak in, once the alcohol has been absorbed you can then transfer the finished mincemeat into a sterile jar and it will keep for ages.

The pastry is also easy to make, especially if you have a food mixer. Add the butter to the flour and sugar in a bowl and rub with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Next add the egg yolks then mix until it forms a ball of dough.

Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it to chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Roll the dough out to around 3mm thick and cut out your shapes. Add the bottom of the pie to a greased pie mould (make sure there's no air trapped under the dough). Spoon in some of the mincemeat and add the top of the pie. Seal the top and bottom of the pie together with a beaten egg and brush the top of the pie with an egg too to make sure it goes golden in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes at around 200ºc, once done leave to cool on a rack and then dust with icing sugar.

Here is a step by step video I made for this recipe.

What are your favourite Christmas treats? Do you have any ideas for what I can do with my left over mincemeat?

Well, that's all for now.



Monday 21 November 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 5 "Go Getters"

As much as The Saviours are the bad guys I do like Simon, maybe it's because Steven Ogg who plays him was Trevor in GTA V. His grin is as infectious as a bite from a walker but, man, can he turn sinister when he need to. He is definitely channelling his inner Negan when he is intimidating Gregory in his study.

I'm also really enjoying Jesus right now. The scene when the walkers entered Hilltop shows the boy has some skills. It seems he has kind of coasted though the apocalypse so far but now needs to step up. Although he has only been in a few episodes he is going to become an important character especially when the inevitable rebellion against Negan comes.

This episode also shows how strong of a character Maggie is. Having just lost her husband and nearly lost her baby, at deaths door for weeks she is now getting back to her best. After the conversation she has with Sasha and Jesus I think it's obvious that Maggie will become the leader of Hilltop.

Gregory, the current leader of Hilltop, is not a good leader, he is a coward and only really has his own interests at heart. His face when he realised he had lost his Scotch when he tried to sell out Maggie and Sasha was priceless. Once Maggie usurps his position he will not hesitate to sell everyone out toNegan.

Well, that's all for now.



Thursday 17 November 2016

Westworld Mid-season review

We're only halfway through the first season of Westworld and it is already fast becoming my new favourite TV show (at least until Game of Thrones returns).  There is a lot going on with so many characters and different storyline it can be hard to keep track of what's happening but here's a little recap.

Lets start with Robert Ford. Anthony Hopkins is an amazing actor and here he plays the enigmatic creator of Westworld to his malevolent best. Ford has big plans for Westworld but is not letting anyone know his end game. Like Machiavelli he is pulling all the strings and even the board don't know what he is planning. He is a proper bastard.

Bernard, poor Bernard. Grieving the loss of his son and having an affair with his boss. Then he tries to cover up a mistake he thinks his mentor (Robert Ford) has made with an update to the hosts program only to be blamed for the mistake himself. But the reveal in episode 7 was a real shocker. Here was my reaction on twitter.

The storyline i'm loving at the minute is what's happening with Maeve. The brothel madam who, as a host, should not know about the real world but after being 'killed' and repaired so many is now fully self-aware and forcing two Westworld techs to upgrade her program. I'm really looking forward to how she is going to try and get out of Westworld.

The main story is the mysterious maze. Delores, the oldest of the hosts, has been hearing voices calling her to the maze. and now with William in tow it seems like she will get there. But then you also have the Man in Black who has been coming to Westworld for years and is obsessed with finding the maze. A theory that me and a friend have been discussing is that the Delores/William story and the Man in Black story are taking place in two different time lines and that The Man in Black is actually William in the future and that he is trying to find the maze so he can free Delores from Westworld. This may not be what happens but as with all of the stories going on I can't wait to see what happens.

Well, that's all for now.



Monday 14 November 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 4 "Service"

This is a great Negan episode. There is no mistaking that he is the Boss, he has wrestled from Abraham (well not so much wrestled) the title of the king of the one liners. The charismatic leader of the Saviours has well and truly broken Rick even getting him to carry Lucille around for him knowing that he won't use her. A few of the other aren't on board yet, Michonne is defiant, Rosita has a gun stashed away and Carl is still being a prick. But Rick, Negan has him in his pocket, so the rest will soon fall into line. I still have faith in Rick that he will grow a pair and eventually rise up against Negan but it's going to be a tense season until Rick snaps.

Negan is great and all but the rest of the Saviours are a right bunch of bastards. I've said a few times what a dick Dwight is and the others taking the stuff from Alexandria and then burning and dumping some of it shows what scumbags they are. Also another dick is Spencer and it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't jump ship to the Saviours.

Well, that's all for now.



Thursday 10 November 2016

An afternoon at Jesmond Dene House

It was mine and Mrs Cool's 10th wedding anniversary, we were staying at Jesmond Dene House and having a meal. JDH is an amazing place to stay and has some of the best food I've had in the North East. But I was in a bit of a dilemma about what to wear, It's quite fancy so I was planning on wearing my suit (you can read about my suit here) but I really wanted to be a bit more smart/casual.

So when I was contacted by Jacamo to try their mens suits I decided to choose an outfit for our Anniversary date night. I love a Polo shirt and they very much my go to shirt at the moment so I decided on this burgundy polo shirt and styled with with a navy blazer, some plain blue jeans and brown cuban heeled boots.

We arrived at Jesmond Dene House and checked into our room. We had a look around our room (which was an amazing suite). and put away our luggage.

I have recently become a convert to coffee, so we decided to head down to the lounge and had a cafetiere of coffee by the fire place while we caught up on reading our latest books (I'm currently reading Lord of the Flies).

When we were finished our coffees we headed back to our room to freshen up before heading down for our meal (you can see photos of our meal on my instagram feed here). The outfit I chose was perfect for our afternoon, it was very comfortable and even though we were sat next to a fire I wasn't too hot.

 Well, that's all for now.


Disclosure: I was sent these items by Jacamo in return for an honest review

Monday 7 November 2016

The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 3 "The Cell"

The general consenus on last weeks episode is that it was a disappointment. Personally I liked it as we need some lighter, less full on episodes. This weeks episode was back to the tension of the saviours camp. Seeing Darryl in the situation he was in being being tortured/conditioned like a GitMo inmate is hard to watch and the fact that Dwight is the one doing it is really fucking annoying.

Dwight is such a dick, you know he's been through a lot to get to where he is in Negan's crew but he's still a dick and I hope he gets done in before the end of the series. Mrs Cool thinks Dwight will have redemption and team up with Darryl in some way.

Negan is brilliantly menacing whenever he is on screen but he won't break Darryl, they might think he has but he won't.

Well, that's all for now.


Monday Munchies: Lamb Casserole with Thyme Dumplings

I've mentioned a few time how Sunday dinner is one of my favourite meals. Not just for the meal itself but also as a time when the family comes together for a meal. I work most nights until 8pm so by the time I get home the kids have already had their dinner (and are usually in bed) so it's nice to have a catch up over the dinner table.

This week with the clocks going back I decided to use the extra hour to get up early and set the slow cooker away for a warming autumnal casserole.


600g Diced Lamb
3 Carrots
1 Leek
1 Onion
200g Frozen peas
Maris piper potatoes
Flat leaf parsley
450ml Lamb stock
100g Self raising flour
50g Beef suet


Start by putting the slow cooker on high temperature and put in a little bit of the stock (enough to cover the bottom of the cooker). In a frying pan heat some oil and brown the lamb, once coloured but not cooked transfer to the slow cooker.

Next peel and finely dice the onion, in the same pan as the lamb fry the onion until translucent and then use a little more stock to deglaze the pan and add this to the lamb in the slow cooker.

Peel and cut the carrots into chunks and add them to the slow cooker. Finely cut the parsley and add to the cooker, put in a few springs of thyme (you can leave the stalks but remember to take them out when ready to serve). Remove the outer layer of the leek and chop in half, cut the top half of the leek in half lengthways and cut into slices around half a centimeter thick and add to the cooker, then top up the cooker with the rest of the stock and just leave it for a few hours.

When you have about an hour to go until you serve, peel and quarter the potatoes and boil them for about 8-10 minutes. In a roasting tin heat some oil (or goose fat if you prefer), once hot add to potatoes and make sure they're all coated and cook for 45 minutes at 200ºc (make sure you turn them a few times during cooking).

Now it's time to make the dumplings, add the flour, suet, a pinch of salt, black pepper and chopped thyme together and mix with 5-6 tablespoons of water and mix into a dough. This mix will make 8 small dumpling but you can divide them as you need.

Add the frozen peas to the slow cooker and mix (if your gravy is a little watery you can thicken it by mixing in a paste made from flour and water) then place the dumplings on top and cover for the remaining 30 minutes.

Once done remove the dumplings and set aside, taste the casserole and season if necessary, you can also add a knob of butter to add a creamy richness to the sauce. Plate up with the roast potatoes and I also sauted the left over leek cut into rounds with some sliced garlic.

What do you think of my casserole. Do you have any slow cooker dishes you like?

Well, that's all for now.


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