Portobello Market

This week I’ve been to London and I went to Portobello Market. I saw many posts about it and it looked fab, so I was curious to see how it is. It was a weekday, so it wasn’t packed with sellers, but even so it was really interesting. The Portobello Road Markets started in the 19th century and have become London’s leading antiques market. The market attracts in millions of visitors every year.

01 Portobello Market

In the 18th and 19th century, Portobello Road was a country lane that connected the districts of Notting Hill and Kensall Green. Until the 1940s, Portobello Road market was like the other markets, selling food and essential items. In the 40s more ‘rag and bone’ men started selling their wares and antiques. In time, antiques have become what Portobello Road Market is best known for. Saturday is the main trading day. There are still stalls and shops selling fresh food.

There are 5 areas in the market, for secondhand goods, clothing and fashion, household essentials, food and the last area is with antiques.

02 Portobello Road Market

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Baking along The Great British Bake Off

Today the wait is finally over and the Great British Bake Off starts again. As last year, I will bake along each week at least one of the challenges.

the great british bake off

This is cake week and I’ve baked a Classic Victoria sponge (recipe on my food blog). The name of the cake comes from Queen Victoria, obviously. Recipes for cakes with yeast appeared in cookbooks from the 17th century, but as Queen Victoria loved this cake, it got the name from her. The traditional cake had raspberry jam filling and whipped cream. I used strawberry jam as my husband doesn’t like raspberries.

Next week will be Biscuit Week. I’m sure my husband will be delighted with biscuit week, as he likes them. I’m not sure what I’ll make, last year I baked biscotti. If you want to read more about my bakes from last year, have a look at The Great British Bake Off, bake along.

In September I’ll be away with work (and a couple of days off) and it will be difficult, but I want to bake each week regardless. Last year when I had to leave in September I was baking a Frangipane tart at 7.30 in the morning, before leaving home, so I know I can do it.

Are you watching the Bake Off? Does it inspire you to bake?

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Osprey Project and Dodd Woods

I heard about the Osprey Project at Countryfile and I wanted to see the birds. The day we’ve been there it was foggy, but we both managed to see them. We parked at Dodd Wood carpark and we climbed to the first viewing point. The live CCTV coverage of the nest wasn’t available anymore, as the “little” one was bigger than her parents and ready to leave the nest.

01 Osprey and Dodd Woods

There is another viewing point, with lots of signs towards them. The board estimates the walk at 20 minutes, but it took us only 10 minutes.

02 Osprey and Dodd Woods

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Pawsome box

I was asked if I want to review a Pawsomebox, a box filled with goodies for Festus, my dog. Who can resist that?! I get so excited when it comes to doggy accessories and toys, almost as much as him. First of all, I love the name of the box: Pawsome, it’s funny. If you have cats, then Purrfectbox is for you.

The box is great, you can chose the size of the dog for which you are getting the box and that is important. As a big-dog owner, I know how hard it is to find the right toys and accessories for him. The subscription is £19.99 for 1 month and it gets cheaper if you subscribe for a longer period of time: 3 months, 6 months or 1 year.

01 Pawsome Box
He was obviously delighted he received a box full of goodies for him.

02 Pawsome Box
With a little bit of patience, he finally stood still and we had the chance to take pictures with Festus and the box.

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Shap Abbey

Only a few minutes from the campsite we’ve been to last month,  was Shap Abbey. It’s managed by the English Heritage, it has free entry and free parking nearby. The abbey looks beautiful and the views are stunning. There aren’t a lot of information boards, but they are doing restoration works, so more boards might show up after this.

The abbey was founded in the 12th century by Thomas, a local baron. Shap Abbey was one of 32 religious houses in Britain belonging to the Premonstratensian order of canons. The tower dates from the 15th century. In mid 16th century, after the dissolution, the land was granted to the Governor of Carlisle. Part of the Abbey was used as a farm, but most of it was dismantled for materials.

01 Shap Abbey
This picture is taken from a nearby field where is livestock. Festus was with us, but the sheep didn’t seem too bothered by him, anyway he was on a lead, away from them.

02 Shap Abbey

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25 Questions Food Tag

I’ve read the 25 Questions Food Tag on Llinos’s blog thelilaclinnet and I had to answer the questions… it’s about food! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might have noticed my love for cooking (hence CookStyle). I talk about baking along the Bake Off, Taste the World challenge and how much I love food, obviously.

25 Questions Food Tag

1. What’s your favourite breakfast?
I like sandwich & soup, sandwich & salad, these are my favourite. As an alternative, vegan porridge or yogurt with cereal, both of them with homemade jam and hemp seeds, polen, chia seeds, flaxseeds.

2. How do you drink your coffee?
Black, 2-3 each day. I used to have it with a lot of sugar (3 teaspoons) and milk, gradually I cut down the sugar and when I managed to cut the milk too I discovered the real taste of coffee, bitter and addictive. Now I can’t drink coffee with any type of sweetener.

3. What’s on your favourite sandwich?
I like cheese and onion, but I like cheese&tomato and I love trying new flavours.

4. Soup or Salad?
Salad, but I like both of them. The thing I love most about them is that they are so versatile. I have a lot of spices (my spice rack has 45 jars of condiments), so I pick&mix. This means that each day my salads are different even though I might use the same veggies.

5. What’s your favourite cookbook?
I don’t have a favourite cookbook. I’m quite an experimental cook and sometimes I struggle following recipes. I like reading cookbooks for inspiration and I do have a few. I also take a lot of cookbooks from the library.

6. No more sweets or no more hearty foods?
I prefer savoury, but I could never give up desserts, so my answer would be: no more hearty foods.

7. What’s your favourite Cuisine?
British, but I would try new flavours and flavour combinations as much as I can. I also like French cuisine, especially when it comes to savoury. I’ve started a food challenge, to cook a meal from every part of the world, 119 in total. So far I managed to cook only 6, but I will get back to the challenge soon.

8. What’s your favourite food movie?
Burnt. And, of course Ratatouille, it was so funny.

9. What’s your most guilty pleasure?
I don’t have any guilty pleasures. I eat everything I like and I will never feel guilty about it. I try to take care when it comes to portion size (most of the time) and pretty much that’s it.

10. What’s your greatest inspiration source?
I get inspiration from cookbooks, blogs, restaurants, TV shows like Master Chef. I talk with my husband about food and that inspires me too.

11. Cooking at home or going out for dinner?
Cooking at home because I love cooking and that is a part of the fun. My husband likes cooking too, so we cook together often, it’s nice to bounce ideas and talk about the dishes we are preparing.

12. High end or low profile?
High end and local restaurants, that use local and fresh ingredients. I usually avoid big chains because some of them serve frozen food, prepared in a main kitchen and shipped to the restaurants. While it’s nothing wrong with that, I would rather have a homemade dinner than one that was frozen.

13. What’s your favourite restaurant?
I think it’s Bistro 1847 because the food is great and I love the story and the name (the year when the Vegetarian Society was founded). They are expanding and now there are 4 restaurants in UK.

14. I do my grocery shopping at:
Local farms, as part of my challenge to visit a local farm each month. I also buy from Asda and Tesco as they are closer and fresh veggies from Aldi. I like ready made desserts from Waitrose and M&S, but I don’t buy from them often.

15. The tastiest food I’ve ever eaten was:
The Frankfurter Kranz cake my grandmother used to make for me for my birthday, it was such a treat. It was very different than the traditional cakes made in Romania, as those have a lot of syrup and usually whipped cream.

17. Coffee with George Clooney or Heston Blumenthal?
Heston Blumenthal without a doubt. I would love to have the chance to talk with him about food, he is so inspirational.

18. What should not be missing in your kitchen?
It’s hard to say, maybe the food processor or the cooker, as I use those daily. As produce, I would say tomatoes. As for condiments, it must be salt.

19. What is your favourite snack?
I like popcorn and crisps, veggie crisps, but I don’t have them often. If I have to choose a favourite, I would say salt&vinegar crisps.

20. What’s on your pizza?
Cheese, but I also love grilled veggies brushed in oil as a topping. I tried pizza with lots of grilled veggies a couple of years ago in a local restaurant and I loved it.

21. What food do you really dislike?
I’m vegetarian and I wouldn’t eat anything that is not vegetarian. When it comes to vegetarian dishes I don’t like, the traditional syrupy cakes I mentioned before.

22. What’s your favourite food blog?
There are so many of them, but I’ll name only 3: TinnedTomatoes, greenevi and deliciouslyella. All of them are vegan/vegetarian. I am looking at other blogs that aren’t vegetarian, but I prefer them as I would gladly try every recipe they post.

23. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Before being vegetarian, frog legs. Now I can’t say I’ve eaten weird things, although I do try lots of weird veggies that I find in oriental shops.

24. What’s on your food bucket list?
I have an incredible long list of things I want to try, starting with my Taste the World challenge. This month Bake Off starts and I’m going to bake along with them, like I did last year.

25. I couldn’t live without:
Veggies, they are so important to add flavour and texture and diversity, I wouldn’t be able to live without them.

BONUS question: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My grandmother’s Frankfurter Kranz cake, I would eat that every single day for the rest of my life.

I’m not going to nominate for the tag, but if you fancy doing the 25 Questions Food Tag, leave me a link so I can see your answers.

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Penrith

Penrith is a small market town in Cumbria with an impressive amount of tourist attractions and historical places.

01 Penrith
Penrith Castle sets in a beautiful park. It was built at the end of the 14th century. The location of the castle was not the highest point, but a former Roman fort site and a part of the old ruins were used for their defensive function. You can read more about its history on English Heritage’s website.

02 Penrith
As the castle is in a park, anyone can sit anywhere, so one can have a picnic in the middle of the castle. That is romantic.

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A diary of my travels, events, my thougths, blogging, craft projects and my home.