15.12

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A   V I S I T   T O   T H E   M A R K E T ,   &   F A I R Y   L I G H T S   A L L   A R O U N D . . .

I thought perhaps we’d begin this week with week with a walk-through of the weekend just gone, since it was an especially lovely and joyfully festive one. That sound okay? Okay, let’s get started…

~ ~

That right there, in the cover photo, is the greatest grilled cheese I’ve ever eaten. It came courtesy of Morty & Bob’s in Netil Market this weekend, where Tania, Freya and I met for lunch on Saturday afternoon.

So good in fact, that Molly looked on longingly whilst we ate…

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The girls had been raving to me about those grilled cheese sandwiches for months, and so there was never even a question of ordering from any of the other food trucks at the market. In fact, I have no idea what else there was on offer, because we made a beeline for those sandwiches the moment we arrived at the market!

We placed our order and waited patiently (kind of…) for our lunch to arrive, waking up with coffees from the little coffee truck just next to our seats.

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The sandwiches arrived having crisped to perfection, and inside, along with the molten cheese, were garlic and truffle mushrooms that took the proceedings up to a whole new level.

I ate mine dipped in a little sriracha, and it was a dream. You *must* go, if you’re ever over in the direction of London Fields!

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The rest of that afternoon was spent cosied up on Freya’s sofa, drinking hot chocolate and tea and eating doughnuts and talking talking talking until I felt like we’d held our very own sisterly therapy session.

All this, by the light of Freya’s sweet Christmas tree and to a soundtrack of Michael Buble’s festive album. Pretty perfect, if you ask me.

~ ~

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Sunday Jason and I spent rushing around like a pair of headless chickens- buying and decorating our own lovely tree, visiting family, sorting out the house for the arrival of the puppy in a couple of weeks time, and nipping over to visit her and her littermates too!

The pups are six weeks old now and were *full* of beans. In fact, I spent most of the visit with at least three puppies mountaineering up my jumper at any one time!

Which is my ultimate favourite way of spending a Sunday afternoon, let it be known…

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We did manage to spruce up the house ready for Christmas too, in between all that puppy snuggling.

Baby poinsettias are now dotted here and there, candles are lit in every corner, and I scavenged the loft for every set of fairy lights we own to use around the house.

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And *now* it feels like we’re finally ready for Christmas! Just no-one ask me how many gifts I’ve yet to get sorted, alright?

p.s. If you’d like to see more of how this December’s been panning out, you might like my YouTube channel! Subscribe to stay up to date with my videos, if you’d like :)

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Posted in CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS TREE, HOME, LIFE LATELY

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07.05

Fire-pit-smores-Cider-with-Rosie-cover

Tania, Freya and I bonded over food. The first time we ever met was over drinks and French fries in a pub just off the King’s Road. The next time we met up was at Borough Market, which then turned into an evening of cheese fondue at Freya’s flat over in London Fields. Since then, every time we’ve seen one another, whether it’s been for birthdays, special occasions, or just a quick half hour catch up somewhere in town before we all scatter off to different appointments, there’s been food involved in some form or other.

A couple of months ago we hatched a plan to combine our favourite things- cheese, wine, chocolate and uhh…each other (have I made it sound like we’re dating? Because I kind of feel like I have…). We dubbed it ‘Cheese Night’, because we’re dead original like that. And this weekend, on a Sunday evening that stayed *just* dry and warm enough that eating outside didn’t feel like a punishment, our plans came together!

Cheese-board

Let me set the scene…

The night was to be held at the Chappel household (that’s ours), and Tania, Freya and her husband Adam, and Jason and I were each to purchase a couple of different types of cheese, some saucisson (Tania recently introduced me to the wonders of saucisson, and now I’m nothing short of obsessed), a bottle or two of something cold and crisp, and one essential component (you know, marshmallows, biscuits, chocolate) of the s’mores that I’ll get to talking about later on. The scheme was a good one, foolproof! Except that what we actually did was each buy loads of everything, so we ended up with basically an entire deli counter and fromagerie set out on a table in our back garden! Just as well that there’s no such thing as too much cheese, right?

^^ Up there we’ve got a creamy Stilton called ‘Cropwell Bishop Beauvale’, a cows cheese with a vein of ash, Compté, and three different types of saucisson (garlic, venison, and straight up). What you can’t see is all the bread, the three other types of cheese sitting just out of shot on the board, the caprese and green salads, smoked sunblush tomatoes, and olives to boot. And crackers too. Oh, and radishes. ^^

To go alongside our garden dinner party, Rekorderlig sent us over a few bottles of their beautiful fruit ciders as part of their #BrighterNights campaign! It couldn’t have been a more perfect opportunity for cider drinking to take place, and hey look! It’s cider, with Rosie! On Cider with Rosie! I think that’s the first time I’ve been able to do that in 3 years of blogging. (Totally worth the wait.)

Speaking of cider though, Rekorderlig is my hands down my favourite and has been for years. It’s sweet but not overly so, the flavours are divine (the strawberry and lime is the best if you ask me!), and poured out over a few ice cubes and some chopped fresh fruit, it makes the most perfectly effortless garden party drink going!

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^^ Mango & raspberry flavour is so good! And so is wearing Jason’s jumpers…^^

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Once the cheese feast was over and done with and we’d all eaten our fill (which took an embarrassingly short amount of time considering we all consider ourselves cheese eating pros and two of our number, Tania and Jason, have Gallic blood…), we moved onto the second course. S’mores!

Jason and I looked into hiring out a fire pit for the evening reception of our wedding a little while ago, but decided that since the hire price was barely less than purchase price, we’d go ahead and buy it instead of having it just as a one off. And considering that we’ve had it maybe three weeks tops and have already worked our way through several bags of marshmallows and two loads of firewood, I think it’s not been a bad investment!

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Since Adam is Canadian and Freya herself is basically Canadian too (it’s a long story, you’ll have to ask her for it…), I was under strict instructions not to buy any, and I quote, ‘horrible British marshmallows that always taste really bad’! Instead, Freya came armed with a suitcase-sized bag of giant American marshmallows (those things are like four regular sized mallows all in one), which, I have to say, were the absolute bomb. They toasted up a treat, and were so ginormous they basically were a meal in and of themselves.

We stuck them on skewers, held them over the burning logs until they turned golden and melting, then sandwiched them between chocolate digestives and sat back to enjoy the bliss. I”ll tell you though, I’d not realised until recently quite what a messy business s’more-eating is! Ted had a whale of a time hoovering up the crumbs beneath our feet…

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We stayed sitting by the fireside late into the night, toasting endless rounds of marshmallows (plus the odd piece of bread too, that got slathered in butter and topped with flaky salt- divine!) and soaking up the woodsmoke. In fact, we soaked up so much woodsmoke that I can still smell it on my hair, even though I’ve washed it since! I don’t mind a bit though, because really, who could complain about catching a scent every now and again that brings back memories of crackling firewood, warm hands and faces, belly laughing until my stomach aches, and dreams of cabin holidays in Canada with the very best friends a girl could ask for.
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* This post was sponsored by Rekorderlig as part of their #BrighterNights campaign, who asked if I’d like to include a feature of their ciders here on Cider with Rosie and since Cheese Night was already in the diary, it seemed the most perfect opportunity! As ever, my opinions are nothing but honest, and I’m so happy to be able to recommend a brand of cider I’ve loved for years :)

** Photo of Tania holding a flaming marshmallow, and me holding a corker of a s’more, by Freya!

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Posted in COUNTRYSIDE LIFE, FOOD, FRIENDS, HOME, JASON, SPRING

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22.12

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If you ask me, there’s no better way of punctuating a day (whether a working day or otherwise) than by the ritualistic making of cups of tea. Boiling. Pouring. Brewing. Drinking. An hour or two of work or relaxation, and then the whole process begins again. It’s comforting and therapeutic, and reminds us that there are more important things in life than staring at lit-up screens for hours on end.

Taylors of Harrogate sent over a care parcel last week, containing their new range of herbal and fruit teas. They’ve teamed up with plant experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, to create the finest and most beautifully tasting infusions. Before we talk tea though, can we take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the packaging? (Scroll right down to the bottom of the post to see it in all its glory!) When the parcel came through, Jason and I spent a good ten minutes just ooohing over all the lush fonts and colours and illustrations. I’m in love!

The tea blends themselves are just beautiful- delicate and fresh tasting, with a little something for every taste going. Below is my day in tea…one delicious cup-full at a time.

A . M ::

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Sweet Rhubarb blend ::

The rhubarb blend is the most delicate of the range, and a perfect cup of tea to open the day with. The colour alone is enough to make me love it! I like to add a half-teaspoon of sugar to bring out the fruit flavours, and serve as part of the most feminine, pink-hued breakfast in bed I can put together. A weekend indulgence of course, but such a lovely indulgence to make.

P . M ::

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Lemongrass & ginger blend ::

I’ve found the lemongrass and ginger blend to be the very best way of beating the dreaded afternoon slump, during the past few days. It’s the most fragrant, invigorating hug-in-a-mug you could imagine, and tastes all the better out of a sweet tin mug. Make up a cup about an hour after lunchtime (right when your lunch  is settling heavy in your stomach and getting ready to make a nap seem like the most appealing thing in the world), and let the warming ginger and fresh lemongrass work their magic!

E V E ::

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Spiced Apple blend ::

Are you already dreaming of how perfectly festive this blend is? It’s like mulled wine meets tea, and is all kinds of delicious! I’m planning on picking up a bumper pack of cinnamon sticks next time I’m out shopping, because can you even imagine how amazing this would be served with a stick of cinnamon, as well as a strip of orange peel and a drizzle of honey, in each cup?

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And now, fun stuff! Taylors are offering one Cider with Rosie reader a complete set of their range of fruit & herbal teas, as photographed above!

To enter the giveaway, just take the ‘Flavour Fairy’ quiz (I got ‘blackberry and elderflower fairy!), then head over to Twitter (and be sure you’re following along with Cider with Rosie!) then tweet using the hashtag #CwRgiveaway to let me know which ‘flavour fairy’ you are! I’ll pick a winner 2 weeks today (on the 5th of Jan) and the sweet folk at Taylors will send out a parcel of tea right away for you to start the New Year with!

Which flavour takes your fancy? I’m about to go for a cup of the blackberry & elderflower right now…

** Post created in partnership with Taylors of Harrogate.

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Posted in GIVEAWAY, HOME, INSPIRATION, REVIEW, Sponsored

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13.11

Cider-with-Rosie-festive-baking-day Cider-with-Rosie-seasonal-to-do-list Shortcrust-pastry-recipe Cider-with-Rosie-mince-pie-baking Making-shortcrust-pastry Shortcrust-pastry Making-mince-pies-Cider-with-Rosie Rosie-making-pastry Nigella-star-topped-mince-pies Cider-with-Rosie-blogger Homemade-cranberry-mince-pies

For me, there’s nothing better than a baking day. Sure, it means there’ll be mountains of washing up to do. Sure, you might end up feeling queasy from eating so much sugar. And sure, the mess will inevitably spread across your entire kitchen and maybe into the living room as well. But it’ll be worth it, because the fruits of your labour will make it so.

And if a normal baking day is wonderful, then a festive baking day is most certainly on a whole new level of wonderful-ness. Each year the thing I look forward to most about the lead up to Christmas are baking days like this one. Where pans sit simmering on the hob, full of spicy chutneys and fruity mincemeat. Where the house winds up smelling more festive than if you’d lit a thousand Christmas-themed scented candles, and you begin to feel the first flutterings of Christmas spirit.

Earlier in the week, I had such a day. I made a batch of Nigella’s cranberry and port mincemeat, and then some of her famous mini star-topped mince pies. They turned out sort of rustic (I’ve not yet mastered the art of shortcrust pastry, since I only really make it once or twice each year), but tasted no less delicious because of it. The other thing to come out of the kitchen on Tuesday (other than several clouds of icing sugar dust and a dog who tried to run off with a mouthful of dried cranberries), were these white chocolate + coffee popcorn balls. I didn’t quite catch them in time to roll them up, but they taste just as divine in popcorny-clumps. Jason and I can’t leave the jar I’ve stored it in alone…

More from my seasonal to-do list series ::
Try this :: a hot chocolate picnic.
Try this :: go walking somewhere new.

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Posted in BAKING, CHRISTMAS, HOME, RECIPE, TRY THIS, WINTER

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