miss b's quote

'I haven't been everywhere yet but it's on my list' Susan Sontag

Thursday, 28 November 2013

miss b loves ........a weekend in Wales with a French twist (Part 2)

Our Sunday in Montgomery, Wales began well with the most delicious Welsh breakfast served with homemade toasted brioche .....

The dining room at The Checkers is elegant and comfortable ...

...... with more French touches, another reminder that the chef proprietor Stéphane Borie is originally from France ..........

The staff are so helpful and recommended a walk up to the Montgomery Monument where we were rewarded with a stunning 360 degree panorama, gorgeous autumn colours and a rainbow!

The monument commemorates people from Montgomeryshire who have died during all past wars. It was built originally to honour those killed in the First World War but has since been rededicated.  

Back in the town, we were ready for a second visit to the Castle kitchen to try the famous Welsh bara brith ... delicious with or without butter!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

miss b loves.........a weekend in Wales with a French twist!( Part 1)

A weekend in Montgomery, Wales ..... with a French twist, was the perfect way to celebrate our wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago.

Montgomery is steeped in history having been fought over in the past by the English and the Welsh. Close to the Shropshire border, it's a picturesque Georgian town which has retained an unspoilt feel. 

The imposing Town Hall  dates from the 18th century.

We were initially attracted to Montgomery as it is home to The Checkers, one of only three Michelin starred restaurants in Wales. It's run by  'The Frenchman and the Farmers' Daughters'

'The Frenchman', Chef Proprietor, Stéphane Borie trained and worked with Michel Roux at the Waterside Inn for seven years, later moving to Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.

Sarah and Kathryn are 'The Farmers' Daughters' and grew up on a dairy farm. Sarah, also an accomplished chef and Stéphane's partner, met at the Waterside Inn where she was the first woman to work on all sections. Kathryn runs front of house and shares their love of good food.

This is a 'restaurant with rooms' ....just five with French names rather than numbers and we had chosen Le Petit Jardin... so tastefully decorated.

Fresh ground coffee, home-made cookies and L'Occitane toiletries were a welcome touch too.....

It was time for a stroll around the town ....

Thursday, 14 November 2013

miss b loves..........comfort food ......spicy carrot and coriander soup.

It's so cold and wet here that we need all the help we can get to keep warm and this spicy carrot soup is the perfect comfort food. It's from another recipe leaflet I picked up last year while shopping at Sainsbury's.


1tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
pinch ground cumin
pinch crushed chillies
1.25 litres vegetable or chicken stock (I used just less than 1 litre for a thicker consistency) 
500g carrots peeled and roughly chopped
1tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves plus a few sprigs to garnish
20g vegetable crisps, to garnish

1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook for 3-5 mins, until softened.

2. Add the cumin and crushed chillies and cook, stirring for a further 1 min. 

3. Add the stock and carrots, bring to the boil, then simmer for about 15 mins, or until the carrots are tender.

4. Transfer the soup to a blender and whizz until smooth. Stir through the chopped coriander, then ladle the soup into serving bowls. Sprinkle on some freshly ground black pepper and garnish with the extra coriander leaves and the vegetable crisps. 

I served it with chunky slices of walnut bread (not home-made but still delicious!)  

PS Above is the traditional method but I made it the easy way with our soup maker. I love my kitchen gadgets but this one is definitely one of the most useful. It sautés, cooks, simmers, blends and the best part ...... there's no pan to watch over ...... and it stays hot until needed.  

I'm definitely ready to experiment this winter making more warming soups using different flavour combinations .......let me know if you have any suggestions! 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

miss b loves ....... Doha, Qatar, a city of contrasts (Part 2)

After our stroll along the Corniche, the fascinating tour of The Museum of Islamic Art and lunch with a spectacular view, we made our way to Souq Waqif (You can read Part 1 of our Doha trip here)

 Souk Waqif literally means standing market ...... With the threat of floods from the sea, many traders in the past would conduct their business standing and sometimes they would be in water up to their ankles! There's been a market on this site for 250 years and it's where the Bedouin gathered to trade sheep and goats for essential items. In 2004 the area was restored without losing its unique character.

This is very much a souk for locals too with everything on sale from pots and pans to gorgeous fabric, toys and pets!

There's no hard-sell here. The souk has a relaxed, friendly feel and I was mesmerised by the vibrant colours .......

and the vast array of goods on sale .......

Traditional coffee pots 
and brass-studded chests

The police on horseback looked so dapper ....

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