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Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

Mothers' Day || Afternoon Tea at Maryville House

Maryville House Tea Rooms, Belfast
Before this Sunday past I'd never been for afternoon tea before, despite always wanting to go. In my mind I suppose it was always a little bit too expensive to justify, with most places charging upwards of £20 a head. However, when my sister made a surprise booking for Mothers' Day at Maryville House for the two of us, our mum and our grandma, there were absolutely no objections. It sounded like the perfect Mothers' Day treat, and in the end it really was!
A floral centrepiece
Afternoon tea
Afternoon Tea
Perhaps one of the best discoveries of the year for me, Maryville House is a beautiful Victorian bed and breakfast and tea room with all the charm of a quiet countryside retreat despite being nestled just outside Belfast City Centre, on the busy Lisburn Road. When I'd played around with the idea of afternoon tea before I don't think I would have ever considered Maryville, with afternoon tea at places like the swanky Merchant Hotel in the Cathedral Quarter being so well-known locally. However, kudos to Anna for this gorgeous find; I now can't think of anywhere better to experience some traditional afternoon tea, or even just to spend a very special Sunday afternoon!
Once we had arrived and were seated we were each given the choice of a huge selection of loose leaf tea and coffee. However, being the adventurous family we are, we all chose Maryville's own blend which was essentially a simple English breakfast tea- but it was delicious! Breakfast teas usually all taste the same to me, but this was exceptional, and the fact it was served in the most enormous china teapot did certainly add to the experience. 

Since it was Mothers' Day we were also all offered a lovely complimentary glass of prosecco, i.e. my most favourite thing, which as the designated driver I couldn't actually take advantage of! Very upsetting, though I may have still had one very cheeky sip!
After we'd each settled down with our tea and prosecco we were brought over a lovely plate of sandwiches and hors d'oeuvres- which didn't last for very long!- before we were presented with this glorious assortment of scones and cakes. There was everything from little meringues, to cupcakes to macarons. It's honestly making me hungry again just looking at the photos. I don't half wish I had a plateful of these in front of me again!
Finally, absolutely stuffed full of tea and cake we finished off our afternoon with a walk in the nearby Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park before heading off home. I really couldn't recommend Maryville House enough. Aside from the amazing food and tea, the girls who were serving us were so lovely and pleasant and it really made for a memorable day.

What did you get up to this Mothers' Day?

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Recipe || Banana & Peanut Butter Cookies*

Apologies if the colour of my tea offends some people.

Most of those who know me well enough will have had at least some experience with how genuinely crap I am at baking. I don't know why, I don't know how, but even working with pre-prepared store-bought fairy cake mix has proved a challenge for me in the past. So, when Banana Moon Clothing first got in touch with me asking if I'd be able to whip up a banana-themed bake for their bloggers' Banana Bake Book, I was more than a little apprehensive, but decided I may as well put my best foot forward and give it a go nonetheless! 

I went for cookies because a) they're my favourite and b) they're really easy and only require a baking tray by way of fancy equipment (cake tins and that being quite fancy in my books). I'd also never tried a banana cookie before, and banana and peanut butter kind of sounded like a fantastic combination.

It wasn't until I was mid-way through the preparation stage that it occurred to me that apart from the chocolate chips the cookies didn't contain any animal products, since the banana in this case acts as a sort of egg substitute in the recipe. I'm not actually a vegan myself but I thought if any of you are you might like to try them. I used normal dairy chocolate chips for the cookies you see here but you could substitute them for diary-free chocolate chunks or just exclude them entirely to make the cookies completely vegan.


Recipe makes 25-30 cookies | 20 minutes to prepare | 10-12 minutes baking time

Ingredients

125g (very ripe) mashed banana
130g peanut butter
70g dark brown soft sugar
100g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
165g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
40g plain chocolate chips

Method

1. Mix together the mashed banana and peanut butter until combined, then stir in the dark sugar, caster sugar and vanilla. Combine the flower and baking power, add them to your mixture and stir until smooth. Finally, add your chocolate chips making sure they're well distributed throughout the mixture.
2. Cover the dough and chill it for at least one hour. In the meantime preheat your oven to 190°C/Gas mark 5.
3. Once your dough has been chilled roll it out into walnut-sized balls and lay about 5cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes and then allow to cool before serving.

I can confirm that they're delicious with a cup of tea!

I honestly don't know how I managed it with my track record, but I was so pleased with this end result! This was actually the most successful batch of cookies I've probably ever made; a testament to just how simple this recipe is, I think!

* This post was written in collaboration with Banana Moon Clothing, though all views expressed here are my own.
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Weekend Roundup


I really had such a lovely weekend these past few days. Between starting work and everyone being away on summer holidays it'd been a few weeks since I'd seen anyone so it was amazing to be able to spend a chilled out weekend with a few of my best friends!

We had some lovely weather here on Saturday morning so my cousin, Jenny and I got up bright and early and went for a long walk in the park followed by some lunch in Belfast. It was the first time I'd seen her since I got back from uni in June so it was great to spend some quality time and catch up. We went to this really quirky restaurant called Birdcage, though because it was quite busy I didn't manage to get any photos- I'll make sure I will next time!

Later on Saturday night Isabel and Libby who are two of my best friends from school came to stay at mine and we had a typical girly movie night with lots of chocolate and a cheeky bottle of Rosé. Then after a long lie-in the next day we braced the rain and headed back into the city for another lunch date. This time we went to a restaurant in the city centre called Made in Belfast which has a menu made up of all locally sourced produce. It can be a little pricey but it's completely worth it because the food is so good!

It was quite a special occasion for the three of us because since we've all moved away to different unis we really don't see as much of each other as we'd like to any more. Isabel (Izi) lives in London now and because of commitments with her job over there she can't come home very often. In fact, she's only back in Northern Ireland for two weeks this summer before heading back off again! So whenever we all get a chance to see each other it's literally the best thing ever. I really couldn't have asked for a better end to a week of placement!

Hope you all had a great weekend!
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Falling in Love with Lancaster

These are just a few photos taken out on a girly evening with my friend Louise (who, by the way, was the very good friend who lent me the wise Lion King-related advice a few posts back). It's crazy to think, but my first year at Lancaster is now very quickly coming to a close (my last exam is tomorrow, moving out of uni accommodation on Thursday!!!) and it was nice to just spend some time off-campus to reflect on the months that have gone by.


I  first met Louise because she was part of my workshop group on my marketing course but for months we were just casual acquaintances and only really spoke when we had to sort things out for our group work and presentations. I was actually a little intimidated by her at the start because since marketing was her major she often had to assume a sort of leadership role in the group and I was afraid she was judging me or I was letting her down by not giving my all. As it turned out, however, this was all nonsense and in fact, she had also found me a bit intimidating! First impressions can sometimes be very wrong. especially among girls I think sometimes.
Despite our misunderstanding about each other however, because she lived quite near me on campus we would sometimes walk back from seminars together and chat for a bit. It was on one of these occasions I mentioned to her that I used to horse-ride and was thinking about taking it up again, it turned out she also used to ride and we decided to go together and in the process we actually found out we really have a lot in common and now I'd consider her one of my best friends!

If you've read any of my previous posts you'll know I wasn't particularly happy here at the beginning. I found campus and campus accommodation very oppressive and because of a few personal problems I encountered, I found it really difficult trying to keep up with work and assignments as well as the demands of living on my own for the first time. It was a struggle but I can now say over this last term and a bit I've really found my feet, settled in and made some really good genuine friendships to the point where I will actually be really sad to go home for the summer.

Sometimes I also think I failed to appreciate how beautiful Lancaster actually is. There's some really stunning architecture in the city which is then surrounded by miles of green countryside (I'm a big fan of countryside), and also the Lake District is basically on your doorstep, something which I will definitely be taking more advantage of next year.
All in all, I'm very happy to say that I'm very much looking forward to my next few years at Lancaster and all the ups and downs that are still to come over my next 2 years here.
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