Tag: brunch

#BEDM – Weekend Morning Routine

Here I am, a day late with this one. Oops. I found myself completely wiped out yesterday afternoon, so made some flapjacks and watched a few Gilmore Girls episodes to recover. Anyway, here you go!

Our weekend morning routine is pretty much dominated by Poppy. (I wonder why she thinks she’s the Alpha Dog?!) Poppy isn’t a fan of weekend lieins. In fact, last weekend, she slept in until about 7.30am, which is highly irregular for her. She’s used to us getting up at 6.30am and getting fed at 7am. As she gets up early, we generally tend to get up to, feed her and head out for a walk. We’ll either just do our usual walk around town, especially if we’ve got plans later in the day or chores to do, or we’ll head out for a longer walk somewhere else. (I usually write about these and you can find some great walks around Oxfordshire in my Poppy category.) I think we all really like heading out and finding somewhere new to walk, especially if there’s a cafe nearby for a cheeky tea & cake break!

alpha dogSometimes, we don’t get up straight away. We let Poppy out, feed her and then we all head back to bed with a cup of tea. Before we got Poppy, we agreed that she wouldn’t be allowed on the bed. This lasted for less than five minutes! She loves curling up between my OH & I, as we catch up on reading books and blogs. This usually lasts for as long as my back can stand it. It tends to hurt if I stay in bed too long so I tend to get up and stretch, which usually prompts the other two to get moving.

I love going out for brunch on a weekend. To me, it seems really indulgent, to have someone else make you breakfast and take your sweet time over something that you normally have to inhale to get on with the day. Yesterday, I enjoyed brunch with some great friends of mine and we try to catch up as often as we can. Despite the breakfast being slightly disappointing for a few of us, the company was excellent!

brunch

As I write this, my OH is getting everything together for us to head out on a new walk. Sadly, Poppy woke us up super early this morning and left us every possible present under the sun so we’re ready to get on with our day! How about you? What are your plans for this glorious Sunday?

Brunch, Brown Betty & Bedtime

How was your Sunday? It was very sunny here in Oxfordshire, which was lovely. And it didn’t rain! What a refreshing change! It made going out for dog walks with Poppy so much more enjoyable. We did explore a bit of the flooding in Abingdon, which I’ll post about later in the week, and I’m glad to report that the water is dropping very quickly. Phew!

Our Sunday started off with a little lie in. Though don’t mistake that for sleeping longer! With Poppy around, that’ll never happen. She woke us up before 7am, so we let her in with us as we didn’t want to get up then. Once she’s been out and been fed, she’s more than happy to go back to sleep. In fact, she’s always very happy to go back to bed!

Poppy in bed

Doesn’t she look cosy?! She sheds so much fur that we have dust down the bedding before we get in at night! Would you believe we agreed not to let her on the bed before we adopted her? That rule lasted all of five minutes, I think!

After a walk around the park, my OH & I headed into Oxford for brunch at Companion, the cafe and bread bar by The Natural Bread Company. We haven’t been out like that in ages and we had a lovely time. Plus, the food was amazing. Not only did we get breakfast there, we also bought sandwiches and cake to take away for later! More on that later in the week.

Sunday Brunch

The cooked breakfasts come with the option of having a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, which I chose and it was delicious! I could happily move in there. After breakfast, we headed into Oxford for a little mooch about. I needed a new teapot as my old one has had the knob on the lid broken off and repaired about five times. So we headed to Objects of Use and I bought a Brown Betty teapot.

Brown Betty Teapot

The Brown Betty is a historic teapot. Its origins go back to the 17th century and the red terracotta clay coddles the brew to give the perfect cup of tea. Plus, because of its colour, you’ll never see any staining!

I also did a bit of baking this weekend, including these low fat digestive biscuits, which are quite frankly, delicious!

low fat digestives

And I made these Super Food Chocolate cups, from a recipe by Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish. It came via the newsletter so be sure to sign up for it!

Super food chocolate cups

I’ve been trying to eat more fruit & veg and as a result, I haven’t been craving chocolate at all. However, I want to be prepared, just in case so made these chocolate cups as a way of having a bit of chocolate, without feeling guilty. And because they’re made with dark chocolate, I’ll only be able to eat one at time, as I find dark chocolate so rich. Pretty good huh?!

What did you get up to this weekend? Any low fat baking tips?

{Review} Jacobs Inn, Oxford

Like lots of people who’ve been and enjoyed the food at Jacobs and Field in Headington, I was really excited to learn that the guys behind it were opening at much larger premises in Wolvercote, Oxford. And so, in the summer of 2013, Jacobs Inn opened its doors. Naturally, I was keen to see what veggie offerings they had so it wasn’t long before we headed there for breakfast.

We arrived on a Friday morning and sat outside in the sun. The garden area is lovely, with pigs and chickens to entertain you – one of the chickens was making a bid for freedom while we were there and the waitress had to catch it up to return it to its home! I opted for the porridge, while my OH enjoyed the Salt Beef hash. And enjoy he did. He had a huge portion of really well cooked beef and veg. He really enjoyed it so much that he still talks about it! And I really liked my porridge! It came with bananas, honey, cinnamon & hazelnuts sprinkled on top. It was delicious! The only disappointment I had was the tea. I was expecting a pot, but was brought a cup of hot water and a separate tea bag. I was gutted – I am a tea addict and love two cups in the morning, which you can get out of a pot. As everything else is kind of old school at Jacobs Inn, I had expected a tea pot.

porridgeDespite my disappointment with the tea, it hasn’t stopped me going back since! My Mum joined my OH and I for dinner there on a Wednesday evening. We had quite high hopes after such a successful brunch and the menu looked great. However, we were all disappointed at various stages of the meal. I initially asked for a glass of the homemade lemonade, but sadly, they’d sold out. Oh well, not the end of the world, plus the weather was great that week so I can understand that. They have plenty of alternatives to enjoy anyway. I then asked for the Fennel and Cherry Tomato Crumble Gratin. It was the only veggie option in the main meal section and it looked delicious. Sadly, and rather annoyingly, it was sold out. Now, in all fairness to Jacobs Inn, I am a fussy veggie, so the other options didn’t really appeal. But if you’re going to only have one main veggie option, it might be an idea to get a few more bits in. The waitress tried to big up the salads, but a salad isn’t going to cut it for my dinner! A lunch, maybe, dinner? Not a chance! I settled on grilled leeks & goats cheese on toast, a side of skinny fries and we all shared the coleslaw. My Mum & OH both ordered the chilli jam ham.

LeeksMine was fine. The leeks were cooked well, but there were loads of them and not enough cheese. I’m not quite sure about the portion sizes of the sides either – the portion of skinny fries was huge, which was very good. But the portion of coleslaw was tiny! They cost the same, so I’d like more coleslaw please! Both my Mum & OH were disappointed with their ham as it was more like a thick slice of bacon than ham with some chilli jam just spread on it. We had all thought a joint of ham would be cooked with the jam on the top and a nice thick slice would be served, but that’s not what they got. It looked a little sad to be honest!

Brownie

Then it came time for dessert and I told my waitress that if they didn’t have the brownie I wanted, there would be tears! Fortunately, they did and it was delicious! Recently, a lot of the brownies I’ve eaten have been over the top – too much chocolate so that it’s really sickly. But this was perfect. Just moist, nicely warmed and a generous portion, without being overwhelming. It saved the meal!

I’ll definitely be going back to Jacobs Inn. I’ve read a lot of other reviews from people who have had a fab time there. The place has a great feel and the service is excellent. I love how they’ve redecorated it, especially the loos! They’ve not been open long so they’re still finding their feet. I just hope the next time I go, they’ve got more veg in so those of us who don’t eat meat aren’t left feeling left out. If else fails, get the skinny fries and the brownie!

{Review} Bills, Oxford

After reading Foodie on Tour’s review of Bill’s in Oxford, I immediately explored their menu. I was looking to see what the veggie options were and I was pleased to see they had pancakes on the menu. You can’t go wrong with pancakes for breakfast in my book!

bills pancakesNaturally, I ordered the blueberry pancakes and a pot of tea. I was disappointed that, when the food arrived, the maple syrup had been poured over the pancakes and I wasn’t given any extra. I’m a grown up. Give me my own syrup to pour over my pancakes please! I did like the pancakes, very much. They were slightly crispy round the edges, which I like, and cooked well in the middle. I also liked the fruit that came with it. It adds a nice balance to the super sugary syrup. I would be very happy to order them again.

There are two issues I had with Bill’s however. Firstly, we ordered our drinks just after we sat. My OH asked for orange juice, which arrived quite promptly. I ordered a pot of tea, which didn’t come until after our food arrived. In what world does it take longer to make a pot of tea than pancakes?! The teapots in Bill’s are huge, which is great, but it would’ve been nicer for me for it to arrive before our food. Secondly, Bill’s adds on a service charge automatically. This bugs me when restaurants do this. I understand why they do it with large parties, but for two people? Crazy. Especially when I didn’t think the service was up to scratch, let alone warranting a tip. I have asked for it to be removed in the past. I’m the customer. Surely the decision to tip for good service is up to me? If you expect your staff to provide good service, that’s all well and good, but it’s not the owners who are on the receiving end – it’s the customer. Let us decide to reward good service with a tip.

All that being said, I would return to Bill’s and have done already, for my book group summer do. I had the Halloumi in a bun with fries and a creme brulee for pudding. The halloumi was good, as were the fries. The creme brulee was enormous! But slightly disappointing as it was quite liquid in the middle.

Bill’s has a really nice feel to it. The staff are welcoming and friendly, and you can sit and chat for ages. A great place for dinner in the centre of Oxford. (Now, if only Oxford City Council didn’t make it so expensive to park in the city, we’d be onto a winner!)