Christmas Markets |Toasted Peacans

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It is the most beautiful time of the year and what better way to celebrate the birth of Jesus than with some German beer, expensive cheese and felt decorations: Christmas markets! Chris and I have got around a bit this year and have managed to get to four: Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bath. The highlight of any Christmas market for me is, of course, the food, and the stuff we found this year was worth braving the crowds for.

Our first market of the year was Manchester in the middle of November and it was absolutely rammed. We had a drink in a german-inspired wooden hut but my Christmas joy was somewhat quashed by having to walk very slowly and not get close to many stalls in the central part of the market. Slightly further out was much better and there was a good selection of street-food stands – I had a falafel and halloumi wrap (I shared a large one with Chris which unfortunately meant I couldn’t take a pic before he took a bite).

Second up the following weekend was Birmingham. This was also extremely busy and difficult to get around at any speed but very beautiful and with its own share of yummy food and drinks. I sought out some toasted and sugared pecans and bought 200g (which is quite a lot in pecan terms). I had had them last year in the Cardiff Markets and they were as amazing as I remembered. I kept the paper cone in my pocket and happily munched on them as we wondered around to find a space for a drink. I forced everyone to try them and even the non-nut fans liked them! They are warm, sweet and have that gorgeous toasty-nutty taste – honestly my most sincere recommendation. You’ve got to try them (and get 2 bags).

Our trip to Cardiff’s market was cut very short due to the fact it was pouring with rain. But we did nip out of the shopping centre to visit the only stall I’m interested in – the toasted nut stall! This was the one we discovered last year and I was very happy that they were back for 2019. I literally just ran out, bought my nuts and ate them in the shelter of the Dewi Sant. Maybe I’m obsessed but the trip was totally worth it.

By far the best market of the year was Bath – there’s a reason it’s so popular. We went on the last Sunday of the season and luckily it was not as busy as I was warned it might be. There were dozens of lovely stalls with locally produced food, art and other Christmasy things. I have recently decided that my ideal Christmas tree is one covered in sweet felt animal decorations so after one particular stall in the Bath Christmas Market was recommended to be my two separate people, I knew we had to take the trip. This little felt decoration stall was as precious as I hoped and we now have the cutest tree in Cardiff.

There were no toasted pecans on offer but we did enjoy a lot of free samples of cheese, spicy mayo, sausages and sipped on some delicious mulled wine as we explored. We headed to Kingsmead Square for lunch which had a range of street food stalls and an area to sit which is the ideal set up when you’ve got a group who can’t agree on what food genre to go for. I had a Persian chicken dish in a garlic and lemon sauce with rice and bread and it was very nice indeed. All it needed was a few toasted and sugared pecans and it would have been perfect.

Hi, I’m Mima

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If I have something delicious in a restaurant then I will almost certainly force a forkful of it upon whoever I’m with. That’s not a humble-brag about my generosity but should indicate why I wanted to start a blog about food – if I eat something nice I’ve just got to tell someone about it. My aim is to tell the story about my favourite food, both things I’ve made and things I’ve tried in restaurants and cafés.

Me in the summer with some orange juice, outside our student house.

Cooking and eating are some of my favourite things to do and I’m convinced that joy, sadness, celebration and boredom are always improved by eating something lovely. Any success, milestone or just a free weekend is my excuse to go out for food and try somewhere new or somewhere I know I love. I recently moved to Cardiff and that brings the exciting bonus of having loads of new restaurants and cafés to try. Half of the posts on here will be about my favourite food that I’ve found when eating out, whether it’s from a pub, street food van, restaurant chain or garden centre café. My purpose isn’t to criticise or review them but more to acknowledge and applaud good food.

Mackerel salad from Godrevy Cafe

The other half of the blog is going to be things that have come out of my kitchen. I like to use cookery books for inspiration but very rarely stick to recipes, mainly because I haven’t got the money or cupboard space to buy fiddly ingredients for just one dish. I cook almost every day and like experimenting with flavours and techniques, safe in the knowledge that whatever I try, nothing that bad is going to happen. Normally what I make is nice but sometimes it’s flipping great and it’s those recipes or ideas that I want to share.

Quiche making

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce my fiancé and fellow foodie Chris. He’ll be the one across from me at a restaurant table in my pictures and in a few months will become my number one co-chef for life.

My fiancé Chris, about to tuck into a slab of quiche

That’s all the necessary introductions, let’s get on with the food. Bon appetit.