When our plane started to descend into Oslo airport the reality of Norway’s natural beauty became apparent. Visible out of the window as the plane banked into a sweeping turn was mile upon mile of lakes, mountains and trees all covered in a deep blanket of early winter snow; a sea of white broken by pockets of grey lakes and the dark spikes of conifer. The snow was unexpected, as when booking this trip for November we’d been told it was likely too early, but welcome. Even the airport, surrounded by snow dusted trees, was turned into something picturesque. Sat on the bus from the airport, which I’d recommend over the train as it’s significantly cheaper for a round trip and only takes 40 minutes, I took advantage of the free wifi to frantically do some googling for “Oslo’s best cinnamon bun“. The bun which really stood out was made by WB Samson, the Oslo institution. Each bun is baked in its own individual tin, knotted up rather than simply swirled and covered with cinnamon and a little salt. I could happily talk about this bun for the rest of this post, but as it was simply a pitstop we made between the bus terminal and our hotel, I should probably get going with the rest of the trip.
A while back I used to do round ups of the places I ate, things I baked and recipes that I cooked each month. This was, in part, to keep a kind of diary and to show the places that I get recipes from for my day to day baking and cooking which don’t necessarily make the blog. The posts, while a fun summary, were too long and took far too much time to put together for what they were. I have decided to revive them in a slightly different manner however. I’m taking out the bits around everything I’ve baked & cooked and I won’t be listing every single meal I’ve had out that month. What I am going to do is concentrate on a small handful of the best (or worst) places I’ve eaten across the previous month. So without further ado, here’s some eating out highlights from October.
The month started with a trip to Leeds where I ate at Bundobust, because that’s basically where I eat every time I head up. It’s my favourite place in Leeds and I’ve talked about it at length before. The rest of the month was London based and it was also one of my 3 veggie months for 2016. The highlights are as follows:
As alluded to in a couple of recipes recently, I went up to the Isle of Mull to see my parents in September. I have been many times, and every time try to do something different. This time included popping to the idyllic island of Iona (twice, due to poor weather stopping ferries the first time) as well as a walk from Loch Buie to Carsaig (which includes a using a rope to climb down some rocks) and a number of other shorter walks. The trip also featured a 3 day period where we had no running water, as my parent’s pump on their private supply broke. This meant we had to carry about 1000 litres of unfiltered water from the stream up to their house, and we could only really use that for flushing toilets and running a dishwasher. Fortunately we managed to get a pump sorted in a few days, but it was a harsh reminder of why living on an island isn’t necessarily for everyone. This was also the first time I got to meet my parent’s new dog; Meg. She will feature heavily here.
This weekend in Leeds was the Bloggers Blog Awards. Somehow, I’d ended up shortlisted in the Food Blogger category, so I found myself sat in the car on the way up to Leeds early on the Saturday morning, a bag of smart clothes all packed up and full of nerves. We grabbed an airbnb so we’d have some space to ourselves and allow a chance to get changed after the journey up. An obligatory trip to Bundobust and a spruce up later we were (late) in a taxi to Canal Mills where Hayley had organised this year’s event. Over the course of the next few hours I had the pleasure of finally putting faces to names who I’ve chatted to over twitter and through my blog for a while. I never expected to be shortlisted, let alone have what happened next occur. Somehow it was my name read out as the winner and I found myself on stage swearing and mumbling something about this being ‘pretty cool’.
It still hasn’t really sunk in that I’m now an ‘award winning blogger’ or that something I’ve only ever done for fun has taken me to this point. I just like baking cakes (mainly brownies), and to think that people think my rambles about doing that are enough for me to win an award is pretty humbling. So thank you to anyone who voted for me, it means a hell of a lot, and hello to anyone that’s new here because you saw my name being thrown about on twitter before, during or after the awards. It was so good to meet so many amazing people who all help inspire each other. Congratulations to all the other nominees and winners, who all work so hard to make their blogs successful.
Thanks for making me Best Food Blog 2016 and I’ll see you all again next year for another night of getting drunk and talking complete crap.
As you’ll have seen from Part 1, I recently travelled to New York. If you want to see what happened on our first couple of days, or even how the trip came about, then go read that. This post picks up on Day 3 and runs through to our journey home.
The Sunday morning wasn’t quite as early, but we were still up at about 7am. First up for the day was breakfast at Jack’s Wife Freda, which even at 9am on a Sunday was bustling. We took advantage of their bottomless drip (coffee) and while Maddie had a Rosewater Waffle I tucked into a Madame Freda (Pressed sandwich with duck prosciutto, cheddar béchamel, gruyere & a sunny side up egg). Out of the two main breakfast spots we tried this trip, this one was the better. The setting is charming, service friendly, polite & quick and the food was spot on. We’d booked in a slot to visit the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) so this was our next stop. As someone who has been to the city before, and done the Empire State, I can safely say I prefer the view from the Rock. Coming out of the elevator after a, very short, queue you instantly get a view across central park, something the Empire State doesn’t offer, and the view the other side has the Empire State and the southern end of Manhattan. After 25 minutes of indulgent selfie taking and view admiring we went back down in the lift and walked from the center down towards Grand Central(via Sephora so Maddie could look at make up she couldn’t afford). We deliberately zigzagged on this walk so we could soak in the noise and sites of Manhattan. Next was a walk over to Time Square.