14 April 2016

Eat Like an Icelander in Reykjavik on Any Budget!

If you've seen my previous post on Reykjavik (see here) you'll know we stayed in a self-catered apartment through airbnb (apartment's listed here if you're a nosey parker) and we got hold of a lot of local produce that we cooked ourselves and ate in with a couple of Icelandic beers. However, we also went and ate out at least once a day, be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So I thought I'd compile a list of the places I'd recommend you visit if you want to eat out in Iceland. I've broken this down into food to go, casual dining and eating out like the fancy pants that you are, for ease of use. A quick note on food in Iceland; it's not as expensive as everyone says it is. Alcohol is a different matter (think London prices if not a little more for everything bar wine which is more like three times the price) but food itself is really reasonable. We ate at two really fancy restaurants for dinner, opting for their taster menus, and I think each meal cost us £65 per person which for me is beyond reasonable for 7+ courses considering you're looking at a minimum of £100 in the UK.

We didn't have a bad meal in Iceland, maybe part of this is because I research everything food related in the nearest 100 miles of where we're staying before we go away but I think a huge part is related to the quality of the food in Reykjavik.

If you're going self-catered and would prefer to cook in your apartment there's lots of great bakeries and a couple of butchers that you can go and grab some local produce from, which are all reasonably priced. Fruits and vegetables wise, if it has to be imported, it's going to be more expensive. However, Iceland grow a huge array of their own vegetables and fruits now, which is pretty cool when you think it snows for a lot of the year. We got all our fruit and veg from Bónus, which is Iceland's budget supermarket and the only one within walking distance of the apartment we were staying at. Things to try in Iceland are definitely their skyr (the thickest creamiest yogurt ever), their jams (this sounds like a weird one, but Iceland have a lot of unique berries so have a browse) and their lamb (if you're a meatasaurus like me, it's very reasonably priced and absolutely delicious)!

It's worth noting, you can't buy alcohol from general stores so either bring it with you, stock up in duty free, prepare to spend big bucks on it going out, or have a detox cleanse and go booze free. We bought about 4 bottles of wine with us and picked up a couple in duty free in Iceland, for the 8 days we were there. We didn't drink them all but it was nice to have the option of having a drink at our apartment first before going out.

11 April 2016

Cider Crumble Cake with Rhubarb & Waddlegoose Cyder

I'm a hot house plant. I'm not one for sitting outdoors in the cold, indoors is where I thrive. Don't get me wrong I love the winter, hosting big dinner parties eating baked cheese (like this yummy Comte fondue), drinking hot chocolate while snuggled up on the sofa in my pyjamas, thick woolly socks and hidden under blankets while watching the latest episode of something awesome (currently rewatching season two of the OC for my Summer fix), and of course if you wrap me up in multiple layers (coats, hats, the whole shebang) I'll be the first to make (and instantly regret making) a snow angel before running inside for a glass of mulled wine. But Summer, Summer is my time. I'm not going to lie I win at Summer. I just do. It helps that all my European blood (Swiss/Italian/Excellence...I'm sorry I'll stop soon) has made me able to withstand the hot Summer temperatures, my love of food and easy cooking has given me great BBQing skills, and I excel at ALL Summer activities (sunbathing, swimming, sunbathing etc. [you get the idea]).

So yeah it's fair to say I'm looking forward to Summer. And I'm starting to see it coming round the corner. Rhubarb, probably my favourite and most underrated Summer fruit (or is it a vegetable? who apparently), has started appearing weekly in our local green grocers, and my mum recently gave me a huge hall from her little garden. My favourite peonies are appearing in Columbia Road Market, a sure sign Summer is almost upon us, and as such my boyfriend is overdosing on hayfever tablets. And of course there's my ultimate favourite Summer place, beer gardens. Beer gardens are upping their game, planting flowers, getting the umbrellas out, I even went to one with a BBQ the other day; combining all my loves. Grabbing a chilled pint of cider and sitting outside is looking pretty darn tempting right about now.

I've always been a cider and ale gal. I grew up in the Falklands where home brewing (of a sort) was pretty common, and since we moved to England I've always worked in cider and ale pubs (secretly/not so secretly being a bar maid was probably one of my favourite jobs, the people, the atmosphere, it's a good laugh). So when Aspall got in contact with me about sampling some of their new brand of cider Waddlegoose Cyder (find more information and where to purchase here), me and, to a larger extent, my mum jumped at the chance. My mum's actually the biggest cider fiend I know, and Aspall is her FAVOURITE British cider, no jokes, she's obsessed! She actually gets a bit snobby if a pub doesn't sell Aspalls, which is a bit much but there we go, she's a lady who knows what she likes.