The Hoppings 2014

I hadn't heard of the Hoppings until a few days ago when I saw it mentioned on my Instagram despite living in Newcastle for nearly two years.

Once I realised it was a giant funfair, the world's biggest touring actually, I knew we needed to go!
Mostly because G and I both love funfair food! 

It's held at Town Moor and this year marked the 132nd Year of The Hoppings, so it's definitely a Newcastle tradition. There's rides and so much food it will make your tummy ache just looking around. 

Well when they say world's biggest, I never imagined how big it actually would be! I'm used to a tiny funfair in my hometown so this kind of blew my mind. 

There is every kind of ride imaginable, add to that tons of food stalls and numerous hook-a-duck style prize stands, it could be quite daunting. 

I think Town Moor is perfect though as it's sheer size accommodates everything they have there without feeling like you're packed like sardines with strangers. 

We stuffed ourselves, and as I'd been thinking about having a slushy since I'd heard about Hoppings I was so pleased to find some additive filled strawberry-raspberry goodness. G enjoyed amazing looking noodles and curry sauce. 

It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!!
Unfortunately this unicorn cutie was just too hard to get and we weren't willing to spend all our pennies to get him (you know how funfairs are) not that it wasn't fun to try. 

If you fancy going The Hopping's is on until Saturday 28th and is free to enter! Check the website here for opening times and information on parking and finding Town Moor. 


Silver Wedding Anniversary

These two people are the most wonderful parents and this past week they celebrated 25 Years of being married. So this weekend we headed home to celebrate with my lovely family.

On Saturday we headed out for Italian which was delicious and such a nice evening catching up with my godparents and Gran. 

Who doesn't love dessert served in a cute teacup! 

Sunday was afternoon tea at my parents house, my Mama went all out, there was meringues, mousse cake, brownies, biscuits and so much more. I created the signs and the display especially for them and we covered the room and yard in bunting handmade by my Mama.

Got to spend the afternoon chasing after these little cuties! My lovely wee cousins, who aren't so wee anymore and love to stuff their faces with cakes. 

Dad, Mama, Ben, Me, G.

Back Row: Ben, Me, G, Rick, Mary, Dad, Mama, Gran, Eileen & John
Front Row: Macie, Simon, Elsa & Jackie. 
It was such a lovely weekend spending time with my family and celebrating my parents and their amazing 25 years. Here's to them and another 25 more years.


Chocolate Chip Courgette Bread:

Last week I spotted that the lovely Beautiful Mess girls had made courgette bread, or zucchini as they call it, and remembered I had two courgettes just sitting in the fridge. I'm not a huge fan of things like carrot cake and thought that this was going to be similar but I actually found I loved this and couldn't taste the courgette, just plenty of chocolate! 

This recipe makes 2 loafs from a tin that is 8x4 inches. 

100g Unsalted Butter, 
200g Sugar,
2 Eggs, 
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 
250g Flour,
40g Cocoa Powder, 
Pinch of Salt, 
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder, 
2 Courgettes grated 
100g Chocolate Chips.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. 

Firstly grate your courgettes and place in a sieve to drain the excess liquid.
Squashing down the courgette with the back of a spoon to help get rid of any extra water also helps so that the batter isn't too wet.

Mix together the butter, melted, and the sugar until combined and cool. (So as not to cook the eggs in the next step.)

Next add in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix. 

Pop the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder in a bowl combine together. Then add liquid ingredients and stir until smooth. 

Next add the chocolate chips and courgette into the chocolate batter and mix. If you think the mixture is looking a little too wet from the courgette add a tablespoon more flour to even it out. 

Pour half the mix into your loaf tin and save the other half for after this one has baked, or if you have two loaf tins then pop them both in together. 

Pop your loaf into the oven for 50-60 minutes. Check it towards the 45 minute mark by popping a cocktail stick in the middle, if it comes out clean then your loaf is ready, if not then give it another 5 minutes and check again. 

This is delicious sliced with a little butter and a cup of tea. And a little better for you than normal cake what with all that courgette in there.


Vegetable Stew

I love to make a veggie stew, come rain or shine. I think you can always find seasonal vegetables that taste delicious in a stew, I've previously made this in the winter but thought I'd make a more spring like version. 

So into my stew went:

Cherry tomatoes, 
Sweet potatoes, 
Kidney beans, 
Chopped tomatoes, 
1 Pint water, 
1 stock cube, 

First I peeled and chopped up sweet potato into small chunks. 
Into a large pan pop the chopped tomatoes and sweet potatoes on a mid heat and let simmer. 

Next up chop up one parsnip and add to the sweet potatoes, follow this with a courgette. All chopped into bite size chunks.

Add one stick of chopped celery and two chopped up carrots then leave to simmer on a mid-high heat for 10 minutes.
You'll also need to top up the liquid with a pint of hot water with a stock cube at this point in the recipe.

Add a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, and some cauliflower.

I also chopped up some mushrooms ready to add afterward as G doesn't like mushrooms. And seeing as how I grabbed this whole bag from my local market for 50p I was excited to use them up!

Add all of these veggies to the pot, and follow with your beans and mushrooms now if you want them. Leave this to simmer for a final 5 minutes and serve.

Best enjoyed on that day you just need a little warming pick me up. Something hearty and good for you but delicious.