Doctor Foster went to Gloucester……

……Well actually it was just me and mum, however I’m not sure we would visit again either. For some reason I had it in my head that Gloucester would be really posh and modern but when we arrived it seemed quite run down.

I had driven us from Oxford to Gloucester as we had been previously visiting family. It took us about an hour but parts of the drive were beautiful, travelling along the edges of the Cotswolds. Pretty little cottages made from stone in the middle of picturesque countryside. Lush

We were staying in the Central Hotel which was right in the city not far from the Cathedral, shops and restaurants. When we got there it appeared that there was not a car park opposite (as mentioned on website) but rather a 5 minute walk round the corner, not a huge deal but when you are carrying heavy bags, it’s a bit of mission.

We checked into our room which was on the 3rd floor and felt like a sauna as the radiators were on (it was a nice summers day, there was no need for this behaviour) so we opened the windows and got ourselves acquainted. The decor was cool and the beds were comfy just a shame about the view

We didn’t actually arrive in Gloucester until around 5 pm so we decided that tomorrow would be our day of sight-seeing. Tonight we would just find somewhere nice to eat dinner and have a few glasses wine. As we were getting ready to go out we heard what can only be described as a bird being killed very slowly by some sort of predator, the sqwarking was so loud. Mum looked out of our window and began laughing hysterically, I obviously ran over to look at what was so funny……Two Seagulls going at it full pelt on the rooftop across from our window, absolutely shameless lol. If it’s not humans at a Travel lodge, its Seagulls on a rooftop.

Anyway after a bit of research courtesy of trip advisor on where to eat in Gloucester, we decided on the quite unassuming Cafe Rene. I thought this was just going to be a little Cafe that served standard food of an evening but boy was I wrong. We walked through the city centre which was like a ghost town by 7 pm, I did however notice a lot of people sleeping rough in doorways which was quite upsetting. Down a small alleyway, we found Cafe Rene, a pub that appeared to be in an old church building. A sandwich board advising ‘live music here tonight’ was in the doorway, it had a bit of a studenty vibe about it. The pub was sectioned into two halves, bar/pub on one side and cute traditional restaurant on the other. The restaurant was busy and couldn’t seat us for up to 45 minutes but the place looked so intriguing that we were happy to sit in the bar and wait.

We ordered some drinks and sat down with a menu to decide on what to eat. This place was steeped in history and had a real quirky feel to it. The walls were decorated with empty wine bottles, beer mates and pictures of France, plenty to keep me occupied whilst waiting. As I read through the menu, I found a very interesting page at the back

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So glad we got to experience this little hidden gem.

Our table was ready so we ordered our food and took in the scenery of the restaurant. The theme carried through from the bar area but instead of the walls being lined with empty wine bottles, it was the ceiling.

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We had starters, main and shared a dessert, my gosh the food was delicious and the cheesecake was possibly the best I have ever eaten!!!!

By the time we had finished it was getting on for 10 pm so we decided to head back to the hotel. I would recommend Cafe Rene to anyone visiting Gloucester. Staff were really friendly, there is a great atmosphere and the food is delicious .

We got up fairly early the next day as we had to check out at 10 am so we tested the shower (very good) had a bit of breakfast and said goodbye to our room. Whilst checking out, we asked the receptionist for advice on what we should check out whilst in Gloucester. She told us about the docks and that there is a shopping village there along with some nice places to get lunch. We knew that we wanted to visit the cathedral but other than that, according to her, there wasn’t much else to see. She went on to tell us that the city is due to be regenerated in the next two years and that maybe we should visit again then.

So we set off in search of the Cathedral, we followed the signs through the city centre, turned a corner and there it was…….

Inside was just as spectacular, however it was very busy with groups of tourist and exchange students. I didn’t get those spiritual tingles that I usually experience from Cathedrals which was a bit disappointing but I managed to get plenty of snaps.

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Just round the corner from the Cathedral, is The Tailor of Gloucester shop and museum, from the children’s book by Beatrix Potter. The shop is used in the illustrations of the book and is now run by volunteers to show off the work of Beatrix Potter. We had a little look inside and bought a few gifts to take back with us.

So last place to visit was the docks. We followed the signs down some back roads and sure enough came out at the docks (I didn’t even realise Gloucester had docks). It was very pretty with all the canal boats line up, a contrast to the run down city centre.

We found a little shop come tea room to have our elevensies in, cup of tea and a toasted tea cake was just what I needed. At the end of the docks was a newly build designer shopping outlet so we went and had a nose about. I managed to find some bargains in the Nike shop (2 pairs of trainers for the grand total of £22!!!). By 1 pm our tummies were grumbling so we had lunch in Ed’s diner, an american style diner, the milkshakes are to die for here.

Our visit to Gloucester had come to an end and i did enjoy myself but im not so sure i would visit again as i feel i saw all there was to see

Feel free to let me know if i’ve got this wrong……..

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Dishing up a Caribbean favourite

Ackee and Salt fish

So number 2 on the 30 for 30 list is to learn to cook a Caribbean dish. My partner’s family hail from Jamaica and Barbados so I have had the pleasure of eating some amazing Caribbean food but I wanted to learn to cook some of the dishes for myself. With a little help from the ‘Nan in-law’ I decided on Ackee and Salt fish as I absolutely love it.

The Ackee fruit is the national fruit of Jamaica and Ackee and Salt fish is the national dish. A good dish to get started with I think. Perfect for a breakfast meal served with Plantain, or for dinner served with rice.

Ingredients I used were:

  • 1 Pack of Salt fish
  • 1 tin of Ackee
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
  • red and green peppers
  • sprinkle of dried crushed chilli

First job was to soak the Salt fish in cold water over night to take off a lot of the salt from the fish. I then rinsed it off and boiled in hot water for about 20 minutes. This makes the fish a lot less salty and more tender so I drained away the water and let the fish cool.

Once cooled, the next step was to shred the fish by literally just pulling it apart so that I ended up with flakes of fish (take out any bones if found). The onion and peppers that I chopped earlier are now ready to go in the frying pan.

I heated a little bit of oil (you can use butter) in the pan and then chucked in my chopped ingredients. Next in was the chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh if preferred) and let that cook for a few minutes

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I then added in my flaked fish and gave it all a stir. That then cooked for a further 5 minutes and by this time was smelling amazing. The last part was to add in the Ackee which needs to be done very delicately so not to mush up the Ackee. Rather than stirring, the Ackee needs to be folded very carefully into the mix.

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I let it cook for a few more minutes, sprinkled in a few chilli flakes and it was ready to eat. Served it up with some rice and demolished the lot (not before taking a pic and sending to the ‘Nan in-law’ for her approval of course)

wpid-2015-06-12-17.23.00.png.pngI will definitely be cooking this again 🙂