Happy New Year to you all! A demanding time at work along with a busy time at home in the run up to Christmas meant that the November and December Went Ate Loved posts just didn’t get written. Although the twins have been at nursery since they were 1 year old when I went back to work, one of the most unexpected things about them starting in Reception at school is how much time is needed to contribute to the various school events. No complaints (their school is amazing), just a new reality……and a whole new lot of life admin for two 4 year olds.
After spending the October half term in Italy, we had no further trips planned until New Year. In fact, the furthest we travelled was Zone 3, Kew Gardens for Christmas at Kew.
We spent Christmas in London which I really love. Everyone seems to leave town for families outside of the capital or warmer climates and the streets are mostly deserted.
My sister works in Tokyo and we decided that since she would be attending a training course in Amsterdam in early January, it would make the ideal opportunity to meet up there. Since we were also travelling with my Mum, we wanted a home to stay in so that we could spend time together, rather than booking 4 hotel rooms. Having looked at the astronomical cost of Airbnbs in Amsterdam for NYE, I decided to look a little further afield. I stumbled upon a large house in The Hague. I absolutely love a random city break destination; you see somewhere new, it costs less and the whole trip seems more authentic/local if you don’t follow the crowds. It turned out that The Hague was only 20 minutes from Schipol airport by train making it super convenient.
The Coop very kindly sent me some soups to try – their regular range is now gluten free. They were delicious and, although I haven’t tried it yet, their range includes a minestrone soup containing gluten free pasta. Perfect for cold days.
December brought my work Christmas parties. At one, I was treated to a cheese dessert so bad it was featured in Carly’s annual #fuitisnotapudding competition. These grapes were apparently roasted to achieve such a delicious look.
Christmas involved a spectacular 3 bird roast from the local butcher….which I’ll avoid posting a photo of during veganuary…
In The Hague we discovered an amazing cheese shop around the corner from our house.
My sister and I thoroughly enjoyed picking out cheeses for our NYE cheese board of dreams. We sought out Dutch cheeses to try, with the unpasteurised Dutch blue cheese, the local equivalent of Taleggio and an aged Gouda (who knew Gouda could be so tasty) were the big winners.
In early November I got to meet up with US based blogger and chef, Amy along with her daughter Kate. Amy and I met up in the summer of 2016 while she was in London visiting family. They’re now on an around the world adventure for a year (currently enjoying New Zealand) and I was delighted to have the chance to meet again for lunch, this time at Pho. Amy demonstrated how her Nima sensor, a gluten testing device for food works. Thankfully Pho (which is 95% gluten free) passed the test, phew!
During November the winners of the Free From Eating Out Awards were presented at the FoodMatters Live exhibition.
I was absolutely delighted that Mommi (for whom I’d been the FFEAO judge) won both the ‘Focus on Gluten’ category and were well deserved overall winners! You can read about Mommi here.
In December finally got to visit Christmas at Kew – having booked the tickets months in advance. We took family over visiting for Christmas from Australia with us. Slight temperature shock for them I think!
After a nasty bout of sickness I managed to escape for the evening to enjoy the Russian propaganda posters exhibition on at the Tate Modern.
What a view from the viewing gallery on top of the Turbine Hall!
Exploring The Hague….
What’s next for 2018 and these monthly updates? Despite the absence of these monthly round ups for November and December 2017, I enjoyed writing them for the preceding months in 2017. So, at least for now, I plan to continue writing them in to 2018. I have a huge stack of posts in draft (as always!) which I want to schedule. We have a big trip to Australia planned so I will be looking for food recommendations for Sydney and the Gold Coast. I hope that on this trip I’ll find some better gluten free options than on the trip to Australia last year which was a bit hit and miss on the gluten free food front.